1 and 2 October 2018
The journey home from Boston was exhausting, largely because of a tired toddler and several delays! Although she had fallen asleep on the plane, she was very sleepy when we arrived at Gatwick, and I had to carry her through passport control etc, and off to the train station there. The plane had landed nearly two hours late, which was exactly the amount of time I had allowed for us to get to the train station from the plane, so we knew we would have missed the first of our two trains home. However, Ian said (out of the blue) “Let’s just see if it’s delayed. You never know.” And sure enough, it had been delayed by about fifteen minutes and we had literally two minutes to leg it through the station, down the stairs and up the platform steps, all with our luggage and whilst carrying a sobbing four year old! We were SO relieved to discover that our train had not yet arrived and we would be able to catch it… and then the announcement came that there had been a platform change. So, off we dashed down the steps and up the other side again. We were knackered!! We made it onto the train which was jam-packed, and Bugsy & I even managed to get seats (Ian was on luggage duty by the doors). It was about about 50 minutes to Reading, but because this train had been delayed, we missed our connecting train to Exeter. I can’t fault GWR’s customer service. They had advised me via Twitter that our next train was an hour later, and that our tickets would be valid. The train conductor also confirmed this, and helped us with our luggage through the ticket gates to a Costa, where Cornelia scoffed a pain au chocolat and Ian & I necked coffees! Although we didn’t have reserved seats on the next train, we were able to find a table with two spare seats for me & Bugsy, with an empty seat next to us, which Ian occupied. All went smoothly down to Exeter, and we were just about to leave the platform when I heard Cornelia burst into tears… she had tripped over her own feet, fallen flat on her face and split open her lip. Argh!!! But once we’d sorted that out, Grannie Annie was there to greet us, and Cornelia forgot all about her busted lip.
We then had an amazing and chaotic few days at home, which we thoroughly enjoyed, although all three of us felt completely exhausted come Sunday night! We saw so many family and friends, did all the unpacking, laundry, drying, ironing and repacking AND had Bugsy’s belated birthday party at our house on the same day as my graduation ceremony. As I said to our wonderful Armchair Granny on Friday, thank goodness there are 24 hours in the day! Cornelia was beside herself being reunited with everyone that she loves so much – and so was I!
On Monday morning, Grannie Anne came over to ours to play one last time with Cornelia, before she kindly drove us to the bus stop to catch our coach up to Heathrow. There was an awful crash on the A30 but thankfully, Mum had seen it on the way over, and we were able to avoid the worst of the traffic. However, we were then running slightly later than we’d planned, and this meant I had to dash into town to get our last-minute things done, in a slightly less organised way than I’d hoped. Nonetheless, contact lenses collected, sandals for Cornelia bought and one last tube of Deet sunscreen bought, Mum dropped us off at the bus shelter where we waited until it arrived, almost bang on time.
The coach is a new experience for the three of us. It went quite smoothly, and we stopped briefly at Taunton where I picked up a Mr Men magazine for her, and we didn’t need to resort to her Kindle once, during the whole three and a half hour journey! Unfortunately, towards the end of the trip when Cornelia, who had been complaining of a sore tummy, went to the loo with Ian, was sick. She has never been sick before (discounting baby pukiness)! Her temperature rocketed too, although she was very stoic about it all, just wiping her mouth and telling me her tummy didn’t hurt quite so much anymore and being sick wasn’t painful. She snuggled up to me, and we just cuddled until we arrived at Heathrow.
From the bus station, it is a short-ish walk to the Terminal 3, where we checked in our bags (amazingly low weight, which we were impressed with… lots of room for shopping….!) and headed through security. We went straight to Strada for supper, although Cornelia couldn’t manage more than a couple of mouthfuls of pasta – a sure sign that she still wasn’t well. Ian bought some more Calpol sachets (the ones I had were packed in our checked baggage), just in case we needed them.
Once on the plane, Cornelia fell asleep before we’d even taken off, and she stayed asleep for most of the flight, bar a couple of fifteen minute periods when she woke and had a bit of a cry, mostly because she was a bit confused and dozy. But her temperature was raging, and I ended up giving her a couple of doses of Calpol, hoping that it would settle her fever. She also stripped off and was happy just covered in a blanket. I have to say, that BA flight was the hottest and most airless I’ve been on in a really long time. She slept through her evening meal on the plane, and even though she was awake a breakfast time, she didn’t want to eat anything, so I gave her another dose of Calpol just to keep trying to get her temperature down. It is most unlike her to refuse food, never mind to miss three meals in a row!
