I’m not normally into writing Blogs on holiday but in this instance, there’s a couple of mothers and other Grandparents who have a vested interest in what’s going on.
The holiday came about when Ann & I had a timeshare week that we had to use or lose, with initial options being a biking week in Queenstown and when that was looking too expensive, a biking week in the Bay of Islands, which was also dropped in favour of taking the Moko’, Avania, on a trip to the Gold Coast for her 7th birthday. We thought it would be quite cool to see the theme parks through her eyes and we also offered to my niece to take Jake, who is the same age as Avania and would be a good mate for her to share the experience.
After that, the build-up to the trip was an ongoing saga in itself, with learning about where we were off to, the creation of lists of items for each person to take and other general planning. I didn’t have much to do with this as I just go along when and where I’m instructed, doing as I’m told! So I didn’t really get too involved until I had to pack my bag the night before.
Along the way, we also offered for mum to come along so she could visit my Aunty & Uncle in Tweed Heads, but that turned to custard when Aunty Eunice died on 28/12/10. At that point mum balked, but a quick explanation that there were no refunds on the ticket and she could stay with us at the resort had us back on track. Mum turned-up on Tuesday, got pissed Wednesday night, fell off her perch….and probably cracked a rib! …She’s a tough old bat though and still came.
DAY 1 - 21/1/11
0330 Friday morning meant that Mike turned up at our place with Jake and the van, we all piled in and were finally embarking on our adventure. We checked in at the airport, said our farewells to Mike, Carmelita & Denny then went through to the Koru Lounge for an early breakfast and relax in what travel is really all about….waiting!...but at least this was in comfort and with good tucker.
0555, we boarded and settled in for the three hour flight, selecting entertainment options. It looked like Ann was watching some TV series and the kids sounded like they were playing games, whilst I opted for a selection of music and promptly nodded off for an hour or so. The only thing that set this flight apart from countless others was that, since it was Avania’s birthday, she and Jake got to dole out the lollies as we started to descend.
We were welcomed into Brisbane by a descent through clouds and showers as we taxied in, but by the time we got through Customs & Immigration the weather had eased, so we kept dry while waiting for East Coast Rentals to pick us up to take us to collect the car. I was a bit concerned about this as we had originally booked a Corolla and I was pretty sure this would be too small, so we would be trying to upsize, but fortunately there was a Hyundai Elantra waiting for us. The downside was learning that the ‘Comprehensive’ Insurance we had selected wasn’t really ‘comprehensive’!!??? Go figure....it was comprehensive in that we had full cover for a car vs car event, but for a single vehicle event (Hit Static Object; Hit by Kangaroo; drown in a flood etc) we had no cover at all!!! What a pack of bastards! Naturally I saw red and told the pleasant young gentleman that they were ripping us off, but in the end I had to pay the extra $21 per day as I couldn’t afford risking the $30-$40K vehicle.....I’m still pissed off about that though as it almost doubled the cost of the rental. He did give us a gratis booster seat for Jake but!
By the time I had set-up the GPS and we rolled out, it was pissing down again and not looking good for the programmed visit to Movie World. Recent road changes around the airport area had the GPS wrong, but it soon recalculated and had us on track and before long, the kids had been out cold and we were having to wake them in the Movie World carpark. The weather had cleared somewhat, but was still marginal and as they were so tired, we talked them into coming back on the first fine day, then took them to McDonalds across the road. By the time we emerged from there, it was lovely, but we stuck to the plan, heading straight for the resort, dropped our bags then went for groceries. It worked out quite well as we were just leaving the supermarket when the resort rang to advise we were OK to check-in.
We sorted all the groceries before retrieving our bags and settling in, then after a bit we took the kids for a swim at the pool. Avania was in like a rat up a drainpipe, but Jake was a little more hesitant and I wondered if his mother had been telling stories (lies) about the dastardly Uncle John. I did however refrain from tossing him in the deep end and after a short dip around the edge of the pool, he seemed happy enough skipping around or soaking up the rays and he did manage an exploration of the resort with Ann. Meanwhile I managed a few lengths, then played with Avania in the water.
