Monday, November 9, 2009

A Long Time Coming

We're back.

We have just returned from spending a glorious week relaxing (read collapsing) at Angourie Rainforest Resort in Yamba on the north coast of New South Wales. A mere two and half hours drive from home.  It was so peaceful and quiet it made me realise just how noisy it is at home. A very big thankyou to Holiday Coast Respite and Action Support - without them it would not have been possible.

(phew, such a long drive!!!)

This was our first family holiday since Little Tree was a baby - that's eight years! Our reluctance to try earlier was directly related to L.T's inability to cope with new places and our unwillingness to cope with his distress while supposedly on holiday (under these circumstances - relaxing and holiday - mutually exclusive terms).

Given the success we've had using social stories as a support for events that I know L.T will find challenging, I rang the resort and asked if they would kindly take photos of the property entrance, office, pools, playground, games room, exterior and interior of the actual villa we had booked. I must admit I was unprepared for the willingness to help shown by the resort staff - I know this sounds crazy but I was so grateful I cried when I hung up. Reiko was great - she sent exactly what I needed.  I drew up a social story for L.T incorporating the photos using Powerpoint and we read through it every bedtime for about two weeks.  As the time came closer I wrote it up on his weekly calendar. I was still apprehensive but needn't have been - he was excited and couldn't have been better behaved on the drive up. We took the social story with us so he could look at the photos and match them to reality. My undying gratitude goes to Kris at DADHC for showing us the magic of social stories.

(Yamba headland. North and south break walls in background. To get to North wall you need to catch a ferry or drive 20 minutes to Iluka)

It was the best thing we've done for ourselves in years and going through term time rather than school holidays (fewer people at the resort) was inspired. I really liked Yamba with it's many waterways to enjoy - estuaries, harbour and beaches not to mention some great boutiques. Apart from sight seeing and just a little retail therapy, Mr I and Little Tree spent many hours fishing while I lazed around reading novels or enjoyed having the huge pool almost exclusively to myself.  Little Tree especially liked the children's pool and we had trouble getting him out when other children were splashing alongside him.

(Collecting stones on Pippi Beach, Yamba)

The highlight for me had to be the 3 hours at the day spa mmmmmm yum. As suggested, I arrived an hour earlier than my booking so I could use the steam room and therapy pool and thoroughly relax before being led to the treatment room and pampered with body brushing, ocean wrap, scalp massage, sweat wrap, facial and body massage. Heavenly! I floated out of there more relaxed than I've been in years and smelling gorgeous. I am hoping that we'll be allocated a respite package again next year so we can go back.

(Tranquil view from villa patio)

I had arranged for my sister-in-law to come in and feed the goldfish and Shu-Shu. When I heard that there had been another flood at home (fourth one this year) I was a little concerned (but not for long) that she may not have been able to get in  - I was determined not to think about home or worry about anything and I was remarkably successful. We came home to a very happy-to-see-you-but-don't-you-dare-go-away-again [gentle bite and swipe with the claws while purring] cat. The fish did not do so well (scene from Shrek II - dead fish floating in bowl) - I can't blame my sister-in-law, I had already lost one fish and was crossing my fingers the others would be okay. Obviously I need to give the tank and everything in it a thorough clean before I buy new fish.

(Close up)

Mr I had arranged to have an additional week off so we were able to spread that feeling of holiday mode a little further with walks on the beach (I walked, Mr I went beach worming).

(Late afternoon North Beach, Mylestom)

(Late afternoon North Beach, Mylestom)

So now it's back to school and work and I get time to blog and catch up singing and knitting (although I did take my knitting away, all I managed was 4 rows - reading was less energetic, hehehe).

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