As we approached Melbourne my trepidation grew, my impending 60th birthday was looming fast. Turning 60 had evoked in me a wave of existentialist emotions. But upon arrival into Melbourne all that was soon forgotten when our two grandsons greeted us with squeals of delight and we were soon wrapped in their warm embraces.
Our elder son invited us to join him and his family for lunch at a nearby boutique brewery. As we were all seated and perusing the menu he made a statement, “wouldn’t this be perfect if the whole family could be here” and at that moment in walked our younger son and his wife who, unbeknownst to us, had flown in from Brisbane to help us celebrate, not just my 60th, but hubby’s 65th and our elder son’s 40th. I’m not usually an emotional person, but it brought me to tears; tears of happiness to have our children and grandchildren all there together. They had connived to surprise me and had succeeded with flair.
Our younger son and his wife stayed for three days before it was time for them to return to work in Brisbane. We were all sad to see them go, but especially our grandsons, as they had enjoyed romping around with their Uncle Guy, who is, on so many levels, just a big kid at heart.
My family thoroughly spoiled me, for my birthday I received a voucher to swim with the whale sharks in Ningaloo Marine National Park, Western Australia. It has long been on my bucket list and this year I will fulfill my dream.
We stayed on for another week, babysitting while their parents had the rare opportunity get away for a few days alone. We took the boys swimming and had faces painted, went bike riding, played with Lego and endured endless games of Uno and Rummikub, did many puzzles, created artwork, had lots of cuddles and story times and even had dinner at MacDonald’s one night; this being the pinnacle of indulgence as far as they were concerned. We also hosted sleep-overs in the Beast which was parked in their driveway and amazingly fitted with millimetres to spare, dwarfing the house. All in all we made the most of every minute.
During our stay we also managed to dine out with some of our Melbourne friends a few times and toward the end of our stay Hubby said we might need to start looking for work.
“What, to pay for all these meals out?” I asked.
“No”, he replied, “to pay for a whole new wardrobe of clothing”
And I thought all my clothes were shrinking.
Two days ago we departed Melbourne; it was heart wrenching to leave our grandsons (and their parents), but they have a new set of grandparents recently arrived from Wales to lavish them with love and attention.
On our way out of Melbourne we drove down Hawthorn Road towards Caulfield so hubby could visit the library where he buys second hand Hebrew books. The road is fairly narrow with tram tracks running down the middle and low slung cables crisscrossing the road. The beast is nearly 4m high and I feared some cables might get snagged by all the paraphernalia we carry on the roof racks. I was too terrified to look in the rear view camera for fear of seeing a tangle of cables and power poles being dragged in our wake. Hubby was just disappointed that we didn’t have the right attachment to connect to the cables and get a free ride through town.
We returned to the Beast after visiting the library to find some large vehicle (or tram) had sideswiped the mirrors on the driver’s side and in the process shattered the side quarter window. Luckily MAN Trucks had a branch in Melbourne, not too far out of our way and when I rang them they confirmed they had the window pane in stock, though they couldn’t fit it themselves, for that we would need a specialised glass repairer. They provided us with the contact details of a local company only 5 minutes away and we were lucky to get it fitted within the hour. Our insurance covered all but $100 dollars of the bill. So while our leisurely drive down the west side of Port Phillip Bay was somewhat disrupted, we were still happy as it could have been a good deal worse if we had had to wait days or even weeks for the part to arrive.
And now we are having a short holiday, from our permanent holiday. Yesterday we arrive at a delightful resort in the seaside town of Torquay where we will stay for four nights before we continue along the Great Ocean Road towards South Australia.
This morning we took the bikes down and went for a long ride out to Point Impossible. After the bike path ended the remaining two kilometres was along a badly corrugated, dirt road. While it was uncomfortable to drive along corrugated roads in the Beast up to Cape York, it was a whole different level of discomfort doing so on a bicycle. I now know why it’s called Point Impossible, because from this point on, it will be impossible for me to sit down for a week.
And you all think we’re having fun; sheeeesh!