I'm wondering whether I'm getting my comeuppance for all the smug comments I've been making about clear blue skies, eating mangoes round the pool etc. We've got the mangoes, that's all well and good, but I was woken to the sound of rain such as I've never heard before, last night. Apparently there've been tornadoes up North and we should be expecting some in Brisbane today. And it's either the cats way of welcoming us home, or they're too wussy to go outside in this weather, but poor Juliette had Tamara weeing on her bed last night, then as soon as she had changed the sheets, the ghastly cat poohed on them. Then Lydia knocked on the door around four this morning, to say that Tiger had poohed in the bathroom! Happy days!
So, is it good to be home? Well, it's great to be together again, poohing cats and all, though there is a horrible absence of chickens, since they were taken by a fox a few weeks ago. And it's nice to have some space again and to a certain extent, it's much more stress free. I LOVE my family, but you wouldn't believe how complicated things can become! I thought my parents-in-law were bad enough - they own their own solicitors firm and have worked together for ages, so it means that every tiny little decision, i.e., what we are going to eat for breakfast, needs to be examined in minute detail and argued over for at least an hour to ensure that there are no loop holes and everyone is getting their fair chance.
But my family take the biscuit. For instance, it was my mothers birthday on the 15th of Jan and so it was decided that we should celebrate. So far, so good.
"I'd like a Chinese meal," said Mummy.
"Okay. Shall we get a take away, or go out somewhere?"
"Who's making tea?"
"If we go out somewhere, then there's no washing up for the five thousand."
"Clara just made a pot of tea."
"But we finished that. We need more."
"If we go out somewhere, we can't take little children or dogs."
"Then maybe we should get a takeaway."
"Is someone making tea?"
"If we have a takeaway it means having five thousand people in Clara and Bruno's house again."
"Oh gosh, do you remember when we had chicken and rice for five thousand in Riyadh?"
"Oh yes, and it turned into a ceilidh?"
"If we went out maybe someone could stay and dog and baby sit."
"How many people want tea?"
"Do you remember that time we went out to the Chinese in Riyadh?"
"Do you mean the time that whathisname came with us?"
"Oh yes, and do you remember when we took thingumajig to the camel trail?"
"Where's the tea?"
"So where shall we go?"
"Maybe we should have a takeaway?"
"Bruno said he would baby sit."
"The teas just brewing!"
"Shall we go out then?"
"To that place in Hemel?"
"Yes! do you remember when we went there for Bernadette's hen night?"
"Is the tea brewed yet?"
"Maybe we should have a takeaway instead?"
"Or we could ask if we could take the kids and the dogs? They're only little."
"Yes, but Elsa wees when she gets excited and Polly barks at men."
"Maybe we should get a takeaway?"
"Why don't we go out?"
"Here's the tea!"
Eventually a decision was made and we went our separate ways, me taking my three kids into town, with tea sloshing around my stomach like a tidal wave. Over the course of the the next three hours I had five phone calls from different people suggesting different venues, different kid sitters, a different food type and that maybe we should just all get a takeaway and cram into Clara and Bruno's house yet again.
In the end, the women of the family had a calm and relaxed meal at the local Chinese where, much to my intense relief, there was a buffet. The thought of trying to come to decisions over a menu had struck pure terror into my heart.
And we finished the meal with a nice cup of coffee.