Saturday, December 12, 2009

Time to Fly

I have got that sick feeling in my stomach that generally heralds an overseas trip where I know that chaos is going to reign and it will be a miracle if we all make the plane. DQ no.1 is already in Hong Kong having set off in advance of the family caravan to stay with a friend. Panic rose to new heights as I dropped her off at the airport as an unaccompanied minor only to discover she only had one of her two passports, much teethsucking ensued from the immaculately clad hostess about whether teenager would be allowed out of the country – I felt actually that Immigration would probably be more likely to wave her onwards and outwards with some relief. I returned to the car at a fast trot, whilst calculating time it would take me to get home and back again against plane take off time and cost of new plane ticket against inevitable speeding tickets. I was mentally rehearsing how I would break the news to Simon that we were up for the cost of a new ticket to Hong Kong and cursing own hopelessness and general disorganisation when the situation was saved by my discovering missing passport on front seat of the car.

Setting off for 26 hours of travel is made more complicated by the fact that my uncle and some friends are going to take turns housesitting in our absence – so I feel there is some pressure to make the house look if not pristine at least vaguely welcoming. In the run up to the end of term I have been indulging in so much random cupboard stuffing in an effort to make rooms look tidy, that you take your life into your hands opening any cupboard door. DQs 2 and 3 have been issued with a packing list – which reflects their mother’s anxiety about the cold and wet versus their father’s annual fury at having to lug ridiculous amounts of luggage full of outfits for every possible occasion. True to form they claim to have packed, and are now playing their instruments together in a medley that I am sure is delighting the neighbours at 7.30am. Have to say this is classic distraction therapy on their part as neither of them has been known to pick up an instrument voluntarily once over the past year. I have removed surreptitiously a pair of shorts and a sundress from DQ no.3’s luggage, having not lived in the UK for the last 7 years she has obviously blanked out the reality that will meet her at 4.30 a.m. when we land at Heathrow.

Next task on the list is to take the dog to vet where he is going to board – I felt asking our houseguests to look after black fiend might be pushing the boundaries of family ties and friendship – particularly as he seems to have developed a flatulence problem related to the fact that DQ no 3 keeps feeding him some dog food cans that I won in a raffle – she claims he loves them – which he undoubtedly does however the after effects seem a little unfortunate. Am actually quite concerned for own sanity as I have just mistakenly eaten a dog biscuit thinking it was chocolate chip cookie – neither of which are actually recommended as part of a balanced breakfast.

It is the most beautiful Sydney morning – we have had a bit of rain over the last week so everything is looking very lush against a radiantly blue sky. I listen to Radio 4 and the Today programme in my early evening and am feeling a little unnerved by the way the presenters keep announcing with relish that it is “a cold and grey December morning”. “A bit parky” is after all not the expression one wants to hear in connection with a holiday destination.

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