And at last we're back. We had a lovely time thank you, all 10 days of it, in lovely Scotland, and it was just utterly marvellous. Ryanair really helped me out with my 'how-will-I-manage-2-toddlers-3-items-of-hand-luggage-a-pushchair-a-buggy-board-and-a-big-bag-on-wheels' dilemma at the other end by losing the big bag on wheels.
It turned out they despite it being correctly labelled, they just couldn't be bothered putting it on the flight, and claimed they would put it on the next flight and courier it to the door. I now suspect that Ryanair may be making further savings for the customer by employing little snails for these tasks. "Take this bag to Ayr and I'll give you a leaf!". Our clothes and toiletries and pretty much everything else arrived on the Wednesday, a week after we arrived minus a day. By that point I had re-bought make-up, clothes and pyjamas for me and both the kids, a make-up bag, um...a Cath Kidston messenger bag and floral oven glove, a big box of Lego, assorted princess items from the Disney Store, 4 interiors magazines, an Orla Kiely reusable bag from Tesco, 8 DVD's, 2 easter eggs, 2 boxes of chicken stock cubes, 2 packets of biscuits, quite a few big bags of chocolate buttons, 2 sets of childrens cutlery, 2 pairs of sandals, and if the shop hadn't closed down, a new lens for my camera.
Then my mother-in-law arrived on the Friday and took the big bag away again back to her house in preparation for our return journey. I was so sad to see it disappear, in my spiral of grief I rushed out and bought a tub of chicken gravy granules with 20% extra free.
And some sticker books.
And the DVD of Atonement for only £4, because I never seem to have the time to read the book.
In actual fact we had a nice week. We continued to celebrate Orla's birthday, with more parties, presents, cake, and general excitement, and that was great fun. Hamish picked up some new phrases: "Shut it" which I'm hoping will fade into obscurity before too long, and "You're hurting me!!" for those moments when people dare to hold his hand to cross the road/stop him from killing himself or others. He also decided to choose this week to become super-clingy and when ever I wasn't within eyesight would use his brand new 'It-Sounds-Like-You're-Being-Murdered' (tm) scream. I know she would never admit it, but I am sure that even my mum was starting to come round to the idea that Hamish in nursery for a few hours a day is no bad thing.
Even his other Granny who basically never has a bad word to say of any of her grandchildren found herself struggling. Maybe it was when he battered her 8 times over with a roll of wrapping paper in the shoe shop, but I've never heard her describe any of the others as "hard work". He also found a nice new independent streak (clearly only clingy when it suited him) and learned all by himself how to climb the loft ladder, the ladder leaning against the garage, and insert an upturned broom into the centre hole of the garden table.
My dad thought he wouldn't be able to get it back out, and went forward to help him. He got a brrom handle across the face for his troubles. It was just that sort of week really. I dreaded the return journey. Believe me, flying from Berlin to Edinburgh on my own with the two of them was no picnic, but even I knew that it could be worse. And that worse came just in time for the return journey. Lack of sleep and the excitement of cousins do not make for an easy to handle Hamish.
My parents-in-law took us to Glasgow airport and stayed with us all the way to the departure area. By this point Hamish had already run away from Papa Frank twice. I'd (possibly stupidly) checked in the buggy and buggy board, so it was just me, all the hand luggage, and the kids. Everything went reasonably ok until the very last moment. We had sttod in the really long queue at the gate for ages, inwardly begging Easyjet to hurry up and make the announcement for "all passengers travelling with young children to come forward". When it finally came, up we went and I was starting to feel relief at the thought of just getting the kids on to the plane and into seats that I could strap them down in.
Unfortunately though, what with all my hand luggage and a firm grip on a squirming, screaming, Hamish, I couldn't get my passports and boarding passes out without easing my grip on the child of evil. The Easyjet woman didn't seem particularly interested in helping me out either, so I had to let go to give her the boarding passes, and vwoom!
He was off. And I mean off. I had started to open the back pages of the passports before I realised he really had made a run for it, but as my neck whipped round I saw he'd already managed to get a fair distance away and I dropped everything, told Orla to STAY! and ran like the clappers after him as he headed back into the airport with me screaming after him. I wrestled him back to the desk in that way, you know, where you are trying to carry them but they do that thing where they make their body limp and you can't carry them properly, and so I ended up looking like the frantic evil mother dragging her child along the filthy carpet by a single limb. I was so close to tears my voice was breaking as I asked the woman to just help me out and take the boarding passes.
I won't go into the actual journey. It was a joy. Let's just leave it at that.
Did I mention it was also my birthday. Yup. Viel Gluck zum Geburtstag to me.