We're back. The house is officially a catastrophe and buried under piles of laundry. The dog is furious with being left behind and sulking by the front door. The boys are back in nursery. I'm having my first proper (i.e. sludge at the bottom) coffee in weeks. And, finally, a chance to sneak back into the blogosphere whilst ignoring the colossal number of things that I should be doing to take a chance to wish every one a very Happy New Year.
We had ever such a lovely time. Christmas was filled with great food, good wine (so exciting), excited children and tipsy adults playing games very competitively. Perfect. The boys raced around with their cousins proving the bizarre theory that the more children there are, the less work it is. Secretly wonder whether we should have more children to try and reduce my workload before remembering the exception to the rule, which is that the other children must not be siblings. New Years was dominated by skiing, and having put the boys into French ski school in the mornings, Dave and I had plenty of opportunity to blow the cobwebs away racing each other down the slopes before chasing the boys all afternoon. Somewhat surprisingly, the boys took to skis like a duck to water and Adam was already heard to say to my Mum 'Come On! Catch Up!' as he pegged it down the nursery slope executing a couple of nifty turns on the way. It won't be long before we can't catch them at all.
We drove back last night. 6 countries in 2 days is not to be taken lightly. In no particular order they were
Switzerland: Used to Bosnian prices, Switzerland was quite a shock. We had bought with us a huge stash of Bosnian meat (which is excellent by the way!) which probably halved the cost of the holiday.
France: France. So lovely. So many cheeses to take home with us. Such a smell radiating out from the back of the car. Wonderful. We might have sneaked in a bottle or two of fine red wine and some champagne to offset the pain of going back to drinking Croatian Vranac (red) and Krstic (white) until we go home. Now we just have to decide whether to ration ourselves or to blow the lot in one evening of excess.
Italy: Italian drivers have made me rethink my assertion that Bosnian drivers are dangerous. The Italians take it to a whole new level.
Slovenia: Definite candidate for where we would like to live for when we embark on that dream of buying that old wreck in a spectacular setting to do up. European (in the Euro and everything, with really good motorways too), beautiful, skiing, lots of spectacular national parks, not much coast, but plenty of lakes. Kind of like the best bits of Bosnia without the pain. Yes, we like Slovenia.
Croatia: Sadly not the pretty coast bit, but the bit that goes across the top which is rather flat and not all that interesting.
Bosnia: Hitting Bosnia after spending 2 days driving at 120km/hr (80 mph) was like sticking the handbrake on. The motorways disappear. The top speed is 80km/hr (50 mph) but most of the time is spent at 60km (40mph) trying to avoid the plethora of traffic police out with their speed guns. Seriously, it must have been their New Years Resolution, they were everywhere.
And the secret to success? I've always been against them in a we didn't have them so why should they, it is good for them to get bored, we'll do so much else in the car without them kind of way. But, there is a big difference between a 3 hour drive and a 15 hour one. So, In Car DVD player with screen for each boy, I fall worshipping at your feet. For you kept them happy, not fighting (much), not hitting each other (much) and allowed us adults to do a couple of the 'what do you remember of the last decade quizzes'. It turns out that we don't remember all that much. That's what parenthood and sleep deprivation do for you.