Welcome and thank you for reading my blog!! I am 33 hours away from heading off on a trip to UK and Europe for 5 weeks and instead of packing/organising/planning I am laying on my bed doing what I do best – procrastinating. In typical Bianca fashion, I leave the most crucial and vital jobs till the very last minute. My ability to weigh up the precise amount of time multiple tasks will take to do and then leaving these important tasks till there is only the amount of time left to achieve them, is outstanding. How my brain is able to calculate this I will never know…. (it certainly can’t calculate much else).
I’m writing this blog to document our journey and to share our adventure with family and friends. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, some people find my chaotic family mildly amusing. Rest assured it is never amusing for me at the time, but I do love the fact that some day we may look back on certain events and laugh (usually sooner than I think too).
I’ve attempted blogs before with very limited success. My first one had 14 followers, all of whom were family or friends and were forced to sign up with a blogspot account specifically to follow me. My second blog had only 7 followers. This one I consider more successful as 3 of these followers were not family or friends but total, random strangers on the internet!! I seemed to be very popular in the world of “blogging dogs” as all three of these stray followers were dogs whose owners blogged on their behalf.
So why Nobel Adventures??? My family, which consists of hubby, 4 killjoy-kidlets and I, live on a five acre property SE of Brisbane. Ever since we bought the property, 5 years ago, I have been on a fruitless and ineffective campaign to name out property “Nobel Acres” after my love of science, arts and the pursuit of knowledge. I may also harbour a not-so-secret desire for one of my killjoy-kidlet offspring to become a recipient of a Nobel Prize. Of course they would then make an acceptance speech thanking me enthusiastically for my contribution to their achievements. So naming this blog “Nobel Adventures” is simply an extension of my crusade to get the name Nobel Acres to stick for our property (and for someone to make me a wooden sign to stick at our gate with that name on). I also should mention that my friend Sim came up with the name for me as all my ideas for blog/domain names were long, full of words most people spell incorrectly and had punctuation that you cannot add to a domain and would therefore have to leave out (which would then change the meaning of the chosen name).
Ben, my long-suffering husband, and I could not be more unprepared if we tried. We only decided 2 months ago to go to Europe and erroneously thought we would be able to “do it on a budget”. I managed to burst through Ben’s “budget” for our trip with one single purchase – a 2 night stay in a 500 year old castle. Whoopsies!!! It was very impressive feat though. Don’t think I’ve ever shown such little disregard for a budget in my entire marriage. It is a testament to his character, that Ben just rolled his eyes and stoically resigned himself to the fact that we would not be doing Europe on the “budget” he had envisioned. To my credit, I did briefly consider hiring a car through Airbnb that came with roof racks and camping equipment. Don’t need to tell you how that plan ended.
Who are we??
Let’s start with me. I am a 39 year old mother of 4 who is constantly either crazily busy or supremely lazy. No in-between. I think this relates back to my comment in the first paragraph about my remarkable ability to leave things till the EXACT last moment for which it will be humanly possible for them to be achieved. I would describe myself as a creature of comfort and have been known to travel with my own linen, pillow and towels (on EVERY other trip bar this one). Outside of my comfort zones I do not cope well. My comfort temperature zone is between 20 – 25 degrees celsius. Any colder than 20 and I will need a heater, any hotter than 25 and I need an air conditioner. I am not taking my pillow or linen on this trip so there is a fair chance that a good proportion of this blog will involve me whinging about having a sore neck, being forced to sleep on polyester sheets or being too hot/cold. I also have an intense phobia of public toilets. I would much rather be presented with a clean bathroom containing deadly snakes and spiders, than I would being presented with a dirty, disgusting public bathroom. I can be messy and disorganised but when it comes to my own comfort or hygiene, there is no cutting corners. I have a slight OCD personality type. Not the “good” OCD type where everything has to be straight, neat and tidy but a very bizarre form where I have all these little meaningless ‘rituals’ or ‘rules’ that revolve around everything from bottled water (I only drink 1 type of bottled water) to washing cups. Even though last year I was dragged on a 5 week trip to Cape York (remote Australia), my comfort zone was never tested as I put a great deal of planning and preparation into making sure that I had everything I needed. This trip will definitely push the boundaries of my happy place. Despite all these idiosyncrasies I do tend to see the humour in everything and certainly am able to make the most of unusual situations. I can also laugh at myself and all my flaws so surely that has to count for something too???
