Home. Back in ‘The Toon’.

I’ve recently returned to Darwin after a lovely little trip back home for just over 3 weeks. It was my first time back and seeing everyone after 18 months of being away *awww*. It feels like forever ago now and I was so busy while I was there that I didn’t know my arse from my elbow! I loved it and 3 weeks just wasn’t long enough!

I learned that nothing much has changed at home (apart from the size of girls’ lips – how did this happen??). It’s still the same…Newcastle is still freezing and grey more often than not; I still get fed ridiculous amounts of food from my Nana; my Mam and Dad still sit in the same positions on the settee every night; Julie (my cat) is still so bloody lush that I could squeeze her to bits; the fridge and cupboards are always full; everyone still drinks a good 3 or 4 cups of tea a day; my Mam still watches the soaps – and my Dad still hates it;  there is always wine in the house; Jeremy Kyle and his pleasant guests are still on the TV at 9.25 every morning… Not much has changed at all!

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A couple of months before my trip, I’d arranged with my Auntie (the famous Auntie Mavis) to surprise my Mam and Dad and turn up on their wedding anniversary – a week earlier than they were expecting me. Now, please bear in mind that her mouth is almost as big as mine and I think as a family, we are all proud that she managed to carry out the plans in total secret! Well done, Auntie Mavis!!! Anyway, I was really happy and excited about my surprise plan. I told them I was coming the week later, at Easter, but instead I would show up when they were out for a nice meal or something celebrating their wedding anniversary. You know what a normal couple would probably do… No. Typical of the Moses’, my Dad went away to play golf for the weekend with the lads. So romantic. They’d ruined my plan and didn’t even know about it! I decided to go ahead with that date anyway and surprise them separately. First off would be my Mam on the Saturday night that I arrive, then my Nana and Granddad on Sunday morning, followed by my Dad when he got back from golf at tea time. I got to do 3 surprises, so really it worked out better!

After a pretty much sleepless 24 hour journey on my own (Little Chrissy couldn’t get the time off work to come with me *sigh*), my two friends Holly and Lauren had arranged to pick me up from the airport. So, as I swanned through domestic departures at Newcastle after flying up from Heathrow, I noticed they weren’t there. I knew exactly where they would be. There they were, two idiots standing by the deserted international arrivals (even though I’d spoke to Holly when I was down in Heathrow) and trying to “hide” behind Greggs (which was disappointingly closed – I would have loved my first pasty). I was the one to surprise them by appearing behind them! It was so good to see them and within minutes I’d felt like I’d never even been away. Bickering with Holly like she is my annoying husband of 50 years and talking standard rubbish with them (the rubbish I really really missed). By the way, it was FREEZING!!!!

I was feeling pretty nervous about the first surprise but didn’t feel like I’d been away as we drove home. It was a very weird feeling!! I’m sure anyone returning home after a long stint away can relate to this feeling! I’ll cut to the chase anyway…I gave 3 surprises; and of course, they all said “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!” (several times in fact). My Mam – who by the way, was home alone on a Saturday night. This NEVER happens! What are the chances that she chose this night!? – she was in total shock when I swanned in the living room behind my Auntie and Uncle. It was great! The following day I got to surprise my Nana and Granddad – who was so surprised that she took off her glasses to look at me (LOLLLL) – just to make sure! Then my Dad later on in the day (when he came home in his checky golf attire) even shed a tear! My brother and even Julie (I’m sure) were shocked! Successful surprises and hats off to my Auntie Mavis for keeping the secret!

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So I was back home and it was lovely! It didn’t take long (I’d say 5 days) before I started putting on weight and struggled to fasten any of my trousers. A very good effort I think. I did eat a LOT! Italian, Indian, Chinese, PROPER fish and chips (most Aussie chippies use frozen chips *pppppffffft*) with batter obviously, pub meals… and not to mention all the home cooking by my Mam and Nana. I had a list for them of meals I wanted within those 3 weeks. There really is nothing like their cooking!! My Nana being the keen baker too, filled me with my favourites – scones (I LOVE SCONES), cakes, biscuits, the whack! No my diet at home wasn’t the most nutritional (it mainly consisted of a vicious cycle of prosecco and stodgy delights) but hey, I was on me holidays and now I’m back in Aus, I’m pining after it all! My Mam has always said that I’m my happiest when eating – True!

