It's been a few weeks and a lot of kilometres since the last blog, where we were in Armidale after leaving the Tweed area. Guess where we are now? Back in Tweed and getting ready to do a Housesit in Carrarra for Christmas.
But first a recap on what we have been doing since leaving Tweed last time.
We arrived in Gunnedah and were very excited to see our beautiful little families again (any time away from them is always too long!)
We had left our van at Gunnedah when we went back up to Robina last time as we would be staying with Jo and then the Robina Housesit, so now it's back to our little home on wheels for a few days. It certainly felt like coming home and we have everything we need in our van.
The reason we were back in Gunnedah is to do another Housesit which enables us to spend more time with the grandchildren!! This one was about 5 minutes away and we had 2 old dogs to look after. They are outside dogs (except when there is a storm and they tried to come in!) and only needed a ball to be thrown to them a couple of times a day. Anything more and they were exhausted. The Housesit was for 3 weeks and Kath was so pleased that all was well when she can back, she has said that whenever we are heading back that way to just let her know and she would organise somewhere for herself to go. How's that for being obliging?
We had a lovely time with Josh and Ellie, again taking them on picnics, swimming, the river and the parks. We often brought them back to the house for play, bath and dinner before they went home, tired and ready for bed.
We drove to Coonabarrabran and visited the Siding Springs Exploratory Station, which houses a large telescope used for space observation. We also spent a day at the races, enjoying the odd flutter and even managing to win on a couple of races.
After the Gunnedah housesit we then went on to Coolah, and spent a week with Jo, Phil and Olivia.
It was lovely to see Jo and Phil so settled into their new home. Although they are renting and not able to do some things they would like to the house, they are happy that they only pay $150 a week and for that, they can put up with the odd inconvenience. We had a good week with them with lots of walking, (they are already known around the town as "the walkers") swimming and checking out Phil's new school premises. Coolah also had 2 Op Shops and we spent a few dollars in one, but didn't make it into the second shop. That's something to look forward to on our next visit! Everyone is very friendly in the town and made us all feel very welcome.
The weekend we were in Coolah was the regional Touch Footy competition weekend which is held every year and the town doubles in numbers, going from 1000 residents to around 2000, with I think, 36 teams competing. Phil had been recruited into one of the Coolah teams and we were there to support him. Emma, Graham and the kids came over on the Saturday as well so Phil had a good cheer squad happening. Sadly in the end that didn't help as his team finished bottom. No injuries though so that was a bonus!
While in Coolah we checked out Coolah tops, doing a small bush walk and admiring the views from the top. Olivia also enjoyed the adventure, being carried along by mum. She is such a happy contented child, nearly too good to be true! although she is still not a good sleeper at night, getting Jo up a couple of times most nights.
We drove out to Mudgee for the day with Jo and Olivia, it's about the same distance from Coolah as Gunedah is but in the other direction, and somewhere we had never been to before. We liked what we saw, a lovely old country town with a good range of shops and facilities and well kept buildings.
With our week at Coolah over, it was time to head back to Gunnedah to pick up the van and head towards Tweed again. We had decided to spend Christmas with mum this year as she hadn't been well and the kids are all spending their Christmas at Shoalhaven with the boy's dad. It's Ray's 60th birthday on Christmas Eve and they are all having a big get together there.
It was sad to say goodbye to both families as we left Gunnedah, but we know we will be seeing them again soon.
On the way up the coast we stopped at Glen Innes for one night and then onto Grafton for two. Grafton is famous for the many Jacaranda trees in town. The Jacaranda has the most beautiful purple blossom and is my favourite type of tree. I have always wanted to visit Grafton when they are in bloom and this year was my opportunity. Beautiful, and another thing off my bucket list!!!
We stayed out at the greyhound track in Grafton and even managed to spend an evening watching the races. While at the meet, I recognised someone we both knew from Aussie Post. Luke used to be in security for my area at the time but now is the manager of Grafton Post Office. What a surprise, It really is a small world! We spent a good while between watching the races, chatting and listening to Luke talk about his beloved greyhounds.
On to Yamba, where we caught up with some friends we had first met in Longreach. It was lovely to see Carl and Anna again, reminisce old times and catch up on each other's news. Yamba itself was very busy at the time, getting ready for a vintage car rally that weekend.
Next stop was Mullambimby where we stayed at the Showgrounds. Compared to the Yamba caravan park where we paid $29 a night and were packed in like sardines, we paid $20 a night and shared a great big open grass area with about 6 other rigs. We know which was the better deal!
We took the opportunity to catch up with my brother and sister in law, Chris and Rosey, who came out to visit us and together we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon and the odd beverage or two.
We are now back in Tweed, at Boyds Bay Caravan Park, a lovely park where we have stayed many times before. The park also has a good van storage facility which we have made use of again. We left the van there while we went up to Noosa and stayed with Simon and Kerry for a week. We had a great time with them and I put my craft skills to the test by making some nativity outfits for Harry and Yasmin as Joseph and an angel. Not a bad effort, if I do say so myself!
In a few days time we will be starting our Housesit at Carrara, a 30 minute drive from mum's. A lovely house with a pool and a beautiful kelpie/German Sheppard cross named Jaz. Oh and Foxtel, so that should keep Chris happy!!! We will be there for 3 weeks, then back here, spend a couple of days with Jo, Phil and Olivia, who are coming up to see old friends after the new year before we then hightail it down to Kiama, South of Sydney to spend a few days with Emma, Graham, Josh and Ellie where they will be with their little van for 2 weeks.
After that, who know?! We are really lucky to be enjoying our lives so much, no work or hassles, travelling around this beautiful country wherever and whenever we like. We spend more time with family and friends than we would ever be able to do if we were still in Sydney and still working. So I'll say it again, LIFE IS GOOD!
To anyone that is reading this now, we wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year. May you be as fortunate in life as we are. XX