Middle Aged Mini Breaks, Romance and Getting The Mojo Back In Your Marriage

Middle Aged Mini Breaks, Romance and Getting The Mojo Back In Your Marriage


The old man and I braved a mini break last weekend.


All long relationships need a little bit of TLC occasionally.

Middle Aged Mini Breaks, Romance and Getting The Mojo Back In Your Marriage
Hardy’s Bay Wharf – It doesn’t get much more idyllic.

Somehow we managed to trick some good friends into the offer of a weekend at The Block in exchange for the protection of our apartment from Kurt’s impulsive party-planning antics and crazed friends.


As my son would say, “Sucked In!”


The old man was already ensconced on the Central Coast, pretending to be a very important and busy executive at some conference (he probably made up), so I joined him there on Friday night.


My experience of the Central Coast has been limited so far to a disastrous maiden camping trip to Woy Woy, where we fell foul of a freak storm on our first night and only realized when it was time for bed that we’d forgotten to close our tent flaps. I was woken in the morning by the old man letting the air out of my blow-up bed with a ‘let’s get the fuck out of here!’


The second occasion was when Ken, our old GPS (since retired), decided that he knew a shortcut to get us back to the Northern Beaches from the North Coast, foolishly believing that we could engage a Bond-esque swimming mode to our Honda CRV, and like God, cross water.


I found a cheap reasonably-priced B and B on Wotif.com, close to Avoca Beach, but what we actually discovered when we arrived was a mini Nirvana.

Middle Aged Mini Breaks, Romance and Getting The Mojo Back In Your Marriage

It might have been the lack of Kurt jackhammering through my eardrums, not having to cook and clean or simply being able to fully relax for the first time in a long time, but once deeply entrenched in our beautiful French-styled suite at the Avoca Valley B and B, I tasted heaven.


The old man had uncharacteristically planned some super-expensive dinner at a local hotel for Saturday night, so I found a Turkish restaurant that was recommended in Ettalong for our meal out on the Friday. Gone are the greasy Doner kebabs of old, the contemporary Turkish cuisine on offer at Saffron still served up a wealth of my old faithful and comforting dips such as Tszatsiki, Baba Ganoush (the name of my next Spoodle) and hummus, accompanied by lashings of bread. First course was followed by tapas-sized mains that included whiting lightly fried in herbs, Halloumi in vine leaves and Kofta, which satisfied the old man’s need for meat.


We were back at the B and B by 8.30pm, fully conscious of our middle-aged need to be in bed by 9.30pm to awaken fresh the next morning to get our money’s worth fully enjoy the inclusive buffet breakfast start of our weekend adventure.


And it turns out that Kilcare and Hardy’s Bay are jaw-smackingly beautiful places and right on Sydney’s doorstep.

Middle Aged Mini Breaks, Romance and Getting The Mojo Back In Your Marriage
Tsunami surf!

Kilcare Beach was empty due to tsunami-high surf conditions, although there were still some fearless locals at the north end of the beach who decided to brave the tempestuous seas, while us old wrinklies enjoyed a wonderful couple of sedentary hours under the safety of our umbrella with only the Kindle and Ipod for distraction.


I missed the “are you coming for a swim now?” and “can we go now?” nags from my children. Not a bit.


By lunchtime, our bodies had somehow managed to digest the gargantuan full breakfast that was supposed to stave off hunger for the next week and we meandered back down to one of Hardy’s Bay’s cute little cafes for a feast of King Prawns.


And then we might have had a nap…


The spirituality and natural beauty of our surroundings obviously got to us because at some point that afternoon we were feeling so relaxed and Bohemian that we decided to forgo the 5 star luxury of dinner at the local snooty hotel and dine off-piste. So, after a very public domestic of WW3 proportions in the local deli about which cheese to buy, (because the old man refused to pay the extra $4 for organic), we bought a block of cheap Brie, some dodgy-looking pate, salmon and fruit and decided to give the whole rediscovery of romance a go on the privacy of our beautiful balcony.

Middle Aged Mini Breaks, Romance and Getting The Mojo Back In Your Marriage
It doesn’t look that inspiring but it was perfect. Honest!

