Here we are back on the lovely Central Coast. We had a good holiday, of course as usual there were days that will remain the highlights of the trip and not so good days like trying to have a picnic while it was blowing a gale at Palm Cove and going to lovely spots but without my camera. The camera worked for a while then gave up on life but Craig took a lot of photos and Shirl put the best ones on disc for me to bring home.
Overall we really enjoyed the experience and being with Shirley, Craig and family was a real joy. It was good we were able to mind Christopher the first week of Queensland school holidays too as Shirley could continue with her normal week. She and Craig took this Monday and Tuesday off to be with us and that was good too. That meant we got to go out three days in a row if you count our afternoon at the Lagoon, the swimming pool on the waterfront. The temp was 28 degrees (85 degrees), the water much less but we enjoyed it anyway. Ray got to sit in the water so felt he was a part of it all.
Ray travelled well. We coped really well with the journey up but the journey back was a bit of a nightmare as after we made a good flight back to Sydney and picked up our commuter shuttle we got caught the wrong side of the bushfires and our two hour trip from Sydney took six hours. However we got home safely and that is something we are thankful for.
While we were in Cairns Ray had some days when he seemed "out of it" but we worked around that. It was "into the car dear" and off we went to wherever the journey took us. In a way that was a "go with the flow" experience for me as mostly I was not in charge of the destination but just along for the ride. There was a park with a good amount of play equipment within easy walking distance so we took the kids there a few times. We also took Christopher to the movies to see "Underdog" which both Christopher and Ray enjoyed.
Cairns is a beautiful place but it is also a young person's paradise as it is a place for hiking, fishing, snorkelling, 4wheel driving etc. Young people are really well catered for with backpackers hostels and low budget accommodation abounding. There is always a demand for bar staff etc so short term employment is readily available and it is a mecca for travelling youth from all over the world. There were not a lot of older folk around although I saw several disabled people using scooters as we drove around the city. There are a few retirement villages but as it is quite hot most of the year people tend to go back down south to retire. Many of the people we met came from Sydney originally.
Was it worth it? There are a lot of hassles in taking a disabled person on vacation and that makes it more tiring I guess. In some of the photos Craig took I look about 100, and I probably felt like it some days too. I showered Ray in a tiny cubicle made smaller by an overlarge shower chair, I did up his medication in the room away from the kids, I did all I had to do for him as discreetly as possible. I cleaned up a few "accidents" luckily our daughter is understanding and kept the kids busy while I did so, she had also provided a matress protector which was good.
On the whole it was worth all the effort. The time with the little ones is invaluable. As you know from your own growing up time moves swiftly and the "oldies" can soon be just distant memories, a voice on the phone, a picture in the family album, to be real we need to be real close. Ray is not a great interactor now but if Naomi wanted attention she just joggled his knee until he looked at her. That was a great idea. We had fun, she and I, making bracelets and she now has quite a collection in her "jewel box". Christopher prefers hands on experiences like playing ball in the backyard or the walk to the park. We also did all the normal things like shopping, eating out and visiting the beauty spots so that was nice too.
Coming bacxk here was quite an experience, the weather has warmed up, the grass has grown, the potplants have more weeds than flowers. It is going to be a long, hot summer I suspect. So we missed the end of spring, short as it was this year, and I need to work on the garden and in "summerising" the house. Lots of hard work ahead I suspect.