To finish the day off, we celebrated Avania’s birthday with dinner at her choice of ethnicity restaurant, which turned out to be Chinese at Christine Corner, then we returned for an early night, although I started watching movies on TV and didn’t get to sleep until Holmes finished at 2300 (0200NZ time)...Buggered.
DAY 2 - 22/1/11
An early start had us breakfasting at 0700 and I had the kids at the pool by 0800. Once again Avania was straight in the water, Jake preferred to flit around the fringes of the pool area. I had to remind Avania a few times about waking the natives and had to show Jake the Pool Rules to remind him not to run, but even a wee slip didn’t go far towards that.
After a quick dip, we went upstairs to prepare for the day’s outing and were soon on the way to Movie World, arriving just before 1000 to find many people already there. The first order of business was to get a wheelchair for mum, then we slipped into the 4D - Journey to the centre of the earth. Both kids seemed impressed by this as it’s not every day you get shaken, tickled and wet going to the movies.
Next we headed for Wayne Manor to assist Batman find the Joker, Catwoman and Freeze, who had escaped from Arkham Assylum and were about to cause havoc. After our introduction and briefing, we were soon flitting between buildings as our hovercraft chased down the baddies, although our pilot was a bit rough and managed to bounce us around a couple of times. Jake really enjoyed this ride whereas Avania didn’t have a lot to say, thinking it was a bit tame as she only had eyes for the Superman Roller Coaster.
Right next to the Batman Adventure Ride was the Batwing Spaceshot! This damn thing is a 60+ Metre tower where one gets shot up then bounces their way down....and there was no getting past it, so we joined the queue and slowly made our way to our turn. I removed my glasses, placing myself between the kids, the restraint bars came down over our shoulders, the safety-strap snacked shut, then the countdown started as we were elevated slightly.....5..4..3..2..1............a healthy pause to elevate the anticipation and adrenalin........and we were off!!....Cooool..we were shot up like a bullet...”This isn’t so bad” I thought as Avania was screaming with delight, but then we slowed, stopped momentarily...then shifted to a freefall, all in the space of a moment. I knew this happened quickly because my greenstone taonga suddenly flew out of my shirt and hovered between my eyes!.....”Oh shit” (or words to that effect) I thought as we were plummeting earthwards and I reached to constrain the pendant...more screams of delight ringing in my ears. “This isn’t fun” was flashing through my mind as I looked down to my left and to see Jake hunched down in his seat...both hands gripped in prayer by his nose and eyes tightly clenched shut.
Odd....He bounced off the ride grinning from ear to ear...an all conquering hero!!
A quick suck of water and a piece of orange was consumed to sustain us as we shuffled to the next item of terror. I eyed the Superman Escape with the same excitement as the two little idiots next to me, but deep down I knew what horrors lurked in the vertical descent from 50+ metres and I plodded on in trepidation and hope. Trepidation of the ride...and hope that the kids were too short and .....Yeaah Baby....they were!! Jake by a couple of inches and Avania by barely one....Oh Darn!! Next Please!
As Ann and mum got organised, I led the kids to the Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster. We got there to find it had a 50 minute queue and after a quick assessment, to find Jake was just tall enough, I figured the line wouldn’t get any shorter so we went in and after 35 minutes, I estimated we were within 5minutes of our turn when the bastards shut down for a break!!??£”&*!! Some sat down, half left and we waited on until they started up and we made it to the embarkation point. The ride has two benches that seat four people per carriage, so the two kids went in the front and I sat alone in the rear and was able to monitor and tweek them through the early tame ‘spooky’ part until we timed our lunge beneath and between the swinging axes, that led into the meaty part of the ride that starts with gaining some height, then a short reverse for positioning (I hate going backwards)...then we got into the ride proper as the cart accelerated along short, slightly declined straights then would spin maniacally through 180º to take us back and forth along a series of switchbacks.
After about three of these, I had anchored myself with an arm on each side of the cart, squawking, “Ho-ho-ho hoooeeee!” when next I heard a terrified scream from Avania, “Jacob, Jacob, Jacob!!” I immediately shot my eyes in his direction, staring through the gloom...and I couldn’t see him!! “Oh my God! He’s fallen out!” was my immediate thought as I started to grope for him....Avania was still screaming and I couldn’t find him...”Shit, shit, shit!” as another two switchbacks were negotiated....and then my eyes finally focussed and my hand found his shoulder as the little bugger was hunckered down into the seat.......”Wheeew!” A few more dips and turns and we emerged about 1 hour 10 minutes after entering....Jake bouncing along and beaming as the hero returned!....but not too keen to take on the Wild West falls Adventure Ride!
