Holidays

Ahhh holidays. It’s a word that holds so much promise.

I have just started my half-holidays. (That’s a word that holds approximately half the promise.)

I work two different contracts – a teaching contract and a research contract – and I have taken holidays from the research part and am continuing to work on all the teaching jobs. I had to keep teaching because it’s exam time, and there’s marking and collating to do. And also because I am nowhere near ready to start teaching next semester. There’s a heap of preparation that I need to get done. I’d be super-stressed if I tried to take four weeks off and cram it all into the week before semester starts.

But still, I have given myself two extra days off a week for the next four weeks. And I’m going to make the most of them.

Obviously, if I’m still working, I’m not heading off on a cruise, or spending my days sunning myself on a sandy beach in the Pacific. No, I’m spending the holidays the way I always want to spend them – at home, reading and writing. That’s the plan, anyway.

I want to finish this draft of my novel this holidays. I want to blog, and write my newsletter, and read at least a few of the books on my list. DH says that he knows I’m really relaxed when I start cleaning out and reorganising the cupboards. We’ll see if we get there, but we can always hope.

Things are a little different this holidays because DS is at home through the day most days, his gap year jobs tend to happen after-hours. So I won’t have the whole school day to myself like I have had in previous years. And sometimes, like right now, he will be downstairs in the den tutoring his students. And this week especially is a little different because my Mum is staying with us. At the moment Mum is in our lounge room working with two choral soloists on arias from The Messiah. Not the normal run of things, but excellent.

I always start my holidays with the joyous vista of uninterrupted me-time rolling out before me. I have such high hopes. But things never quite work out like that, do they?

For example, today, I spent some time writing my novel first-thing in the morning (a good start), then Mum and I Skyped with my sister in the USA, then I drove into work to pick up some exams to mark and to attend a farewell lunch for a colleague who is moving to Sydney, and when I got home from work I quickly ducked down to the bank to make sure that DD’s bond is paid so that she can move house on Friday, and then grabbed some groceries so that I can make tea tonight.

There are always little bits and pieces to do. And part of the joy of holidays for me is having the time to do the little bits and pieces. But I think I will need to make sure that I also take the time to invest in rest. And invest in the writing. I will be disappointed with myself if I don’t.

Actually, the aria is so appropriate:

Come unto Him, all ye that labour, come unto Him that are heavy laden, and He will give you rest.
Take his yoke upon you, and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(Here’s a link to the aria on YouTube: Come unto Him)

So stay tuned. I hope I will turn out a blog a little more frequently over the next four weeks. I hope I have a lot of quiet adventures to share with you.

How about you? How do you like to spend your holidays?

If you enjoyed this post and would like to hear more about my writing journey as it comes to the pointy end with my first novel (a cosy mystery), please drop me a line on rijamos@gmail.com and I’ll add you to my newsletter list. I’ll still be writing posts on this blog but the newsletters will be more writing focussed – what I’m doing with my writing, and what I’m reading myself. I look forward to hearing from you,

Love Ruth.

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A moment of peace

I have just come back from a walk along the beach. This wasn’t a walk to benefit my body, I couldn’t really call it exercise, there was no puffing involved. I even drove down to the beach so I didn’t have to walk back up the hill afterwards to get home. But the walk definitely benefited my mind.

I wanted to share it all with you, but apart from a mother who had taken her toddler out for a run, a gorgeous sight (mum running around in circles, encouraging her daughter to follow her, the older daughter tagging along behind, giggling) and some lovely driftwood half buried in the sand, I don’t remember much from the first part of the walk. I needed to clear my head, slow down, stop the thoughts going around and around.

I walked along the shore and stopped at the beginning of the dog beach. There were, as always, dogs large and small enjoying the sand and the company. But I didn’t need company today.

I looked out at the water over the rippling waves. The sea was grey and the waves were small. Occasionally they would pretend to be proper waves crashing along the beach making all the right noises but they would never get you wet past your knee. Unlike Sunday when the weather came in from the east and we had six-foot rollers. Full of power and noise, and absolutely gorgeous to watch. But not today, today there was just peace.

