Christmas Aussie style

Our Christmas celebrations started in a a truly Australian way – drinks and snacks on the deck of an old “Queenslander” (an iconic architectural style of a timber house with wraparound balconies), surrounded by dogs and horses, listening to the sounds of the Australian bush on a warm steamy night.

Iconic Aussie Christmas Eve celebrations
The horses munched on grass while we ate some delicious cheese and other yummy things
The dogs all had a great time (and loved the smell of the cheese!)

The Queenslander, which is the home of our son and daughter’s lovely neighbour Jan, had a typical Aussie bush Christmas tree – a bare stick from a gum tree – decorated with sparkling lights and with presents arranged around its base.

A typical Australian bush Christmas tree
Having fun catching up with Ben
and Sarah’s neighbours

It was a lovely prequel to the following day!

A very relaxed Hannah and Pieter

Back home later that evening we set the table for the Christmas feast and did some other last minute decorations and preparations.

All ready for Christmas Day!
Hannah made a lovely festive display
on the mantelpiece
Preparing the present game
Everything wrapped and ready to go

Christmas Day started with Champagne and (for some) orange juice and while we opened presents we ate our usual festive breakfast of fresh fruits, pastries and croissants.

Champagne to start the celebrations
A colourful Christmas platter
Fruit and pastries – our usual Christmas breakfast

The grand dogs were very excited as they knew they would also be receiving gifts. When it was their turn they joyfully ripped off the paper to discover what new toy they were getting.

The dogs waiting expectantly for their gifts
Christmas love!
Mine’s bigger than yours! Sarah was thrilled with her machete
Sarah – Warrior Princess
Opening presents

Lunch was a wonderful family affair – the six of us and Jonathan’s brother and sister-in-law, their two adult children and partners and four grandchildren – 16 of us in total.

Thank goodness Ben and Sarah have
a huge oven!
Lunch is about to start
Hannah and Pieter
Our nephew and his son
Our daughter-in-law Sarah with
our niece’s husband
More family poses (thanks to Carole King for her family photos)

Everyone brought something to share for lunch and in true Christmas tradition we loaded our plates full of turkey, freshly baked salmon, various vegetarian alternatives including an amazing stuffed baked cauliflower, gorgeous salads, roast potatoes and much more besides.

Last minute barbecuing
Just two of the fabulous festive salads
More food!
The stuffed baked cauliflower – delicious!

At the table small envelopes instructed each of us where to sit. When we opened our envelopes there was such a beautiful surprise – organised by our daughter-in-law Sarah. We all received a beaded bracelet and a card which informed us that a donation had been made on our behalf to help save an individual wild animal. Some of us had turtles, others had elephants, polar bears and even sharks. The wonderful thing about these gifts is that you can use them to track “your” animal through online. If you’re interested in doing this next Christmas or for a birthday for that hard to buy for person, search here for

The envelopes each with a name on

After we had recovered somewhat from our long and delicious lunch we played the “present” game where cards instruct you to open, exchange or steal a gift. The great nieces and nephews did a fabulous job of compering the game, delivering the gifts and keeping us smiling and laughing the whole time.

The great nieces and nephews did a fabulous job of compering the game
Looks like someone took “my” gift
The great nieces ad nephews kept us smiling

Although there wasn’t much sun we still listened to Tim Minchin’s sentimental but heart tugging song “White wine in the sun” with tears in our eyes – just as we had during the two year’s of Covid when spending Christmas with our loved ones was impossible.

Listening to the sentimental but heart tugging “White wine in the sun”

“And if my baby girl

When you’re twenty-one or thirty-one

And Christmas comes around

And you find yourself nine thousand miles from home

You’ll know whatever comes

Your brothers and sisters and me and your mum

Will be waiting for you in the sun

Whenever you come

Your brothers and sisters, your aunts and your uncles

Your grandparents, cousins and me and your mum

We’ll be waiting for you in the sun

Drinking white wine in the sun….”

Unlike the past two Christmases, we had tears of gratitude and happiness in our eyes rather than of sadness and longing. How marvellous it felt!

Wiping the odd grateful and happy tear away

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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.

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