Anyhoo, don't go visiting Mauz just yet. I've got stuff to tell you!
As I mentioned in my last post, we decided to partake of a little Barraclough-style therapy and head up the coast for a week with our two youngest kids. It's been quite a year, with the death of my beloved mother in law in March being the lowest point, and some other issues that we will just put under the heading of "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger (and Drunker)".
We also discovered that there is a juvenile equivalent to the Fat, Forty & Fired mid-life crisis that some men go through. It's called Nine, Nervous & Not Quite Right and our Jack was the poster boy. But instead of solving it by getting him a younger wife and a Ferrari, we loaded up the car with fishing gear, surfboards and Minties and went to Crescent Head.
Apparently, this can be a tough time for boys. Who knew? But doing a bit of reading and talking to other mums of nine year old boys, there are some common themes. Transitioning into middle primary school, where the workload is ramped up, mixed with a little hormonal action and a whole lot of the chest-beating alpha male stuff that goes along with it left our fella with some very real physical symptoms that, after numerous trips to the doctor and various tests, can now be attributed to anxiety. Because when we took him out of school and up the coast, the symptoms - crippling stomach cramps and a persistent vocal tic (a sort of grunting hum littering his speech) that had both plagued him for six months - disappeared in 24 hours.
I'm now wondering if my crippling case of procrastination on 'work' days could potentially be solved by a trip to Florence. I'm thinking YES.
But I digress.
Crescent Head is one of those tiny coastal hamlets somewhere on the Australian coast, boasting a pub, a club, a butcher, a baker but, as far as I know, no candlestick makers. You can, however, get a decent Thai meal at the local motel and the chemist does a good line in buckets, spades and other colourful sand moving equipment. You can play tennis or barefoot bowls, and there's a fab little 6 hole golf course on the headland that will have you teeing off the edge of a crevasse while the rolling swell of the Pacific belts into the hard slate walls of the rocky inlet way below. Many a golf ball has been sacrificed to the briny below that crevasse and I can imagine whole cities built of bleached white golf balls by the sea creatures that live there.
The main attraction, however, is the beach. It has, so they tell me, a totally bodacious surf break, full of bangin' bad ass barrels and rad right-handers that go on forever. Man.
(Wow, see that? I totally channeled a Californian Rastafarian just then)
But what I really love about the beach is the lagoon. With its little pools and sandy edges, it's toddler heaven and protected by the fiercer easterlies. Then when the tide turns and the water rushes in from the ocean, everyone jumps into the middle of the swelling lagoon to be swept upstream to the upper reaches of Killick Creek - a great spot to hang out as the sun goes down and throw a line into the middle of a school of bream. We did that and Jack caught the first fish. I hunt! I am male! Hear me roar!
As far as your eye can see to the north, it's just miles of wild, uninterrupted beachscape - broad blonde sand dunes and scrubby trees against a backdrop of low-rise mountains. Classic Aussie coast.
We spent hours on the beach every day, ate flaky fresh vanilla slices at the bakery, drank G&Ts on the barefoot bowling green and dined out most nights. Nearly every day we all ended up in the spa together with Francesca playing baristas, making us 'chinos' at the tap by jooshing the 'milk' in a plastic jug. (Does our daughter spend too much time in cafes? Don't be silly. But while the other kids are making cups of tea, she does a fairly mean double macchiato. Just saying.)
John and I tag teamed on kid duty so we could get some time alone; he went for surfs and massages, I ran down the golf greens, did yoga every day and read three novels.
But the best thing of all was that Jack, our gorgeous blue eyed boy, found his mojo and we couldn't have asked for more.
Embarrassing Side Note:
As the only photographer on the holiday, there is only one picture of me. Somehow, and certainly not on purpose, I've managed to give my unflatteringly shaped shadow a fancy little bikini wax. That's what you get for trying to be arty!