There were four or five gulls out in front of me. As the water came in they would stamp their little orange paddle feet to stir up the sand and then quickly jab their beaks down to pick up whatever they found. I watched them for a little while and then I noticed a black and white cormorant a little further out in the water diving for his supper. He caught a fish – I saw a glimmer of silver in his beak and then he swallowed it down and dove under the water again.

I turned to walk back down the beach and the cormorant came too. He would dive and disappear and then pop up again a little further down the beach. Sometimes he would come close to the shore – once I saw him under water through a cresting wave – other times he would dive for ages and reappear out in the deeper water. I kept pace with him, and he kept pace with me. And we had four or five seagulls for company as well.

Out in the deeper water he caught a fish that gave him a bit of trouble. He had to drop it a couple of times and bash it around a bit so that it would fit down his gullet. That made enough of a splash that nine seagulls flew out to where he was, and hassled him for the food, but he managed to eat it all himself and the gulls left him alone and went back to hassling the humans by the fish and chip shop.

The cormorant and I kept pace all the way from the dog beach to the yacht club down the other end. When he was sitting behind me, I kept going, I could leave him in peace if he needed it but then he would catch up, or dive a little way ahead.

At the yacht club end, the smell of seaweed was stronger and there were more shells and pebbles on the sand. There were two oystercatchers with black and white plumage, bright orange eyes, and long orange beaks. They contentedly dug in the sand, not bothered by my presence at all.

I wondered whether the cormorant would turn around and go back up the beach again, and if he did, whether I would take it as a sign to follow him. But once we had got to the end of the beach the cormorant turned and swam out towards the ocean. I watched him for a bit and then I turned for home myself.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m blessed with so much peace, when people suffer so greatly from so much strife and trouble. If only I could bottle the feeling at the beach today and send it around the world.

I hope that by writing this I can plant a seed of peace for you today and that you are blessed by coming with me in your imagination.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to hear more about my writing journey as it comes to the pointy end with my first novel (a cosy mystery), please drop me a line on rijamos@gmail.com and I’ll add you to my newsletter list. I’ll still be writing posts on this blog but the newsletters will be more writing focussed – what I’m doing with my writing, and what I’m reading myself. I look forward to hearing from you.

Slow Change

I have a friend who is climbing Mt Everest. Literally, as we speak, he is waiting for the weather to clear so he can make his way up to the summit. Isn’t that amazing? I know him from church. His name is John Zeckendorf and you can find him on Face Book. You can also find a bit more information about him here.

I find it incredible that I know someone that is actually climbing the highest mountain in the world. What I find even more amazing is that he has been blogging while he’s been climbing ( you can find that on Face Book too) and I’ve had a little insight into what the process is like. Probably as much insight as I want, actually. There’s no way I’m ever going to put my body through anything like what it takes to climb Mt Everest.

In an update this weekend he writes about how much he’s acclimatised in the five weeks he’s been at base camp. Did you know that when you’re climbing Mt Everest you need to spend weeks at base camp taking shorter trips to different places on the way up? You drop oxygen and food (I think) and whatever you need, and you acclimatise as you go, so that you’re prepared to go up to the summit. Just training at lower altitudes is not enough. John writes that he has noticed lately as he sees newcomers arrive at base camp that he has come a long way. He’s not gasping for air anymore, he’s able to walk and is no longer moving like a zombie.

He says “It is such a gradual process that you don’t even realise it until you look back and see where you have come from and know that you aren’t there anymore.”

I’ve been thinking about that lately, about how much time is needed for real integral change. Books and movies make us think that change happens in an instant – in a life-changing moment. Maybe it does sometimes but that’s not generally how I’ve experienced my major life change.

The way my brain works is a little like compost I think. It’s a slow and natural process. Sometimes the thought processes stink, sometimes they heat up, and in the end you can get really good stuff out. But it takes time.