It was now after 1pm so we stopped for lunch, myself ‘enjoying’ half a cold burger and cold chips while Ann took the kids for a treasure chest of chicken & chips with drink. We consumed these and caught our breath, with Jake firing in a few enquiries about the next ride in an effort to assess its adrenalinious nature. (It helps for heroes to know these things). There were a few lies mixed in to keep the champ guessing and I’m sure there was still an element of trepidation as we walked through the old western township, approached the ride, went straight through with almost no queue and boarded our boat, once again the two of them in front and me behind. All the fears melted away though as we drifted down the river, admiring scenes of cactus lined gulches, mining talings and more ghost towns. Then we were being dragged up, a bit of reverse for positioning (I hate going backwards)...slinked around the inside of the mountain, then erupted out the top of the mountain, streaked back down to the river where we pulled up in a huge wave and were engulfed in sheets of spray.....very cool...ing!
Our day was being consumed by rides and we missed all the shows (Looney Tunes, Stunt Driver, Parade etc). We finished the day in the Fun Zone, starting with a ride on an old time carousel, closely followed by a squirt on the Road Runner Roller Coaster. To look at it, this ride is pretty tame with no big climbs or drops, but as it turned out, it was bloody quick with reasonable banks through the bends....(it could possibly be likened to being on the back of the ST on a mach run over the Takaka Hill). Anyway, once again, Avania was excited and fizzing whilst poor old Jake was ducked down and by the time we leapt off, he looked positively green with a bit of wrinkle in the hero’s smile and a wobble in the gait!
There was certainly no enthusiasm expressed by Jake toward going on the Looney Tunes River Ride, however it didn’t take much to get the hero back on track and the gentle meandering boat ride through scenes involving all the Looney Tune characters proved to be one of his highlights before the day petered out on Speedy Gonzales Tijuana Taxis, Sylvester & Tweety’s Cage Ride and Yosemite Sam’s Railroad. We then grabbed some memorabilia, dropped the wheelchair and hit the road back to the resort, arriving home in time for a swim at the beach.
Once I’d had enough, I went up the beach and continued to keep an eye on them from there as Avania continued to play in the water while Jake tended to spend his time between the beach and the shallows. I’d been suspecting that Jake had a busy wee mind and this time highlighted that. I’m convinced that he’s a ‘Legend in his own mind’ and a super hero lurks within his tiny frame but I was never quite sure if he had just beaten of the angry horde or had just completed the last 5Km of a double marathon as he sprinted up the beach, suddenly incorporating a series of side-steps, or plodded up, staggering to a halt and collapsing in a heap on the sand.
One thing’s for sure though, the day highlighted what a nutty Adrenalin Junky Avania is, while Jake proved to be Team Player...focused and enthusiastic for the cause and always ready to ‘Take One for the Team’,...of course the other explanation is that his little mind is so busy that he doesn’t really listen and just sees the glory without realising the consequences.....until it’s too late. But at that point he bares it out and points on a brave face...which is easy ‘cos he’s already thinking about the next adventure. This was reinforced the next day when selecting a coned delight from the gellateria.
DAY3 - 23/1/11
Jake has a gluten and dairy intolerance so when we walked down to the gellateria, it was explained that there were four sorbet flavours he could choose from, being Lemon, Strawberry, Chocolate & X....whilst his gaze scanned further down the cabinet and he requested Mint.
This occurred after we had been for a walk along the beach front and the kids had a play on the park equipment and in the sand while Ann & I enjoyed sitting in the sun and taking in all the activity around and about.
After that, we returned to the resort to get ready to go to visit the local whanau for lunch, being Uncle Ted, cousins Peter and Penelope and their families and cousin Nicole and her family. We had a great afternoon sitting in the Bali hut by the pool while the kids swam, rode the horse, fed the chickens, played with the dogs and watched one of the dogs take out a chicken. We enjoyed a bar-b-que and a few drinks, getting back to the resort after 1700, with mum and the kids having an early night, Ann going to bed about 2100 and I followed soon after ....but ended up watching another movie and not getting to sleep until after 2300...again.
