A quietness has descended on the house this week, not that my father-in-law is overly loud, apart from his Darth Vader sounding sleep machine, but as that is quite rhythmic it isn't that bad. But after what could be described as a complex and challenging period in our lives, things are starting to resemble normal again.
Tash has continued to improve, though for a while there it was close, so if you were previously verbally invited to our little party and did not get a full invite, I apologise but in the end we went with a smaller group that wouldn't be too put out by a last minute cancellation.
The actual night went well, though both Tash and I felt that the room looked empty, but we would I suppose. I am no fan of hosting parties as the need to mingle and converse often gets in the way of my requirement to drink, so managed to balance the two for the evening and arose the next morning minus a hangover, so that was a result.
The final week of 'Big Ken's' time with us was taken up with mainly touristy ventures, going up Tower Bridge, getting stuck in traffic, visiting Hampton Court Palace, getting stuck on the M25, typical London things. On his last night we took in some culture and went in to the West End to see a musical thing - well I say musical, think of it like a Sesame Street for adults and you would be heading in the right direction. I know that it does not sound very appealing, but hearing a Muppet swear and then shag is really quite funny.
Ken's last day started from what I could see with a flurry of packing activity that I am told lasted all of an hour, like father, like daughter. By the time I got in from work, he was all ready to go and I think that there was a slight chance that she was ready for him to go too.
Airports are transitory places, nobody really wants to be in them and they only signify that you are not moving, either off somewhere or home to relax. On this occasion it wasn't too bad, Ken's monster case even managed to get through checkout without setting off any 'too-heavy' alarms and we finished off his trip with a sit down coffee and lively conversation. I was happy to see that their last conversation face to face was light, funny and from where I was sitting (next to them) caring, Tash only cried once, which is very unusual in these situations and Ken even kept himself together, which is even more unusual.
We walked up to the departure gate with him barrelling the other unfortunate travellers out the way, as Ken has a habit of doing. As expected I had all the air squeezed out of me in the departing hug (fortunately there was no double-one-armed hugging going on this time as happened on our wedding day) and he slipped off through the gate, stopping for a kind of 'Stars In Their Eyes' wave before disappearing in to the throngs of other travellers.
The flight is 23 hours in total, the way back is worse as you loose a day extra due to the date lines, so it was no real surprise that on Friday evening we got an voicemail message from Marg, Tash's aunt sounding very sleepy (it was probably 'oh my god how early o'clock' in Queensland at the time) wanting to wish Ken a good journey back, ignorant of the fact he had left 24 hours previously.
The problem with having someone constantly around for so long (5 weeks remember, the week before was a training week, with Ben and Pete and Lucy) is that after a while you get used to it. I had expected that we would spend our first weekend, well alone. But come Saturday evening, we were both ready for someone else's company. One more time Nate and Marisa, our neighbours across the river came to the rescue.....
As we bow out for this month, I shall leave you with some images from the final week of 'The Tour of Ken'