I’m so impatient. I want the good stuff now – without all the composting. If I come up with a good idea – writing a book, getting fit, renovating the house – I want it to happen now. Right now. And so much of the good stuff of life just can’t happen instantly.  So many things go better if we give ourselves time to get used to them – to plan and to dream and to work it out slowly. And much of our growth in life happens so gradually that you can’t even see it happening. You only notice it when you look back.

When my children were little people would lovingly tell me to ‘enjoy every minute’ and I couldn’t, you know? I had a bit of an issue with postnatal depression and it wasn’t easy. Every minute felt like a lifetime. Days dragged, weeks dragged. I loved my kids, and I knew my life was good and that I should have been more grateful, but it was hard. It was hard to see how I’d make it through that time. I couldn’t see how the time was passing, I could only see the things I wasn’t doing. The games I wasn’t playing with my kids, the books I wasn’t reading, the craft I wasn’t making, the delicious home-baked goods I wasn’t baking, the cleaning that wasn’t getting done.

I would compare myself to other mums, I would compare myself to my husband and come up short. I wasn’t the person I wanted to be.

Now, some of that is because I had a lot of growing to do. A lot of selfishness to get over. A lot of laziness to work out of my system. But some of that was because I am naturally an introverted person and therefore living full-time with little people was a serious drain on my energy resources.

Now the children are grown, I can look back and remember the little things I did do. The time we all went for a walk along the beach in the rain. The decorating of the Christmas tree. The cuddles on the couch. The many conversations. The walks down to school singing songs from The Sound of Music. The many dance concerts and soccer games I sat and cheered through.

Through my faults and failures and the fact that I had to be real about them with my kids (we lived together – they knew exactly where I was failing) we created relationship. We created depth of friendship. I learned to accept myself. They learned to accept someone like me. Now I look back on our lives and I’m grateful for it all. Even the hard stuff.

When you look forward to all you haven’t achieved yet, you can easily get discouraged. Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a look back and see how far you’ve come and what difficulties you have overcome on your journey.

John asks, “Have you taken the time to “look backwards” to see the progress you have made?” I’d encourage us all to take the time to look back over our lives and check out the view. I think you’ll probably be encouraged at just how far you’ve come.

Cafe Conversation

The lady in the line in front of me at the cafe at lunch time told me that you become what you order.

You order large, you become large.

You order medium, you become medium.

You order small, you become small.

I thought about it, and decided to order a hedgehog slice.hegehog

No Bridezilla here

DH has spent most of today washing, cleaning, and polishing my little Mini (Verdi) and his bigger Audi (Wombat) to within an inch of their lives. You see, tomorrow we are going to be the wedding cars for our friends’ wedding and we are pretty excited. Yes, the bride is going to try to squeeze her beautiful gown into the Mini. We’ll put all the bridesmaids into Wombat. Then after the service the bride and groom will travel in Wombat and we’ll work out the rest later. As my lovely MIL says ‘We’ll come to that bridge when we cross it.’

A couple of weeks ago there was another wedding in our church. Both the brides (tomorrow’s and last fortnight’s) have known each other since they were tiny (if not since birth) and have grown up together in the church. Both met their men around the same time and both decided to get married at approximately the same time.

This could have been a recipe for disaster, but it wasn’t. The two brides have worked together on timing – making sure one is back from her honeymoon before the other has her wedding. Making sure the first wedding was first because the second bride is moving to Western Australia immediately after her wedding.

They are bridesmaids for each other and I heard Bride no. 1 talk about how she was going to look out especially for Bride no. 2 this week and give her extra support. Bride no. 2 has talked about how grateful she is to have been part of a wedding already and therefore she knows what sort of timing things need – things like hair and makeup, for example.

