Saying danke went a long way if someone held a door for you or similar, although R got caught out when after saying danke at some point, and was then spoken to in German.
Well, two paragraphs and you don't even know this is about Little Jo's 10th birthday. I needed cold weather gear as we were going to be outside in the cold for hours.
We went to Anakie Fairy Park to celebrate Little Jo's birthday. As I said to Ex Sis in Law on the day, I will slap the first person who makes a fairy joke at my expense. I slapped myself as I made a joke and no one else did. Just warning you though.
When driving there I had my usual fight with Madame GPS (a name stolen from Gattina), and consequently R telling me off for not following her directions. Ultimately her directions weren't so bad, but I preferred Google Maps directions and I thought I had memorised the directions, but I had not. After Madame GPS pronouncing umpteen times, recalculating route, I pulled over and reset the Madame. I really don't know what to do with Madame GPS. She recently got it so wrong and made a drive much more complicated than it needed to be, but this time she made an uncomplicated route and I did not listen. Perhaps I should revert to paper maps.
We were only ten minutes late arriving and Sister and birthday girl Little Jo were already there. Bone Doctor was on call this day and stayed at home, and probably enjoyed the solitude. Soon after Oldest Niece and her partner with Little M and Little Em arrived, and then Tradie Brother and his beloved dog Cobber, then his former wife, Ex Sis in Law with Firefighting Nephew and Hippie Niece. It would have been four hours of driving there and back for ABI Brother and Mother, so they did not come and the paths are too steep to even push Mother around in a wheelchair.
Sister told me there are quite a number of negative reviews of the park online. I don't know why. I thought it was fantastic. Yes, at times phones were out, but mostly for taking photos and only by adults. Kids forgot all the technology they have at home or carry with them and enjoyed the park immensely.
It was a great family get together in the freezing cold of maybe 12 degrees and with a cold wind blowing.
The day before Hippie Niece had a bit of a meltdown and called her care team, CAT maybe. They told her that as she had called them, they would need to visit her the next day. Ex Sis in Law called them back and said no, make it Monday. She is going on a family outing tomorrow and it will be good for her, and I think it was. There were shadows of her former self appearing, as well they might when she is not caring for her two twin daughters. Even her care team is putting pressure on her to get into routines. Her mother makes sure she goes out for a walk shortly after she gets up in the morning.
The easiest to care for one was with her father and she had diarrhea and Ex Sis in Law's husband was caring for the other who had bronchitis. We gave Ex Sis in Law $500 to share with Hippie Niece's father for expenses. It was going to be $1000, but the Scottish blooded me pulled it back. We may give them a bit more money down the track. Apparently baby formula is very expensive. Finally the rich gay uncle's came through. Ex Sis in Law's reaction was almost like they were expecting it. Well, I thought, they should get up at 4 in the morning or be out working until 3am in a crap job, and just do that for 38 years and they might have some money of their own. Ok, I am being unfair, Ex Sis in Law has always worked hard, but I do get annoyed at times at people's assumptions that we are rich. Even the much more sympathetic R has become a little cross with Hippie Niece for neglecting her daughters, only mentioning it to me. Yes, I am sure it is difficult looking after newborn twins, perhaps boring and stultifying at times. Loss of sleep must make you cranky and constantly tired, but you know, women have been doing this for a long time, and HN's partner is struggling too, but doing his bit with one child to care for. But, as I said to R, she does really have mental health problems. One of the drugs she is taking has a side effect of being an appetite stimulant, so she has put on weight too.
Anyway, the Fairy Park was just brilliant and we had a lovely day. Sister brought along a lot of sausages which went on the barbeque to be served with bread or rolls with lots of tomato sauce. As usual, the plain beef supermarket sausages were favoured by all over the lamb and rosemary and chicken. There were plenty of nibbles and sandwiches and soft drink.
We met at 10.30, another reason for Mother to not come (she likes to arrive at about 1pm), and it meant we finished early and were home not long after 3.00.
It used to be that the animated displayed operated by coin in the slot and there wasn't an entrance fee. Now there is an entrance fee and no coin in the slot operation.
These taps, about six of them, operate different water jets in the fountain above.
On a warmer day the place must get packed. It was the last day of school holidays and the park was then closing for maintenance for a couple of months.
It was lovely to see the surrounding countryside.
There were so many animated fairy story telling displays that operated at the push of buttons.
That would be Jack up the beanstalk.
The site is very hilly and unsuitable for even wheelchairs. Because you only walk a short distance from one display to another, it is not tiring at all.
I am not sure which fairy tale this is about, with the ugly man hanging over the balcony.
Kids over 50 years old tried to splash each other with water by throwing into the wishing well twenty cent pieces with great force. The kids would be Sister and Tradie Brother. They are of a close age and get along well.
I said Puff, the Magic Dragon, not poof.
Hansel and Gretel.
They complain about wind farms spoiling views but not about telecommunication towers. Everyone on the land wants a nearby telecommunication tower.
A beauty asleep.
Of course kids can get on these critters. I'm not at all saying the park is unsafe but in these safety conscious days, there were plenty of ways for kids to injure themselves, if they so desired. It was good to see and I don't believe I heard one child crying that day, not even the ones I kicked out of the way to take photos.
One very funny thing was a rock looking tower about three metres tall and about a metre diameter at the base. On it was a button with a notice that said "Do not press". Oldest Niece went up and pressed the button and proclaimed that nothing happened. What she didn't see was fine jet of water come out the side of the tower and wet someone, who looked around to see where the water came from, expecting it came from an elevated castle wall above where kids were. Later we passed by again and I positioned myself so that a couple of us, not me of course, would be where the water jet came from. I told Oldest Niece to try the button again. She said, nothing will happen, and as she pressed, a water jet shot at her, not the people at the side. Very funny and it was only a little spray.
The arched shelter with many tables and chairs and a barbeque.
The birthday girl's cake. Automan ninjas or something like that.
A visitor after crumbs.
We could spot the sea some distance away. At the highest point there was a viewing telescope.
Some of the best photos of course had people in them, laughing and smiling happy people. It was a great day.