Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Going Global

With the world in, or on the brink of, recession and the Australian dollar on a par with the Biddelonian Jangu Nut, my hero and I have decided that this would be a great time to visit the motherland. Or at least his mother’s land, my mother lives a scenic four hour drive along the coast.
Aiming to hit UK shores in their summer (because although it would be nice to be there for Christmas I was born and bred here in the colonies and doubt I could cope with an Irish winter) means getting our act together now. Which, it will come as no surprise to anyone-except it seems my hero-is more difficult than you would anticipate.
My hero would seem to believe that taking a family of five half way around the world is no harder than dropping into the post office and picking up a zone 2 metcard. He is wrong.
We will need passports. Which means getting full birth certificates, since the statements issued when the children were born are not acceptable. I could have applied for them online. But that would mean finding appropriate identification, having it notarized by the police and posting it in to a government department, crossing my fingers that neither the application forms or my I D went missing.
So I chose instead to go into the city and wait around for half an hour in person then walk away with them in my hot little hand. A process than was not free, nor easy. I had to check the details on the certificates and there he was under previous issue of parents. Thomas Kieran. It was like a punch to the solar plexus. It did bring tears to my eyes. But my stomach soon reminded me that it had been five hours since I had eaten and I got over the shock quick enough.
Now I have to apply for the passports themselves. A process I’m sure will run smoothly and easily, restoring my faith in the system. Let’s see if there really is any power in positive thinking.
After much searching and sorting we settled on dates and I found airfares that won’t leave us completely bankrupt, though I’m not entirely convinced that we won’t have to hang our arms out the windows and flap.
Next on the list is finding accommodation. Naturally we will be spending the bulk of time with family but after sitting on a 22hr flight with 3 children I want to do some tourist stuff while I’m there and that means a couple of weeks travelling. I’m thinking self catering cottages. For a week in the Republic of Ireland and a week in Northern England. Sort of a base camp from which we can so day trips.
So for those of you in the UK any recommendations greatly appreciated. Particularly accommodation you found good or companies you’d warn against. But also places you would recommend we visit or avoid. We will be hiring a car for our time outside London so transport not an issue.
Car hire, there’s something else I need to get sorted. It never ends.
And here is where I take a break to do the Christmas shopping. Because there is nothing as relaxing as fighting crowds while piped Christmas carols worm their way into my brain.