March 21st to date (30th)
Since our arrival in Australia not a lot had been going on. We have been enjoying the company of my brother and Sally, been for several walks (not leech falls walk) and one at Mona Vale where we completely misjudged the weather forecast expecting rain late evening, for it only to arrive as the walk progressed. We got soaked! Even the planned fish and chips had to be consumed in the car! Anyway Sally had gone off for a couple of days for a girlie break with old school friends leaving us to sort ourselves out, which was done by catching up with the mountain of photos both Ian and I had taken during the NZ trip.
So as twins my brother Andy and of course yours truly, would celebrate our 70th on March 27th. The plan was to go to our niece Lizzie's place to hold the celebrations. On Sunday 26th we set off for the three-hour drive to Bulahdelah. Now they have the most amazing place consisting of three dams, 30 acres of land, a glamping business, numerous animals which include chickens, ponies, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs and a huge Python that lives near the chicken coop, the Python is of course not a pet but does keep the rat population down, (although there have been moments when the evil eye had fallen on the chickens!) There is an outdoor spa and swimming pool, and I mustn't forget the outdoor cinema! If anyone wants a fabulous few days under the stars with the use of all of the above at the Challenge Chaser Retreat click HERE to see what one gets.
Our accommodation at Liz and Rich's was in one of the glamping tents. Luxury under canvas with a huge Queen size bed, huge bathroom with shower and a balcony overlooking the lake.
First night was interesting. The sounds of the night were amplified, snuffling sounds nearby (probably Kangaroos) and Possums using the roof as a highway from one tree to another. Gosh, they were noisy. Thankfully they only turned up on the first night and my fears that critters, (snakes) could get in were allayed by the knowledge that those zips and fasteners made everything very secure and tight.
So the 27th dawned fine. Breakfast was laid out for us twins and a family meeting convened. Today we were going to have two teams, Aussie v Brits. Now you would think that a bit one sided with all the Aussie family there but Liz's husband Rich arrived from England 10 years ago and never went back. He off course was one for the Brits team, and as I was the British captain I made Matt (my other niece Jen's husband) an honorary member. My Brother was team captain for the Aussies. The games consisted of badminton, croquet, giant jenga and two board games, UNO and Rummicub. I am very pleased to announce the Brits won 3 games to 2!
Another lovely surprise for both of us was when Sally's sister Ali turned up. We spent several days with her in Tasmania in 2020. Out came the champagne to celebrate, gosh we consumed a lot! Anyway presents were opened and a combined family present from the UK family, as well as the Aussie family, was presented to us both. It was for a twilight dinner Sydney harbour cruise on board the tall ship Southern Swan. Later a wonderful video presentation put together by Liz and Rich of all our family and friends sending birthday messages were played later in the evening. It was a birthday to remember, perfect in every way bar one. We missed our son Colin, daughter Christine, daughter in law Iwona, and son in law Kev. The grandchildren would have been the icing on the cake. Still we did get a Zoom call from them all so that nearly made up for it.
28th was spent recovering with a trip to Seal Point. Beautiful white sands, the squeaky kind that sets one's teeth on edge! The weather was perfect but that was all to change. No sooner had we returned to Bulahdelah when the most horrendous thunderstorm hit us. Australia's rain is something else, more like sheets of water and the thunder and lighting rolled around for quite some time. The evening spa had to be abandoned so I never did get to check it out!
Now that we are back at my Brother and Sally's house the next big adventure to take place is the Harbour cruise and the Ghan. Still more planning to do and we may even go to Canberra for a few days.