The bickering started at Heathrow. Actually, it started on the way to Heathrow, a low hum that I’ve largely learned to tune out but which occasionally breaks through the insouciance and reminds me that I’ve got 4 kids who essentially can’t stand each other.
Exaggeration. They can stand each other in short bursts. But it turns out a long haul flight followed by 6 weeks of travel isn’t short. Or bursty. Oh joy.
So Day 1 of the much vaunted Knight family trip was always going to be tense. But try making that travel day the last day of term for 4 children in 3 different schools. And then see that chaos and raise yourself a whole feckload of pandemonium in the shape of a house-move on top. There was a point on Wednesday 12th July 2017 when I actually took a step back (spatially: mentally, I took a bus back in time and hired a sun lounger) and did a massive belly laugh at the utter absurdity of it. We were looking for Eddie’s BeeBees (sheep-shaped pyjama cases bought for my daughters by mum, unloved, placed in Eddie’s cot as a baby, almost at random, instantly adopted as the most important items in his life, still occupying that position) and it got to the point where we were ripping open just-packed boxes of stuff, rifling through them, then lamely trying to re-tape them up. It was INSANIA.
I was leaving Jamie’s ‘end of term Heath Picnic’ when Adam called and ordered me to Jamie’s bedroom and said ‘go through every box – we must find them’ (in fact, put that sentence in caps lock and say it like TRAILER MAN and you’ve got a glimpse of how desperate he sounded). I did just that, I’m not mental. You don’t refuse Adam at the best of times, but on the equivalent of Independence Day – especially not. I went back to Stormont Road and spoke to skinny malingy the moving guy and we went through every box. This was the final possible room they could’ve been in when it was packed. I ‘thought outside the box’ (quite literally mate) and rang Adam suggesting Ching might know. Ching is our Filipino housekeeper and she has extremely eccentric principles when it comes to organising/storing our things. Adam agreed we should ask. We both tried to call. She answered neither call (as is her wont). I set off to walk to the rental house, in the stultifying heat, resignedly thinking of a story about how the BeeBees needed to be in London to ‘keep Nana happy’ and we would be best served taking the standby sheep instead.
Just then, Adam called. ‘Turn round’.. ‘What?’… ‘Turn round, go back to Stormont…’ ‘Why?’ “They’re in the tumble dryer’.
Ching had washed them and put them in the dryer, without telling anyone, then left for the Philippines. Yes. I went purple with rage. But also relief.
That picture you can see above is Eddie on his speedy cabin baggage shark scooter and isn’t it just the coolest? He’s racing down the outdoor corridor at The Wallawa in Colombo. We arrived at 3pm on Thursday. But the coolest part of it, is that inside the sharky-scooty thing in the picture, there are TWO BEEBIES. And frankly, they’re the most important thing we’ve brought with us by FAR.