Sunday, April 06, 2008
Only two more days of holiday before we fly out Wednesday and head home.
I am looking forward to the getting home but not the flight home. Just no easier or quicker way to get from one side of the world to another.
We are staying in a lovely hotel on Princess Street in this chilly City. It was so cold this morning I went and bought a pair of mittens. The snow was light on the ground but so pretty to see.
I have one tiny problem looming - how on earth do I pack the stuff I have bought into the suitcases. K suggested posting it back but I cannot bear the thought of arriving in Australia without my lovely bits and pieces. Plus the little things I have bought as gifts. No, I shall just spread it out through the three cases and the weight will even out. I think.
I have taken so many photos and hope they turn out well enough. Lots to talk about and to think about for me on the plane. I shall be able to blog non stop for ages and ages. Hopefully not to boring for anyone. You know what they say about other people's holiday snaps.....
We fly in at home on Friday morning at 12.30 am. Three days to get over jet lag is just enough!
Well, off I go now to squeeze as much as I can out of the last couple of days of holiday.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Unfortunately I have been unable to upload photos from the Internet cafe but I have certainly been taking loads of them which I am fully intending to bombard everyone with when I get back.
I am glad to hear that the postcards I sent off arrived at their destinations. There is always something strange about writing addresses in other countries. You wonder if you copied the information down correctly and numbers are long for some streets.
I have to mention that travelling with a child overseas certainly changes the amount of time you may spend in one place. In particular any art gallery you may wish to meander through at leisure. There is a certain amount of intense "me" factor that goes with being a child (the "me" being totally attached to the child). Lots of eye rolling and expressing of extreme boredom prior to and during the event by child member of family. Later however, when looking back at photos and films, he does admit that the effort is worth it.
I have, on the odd occasion, just told him to be quiet and let me enjoy myself.
However, we have only had one major grumpy event and that was when we first arrived in the UK and I shall attribute that to lack of sleep for everyone. There have been a couple of moments where S and I have had to walk away from each other to prevent tension. All in all a big learning curve.
I realise how stressful it can be hanging around in close proximity with each other for days on end. It did take more than a couple of days to get into a groove with each other.
Some of the places we have been to are:
- National Motor Museum
- Salisbury Cathedral
- Imperial War Museum
- Tate Modern
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- St Thomas Old Operating Theatre
- Covent Garden
- London Transport Museum
- Cabinet War Rooms (I went shopping instead, having seen it previously)
- Tower Bridge
- Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
- The Clink Prison
- Trafalgar Square
- Hampton Court Palace
I think there are some other places which I cannot recall off the top of my head. It certainly explains why the hotel room is such a refuge at about 5.00pm in the afternoon. We get there and stay there. No late nights for us (is that an age thing?).
The weather has improved and today, for the first time, I actually did not have to put on my jacket. This was also the first time my hair did not go frizzy - which was a daily event that annoyed me no end. I think that shows a level of shallowness on my part. Really, who would worry about frizzy hair on a holiday? But I would leave the hotel room with smooth hair and by the end of the day my hair was like some sort of haystack.
Well, I shall sign off for now and do a bit of surfing the net. Need to empty my mail box of junk mail (of which there is a lot).
Until the next visit to a computer....
Thursday, March 27, 2008
We are in London and I have had the morning off shopping. Not that I bought much but I did mosey around and just looked. There are lots of summer clothes on show - hard to contemplate when it is so chilly here!
We started our holiday in a small town called Chicklade which is near Salisbury. It was so chilly that one morning it actually snowed. I came seriously unprepared for just how chilly it was and whined a little more than was pleasant before finally just shutting up.
The flight over was long. I think all up it was around 27 hours including transit time. S did not sleep hardly at all.
I have taken loads of photos and cannot wait for another moment to post some. S has been asking me to take him to an Internet cafe and now that I have found one I shall bring him along. I think we both have withdrawal symptoms!
It has been interesting having the three of us in each other's space for the past week.
