Saturday 30 December 2023

As 2023 draws to a close, I am sitting under our pergola in comfort, enjoying a cool breeze and a lush green view. Two days ago this was not the scenario, as the temperature and humidity soared to extreme levels.

I have been scrolling through my photos of the year and they have confirmed that I am extremly fortunate to have had so many amazing expeiences with wonderful friends, both here and overseas. I am even more fortunate that I live in a country of beauty, without fear. I wish it were otherwise for so many around the world. My fervent wish for 2024 is to see greater peace throughout the world.
A Bosnian Mother said "The hope for peace is never absurb nor naive. It is the one thing that helps us survive and embrace a better tomorrow."
Peace requires commitment, civil dialogue and political action to create immediate peace and stability.
I live with hope!

Given that it has been such an amazing year, I have decided select to just one photo that is from the first of the month or day either side. [If by some strange reason there was no photo on the first of the month.]

 I saw the New Year in at Coolangatta on the southern Gold Coast. A quieter area of the coast that I have been able to visit regularly this year. I am always meserised by the beauty of the ebb and flow of the ocean in all of its moods.

Early morning on the Tweed River, from my sister in law's unit. So grateful to be able to spend time here, as it is only a twenty minute walk to Coolangatta and Snapper Rocks.

A hungry Hiker walk - once upon a time I would climb higher and cross streams on logs. I am always tempted, but sense now prevails.

The tranquil Albert River on one of my many early morning local walks.

A bushland walk with the Gaiter Girls.  Both of my walking groups bring fun and laughter. Forever young!

Winter scene on the Broadwater, on the northern end of the Gold Coast.

Aaah the beauty of spring on Prince Edward Island, daily discovering blossoms opening. And of course, enjoyed in the company of our Grandees.

This view from our pergola, on a day when I was not feeling at all well, certainly lifted my spirits.

Friends of 40 years meet for coffee, to support a friend about to have a double mastectomy. Liz's prognosis is now excellent.

Down on the Family Farm at Kyogle once more. A sunset drink looking across the farm and valley.

This image is particularly special. It wasn't taken by me but sent to me by Thor and Kari. I worked on their farm on the Island of Stord in 1977. Treasured memories unfolded, when I reconnected with them through Facebook.

This suburban walk with the wonderful Hungry Hikers, on a hot morning, was filled with surprises and unexpected beauty as a result of excellent town planning.

There are always highs and lows in each year. I lost a brother and two close friends. Our winter and spring brought drought conditions. Pre Christmas the temperatures began to soar and Christmas Eve saw a severe thunderstorm pass over Brisbane bringing heavy rain, wind and hail. The forecast was for worse to come. On Christmas night, we received 33 mm and were in awe of the constant sheet lightning, as the storm passed to the east. Little did we know, that the seemingly innocent storm front we were watching, was devastating Christmas Evening, for so many.
Houses were unroofed, or had trees fall through them. Likewise cars and other trees were upended and power lines and poles wrecked. Many will be without power, even if they have had no damage, for a couple of weeks.

This is a photo of our friend's sliding door pushed out of its frame. The neighbours trampoline flew into their pool. They hid in the bathroom.

Other images from our ABC broadcasting. The storm took an hour to pass.

The heat and humidity increased over the next several days, [38/39C] so one felt for the crews out their trying to clear and fix the mess. More storms hit each night with other areas suffering but not as badly. 9 lives were lost. This is Australia - "a land of drought and flooding rains ........ Her beauty and her terror, the wide brown land for me." - Dorathea Mackellar.

Yesterday morning a cool change arrived  bringing relief for all. 

My husband and I relaxed with our morning cuppa and listened to the birds whom we are sure are equally happy for the change. A final storm cell passed to the east. The strong song is the magpie.

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Sunday 24 December 2023

Counting with Ben and Nora

Stanley and Stanlietta were feeling the summer heat. Time was spent making them more comfortable.

The daily countdown to Christmas with Ben and Nora, commenced.

Friends came for lunch.

A 35 C day! The pool looked very tempting to Stanley and Stanlietta.

Why two the same? Well they aren't. Can you spot the one difference?
[In the background]

We have had a facetime breakfast with Ben and Nora. Two very excited children. When they met Santa a few weeks ago he was wired to his helper who was asking Kim questions. Santa could hear the answers and spoke to Ben and Nora as if he really knew everything about them. They were in awe.
One comment was not to let Gunner [their dog] scare the reindeers. 
They are now tucked up in bed, 7.30 on the dot! 

One last photo from yesterday when I took a friend to the airport to join her family in Sydney. Contary to expectations it was not busy but full of joy and cheer.

Now to cook the roast and turn up the air conditioning. 
This was pre-written, just waiting for the final pics.

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Friday 22 December 2023

The Hungry Hikers Celebrate Christmas

 Wednesday 20 December

In past years we have enjoyed several city Christmas events together. With everyone's full diaries, it was decided to adapt our Wednesday walking day into an evening picnic, with views of the city. Thankfully the weather was a tad cooler, but rain was forecast. 

Our fingers were crossed [successfully, I might add] as we gathered at Wilson's Lookout, at 5pm. Joc and Leanne had offered to organise the table arrangements and we each brought a plate of nibbles to share.

Dress code - in the spirit of Christmas. Most wore red tones, a perfect compliment to Joc and Leanne's table setting. 

Our flambouyant Jenny! 

We were not Hungry Hikers when we went home. This delicious fare was slowly eaten over several hours.

My contribution was a Brownie cake cut into eighth's and individually decorated. A Grinch, Santa, Reindeer, Snowman and Christmas trees, kept me busy far longer than I had anticipated.

So what do the Hungry Hikers love doing as much as hiking and dining? Yep, you guessed.  It is posing.

With this amazing city view, it didn't take long before we were.

Joc entertained with a Christmas quiz, riddles and jokes.

Night fell and the city glowed.

Drizzle began falling. It was difficult to know if we would be soaked or not. Jenny had come prepared.

The drizzle passed quickly and we were able to sit relaxing with this sensational view of our wonderful city.

Happy Christmas!

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