27 December 2018
Despite being certain that Cornelia would sleep until late this morning, it was 08:15 when she called out for Daddy (bless her – she obviously knew I’d appreciate the lie in!). She was in a very happy mood (lack of sleep clearly suits her) and we relaxed over a leisurely breakfast, before wasting an entire morning trying to get our sodding washing machine to work.
Not only have I booked somewhere with no air con and no wifi, it also appeared that the washing machine was broken. Gah! We had been saving it all up for a massive wash here! The taps leading to the machine were in a right state. The handles came off as soon as they were turned, displaying the thread (or whatever it’s called) which was worn and had clearly been turned a thousand times with a pliers. We made it 1001 times, to turn on the water supply, and that seemed to do the trick, but then eighteen minutes towards the end of the wash, the machine screamed “HELP! I am not getting any WATER.” We tried turning the taps some more. Didn’t work. Tried the old IT trick of switch it off then switch it back on again. And it tricked us into thinking that had worked. So it did a whole new cycle only to stop at eighteen minutes again, and repeat itself. We did this three times, waiting to hear back from the Air BnB hosts, but by the time Simon called, we’d already hung it up in its soggy state, and asked Val if we could wash it at hers instead (which she agreed). He was very apologetic, and was glad we had found a Plan B, but it was enormously unhelpful to us.
As it happened, we decided to wait until we left Brisbane tomorrow and just do the wash at our new place instead. In the meantime, Cornelia had been entertaining herself with her Lego (which she is just loving at the moment) and stickering her face. She was also allowed some TV time, and was dancing away merrily to some funny cartoon characters, copying their dance moves. So cute!
We ate lunch in our apartment, then decided to drive over to Southbank, where we’d been with Val and Belle a few days ago. It was only a short drive – fifteen minutes – and much quicker than the train, although the $30 parking fee made Ian choke a bit… However, I received an email from Simon apologising once again about the washing machine, and refunding $50 to us, so that eased his pain somewhat!
It was warm and sunny, busy but not overcrowded, and just what we all needed. Cornelia didn’t even bother waiting for me to get changed, and was immediately in the pool. Daddy went in first, then when I joined them before he got out and went off for a look around. While I was in the pool with her, she made two new friends who were a bit older than her (nine and seven) and they tried teaching her to do somersaults in the water, and how to breathe out through her nose fast, so that the water didn’t shoot up it! They adored her and when we got out to go for an ice cream, they told me to make sure she came back as they’d be waiting for her!
Just as we were about to leave, I received a message from Laura (the family we’d met in Christchurch – from Utrecht with a five year old daughter, Sofie) to say that they were also at Southbank. After some hunting (and the incredible discovery of the “Share your live location” feature), we found each other, and of course, the girls just wanted to go straight into the water. Cornelia even sacrificed her ice cream to go back in!
They played in the pool together, while Laura & I caught up, and Ian chatted to Howard and their friend, Richard, with whom they were staying. Sofie was a bit distant towards Cornelia on occasions, but that’s because she doesn’t speak English, so Cornelia must’ve seemed a bit in her face when she was suggesting things for them to do. And dragging her along when she didn’t do it! Those language barriers completely disappeared though, once they’d left the pool and moved to the beach area. Cornelia had her dress on (because we had been about to leave – again!) but ended up wading in far too deep and falling over, so she ended up in just her pants for the rest of the time. Her and Sofie had a magnificent time, shampooing their hair with sand (argh!!!) and selling sand ice creams to each other.
By the time they were out of the water (for the final time), and dressed (yes, I always have spare clothes for Bugsy!) the grown ups were all ready for a beer, and the girls had earned a late afternoon ice cream, much to their relief. We bought the ice creams from a nearby kiosk and went to the Plough Inn for a beer. There was a guitarist playing live, which was nice background music, but the kids (with their energy restored) weren’t interested in listening to him sing or play, and asked if they could go out to the pedestrian zone outside and chase each other around the tree. Naturally, we agreed. Ian was good enough to supervise, while we swapped tales of travelling with children. Before long, I was told that Richard is a child psychiatrist, so immediately felt the need to modify what I was saying! He nipped off and bought a bag of liquorice sweets (that the Dutch grow up with). I tried one, in the hope that my taste buds would tolerate them, but am ashamed to report, I had to spit it out into a tissue. How rude, but yeuch! 🤢 And what a waste for him! Whoops! Cornelia and Sofie came back and Bugsy tried one and had much the same reaction as me! 😂
Once the beers were drunk, it was time to go. Cornelia was, as she had been with Belle, very sad to say goodbye again to her lovely friend. But we promised to visit them in Utrecht (if they’ll have us!) and wished them a very Happy New Year and enjoyable last few weeks of travelling. I do hope we will see them again too.
Bugsy was very tired when we arrived home, so I fed her a late dinner (chicken, potatoes and veg – our healthy staple!) and she went straight to bed after her shower. She even went straight to sleep, which was just as well, as I’d ordered Thai from the local takeaway, and it arrived as we were putting her to bed.
Ian and I feasted on Moreton Bay Bugs with chilli (I have seen these on Masterchef Australia loads of times over the last few years, and was thrilled to finally get to try them!), Thai green curry and a massuman curry. Oh my God, we were STUFFED! But it was really delicious, and such a nice change for me to not cook.
I was utterly exhausted too, and we ended up going to bed not long after we’d finished our meal, and I’m pretty sure I fell straight to sleep.