I have had to be very quiet on occasion to avoid conflict.
I am now heading back to the hotel (which is so gorgeous be the way) where I shall rendezvous with the S and K and then head off to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Hope you are all well.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
It is amazing what you can do when you know it just has to be done.
I was just under the pump all day getting things in order to enable things to tick over whilst I am away. Wages, money in, paying bills and other day to day things.
My boss took me out for lunch with the other office staff. And, I know I should not crow about this, but he gave me a great cash bonus which he said was a thanks for all my hard work and for just being so thoughtful, caring and anxious about his business. Told me that the money is not to be used for anyone but me. Look out London - here I come!!!
Got home and started the packing. But now I have run out of puff and shall do the rest tomorrow.
As I drove home from work I just had to scream a tiny bit in the car with excitement. When I got home I did a little dance around the kitchen and then went off to exercise class where I was able to run all the tension away.
I am expecting to sneak the odd post in because I love blogging and would miss it otherwise. In between posts I am keeping a diary as if I don't I run the risk of my drifting thoughts floating off into brain space making it impossible to collect them properly.
I am off to bed to sleep.
While over the other side of the world others are getting up.
That is kind of surreal to think of that.
That we all share the moon and the sun.
That last sentence was from the brain of a tired and over excited person.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Well, today my son was really exposed to a most unsavoury family.
He has a classmate at school who is one of these sly little boys you may sometimes come across. Little freckly faced boy with sun kissed skin, too quick to smile and sly blue eyes. He is the youngest of three children and from a very difficult family life. He is allowed to roam the streets more freely than I would allow my own son to. Rides his bike everywhere and may go off for a couple of hours on his own.
Recently he and my son have been talking on msn and sometimes catching up in the local park. Both activities have not sat well with me but I have to weigh up allowing my son to make his own choices and not making judgements based on gut feelings and general impressions.
Today they had organised for S to go over and play at this boy's house. I reluctantly agreed. Around midday I dropped him off there. Chatted to the mother for a few minutes and went off to do some things. They have been building their own huge two storey house for years. It is in an unfinished state. They have run out of money, lost interest and it has come to a standstill. Inside the house are piles of timber, doors still yet to be hung, tools, sheets covering the windows for privacy and power cord running from room to room in a chaotic manner.
His mother is tired and worn looking. She is younger than me but her face is lined from too much sun and smoking. I am sure she is on something sort of medication as her responses to what I say are slow. As she is talking to me I see her daughter schlep past and give me a sullen glare. She is the type of teenage girl a mother would dread. Heavy make up, tight clothes and that defiant, yet fragile look of hostility oozing from her. Her insolent look makes a particular type of statement that spells trouble.
Later in the day we get a phone call from S asking if he can stay the night. I am surprised and hesitate before agreeing. I tell him I will drop off his things.
When I get there, the father answers the door. I know what he is like. His son told mine that his father is an alcoholic and yells all the time. I know he drinks to excess. I can see it in his body, his eyes. I can smell it on his breath. I felt anxious that my son was there but had to have enough confidence in knowing that if S felt uncomfortable at any time he would ring me. I chat for a few minutes with the father who is very friendly but as I leave I feel kind of unhappy about the whole thing. That whole gut feeling is constant.
K had gone out to play music so I was expecting to have a rare evening alone. At first I thought I may go for a run once the evening had cooled down but decided to stay home in case S wanted to come home.
Sure enough, at about 7.00pm I get a phone call from my son. He tells me he wants to come home. He says he is bored but I can hear in his voice that it is more than that. Give me five minutes I say to him.
When I get there he is on his bike at the end of their driveway waiting for me. As I load the bike into the back of my car I chat briefly to the mother. She just said that my son told her he was bored and wanted to go home. I made some mention that he was tired so perhaps he was a bit moody. I see his friend smirking over at me, legs straddled over his bike and his arms crossed over his chest.
I jump in the car and turn around and make my way home. S was silent and when I looked across at him I could see he was on the verge of tears.