DAY4 - 24/1/11
This was pretty much a blobby day but we did go to the big shopping centre in Robina for mum and Ann to get some perfume. The kids were given some $’s to spend as they wanted, which they did, we got a few more groceries and another ice-cream, then once we got back, we had lunch then blobbed.
Later in the afternoon we took the kids down to the pool, spending a little time on swimming lessons for Jake, then, when he and Ann went up, I continued to play with Avania, diving for a ball she had brought. The day finished off with them doing their journals, then, I took them down to the games room for a little ‘spacy’ time while Ann was off for a bit of tennis.
DAY5 - 25/1/11
This was Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary day and after being woken at 0700 by Jake’s machine gun, we arose did a couple of laundry washes, sorted breakfast and got away around 0930.
We started with a train ride to the Reptile presentation where Jake volunteered to help and got his arm strapped in a compression bandage when simulating what to do for a snake bite, then both got to hold a snake afterwards. Jake came into his own at this event as every question or request elicited a rapid and enthusiastic response. From there it was next door to find out about Echidnas, then go to a bird show which featured, a red-tipped black cockatoo, a pelican, owls, kites and an Australian Eagle. After the show the kids had a photo with the Eagle, we checked out the hospital where they were operating on a Kookaburra with a broken wing, then we went for a stroll.
Along the way the kids were excited to see goanas along the pathways, a Tasmanian Devil, a big Salty Croc’ and several smaller fresh water ones, they petted and fed kangaroos, got up close to emus and saw koalas and Dingoes. All in all a good day and quite educational for them. We finished off with another train ride back to the entrance, bought a few photos and memorabilia, then went to KFC for a late lunch.
Back at the resort we watched Wozniaki beat Schiavoni to go through to the semis then took the kids down to the beach. This time Ann came to watch them so I could have a swim and that was great. It was the first time I had been in decent surf in years and even though the body is a bit past it, I really enjoyed getting thrown around and catching a couple of good waves. The surf was a mixed bag with some of it rough enough to rip my hair tie out and when we got back to the resort I bent over to get something and water gushed from my sinuses and out my nose....I don’t recall that happening before?!
All in all....another pleasant day.
DAY 6 - 26/1/11
Ann had a tennis planned so after the normal start to the day of a breakfast of cereals, fruit, yoghurt, toast and tea at 0800, we tidied-up and blobbed around. Avania finished off her holiday journal from the day before and at around 1030, I went down to the beach by myself to have a decent swim in the surf. Being Australia Day, the crowds were out enforce and the beach was packed.
With not too much time on my hands, I dropped my gear by the lifeguard flag and continued straight into the water,
threaded my way through the bathers and made my way out to the break. The surf was not quite as rough as the day before, but still reasonable enough to catch a few good rides over about half an hour, then make my way back to watch the kids, while Ann played tennis and mum relaxed.
Our guests were waiting at the lift when I strolled into the carpark so I rode up with them, grabbed my camera and collected the kids from the courts to take them to the pool....more Australia Day crush, but fortunately there was one lounger under the shaded edge of an umbrella so I took up my position on lifeguard duties.
I was soon surprised to see Jake jumping in the pool and make his way around the shallow half with a mixture of dolphin kicking and dog paddle. This was a far cry from the kid that barely left the steps on our first day and just didn’t seem too interested in swimming at all. The extra two, slightly older guests helped with this and all had a good time with, as per usual, Avania not leaving the pool until the tennis players arrived and hour or two later....pity I didn’t put any sunblock on me or the kids but!
Even though I was sitting in the shade the whole time, I managed to get a slight tinge of red on the shoulders (must have been from reflected rays), Jake had a T-shirt on so he just managed a little redness above his elbows and Avania was starting to run to a light shade of blurple...with white rings around her eyes where her goggles rims had been.
