22 December 2018
An incredible thunderstorm woke us at 03:00, and just as I was wondering how Cornelia could possibly sleep through it, she yelled out for me! I rescued her from her bed (not wanting to spend another night crammed into a single bed!) and we all spent the next hour listening to the epic thunder and watching the lightning flash through the blinds. It was after 04:00 when it fell silent, and the soothing noise of the rain sent us all back to sleep.
I was on the edge of the bed when I woke up in the morning, with Cornelia strewn across me. When she woke up, we were talking about the storm and she said “I only woke up because Ellie jumped on top of me when it thundered. I would’ve stayed asleep otherwise!” (The previous night, apparently it had been Moo mooing loudly that had woken her….)
Ian had had breakfast by the time I’d showered, so Bugsy and I had breakfast together, although she spent nearly an hour working through her WeetBix. It didn’t bother me too much, as it meant I could pack uninterrupted!
I ferried all the luggage down to car to give Ian’s shoulders, neck, knee and Achilles a rest, and after a final sweep around the apartment, drove us up to Nundah in Brisbane. The roads were heavy with Christmas traffic and the journey was slowed by an accident on the motorway, and we arrived at our apartment just after 13:00. It was 34* by this time and hot and sweaty work carrying the bags up two flights of stairs, but at least I got a bit of a workout! To my horror, the apartment has neither WiFi nor air conditioning- usually two of my essential criteria when booking a place. On this occasion, I must have just completely overlooked it, and to make matters worse, although the walls have been recently painted, the kitchen was pretty filthy and in poor condition, with a very old hob and oven, and stained, grubby-looking kitchen units. Ian even found a half-empty/full can of energy drink just sitting in the middle of the fridge. 🙄
Anyway, once I’d recovered from my disappointment and apologised to POI for getting it so terribly wrong, I realised that it is, at least, a really big space with a separate dining area and comfortable sofas, wardrobes and a large bathroom with laundry facilities, so not all bad!
We dropped off our bags and walked down to Nundah Corner Cafe and waited excitedly for Val and Belle to arrive. Ah!!!! It was so wonderful to see her walking around the corner, and honestly just as of no time at all has passed! Belle and Cornelia rushed up to each other to cuddle and say hi, then barely left each other’s side for the whole afternoon. During lunch, Val and I tried to catch up on as much life as we possibly could, but that sort of thing is virtually impossible with two children and a husband to watch over, so we blabbered away together, as old friends do, reliving funny memories and talking about our lives as they are now. It was a very happy occasion, and we were both relieved to release that we still loved each other as much as we did eight/ten/fourteen years ago!
After we left the cafe, we walked back to Val’s. Well, I say “walked”… actually the girls mostly ran, jumped or climbed back, peering under almost-closed doors, balancing on fence posts and chasing each other pretending to be super heroes. They are so alike in so many ways, it is hilarious to watch!
Val’s apartment is beautiful and has air con (hurrah!!!), so we hung out there for the afternoon, drinking fizz and admiring the girls’ ability to become instant great friends. Belle was fabulous at sharing everything she owned with Cornelia, showing her around her very pink, sparkly bedroom.
Outside were two scooters, and as Cornelia didn’t have a helmet, she put a bucket on her head and improvised with that instead. 🙄 And with their endless energy, they were up and down the slide a thousand times. We had a good game of piggy in the middle while Belle had some time inside, before we all came back I’m again to cool down. The kids switched on the karaoke machine, which came with two microphones, and in no time, they were announcing their music show and singing away to Frozen! So, so adorable. And so, so loud!!!! 😂😂😂
Just after 17:00, we left Val’s together and walked to the nearby train station, where we caught the train into the city. We almost ended up in the wrong place, as Val had us going towards Southbank (which is where we are going tomorrow!!) but with a quick exit from that train and a hop on to the next one fixed that with no delay, and the girls quite liked the “quick, get off this train now!” excitement!
We reached South Brisbane and it was very busy with people waiting for the Christmas Parade that started at 19:00. It was 18:00, and we decided to try and find somewhere for supper first, before we joined the throngs. We found an Italian place where you order your food directly with the chefs, then wait while they cook it, then you carry it yourself to a table. This wasn’t terribly efficient, I must say, and when you are ordering for a family-sized group, I’m not sure how they expect you to carry five meals, plus any extras, up the stairs without dropping anything. Thankfully, as we were three adults and two kids, Ian stayed at the table with the girls and Val came back down to help, once she’d delivered the garlic bread to the table. You also have swipe cards on which your order is stored, then you pay on the way out. I can see that this may not be the easiest thing to manage especially when it’s very busy! Anyway, we had delicious, freshly-cooked food, with Bugsy wolfing her entire bowl of spaghetti down, barely dropping any!
We had no more than half an hour to speed-eat before the parade started, and we hustled our way through the masses to the least crowded spot that we could find. Neither Val nor I could really see a thing, but the girls had a great view from our shoulders. It was a really lovely parade, which they repeat every night for about a week, and which is crowded every one of those nights! Still, it was worth the chaos just to see the looks of delight and wonder on our babies’ faces. 😍😍
Once the parade had finished, we took the train back to Nundah, with the kids still full of beans and “enjoying” the train ride loudly! 😂 We went our separate ways once we’d arrived, and arranged to meet back at the same spot in the morning for our trip to the swimming pool – as long as both of them behaved impeccably and went to bed nicely! It seemed to do the trick although Cornelia has taken to turning her main light on in her room so she can read.
I honestly don’t know how she can stay up so late! I was bloody exhausted by the time she finally fell asleep and I could go to bed at last!!