The candles were lit, the stars were out, the wine was chilled and even the cicadas were baying for us. The local Lemon and Myrtle digestif slipped down easily, as did my trusty bottle of Scarborough wine, secreted up from the city.


The scene was set.


Our eyes met across the smouldering candles on the table and we smiled at each other, coyly, like we were seeing each other for the first time again…

Middle Aged Mini Breaks, Romance and Getting The Mojo Back In Your Marriage
I’m just a magnet for new friends. “Get back and make my breakfast!”

And then we yawned.


None of it was enough to stave off the tiredness of a full day on the beach. Proud that we had made it to 9.30pm, we crashed in front of a trashy movie and happily called it a night.


Whoever said middle-aged romance is dead is a liar.

How To Spice Up Your Middle-Aged Marriage (Or Not!)

Wrinkly Lodge finally beckoned this weekend, for our mini-break. The time had come to celebrate twenty years of marriage, and perhaps even reclaim some of the old passion.

English: transhooker katjapueppi working on st...
English: transhooker katjapueppi working on street Deutsch: Transvestit Katjapueppi auf dem Strassenstrich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was the perfect opportunity to spice up our middle-aged marriage, that admittedly has become a secondary priority to the increasing list of life’s responsibilities.

To put it crudely, we took a ‘fuck the kids’ approach and (shock! horror!), put ourselves first.

I had thought that my expectations for the weekend were the same as the old man’s, initially. But once again, my old fella never ceased to amaze me by his committed disdain for traditional demonstrations of romance, (which in truth, may well be why our marriage has actually survived).

Nothing distinguished the disparity more between man and woman planning a mini-break than when we were packing to go on Friday night.

When I booked this weekend all those months ago I had planned to enjoy a relaxed packing session on the Friday afternoon. I planned to exfoliate and epilate my protective covering of winter fuzz, trim mole hairs and hide that persistent big toenail fungus with some come-to-bed deep red nail varnish; I had also planned to have lost five kilos, to straighten the over-dyed straw on my head and to meticulously plan every outfit for the next forty-eight hours.

The best-laid plans and all that crap…

Typically, at 4pm when the old man raced through the back door I was still putting the last pieces of work to bed, the breakfast stuff was developing a mouldy fur on the breakfast bar and the Princess Spoodle was crossing her legs because I hadn’t even managed to remember to let her out for a wee.

Luckily, sometimes the old man and I do our best work in ‘frantic’ mode.

Packing suddenly went from being a matter of precision to a matter of urgency – more a question of dumping anything to wear in the suitcases that might suit the Arctic climate of the Blue Mountains and the hoity-toity OLD clientele of Wrinkly Lodge.

Nerd Child sat on the bed supervising the pair of us as we raced around the bedroom like headless chickens – she was suspiciously eager for us to leave, and I might have been worried had I not known that she was simply eager to begin her weekend festivities of a new book on astro-physics.

Judging from the contents of our respective suitcases, however, it was soon revealed that the old man and my expectations for the weekend were obviously a little different.

I should have known that a leopard doesn’t really change his spots, even for a romantic mini-break.

These were the contents of my suitcase:

A choice of five knock-em-dead, glamour-puss evening outfits, (most of which were totally impractical for Wrinkly Lodge, where we were to be the youngest guests by at least ten years, and had I possessed the balls to wear one of them, I probably would have ended up looking like some drag queen from Mardi Gras).

An assortment of body creams, make up, perfumes and several nail varnishes with which to beautify myself.

Massage oil.

Several sets of swimmers, so that I could decide after the first cooked breakfast which one best concealed the eat-as-much-as-you-can sausages, bacon and fried bread.

5 pairs of shoes/boots, because as I learnt in the Brownies, it is important to always ‘be prepared’. What spontaneous party I thought might kick off at the Wrinkly Lodge wake, I have no idea).

Gym clothes (to have their inaugural outing during a mini-break).

