Happy New Year!
Today it is exactly a year since I left England - doesn't time fly when you're having fun! I've just had a great Christmas and New Year in Gisborne (or New Gisborne to be precise) with Glenn, Kay, Berni and Tom...and of course their other visitors Nat and Bren. Oh and Tara and Jasper (dog and cat!).
The day after I arrived was the Gisborne festival which is a bit like a cross between Heyford village fete and the fair that comes each year. The hjave carols and fireworks at the end and we tried to go down just for the fireworks, but arrived just as they finished! It wasn't our fault though, the newspaper definitely said they started at 9.30, but they started them early!
After Nat and Bren had arrived, we went up Mount Macedon to see the view and then to Hanging Rock where we 'climbed', aka walked up some slopes, to the summit. It was pretty cool up there, even though there were some weird culty-looking people taking pictures about half way up!
On Christmas Eve it was rubbish weather, but the rain didn't start until after santa had been round on the back of a fire service van, surrounded by three fire engines. When it had got dark we walked around the streets nearby to look at the christmas lights on all the houses. There weren't that many although one street had gone all out, including one house which had a projector showing the televised carol service on their garage door! We didn't stay out too long though cos we were getting wet!
The next morning Tom woke us all up at 8 for the first round of present opening. We weren't allowed to open all our presents straight away though, we had to wait til after we'd eaten our big breakfast. Christmas dinner was exactly as it should be. Much better than a backpacker bbq on the beach any day! The rest of the day was spent playing on the Wii - a Chrismas present for the whole family - and dancing to cheesy Wham songs!
New Year's Eve was one I won't forget in a while. It had been really hot for the previous two days and during the day it was also really nice, but a storm was predicted for the evening. The paper said there was only a 50% chance of rain between 9pm and 1am, so Kay, Berni, Nat and I decided to go into the city to watch the fireworks. The plan was to watch the family fireworks at 9.15 then catch a train back to Gisborne at 1015 to see the new year in with Glenn, Tom and Bren. It didn't quite go to plan though. At about 845 we were sat waiting for the fireworks to begin and instead watched a big black cloud moving ominously over the city. By 915 we were hiding under a bridge trying not to get soaked and watching the lightning, which was better than the fireworks. We almost missed them because they delayed them for ten mins due to the rain, and so that we didn't miss our train, we almost left, but then they started so we did get to see some fireworks after all.
Then, when we were rushing off to try to get our train, we were on a tram headed for the train station which stopped in the middle of the road. It turned out that the tram in front of us had knocked someone over, and we couldn't get off because we were in the middle of the road. Eventually they let us off and the four of us had to run from the opposite side of Federation Square to Flinders St station in the pouring rain! We finally made it and hopped on a train to get us to Southern Cross but we were too late and just missed our train. The next one was at 1145 so we spent an hour and a half entertaining ourselves on the platform by dancing to the music on Nat's mp3 player. At midnight we were on the train, trying to get radio reception for a countdown, when the conductor counted us down to 2010 over the intercom. Nat had bought a bottle of Passion Pop (cheap fizzy wine) so we toasted each other and watched the random fireworks we were passing on the way out of the Northern suburbs of Melbourne.
I leave here tonight and head back to Tassie. I'm going back there to work again and hopefully save a bit of money to get me round WA later in the year.