I didn’t realise how stressful it would be trying to arrange to meet up with people. Time flew by and I didn’t manage to see all of my friends but family time was my priority. I don’t even think I got to chill out! I was full of busy during the whole trip (apart from on my last weekend when I thought I was close to death from drinking gin) and I learned that I was a serious hoarder and wore some stupid clothes previously. I had to clear my room so my brother could move into it – only fair I suppose since I’m on the other side of the world (I’m still not happy about it really – it’s MY room)! Four wardrobes full of what can only be described as shite! I managed to keep just one wardrobe of stuff for when I do come back – the rest went to charity or the bin! It was a very time consuming task clearing out all of my things; finding things I’d forgot about and getting nostalgic, finding several ‘memory boxes’ that contained crap that I couldn’t even remember what the bloody memories were, laughing at myself for half of the stuff I had and trying clothes on that I wasn’t sure about keeping… I felt good after the clear out – long overdue! I also experienced all 4 seasons in those 3 and a bit weeks too. My first week back, HOLY SHIT, it was so bitter cold that it hurt and the big winter coat had to come out (and no, it wasn’t just me thinking this after coming back from the tropics)! After that first week, it gradually got warmer and brighter during the days. The week before I left, it even got up to 22 degrees! Seriously hot weather for the North of England.

I spent time with my favourite people as much as I could. Although, I didn’t have a car so that made it a pain in the arse sometimes! My Mam hosted A ‘girly’ night in the house (she secretly loves playing host) with my friends, her friends and they got to meet Kate, the lady who put me up in Australia so many times. She happened to be back home in Newcastle at the same time as me. A lot of wine was sank that night, a lot of extremely loud laughs were made and I got to see Lauren perform her usual ‘Proud Mary’ and Holly’s terrible but at the same time, simply outstanding rendition of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’. It was my first time seeing Swenton too since our travels in December and Rachael – my original Aussie wife who left Australia a whole year ago! There’s nothing like being surrounded by your best friends, who you can be your true self in front of (because they’re just as ridiculous as you are)!

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I mostly enjoyed the small things; like going to the coast for fish and chips with my Mam and Dad, followed by a drive down the coastal route before heading home. I was in the back of my Dad’s car and I felt like a kid again when we used to go on drives…and I’d get car sick! Going to my Nana and Grandad’s for dinner (lunch for the non-Geordies) and not really talking to them. Just sitting, eating (normally 2 courses) and watching Bargain Hunt! Something I’ve done for years!! Sitting with Julie curled up into a cute little black ball on my lap enjoying a stroke. I loved watching the derby game (Newcastle v Sunderland – a very important match for the Geordies) in a rowdy local pub with my best friends and my parents (I do have cool parents though). Unfortunately we lost and there were a lot of devastated men in that place (including my Dad) but I still loved the atmosphere regardless. Something I’d missed being away! Proper pubs, people who could understand what I was saying first time round and middle aged men swearing at a TV screen! *Happy face*

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Two of my oldest friends had babies while I was away. Probably the two most daft and unexpected of my friends to have kids but it was so canny to see them being Mams!!! Little Ronnie and Lewis, born only 4 months apart from each other. They’re both lush!! We had a few lovely little days together and I’m sure they both like their Auntie Laurie (woaw, I just had a wave of broodiness)! I’m not now.

