Christmas and Week 2

A break with practice, but a welcome one I hope. Here are Jenny’s (slightly edited) comments on the past two weeks, with a couple of video slideshows.

The first note was written on Christmas Day …

“The house is cool here though its hot outside,and I am sitting here thinking of you all as the weather in the UK is so wet and cold, just grabbing a moment to send you all Christmas greetings, before the children get bored of their many toys. They have been incredible, not even disturbing anyone this morning. Christmas is very different in the sunshine and heat. We went to the Christmas Eve service with Patsy and Kevin last night and it only felt like Christmas as darkness fell and candles were lit. After a really lovely service we journeyed with Patsy to see the street of lit up houses nearby. Wow what an electricity bill the people living there must have. We are glad the heat has cooled a wee bit here in Melbourne from last week. We got here last Thursday from a very hot Perth – indeed it was 42 degrees when we landed and both of us were hit by the heat, and as we still had colds etc we were wee bit below par but it didn’t stop us getting an idea of the city and meeting up with Peter’s old university friends and family.

We had lovely accommodation on the coast at Trigg, used the public transport, which is so well integrated, and got an impression of Perth and the true sense of disappointment that was everywhere on the faces of UK cricket fans! The weather has proved very tough for David as the heat in Perth and the summer pollen activated his asthma – very uncomfortable for him when we were on our one night overnight on a ranch on our way to see the Pinnacles in the Western Australian Desert. Thank goodness for travelling nebuliser!

Melbourne’s climate though cooler still has its challenges as its known throughout Australia as Pollen City. By the time we got here D’s asthma was very bad so we availed ourselves of the local GP Medical Centre – open 8.am to 10.pm every day 365 days a year, no appointment needed, incredibly comfortable  – and with a session on a nebuliser and more direct advice he’s somewhat better. Fingers crossed, very crossed!! [Update from me … I’m fine now, honestly, I’m fine!]

We keep hearing about the weather in the UK being awful and hope that the weather is not causing you too many problems in Cardiff, and were really glad to get a text from Ruth to say she’d arrived in Cardiff after a nightmare journey from London on the day before Christmas Eve. We are off to the other side of Melbourne for Christmas dinner with Shells family in a wee while so I will close now. With lots of love to you all and our good wishes for the New Year.”

The second note was written the day after Boxing Day which had seen all the Owens family over at Peter and Shells’ place.

“It’s very hot tonight and promises to be hotter tomorrow. We have had a good day today with the children as everyone went off to the cricket and we got to be with the grandchildren and sift quietly through the presents, play Star Wars snakes and ladders, which they won, wrote thank-you cards (you should see the works of art winging their way to various people) read loads of stories, go to the coast at Ricketts Point for an ice cream and home again. I think they were really just as happy as us to have a quiet day after all the excitement of yesterday and Christmas Day.

Dads photos depict the two very good days we had over Christmas when we were made so very welcome by all the Owens. Dad even got the Blue Stratos present that is always given to someone each year and has been for years. It’s the same talc and aftershave etc! What a laugh! Who will we give it to next year I wonder?

Lots was eaten and drunk and leftover too!! It was great to be able to FaceTime family at home over the past two days and see your videos etc on Google+. Just great. Brings everyone closer and I can just feel the cold in your pictures to counterbalance the heat! Peter and I wandered along Brighton pier tonight in the cool, looking out to the sparkling skyline of Melbourne’s city centre, watching the boats sail gently into the harbour and dodging the fishermen casting their lines as we weaved our way slowly to the end. [You can see some of this in the accompanying pictures of the sunset which David took on another visit to Brighton.] The cool breeze was so very welcome after the heat of the day, everybody we passed looked relaxed and it was good to fit in a walk together.”

The rest of the pictures in this video slideshow are of Hampton and Mordialloc, where I have walked with John Montgomery (a friend of Peter & Shells) for the past three mornings and enjoyed splendid coffees, and where Jenny and I went for Fish and Chips at The Bridge Hotel, a couple of days ago. Tomorrow we head off to Auckland and New Zealand for a couple of weeks holiday, hoping also to meet up with relatives and friends as well as enjoying the scenery, which will be a contrast to the South Island which we visited a couple of years back – just before the big Christchurch earthquake. Hope the volcanoes in the North Island stay quite for a few weeks …

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