By Vita Forest
We have just returned from a short trip to the Blue Mountains. As I explained to one of my work colleagues a few weeks back, there were
“3 Mums, 6 children, 1 dog, 1 holiday house…”
She looked frightened, “It sounds like a horror movie,” she said.
But it didn’t turn out that way.
The Dream and the Reality
The Blue Mountains…when I was quite small, I had been excited about going on a trip to the Blue Mountains, the thing that had struck me was the word “blue”. I had imagined blue trees, blue grass, blue people… I had even drawn a picture of my expectations which my Mum has kept somewhere (no doubt to have a good laugh over when they feel the need). You can imagine my disappointment at my actual visit, but I do not feel like that now.
It was quite an operation for Vastra, Saskia and I to find a suitable date that suited our children, us, our exes (and probably our exes’ new wives and partners and THEIR exes. Life is very complicated.) At last we came up with a three day window of opportunity and Vastra found us a big five bedroom holiday house in Katoomba. We walked, played cards, read, cooked and talked. The children walked, played cards, fought, complained, ate, chased each other and SHOUTED. During one of their games (all of which produced blood-curdling screams as they raced around outside), the girl-next-door Katie popped her head over the fence to see if someone was in fact being murdered, or if it was all in fun. She was invited to join them and agreed. Katie mentioned that earlier in the day, her Dad had been rushed to hospital as he had cut his arm with a chainsaw… But he was OK. We had missed that excitement.
We had been out walking. The deal was that we would go on a walk in the morning, and in the afternoon we would go to Leura to The Candy Store, a shop infamous to children everywhere. And so we had walked along the cliff top tracks to Echo Point, getting lost a couple of times on the way (but seeing scarlet and green king parrots and a waratah bush in full bloom – who would want to miss that? Us! shouted the kids). We had seen the waterfall at Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters, and misty views over the valley due to the rain that fell at times (but did not sway us from our purpose, much to the children’s annoyance).
We returned to the house for lunch, and then it was time to make good on the whole candy promise. The kids were outraged to find we intended to walk to Leura too (one walk a day is more than enough apparently). Grudgingly they trailed along, lured by the promise of pocket money to spend at the other end.
We saw more king parrots, blossom trees, rhododendrons and magnolia flowers. We walked up and down some large hills, past some pretty weatherboard houses, through a shady gully and up another steep hill, before arriving on the main strip at Leura. When they recognised their surroundings, the kids raced ahead like a pack of hounds catching the scent of a fox. It took a great deal of time and discussion before their final purchases were made and we were able to move on. Vastra looked up the train timetable and discovered there was not going to be time to go to the candle shop and make the next train. Howls of indignation were heard from some of the younger members of the party at the audacity of the adults wanting to look at a shop too. How dare we?!
The adults decided that we would walk back through the pleasant hilly streets. We WOULD NOT wait an hour for the three minute train trip. The kids quickly conferenced and decided they WOULD.
And so it was that we came to spend a peaceful hour having a delightful walk, even stopping to admire a specimen of white waratah that we had failed to notice previously due to the distractions of various bickering siblings.
A good time was had by all.