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!