Today started so early, too early for at least one Charlton anyway, I actually noticed that at 5.30 in the morning I seemed to look better than when I sleep in until eight or nine and wake up with the face of a 98 year old with puffy skin!
We were bound for glory on a Virgin train out of Newcastle, Perth our destination and home for 3 days, we're staying at the Mercure Perth which is a converted mill dating right back to the 12th century, it's more quirky and historic than spangly and new, in fact there's a river which runs not only underneath the hotel but if you go in reception or the bar downstairs you can actually watch the river running straight through the middle of the hotel, I did ask if it ever caused any problems if the water levels rose but apparently not anymore.
The room itself is a bit a mishmash of old and new and more basic than luxury, I did ask about an upgrade but the hotel is full, presumably because of the summer holidays. We didn't though come to spend our time in the hotel, we came to spend time together, mum and soon to be teen daughter (in 7 weeks). We came to dander about the park and jump on trampolines, we came to relax and today that's what we've done, I took about 3 photos with my camera and then left it in the hotel, when they say the best camera is the one you have with you at the time they (whoever they are) are right because today was about a few iPhone snaps here and there, more for Looby's sake more than anything else, she tires of mum and her photography, it's hard to understand I guess when you are young and my business life is so entwined with what I do personally that she just thinks it's work all the time.
We had a splendid lunch, 3 courses at Paco's restaurant, including a Xango pronounced Chango and comprised of cheesecake wrapped in tortilla, deep fried and served with vanilla ice-cream, probably several thousand calories but oh my God, delicious! Looby and I both recommend you go to Paco's if you are visiting Perth.
Our afternoon was spent Pokemon hunting and so was most of our evening, in fact we walked 20k today which sort of slightly deflects the Xango calories, it's just been the best day (barring occasional pre-teen meltdowns) and I truly cherish every moment I spend with my daughters, they're both growing so fast but with every day Looby grows out of childhood a little more, she's growing into a beautiful young woman but I can't pretend I won't miss my baby girl when the magic has been dulled by adulthood. With your last child you feel that loss as you know your days of parenting the small ones, the ones who depend on you, are coming to an end, Looby will always be my baby whether she's 3, or 13 or 33 but this stage we're at right now seems like such a milestone and it's more noticeable than it was with Abigail who by her own admission was a teenager from being about 4 years old, she's always been the grown up one, the independent one, the one who perpetually plans 10 years in advance, she lamented the other day that she had in her opinion already lived 14 years and an eighth of her life was over, I've never felt nearer to death thinking about that!! She's a curious one is Abigail!
I saw Looby watching a boy of around the same age today who was playing the bagpipes outside a shop on the high street, she was transfixed, staring and I thought to myself, oh God, she fancies him, she's got hormones, help!