We were all awake fairly early Wednesday morning, even by our standards. The kids were super excited, fair enough. Who likes sleep anyway? Wednesday was the big day of departure. Lachlan was firing on all cylinders, he smashed three and a half Weet-Bix for breakfast then wrestled his Big Sister to the ground.
A massive thank you to Janet who dropped us all off at the airport Wednesday morning. It was time to get this show on the road, or should we say, into the sky. It was going to be another massive one. We had been lucky to have a fun family snow day last week and even luckier that there was time for the snow and ice to melt before our flight. There are big strikes planned across a number of major UK airports, including Glasgow, over Christmas, we had to get out. “Border Force staff are going on strike for eight days over Christmas at Heathrow, Gatwick and several other airports, the PCS union has announced”.
It was suitcase rides for the kids as we made our way to check in everything including the kitchen sink. Eloise was even prepared in case there was a situation that required an emergency pirate.
Crazy to think when we left Australia on our wild family adventure the kids looked like the below picture. When the family first took on the world: Eloise was 1.8 years old and has now spent 44.4% of her life bugging Emma and Juju. Lachlan was only 0.2 years young and has now spent 86.4% of his life eating haggis.
After gobbling down an early lunch we packed into what looked like the world’s oldest 777-300ER. As we were boarding our first plane, Eloise asked if we had been to Australia before. We lucked out with the bassinet seats but there was no chance that Lachlan would fit and come on, let’s be honest, he was not going to sit still in the aircraft bassinet. Lachlan made a dash for the cockpit, at least he is predictable. The good news here is that the kids had a bit of room to stretch their legs. Eloise could not believe her luck when she was served a second lunch. The engine noise did the trick and Lachlan was asleep in no time.
Somewhat concerningly, the nap only lasted him an hour, but he was still in good spirits. The day suddenly got even better for Lachlan when he realised at 35 thousand feet somewhere above Germany he still had access to his beloved Baby Shark.
Eventually, the lights went out and Lachlan came alive. A bit of a handful for dinner, but he got some down and then it was movie and surprise cake time with Big Sister.
Eloise happily entertained herself with sticker books, plural, the majority of the first leg. She had not slept, but we hoped the planets would align for the second leg. Admittedly we were hoping Lachlan would have caught a few more zzzs before we landed in Dubai, however, Lachlan had other plans, he wanted to arrive in style. The train surfer had levelled up.
Just after midnight on Thursday, we touched down in Dubai. Thankfully there were Emirates prams waiting for us. Eloise got a real thrill getting to test drive some new wheels, she loved the colour. Poor Lachlan was extremely tired at this stage and it was comfortable enough for a quick snooze.
As soon as we had navigated our transfer to the next gate, Eloise requested an Irn-Bru, probably a poor reflection of our parenting. She is doing the Scots proud. We haven’t told her she cannot get the real stuff in Australia.
Three hours later we were on another 777-300ER, where we all managed a much-needed six hours of sleep. As we descended and Eloise opened the window, she was ecstatic to declare “it’s snowing”, it was not, it was almost 30°C, “they are clouds Eloise”. Then just like that, we were in Denpasar, Bali and the time was God knows what, Thursday evening.
We juggled another transfer, why did we bring so many bags? We had plenty of time because our third flight was delayed a couple of hours due to a thunderstorm in Melbourne, Eloise brought an ice cream, strawberry of course, for 50,000 IDR. Lachlan was keen to try out Indonesian cuisine, but ‘no dairy’ made it challenging.
Just after midnight, Central Indonesian Time, we took to the skies for our third flight to Melbourne in an A321-NEO. An interesting flight, well not really, the flight itself was quite boring, but an interesting twist. Turns out there was still a storm in Melbourne, we circled for an extra hour, just what we needed. The Captain eventually broke the bad and good news. The bad news was it was too dangerous to land in Melbourne and we were running out of fuel. The good news was we were redirected to Adelaide. The Victorians all cheered with excitement, not.
It had certainly taken longer than 25 hours to get to Adelaide, but we had made it ‘home’. We were back in the country of law and order, cheap fuel, Dollarbucks and Jo’s beloved Vegemite. We were relieved we managed to skip an eight-hour layover in Melbourne and a fourth flight. For our UK friends, Australia is big, so this was an equally big deal!
At the Adelaide International Arrivals Gate, we were emotionally greeted by some friendly faces who were well overdue a couple of hugs. Our special taxi driver was not far behind.
Becca had everything sorted, and Lachlan lucked out with his first forward-facing car seat. He was a bit unsure about Becca and stared at her the whole car trip. Eloise happily sang her favourite songs in the back trying to get Becca to join in.
At Nali and Granda DAVE’S house, there were grandma hugs flying left right and centre. The day was getting out of control, you could have mistaken it for Christmas, the grandchildren were showered in gifts. Although to be fair, most of them were belated birthday presents.
Aunty Liv and cousin Xavier rocked up, how fantastic it was to see them, he is massive, an absolute unit, Xavier has clearly been hitting the gym. It was adorable seeing the cousins reunited.
Granda DAVE then fired up the mother of all babyccino machines and Lachlan placed his double order.
We then made the drive up to Grandma and Grandpa Nicholls, dodging Koalas along the way.
Out of nowhere, a third aunty wildly appeared. Eloise was quick to cuddle up to Amy, Lachlan was testing the waters taking today one hug at a time. Then all of a sudden DELILLLLAHHHH came bounding up to the fence. Our fifth family member, thankfully she had forgiven us for leaving her behind. Lachlan was unsure about Delilah but slowly warmed up to her throughout the day.
The kids had been disappointed we had not cut down a Christmas tree this year, luckily there was a wee one for Eloise to decorate in the afternoon. She must have been excited because there was no afternoon nap.
We were rapidly fading but it was lovely having all the family together for dinner, our first real Aussie BBQ in a long long time. Xavier was having a blast, he confused the garden bed with a swimming pool.