10 December 2018
By the time Cornelia woke up, Austin and Amira were already up and nearly dressed for school, sorting out their breakfast with Laura. Sadly, Bang had left in the early hours so we hadn’t had the chance to say goodbye to him, but Laura passed on his good wishes to us. What a top guy – just so kind and loving. No wonder Cornelia adored him from the minute she met him.
She also didn’t want to leave the kids’ side or Laura’s side, making getting ready much more awkward than possible, I should imagine! She was allowed to play with Austin and Amira once she’d finished her WeetBix, and then went with Laura to drop them off at school while Ian and I finished packing.
Once they were back, she really didn’t want to leave (neither did I!!!!) and used her best delaying tactics, by pretending to be Fido, and making Laura a special mint drink insisting that we drink it, and watching us very closely to make sure!
Laura and I did a terrible job of trying not to cry before letting go of each other and saying our farewells. Wiping our tears away, we waved and yelled “Bye” from the car until we were out of sight. Cornelia, in a moment of empathy beyond her years, said “Although I miss home and our friends and our little dog, I’m starting to miss some of the friends I’ve made on holiday too!” And then we ran through a list of all the friends she’s made so far.
We had a short drive distance-wise to James and Catherine’s, but the road network in and around Sydney is surprisingly poor and it took us an hour and a half to drive the 25 miles to their house. We were thrilled that all three girls had been allowed to skip school so that we could see them, and Cornelia was especially pleased!
We found their house no problem – what a beautiful property, complete with pool and trampoline. Cornelia made herself right at home and dragged the girls off to play. Meanwhile, we all drank tea and nattered, before we were offered some lunch, which we willingly accepted. Our “quick coffee” turned into about four brilliantly fun hours. Cornelia got in the pool and was very well cared for by the girls, and it was so nice for me and Ian to be able to relax knowing she was in safe hands. We had a good old chat while James and Catherine prepared a delicious lunch of hot dogs and salad (I shall never tire of someone else offering to cook for me!) and then ate outside on the deck, once we’d dragged the happy children out of the water. I spied some brightly coloured birds on the nearby tree – lorikeets apparently – and James gave Cornelia some bread and honey to put out for them, which (of course) she loved. She was also smitten with Muffin and Towzer, cuddling and stroking them. She surprised everyone by introducing them to Fido, and everyone indulged her by giving her pretend biscuits and playing pretend fetch. Bloody brilliant lot.
After lunch, James joined the kids in the pool and he survived the continual “Throw me! Throw me!” demands of all of them. Their shrieks of delight were a joyful sound! I don’t know where James got his energy from… I was exhausted just watching them., and then all too soon, it was time to move on again, with promises of Skype and plentiful messages.
It was a two and a half hour drive to get to our accommodation for the night in the promisingly-named Koala Place, One Mile Beach. It’s in the koala corridor and we are desperately hoping that we will see a koala in the wild tomorrow morning before we leave! We thought Cornelia might fall asleep in the car as she was exhausted from her day of racing around, but she was good as gold, until I turned to look at her face and saw what she’d been up to…! I laughed as I said “I’d rather you didn’t do that!” but she thought I was telling her off and burst into tears… Luckily, that only lasted for a couple of minutes – phew!
I made a quick supper and a very tired Cornelia just about managed to make herself finish her bowlful, before Ian took her for her shower and I nipped out for a run. It was getting dark and I knew I only had about ten or fifteen minutes of light left, but even one mile would be better than none! I was in luck – I made it to the beach and back just in time, although I didn’t see any koalas in the dusk.
Cornelia had just finished her shower and was having her hair brushed when I returned. I took over that task (mummies who’ve had long hair understand how it should be brushed, slightly more than short-haired daddies…!) and we avoided a teary girl, just about… Ian did upset her by leaving an “unpleasant aroma” in her bedroom. She was gagging and saying that she couldn’t breathe and that she was going to be sick… if she hadn’t been so distressed by it, I would’ve been crying with laughter, but now was not the time! Ian wasn’t best pleased that I asked him to apologise properly to her, but I mean, honestly… the bathroom was only next door!!! 🙄😂 She had a bit more of a cry about feeling homesick and missing her friends, which I totally understand. It’s along time to be away from home!
I read her a couple of stories and then cuddled her for a few minutes before leaving her to sleep. Within five minutes, we heard a thud – I wasn’t sure if it was Cornelia or not, and then we realised it was coming from our deck outside, and found a possum wandering around out there! I know they are a pest, but it is rather cute!
I spent some time confirming our surf lessons for the next few days, wrapped up in a towel on the sofa. Ian had turned on the air con to deter the mosquitos but in the end, I had to switch it off! Having been exhausted by the last few late nights, we were in bed relatively early, hoping that the noisy possums wouldn’t be back to party right outside our window!