A Holiday in Mittagong

When our friends very kindly asked us if we would like to have a holiday at their country retreat in Mittagong we eagerly accepted.  These school holidays, Carl could only have a few days off work so if we were to go away, somewhere fairly close to Sydney was the best option and Mittagong, on a good day, is just 90 minutes from Sydney.

The farmhouse

The farmhouse

We mentioned the pending holiday to the kids and all were overwhelmingly enthusiastic; Alfie because he’s excited to go anywhere and Archie and Arabella because they didn’t want to come.  It’s not like they didn’t have the time off uni, it’s just having your parents go away and leave you the keys to the house and food money on the kitchen bench is at their age, just too good to be true.  I knew I wasn’t going to be missed when instead of saying, ‘Have a nice time’, they asked, ‘What time will you be back on Sunday?’  Even looking a little bit anxious like I was going to say, ‘First thing in the morning’, when they would clearly prefer us to walk in the door a few minutes before midnight.

So we took our ‘only child’ to the farmhouse in Mittagong.

Repairing fences

Repairing fences

Mittagong is in the Southern Highlands and quite a bit colder than Sydney.  But the house is centrally heated and has two fireplaces so we were very cosy.  One of the fireplaces was metal and you lifted a lid and put the wood in it and it radiated great heat.  Of course I said to Alfie that he needed to be very careful around the fireplace as it was extremely hot and he’d get a nasty burn if he touched it.  I have no idea what he was doing so I still don’t know how it happened but next thing he was walking in to the other room where we were seated saying his bum touched the metal and he heard ‘a sizzle’.

A wombat

A wombat!  Beautiful nocturnal creatures

Well we looked at his bum and to be sure, he had a large second-degree burn where two patches of skin were no more.  He has a high pain threshold but even I was surprised at how calmly he mentioned the sizzle episode.  Why wasn’t he screaming?  I sprang to my feet and it occurred to me that this was the first time I can remember going away without a medical kit.  I rummaged through a few cupboards and managed to find some aloe vera gel and a bit of a bandage and a couple of Panadol.

Not feeling the cold - not one bit

Not feeling the cold (or the burn) – not one bit

He didn’t mention the burn again but I did keep my eye on it and wondered if I should be taking him to a doctor but it seemed to be healing quite well so I let it be.  Probably one of the reasons he didn’t go on about it is that he was so distracted by petrol, a motor and speed.  Yes, the farm had boy’s toys.  Quad bikes to be exact and it was all we could do to keep Alfie off them.

Carl read him the riot act at least a dozen times a day talking through their dangers and listing the statistics of injuries, serious accidents and fatalities but like the advice to stay away from the fireplace, it was in one ear and out the other.

A boys haven

A boy’s haven

The quad bike only knew one speed and that was full throttle and he whizzed all over the paddocks often standing up instead of sitting down, doing sharp turns and everything else he’d been told not to do.  It would be good if these bikes had immobilisers on them where they could only go at a certain speed and no faster.

When I told Celia we would be quad biking she was very alarmed and said, ‘I’m very worried for you, Charlie’, because we don’t have a good track record when it comes to injury-free holidays.

Loving the big, wide open spaces

Loving the big, wide open spaces

Surviving the quad bikes, a mercy from the Lord was that right next door was a lovely family with two boys aged nine and six.  One morning they came knocking on the door and let us know that it was their oldest son’s birthday and would our boy like to come to the party!  Love country people – so friendly.  So very quickly I had Alfie all packed up and he went back to their house and stayed for the day playing all sorts of party games like tug-of-war and treasure hunts and hide and seek in the bushes.

Playing by the dam

Playing by the dam with Suzie, the deaf dog

The boys became fast friends and spent so much time together that Carl and I were able to kick back and relax and enjoy reading a book while the boys ran around outside being wild and doing all those things that boys like to do like trying to light a fire with a magnifying glass.

On our last day Alfie was pleased that instead of packing up early to be back in Sydney by noon we decided to leave later so he could spend the day with his friends.

We brought him home exhausted but happy.

The Southern Highlands

The Southern Highlands

And I suppose you’re all wondering about how the uni students fared without our supervision.  Well, within 24 hours there was a punch-up between Archie and Arabella with Arabella accusing Archie of not being responsible, of eating her food and of being lazy.  So Archie packed up and stayed with some mates leaving Arabella home alone.

And that’s about as good as it gets.

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  1. You had fun in & around the farm, a lovely get away! Thanks so much for sharing & your uni kids were typically students! Ha!

  2. Seems it was a great time there… I loved the photographs too. Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  3. It sounds like you had a great holiday, except for Alfie’s burn (my sister once burned her bum on our oil burning stove and did not tell Mom until the wound became infected) and that fast bike.

    How splendid that Alfie and the neighbor boys got along so well. I bet those boys’ parents appreciated Alfie as much as you appreciated their two boys.

  4. Hahaha.. our kids love it when we leave as well.. our three weeks in Italy was pure heaven and strangely they said they got along better when we weren’t here to intervene. I suspect they’re telling fibs so we will go away again! Looks like your “only son” had the perfect Boys Getaway with his new friends!xx

  5. I was always getting hurt when I was Alfie’s age. Kind of comes with the territory, I guess, but an awful lot of it was sheer stupidity on my part. I haven’t really gotten any smarter, but at least I’ve learned how to avoid injuries! Sounds like you had a great time. Fun post – thanks.

  6. At least the 2 oldest can manage on their own leaving you to only worry about Alfie … burning his bum and taking it a bit easy probably prevented a quad accident. 🙂 I’m glad he found friends next door who kept him busy so you and Carl could have a rest.

  7. Sorry to hear about Alfies burn. That must have given you quite a scare. So glad that you all had a great trip.

  8. I hope Alfie is feeling better! I am always getting injuries on holidays… comes with the territory 😛
    Keep having a brilliant relaxing time!


