15 December 2018
Cornelia had a great sleep, and when she finally woke up, we were all up and about. We had breakfast together, and while the kids chased each other around the place, we packed up our bags ready to head off to the rock pools.
We hadn’t realised that rock pools here do not have the same meaning as back home and had been expecting a beach with rock pools where we might catch crabs etc. Instead we were treated to a spectacular surprise, once we’d managed to find a space in the rammed car park. A short walk up a small hill took us to some fabulous pools formed in between the rocks in the hillside and surrounded by rainforest, complete with waterfall “slides”. We clambered carefully down the steep slope and onto the rocks, where we found a spot big enough for all nine of us. Naturally, the best places overlooking the waterfall and main pool were already taken, but we were perfectly positioned to be able to look both ways and catch the children as they slipped over. And over. And over…! The kids had a brilliant time, having water fights and building a dam. Daniel and Jacob were the brave ones going down the waterfall slide and into the pool. I wished I’d had my swimsuit on, as I’d have loved to have a go – it looked amazing! In fact, with hindsight, I should’ve just gone in my clothes. It’s on my list for next time! Cornelia just had the best time. Daniel, especially, is absolutely brilliant with her. He had so much patience and played with her endlessly, and in return, she utterly adored him.
We hadn’t brought any lunch, but had various fruit snacks to munch on throughout the morning, but eventually we could tell that everyone was getting hungry and decided to head off for something more substantial. The boys had two more trips down the slide, while I tried chasing away a stubbornly brave bush turkey who tried helping itself variously to someone’s towel (to make a nest, I presume) and some bread and picnicky snacks that some unsuspecting teenagers had left out while they swam in the pools!
I ferried Levi up on my back, and we all scrambled up the side of the “cliff”, and amazingly none of us slipped, fell or otherwise hurt ourselves. We had a brief moment of panic when Rochelle wondered if she’d left her keys behind on the rocks, but they were in my bag, and all was well. Phew!
Once we were all safely installed in our cars, we drove off to The Kitchens at Robina Town Centre, where Carl was keen for us to experience the Teppanyaki there. I can’t remember if I’ve eaten in such a place before, and Cornelia certainly hadn’t. Two guys were good enough to move seats, so that we could all sit nine in a row in front of the iron griddle on which the meals were cooked. Despite service being slow, the food was really excellent. I had scallops with all sorts of delicious garnishes, that were applied like Rowan Atkinson in Love Actually – my meal arrived about ten minutes after everyone else! Cornelia sat in between Daniel and Jacob, looking slightly alarmed at the flames that flared up as the griddle was cooked, then bursting into surprised laughter (always better than surprised tears!). The chef also chopped up some of the eggs he was cooking and tossed it into our mouths – well, that was the plan at least! The only ones to “score” were (naturally!) me and Rochelle. Whoop whoop! Now, what was that we’ve been telling Cornelia about not playing with her food…?! 😳
Despite the opportunity to get away with throwing her food around quite legitimately, she ate her salmon and vegetables beautifully, much to my delight, while we all scoffed our faces. I just LOVE all the noise and chaos that comes with a big family – it is just brilliant and happy and heartwarming.
After lunch, the kids were keen to head over to the little play area, so Carl and Ian went over to supervise, while Rochelle and I watched them and continued to find out more about each other. We couldn’t believe how similar we are in so many ways and we both felt the strength of our new relationship extremely powerfully. As we had promised the children ice cream, we suggested that the daddies take the kids home, while Rochelle and I took some time searching the mall for a scrapbook for our Australia trip. Thankfully, Carl was completely understanding of our wish to spend some more time together and while he herded them all up, Rochelle and I sneaked off.
We wandered the mall, looking in various stores for this bloody scrapbook, without success. I did manage to find some USB sticks onto which I intend to transfer some of the ten of thousands of photos I have on my Surface, which now has a full memory. But as we wandered, I told her much about my life, both past and present, and why finding her has been so important to me. I’d like to say we swapped stories, but it was mostly me on a roll, while she listened! You know me… once I start….! Luckily, I didn’t bore her to tears, and frankly, we could’ve just talked to each other for days non-stop!
Back home, it all seemed unusually quiet. Only Daniel and Jacob were there, as Ian & Carl had taken Zara, Levi and Cornelia over to Thomas’s house opposite for a while. It wasn’t until about an hour later that Carl rang and asked where we were. The message that we should join them, hadn’t been passed on to us… I was ready to go for a run, so I nipped over with Rochelle and said “hi”, then rudely dashed off for a couple of miles, up and down the hilly hills that surround this particular area! I was horribly sweaty when I returned, but bless them all, no-one seemed to mind, and the ice-cold beer that Carl handed me worked a treat. Thomas’s house is currently under construction – a new one is being built on the plot of land which, at the moment, still has the old building on it. The kids had a brilliant time scaring us all to death by balancing on metal rods and going way too close to the edge of the foundations, and generally racing around, fuelled by copious amounts of crisps! Cornelia took a particular liking to Dentist Blue Bow (real name, Gabrielle) who was good enough to play Cinderella with her and generally be pestered, but Bugsy was on great form and was very happy by the time she came home, along with the rest of the family, in time for a quick bowl of pasta before being bundled off to bed.
She was quite reluctant to go to bed, having had such an exciting and stimulating day, but Ian and I read to her, and I cuddled her for a bit, before leaving her in our bed with the light on, so she could read to herself for a while. It’s such a parenting dilemma… I love that she wants to read, but she really needs her sleep!!
None of us was particularly hungry, although Rochelle is a feeder (like me!) and put tantalising plates of salad and potato skins in front of us, and obviously we devoured the lot! We spent the rest of the evening nattering over a few beers and putting the world to rights, which we did with great success! Another wonderful day.