Several sets of sexy lingerie (still boxed – in fact never been worn – since their forced purchase at the Sexpo in Brisbane two years ago with some younger friends in a sad attempt to look like I was still ‘getting lots’  – I still defy any woman to wear G strings after a 9 stone baby and resulting episiotomy)

The old man’s suitcase, on the other hand, revealed very different expectations:

One pair of all-weather/multi-functioning FUGLY shoes (that could be worn to climb mountains as well as for dinner attire – in fairness, he did scrape the mud off first in the roll-top bath)

One pair of jeans

One jumper

One coat

Two shirts (in case he spilled dinner down the first – which, he obviously did)

Books, iPad, iPod, iPhone, 2 sets of headphones


Weekend TV Sports Guide

We obviously had slightly different ideas about how to spice up our middle-aged marriage.

He was obviously counting on getting as pissed as a c…. and a ‘quickie’. I had thought some romance might work.

Some things never change.

Four hours later, (after an intense tour of the Paramatta Road during which we discovered a whole new vocabulary of swearwords ), two middle-aged people who have spent the past twenty years together arrived at Wrinkly Lodge, slowly adjusted their eyes to the glare of the floral chintz and settled in with very different expectations for their romantic mini-break.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Middle-Aged Anniversary Mini-Break

Twenty years ago today I sealed my fate. I vowed that the old man’s penis would be the last adult one I’d ever see….(obviously at that point I hadn’t counted on the exhibitionism of my sixteen year old ADHD son).

day 72: esther in chintz
day 72: esther in chintz (Photo credit: estherase)

Did I mention that the anniversary celebrations have finally been booked? We are off to Wrinkly Lodge, or I should say… some beautiful old hotel in the Blue Mountains with an abundance of floral chintz, quilted bedcovers and a beautiful old wood panelled bar that only serves Sherry.

The old man’s choice!

I’m not complaining……much. (Just call me ‘Princess’).

At least this little ‘mini break’ is costing enough of a small fortune to be hurting the old man like hell, (I think his wallet actually threw up last night), which in a sick way proves to me that after twenty years together there is some discernible love left between us.


If truth be told, I’m a bit more of a modernist in my style and given the choice might have preferred a quirky, little boutique hotel with pink velvet chairs, faux zebra skin rugs and an Eames Lounge Chair, say, to get my style juices really going.

Wrinkly Lodge just sounds a bit, well, ‘too wrinkly’ for me. A tad dull. Like we’re old or something! It sounds like the sort of place we went to in our twenties when we were pretending to be all grown up, but had no taste. I don’t actually need reminding that we are middle-aged now – why else would we be celebrating twenty years together?

I can just about accept being middle-aged but I don’t have to pro-actively seek out other more mature middle-aged people to spend my free time with.

I am sure that Wrinkly Lodge will be sophisticated and classy and decadent in a period drama kind of a way, but I’m just not sure I’m quite there yet. It’s no secret that I’m still sadly trying to salvage some element of my youth, even if I’m barely holding onto it by my finger nails. Why else would I have subjected myself to a week of skiing torture?

I would have preferred to turn back time just for one weekend, to have gone somewhere where I could pretend we were back in our twenties, somewhere hip and vibrant, even if I was the oldest parent in the playground. I want to get out my glad rags again, my f*ck me heels, some sparkle and glamour and put on the old liquid eyeliner and red lipstick – as opposed to fast-forwarding ten years and sitting in silence together in some cold wood panelled bar with a whisky, dressed in comfortable clothing, Hush Puppies squeaking on the polished floor.

Marmite and Vegemite have a distinctive dark c...
Marmite and Vegemite have a distinctive dark colour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Needless to say, the old man loves a bit of wrinkly Golf Club glamour. Put him in an environment of grey-hair with either Duck a L’Orange or Beef Bourgignon on the menu and a select choice of vintage whiskies, and he’s in heaven. He sees contemporary cuisine as the devil’s food, a ‘pay-more to eat-less’ food fashion – ‘smears’ and ‘froths’ raise his blood pressure.

I take comfort from the fact that we won’t be indulging in the hotel breakfast or lunch at least – the old man has suggested we bring our toaster and Marmite to save money.

This weekend I may not be Brigitte Jones, but I will proudly be the Princess of Wrinkly Lodge, and although once again he might have got it a little wrong, I will be sharing the experience with my Mr Darcy.