Departing from Gate 58

by mutteringhousewife

Half an hour to departure. I have deserted my children for two weeks to go to a dinner in Turkey. Oh, I'm sure they'll be fine, the grandparents are staying over and doing the extreme driving. I've left a page a day diary for them, what could possibly go wrong. All the kids have is a birthday party, a chapel service, an eisteddfod, Supanova, choirs, bands, tennis, basketball, Pirates of Penzance rehearsal, a learning showcase and about seventeen games of soccer. Plus the pool is being acid washed – not just for jeans! Apparently research shows that all of this will vastly reduce the grandparents' chances of getting Alzheimer's (thanks Kath!), so we're doing them a favour really.

I've left four kilos of chicken schnitzel in the freezer. I've also shown the kids how to defrost and cook it, they also now know the phone password for the smoke alarm monitoring service. I made four batches of biscuits over the weekend, but it was a long weekend and there was a teenage sleepover, so I had to spend yesterday evening making them again. Plus a jam slice. I made marmalade for my father in law and mixed berry jam for the Moose. I bought salami and Turkish bread for the Horror and shouted at the Muffet until she disgorged all of her dirty clothes so I could wash them. I also washed all the sheets and towels. My conscience is clear.

For the first time ever we are travelling with a tour. It's weird for us, the husband is used to doing months, sometimes years of research, torturing himself by obsessively watching Webjet to see if there's a cheaper airline than China Southern. Looking through Tripadvisor, reading travel guides, he likes to be prepared. Not this time. The dinner we're going to is the hundredth Waterloo Dinner. One hundred years ago the engineers at Anzac Cove finished building a jetty, noted that it was the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and held a dinner in a dugout to celebrate. Army engineers have celebrated the dinner ever since, in fact the husband was at a Waterloo Dinner the night before I started giving birth to the Moose. So a posse of engineers organised this tour to mark the hundredth anniversary of this dinner. Apparently the original plan was to have the dinner actually on Anzac Cove, but there's about a hundred of us going and the logistics were too much even for the engineers. So we're having it at a nearby hotel, it's for this dinner I made the necklace in the previous blog.

Don't worry, there has been some preparation. Five days of the tour will be on the battlefields, so I had to read Les Carlyon's excellent work on Gallipoli, it was a gripping read and I highly recommend it. I've also had a crack at reading a book on the history of Constantinople, but I keep falling asleep after getting through another couple of pages of the Sultan oppressing the peasants, and everyone is called Mehmet. I'll have to have another go at it on the plane.

And I've been trying to teach myself Turkish with an app called Duolingo. Sometimes I think I'm getting somewhere, most of the time I'm just depressed that there's another word I'm going to forget in an hour or two. It's not close to European languages at all, so I was starting from scratch. I'd like there to be Duolingo for tourists, I can't help but feel that knowing how to say we haven't got any elephants (Biz filler yok, actually, no I can't remember how to say that) is not going to help me very much. I do hope to run into some turtles (kaplumbaga!). But all the bits that modify words tack onto the ends, and not always predictably, and I can't hear the g with a thingo on it, and it's all a bit gruelling. I don't want to have to use tuvalet orumcek var (the toilet has a spider), I'm just hoping that lots of lutfen and tesekkurler ederim will get me sufficient brownie points to be going on with.

OK, time for boarding. I'm actually rather looking forward to just sitting, watching some movies, roughing out my numeracy lecture, doing some crochet (don't worry, the plastic hook got through the checkpoint. The different perspective that motherhood gives one. All I've got to do is think of a way of avoiding the husband draping his giant legs on me and I'll have a lovely time. Don't tell me if my children are involved in any kind of anything, I don't want to know until I'm back.

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