After the tennis players had refreshed and we enjoyed a snack and chat, they departed, we went back to the apartment briefly and while Ann cooked up a feed, Ora & I took the kids to the beach. She watched them while I went out for another dip, but I didn’t stay long as the surf was quite broken and shifty so it was difficult to position oneself at the break to catch the waves. When I got back in, Jake had had enough and was up the beach so I signalled Avania to come out by me. Surprisingly, she wasn’t too keen but came out anyway and seemed to enjoy being latched on to my hip or back as we worked through the protocols for swimming in surf, like keep looking toward the waves, when to go over or under etc.
This was all great but as I mentioned earlier, the surf was very erratic and broken and there was a secondary break right on the beach and just as we were leaving the water we got slammed by about three big waves. At this point we had just let go hands and she got whisked off her feet and hammered....! Oh darn! She emerged a little the worse for wear and with a bit of a whimper, reaffirming that she’s not keen on surf, we showered off the sand and returned to the resort for a snack.
We blobbed for the rest of the afternoon until about 1800 when Peter & Laura turned up for dinner, we strolled around to find a restaurant, settling on Chinese again, enjoyed a good feed and more chatting, finally returning about 2130 and settling in for the night.
Day 7 - 27/1/11
Last day and nothing planned apart from mum & I visiting Ted for the afternoon. Breakfast at 0815 then relaxing time until about 1030 when Ann phoned the perfume shop in Robina to see if her flavour of choice had come in, which it had, so we went over there to get that and a couple of grocery items.
After a quick lunch mum & I took off for Tweed Heads, returned after a few hours there, then Ann & I took the kids to the pool for a swim. While we had been away earlier, Ann had packed the bags (except mine), I had a play with the GPS to set the route back to East Coast Rentals, so we were pretty much ready to go at 0500 the next morning.
Day 8 - 28/1/11
I thought I’d finished but the last day started with Ann up at 0345 and the rest of us soon after. We were in the car and on the road ahead of schedule, making good time in steady traffic that got steadier the closer we got to Brisbane....when it all turned to shite!
We’d made it to the Gateway Motorway, sitting on 100 or 110’ish (whatever the limit was and the traffic was flowing at) with both lanes full, when the car in front of us braked...so I did as well, but just lightly. The gap between us was disappearing so I applied a bit more, but we were still catching so I gave them everything! I was surprised when the brakes actually locked momentarily, but the ABS kicked in and did its thing, bringing us to a halt within inches of the ute in front...maybe a foot at best! I was just exhaling a big ‘wheeeww’, we got shunted into him!
Bugger! We did the deeds of getting details and continued on. The boot wouldn’t shut and there was a slight leak out of the radiator, but made it to the rental shop, out to the airport and back to NZ OK.
The following was sent to the brother and sisters after several emails over delays to having an unveiling on dad’s “3rd” Anniversary. The event had been delayed for various reasons (ie awaiting Carolyn to come out to NZ etc, etc) and I could see it not happening so I said it all needed to be done by 21/08/10. Andy wanted to make the headstone and all was on track, but he hadn’t allowed for the long cure time on the concrete. I spun out, resulting in a few emails flitting around the block and we ended up having a Memorial Service with Andy presenting the fruit of his labour.
My dad he died awhile back
And left us in the lurch.
We dug a hole and threw him in
And said a prayer at church.
Some of us we prayed for peace
And some maybe for joy
‘Cos Andy stormed off in a fit
…he was a naughty boy!
He thinks that Mary lost the plot
And probably she did
He’s hardly spoken to her since
And acted like a kid.
As time went by we thought that things
Would prob’ly cool off soon
But Andy really held his grudge
And Mary’s on the moon.
The rest of us got on with life
And thought we’d shove a stone
Upon the Old Man’s Resting Place
(To stop ‘im walking home)
So Andy thought, ‘That job’s for me’
But I don’t want a Boss
He toiled and sweat to get it done
And made a Celtic Cross
But time it wasn’t on his side
The cure took too long
Four odd weeks to set real hard
And now he’s upset John
Then Mary got down off her perch
She’d fi-na-lly woke up
Cemet’ries and Churches
Do not feature in her cup
‘That’s not for me’ she said to us
(She really is an Ogre)
‘But come on down to Woodside all
I’ve wine and tea and yoga’
About this time Old John did smirk
He can’t believe this crap
But he didn’t rise and take the bate
Instead he had a nap.
