Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas on the Farm . . . and Other Random Santa and Non-Santa Related Things

I have a big head. Literally. OK, maybe figuratively as well, but right now I am looking at a picture of Mom & I out on a ski (back when we had SNOW in the winter on PEI). I have a tuque (sp?) on and my head still looks big comparatively, even without the hair. See for yourself

OK, enough talk about heads, on to the main course - Christmas in the country!

To sum up - my first Christmas away from home was absolutely brilliant. So much so, that I didn't even get a smidgen sad when I called home and spoke to my family on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. Sidenote: Dear family, please do not be offended, this is not to say that I didn't miss Christmas in Long Creek & North Granville, because I most certainly did, but hey, it's good to spice things up and after 25 years it was time! Anyways, I attribute the wonderful Christmas holiday I enjoyed completely to the company with which it was spent. Mary & her entire family (five kids, a couple of spouses and 4 ankle-biters, along with the matriarch & patriarch (anne & Ian) and a few furballs that got under feet on occassion) were hilarious and interesting and easy to get on with. Her mom cooked up a feast on Christmas Eve, then again on Christmas Day. Rabbit Turine, Goat's Cheese Roulade,Prawns, Oysters, Duck, Turkey, Chicken, etc. (a lot of etc. actually).

Mary & I went to Ballarat on Saturday to spend the night out on the town with her best friend, Petey. Ballarat is an old mining town about 1.5 hours north of Melbourne. It struck me as very very American - the sprawl, the street layouts, the big box shopping. Ugh. No thank you. The saddest thing was, as we were driving to Petey's house Mary asked where we were, because we hadn't yet passed the town's lake. Petey pointed to a large muddy field that we were passing and said 'That's the Lake'. It had completely dried up. Australia is suffering from droughts and bushfires far worse than ever before. It's obviously an effect of global warming, just as all the other strange weather patterns across the world are. Britain and Eastern Canada are having extremely mild winters, while British Columbia, normally a fairly mild part of Canada, is getting snow and cold temperatures. And, speaking without the authority of a meteoroligist, I reckon that is an effect of global warming as well. Sigh.

Anyways - note to anyone travelling through Australia - skip Ballarat.

The farm was lovely - a sprawling house, set far back from the road, with horses and cows wandering in the pasture (again, very dry grass). Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to ride a horse as it was...um....kind of cold and rainy the entire time I was there. Now, cold is a relative term, but it was around 15-19 the three days I was there, with a fierce, biting wind and intermittent showers. Hardly the summer in Australia one would imagine. In fact, on Christmas day there as a fire roaring away in the living room. It almost felt like I was back in Long Creek when I ate my dinner by the fire ! Oh and did I mention it hailed? Yes, that's right . It hailed in Australia on Christmas Day. In the middle of summer.

I came back to Sydney today. I can't wait to leave now. On Christmas Eve Mary & I popped into Melbourne for a bit of last minute shopping in the downtown area and I absolutely loved the city. I kind of wish I'd spent more time there and less time in Sydney. It was much more European, whereas Sydney is much more North American. At least I am going back, and who knows, with the way my finances are going I might need to stay there for a bit to make some cash!

All in all, it was a fabulous Christmas - thanks to all that sent Christmas cards, parcels and emails/e-cards! They were all very much appreciated and enjoyed. Note to Kenny/Father - more 9 page letters please - your last one cracked me up!

May peace and love be with you all.

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