They are mature enough to have their weddings reflect their own unique personalities without even the slightest hint of competition with each other. Bride no. 1 has had a bridal shower tea with gifts of kitchenware and this awesome game where we had six pots of different kinds of tea and we had to guess which tea was what. Bride no. 2 had a bridal shower picnic in the Botanic Gardens where she wore a veil and sash and we gave her photos and written memories so that she didn’t have to pack boxes of stuff into the ute that’s taking her to WA. Both brides were delighted with the parties (except for the part where the attention was placed on them).

These two lovely humble women are starting their married lives in what I consider the right way. The weddings are a reflection of who they (and their grooms) are, not a competition as to who can make the day the flashiest. They are still doing the dress, the flowers, the service and the reception, the cake, the speeches and the dancing, but they are doing it their own way as a celebration, and as part of a community, and it’s something I enter into wholeheartedly.

So I pray for them, long life and happiness. I pray that they can face the challenges of life with a commitment to their other half that goes way beyond signing a piece of paper. I pray that their wedding day will be a milestone in a journey that lasts the rest of their lives. And I thank God for the example of selfless celebration that these two brides are.Wedding cars

Brownie points

On Thursday nights there is a prayer meeting at church that I want to want to go to. There is no typo there. I find it hard to get there – it’s the end of the day, I’ve usually used up all my emotional energy, I don’t want to leave my warm and comfortable house and have to talk to anyone anymore. This is no reflection on the people who are there – they are some really close friends of mine, or on the quality of the meeting – it’s an awesome time (in the true sense of the word). I just often find it hard to lever myself out of the house and go.

I went last night though. I put on my jacket and walked down to the chapel in the dark. Past the supermarket with the final remnants of Easter shoppers stocking up for the public holiday, past the small group of people waiting in the council carpark for the Vinnie’s van to come and give them free bread, and down to the chapel with it’s beautiful windows all lit up from the inside.

The door was locked.

Well, that was ok, the leaders usually walk in through the big church and up into the chapel, I’ll keep walking around the courtyard and to the other door and…

That door’s locked too.

At that point I smiled, and turned for home, grateful for the walk and grateful for the night off.

When I got home I told the boys that it was cancelled and said, ‘I get all the brownie points for going without having had to stay’. Then we all laughed. It doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t.

Sometimes we think that all our good works are like a bridge to heaven. But if they are like a bridge across a chasm, they are like a rope bridge that is slightly too short. No matter what we do, we will not be good enough to reach the other side. And a rope bridge that is only attached to one side of a chasm is more like a ladder down into a pit.

That’s the good news. That is the news I celebrate each Good Friday. My works are not good enough and God did something about it. Something that cost him everything, that caused him intense pain such as I will never experience, and something that is enough.

Because of Jesus’ death on the cross I have a way to cross that chasm. I can talk to God now. I can know his love for me.

I no longer have to ‘scrabble, scrape and scrooge’ my way through. I don’t have to be in control. I don’t have to beat myself up for every little error I make. I don’t.

It’s not a licence to be evil, not at all. But now, when I do good, when I try to be good, I am coming from a position of gratefulness and wanting to return to God just a smidgeon of what he has wonderfully done for me.

Sometimes I forget and I start to try to work my way into God’s good books. But folks, that is really not how it works. The bible talks about our names being written in the book of life and that’s the only good book that matters. The only thing I had to do to get there was repent and believe.

I don’t know where you stand today. But if you’re not in that book of life, I want to encourage you that it’s wonderful to know that you’re safe. And if you know your name is written in the book, let’s rejoice in what our wonderful Saviour has done for us and forget about boasting in our good works.

No brownie points needed here.

Celebrations

In the last week I have been part of two major life celebrations.

On Saturday I went to a wedding of two lovely young people who are part of our church. They had invited the whole church, whoever wanted to, to come along, so I went. (DH wanted to come too but was stopped by a very inconvenient attack of hay fever.)

