Almost a month to the day since we arrived in Australia, we picked up our daughter and son-in-law from Brisbane airport.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Of course Hannah had to relive her childhood and climb up into these fabulous trees with Pieter.
Later on we walked a little further along the coast, admiring the vibrant 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.
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!)
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!
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!
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!
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!
Our beautiful family had also organised a fantastic vegan and gluten-free birthday cake which disappeared fast!
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!
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.
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.
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!
3 thoughts on “SURPRISE SURPRISE!!”
what a wonderful surprise . So lovely to be all together to celebrate . Happy New Year to you all. x
Thanks Tricia and a very happy New Year to you too!
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