So summer with the in-laws proved to be not so bad. Not so bad after all. In fact, both the Dutchman and I felt it was the best visit we and they have ever shared. After Christmas and the New Year we headed down to Venus Bay, on Victoria’s south Gippsland coast, where we rent a house every summer.
Thankfully we were there for the worst of the heat wave, cooped up in Melbourne for a week of 40+ would have tested even the cosiest of families. Friends also came down and stayed a few days so the Flipster had plenty of boogie-boarding buddies not to mention kids with which to play endless card games. There was also night swimming and of course regular trips to the new ice-cream shop.
Oma and Opa continued their daily mission to keep-Spike-happy with endless walks despite the high temperatures and we even found one day cool enough to take a walk through the tea trees at Point Smythe.
I came up with a recipe for home-made iced coffee from our stovetop that was so delicious we were all in danger of consuming a litre of coffee each per day, and also perfected my negroni recipe. Plus I finally got around to reading Jean Bobet’s Tomorrow We Ride, which had spent a winter languishing on my bedside table. With a list of achievements like that it is no wonder that the only other thing I seemed to manage was hours and hours of swimming and boogie-boarding.
We invited Oma and Opa to come and stay with us for December and January. It wasn’t even that long since their last visit, less than a year, but they’d had a miserable summer in the Netherlands, with both weather and health issues.
Their visits in the past have not always been totally-stress free, for either them or us, but I guess that’s just part and parcel of long-term visitors. Having people live in your home, or living in someone else’s home can be fraught with tension, space issues and long-running disputes about buying-the-wrong-cheese.
We always Skype on our Sunday evening, their Sunday morning, and overcome by that particular contentment peculiar to late sunday afternoons we offered to shout them their tickets if they wanted to spend the summer here. And they did.
After several years we know how to make these visits work. The Dutchman takes as much leave as possible, or at least ‘works from home’ and I escape to the studio as much as I need to for work. Trying to get work done at home with a house full of people doesn’t work for me.
We had a very relaxing lead up to the new year, with the Flipster happy to spend time hanging out with his Oma and Opa, even resurrecting his rusty Dutch.
We made our annual summer pilgrimage to the berry farm at King Lake and made bottles of raspberry cordial and icey poles from the left over sludge.
Oma decided to make olieballen for New Year, setting up in the backyard to avoid spattering the kitchen with oil.
And the Flipster made pizza bases.