I’m not entirely sure what possessed me to take Sherlock on a holiday to the South East coast of Australia. A fit of madness perhaps. Or maybe it was sheer desperation – Sherlock hadn’t had a decent case in over a month and his boredom (and consequent destruction of the flat) was driving me slowly but surely insane. Whatever the reason, Sherlock and I packed our bags (then I repacked Sherlock’s so he wouldn’t be stopped by airport security), arranged for Mrs Hudson to take care of Gladstone and took off for a week to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
Sherlock on an aeroplane wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared. Almost as soon as we’d found our seats he contorted those impossibly long limbs of his into an uncomfortable looking curl and fell fast asleep. He didn’t so much as stir until we were landing at Sydney airport.
Sherlock at the airport wasn’t as bad as I’d expected either – he was much, MUCH worse. After a scathing litany about why the restrictions on what you could have in your carry-on were utterly ridiculous and how you could easily get around them he proceeded to insult the security men who came over to speak with us and it was only thanks to Mycroft coming to see us off that we avoided being arrested.
I managed to avoid further disaster by buying him one of those Puzzler magazines to work through and that kept him busy for a good half hour declaring the puzzles easy enough for a brain-damaged monkey to solve (the logic puzzles and crossword questions he knew the answers to) or pointless and inane (the crossword questions that covered pop-culture or general knowledge he didn’t know the answers to). By that time our plane was boarding and like I said, after that he was out like a light.
By the time we got through baggage claim and caught a taxi to the hotel to check in and drop off our bags it was almost dinner time. We wandered down to Sydney Harbour and then over towards an area referred to as “The Rocks” and found a nice little Italian restaurant to eat at. It reminded me of that first night at Angelo’s, only Sherlock actually ate this time.
I hadn’t been able to sleep on the plane and so was more than ready to go back to the hotel after dinner but Sherlock was wide awake and insisted on walking around a bit more. I indulged him for a couple of hours before dragging him back to the hotel so I could get some sleep while he looked through a mountain of brochures and maps.
We were only spending the one day in Sydney and Sherlock had decided during his night of research that the best way to see the sights was by a ferry ride through the Harbour.
It was a bit of a worry when we spotted a police boat racing through the water. For a moment I thought Sherlock was going to go leaping off the ferry to swim after it (he’s done it before in the Thames) but thankfully the moment passed. It did unfortunately set Sherlock off on a bit of a ponderous monologue about the genetic predisposition towards crime of a population where the majority of original settlers were convicts.
By breakfast time the next day we were back at the airport. I had a surprisingly good bacon and egg toasted sandwich and cup of tea.
To my surprise, Sherlock also ate. Apparently he eats on holidays. Not particularly healthily – my teeth hurt just looking at the chocolate croissant and mocha frappe he ordered – but he eats.
An added bonus of him eating – the sweet pastry managed to hold his attention until it was time to board the plane. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep with that much sugar in my system but somehow Sherlock napped through the 70 minute flight. He didn’t sleep as deeply this time though – he briefly woke up when the flight attendant brought around cookies and water.
Melbourne was a lot of fun. They’ve named a restaurant after Sherlock over there – an actual restaurant. Of course we ate there entirely more than was good for the size of Sherlock’s ego. I have to admit though that the food was fantastic.
We spent one day at the Melbourne zoo.
Personally I liked the lions. They had three big males in the one enclosure that were making the most amazing huffing noise at each other – you could hear it throughout the entire zoo. Sherlock however seemed strangely fascinated by the platypus.
At first I thought it was because he thought they were some sort of trick (I can see why people in England thought they were a hoax when the first specimens were sent back – they look utterly ridiculous) but apparently the males have some sort of venomous spur on their hind leg and Sherlock was curious about exactly how incapacitating the venom was. Thankfully I managed to get him out of there without the theft of a platypus occurring (or any venom spur injuries occurring). Instead he cornered one of the keepers and interrogated them for a good half hour.
Sherlock was also quite taken with the butterfly house – a sort of big glass house kept warm and humid enough for the butterflies to live and breed all year round. Personally I was taken by the way the humidity made Sherlock’s curls go absolutely nuts. I’d share the photo but Mr Vanity knows where I sleep and I’d rather he didn’t carry through on the threats he made about what he’d do if it turned up on my blog.
The next day we visited the Victoria street markets. Sherlock rather sweetly insisted on buying Mrs Hudson a present. After an endearing amount of time he finally decided on a hat. I’m not sure why he insisted on me trying it on but I suspect it was just so he could take the photo. Mrs Hudson loved it so much it was worth the hassle of packing it without it getting crushed.
Terrifyingly, Sherlock insisted on buying a boomerang. I made him promise not to throw it in the flat but I doubt I suspect that promise will only last until the next time he gets bored.
We did some more shopping in Melbourne - as a bit of a joke I bought him a toy gun that lights up and makes noises when you pull the trigger. I’m going to hide it in the flat for him to find the next time he goes looking for my gun. Should give him a bit of a giggle.
Sherlock’s favourite purchase though was the model bee-hive and bee he found in a little shop in an arcade.
We spent our last full day in Melbourne at the Museum. It’s only small and most of it Sherlock declared boring, but they had a brilliant insect and arachnid display. Sherlock complained that there wasn’t enough on bees but he certainly spent plenty of time staring at the other insect displays – particularly the live insects and spiders they had in terrariums around the exhibit. He looked at me and I could practically hear him calculating the odds of me letting him start a terrarium of his own once we got home. I’ve already told him he’s not allowed to keep bees on the roof and I shudder at the thought of living with a spider but I decided I could live with an ant farm. Maybe even a stick insect.
We ate breakfast at the airport again and I had the puzzle book ready to distract Sherlock. I think Australia mellowed him slightly though, since he wasn’t nearly as much trouble this time. Maybe he was just worn out because once we’d boarded Sherlock repeated his coma patient act, falling asleep before we’d even taken off. Only this time he decided to use my shoulder as a pillow. It was my good shoulder though so I didn’t complain. It was actually quite comfortable – comfortable enough that I dozed off myself, sleeping for most of the long flight back.
It was a rather pleasant end to the holiday, even if my arm fell asleep. It is lovely to be home though. As I write this blog entry Gladstone is curled up at my feet, Sherlock’s putting together his new terrarium and Mrs Hudson’s downstairs picking out different outfits to go with her new hat. I have a pot of bolognaise boiling on the stove for dinner and Lestrade promised to come over later and go over what happened in London the week we were away. Yup, There really is no place like home.