1 November 2018
Ian pinch-punched me at 00:01 today, getting me first for only the third time this year… we then went to sleep, waking around 06:00. We lay in bed listening to the thunder rumble around us, and watching the morning light darken again. We can hardly believe that we finally have a day of no driving, and were planning a great hike into the beautiful mountains and it’s pouring with rain! Still, it gave us the perfect excuse to have a lazy day and sort ourselves out.
We drove the two kms up to the restaurant for breakfast for a less-than-average meal. The buffet consisted of cornflakes, Rice Krispies, an unidentifiable flavoured yoghurt and some fresh pineapple and melon. I ordered two slices of toast that came with margarine… I know, total and awful first world problem, but I did have to ask for butter instead! Cornelia had Rice Krispies and a small bowl of yoghurt, and Ian went for the bacon and eggs. It was all just okay. The lack of attention to detail here surprised us both – a poor breakfast choice, no toiletries in the bathrooms bar a small soap, and no tea or coffee. We underspent our breakfast budget too, as we had last night, so I said that I’d simply mark the rest as a good tip for the ladies who had waited on us. But she told me that they don’t get those tips, if they’re added either as credit card tips, or from residents like us, with money left from our voucher. This is outrageous! I asked where it goes and she just shrugged and said she didn’t know, the owners just keep it. So I bought enough water to use up our allowance and gave her a cash tip instead.
Back in our lodge, we also discovered that our shower leaks through the base into the cupboard in the hallway, where it pours onto the floor. Given the warping of the cupboard plinth, this is an old problem that has not been rectified.
The weather was so poor – we could barely see the end of our balcony – that Cornelia was allowed a couple of hours of kids’ TV while I finally stuck everything into her scrapbook and got that up to date. It’s looking a little bare in parts, because there just aren’t any leaflets given out in towns and hotels in the same way that we’ve found elsewhere. And I’m not allowed to cut up our Chobe/Etosha/Kruger guides… 😳
The morning whizzed by surprisingly quickly, despite our indoor restrictions, and soon it was time for lunch. I was making cheese on toast, but the oven’s grill was a complete disaster. There is some metal bar holding the grill elements in places, but one side of it was hanging down, touching the bread. I had to limit the number of pieces I could do at a time, which was fine, but after checking every minute for five minutes, the bread was no more toasted than if I’d held it close to a lamp! I used the toaster instead at this point, then returned the cheesy toast to the grill to be melted. Ten minutes later, it was mostly melted, and we ate it in less time than it had taken to make it, on the balcony as the clouds had rolled far enough upwards to allow us a view!
Then came the devastating phone call from my Mum. She is not going to join us in New Zealand next week, on the advice of her doctor who is treating her for a leg ulcer. To say we are devastated would be an understatement. We had been so looking forward to seeing her, and more importantly, giving her the opportunity for this trip of a lifetime that she was so looking forward to. I haven’t been able to tell Bugsy yet. 😢
While Cornelia made a den out of sofa cushions and blankets, I went off for a run, to try and clear my head and think about options, and what I will need to do in order to cancel everything that’s already been booked, but it didn’t really help. Mind you, being at over 6000ft, and watching out for rogue game didn’t help me focus on much else other than not falling over. I took the Waterbuck Trail, apparently the “easy” one. Easy, my arse! I huffed and puffed and hauled myself around, and even had to stop to catch my breath on one particularly endless hill! It was spectacular though and I could’ve spent hours out there (probably just sitting and looking, mind you, not running…!)
When I made it back to the lodge, I grabbed a bottle of water and drove straight up to the Games Room, where Ian and Cornelia had walked when I went for my run. She had apparently walked the whole way (mostly uphill) without complaint. Hurrah!
She was having a great time. When I arrived, she invited me to play table football (which I did) and then she performed various acrobatic balancing acts, making me want to reach out and grab her to stop her from falling, but managing to stop myself from doing so! (She didn’t fall, so all was well!)
Swimming was on her list today, and we went to the outdoor heated pool (children aren’t allowed in the empty indoor heated pool 🙄) where another dad was already playing with his small son. It was raining, but that didn’t bother Bugsy. She was straight in, calling for Ian to join her, which he did. It was bath temperature and they all stayed in for ages! In the meantime, I was shivering in my sweaty running kit and breeze! Ian started chatting to the other dad, swapping camping stories and the like, and they all played with a beach ball, with Cornelia’s swimming skills really on show.
Her screaming and yelling skills also displayed themselves a bit later, when it was time to get out. Despite agreeing to a two minute warning, she suddenly went completely nuts! It was so totally unexpected and so we just left in her there, and unfortunately, we couldn’t help but laugh at her. She was half laughing back and half furious with us for laughing at her, but when I do get around to showing her the video I took of her, she’ll probably quite understand! She did indeed stop after a few minutes of raging, and promptly burst into regretful apologetic tears. But the damage was done. She is missing out on her next opportunity to go for a swim. She’ll only do it once!
I dried and dressed her as quickly as I could. It was only 14 degrees, so she was rather chilly. I carried her up to the van and bundled her into Ian’s warm Daddy arms, and we listened to nursery rhymes on the way back to the lodge. There, I showered and dressed, and we went back again for dinner.
Tonight, Ian and I both had steak and red wine. It was so much better than last night’s meal! We played another game of Snakes & Ladders, although Bugsy got bored three-quarters of the way through, so it just ended up being me and Ian playing. He won AGAIN!!! Cornelia wolfed down her big bowl of spaghetti bolognese, her appetite enlarged by her two km walk and swim session, no doubt.
She was completely exhausted, and she happily chatted to Lion in the van on the way back, but halfway through her story (How Lion got his roar), she asked if Mummy could read the rest instead of Lion. 😍
I cuddled her until she was almost asleep, then retired to our bedroom to watch the incredible lightning display. Another night of window-rattling thunder is ahead!