Almost a month to the day since we arrived in Australia, we picked up our daughter and son-in-law from Brisbane airport.

All together again!

This was their last port of call after a three month trip through Central and South America, India and Bali before their return home to the Netherlands.

One of Hannah and Pieter’s many adventures in South America

Their arrival in Australia meant that for the very first time ever we were going to have Christmas with both our kids and their partners!

Our first ever Christmas together

But first there was all kinds of other celebrations to be had – one of them a complete surprise!

Just a few days after they arrived, Hannah and Pieter suggested we drive to Scarborough Beach about an hour and a half’s drive from Ben and Sarah’s (our son and daughter-in-law’s) property.

Hannah on Scarborough Beach

We thought that Ben and Sarah were going for a barbecue with their friends when in fact while we were out they were preparing their house for a surprise 70th/71st party for Jonathan and I!

Preparations for a surprise party
were being made!
70 plus one!

In the meantime, totally unsuspecting, we went for a lovely walk along the seafront at Scarborough the highlight of which was revisiting the gnarled cotton tree “forest” that my kids loved when they were growing up.

One of the pines at Scarborough
dressed for Christmas!
A highlight of our walk was revisiting the gnarled cotton ttree “forest”

It’s a magical place for a child as the branches of the trees intertwine with each other so they can move from one tree to another while their imaginations take them off on amazing adventures.

It’s a magical place!

Of course Hannah had to relive her childhood and climb up into these fabulous trees with Pieter.

Hannah reliving her childhood!
Watching Hannah and Pieter climbing

Later on we walked a little further along the coast, admiring the vibrant cliffs that give the Redcliffe Peninsula its name.

Enjoying our walk along the seafront
The cliffs at Scarborough on
the Redcliffe Peninsula
The deep red of the cliffs that give the Redcliffe Peninsula its name

It was then our turn to take a walk down memory lane – having lunch at the Yacht Club near the marina where we kept our two previous boats – first Sunbird and then Bali Hai.

Lunch at the yacht club

After lunch we strolled back to the car and set off homewards. On the way back Pieter and Hannah suggested we stop and have a look at a vintage car meet (we didn’t realise this was a delaying tactic!)

At the vintage car meet

We all enjoyed our stroll round looking at all the magnificent old cars. Our favourite was a VW Microbus in fantastic condition dating from the 1970s and still with the original decor! Ah, Jonathan and remembered well the orange and brown psychedelic fabric from our youth!

We all enjoyed our stroll round looking at all the magnificent old cars
Some serious grunt under this bonnet!
Old beauties on display
The interior of the VW microbus – still in its original colours

On the road again and almost home, we received a phone call from Ben asking us if we could make a trip to the hardware store to buy a washer as the kitchen tap wouldn’t turn off properly (another delaying tactic!). We ended up getting five different types costing a total of $75!

Ben told us that the tap needed a new washer!

When we arrived at Ben and Sarah’s the dogs came out to greet us as normal and still unsuspecting we went inside. As we entered the hallway I noticed the door to the living room was closed but didn’t think anything of it until Jonathan opened it to big yells of “SURPRISE” and a bombardment of streamer with blowers going off! We were stunned to say the least!


Everywhere there were the familiar faces of old and dear friends. The room was beautifully decorated with balloons and streamers and there were party lights on the deck where we danced the night away!

Everywhere there were the familiar faces of old and dear friends
It was a wonderful shock!
It was so amazing to see everyone!

During the evening we grazed on lots of nibbles prepared by Ben and Sarah and their lovely friends, and later on an absolute mound of delicious gourmet pizzas of every variety was delivered!

A special hug from our son Ben
Chats round the camp fire

Our beautiful family had also organised a fantastic vegan and gluten-free birthday cake which disappeared fast!

The amazing birthday cake
Jonathan’s brother made a speech

What a wonderful surprise and a special belated celebration of our 70th birthdays last year (during Covid) and this year’s 71st. A massive thank you to our Ben and Sarah and Hannah and Pieter and of course to everyone who celebrated with us!

