Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Years Eve

It's been a blisteringly hot day again today. Apparently tomorrow is gonna be a heat wave!! Early 40's or something! The only thing to do in these situations is head for the beach!
Anyway, tonight we have our tickets for the Botanic Gardens, which offers a fantastic vantage point looking over to the Opera House and in full view of the Bbridge. Which is where the fire works are blasting off from! To get really excited, here's a few photos from last year, which we didn't take because we were in full throws of selling the house and shipping furniture and cat!

Last year included a big light sphere which hung from the bridge, and on our arrival, we kept seeing the ball for the first few weeks.

So 2004 has a significant time frame for us, we didn't get to see the fireworks, but we were making preperations to see the ones in 2005!! Starting to get excited now and preparing cameras, 'esky' for the wine and nibbles and our well used picnic stuff.

Will talk again in 2006. Maybe a New Year's resolution will be to try and update the blog more often!! :o)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Au revoire

Well, the day finally had to arrive for mum and dad to leave us and I had been dreading it. To take our minds off it, we carried on regardless, taking them to another sight! As if sharing my mood, the day was a bit overcast.
We took them to The Gap, a fantastic view from the top of the cliffs that are the eastern-most point of the South Head. The view was still spectacular!

We returned home for some lunch – a good English fry-up!! Then it was a case of gathering the last of their belongings and trying to stuff them in the suitcases! It was panic stations for about 20 minutes when they couldn’t find their passports, but of course they turned up!
The drive to the airport wasn’t very enjoyable and went quicker than expected as the roads were completely empty. I think the majority of people leave the city over Christmas. There’s no point in dragging this out longer than necessary – it was very painful to say goodbye, much worse than when I left them in England.
We’d spent almost every minute with mum and dad and our time was packed with such enjoyable moments, visiting loads of our favourite places. We had such an absolutely brilliant holiday with mum and dad. Thank you so much!!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Sydney to Hobart

The Sydney to Hobart boat race takes place every Boxing Day, so this was the first time we’ve been able to see it. We’ve been told that the best place to view it is from the water on a boat. However, we don’t have a boat (yet!), so we were restricted to land.

This year 117 boats took part, ranging from a 31 to a 98 footer and the winner was Wild Oats, taking 1 day, 18 hours and 40 minutes!
We decided to watch the start of the race from Bradley’s Head, as well as a load of other people, obviously, but it wasn’t as busy as we expected. We’d settled down (with the picnic as usual), but discovered from a ranger that the best view could be had from the beach just 2 minutes down the road. So off we trotted! The view point was much lower down, closer to the water, but you could see more – no trees in the way!

It was another scorcher of a day, so we had hats, shirts and sun cream. [As a side note, I caught the sun yesterday, even though I spent the majority of the day in our sun shelter – amazing!] There were hundreds of boats of all shapes and sizes – it was incredible to see so many together. We were a little behind the starting line and as soon as the horn went, all the boats disappeared into the distance following the those in the actual race.
Then we went back up to Bradley’s Head just to finish off the picnic and the usual……relax!! After a while, all the spectator boats started to come back into the harbour, which was quite funny.
Once all the snap was gone, we packed up and headed back to the city. We wanted to show mum and dad where we first started off in Sydney – at the Wharf, Woolloomooloo, so made a little detour there on the way home.

That evening, we went into Darling Harbour for dinner at Nick's Seafood restaurant. We had a fantastic meal overlooking the harbour. This was the last evening in Sydney for mum and dad, and it finished off the day and their stay wonderfully.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Hot Christmas!!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS to everyone!!!

We’d been completely racking our brains over which beach to go to on Christmas day. The shortlist was Chowder Bay or Chinaman’s Beach, but then at the last minute, we changed our minds and decided on Balmoral Beach, as there’s a little more to see (it’s bigger), better parking & facilities and a slight chance that a coffee shop might be open!! We’d obviously done our food shopping early on and had our champagne that we bought from the Hunter. We had a couple of disposable barbeques, as ours at home wasn’t exactly portable!!
Everyone quickly settled into their personal routines (we’d had lots of practice by this point): mum in bikini laid out on the beach; dad exploring, fishing and sunbathing; me in the shade (I do normally swim, but my knee was still poorly) and Dean in the water. Ben and Em & baby Leo joined us after a short while too. They headed straight for the water and a quick dip, before settling down to their tucker.
This next bit will be disputed by the rest of the gang I’m sure, but hey, I’m writing this and I like to think I’m pretty fair anyway. It was decided that the food would be cooked up on top, off the beach. Now please bear in mind that for the last few days there had been a total fire ban in New South Wales due to the extremely hot weather. These disposable bbqs are quite small and basically touch the ground (the ground here being dried bark mulch and general tree waste)! You can see where this is going?! I was extremely worried to say the least. I could see the headlines: ‘Irresponsible poms flaunt fire ban causing havoc on Christmas Day.’ When the bbq was first lit, the flames shot straight up, looking like they were searching out the bark of the tree we were camped under! I couldn’t take any more and retreated back to the beach, abandoning my family! After a few minutes I thought I’d check it out again. The flames had disappeared so I bravely sat down and tried to relax. Our Christmas picnic was delicious, but I was so on edge I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as could have. And guess what – my worries were justified in the end. I spotted smoke curling up from underneath the foil tin – it was charring the dried bark bits and soil. We sprinkled water on them and put the bbq out with sand! I was so relieved!! We moved once again to the beach and finished our champagne and strawberries!
It was definitely an unusual Christmas, the first any of us had spent on the beach. I’m not sure that it will ever really feel like Christmas to me, being so hot, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy it still – it’s just different!
Sorry there aren't many photos, but we were too busy doing not much at all. With an important accessory (hat) from dad, Ben made this excellent sand version of a snowman, which sums the day up for me!!