Saturday, April 19, 2014

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside

My girls and I got back on Thursday afternoon from a 4-day break at Merricks, on the Mornington Peninsula, with my longtime friend J and her two children.

Both families were sans dads, as both the spouses had to work this week, but with two adults to share the "parenting", and five children who love each other and play very well together, it was an awesome little holiday all the same.

Our kids line up beautifully in age - my girls are 10.5, almost 9 and 5, while J's kids are almost 10 (girl) and 4.5 (boy). They have all known each other since birth and are as close as cousins (indeed, my girls consider M and X to *be* their cousins, although this does somewhat militate against my 5-year-old's fixed plan to marry X and live in a cave in the wild where she will be a vet and a rock star and make friends with all the animals ;-)

We were so incredibly lucky with the weather - in the first week of the school holidays it rained more or less constantly, but literally THE DAY BEFORE we were due to leave for the beach, autumnal Victoria finished her cry and put on a happy face, full of crisp mornings and gentle warm afternoons (and not a spot of rain in sight).

This meant, among other things, that we were able to get to beach not once but twice, something that I was honestly not expecting at this time of the year. Merricks Beach is perfect for kids - rockpools to explore, a lovely vast sandy expanse to play ball in and build sandcastles, and ankle-deep water a fair way out to paddle in. (Yes, paddle ... I thought them mad, but they all wanted to!)

I can imagine it would be lovely swimming beach in summer, but sunshine notwithstanding, it was definitely too cold for immersion in April.

We also made it to the Enchanted Adventure Garden in Arthurs Seat, a sort of omnibus maze / garden / rope climbing / tyre sliding multi-purpose activity centre. I was expecting kitschy so was surprised - and delighted - to find it beautiful. The gardens are immaculate and meticulously planned, and the autumn blooms were out in full force. We particularly enjoyed the in-maze game of snakes and ladders embedded into the ground, and spotting the animal statues.

The mazes themselves would've kept the kids busy for a day, but my eldest and my friend's daughter also wanted to do the treetop ropes course. I was massively uncertain about whether this was a good idea for my A, who can be very nervous of both heights and new experiences, but she insisted she wanted to try, so I let her.

As it turned out she did indeed have a panic when it came time to go up, but she faced down her fears and completed the course. I couldn't be prouder of her.

The next day we didn't push it so hard, partly because my nearly-9 wasn't well, and partly because a lazier day seemed in order. We did get to the strawberry farm for berry picking, treat eating and strawberry-themed alcohol purchasing, which was rather nice.

Another friend of J's met us at the strawberry farm with her two kids and we all repaired back to the house for an afternoon / evening of rest (for nearly-9), nonstop outdoor play (for 5 and 4 year olds), mixed play and giggling (for the other three), and cheese / olive / grape eating with cider tasting (for the three adults!)

All 10 of us then went out for dinner to the Pig and Whistle, a little pub in Main Ridge. On the drive back to Merricks, I saw a sizeable object in the middle of the road and slowed down to miss it; only when we were nearly upon it did I realise, to my astonishment, that it was an adult koala, sitting immobile in the dead centre of the road, thoughtfully chewing a leaf. We all hope it deigned to move before a speedier vehicle came tearing down the road.

Saying goodbye to our friends on Thursday, we drove home to Melbourne. The kids (and I!) were happy to see their dad, of course, and are looking forward to Easter Day tomorrow. Nonetheless, we all feel that we squeezed the juice out of our little holiday, and for me especially, it was sorely, sorely needed and hugely appreciated after having been very stressed and quite ill in March and April.

Note: I asked for, and received, my daughters' permission to post the above photograph to this blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment