My daughter’s favourite cuddly is a wolf called Storm.
At home, all her soft cuddlies get a fair and equal chance for a night time snuggle with her but when she’s away from home, Storm is The Chosen One. (Storm usually travels with a Minecraft Sheep – for snack?).
Storm travels everywhere with us and is a particularly well-travelled wolf, having visited Amsterdam, Thailand, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, France and lots of other European countries we have passed through on our super-long summer road trips.
Well, as usual, Storm was with us when we travelled home from Amsterdam to Newcastle on the DFDS overnight ferry. He had enjoyed a 3000+ mile road trip across 8 European countries in three weeks and was, by now, a little grubby.
After a lovely evening enjoying a family meal in Little Italy, the on-board pizzeria, followed by mum and dad enjoying drinks in the bar whilst the kids made friends in the play area and took part in a treasure hunt around the ship with the kids club, everyone was ready for bed when we headed back to our cabin for some well earned sleep.
Pyjamas on. Teeth brushed. (Whisky poured). We were all settling down for the night when Ava erupted into floods of tears and emitted a wail that echoed down the corridor.
Storm was nowhere to be found.
Ava must have lost him somewhere in the ship. Not only that, she’d also lost the Minecraft sheep. You often hear of children being inconsolable but I’d never seen it until that point.
She truly was so sad……… sobbing, crying, (hic) telling us that Wolf was quite simply the only thing in her life she cared about….. (sob) Her best friend, Poppy had given it to her (deep breath)……. Storm kept her safe…. (sob) he could never be replaced…….(hic). She would never, ever be happy again….
My response as a caring dad? “Well that will teach you to look after things.”
Mum, and older brother, who was nearly as upset as she was since he can’t bear to see anyone sad, put their clothes back on and for the next 45 minutes re-traced every single step Ava had taken since we’d boarded the ferry.
Storm and the sheep were nowhere to be seen.
It was now late and the ship was closing up for the night but they raced around searching the kids club ball pit, checking the table we had sat at for dinner, looking under everyone else’s tables and chairs.
Still no sign of Storm.
Their last port of call was the main reception desk responsible for lost property. They explained they had lost a wolf and a sheep and asked if they been handed in.
The man on reception made a well-intentioned joke about the wolf AND a sheep being an unusual duo but neither mum or brother were in a laughing mood. They trudged back to the cabin knowing that the tiny glimmer of hope Ava still had was about to squashed.
Indeed hope turned into despair.
Ava was distraught. We said we would try again in the morning but we couldn’t promise we would find him, her brother crept into her bed and tried to placate her with promises that he’d use his pocket money and buy her replacement but it all simply wasn’t good enough. Storm was gone and we had the saddest girl in Europe in our cabin.
Eventually after an hour of sobbing into her pillow she did actually fall to sleep, her equally sad brother also fell into a restless sleep, Dad slept soundly probably due to the single shot of whisky and mum….. well, mum, as many mums are, is no quitter.
Mum set her alarm.
The following morning, long before the official wake up alarm, she began her forlorn ship-wide search for Storm and the lost sheep.
Finally, the pizza restaurant was opened up for the cleaners and mum spotted last night’s waitress, who said she remembered us eating there last night and asked if we could wait for a moment.
Miraculously, she returned with Storm the wolf and a minecraft sheep under her arm! She said she’d put them underneath the till to hand them in this morning.
Storm had been lost but was thankfully found and mum returned triumphant. A good start to the day! Thanks DFDS!