8 December 2018
Cornelia didn’t have the greatest night’s sleep, but it wasn’t as bad as poor Amira who ended up getting out of the bed she was sharing with Cornelia and going into Laura and Bang’s room instead. I was already in with Bugsy too, so there were three of us in there for a while! Despite the disturbed sleep, Austin and Amira were up before us (no surprises there – we’ve become so lazy in the mornings!) but once Cornelia heard them, she was up and out of bed like a shot, ready to play, making mint and parsley potion for me and Laura to “enjoy”. Apparently Dr Cornelia said it will keep us healthy…
We all managed to have breakfast in various forms, before we left to catch the ferry to Ettalong to meet my step-brother, James and his wife, Catherine and their three girls, Summer, Scarlet and Maddie. We drove to Palm Beach (via the beautiful northern beaches including Avalon also known as Summer Bay in Home & Away), and parked up. I went to get a ticket for the car and nearly choked when I realised it was $10/hour to park there! But we didn’t have an alternative option available, and as I could see the ferry at the wharf, paid up and off we went! There was actually a bit of a wait before we embarked (it is only a passenger ferry) but soon we were on our way, over the very choppy waters. It was a half hour ride to Ettalong and we arrived about five minutes before James and his family, as well as Catherine’s parents (Rob and Val) and the two dogs, Muffin and Towzer.
We realised that the return ferry times meant that we only had enough time to walk down the road to get ice creams and milkshakes, but the girls all had a brilliant time playing in the water and getting covered in sand, while we caught up on “family matters”. Cornelia took a particular shine to Maddie, grabbing her hand and dragging her off! She was very upset that we had to leave so soon and then, like flicking a switch, was bouncing around in joy as Catherine and James invited us to visit them on Monday on our way up to Lemon Tree Passage. Of course, we said yes!
We had to dash off for our ferry, charging down along the road and made it with a couple of minutes to spare. The ferry was much smoother on the return journey thankfully, and we were back with plenty of expensive time left on the car… 😳
We stopped off at the supermarket for some pizza-making essentials, before arriving back at Laura’s around 15:00, where Wendy (my other friend that I’d met in Africa. Her and Laura travelled together and were my best buddies on the trip, letting me join their twosome!) had already arrived with her three kids: Hannah (8), Mitchell (6) and Toby (3). It was a blissful perfect chaos. Amira made the pizza dough with Wendy while Cornelia borrowed a helmet so she could join in with the skateboarding. She played a laser gun game with Mitchell, sampled a lemon ice pop (she didn’t like it) and rolled her own pizza and topped it with cheese, before watching it cook in the pizza oven. By this time, Phil and his mates had joined us too, and the beers were being cracked open.
I knew I had to get out for my run pretty quickly or I wouldn’t be going! Ben, one of their friends, recommended heading up to a trail about half a mile away, and I had a gorgeous, hot and sweaty run up the hill to the trails, taking me through the woods until it was time to turn around and come back. At least it was downhill all the way home! I jumped into the shower quickly, and rehydrated with an ice cold beer. Lovely!
Cornelia, by now, was completely smitten with Bang and dragged him around to play with her, then sharing the love when she found out how to operate the big water gun, and decided to copy the boys and shoot everyone, laughing hysterically. All the time, pizzas were being made and eaten, and the beers were being drunk.
Eventually, we managed to tear the exhausted girlie away and bundle her into a bath and then bed. Laura read the bedtime story while I cuddled Bugsy, and after a cuddle, she went to sleep. Amira has gone straight into Laura’s bed, so at least she would be getting a good sleep too.
Back outside, now the kids were in bed, we had a hilarious evening, full of heartbreak and debauchery in equal measure. Honestly, we haven’t laughed so much for ages, nor felt so comfortable and welcome in a group of people so quickly. Every one of them had at least one good story (but usually more than one) that the others would group together and tell. Oh God, it was so funny! Then Phil got out a bottle of Prosecco which I ended up gulping down with him. Probably not the greatest idea after beer and gin. And a run. At about midnight (I think), I realised I was quite drunk and before I joined the group sharing, took myself off to bed, where I lay with the room spinning for a while… haha, it’s been a long time since I’ve experienced that!!