The couple getting married were young and beautiful. The bride (of course) was especially gorgeous. Thin, blonde, and radiant, she could have stepped right from the pages of a magazine. The groom was also a dashing young man, and the church was filled with the young and the beautiful, all dressed up to the nines. Now, I’m not that old, and I don’t consider myself to be ugly, but wow – I didn’t hold a candle to all this youth and beauty. But, you know, it was so great to have them all there, supporting their friends as they made their life commitment.

The service started with an announcement that I’ve never heard before.

‘Please, could you turn off your mobile phones’ I’ve heard that bit before, obviously, ‘the bride and groom wish to have all photos during the service taken by the official photographer.’ We weren’t asked to turn off our phones because they might ring, but because they didn’t want us taking photos during the service! That was the new bit. And then came this:

‘And while the bride and groom are happy for you to post to Facebook, please let them post first.’ Brand new. And oh so necessary.

So I’m going to have to make sure they’ve posted before I put this up on my blog, but that’s fine.

Anyway, the wedding was beautiful. It’s just so amazing to see people take the risk, take the plunge, commit to each other for life. And I realised, as they clearly (and a little tearfully) said their vows, that while I love individualised, poetic, beautifully written vows, for me there is something so special about the stock standard Anglican prayer book vows. And the something special is this: I said those vows. DH said those vows. And as I listened to another couple vow to love, cherish, protect, and honour each other for as long as they both should live, I could renew my own vow to my husband too. (It would have been more special if he could have been there, but we can’t have everything).

After the wedding we were all invited to share afternoon tea together, I said hello to people I hadn’t seen for (literally) years and renewed old friendships. I live in a small place and it’s guaranteed that you’ll meet with old friends at this kind of thing.

It was a truly special celebration. An absolutely joyous afternoon.

The other celebration in my week was the celebration of the life of DH’s grandfather. He was 92 and had passed away peacefully at his nursing home with his daughters by his side. We’re so used to having him around, it was hard to say goodbye, and there was so much to celebrate.

Pop had made it easy for us, he had written his own life story, so getting dates and names correct was not the difficult task it sometimes is. And both daughters and several grandchildren, as well as other friends and family, stood in front of the congregation and shared their experience of this outgoing, enthusiastic, energetic man. Even the great-grandchildren got involved – the youngest two stood bravely in front of everyone and sang ‘Down by the station’ as they had been taught to do by Pop.

One of the grandchildren had written her part of the eulogy but there was no way she could read it to us, even through her tears, so her husband read it on her behalf. That led to a fun moment where he told us about the time he was pregnant and Pop came to his rescue. There were a couple of other fun times in the service, particularly when Pop’s poetry was read out. He had so much fun writing his poems, he was quite serious about it, and if rhyming couplets are your thing, then these are the poems for you! But they make pretty hilarious reading.

Once again afterwards we had a morning tea, and then the family went out for lunch. We shared stories and caught up on each other’s lives. I met people who were connected to us through Pop that I probably will never meet again. It was such a joy to meet the pint sized Elsie (Pop’s sister-in-law) who is a tiny woman with a personality as big as a house. “I’m the small one!” she said when we were introduced. And it was good to catch up again with Pop’s elder sister Betty, who is still going strong. One of the great-grandchildren found out that she was the second cousin once removed of one of the teachers in her school. And even though the service was in Launceston, we met Hobart friends there as well.

I love being part of community. A part of a family tree that branches out through parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, and down through the children, and grandchildren. A part of a church community that shares each others’ lives, that celebrates together and mourns together, and helps each other through tough times. A part of a friendship group that has been close for over 25 years and that knows each other almost as well as cousins do. And a friendship group that is new and growing as we meet more people that we make a special connection with. I feel connected, established, supported.

Sometimes the community means that you have to put up with irritations, with personalities that you just can’t stand, with little quirks like Pop’s poetry, or with being around people so shiny and beautiful that you have to wear sunglasses. That’s all part of the deal. But I am so grateful for the traditions, the celebrations, the people, that make me who I am and for the reminder of that in the celebrations this past week.

Take the time

I know that much has been said on this subject before, but to be honest, I have a gripe and I want to let it out.