One of the highlights of my trip home had to be the day my best friend Holly asked me, Hanna (Swenton), Lauren and Jess (Jeffrey) to be bridesmaids for her wedding in 2017. The greatest humans ever, obviously! She got engaged a year and a half ago in Aus, just after she surprised me in the airport when I arrived. I’d been expecting the question since but just thought she wasn’t going to ask at all since it had been so long since her engagement! As if she waited till I was home to ask us all though *smiley face* She did it in the perfect way too… It was Easter Sunday so we were already excited about the day ahead (all Geordie’s knows that the best days of the year in Newcastle are Bank Holiday Sundays). We went around to hers and walked in to be greeted by a glass of champagne by her fiance, Richard. I still didn’t click on about anything! We normally drink prosecco, so fizz was normal and I thought she was just being a good host. I lifted my head and on the wall was ‘WILL YOU BE MY BRIDESMAIDS??’ along with what can only be described as ‘exquisite’ pictures of us all in each corner. We were all BUZZING!!! Jess lives in London though, so we had to FaceTime her to ask. She started crying in the middle of the street (bless)! I cannot wait for the wedding!!! And the Hen Party!!! *Super massive smiley face*

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I had a weekend down in London too (see I told you I was full of busy) to stay with Jess as she moved there while I’d been away. What a glorious weekend that was! It was my first time in London properly. 27 and never swanned around like a proper tourist in my own capital! Oh well I did this time, big camera round my neck and everything! We managed to walk a full marathon throughout the duration of the weekend. It was exactly what I needed after 2 weeks of filling my face with anything I possibly could at home. Me, Holly and Sally started drinking on the 3 hour train journey down their at 9.30 in the morning. Not our wisest choice but it was inevitable that that would happen (despite promising to keep it for when we got there). It’s safe to say that we spent the rest of the day drunk with regular top-ups along the way in Notting Hill (I genuinely can’t remember where I went before that – but I do remember having the most amazing hot dog and we did a lot of walking)! According to Jess’ (official – Excel spreadsheet) schedule, we were supposed to head out to a bar after dinner at her flat that evening too. That didn’t happen. Bed.

The following day we walked over half a marathon (me stupidly in heeled boots). We were the ultimate tourists! So much so that we bought Union Jack hats – the kind Joey gets on Friends. Jeffrey planned it all so well that we saw pretty much all the sites. Hats off to Jeff (literally)! Starting the day with a Full English Breakfast and a Bloody Mary was magical (following yesterday’s session). Jess had a roller disco planned for that night. A bloody roller disco after swanning around on foot for 15 miles!? That didn’t happen either! We made it as far as one of her local pubs in Hackney where we ended up on karaoke. Yessss!! I LOVE KARAOKE! Celine Dion, 4 Non Blondes (obvz), Alanis Morisette…was I ever off it?? Holly singing Eminem… That weekend was over in a flash too. Luckily me and Holly had each other on the train home. Hangovers are the best with that idiot!

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Before I knew it, it was time to come back to Aus. I couldn’t believe it! It was my Mam’s birthday the day before I left too, so we went for a ‘sitty doony’ Indian at my favourite restaurant ‘JAMDANI’ (yes it deserves capitals). My Nana and Grandad came along too for their first ever Indian (YA WHAT!?!)! It was the perfect end with all the family to the perfect trip. It didn’t make my anxiety about leaving any easier though. I’d been anxious about it the whole time I was back! I HATE saying bye! When it came to my final week, I tried to spend as much time as I could with my family…but like I said, nothing had changed…I still got told off for talking during some rubbish program they were watching on telly. So I sat there in silence beside them. They wouldn’t even know I was there! But it was nice to be there like nothing had changed and I’m glad it hasn’t changed because then it wouldn’t feel like home. I always think that if I didn’t have Little Chrissy back here, that I would have came back at all…or just yet anyway. I would have definitely stayed an extra week at least! But now I’m back in Darwin; back with Chris, back in the sun, back where I can swan around with no make-up on and not have to really care, and having been clean of prosecco now for 6 weeks…I know home isn’t somewhere I am ready to settle just yet! I’ll see you again at Christmas though! Tell my Nana to knit me some woollies because if I was cold in April then I’m going to be bloody freeeeeeezing in December! I can’t wait!! 😀

  

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