"Tell me what happened", I asked him.
Here is what he told me and I have to warn you that it has some of the worst language in one collection. I have blanked out the words that I actually found just too offensive to type in full (more than once).
"A is a shit. He called me a f-----g shit n----r. He said my dad was a f-----g weirdo and f-----g ugly. He called me a f-----g c--t and said the was gonna shank me. He kept on calling me f-----g this and that and kept saying I was a c--t. He asked me if my dad watched porn. He told me he watches porn. I f-----g hate him". S starts to cry and I feel my own tears rise up.
He continues along the same vein for a while. I make a decision not to tell him off for swearing because I sense that he needs to get all of this off his chest, out of his head to enable him to get over it.
"I told his mum what he called me and she just said "oh did he" as if it was okay. I tell him that n----r is a nasty word to use. And I ask him why doesn't he like people who are black? What difference does it make? Anyway, his favorite singer is 50cent and he is black. How can you be so awful about people just because they are a different colour. He just told me that I was a stupid f-----g c--t. His dad just sat on the couch drinking beer and smoking and telling the sister to shut the f--k up every time she spoke to him. What sort of father speaks like that to their daughter. And his brother is underage and was drinking and smoking. It just felt bad being there". S starts to calm down and by this stage we are at the pizza shop getting dinner.
Then he turned to me and said, "I felt unsafe".
I explained to him that he will always come across people in life who have different values to his own. It was hard for me not to really, really run this family down to the ground. But I did not have to. S could see what they were like and made his own mind up. That was when he rang me to come home. I felt happy that he was able to make that choice.
Once we got in the car I said that now he had used up all the swear words I did not want to hear another one. Especially the 'c' word. He said he knew what that meant and it was awful and just hearing all those words made him feel bad. It was the way they were said that shocked him. So nasty. On the way home I also told him that I would no longer allow him to ever play with A again. No meeting in the park, no talking on msn, no staying over, no playing at their house. Never. He agreed.
We got home and he sat and ate his pizza. After that he had a warm bath, put his pyjamas on and sat next to me on the couch for a while. He said he felt almost normal and was ready for bed.
As I tucked him in and kissed him good night I saw a great sense of relief flood over his expression.
"I am so glad I am home" he said as he snuggled down into the doona.
So was I, that is for sure.
Friday, March 14, 2008
On the occasions that I wake up early I never feel the urge to get up. I love lying in the semi dark silence of the morning with my eyes closed and think. It is the one time where the world is just moving around and does not need me to partake in these movements.
The past few days has been very hot and we expect the abnormal heatwave to continue into the upcoming week. There is a certain sound that is in the morning air when the day is going to be hot, and this morning just reminded me of the particular sound.
It sounds like what I think a holiday down at the beach should sound like. Not the waves of the seawater or the sound of seagulls. It is the sound of the creak of the house, the silent trees, the odd car breaking that hot silence. It has an air of anticipation. People like to restrict their movements on these sort of hot days. It seems as though nature does the same. Car doors slam and the sound is heavy. People's voices sound flat and harsh as though the hot air allows no movement.
I lay in bed and listened to the morning noises. Shower going on, kettle being filled with water and then switched on to boil. The noise of toast being made. My son's voice talking about something he had done at school. At the same time I could hear trains making their way into the city, the track is only one row of houses and a road from us. Each time the train passes my bedroom window rattles like something out of an art house movie scene from the 50's.
I am reminded of the odd holiday my parents took us on. I have such small memories of each one I have to really focus on it to capture the picture properly. One place had an outdoor toilet which was placed over a deep hole. I was terrified of it, the black abyss, the flies and the spiders watching me perched on the edge of the wooden seat. At the age of six I was sure I may fall down that hole and die. In that short week I wet my pants more than once just to avoid sitting on the toilet. My father went fishing and caught some fish which I covered in sand to keep warm. Surprisingly I did not get into trouble and I remember him laughing at my explanation.