I went to the supermarket the other day and the check-out chick (sorry, the register operator?) was a nice enough girl, she was trying to do the right thing I’m sure, but she wasn’t. She was asking all the right questions, but she wasn’t listening to my answers.

‘How has your day been?’ she asked. And I started to tell her. I had quite a funny story to tell, that would have made her day, brightened her afternoon. I wanted to tell her that I’d gone into work, despite it being a public holiday, and I’d given an online tutorial. And all the way through the tutorial I’d said things like ‘for those watching the recording…’ or ‘I’ll go through this quickly, it will be on the recording’ and right at the end of the hour, I realised as I said goodbye to the students, that I hadn’t pressed record. There was no recording.

As I started to tell my highly amusing (ok, mildly amusing) anecdote, I looked at the girl, her eyes had glazed over. She was no longer listening. I think I stopped talking after telling her I’d gone into work.

So we were quiet, and she tried again.

‘Doing anything special for Australia Day?’

Now I had all sorts of interesting things to say about that. I could have discussed the conversation that was happening among my Facebook friends about whether there was a reason to celebrate Australia Day or not. I could have talked about the fact that we’d just come back from Adelaide a couple of days before and how the public holiday meant that I only had a two-day work week. But once again, she wasn’t listening. I gave up. I am not that much a fan of my own voice.

I don’t mind quiet at the register. I think I would have preferred quietness over this almost conversation.

She brightened up a bit when the supervisor told her she could close the register. I asked ‘is that it for you?’ ‘No,’ she said ‘I’m going until 530pm’ it was the most conversation we’d had. We were almost connecting there for a minute.

I had the same thing happen at a conference once. The professor had asked a question at the end of a presentation, and it pertained to my field of research. Stupidly, I thought he’d asked the question because he wanted to know the answer, so I sought him out in the break to further elucidate the quick answer that had been given by the student giving the presentation. But he didn’t want to know. He shared in-jokes with the man standing with us, rather than listen to what I had to say.

I must admit, I like being heard, and like most people, I hate being overlooked. And so I am as guilty of not listening as the next person. I usually want to be listened to, not to take the time to listen to others.

I think that listening, truly listening, is one of the greatest gifts we can give one another. Listening to understand – not listening to build our own argument, or rehearsing our own story while waiting for a chance to get a word in, or making conversation on automatic. Everybody has a story to tell, and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find when you take the time to listen.

Holiday Adventures

It is the time of the year that we go on adventures. We take a little time out and see where we can travel to. We’ve gone to Vanuatu, once. And to the north of our beautiful state several times.

This year we went to Adelaide. We thought it was time. My brother has lived in Adelaide for 17 years and I’ve only been to visit him once. There are reasons, I’m not just totally slack, but this summer we decided our holiday would be a trip to Adelaide.

We decided it back in November of course. We sat down and said to each other ‘what adventure will we go on this summer?’ This was back when we were still stressed from work and unsure how the summer would play out. ‘Adelaide’ we decided and we contacted my brother. He was not real fussed about which weekend so we booked one in. I decided to go with Friday through Monday and have just a little extra time.

In the end, the timing was pretty perfect. Losing Kat (our cat) on the Monday before was a whole lot better than having her put to sleep on the weekend of. And the week after has been a great recovery week – Thursday being a public holiday and the fact that I don’t work Fridays meant that I only had a two day work week.

We had a fabulous weekend in and around Adelaide. We had hired a car and most of Saturday and half of Sunday we went driving through the hills and into the countryside. We saw Murray Bridge and the mouth of the Murray River. We saw salt flats, ads for cow racing (yes! Cow racing!), vineyards, dead fish (heaps of them at the mouth for some reason),  bush and paddocks and lovely towns. And that was just Saturday.

Saturday night took us and my brother and his partner into the city. We had a delicious dinner in a Chinese restaurant and wandered around a bit just looking at the various shops and pubs and places where restaurants and pubs used to be but had now shut down or changed to something else. And the big inflatable bike in the square – bikes were everywhere – the Tour Down Under was happening.