  9. Well, at least your house wasn’t burned down. Good vacation!

  10. Thank you Lord, that no-one was more seriously injured on Charlie’s holiday. Amen.

    Honestly though Charlie, it’s somewhat troubling that a second-degree burn counts as “not seriously injured”. I’m SO glad to hear you survived the quad bikes – I really was worried for you! It sounds like you had the perfect holiday – Alfie had friends to play with, and you had a fireplace to curl up in front of. Best of all, Arabella was left alone in the house, which meant there was a reasonable chance of it not being trashed when you got home! Win win! 🙂 xxx

  11. G’day! Looks like a farm fun filled get away!
    Love fireplaces and glad Alfie had friends with also to play!
    Cheers! Joanne

  12. Wow Alfie has a strong pain threshold! What a wonderful weekend. Sometimes little breaks like that can seem like a whole week!

  13. That is a high pain threshold! After a “sizzle” no less! Ouch!!! And it is rather priceless that the uni kids split for the weekend. Glad you had a great and relatively pain free getaway!

  14. Seems like you got away lightly with this holiday – only a burnt bum! No broken limbs, no hospital trips, and the house hopefully was in good order when you got home.

  15. when i was in my late teens i still loved travelling with the family! its just so much fun, bonding over the lame dad jokes and fighting over the small bits and pieces!

  16. Only one second degree burn? Didn’t look like it slowed Alfie down one bit. I would have been whimpering the whole time. Glad you had some downtime on your holiday. xo

  17. LOL, we are leaving the nearly 18 year old twins at home when we go to Aussie for two weeks, am hoping we have a home to come back too and 2 live puppies 🙂

  18. Poor Alfie but at least it didn’t stop him playing with his new found friends. It sounds like an idyllic weekend away for all – apart from the pizza episode.

  19. 🙂 lots of chuckles in there. One, at your big kids waving you happily goodbye. And two, at the joy dear Alfie must have had all weekend, (minus the sizzle bit- ouch) a boys heaven weekend indeed. As I well know, happy free ranging kids, happy parents….sounds very relaxing Charlie.

  20. Your Alfie really does have a high pain threshold. I remember when he cut his foot on a piece of glass and it barely phased him. On the other hand, I was cringing just reading about it. It sounds like the holiday worked out beautifully and you all got some much needed R&R. Best of all, you missed the squabbles back home. 🙂

  21. Sounds like a really successful holiday. Must have been great for you to have Archie find some mates to play with, and to come home to a relatively peaceful home front.

  22. Burns are always the worst! However he seems to have faired very well and having lots of distractions works perfect for forgetting all about the pain. Take Care, BAM

  23. Everything (minus the burn, ouch!) made me smile! I’d love to have friends who have a place in Mittagong! You’re lucky indeed 🙂
    Your Alfie is certainly a brave boy indeed!

  24. That’s a happy little guy, with or without sizzle! I’m glad he healed so easily. He is quite amazing to have suffered so little–whew! Beautiful place to visit, Charlie, and I’m sure you had fun. Of course being away you missed the Archie and Arabella drama. 🙂

  25. Oh my god poor Alfie! It’s like a scene from a comedy though! His poor bum 🙁 And I’m surprised that that was all that happened at home!

  26. Danielle says:

    Sounds like a fun holiday — I hope Alfie is healing up well, eat lots of protein to feed the skin cells. I’ve had third degree burns all over my back and bum (I won’t go into the gory details, but it involved an operation) and one thing that surprised everyone was that I wasn’t actually in pain! I think it helps that one can’t see the burns when they are behind you, so to speak 😉

  27. Oh Charlie, this sums up so much of your family’s delightful chaos! Bless Alfie for not making a fuss about the burns – and for managing to get them despite the warnings!? – and Arabella and Archie clearly were true to form. It’s probably for the best my brother is house sitting our parent’s house without my sister in the country 😉 Well done on surviving the quad bikes too xx

  28. Better you than me Charie. I have brought up a wuss because I am so nervous and scared of all those fats boy things. Looks like you all had a ball

  29. Second degree burns sounds serious; had you mentioned on Facebook that you took him to the hospital anyway? So nice of your friends to offer their home, and the neighbours sound wonderful for inviting Alfie over too. I guess Archie and Arabella could have been far worse too, you got off lucky. 😉

  30. Little boys and the country are just about the most perfect match there ever was. Lovely to see him settling in so well and what completely gorgeous neighbours.
    So glad the big kids survived without too much drama.

  31. Why don’t the Glam Teens argue and leave us a clean house?! It sounds like a fabulous holiday and perfect for Ailfie and his new friends. GG

  32. What a lovely getaway. Sometimes we all just need a break from the daily grind 🙂

  33. But where were his trousers Charlie? Boys are baffling indeed, I’m so glad the 3 little fellas hit it off and gave you a chance to relax though. Arabella and Archie- is that the pot calling the kettle black, or signs that one of them is growing up? At least there were no parties this time 🙂 xox

  34. How in the world did he burn his bum? Was he wondering around without his pants? At least you found proper first aid for him and it healed up nicely! Nice you got a little vacay in with the hubby, even if you had one child along…he seemed to enjoy himself for the most part.

  35. Charlie, I’m thinking of the roller coaster ride your emotions / adrenaline must have been on between “events.” My son (now 30) was a “busy boy,” too, and I recall that exhausted / on-alert feeling. Glad to hear you at least had a few moments of R & R!

  36. Except for Alfie’s burn, this sounds like a perfect holiday. And the uni kids were doing just what kids that age do!

  37. Even with poor Alfie’s burned bum, it was a pretty healthy outing for you people! May it be the beginning of injury-free holidays!


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