2 January 2020

Now you're not to worry but...

bushfire close to Ulladulla

We were slightly concerned when we didn’t hear from our daughter, Sarah, as the New Year dawned in Australia and the UK.  She was camping out in the countryside south of Sydney with Buddy and fiancĂ©, Chris and we knew the phone signal was poor there.  It was a trip that she had planned for weeks ahead and had pre-checked with the remote riverside campsite that the risk of fire was minimal before setting out with their new tent and inflatable boat.
Shallow Crossing campsite

It was New Year’s day morning when we finally heard news.  They were holed up in an evacuation centre in Ulladulla after the roads were closed due to the catastrophic bushfires.  After a couple of days camping in the bush Sarah had become nervous as the fires seemed to be spreading rapidly.  They had packed up and decided to return to Sydney early but found the exit roads blocked by fire.  All the motels and guest houses in the ‘safe’ area were full as hundreds of the holiday makers in the area all flocked to the relative safety of the seaside town. 

Sarah, Chris and Buddy spent two nights with hundreds of other evacuees in the Civic Centre at Ulladulla, at times with no power. “There’s a guy here called Rick Stein, apparently he’s a well known chef?”  It wasn’t just holidaymakers, some local residents had been trapped after just going out to do some shopping.  It all happened so quickly. They did not go hungry as local bakers and takeaways donated food to the evacuees.  They were safe but were shocked by what they had experienced. 

On Thursday morning the main highway was re-opened and they joined the long queue of traffic heading north.  Fuel was short as many pumps had no power but luckily they had a full tank of petrol.  Sarah sent me photos of the blackened and burnt countryside as they slowly drove back to Sydney.  It was a shocking and eerie sight.  Seven people had lost their lives in a small settlement close to Ulladulla.  Hundreds of homes have been lost.  I can’t even bear to think of the wild animals and live stock that have perished.

Buddy took it all in his stride

Sarah finally got back to Sydney just after midday on Thursday.  They were lucky because the roads were closed again later that day.  Sarah sent me a message “We’re sat in our usual spot in our local and it’s never felt so good to be back in the city.”


24 December 2019

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Carols from King’s will evoke memories for many readers here but these two albums always take me back to my 1960’s childhood Christmasses.  After my parents divorced I hung on to the two vinyl LP’s and my own daughters were then subjected to a musical Christmas of Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams.  They still love it to this very day.

 Merry Christmas everyone!

22 December 2019

The Dinner Party

It was bucketing down with rain as we huddled under our umbrellas but fortunately out hosts’ home was only five minutes’ walk away.  Ian and Lynn live in a big house and their spacious lounge was warm and inviting with a real log fire burning away.  Paul and I were relieved to see the other guests were all friends that we had recently made in the village and the evening soon became merry with lots of easy banter.  We were a party of ten in total.

Lynn is one of those rare ladies that actually enjoy cooking and entertaining guests.  She is a talented cook and the food was delicious – we had a quiche starter, fillet of beef wrapped in prosciutto for main and an orange sponge dessert with custard. Ian was an attentive host and kept our glasses topped up throughout the evening.

Perhaps it was the abundance of rich food and wine, or the warm atmosphere of the dining room, but towards the end of the evening I started to feel slightly unwell.  I excused myself and went to the bathroom and ran my hands under some cold water to cool down.  Feeling slightly revived I returned to the dining room but within minutes I felt faint again.  I left the table and headed into the adjoining conservatory, collapsed into a chair and completely blacked out. 

Several minutes later I eventually regained consciousness with Maureen, a retired A&E nurse, and Paul standing over me.  Without warning I started being sick and Maureen reacted incredibly quickly and grabbed an empty decorative fruit bowl which worked wonderfully well.  I recovered quickly and, as the evening had seemed to have come to a natural end, we made our farewells and headed home.  I was feeling absolutely mortified.

This morning we received a message from my daughter in Australia.  “How was the dinner party?”  Paul replied, “Hell of a party, mum threw up in the fruit bowl.”

17 December 2019

Christmas is coming...

Jeremiah getting into the Christmas spirit

Christmas is coming and I’m getting fat!  I blame the mince pies and afternoon slices of Whisky Dundee cake but I thought I could keep the extra pounds at bay with all my dancing and dog walking.  Apparently not, according to the bathroom scales I have gained a whole kilogram in a week.

This morning I have been stumbling around the garden room trying to keep up with the steps to the 1960’s hit Runaround Sue.  I have to keep repeating the routine again and again in order to remember the sequence and now, of course, I can’t get the ruddy tune out of my head.

We have a busy week ahead with the Xmas quiz night at the village hall on Thursday and a dinner party to attend on Saturday evening.  The dinner party is a bit of a mystery as, apart from our hosts, the other guests are a secret.  Apparently this is to stop uninvited villagers from getting upset.  Bizarre.

This will be Rick’s third Christmas with us.  Doesn’t time fly?

6 December 2019

Yee Ha

Rick watched me with a canine look of disbelief as I galloped around the garden room, first one way and then the other.  I think he would have liked to join me but he was peering through the glass doors from the other room.  “No Rick, this is not a game,” I told him, “I really need to master the steps to the Grundy Gallop.”

Yes, I have finally succumbed to the cajoling of my neighbours and joined the Line Dancing club at the village hall. 

I have been twice so far and I think a headless chicken with two left feet would be a fair description of me trying to dance.  I think my feet are dyslexic when it comes to picking up step sequences. 

“This is an easy one for you Sue, one foot forward and two steps back.”  Nothing is easy for me.  My feet interpreted that as two steps forward and one step back.

There are some good demo dances on YouTube but the best ones seem to be from Germany.  Unfortunately I don’t understand German so my dancing has not improved but I have learnt to count to ten.  Eins, Zwei, Drei …