Sunday after a gorgeous brunch with our cousin and her husband, DH and I went for another explore. We visited the National Automobile Museum – that is – DH visited the museum and I found a handy cafe nearby and worked on my novel (yes, it’s still coming along, slowly) and then we wandered around the town. After that, we decided to turn the SatNav off and keep going in the same direction for a while so that we could find a new way home. That’s the exciting thing about the big north island/mainland of Australia – there are many roads, many different ways to get home. There’s only a couple here in Tassie.

So we wandered away, making sure we were going in the right general direction. Our road took us past the Big Rocking Horse which I’d only seen on postcards before. Then we were directed to take a detour along Gorge Rd. It was a beautiful driving road. DH enjoyed himself so much. I tried to not worry about the excess on the hire care and just enjoy the scenery. DH knows what he’s doing, but I like to be sure.

The scenery was incredible, we followed the bottom of a gorge, right along a river, hills rising on both sides. Then we came to Kangaroo Creek Dam and ended up going up to the top of a cliff and then driving right back down again to the river. I’m having trouble remembering specifics, there were crazy rock walls, huge heights, complete u-turns, wildlife parks, all sorts of fun driving experiences and then, suddenly, suburbia. We were back to driving through flat Adelaide and making our way back home. It was a fantastic adventure.

So it was a brilliant weekend, and I haven’t even mentioned the food yet. I put on three kilos or so – my brother and his partner know how to provide! It was all good food, very good food, both bought and the deliciousness that was created and eaten at home. And brilliant conversation too.

The final adventure waited for us as we tried to get back to Hobart. We knew we had a very long wait in Melbourne between flights. It was supposed to be about five hours. We had looked into going to a nearby hotel and paying for lounge and pool access just to get out of the airport space, and we were all ready to do that.

We left for the airport in plenty of time to take the rental car back and be in time for our flight. Everything went super smoothly so we had time to eat a bite of lunch as well. We were sitting at the cafe table watching the departures board. It said to go to the gate and we were just discussing whether we would wait where we were until it said ‘boarding’ or whether we would go and wait in line, when the board changed.

Delayed.

Doom.

No problem, we thought, it’s only delayed half an hour or so, we’ll find something to do. So DH went to the newsagent across the way and bought some cards, and with the help of a counter on his phone we played crib. I won.

We’d had enough sitting by that time so we decided to head to the gate, just for a walk, something to do, and see what we could see.

When we got to the gate we watched planes for a while, and we watched people for a while, and then the dreaded announcement came. Our plane was broken, we would need a new plane, that new plane was coming from the Gold Coast and it had itself been delayed and we wouldn’t be going anywhere until 4pm.

So we cracked out the cards again, and I won, again. DH didn’t want to play anymore after that. (He may just have been tired.) So we read for a bit, and chatted for a bit, and then headed down to our new gate and got on our new plane.

Turns out we only had two hours in Melbourne. So the whole hotel plan will have to wait until next time. But we were so grateful for the time between planes that meant there was absolutely no stress about catching our connecting flight.

At the end of the day se were very ready to get home and get into bed. We were simultaneously tired and refreshed. This was a weekend away that we didn’t even bother dreaming about when we were poor uni students with children. It’s the type of holiday we hope to have more of.

Once we got home we knew that this weekend had marked the end of the summer break. It is now time to get back into work with a vengeance. DH has spent all week doing his online professional development courses and I have, well actually, I haven’t done too much work but I’ve also done a fair bit of pottering around the house. I’ll get back into work with a vengeance next week, I promise!

Thank you, brother dearest, for a wonderful weekend getaway. And sister dear, when you’re rich and famous, you can pay for us to come and have a getaway in LA with you (I know you’re on your way after you won that award for the music for Gold Balls – us poor teachers will never be rich!).

Our next adventure will probably be somewhere exotic… like Ouse. Stay tuned!