My dear Old Dad he died…
And we’re all hoping he was good
‘Cos otherwise he’d prowl around
And haunt us if he could
‘Cos now that Mary’s lost her ropes
And Andy is a knave
I think the old man’s really pissed
And spinning in his grave
Not that I am any Saint
In fact I am an arse
I hope I don’t find Doggy Doo
When skipping on the grass
And if you find this little ode
Does grip you in the craw
Have another cup of tea
And put the unveiling off until next year…or the year after…or why bother at all!!
JFM Some people are born arseholes…but I really work at it!
Today I experienced something out of the ordinary…..or perhaps more correctly…something I haven’t encountered for about 20 years.
Our normal week these days is for the Moko’, (Avania) to be dropped at the office at 0800 so she can entertain us before I have to walk her to school, which is all of a couple of hundred metres up to and around the corner. We brought her a scooter for Christmas (ensuring it could cope with 100Kg) and she scoots to school (uphill) then hands it over so the poor frail old koro can scoot back to the office….sometimes in jeans….and sometimes in a suit & tie!
On Wednesdays, Avania’s mum works late so we pick her up from school and she stays the night, which also means breakfast on Thursdays might be at the café and a brought lunch is ordered. However, last night Nanny Ann and I went out for dinner and hence couldn’t have our weekly date, so the moko’ had to stay by her cousies, but I was still scheduled to walk Avania & Jake to school from his place.
I turned up early to find my mate Jake in a bit of a tizz, as he couldn’t find his ‘Yellow Thingy’ which he needed for show-and-tell. As it came closer to the time to head out, things deteriorated to the point that Jake had decided that going to school without the yellow thingy wasn’t an option and therefore he was winding up the performance as well as mother’s temper to the point that a Time-out was called for…..Trouble was, Jake seemed to think that was a good idea and no sooner had mum got him there than the realisation hit her and she did an immediate about turn.
This of course did nothing for Jake….except raise his volume and level of handling difficulty, and I soon found myself at the gate, with Avania’s Jacket and Jake’s bag & scooter in one hand, with a very squirmy, noisy Jake in the other …as his mum’s derriere hastily disappeared up the steps and out of sight!!! Hmmmmm….I thought…..I’m a bit out of practice here!!?
I briefly tried a little reason by stating that he could enjoy a scoot to school or do it the hard way, but that fell on deaf ears and as there were time constraints, I began the long drag as my mate Jake squirmed, wriggled, tried to prize the ‘fingers-of-steel’ free and generally made life as difficult as possible, with as much noise and wailing as possible.
We were making progress though and Avania was having a great time scooting out and back as Jake persisted in trying to grab a hold of fences and shrubbery to halt the progress. I paused briefly at the first corner we came to, feeling the need to change hands, at which time Jake spotted a flaw in the nearest fence and made a grab, clinging desperately as I applied the pressure and he finally broke free. Meanwhile, with my attention diverted, Avania had started to cross the road, finding herself in the centre with an oncoming SUV tooting to clear it’s path, but we made it across safely and I thought to myself, “Boy are you lucky Jake, ‘cos 20 years ago there was little patience or tolerance and you’d have a size 9 up the ring-piece by now, with a ‘Here’s something to cry about!’ to go with it”.
But I’m now older and wiser …and that bitch Sue Bradford, as well as Aunty Helen saw to it that I couldn’t act on my impulses….so we continued on our way. Jake squawking and me, with vice-like grip, smiling to the nice people as they made way for us.
The next obstacle we encountered was a pole with a bus sign and as Jake was now on my left, he was able to wrap his arm around it as we passed, holding on for dear life and the hope that mother would come and rescue him….bloody dreamer. Once again the pressure was gradually increased to the point a release was achieved and his free hand then went in search of any possible anchored object to slow our progress and this bought to my attention how many SUVs have bar type door-handles these days. A slight acceleration or change in direction prevented any effective contact though and we continued.
As we approached the School Crossing, I realised that I would have to walk him all the way to his classroom as the slightest hint of freedom would result in Jake doing a runner back home and my dodgy hip would make it a close call on a recapture.
