These are the family holidays that try the soul

We survived. But the world, through our family holiday, threw up challenges. Wombats and sheep bookended the journey as deadly road blocks, and one sorry groomsman forgot his pants.

It’s obvious why some households choose home over travel. The long drives; unexpected, GDP-size costs; the sapping fatigue and arguments ensuing and inevitable.  

Easier to spend your hard-earned on whitegoods, tablets and streaming services.

But our first trip as a family unit – away from the regulating – everyday troubles and scenes, brought surprises vital for the soul.

Even in its dangers. Before dawn, wombats rule rural roads.

The first one had us swerve across a darkened, winding road, my wife screaming. The fat, hairy plodder, unperturbed, continued unharmed on his daily wander.

Stunned wide-awake at the early hour, the second wide-load appeared before me with absolute surprise for maximum terror.

Another swerve, wife and Little Mate safe, heart pounding and wombat bum up and safe reaching the other side.

From Daylesford to Puckapunyal, we passed five throughout their “alley”.

And, coming home, after an eight-hour dragging journey from Canberra, we were caught up in a traffic-jam. In quiet, picturesque Kyneton.

The culprit? A wayward sheep, crossing the over-rail bridge.

Lucky for him, two driving Samaritans herded it to the side off the road.

Survival would not have mattered, however, if I were without pants.

Hours before my friend’s wedding, in his party I discovered I had failed to bring my suit’s bottom, better half.

But the ever-so frazzled groom just smiled. My wife was shopping. I got trousers.

As reward, she claimed a pug-shaped cushion for the rescue.

Chris O’Leary