Today we returned to the Hastings Thermal Pool at the very southern tip of Tasmania to meet up with Huon Valley Natural Learners in a not-back-to-school barbecue. We missed the meal but arrived in good time for plenty of swimming in the warm pool.

It was quite hot, perhaps 30°C, and so I bravely entered the water with the girls. This time, I enjoyed the warmth of the pool and stayed in for a long time, horsing around with the girls and enjoying the sun. Calista and Delaney spent their time playing in the wading pool while Brioni and Aisha swam around the big pool with me and their friends.

Lauren at Hastings Pool, Tasmania, February 2013
I step out of the pool long enough to take a quick snap, and then I'm back in the warm water!

It was a pleasure to meet up with Elke today. We’ve chatted online since we first met at a Rainbow Gathering, and we planned to meet up down here sometime. On Saturday, we bumped into each other at a country fair, but it was good to know that we would have the time to properly talk at today’s gathering.

Elke Scott and Lauren Fisher, Hastings Thermal Pool, February 2013
Elke is a beautiful mum, and I'm delighted that she's back in my life!

Returning to Hastings pool redeemed its value in my opinion. On our first visit, I was less than impressed with the water temperature — although the girls enjoyed it. Today, I enjoyed the pool as much as the peaceful, green surrounds.

Picnic shelter at Hastings Thermal Pool, Tasmania, February 2013
The stone picnic shelter is held up by the enormous tree stump. Each picnic shelter contains a stone fireplace where a roaring fire keeps patrons warm when they exit the pool.

It’s been lovely to spend some time with local homeschoolers. As always, I am interested in introducing the girls to children who are growing up in similar ways to themselves. Although the vast majority of kids may be in school during the day, there are a portion that are free to learn on their own terms, and our girls get to meet them at meet-ups like today’s. Even for one day, in the company of other natural-learning families, we are normal and unremarkable.

Aisha, Katy and Brioni, Hastings Pool, Tasmania, February 2013
The girls enjoy playing with other homeschooled children and have an extra-special time with Katy.

I also like the way the girls have learned to bond quickly with new friends. We’re entering a new phase of maintaining friendships online and via the phone, and it’ll be good to see our girls take advantage of technology to stay close with their new “besties”!