Day Forty-Three: Blimp – Wednesday 26 August 2015

As expected the travel cot did not go well.

Milo awoke around 2300 as he usually does, looked around and was quite displeased with his surroundings. If I am honest I cannot blame him; the mattress is thin like the pads wrapped around rugby league goal posts in the 80s, it is flat on the ground so offers no protection from the cold and when he claws at the mesh to be released he looks very much like a dolphin caught in a drift net.

Once out he was not returning so I welcomed him in with me and he immediately expanded to twice his usual diameter. I was soon sleeping on the floor adjacent to the bed, offering a human safety net should he writhe too much in his sleep and bounce his way out.

Milo slept like the proverbial baby, me less so. By 0500 I had snuck back in with him and nudged him into a more appropriate corner of the mattress. At 0530 Milo had slept enough and was up, giggling and looking for action.

I was not giggling nor looking for action so I attempted a technique I have tried forlornly many times before. I grab a handful of his sleeping bag and pin it to the mattress, and then attempt to close my eyes for another 15 minutes. The theory is that Milo will kick and scramble for a while but will soon be worn out from all of his fruitless effort. He will then decide he too is in fact still a little dozy and will drift back to sleep for another hour. This never, ever, works.

I accepted defeat and we were up. Milo had strongly resisted the shower the previous evening so I tried to bathe him in the laundry trough, I thought a good bonding activity for two chaps on a road trip. Milo did not share my view on this and refused to sit down, standing up in knee-deep water looking disappointed with me.

Milo enjoyed his breakfast with his Aba who took him for an hour so I could recharge a little in a baby free bed. Milo enjoyed rifling through papers and climbing in and out of Aba’s briefcase.

Soon we were out strolling in our travel ‘Umbrella Stroller’ which offered neither of us anywhere near the comfort we are used to from our deluxe urban tank. We were close to arriving at our destination, lunch with my cousin, when Milo’s head snapped vigorously up and left as he unveiled an ‘Inquisitor’ with a particular flourish that caused me to follow his outstretched finger immediately.

Milo was babbling and lifting his whole torso out of the pram in a frenzied bouncing excitement. I followed the trajectory of his finger and saw there, hovering right above us, a giant, blue blimp.

Milo had never encountered such a craft before and I have not seen him so excited since his first meeting with the penguins. We watched it drift gently for several minutes, Milo’s neck craning whenever it disappeared behind a tree or building, until it finally escaped the ‘Inquisitor’ and passed out of sight. Milo looked up at me with a wide toothy grin as if we had really shared something special together.

More coffees with family and friends, and meals with Aba and we were back to the airport on Thursday morning ready to fly home to a lovely reunion with mum.

Once again we had three seats and this time I was wise enough to order nothing from the trolley. Although I did bring a mandarin which seemed very foolish immediately after I gave it to my son to spray all over both of us.

Thanks to some more assistance from the overhead light and some friendly passengers behind us Milo remained calm throughout the flight. We even witnessed an aviation miracle with a short nap during descent.

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An aviation miracle

  • Minutes of plane sleep – 12
  • Minutes of trough bathing – 3
  • Number of planes spotted by Milo from the plane – 1
  • Milo lifetime blimp count – 1
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