The birthday girl is four today!

10 August 2018

Cornelia woke up this morning and started whispering quietly to her gang, presumably thinking it was still night time (despite the barking dogs and noisy children in the background). I couldn’t resist and climbed into her bunk to see her. She was VERY happy and excited that it was her birthday and she was now four!

She peered out of her curtains and saw the decorated van and pile of presents and gasped: “My, what a lot of presents!”

Once we’d all donned our party hats, understandably, she was eager to start opening her presents straightaway, and we were touched by the lovely cards and thoughtful gifts that her friends and family had given to her (amazing forward-planning!), and we spent a while video-calling our nearest and dearest.

I was told off when I said how exciting it was that she’s four now! “Don’t screech like that!” Hmmm, I’m allowed to be excited, right??!! 😂

She was also very sweet when she slapped her head into her hands and cried out “Oh no! What was I thinking?!” as she was reproached by Ian for putting glue on one of her pirate ship sticks, which was one of her favourite gifts from us, but possibly my worst buy, as once we’d opened it, it informed us that the model ship was not seaworthy and the glue would dissolve and it would sink. 🤦‍♀️

We carried on opening presents for ages, and had a very late quick breakfast before we eventually left the campsite for Bandon keeping an eye out for the plastic lid of yesterday, which I forgot to write about in my last blog… Ian emptied our black water tank yesterday before we went out in our RV and forgot to replace the plastic lid which covers the sewer pipe inside the RV storage compartment, and didn’t lock the outside door. He didn’t realise that it was open until we had stopped to fill up with gas (our first experience of old-fashioned gas station service where they “fill ‘er up” for you, and where Ian experienced a sweaty palms moment as our Caxton credit card was refused several times and we had 40 gallons of fuel to pay for!). Anyway, Ian was horrified to realise his error… which meant that we have lost a big white lid somewhere along Highway 101, and now have no way over covering our sewer pipe when we finally leave the campsite. Whoops! Anyway, every journey up and down the highway means that my eyes are glued to the side of the road, but we haven’t found it. Hopefully it won’t be too costly to replace it.

We parked in a large car park in Old Town Bandon and with our bearings slightly muddled, went straight to the Visitors’ Bureau to pick up a local map and ask the quickest way to the beach. It was just over a mile to the nearest beach, but further to the better beaches, so we decided to drive there, after we’d had a birthday ice cream.

We walked the short distance to the Face Rock Creamery, a working cheese factory, and sampled about six different very tasty cheeses before selecting two, along with crackers and fig jam, and choosing our ice creams. Bugsy had a chocolate one, of course, and I tried the Bordeaux Cherry, which was one of the most delicious flavours I’ve ever had. Ian passed on the ice cream, opting for a Snapple instead, thinking it was an iced tea drink. WRONG! It was a highly-sweetened apple juice drink with 48g of sugar in it and was only 10% apple juice (from concentrate). He really lucked out!

Having decided to drive to the beach, Ian went to collect the RV as we polished off our rapidly-melting ice creams. As we waited, we played some running games, weaving in and out the posts on the pavement and chasing butterflies.

We parked up at Bandon State Park beach, and were greeted with the most stunning views. Bright blue skies, yellow and grey sands, rocks jutting out of the water and sun-bleached driftwood lining the beach. We raced down the steps, and onto the sands, setting ourselves up halfway between the steps and the ocean. There was a funny sort of sea fog passing over the beach in patches, where the heat of the sand hit the cool water, creating an almost steam-like mist puffing around us. Neither Ian nor I have seen anything quite like it before.

Cornelia took out her binoculars to have a look at the birds on the rocks and see if she could find any sea lions which are local to the area. No success, but no matter. We spent hours of fun there, splashing in the sea (very cold, even for me!), exploring the rock pools, and I managed to dig a sand boat for her. We scoffed sandwiches and played catch, and really had the best time playing together. It was gloriously warm without being sweaty hot, so it was easy to spend the whole afternoon there.

I was trying to work out when or how we were going to have her birthday cake, and Ian suggested we had an early tea, then drive to the lighthouse point and have cake there with the sun setting. I loved that idea, and we persuaded Cornelia back to the RV, where we rinsed off in the shower (I forgot to mention I had been swinging Cornelia through the waves, and as she tried to move in one direction, I discovered that my feet were stuck deep in the sand, so plunged into the water!!).

Ian drove us back to Old Town Bandon to Edgewater, a restaurant with good reviews. It was a short walk to the restaurant along a pretty road paved with little memorial stones and lined with attractive wooden beach cottages.

What a find Edgewater was! First, they had space for us, which was lucky on a Friday night in a busy little seaside town. The restaurant is situated right on the waterfront by the river, and you can see all the way out to sea, beyond the little lighthouse perched on the rocks.

Cornelia was carrying her birthday balloon, party hat and unicorn ears so it was obvious that it was her birthday and the wonderful waiting staff went out of their way to shower Cornelia with love and attention throughout the whole meal.

The young woman behind us in the queue to be seated was also celebrating her birthday today, but had no flashing unicorn ears or horn, so I suspect she was not spoilt in quite the same way!

Cornelia was asked if she would like a “Shirley Temple” to celebrate. We had no idea what that was, so said “Sure, let’s try one!” It is, we subsequently found out, a revoltingly sweet drink of soda water and maraschino cherries. Thankfully, Cornelia didn’t like it at all!

The food itself was wonderful – I had Pacific Black Rockfish with rice and asparagus (which was actually the only poor bit of the meal – over cooked and soggy asparagus), Ian had steak, lobster tail and mashed potatoes. Bugsy had fish and chips. With a glass of white wine for me and a citrusy IPA for Ian, we chomped our way through with foodie delight!

Once we had finished our meal, Cornelia was getting quite tired, so Ian took her outside to look at the lighthouse in the distance and just give her a bit more fresh air. While they were outside, our waitress asked if Cornelia was allowed a birthday treat. Despite knowing we still had cake to eat, I said yes, and they brought out a little chocolate cake, coupled with a mini lemon pie, complete with candle. All the diners and staff in the restaurant joined in singing a very loud and cheery “Happy Birthday” to her. It was all absolutely perfect and throughout the whole day I have kept wanting to burst into tears at how lucky I am to have such an incredible daughter and to be sharing this extraordinary adventure with her.

When we finally left Edgewater, it was far too late and she was far too full for us to even consider cutting her actual birthday cake back in the RV, so we are saving that until tomorrow.

She was too excited by the whole day to settle, eventually asking me to go into her bed and cuddle her, and after about 40 minutes, she finally fell asleep around 22:30. I had almost dozed off with her, so took myself off to bed, watching an hour of Netflix before falling asleep. What a fabulous birthday she’s had!

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