We arrived in Perth, then, early Sunday morning on Christmas eve. The flights were actually fine and we were all weirdly awake for the next leg.
Smelling of meatballs and with my brave troopers behind me, I greeted the Hindles who had turned out to meet us at the airport. From there, we were loading all our stuff into a pair of cars and getting straight onto the road. Off down south, another three or four hours in transit, to Margaret River and our final destination.
 I forgot to mention, but our very first meal on the plane from Helsinki to Hong Kong had a minor glitch. We had a set of seats that went window-seat-seat-seat-aisle-seat, so Mrs. Hatboy (in accordance with her This Is Your Fucking Circus Hatboy policy) took the separate seat across the aisle. I was then on the other aisle seat, Toop was in the middle and Wump was on the window. I helped out with their tray tables and dinner-unpackings, and incidentally a lot of leftover-eating as well, which was great. Now, the meal was meatballs and mashed potato. I opened Toop’s meatballs, peeled open her little container of pressurised water, turned away for three seconds to help Wump with her stuff, and when I heard Toop say “look what I’m doing” it was too late for me to stop her doing it. What she was in fact doing was pouring her water into her meatballs, because three-year-olds gonna three-year-old. I picked up her dinner container and drained the meatball water back into a cup on my tray, and there it stayed … until the flight attendant came around to pick up the remains of dinner, at which point I knocked it all over myself. So that was why I smelled of meatballs.
 Fuck off, you know those things are pressurised. Frankly it was a miracle I got it peeled open without it spraying everywhere.
Did I say “loading all our stuff”? Oh no, that was a mistake. Because when we arrived at Margaret River four or five hours later (with stretch-the-legs and eat-a-pie break halfway), and I went to pull out our Christmas presents in order to wrap them ready for Christmas morning, the bag containing a bunch of our stuff was nowhere to be found.
 Last time we were in Australia and were driving down to Margaret River, we stopped at this charming little caravan / trailer setup called the Miami Bakehouse. It looked like this:
Now, it has evolved into a highway-straddling ultra-modern monstrosity and it looks like this:
Pies are still good though. Okay, end of footnote.
The bag, which we had borrowed from Mr. BRKN, was a small piece of cabin luggage so it didn’t even have tracking tags or anything. We’d blindly trusted in our ability to keep track of two wheely-bags of cabin luggage, and indeed we had – right up until the last moments of our voyage. To this day I’m not sure where we lost track of it, but it was probably somewhere around the hold-luggage retrieval carousel. After immigration check, but before security check. Just … gone. I called the airport and we sent then some e-mails, only to find that everyone was on Christmas holiday from the 23rd of December through to the 3rd of January. So that, it seemed, was that.
Security check, incidentally, had been easy. The whole reason we’d left our Christmas presents unwrapped was because we were pretty sure Australian customs (who are monsters) would want to open them all anyway. This was also the reason we didn’t let the girls bring their favourite soft toys with them, but made them settle for a lower-shelf option. Because getting your toys gutted in front of you may cause trauma.
The bag, we eventually calculated, had contained a bunch of Marvel bobble-heads I’d bought in Hong Kong; my old hoodie and a spare pair of pants; Mrs. Hatboy’s book and favourite scarf; my colostomy emergency kit (nothing in there I couldn’t replace easily though); and a month’s worth of colostomy bags that I had put in there additional to the month’s worth I put in my suitcase, hilariously, in case the airline lost my suitcase. All in all, nothing crucial but it was a damn bummer.
 I’d done so not only because I saw a neat Black Panther I wanted to get for Mrs. Hatboy, but because of a Secret Santa plan my sister had that really is too complicated to get into. In the end, not only did we not do the Secret Santa, but the two bobble-heads I thought I was buying were actually parts of two sets of bobble-heads, so I wound up with a pair of boxes full of bobble-heads. Anyway, no matter.
We got to my parents’ beach house (or rather beach mansion), and did our best to remain awake until bedtime.
Toop collapsed immediately onto the couch and fell asleep; I did the same on a deck chair out on the verandah, but I don’t look anywhere near as adorable as Toop does.
After a few days, incidentally, my jet-lag should have been gone and I figured out that I was sleeping so damn much because I was drinking my parents’ coffee. I learned how to use their percolator and thus ensured myself a decent brew. Wakefulness restored.
After a delightful afternoon nap, my sister and nieces arrived and we enjoyed Christmas dinner. This usually happens on the 25th, obviously, but we had a few different family Venn diagrams to fill with Christmas meals so we needed to start early.
The pudding is on fire, in case you can’t see it.
Basically exhausted, we all turned in and went to bed. And that was it for Day 1.