Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More fun at the beach

Another beach holiday! Courtesy of a different aunt. While Fixit went gallivanting through the alpine region on a great motorcycle adventure with his friend Malcolm, the boys and I abducted Nell for the weekend and hightailed it south to Phillip Island.

My aunt rented this fabulous holiday house from a colleague and filled it for 3 days with her siblings, nieces & nephews, and in our case, great-nephews. The house was the bees-knees. Situated right on the surf beach, lots of rooms with bunks and big beds, 2 living levels and a gorgeous roof-deck. Check out the view!

Oh and the view from the mid-level kitchen and living ...

The downstairs area where we slept had a pool table and this provided hours of fun for Cherub and Climber - despite Cherub's desolation at having the stick "snatchered" from him by my uncle. Following the banning of stick-use in the interests of baize preservation, the boys devised games based on just rolling the balls into the pockets. And my uncle flatly denied that he had snatchered the stick. He said actually, he'd had to put his knee onto Cherub's chest and forcibly wrench it away from him.

Nell and I amused ourselves playing piano duets. You know those two duets that you don't need sheet music for? Yeah. Chopsticks and Heart & Soul. We got encored for each tune by the Cherub. Fun.

My little Cherub slept for the first time in a big-boy's bed. Obviously I need to record that for posterity. Yes, he is more than old enough to be in a bed now, but Fixit is in the process of making the boys a bunk-bed (bought the wood this week!) so meanwhile Cherub is still in the cot, and honestly, he doesn't know any better. The good news is that he didn't fall out overnight - I barricaded him - and he slept like a log the whole night through. God, I still remember the THUDS when Climber was first moved to a bed! And then he'd go for weeks, months without falling out when Wham! out of the blue, we'd hear this almighty dull thud and run in to find a dazed half-asleep boy sitting next to his bed looking tired, confused and slightly cranky. Some nights he didn't even wake up at all.

In the afternoon, I took the kids to visit Climber's best friend Luca, where we had an exciting adventure:
We went to the foreshore. Two mums (Pam & I), two six-year-olds (Climber & Luca: best friends in the world), and two littlies (Cherub & Sunday). We took no swimmers or towels or cameras. We just took the kids for a walk on the beach.

We reached the foreshore. The kids started paddling. And jumping. And splashing. I said take your shorts off and paddle in your undies. So they did. Then Cherub wanted his shirt off too. Then he wanted undies off as well. I let him. There was no-one around, just a few boats unloading to the nearby pier.

After a bit, Cherub & Sunday dressed themselves once more and left the sand & water for the nearby play equipment. Climber & Luca kept cavorting in the water. Climber decided he wanted to immerse himself in the water so he stripped off all his clothes and ran happily to the shallow water, where he sat, in the shade of the pier, naked and beautiful.

We saw people on the pier and noticed they seemed to be looking down at my boy in the water. Maybe they were not used to seeing naked children on the beach. It is rare. Maybe they thought I was a bad mother.

Then one of the people came down from the pier to talk to me. You should get him out of the water, he said. There are 3 giant stingrays down there and they are swimming really close to him.

We didn't make a big fuss. We called him out, and he and Luca got dressed, then the six of us walked along the pier. Sure enough, swimming gracefully underneath were 3 enormous stingrays, lazily waving those giant flappy fins and occasionally flicking those famous stings out of the water. We watched them for about 20 minutes. They were so close to where the Climber sat.

I do not think they attack people. They are gentle creatures unless you jump on them and surprise them.

But still.

When the kids were bathed and bedded the adults had: a lovely meal, plenty of alcohol and two rip-roaring games of Pictionary. And not that I'm boasting or competitive or anything, but I won both games! Despite being separated from Nell after we two thrashed the rest of them... Nell and I are Pictionary Champs from way back and anyone who knows us no longer lets us team up.

My uncle is an ex-restauranteur so I love it when he's cooking. Saturday's feast consisted of roasted duck legs, a white-bean and sausage cassoulet [store-bought from a gourmet butcher], roast vegetables in duck fat for the meatosauruses amongst us and plain for the vegie-sauruses, along with green salad and a yummy vego pasta which the herbivores let us share. Gin&tonics followed by red wine. Happiness all round. And may I say how nice it was to have not one bit of input into the meal preparation. Although I did knock up my famous Shrek Patties for the kids.

A morning frolic in the waves, then back to Melbourne.


  1. Look me in the eye and tell me your legs didn't get all wobbly after the sting ray encounter.

    Bet you can't.

  2. You're right Shula, I was a bit retrospectively shaky. And Climber deadset thought he'd be on the news. Despite complete lack of cameras and journalists.

  3. Sounds like Bliss to me. B L I S S.

  4. Oh my, a heart stopping moment during a weekend of delight.

  5. Well, aside from the stingray incident, it sounds like a lovely weekend. Go you for winning the pictionary :)

  6. Looks lovely, bar the stingray episode.

    Um, we were in the alpine region and hoardes of motorcyclists kept passing us. I wish I'd waved now but you know, you tend to avoid eye contact with bikies generally. Specially the ones with overdeveloped facial hair and scary slogans on their jackets.

  7. Sounds as if it was bliss. Leaving out the stingray episode, of course. My first question was, why didnt someone warn you??

    My favourite treat is to eat something I didnt have to prepare or clean up after!

  8. The world is nicest around the edges---at the seaside!Shame on those cameramen and journalists for not being more on the ball...

  9. You foolish girl, now all the burglars have a map to your house!


  10. Sounds a great time away. Small snippets of ease and enjoyment on holidays as the kids get older (I can just see the light at the end of the tunnel my way too!). Cherub in a big bed. It's all happening now!

  11. Kirsty - It was a really good fun weekend!
    Tracey - Yes, slightly nerve-wracking but got a good story out of it!
    Caramaena - Not that I'm competitive or anything.
    Myutopia - Me too! And I don't get to play it enough.
    Suse - I'll pass your belated motorbike wave onto Fixit if you like.
    Meggie - One of the joys of living in Australia I think; exciting encounters with lethal wildlife! Also, ditto the other people's cooking!
    Joke - Oh No! All those burglars will be robbing my house slap-bang in the middle of Melbourne, actually tucked away in the GPO. (We love living there although the mail-sorting machines can be a bit noisy.)
    Nutmeg - Yes, holidays with older kids definitely much easier for me, specially when kind Nell, and the aunts and uncles chip in with washing and watching them, amusing them and listening to them! If I'd just had Fixit around to take the slog of the drive, I would have been quite refreshed!

  12. Well, all they have to do read this blog for when you announce you're traveling off across the country and then all they need do look down and see a broad purplish stripe on the road surface and follow it.

    If questioned, they'll probably answer "We've come from Phillip Island to see about the purple stripe." Which, being eminently plausible, gets them not a second glance.

    I've seen it done a million times.


  13. What a fabulous holiday!

    Can I come next time? My kids are as naughty as, but we rather like stingrays, they'll eat out of your hand if your'e brave enough and happen to have a handful of bits of fish.

    Something to remember!


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