Has Jonathan got something in his eye?
We managed to blow our candles out! (note the piles of pizza boxes behind!)
Dancing the night away!
We were overwhelmed to find people had brought fantastic gifts!

The following morning we had an excellent recovery breakfast for those who stayed over and then had a lovely walk with the dogs and their friends around Ben and Sarah’s property.

Recovery breakfast
Walking with the dogs
Then they hitched a ride to the lookout
A quick stopover at the creek
The views from the lookout are pretty special
The view the other way

A couple of days later we finally got round to decorating the Christmas tree. It was so special doing this with the six of us for the very first time.

Decorating the Christmas tree
It was so special doing this all together
for the first time
Things are beginning to take shape

It’s always difficult to get into the spirit of Christmas when the weather is hot and the sunrises at 4.30 am! However, with the help of Christmas music, the tree decorating and a few bubbles to imbibe we soon felt surrounded by the magic of the festive season!

Cheers everyone! And Happy Christmas 2022!

Published by

Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

3 thoughts on “SURPRISE SURPRISE!!”

  1. Hi Dottie!!

    Just a quickie to say how wonderful you had all your family around for Christmas and, I assume, the New Year too. We wish you all a very Happy 2023.

    A quick question… have you watched Graham Hancock’s Ancient Apocalypse on Netflix? I think you would really enjoy it. Dick gave me his book Fingerprints of the Gods back in the 90s! He’s a journalist who for years has been investigating and writing about ancient sites and what their purpose is. Anyhow, 2 episodes are filmed in Turkey featuring Gobekli Tepe & Karahan Tepe and Derinkuyu (did you visit there?) and the 1st episode is based in Java about Gunung Padang, where we are hoping to visit this year. He also visits Malta, the US and other places that have significant ancient sites. He draws a conclusion that there should be scientific discussion about the possibility of the existence of extremely intelligent life on our planet before the Ice Age (which of course the establishment hate and try to vilify him for – like the derogatory headline in a recent Guardian article (which then goes on to say that yes, in fact, this possibility should be dis- cussed – you couldn’t make it up could you?!) not to mention the Wikipedia page, and suggests they contain a message for future generations. Anyhow, regardless of whether one agrees with his hypothesis or not, the photography of the sites featured is amazing and it is very informative especially if you have actually visited one of them.

    We had a very busy last 2 months of 2022. I think I told you we rented out our house at the end of May and moved into a much smaller rented place when we got back from the UK in August. Well our tenants were the tenants from hell – too long a story to go on about here, so we ‘bought” them off after we got a very good offer from a lovely American couple (she’d lived in Jakarta for 4 years in her late teens and her Mum & Dad who both worked for AT&T there used to bring her and her sister to Bali every school holiday) to over-contract the 15 1/2 years we had left on the lease. The tenants moved out (much to the relief of our staff who would pop over and have a laugh at all the shocking goings on) at the end of November and the new family moved in on 10 December and have taken on all our people too. Once we had the deposit in the bank we decided to do what we had always sworn we would NEVER do again: found and signed a 30 year lease on land not far from where we are renting now – only about 300-400m from the beach – have drawn up a rough building plan, found a builder and will start construction at the end of March. As you probably realise, we have no intention of voluntarily leaving Bali.

    It was very touch & go and stressful from time to time, especially when Indonesia made an announcement that they were considering cancelling the Retirement Visas we are currently on and replacing them with a “2nd Home Visa” a major requirement of which was keeping US$200,000 in a bank account that you could never touch until you cancelled the visa. They brought that in just before Christmas, but for the meantime are still allowing Retirement Visas under the original conditions. To be honest we are pursuing getting Indonesian citizenship because we believe that in the future they may scrap or change the rules of the existing Retirement Visas to make it more difficult.

    Anyhow, it’s such a relief that everything has worked out in our favour and to once again be “liquid” after having been hit so badly by the world knee-jerk reaction to CV19.

    That’s all the big news. Both daughters are happy and well, Sam in Cardiff and Katie in London and we hope very much that they will be able to visit us here if not this year, then next.

    Much love to you both… and your families

    Jackie & Dick xxxxxxxxxxxx



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s