If I pay do you want to go to Australia next week?
I think my response was a less polite version of Hells Yeah I do.
We were at dinner in Bubba Gump Piccadilly (My choice and yes one I heartily regret; service was awesome, cocktails were lethal, food was awful) with our friends V and A. V was heading to a mutual friends wedding in Melbourne, Australia the following Wednesday, returning the following Monday and A couldn’t go with her. Which was when he asked me if he paid did I want to go with V. The only reason I wasn’t going to the wedding is that the date was announced weeks after we had bought our tickets to Thailand and going to Australia 6 weeks before we left the country was not a terribly cost effective idea. But having given in my notice and at least 8 annual leave day to use before I left I hastily emailed my boss with apologies that I would be out for a few days, in Australia. Ha! Yes I am aware I am one lucky son of a gun.
I’ve never been to Australia, and honestly it has never been high on my list, beautiful as I was sure it was and now know it is, I wasn’t in such a rush to travel to a country where practically every living creature can kill you. I did always say I would only go if Jodie got married. Which now she was. V called Jodie’s mum and told her I was coming but to keep it secret from Jodie because we planned to surprise her when she collected V at the airport.
The response I received from everyone was amusement, healthy envy and ‘you are nuts and will be exhausted’ although why sitting on your bum on a plane for 24hrs should make you so exhausted I am not so sure.
Qantas delivered us to Melbourne on an almost empty plane so we spread out and slept arriving a little crumpled and slightly smelly the following evening. If you’ve ever watched any of those border control shows you will know Australia has some of the strictest entry requirements and customs restrictions of anywhere, so I had ticked every box just to be safe, they xrayed and returned the wooden box the wedding gift was in and we were on our way. V went through first and I followed a few minutes later, and as planned approached the hugging mass of Jodie, Nicole and V “excuse me, I think you’ve dropped some thing” Jodie looked up and stared at me with irritation for interrupting her moment, and then stared at me for a good minute, confusion then joy filling her face. I started crying, dear lord I am such a baby, squeeling, hugging and laughter followed before the hour drive to lovely Seaford where we were spending the first night.
We met the handsome Italian groom, his parents, the eccentrically charming wedding photographer www.erosgiordano.net shared a much needed glass of red and went to bed, where V spooned me and tucked her ice cube feet between my calves to keep warm.
On Friday we had a relaxed breakfast before decamping the bride to be, in laws, a room full of decorations and much booze to Merricks North Retreat http://www.wedshed.com.au/wedding_venues/merricks-north-retreat/ where we would be spending the rest of our stay.
The wedding ceremony itself was held in the rose garden at http://www.morningstarestate.com.au the sun, which had been hiding, came out and the ceremony was a romantics dream. I only cried once, when hugging Jodie’s dad who reminded me so much of my own that I couldn’t contain the sadness, V took me behind the bushes and snapped me out of it while the newly married groom snuck a cigarette and empathised nearly setting me off again. Group photo taken, Nicole, V and I raced back to Merricks North to light all the candles before any guests arrived. It was a beautiful day followed by a beautiful evening that not even torrential rain could dampen.
Many bottles of prosecco, several supermarket runs, more platonic V spooning, much love, laughter and cleaning up later we were, in the blink of an eye, on the way back to the airport for our journey home. We weren’t so lucky on the way back and were packed in like sardines (JHubz and I aren’t wealthy enough to travel business but have decided any flight over 7 hours has to be travelled premium but when you aren’t paying shutting your mouth and being grateful is always a winner).
I liked Australia, I’d like to go back with JHubz, everyone I met was incredibly friendly and welcoming and what I saw was beautiful and the food, the food was great. Getting to see Jodie marry her love and spending time with V was a real gift. Thank you A for making it happen Xx