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God Rest You Merry Gentlemen!

Posted on Jan 3, 2014
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Happy New Year everyone.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year with friends and family’s.  The weather in UK sounds appalling so hope everyone’s homes have survived the storms and floods.  From what we gather, ours have although thanks firstly to Paul and then Vicky and Rupert for securing our temperamental gates at Castle Fields.
In Sydney weather has been a different story and for us, absolutely perfect.  Locals are beginning to mumble that we could do with some rain, but I am not complaining!  When it does arrive, no doubt it will be plentiful so we are enjoying sun filled days to the full.
Even with sun we managed to get into Christmas mode on the consecutive Saturdays before Christmas, when we firstly went to “Carols Under the Bridge” organised by our local rather Happy Clappy Anglican Church.  It was more like a rock concert than Carol singing but lovely to sit watching darkness fall and the stars come out with the splendid view across to the Opera House, still in tee shirts at 10.00pm.  The next weekend it was Carols at Balmoral.  No royal family in evidence!  Our Balmoral is a beach about 4k from here where we again sat singing carols, (more traditional this time) as darkness fell.  Rather strange really,  singing such songs as “In the bleak midwinter” in temperatures in the upper 20’s.
Christmas Day actually dawned wet and miserable so plans for the beach were shelved.  We started the day by meeting up with Oli, Angie and Jack in the local Catholic Church for 8.30 mass which was a vey nice service and not over long so even Jack seemed to enjoy it.  We then went down for Snowden traditional smoked salmon and scrambled egg brunch at Oli and Angies followed by attacking the mammoth pile of presents under the tree, most with Jacks name on them!  He thoroughly enjoyed opening them but wanted a good play with each one before moving on, so some were left under the tree for another day.  We all received some lovely gifts and Jeremy and I have a couple yet to look forward to in Feb and March respectively when we have tickets to the opera house to see the Sydney Philharmonic’s tribute to Queen and to the theatre to see The Lion King.
It was back up to ours to get the Turkey in the oven and await our other guests Joseph and Luke.  Needless to say, they arrived with yet more presents!  We had a lovely day and Jack was on great form, not getting over excited or over tired as little ones so easily can on these occasions.
Boxing Day looked like being another wet day but soon cleared up and the sun came out as we headed up to Middle head to watch the start of the Sydney Hobart race. 94 contenders ranging from huge racing yachts to smaller family boats.  Also it seemed that everyone in Sydney who owns a boat from the smallest canoe to the largest gin palace, along with hundreds of trip boats, were also on the water to follow the start.  A lovely clear day with a fairly brisk easterly blowing so they made a lovely sight heading off between the heads and out to sea.
Oli was back to work between Christmas and New Year so our days resumed their normal pattern for a few days before gathering here again with the same party members to see in the New Year.  This time Joseph and Luke supplied most of the food with a lovely ham cooked by Joseph and a yummy dessert cake by Luke.  My only in put was a few salads. A lovely relaxed evening followed by an amazing firework display at midnight.  J and L headed out to gain a better vantage point to view the bridge round the corner on lavender bay.  As Jack, who had stayed up to enjoy the family fireworks at 9.00, was by this time fairly well asleep, Oli and Angie stayed in our apartment to watch from here and we went a couple of floors up to Larrelle’s to get a slightly better view from there.  Then back to ours til Joseph and Luke could venture back across the bridge when it was reopened at 2.00.  Oli and Angie bedded down here but not much sleep was had before Luna Park closed at 3.00am.  Jack was awake at 6.00am and raring to go so needless to say we all felt a bit jaded and had a very quiet New Years Day!
On other news, we have started playing croquet up at Mosman where they have 4 well tended lawns with lovely views down over Balmoral and across to Manly.  The members are extremely friendly and welcoming, even offering us a key to the clubhouse to go and play any time we would like to.  They have 2 friendly club afternoons a week, so we are just happy to go to one or both of those as the mood takes us. I am a bit rusty but managing not to disgrace myself too much.  They have good mallets that we can borrow but Jeremy is missing his own.
Also, just before Christmas, we caught up briefly with Richard and Tricia friends from way back in Vigo days when we were first married.  Here to visit their son Jamie, who, it turns out lives about 200yds from Oli and Angie (the road behind where the Bents used to live, Melissa), such a small world!  They are now all in New Zealand but they are in Sydney again for a few days at the end of the month before going home, so if they have time, we hope to meet up again then.  (Mum you should remember them as they stayed with you and Dad in Hong Kong many years ago which they remember fondly and send you their best).
On Tuesday we head to Tasmania for 10days which we are looking forward to, so my next blog will be when we get back from there.
I will finish as I started and once again wish you a very Happy 2014.
P.S we are trying to adopt Aussie accents as otherwise all new locals we meet want to discuss the cricket! Actually not so much discuss, more gloat!
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