It was all as you said it would be. ‘They’ll be fine’, you said, ‘they will rise to the occasion’. And I can tell you that is exactly what happened even though when it came to looking after the little guy and caring for the home, one rose a lot higher than the other.
Of course, for our time away, we did have back-up. We had Drew’s PA on stand-by who enthusiastically embraced her additional duties of checking in on the kids.
As agreed, she turned up at the house at 8.30am the day after we flew to Bali and knocked on the door so she could take the little guy to school. No answer. She knocked again. All quiet. She phoned Archie’s mobile. No answer. She phoned Arabella’s mobile. No answer. She called the home phone which is really loud (because I deliberately have the ringer turned up as loud as it can go), and then she heard someone staggering down the hall. Eventually.
Opening the door was a very sleepy Arabella who had been shocked out of her coma by the home phone ringing and ringing and ringing. Everyone else in the house was also in a coma. And there was about 20 minutes before the little guy needed to be at school.
The PA swept into action, brushing past sleepy-head and tripping over her crutches to whisk Alfie out of bed and into his uniform. There was a quick breakfast and a sort of a brushing of the teeth and he was marched out the door with his bag on his back, ready for school, sort of.
I did think there might be an issue on that first morning due to everyone having to be up so early the day before (actually Archie hadn’t even been to bed), then heading off to the Mini-Mos where Alfie ran 17kms, went to a fun fair, played with his cousins then had dinner with his grandparents. That sort of a schedule can be tiring.
After that first morning, the PA decided to call in earlier and before leaving her house she would phone on all mobiles and the home phone to give advance warning of her imminent arrival. They took that as their wake-up call.
And that’s what went on while we were in Bali. A lot of relying on the PA to get everyone out of bed and apart from Archie forgetting to take out the bins, their time in my absence was largely uneventful.
Before I left for Bali I made a few family meals that are freezable so the kids had something they could put on the table for dinner. I didn’t want them dining out of pizza boxes for 10 nights. This is another meal that can be made in advance, is family friendly and freezable. This recipe feeds eight. I like to make this much so I can put half into a zip lock bag and freeze it but feel free to halve the recipe if preferred.
- 2 tbspns olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 rindless rashers of bacon, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1kg (1lb) cubed veal
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 ltr chicken or vegetable stock
- 800gm tinned, crushed tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 stalk rosemary
- 4 stalks thyme
- small handful of parsley, chopped
- parmesan cheese
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil.
- Add onions, celery, carrots, bacon and garlic and cook until softened and the fat has rendered from the bacon.
- Add veal and stir until browned.
- Add white wine and bring to a boil.
- Add stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme and season. Bring to the boil then simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes or until meat is tender. If meat is in big chunks, use a spoon to break into smaller pieces.
- Serve with rigatoni pasta or similar. Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan cheese.