Until we saw her toddling towards at the airport this morning, I don't think we ever believed The Mothership would make it to Edinburgh. But there she was with her huge grin and ridiculous sunglasses perched on her head.
"I left the case in the car! So I've had these on my head all the way from Canberra! Ha ha!"
We expected tears aplenty after a year apart, but she just launched right into her usual blethering. "Would you look at this shirt? I'm a bloody disgrace!" she pointed to various blobs on it. "That's lunch at Sydney. And here's my ravioli on the way to Singapore. And here's a bit of breakfast before we got to Heathrow. You know I've had TWO breakfasts today, they gave me another one on the way to Edinburgh. I got two bits of bacon, pork sausage, scrambled eggs, half a tomato and a bread roll. A stale bread roll."
Her suitcase wasn't hard to spot on the carousel – bright red and bedecked with multiple padlocks and purple gauze ribbons.
"You know the Nice Singaporean Businessman beside me couldn't believe this was my first flight outside Australia. Well it is, I says, indeed this is the first time I've exercised my passport. You know I was so paranoid about deep-vein thrombosis, I took my asprin and wriggled my legs but still I thought, that'd be right, I'll get off the plan and cark it."
We sat on the top deck of the airport bus as we headed into the city. She frowned at some grey houses with concrete gardens and asked casually, "So do you enjoy living here?"
Next she crowed at how green and old everything was. She read out shop signs, "Hollywood Tan Studio. Magnet? Is that like Magnet Mart back home? Another Hollywood Tan Studio? Sunday lunch only £6.50. Is that cheap? Saint Ninian's Church! Oh! I always wanted to have a son called Ninian!"
"It's a beautiful name!"
We got off in the West End to catch another bus home.
"So girls, can you believe The Mother made it? Did you think I'd bail at the last minute?" Her teacher voice boomed across Lothian Road as we waited for the lights to change. "I'll tell you what I noticed on the flight and then at Heathrow, and that's all the healthy male specimens! My god, I've never seen so many hunks! Overseas is where the hunks are, I reckon. I thought to myself, there's bound to be some worthy hunks here for Rhiannon…"
"Mum, mum. Stop talking for a minute. Look up."
"Where?" "There! That's the castle."
"That's Ennbra Castle!? Right there in front of my nose? Fair dinkum?"
"Well there you go," she grinned, "Ennbra Castle."