The idea of returning to Australia for a holiday was far from my mind until six months ago when my parents told me that they would be visiting my sister and her family in Melbourne this month. That got me thinking that it would be a nice idea to meet up with everyone for a bit of a family reunion. After that everything fell into place and I managed to get the time off work and on March 16 I met up with them all.
The main reason my parents go to Australia every year is to see their grandchildren and having seen sister Lorna’s son George over Christmas I was eager to get acquainted with elder sister Ruth’s kids for the first time. Of course I had seen my nephew Eifion just after he was born in 2007 and again at Lorna’s wedding one year later but that was before he could talk or walk so didn’t really count so much in the scheme of things. My niece Anesta had only been seen previously on Skype and I hadn’t spoken to her in any way. Its fair to say that that didn’t change too much during my time in Melbourne as she was very wary of me and my dad too albeit to a lesser extent with him. That’s not to say that it was bad but it took her a while to warm to us though she was curious about me from the start and did often ask of my whereabouts after that. By the end of my time at their house she had just about got used to me.
A fair bit of the time I was in Melbourne was spent playing with the kids in the house with their many toys as well as some of the ones I bought for them with the whoopee cushion (and its fart sounds) being the inevitable favourite. On top of these juvenile things we also did a few things as a family which included:
* Taking a walk in the woods somewhere down on the Mornington Peninsula – I never bothered to visit this area during any of my previous visits to Melbourne not that we really saw too much of it on this first family trip of the holidays.
* Watching ‘The Wiggles‘ live in Frankston – This is a very popular group of ageing children’s entertainers who wear coloured jumpers and dance and sing. Their show was a slick production which kept the many children and the grown-ups entertained for its 75 minute duration. We went to a nearby park after and then onto lunch by the beach with some of their songs sticking in my head way beyond this one day!
* Riding on Puffing Billy Railway in the Dandenongs – This is in the very northern part of Melbourne and was a good place to take the kids due to the amount of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine‘ related stuff on show. We took a short ride amid on-off showers on what is one of the worlds most popular steam heritage railways. Thankfully the weather improved afterwards for our picnic in the park.
* Having a farewell dinner at a very child-friendly Italian restaurant.