I managed a bit of sleep during the flight, but as Cornelia was lying across me AND had the neck pillow I’d bought for myself (so that I could sleep when she was lying across me…!), I was fairly uncomfortable and stuck! I had to wake Ian three times to go to the loo as I had now developed a bad tummy, but all of that aside, it was an easy and pleasant flight without any dramas. Once Cornelia had woken in the morning, we watched “Tangled” together, which finished with minutes to spare as we approached Cape Town.
She was feeling a bit tired and weepy, so I ended up carrying her out of the plane, through the terminal and through Customs, until finally she was persuaded to walk herself. She then went to the loo for aaaaaaaaaaaaages, and hopefully that is the last of her bad tummy!
We ordered an Uber and half an hour later, we were being shown into our apartment at 2 Geneva Drive, Camps Bay, by the warm and friendly owner, Barry, who went to great lengths to show us how everything worked, including the all-important kids channels on TV, although I’m rather hoping we won’t be needing that! The apartment is just right – it’s quite basic, but has everything one might need, and is really comfortable, with a brilliant location, less than half a mile from the beach.
But first things first…. I was dizzy with tiredness, so while Ian went to get a carton of milk from the nearby supermarket, Cornelia and I curled up on the bed together and fell fast asleep. Ian woke me after an hour and I dragged my sleepy ass into the front room for a cup of tea, while Cornelia remained asleep. In fact, despite me waking her and bringing her into the front room with us, she managed to get back onto the bed and fall asleep again before we’d even noticed. With her not being well, and not having had a full night’s sleep, I wasn’t too concerned about it, and hoped that it wouldn’t affect her ability to go to bed tonight.
When she finally woke up, at about 15:30, I was returning from the supermarket where I’d been to get our usual supplies, minus beer (as the supermarkets here are “dry”). I love looking around new supermarkets and trying to work out what we will need and what we’re going to eat! I did, of course, buy a large bag of pasta and a jar of pesto as our usual reserve meal! Anyway, Cornelia was eventually ready to go for an explore, and we headed down the hill to the beach at the bottom of the road. It was quite windy and chilly in the clouds, but really warm when the sun came out. I was glad of my down jacket…
There is an adventure playground just off the beach, but all Cornelia wanted to do was dig holes and make sandcastles, so we made our way to the little tidepool beach adjoining the main beach, and dug and got sandy! A chap arrived and I chatted to him before he got into the tidepool and went for a long swim and a snorkel. It looked amazing! He was then joined by another two guys, and there were in there for a really long time. I asked him about the water temperature, and he thought it was about 17 degrees, and when he came out, he was full of ideas of places for us to try out. He has suggested the most wonderful sounding place – it’s about 10kms away, and is a small secluded beach, tucked in between two boulders. There is a large rock a short distance out to sea which is a seal colony and quite often, the seal pups will come and swim alongside you. He also described a seaweed forest, where you can swim in amongst these seaweed reeds, and he says it is quite eerie but magical. Anyway, it sounds fantastic, and I’m hoping we will be able to go there tomorrow, if time allows.
None of us had had lunch (so that was FOUR missed meals for Cornelia) and by about 17:45, Ian and I were very hungry and after some persuasion, managed to convince Cornelia to leave the beach in exchange for fish and chips. We went to Ocean Basket, which Barry had recommended to us, due to the kids play area upstairs, but we completely forgot about that, and instead we sat by the window, eating our fish supper, watching the beautiful sunset.
Cornelia was desperate to be carried home, and on the promise of her brushing her teeth and going straight to bed for her stories, Ian carried her back up the hill to our apartment, where she did indeed fulfil her promise. She is a bit upset with me, as I’ve only brought her four original Gang members, but it didn’t stop her from falling straight to sleep, once I’d given her her obligatory cuddle, which is no hardship on my part. I was, for some reason (tiredness?), really cold, so I have thrown on my pyjamas and gone to bed really early to restart my blog and relax and hopefully, we will all sleep thoroughly tonight, ready to get going tomorrow morning!