Anyway, on the Friday afternoon of our Canberra visit, Michelle came and collected the boys and me, and took us to her house. There we hung out with 3 of her 4 children, and Michelle's Mum, who immediately kissed my children like they were her great-nephews; which when you think of the years that I was like a spare daughter in their house, they sort of are.
Then Michelle drove us all back to Bronnie's house and at that stage we cracked open the wine. Michelle's youngest, who is in-between my 2 boys' ages, was by this time feeling very much at home with Climber and Cherub, and along with Bron's kids they all disappeared for some backyard fun. The next thing we knew Bronnie had magically produced an extra plate of kiddy-dinner and the 5 kids sat down happily at the table. Meanwhile Michelle and I sat on Bronwen's front verandah, drinking wine and trading confidences and just being like the 2 besties from years ago, except that we didn't talk really fast pig-latin to each other which we used to do on the bus when we wanted to try and impress people or discuss boys. But we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves, while Bron kindly managed the children.
However. It is my considered opinion, that whilst trampolines are an excellent thing in general, they do have a high incidence of Play That Ends In Tears. And with 4 of the 5 kids playing on the trampoline, it did not really surprise me to hear wails emanating from it eventually. Predictably, it was the smallest member of the bouncers who was wailing, my 4yo niece.
And this is where the saga of the lost sandal begins.
Now, we had to piece this together and it was all very confused at the time but here's the flowchart
Niece wailing :: Caused by Climber bouncing really close to her with intent to knock her over :: Caused by his anger at her deliberately throwing his shoes over the back fence :: Caused by her thinking it funny that Michelle's boy had just accidentally lobbed Cherub's shoe over back fence :: Caused by Michelle's boy being amused at Climber throwing his shoes around on the trampoline.
Cause and effect, Climber, cause and effect.
When the adults came outside to sort it, it looked a bit like this: Three mums trying to get a straight story out of wailing or angry or guilty or worried-about-shoes children, Bronnie comforting the crying daughter, Michelle and I standing on the edges of the trampoline peering into the neighbour's very overgrown backyard, attempting to direct operations, meaning that Climber was sent over the fence to retrieve his 2 shoes and have another *proper* look for Cherub's sandal, my nephew (who had not been involved in any of this but came out to see what all the fuss was about) also deciding to climb over allegedly to help but actually just to stand on top of the neighbour's tin shed - this then required adults telling him to get off that roof straight away and help look. All to no avail. So we re-grouped in the backyard and the suggestion of walking round to the neighbour's house to have a good (and authorised) look was raised, only to be instantly knocked down by my sister and her partner who informed us that the neighbour was a mad-woman who had once impounded their dogs and then screamed at them when they tried to apologise. At this point Michelle, very sensibly and nicely and with a mother's 6th-sense, discovered that it was her child who'd thrown the missing shoe over and that in all likelihood we'd been searching in the wrong spot. So then we asked the Climber (to whom backyard fences are as nothing) to pop back over in the middle section. Of course then my nephew wanted to go over again too but unfortunately he was not wearing shoes and the neighbour's yard was prickly. He frantically demanded shoes, sensing that he would miss out otherwise and my kind sister ran off to find them and helped him put them on, (you do the left foot I'll do the right) only not quickly enough because just as my nephew got over the fence Climber called out Found it! to general applause and relief. Which left my poor nephew feeling completely frustrated on the wrong side of the fence and he instantly declared he could not get back over, so his father had to haul him back up and over.
At which point the party broke up and Michelle and I gave each other a big hug and rejoiced at having found each other. It's not like we'll get to actually see that much of each other in the future but we had enormous fun and meanwhile, there's always facebook.
(Caroline likes this)