Ben – Ben is the world’s most perfect husband. He has the patience of a saint, the attention to detail of a nuclear equipment operations technician and comes pre- programmed with his very own inbuilt risk assessment system that would rival any Govt departments crappy online form. Ben is constantly surrounded by chaos (me plus killjoys) that is both irrational (Bianca NEEDS alkaline water), noisy (Rohan NEEDS food, Kylah NEEDS everyone to quieten down and does so by yelling at them to do so) and whingy (Jazzy and Isabelle NEED to have a whinge on an irregular basis). He is completely un-fazeable and barely batts an eyelid when I launch into my explanations/excuses of why/how his latest budget just didn’t cut the mustard and is impossible to stick to. Ever the optimist Ben just spends hours of his time drawing up a new budget for me to promise to stick to, then promptly forget about. Ben can fix ANYTHING (with the exception of people – although he keeps trying!!) so it is comforting knowing that I am travelling with someone who could probably re-build most things in the world should some great tragedy occur that results in the elimination of most ‘things’ in the world. He hates doing nothing, which is one of my greatest hobbies, and loves nothing more than revelling in how little it costs him to survive when he is on his own. ($8 a day is the magic figure apparently. That is what it cost’s Ben to feed and look after himself when he is away for work). I could go on and on but I need to move on because I am getting tired.
Kylah – Kylah is the eldest of our killjoys and her nickname is “Killjoy Kylah the Rule Following Dictator”. She LOVES rules, almost as much as I love breaking them, and spends most of her time when we are travelling trying to get me and the others to follow the particular rules of where ever we happen to be. She is strong, capable and loves animals more than people. She has given me the most beautiful grand-puppy, Lennon Betty Davis, you have ever seen. Kylah and Lennon are attached at the hip. This trip will be a challenge for her to be away from her beloved daughter, Lennon, and all her other animals.
Jazzy – Jasmine is our second eldest and is an absolute delight. She is super easy going and rarely complains about anything. She has a rare ability to stick to a task and see it through to the end. I’ve tested this ability by presenting her with a stack of material/wadding and asking her to turn it into a queen-sized patchwork quilt. Blow me down with a feather – she actually got it done!!! AT THE TENDER AGE OF 12!!! I am now the proud owner of a beautiful patchwork quilt that adorns my bed. Jazzy is incredibly kind and gentle with children and is a little mother hen to her younger brother and sister. The only troubles I envisage Jazzy having on this trip are ones where there is lots of fun stuff involved. Surprisingly, too much fun makes for a very grumpy Jaz.
Rohan – Rohan is our only boy and BOY oh BOY did we get a very boyish boy. He is constantly grubby, dirty and getting up to mischief but ever so sensitive, caring and altruistic. I often refer to him as Bearirwin due to him being exactly what you would expect to get if you mixed Steve Irwin and Bear Grylls together. His passion and enthusiasm for things can only be paralleled with his anguish, dismay and vocal disappointment if things don’t go to plan. He loves footy, animals, food, animals, bantam chickens, food and animals. The amount of animal facts he knows is astounding and loves nothing more than a good session of ‘fact-telling’ when he happens across someone who appears to be lacking in animal fact knowledge. Ben and I are quite liberal parents and decided to allow our children to choose their own religion by teaching them all about the religions of others. Rohan quite early on decided on atheism. But not just a happy “I’ll mind my own business and keep my thoughts to myself” type atheist, an extreme “I am right and you are wrong and I will argue till the end of the world in a very Richard Dawkins-esque way” type atheist. This is totally embarrassing to everyone else in the family and will present a problem in Europe as I plan on visiting lots of old churches. I will have to get Ben to conduct a risk assessment before dragging Rohan along with me to an assortment of churches. I am worried he might bust into flames. The main issue I foresee for Rohan on our trip is the week we spend in Paris. Rohan has three great enemies in life – cheese, butter and the smell of red wine. Our French friends have told us that everywhere you go your olfactory system is overloaded with scents of cheeses and wines. Worse still for poor old Rowie, French people don’t snack!! That means he will need to reduce his food intake to 3 meals a day and forgo morning tea and afternoon tea. How he will cope remains a mystery to be seen.
Isabelle – Isabelle/Didabell/Diddy is our baby and is a total princess in every sense of the word. She has a very unique sense of style (which is very princessy) and loves playing with barbies, brushing daddy’s hair and cleaning up the house. She hates walking, any kind of moving vehicle/thing you sit in and thunderstorms. It remains to be seen how she will cope on the long flight to London which has been somewhat of a concern to me (enough of a concern that I went to the Dr to talk about sedation options). She is bright, happy, cheeky and can sometimes be a teeny, tiny bit of a drama queen (no idea where that comes from). She delights in tormenting Rohan by sitting on the lounge happily singing along to bible stories and songs on her iPad while Rohan rants and raves about how she is viewing inappropriate material on youtube and questioning Ben and my parenting for allowing her to do this. Jury is still out on whether she enjoys the content of these shows or enjoys tormenting Rohan (possibly both). I think if we manage to get her on both planes in one piece and keep her suitably calm all the way to London then she shouldn’t have too much trouble adapting over there. She saved up her money to buy a princess dress to wear when we stay in the castle so prepare yourself for a photo shoot of this event. She is already planning poses and parts of the castle where she wants the pictures to be taken.
Anyway I am now 30 hours away from having to leave for Europe and I need to spend at least 18 of those sleeping (I don’t function well with less than a solid 9 hours per night) so I’d best be going.
Thanks for reading!!