By this time I had warmed up to the point of getting a glow-on and I was quite thankful I’d missed my gym session that morning. We crossed into the school grounds and were approaching his classroom as the bell went. Jake was deposited at school. Avania was happy ‘cos I was too knackered to argue the point that I should take her scoot’. I stripped off my jacket and headed back to the office.
The Yellow Thingy provided some entertainment and a diversion from the day to day hum drum experiences. I got to appreciate that Jake can be a little arsehole (which is good ‘cos some people are born arseholes but I really work at it) and that means it’s continuing in the genes. Also I got to appreciate that the little bloke has a bit more tenacity, grit and desperation than I had credited him with. I had a smile all the way back to the office and enjoyed relaying the saga to Nanny Ann and his mum…..and so another family legend is born. All I need to do now is think of some embellishments!
I still don't know what the Yellow Thingy is but....?
I thought it was time to introduce my great-nephew Jake to the Easter Mouse! You know, …….the one that follows the Easter Bunny everywhere and if you don’t woof your Easter Egg down quickly, the Easter Mouse will get at it.
In this instance a Triple egg was obtained for Eleni and an egg filled with pineapple lumps for Jake. A message was sent to their mum to ensure my efforts would not be in vain and collection was due this morning………UNFORTUNATELY…………I believe the Easter Mouse knew about ‘the drawer’ and without a mark on the seal, nibbled a window in the side of Jakes egg, removing all of the pineapple lumps except for one half of one lump….!!!.....shock horror!!!!
I eagerly awaited to see the reaction another ‘Great Easter Egg Robbery’ would bring to a new generation!! Mwuahhh ha haha! (Please let there be tears!!.....that would be sooo cool and I would know I haven’t lost my touch) (I might note here that a spare complete egg was close at hand)
I thought I should attempt to have the camera at the ready, but I expected to be too busy….rolling on the floor!
(PS. I know better than to try this on the ‘other one’ or ‘screaming meemee’)
The moment finally arrived, Caroline arrived with ‘the Musc’ and ‘the screamer’ (ooops, make that two screamers) complete with ear-to-ear grins because lollipops are always in the drawer. The drawer was slid open to reveal not only lollipops but two boxes containing Easter Eggs……….but who cares, Jake was twirling on my chair and Eleni-MeeMee was diving into the bag. She knew what she wanted and it wasn’t in a box and even when the box was explained and offered……she just wanted a lollipop!! (Damn….this wasn’t going well)!!
By this time, my real target, Jake was rousing off the chair as his ears had pricked-up to the mention of Easter Eggs (Nyah ha ha!! I thought, and I would have twiddled my moustache – if I still had one), and I thrust the Pineapple Lump supposed-to-be filled egg out to him. His eyes lit up, “Wow” he exclaimed and started to wander off to give it mum to take home I suspect. “Drat and Double-Drat” I thought as I saw the moment slipping away. Quick thinking and action was required! “You better have some now, Jake” I remarked, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears and his mum commented, “Do you know how to crack an egg?” A glimmer of hope returned as I indicated how to extract the egg from the box.
Next thing, Jake had the egg from the box, complete in its shiny red foil, he waved it about, wide-eyed and drooling, (his thumb nearly punching though the foil where there was no egg to support it. He ripped it open and was happy as a sandboy to see a window in the side of the egg revealing a bag within and pulled that out, pouncing on the half pineapple lump as it fell from the bag to the floor. (Obviously he was worried that the screamer, who was closer to the floor than himself, would beat him to it). He didn’t give a thought, or care a toss, that anything would be awry. His Uncle John would never nibble at his egg….and that half lump was beaut!! It never even occurred to him that the carefully cut diamond shape that had then had nibble marks carefully chiselled around it with a finely honed craft knife, was anything but normal.
I was shattered and nearly in tears. (It nearly worked, there were nearly tears…but they weren’t supposed to be mine!) I’d just been done and dusted by a 5 year old (OK, 4 ….but nearly 5)! Damn, the joke was on me and I enjoyed a good laugh as I reflected on how it turned out and reached for the rest of the pineapple lumps in the drawer. “Oh well”, I thought, “That’s OK, it’ll work next time I try, when he’s old enough to have expectations of his Easter Eggs”!
