Having spent Thursday cleaning and packing and doing laundry and clearing out the car and generally getting ready for our holiday, we were all set for an early start on Friday. Right?
Well, not entirely. But we did manage to get away not too long after midday – and travelled all of about a kilometre before we stopped for me to get water and an iPod charging cable from the supermarket, while Fraser took the kids to McDonalds for lunch. This turned out to have been quite a good decision, as it meant we made the rest of the drive without stopping, and no-one was car-sick on the way down. We were already on a winner.
The car was packed incredibly full. I had done really well at packing light – with a few exceptions. Each child had one bag/case for her clothes, and one shopping bag for her toys and books – but somehow Biggie’s was overflowing, and then there was the stack of 14 or so books that magically appeared on the back seat before we left. And then there was our stuff. See, it was really amazingly very hot the day before we left, so neither of us wanted to go up into the roof to get a suitcase or travel bag down, so we decided to just pack it in laundry baskets that we could use down here as – well, as laundry baskets. Which sounds like a really good plan until you actually stop and think that laundry baskets are round and are not flexible and therefore kind of take up lots of space in the car. And then there’s linen for 2 weeks – sheets, towels, beach towels (because who wants to go to the beach and then have to use the same towel when they get back and get clean – errm, except for my husband). And my computer. And books for me and Fraser (including my brand new very own French class textbook).
And, errm, our games. The beachhouse we rent is TV-free, which is great. We always rack up lots of games played at this time of year. I think we could have fitted everything in the boot of the car if it hadn’t been for the games.
It’s not like a family of 4 needs a lot of games to keep busy for 2 weeks, right?
Only the essentials:
· Puerto Rico (our traditional beach house game)
· Spooky Stairs (Geistertreppe)
· “The Make ‘n’ Break Double Treat” – Make ’n’ Break and Make ‘n’ Break Extreme (squished into one box)
· Drakon (3rd edition)
· Ingenious Travel Edition (sans one purple scoring marker)
· Cluedo Travel Edition (supplemented by the real edition’s cards)
· Sundry games submitted for Boardgames Australia’s Best Australian Game and Best Children’s Game awards (we are on the judging panels – this is work)
· Mystery Rummy 1: Jack the Ripper
· Frank’s Zoo (another traditional beach house game)
· Die Drachenbändiger von Zavandor
· Schotten Totten
· Pick Picknic
· Barnyard Critters
· Die Steven Seagal
· No Thanks!
· Dora the Explorer My First Uno
Anyway, we had a good drive down (accompanied by ABBA, Charlie and Lola books-on-CD and Mad Libs – a gift for Biggie) and eventually found the real estate agent to pick up the keys (they have moved – there’s a motorbike cafe where they used to be). It’s amazing how quickly we start to feel relaxed and holiday-like – just arriving here really does it. Biggie’s very excited because she has her own room for much of this stay – as does her little sister, as a consequence, which is a first.
The house – where we have stayed for 4 years now – is just as always – very original condition, hideously uncomfortable beds, welcoming and – above all – big. Bigger than a hotel room or a self-contained apartment, anyway.
The supermarket is amazing. I’m never sure how the locals afford to live here – I hear many of them drive the 45 minutes or so to Torquay to do their grocery shopping. 4 days’ groceries plus a slab each of cider (me) and light beer (Fraser) cost us $320. That’s more than we’d usually spend in a week.
We kicked off our two weeks of gaming with Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper. I could tell that Biggie had been playing this a lot – she was exploiting the rules, while I was simply playing out my cards. Final scores: Melissa 61, Biggie 115, Fraser 86.
Next, to be inclusive, were two games of Dora The Explorer’s My First Uno. “You shuffle, and I will deal. Then, you go first,” were Otto’s instructuions. I won the first game, she won the second, then it was bedtime.
Both kids were asleep by 10:30 (not bad for first night of our holiday). We followed shortly after. What a difference it makes when I don’t have internet access!