And we had a lovely time!
We did have a little trouble getting out of Canberra after I finished work last Thursday - there had been a terrible fatal car/motorbike accident on the highway heading south and the police had closed the highway earlier that day. We thought it might have been cleared three hours later when we headed that way, but after queuing for about 20 minutes we were turned around and had to head back into town, up the northern highway to meet up with the Hume Highway (the major north-south arterial in Australia) - all this ginning around added an extra two hours to our journey - what a pain. Although of course an extra two hours is only a little inconvenience when you put it in perspective. Anyway, we ended up staying overnight in Albury, the border town between New South Wales and Victoria.
The next morning we headed south-west to Bendigo, where my father-in-law lives. We had a lovely catch-up with him and his partner, staying for lunch and dinner. After our meal we jumped back in the car and headed to Melbourne, arriving at my parents' house two hours later. We were all quite tired, but Romily had had a nap in the car, so was ready for a bit of a play before finally being put to bed at around 10pm - we didn't last much longer!
In the morning I took apart at the waistband and side seams the jeans I made for my nephew Zach - I rang my sister-in-law, who told me that his waist was 51cm - not the normal 63cm I'd catered for! I redid the side seams and reattached the waist AND added elastic to the back waist, finally getting them to approximately the right size. That's the last I want to see of those pants!!
We headed round to my brother Jim and sister-in-law Jacinta's place in the afternoon so Romily could see her four cousins again. They had a lovely afternoon playing together, along with my cousin's daughter and a one-year-old girl, the daughter of my brother's friends. The kids all played tea parties and dress-ups while the adults had coffee and cake. It was the most gorgeous day and so lovely to spend it relaxing with family.
After a quiet night in at my parents' house, the lot of us headed off to the Melbourne Zoo on Sunday to celebrate my twin nephews' 2nd birthday. Darcy and Cody are just gorgeous - non-identical but oh so similar! We had a great morning, followed by lunch and a cake. My other brother Bill and his partner Kate came too. Romily and her 4-year-old cousin Sam adore each other and held hands for a good deal of the time - which was great, as it meant our little bolter was less inclined to run off (again and again and again). She was very taken with the elephants, who have the most incredible enclosures - they are moved around quite a bit and have huge areas with swimming pools, piles of dirt to roll around in, toys to play with and a great 'elephant wash'. The elephants came from Thailand recently, where they had been working elephants. They are living the high life now in their retirement.
The transformation of the Melbourne Zoo over the past 20 years is simply stunning. Gone are the horrible cages of yesteryear and now all the enclosures are much more closely modelled on the animals' natural habitat. If there has to be a zoo, it should be this kind. I'm still in two minds as to whether there should be zoos, but I think they do serve an important educational service. I think. I'd much rather see no animal locked up, but the reality is that they are. If they are, then they should all be looked after so well.
Darcy and Uncle Bill
We had a quiet afternoon back at my parents' place before brother and sister-in-law brought their four boys around for dinner. All the kids really enjoyed seeing each other and I enjoyed being with my family again. It's hard being so far away, but it's great when we're all together.
We drove back yesterday, taking around eight and a half hours. Bashka was VERY happy to see us when we picked him up from the cat boarding place and has been the biggest sook since then.
It is nice to be back home again.