One of the problems with flying to New Zealand from the UK is that it is roughly 27 hours of flying. You can do these hours a number of ways, including, I believe, doing one straight shot, but you know that for about half those hours you are going to have some truly awful sleep. With my kids, those are not the hours I worry about. It’s all the other hours that they are awake and tired and so bored that not even an endless stream of movies will maintain their attention. Cue the meltdowns and the administering of too many sweets in an effort to placate. I would now like to bore you with how I plan to get through the 45 hours of travel that we will be doing very soon because I think I am onto something here and I want to put myself in the vulnerable position of bragging about my plan before carrying it out with completely unpredictable results. OK. So we leave Aberdeen at 6am and arrive in Paris at 9am where we will have 11 hours before heading off again. For most of those 11 hours we intend to hike about the city in winter weather, stopping for pain au chocolat and coffee every 90 minutes or so. We will probably make our way to Centre Pompidou to use the toilet, put up our feet, and take in some art and culture (oooh, like a retrospective of one of my favourite architects, Tadao Ando). We will stop at a produce market to buy lots of crunchy vegetables (this is what I always crave on flights) to eat on the subsequent flights. We will all be sufficiently worn out that when we get on the 2nd flight we will fall asleep for the entire 12 hour journey to Changi airport in Singapore. We will be at Changi for roughly 7 hours. My sister bought it to my attention this week that Changi airport has completely dressed itself up in Harry Potter theme for Christmas. This is very exciting to exactly 50% of my family who are currently reading these books, but not quite so exciting to the other 50% who have not read these books. The latter group will spend their time eating noodle soup, swimming in the outdoor pool, and visiting the butterfly garden. Regardless, all persons shall remain upright and moving and will spend no less than 4 hours of their time at Changi outside. See what will happen? By the time we get on the third flight–another 12 hour stretch to Auckland–we will be ready for settling in for another night of sleep. So that is my plan. It doesn’t prepare us in any way for jet lag, but it does get us through what could be a rather torturous time (and may in fact be even more torturous if no-one sleeps and everyone is physically exhausted, but I am not letting my thoughts go there). I’ll let you know how it goes. Oh, one other thing. Even though I know it benefits other passengers for families to board flights first, nothing has ever made less sense to me. That is at least another 1/2 hour for kids to sit (and often even longer, given how often flights are delayed), which brings everyone 1/2 hour closer to unpredictable potentials. However, my life partner seems very committed to boarding first (things like this remind me that he will always contain an element of mystery for me–how to keep things spicy, I guess), so we will have this discussion as we always do, in the waiting area by the gate. I have never won this battle, but I am hoping I will next time.
I went to London last weekend to spend a couple of days with a dear friend. I didn’t take a single photo while I was there (a sign that I was immersed in lovely conversation most of the time), but my friend did give me a fun book of nonsense poetry by Matthew the Horse that I read cover-to-cover. You can see some of his work here.
The picture above is one toy from my childhood that I cannot bear to part with. Mickey. Obviously. He has bought me a lot of comfort, has a lovely cuddly figure, and has recently given S. a lot of hugs too. Poor S. has had an rough few weeks–he is on his second virus, the last one was a week-long stomach flu type thing which made me sad, bad, and then mad. The week before that I had to take him to hospital because I jammed his little toe in the hinge side of the living room door. What a mess that was. And just a few days earlier, in another door-related incident, he locked himself into our freezing little out-house-esque toilet using the bolt-style lock. That was very traumatic, mostly because he learned that he could not get under the door through the 5mm gap. The moment he was liberated, he picked up the phone to call none other than… the Gingerbread Man. Since that morning, the Gingerbread Man has received a great number of calls. They often go something like this: ‘Hello, Gingerbread Man? Yes. Uh huh. Stuck in toilet. Mum pushed cookie under door. Dad broke door. Stickers in hospital. Yeah. Yeah. OK. Wearing blue jumper. OK. Bye.’ I guess the Gingerbread Man moonlights as a therapist. Sometimes, S. informs me that Gingerbread Man is at a cafe. ‘Oh no, this won’t end well’, I think to myself. But then it turns out Gingerbread Man is drinking coffee and eating a scone. That’s creepy, right?