Well, the idea MAY have been to go to the beach and not do much else, but it didn't exactly turn out like that. At all.
At the beach, we met up with Indiah and her family – well, everyone and their wife was down at Merewether baths and beach in the morning. Splash splash build paddle paddle jump dive swim.
Good time all round. At noon we were still out there (which is very late for us) and we finally tore ourselves away, but not before inviting Indiah over for a play... she was only just persuaded by her mother to nip home for a quick bit of shower and lunch beforehand. So off we went likewise for shower and lunch, and then there was duly a play-date from about 1 p.m.. They made lemon cake, they painted the little cardboard house, played Lara's new D.S., ate candy-cane, rode Mooses, and goodness knows what else – to be honest it's all faded into the dust of the past 24 hours which have whirled mercilessly past.
Well, at 3:30 Indiah's dad came and picked her up as they were off bowling that afternoon. For us, the Mr and Littles went off to Dixon Park beach with some bat-and-ball and bubbles, and I went off to Kotara to get our non-functioning gas bottle filled up and buy an inflatable mattress. Stocked up on a few more camping bits and pieces, and both parties came back at roughly the same time, about 5:30. Barely had we stepped in the door when the phone rings, and it's Sophie. Not Sophie's mum, but Sophie. Turns out they'd been trying to call earlier but we were out, and when Sophie's mum turned her back to run the bath, the enterprising young girl picked up the phone, dialled Lara's number and asked Ian whether she could come for a sleepover that night. Well, of course, we said yes.
Sophie arrived fully scrubbed, dressed in pyjamas and ready for dinner. We made them little mini-pizzas and they tucked into them very happily. After-dinner entertainment was the start of 'Happily Never After' – lots of fun but cut in half because of the lateness of the hour. We finally hauled them up to bed at 8:30, where it took a good half-hour of adjustments, multiple tuckings-in and shusshings before they finally quietened down but still, not too bad for a sleepover, I guess.
We retired to our lamb curry absolute zombies. I think we re-watched a bit of 'the Colour of Magic' but gave up very rapidly and crawled off to bed, utterly tired.
Morning found the kids up bright and early, of course. Mercifully they played by themselves until nearly 7 o'clock before finally demanding breakfast, but we could hear them tinkling away in the background. Found evidence later that they'd been making houses and running Zhu Zhu pets in the cardboard play-house. They also drew our attention to the fact that there was a roach, in a considerably bad state of repair, smeared across a corner of the kitchen floor: it had been there it seems ever since Sophie had spotted it earlier in the morning and shown it no mercy with a handy DVD case lying nearby. Out comes the disinfectant and off go roach entrails from tiles and case.
Well, it looked like an absolutely beautiful day so we decided to go to the beach bright and early, before it got too burning-dangerous. Phoned Sophie's mum and she said yes, that was fine, she was going to go for a bike ride with the twins in the morning so it would be just right (Australians seem to go in for family bike rides, a lot. Even more inexplicable for those living in Merewether Heights, what with the extreme gradients to cope with on every side.) Took Lara's new blow-up dolphin (from Auntie Pie, another one of the outdoor-toys sets, thank you very much again) and plenty of other toys, goggles and other necessaries. Main order of the day was both the girls riding on the dolphin (instantly christened Sparkles) with Ian pulling it up and down, up and down through the little pool. I tried helping as much as I could, but was exhausted to wobble-point every two or three lengths of the pool, I really don't know how he kept it up. Finally, after a very long time, I managed to distract them for some time with either some water-frizbee or beachball activity so that he could have a rest. Might have just been catch-the-girl-in-the-water-and-eat-her, come to think of it: simple, but effective. Anyway he came up to me after a while looking more exhausted than ever. Turns out some random girl and boy had inched up to him and egged each other on with 'you ask him' 'no You ask him' and requested they have a turn on the dolphin. I think Ian didn't immediately realise this also included the pulling part. Which it did. Well, apparently they were very sweet.
There was also sandcastle building (Castle Good, Castle Bad, and Castle Happiness on this occasion) followed by vigorous sandcastle stamping (Castle Flat, Castle Gone and Castle Crumble subsequently).
By 10:30 we were back home, but even so and even with the excessive lathering of Factor 30 over everything, the girls had tanned up alarmingly, bathing costume marks everywhere. Luckily no burning, but considering it was so early in the morning the. implications for later sunlight exposure is frightening.
Emergency helpings of lemon cake and ice-cream later, Sophie asked for the remains of last night's 'Happily Never After' and Lara for an urgent bath, so they did. Once she was clean the Non too came and watched the rest of the film, which ended very nicely just in time for Sophie's mum to come and pick her up at about noon.
Play-date and sleepover over, we tidied up, hoovered up all the masses of sand from the floor, mopped up the paint from earlier activities, and put on a wash and the Mr made us a lovely lunch. At which point we get a call from Anna, asking to borrow a car (they're down to one because one is in Tasmania, and Neil had taken the other one somewhere else, etc etc) – which naturally was absolutely fine. However, it also meant ANOTHER play-date, right after lunch, with Lillian while Anna took Aiden to the doctors. Actually it was rather fortuitous. The two of them amused each other very nicely, first on the D.S., then watching some Father Christmas DVD, then doing drawing, and I was left almost entirely unmolested to do the ironing quietly in the corner.
The Mr very chivalrously gave me over an hour in bed this afternoon – sound asleep and woke up at nearly 6. He followed it up by cooking a lovely pasta sauce for dinner: exactly what was needed, comforting and settling. We've just finished and he's now packing a bag for us to go and see the early fireworks at 9 p.m. at the Foreshore. Isn't he wonderful?
So there we are, our 2010 is rapidly coming to a galloping end. At some point, a bit of rest and sleep would be quite welcome, too. Hope you're all having a wonderful time out there whatever you're doing, and talk to you all in the New Year!