With Christmas well and truly behind us and weeks spent with family, most especially grandchildren, I am only now thinking about this blog. December and January seem to have just flown by and now we are already into February. How did that happen?
December for us was spent between Tweed Heads and Noosa, enjoying the big family get togethers with almost all of our family members in the one place at the same time. It was lovely to see our nieces Sarah and Suzanne with their families and for our Jo and Emma to catch up with their cousins with whom they shared great childhood memories. Mum was so happy seeing her 4 girls together with their children, her great grandchildren!
After the family get togethers our girls headed to Shoalhaven Heads for their Christmas with Phil and Graham's family while we headed back up to Noosa. My brother John and Vicky, who we haven't seen for 2 years, were arriving from Perth on Christmas Eve and along with Simon and Kerry, Kerry's brother and his family, we all spent Christmas morning on the beach. Beautiful sun, sea and sand! everything you'd imagine the Aussie Christmas to be. Back home again then in preparation for the baked Christmas dinner which was a feast in itself, with turkey, beef and pork and just about every veg you could think of, even including Yorkshire puddings which we would not think of leaving out. Justin and his daughter, Lylah, along with a couple of Just's friends joined us as well so it was a large, happy gathering. The afternoon was finished off with presents for the kids and Secret Santa's for the adults with everyone in the pool or just sitting around talking and enjoying each other's company. A lovely day!
We left Noosa early the day after Boxing Day as we had arranged to meet our nephew Carl and his family in Sydney for the day. They were over from the UK on holiday and only in Sydney for a week. We hightailed it down the coast and had to go down to Nowra about a 3 hour drive from Sydney as that was the only place we could get booked into with the van, Christmas being the busiest time for caravan parks. We drove from Nowra up to Waterfall where we caught the train into Sydney and met Carl at Circular Quay. Carl was our pageboy when we got married and was only 3 at the time, now 42 years later he's a great big guy, married and with 2 teenage kids. We caught the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly and had a fish and chip lunch at Doyle's, an iconic Sydney experience. It was a lovely day catching up on each other's lives and sharing news of our families. Both Chris and I agreed it was well worth changing our plans for and making a quick, earlier than planned for long trip down the coast.
A very big plus about staying at Nowra was that we were not far from Shoalhaven Heads which was where Jo and Phil were. Emma and Graham were by now at Ulladulla Caravan park down the coast a bit where we were booked in for a week with them later. We sent New Year's Eve with Jo, Phil and the girls along with Ray and Viv, Phil's dad and step mum and also Phil's grandparents, Ray and Irene. Olivia's birthday is on NYE and we celebrated her 4th birthday with a party at lunchtime and then fireworks down by the river at 9 o'clock that evening. The big fireworks display organised especially for her every year by mum and dad!!!!!
We spent a few more days at Nowra and then headed down to Ulladulla, where we set up camp. The next day Chris and Graham headed off early to meet up with Phil and Ray to join with the 3rd brother Chris for another long day in Sydney at the SCG, Australia V England 4th day of the last "Ashes" test match. Jo and Viv were bringing the girls down to spend the day with us and for Olivia to have a sleepover. The sleepover didn't happen though as Olivia and Josh both had (separately) bad falls with injuries at the waterpark. Josh cracked a bone in his elbow and Olivia had a nasty graze from her forehead, nose, chin and down to her toes. Josh had a visit to the hospital and came back with a soft plaster which he thought was great until he realised he couldn't go in swimming any more! Olivia came good with lots of cuddles but decided she didn't want a sleepover.
Our week at Ulladulla went all too quickly with a busy week of swimming, bushwalking and more family get togethers. We had a day at Kiama with all the family where Jo had organised a photo session with the 3 brothers and families, both sets of grandparents and one set of great grandparents. It was a beautiful day, perfect weather, a lovely fish and chips lunch and great photos.
After our week was over at Ulladulla it was time for Emma, Graham, Josh and Ellie to head home to Boroowa so it was sad farewells all around as we said our goodbyes not knowing when we will see them again!
We left Ulladulla the same day and headed up to Berry Showgrounds, just up from Nowra and again still close to where Jo and Phil are. They were staying with Phil's parents until the end of the summer school holidays and knowing this we were reluctant to leave the area while they were still around. We did manage to get some sleepovers in the van with Olivia, we all had fun and she made new friends with a couple of little girls also staying at the Showgrounds.
Now the school holidays are over, the kids have all gone home and we are at Bulli, south of Sydney, in a park right by the beach. I have convinced Chris that as we are so close to the Sutherland Shire where we used to live that we need to catch up with a few people. We've already started the catch up with a 1st birthday in Caringbah for Riley (Chris's, the 3rd brother's youngest) then onto our old neighbours Vicki and Telli, for a cup of tea that turned into dinner and a very pleasant evening. I've caught up with some of my old work mates and unfortunately we will have a funeral to go to while we are here. Another friend of mine has just lost her husband to MND. So sad but I'm glad we will be here to say our goodbyes.
We are not sure how long we will be around this area and as yet our plans for where we go next have yet to be decided. We're thinking of heading south again and travelling around Victoria. It's a state we haven't spent too much time in and are looking forward to seeing more of, before the colder weather that Victoria is known for set's in.