Meanwhile, Eleni-MeeMee had decided that these Easter Egg things looked OK, so she grabbed hers, ripped it from the box and started to shatter it, letting it crumble to the floor….only to find another brown one was inside the white one, so she shattered that too, to find a marshmallow one inside that. She had a nibble and left it to mum and I to clean-up.
They then departed thanking Uncle John for the Eggs and good time. My reputation still intact….(just not the right reputation I was hoping for. Damn)!!
……And for those of you who are not familiar with “The Great East Egg Robbery” ….and/or just to set the record straight on the whole affair, here is the real juice on the sordid 60’s affair.
The Great Easter Egg Robbery
A family favourite story was 'the great Easter Egg saga'. On this particular year, the Easter Bunny passed through leaving each of us a marshmallow egg in a fancy egg-cup. I don't recall why, maybe I went earlier, but on this occasion, while mum and all the other kids went to church, I was left home with dad, but he was safely wrapped-up in bed. Marshmallow eggs are really quite small and having a very sweet tooth and having consumed my own egg, there were four other eggs begging for my attention. Fortunately for my siblings I was endowed with loads of willpower and self control, so I was able to limit myself to picking the minutest of samples from each egg with thumb and forefinger....they'd never even notice. The trouble was, mass took an eternity and by the time they got home, there had been so many small nibblings that it looked like a small bite had been taken from each egg. What a bunch of sooks I grew up with, you'd have thought the sky had fallen or I was the Parnell Panther. This crime was so great that 40+ years later, I believe I am yet to be forgiven.
It’s easy to get wrapped-up in our jobs and get too busy to enjoy the small moments that come along.
For me, my day is pretty much spent at a computer and there’s always plenty to get on with so it’s head-down, arse-up, but the highlight of my week is often a visit from my mate Jake.
Jake and Eleni-Mei (pronounced E-lay-nee May) are my Moko’s, or more correctly my Great-nephew & Great-niece, or if you want to be really pc correct…my first cousins twice removed. Jake is nearly 3 and Eleni is about 7 or 8 months and these visits occur when my niece Caroline takes them past my office on the way to the library, postshop or supermarket. I might note here that for her to attempt to pass without a visit would be futile and met with all the furore that a three year old can muster.
The visits follow a set format, but there is room for variations by either party and they generally go something like this…..
I hear him coming and position myself, back-to-the-door, a picture of concentration.
Jake strolls in and says cherrily, “Hello!”
To which I respond in a semi-gruff voice (because I’m a grumpy old man), “Who’s that!...Where’s my glasses so I can see?” as I turn around making a show of changing glasses. “Oh it’s you….What d’ you want?” I say, voice still sort of gruff.
At this point my mate stops and rolls his eyes up and to the left, searching for an appropriate response because it would be poor form, not to mention bad manners to get straight to the point and ask for a lolly…. “Ummmm!” comes the reply.
I save the day with another question, “Where are you going?”
And he replies, “To the library.” Big smile plastered across his face.
“Going to see Thomas I suppose?” not quite as gruff
“And James.” He adds quickly.
“What about Diesel?” I ask.
“Yes him too.” He replies thankful that the niceties are almost over.
“You’ve come a long way…..must need some energy?” I add.
“Yes I do.” He replies in thoughtful contemplation.
So now we are back to where we started and I can ask again, “What d’ ya want?”
Quick as a flash, eyes lit up like Christmas trees, Jake blurts out “A lollipop!!”
At this I have to make a show of searching to see if I have that which initiated the visit in the first place, but we aren’t allowed admit to this fact and therefore pretend that this is a first. My mate waiting patiently knowing that I will eventually get to the right drawer, his eyes getting wider all the time and the smile erupting with joy to “A lolly” when I eventually emerge from my bottom drawer, lolly in hand and asking “Oh…what’s this?”
My mate Jake can now carry onto the library knowing he has received sufficient energy for the long trek home (about 2-300 metres), and that his uncle John has come to the fore once again.
I can now carry on my day with a smile on face knowing that I have fulfilled my ‘Koro-ly’ duties which is all about pay-back time for my children, nephews and nieces. I see it as my job to, in the words of eminem, ‘create a monster’ that I can spoil then give back to the parent to deal with. I might add that this is an easy roll to fulfil ‘cos Jake’s my mate.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.