Another place we holidayed at was near a beach. It was painted the most beautiful green inside and I think that is why I have painted my walls a similar green in my own house. The bed I slept in was placed along a painted timber wall and I remember running my hand over the smooth green surface. The windows were open and I could see the coarse, green Ti-trees with their grey and messy trunks moving with the wind. The sound of the beach was close and I know I felt sad because we were not going to stay here for long. As though I would not allow myself to be happy because I knew that feeling unhappy would follow soon after.
In the end, this morning, the daylight peered in the window and I could not longer ignore the urge to go to the toilet and got out of bed. When I made my way into the kitchen my son asked me if I just woke up. I said "yeah, kind of".
Which was sort of true.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
For me it was 1994. My first overseas trip. I felt nothing but excitement. Saved my spending money. Perused travel books on what to see when I was over there. Counted down the sleeps, starting at 176 of them. On my last day of work I was not even remotely bothered about how they would cope for the six glorious weeks I would be away. It was nothing but "me, me, me".
Over the years, the thrill of an impending holiday is slightly tempered by the not so thrilling responsibilities that still continue to tick over despite my lack of presence. Making sure there is money in the bank for mortgage payments (which never go on holiday), ensuring payment of all bills prior to leaving and then foreseeing what bills may arrive whilst I am away, getting the house clean and ready for the housesitter and then attending to all the work issues that will continue on over the time I am away. My husband has to make sure there are people around to keep his business ticking over whilst he enjoys his trip.
Part of me is really buzzing with anticipation over the trip but another part is going "aaaaaaaaarrrrrggghhhh"!
When I talk about the trip with my son and ask him his thoughts on it, he is funny with his responses. He tells me he is excited (of course) but does not want to talk about it. Also told me that as he has no real idea of how it will be for him there is no point in talking about it otherwise it would be just some story that he made up. Er, okay then.
On the day of leaving I know everything will fall into place, house tidy, washing and ironing done, work sorted, bags packed and I will just say to myself that I have done what I can.
Just have to say, only seven more sleeps to go.......
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Unfortunately it was an clash of wills between S and I. The usual morning school run.
I am unsure if it is unreasonable of me to expect him to be able to put on his shoes in under 10 minutes.
And, am I over reacting if I shriek like a banshee for him to get his shoe on when I come out of the bathroom and he is sitting on the couch staring up at the ceiling contemplating his day? Or that I raised my voice again when I asked him to brush his teeth for the fourth time? And got annoyed when he stomped off.
It was only topped off by the front door latch not working resulting in being unable to lock the door. Then, if that was not bad enough, the security screen door latch decided to croak it at the same time (er, my slamming of it may have contributed to that slightly). Then to have the neighbour across the road come over and tell me that he would fix it as it was obvious I was not having a good day as he did hear me yelling at S. How embarrassing.
Then we were late for school. So I had to write a late pass. Said to S that I do not want to have these clashes when we are overseas. Three of us in a car for hours on end. Triple share bedrooms. Hours on the plane. Lots of waiting. Blah, blah, blah. He says he does not care if I come or not. I shut up by then realising that he is ten and I am 44 and have to just back off. So we kiss and hug goodbye and everything is fine.
Then I got in the car and felt like crying at my lack of control, my shouting at my son, my neighbour hearing me, my lack of sleep and the sad song I had playing on the cd player.
On the teary way to work I suddenly thought that today was school photo day and I had forgotten to put the money envelope into the schoolbag and fix my boy's hair. That brought on a new set of tears and I turned the car around to head back home and get the envelope filled in and drop it off at the school for S. Fortunately I had the sense to double check and I rang the school office who said that "no, Linda, it is tomorrow and the next day for photos" and as I hung up the phone I could hear her laughing.
I then turn the car around to head back to work and get a phone call to pick up a cheque from a client so I then turn the car around again and head down to get the money.
Finally got to work flustered and fragile. It was payroll today so I was really under the pump.
Also left the house without breakfast.