With Christmas and another successful Housesit behind us, we have said goodbye to family and the Tweed area to find ourselves at the beautiful spot called Darlington Park. A camping area, 24 kms from Beaudesert in the hinterland of the Goldcoast. Quiet now with the school holidays and Australia Day behind us, it's a beautiful lush and green camping area next to the Albert river. We are making the most of the peace and quiet and the hot weather, enjoying swimming in the river and the fact that there's no phone or internet coverage here. I'm sure we'll hit technology again soon where numerous emails await us and I will be able to publish this blog entry.
So, what have we been doing since we left Coolah and our visit to "Mother of Ducks" at Guyra?
We spent the first 10 days back on the coast at Boyd's Bay caravan park, catching up on odd jobs and visiting family before heading off to Burliegh Waters to start the Housesit for Jo and Phil. (Their lady wanted to leave before Phil's school term finished so we all agreed this was the best arrangement.) We had Harry and Yasmin come to stay with us there for a few days, and all of us enjoyed the pool. Chris's mum Heather arrived from the UK a few days later as we were due to start our Housesit at Carrara. While the 2 housesits overlapped by a couple of days, I stayed with Harry and Yasmin (and Simon and Kerry who had came to pick them up) and Chris and Heather stayed at our Housesit about 20 minutes away.
As Simon and family left, Jo and Phil arrived the next day bringing with them a tummy bug! Starting with Olivia who was crook for a couple of days, then Ruby who got dehydrated and was in hospital for 7 hours under observation. That same evening we were up the hospital again. This time for Heather who slipped and fell off the edge of the drive, down an embankment, rolling over a rockery and tree stump to land in a heap at the bottom. The fall was probably only about 6-8 feet but as I watched on helplessly, it was all in slow motion and a horrifying experience. Heather was not too impressed either! As we picked Heather up and got her inside, it was clear that we would not be able to clean her up and a trip to the hospital was needed. About 2 hours later, 4 stitches in her forehead, steri strips on her right elbow and a dressing over her left forearm to cover the now badly grazed and torn skin, we were able to take Heather home. I still can't believe with what happened, and for an 83 year old on warfarin, she healed so quickly!
As well as all this! Olivia's elbow became dislocated and Phil and I took her to the hospital. (Jo was having her own issues and couldn't be far from a toilet!) This is something that has happened before and is apparently a Jones family trait! (The elbow, not the Sh---s. Oh, wait a minute!!! ---No) Poor Phil was terrified the hospital people would think he was ill treating his beloved daughter as this was the second time it's happened. So that was 3 hospital visits in 3 days. Not a good way to start the Christmas holidays!
Chris and I were the next to get sick but after that things seemed to settle down a bit and with Christmas Day getting closer we were hoping the dreaded tummy bug was on the way out.
Christmas Day was a lovely family affair, starting with breakfast and a swim at Jo's before heading over to my brother Roger's for a late lunch. There was 16 of us including Emma, Graham, Josh, Ellie Jenny. (Phil and Graham's mum) My mum and Suzanne and Grant, (Roger's daughter and her partner.) We all had a great day, with good company and lovely food. The kids got lots of pressies and the adult's "Secret Santas" were a great success.
Emma and Graham had come up for the day from Balina where they were staying with Jenny for a few days. Then after Boxing Day they were back up the coast again to stay in their little caravan at Kirra Beach Caravan park where they had stayed 3 years previously when Olivia was born.
We loved spending holiday times with the grandchildren and I'm sure Heather enjoyed getting to know all her Aussie great grandkids. We had fun at the beach, in the pools, sleepovers and the kids loved the great cubby house at our Housesit. We also had a good day when we took Josh, Ellie and Olivia to the movies to see the new Disney movie, Moana. This was followed up with lunch at McDonalds then back to the cubby and playtime before heading home to their parents and another swim in the pool. A really good day!
Now Heather has gone back to the UK and the girls and their families have gone home we start to look to our plans for this year. As we said we would go to Noosa and look after Harry and Yasmin at the end of February we don't have too long to go very far which is why we are staying here at Darlington Park, giving us the opportunity to see an area close to Tweed that we haven't been to before. Then we will be back at Tweed again at the end of April for our friend Dorothy's 90th birthday celebrations. So what are we doing in between February and the end of April? We have just arranged our next Housesit, this time in New Zealand! Our first overseas commitment and hopefully the start of more to come.
The Housesit is at Blenheim, north of the South Island of New Zealand and is for 4 weeks. After that we will spend another 2 1/2 weeks travelling around before flying out of Auckland which is north of the North Island. We are still considering our plans for after New Zealand and the long trip up the east coast to Cape York is looking good at the moment so watch this space. Exciting times ahead!