A week has flown by in a flash of Carol services, church services, Amanda's birthday, Christmas, picnics and all the other happy things that make for a happy family holiday. Each evening, after the children are in bed, the adults relax in the TV room with our coffee/tea/rooibos and discuss the day and the plan for the next before enjoying a couple of episodes of the BBC comedy series "My Family", of which Amanda has the complete boxed set. It helps us unwind before setting off to bed and it is a lovely time laughing together.
Last Monday we spent Amanda's birthday in King's Park, which sits high on northern bank of the Swan River. It is a huge well established park with beautiful trees and lakes and lawns which one can only dream of having at home. The maintenance of the grass is truly amazing and it means that families can sit under the trees on blankets and chairs free of dust and ants - the bane of any picnic. The children have a great time and without too much effort soon have new friends with whom to share their explorations.
Caleb and Nici setting off
Tuesday was Christmas Eve with all the usual last minute preparations for Christmas. We had decided to have a cold Christmas lunch, so the (de-boned) turkey and the ham had to be cooked and the Chrismas pudding (in this case a wonderful ice cream pudding made by Granma Sarah) prepared.St Phillips had decided not to attempt a midnight service and opted for an 8.30pm which some of us attended. Amanda and Gavin were on duty after the service serving champagne, orange juice and Christmas cake which was a great opportunity for the 'regular' members of the congregation to have fellowship with the 'visitors'. Back home the final touches to presents were being made and the children had the fun of preparing for the visit of Father Christmas.
On Christmas Day the children had been warned not to wake the adults until 6.15, and only then when coffee and tea had been prepared and served in the lounge. At that point we all gathered for the traditional opening of our Christmas stockings which the children love so much.The whole family attended St Phillips for the Christmas service where we shared with many other happy families in the celebration of the birth of Jesus.Back home again we shared our Christmas presents with each other. There were so many carefully chosen and thoughtful gifts. I love it when I hear things like "just what I wanted" or "you remembered". The kids naturally want to see everything all at once, but soon the hub-bub dies down as each settles down with a new book or the favourite toy of the moment and the one with a servant gift moves through the room with a big black plastic bag collecting all the wrappings, sticky tape and packaging.The quiet didn'tlast for long as there was a meal to be prepared, salads to be constructed, meat to be carved and the table laid. We moved the old family dining room table out onto the back entertainment area and with the extra room and the four additional leaves in the table were able to set for 15.
We were joined for lunch by the Van der Mescht family - Riana, Brett, Abby, Jess anf Riana's mum Rene. We had a great lunch and, with the arrival of pudding, the usual Jobling tradition of "things left in the pudding" - eggs and streamers, lots of streamers. To the children and a stranger at the table it is an awesome sight as the Jobling males pull amazing things out of their mouths! This year Josh was in on the act too, so the table was soon covered in multi-colored streamers! I believe this tradition started with my grandfather who used to find a hard-boiled egg in his pudding when everyone else was looking for silver coins. My dad was a past master at the trick and, apart from the egg, would also 'find' the wooden spoonand various other kitchen implements used in the making of the pudding - all pulled out of his mouth!
Boxing Day was 'chill' day for the family, so Sarah an I drove into Perth to the Koorong Christian Bookshop for Sarah to spend her Christmas book voucher and also for us to enjoy the book sale. Australian sales get into full swing on Boxing Day with merchandise marked down 50 to 70% - everything is on sale and the Aussies go on a mad spending spree.Koorong was not too busy and we spent the morning browsing through the books and having lunch in the coffee shop.
On Friday we took the boys kayaks and a picnic down to Matilda Bay on the Swan River where we met up with Amanda and Gavin's friends Sue and John Boswell, their children Sasha and Jason, and Sue's parents Harry and Sheila Rostrum (on holiday from Durban North). The weather was amazing and we sat chatting on the banks of the river while the youngsters paddled the kayaks and played on the (again, well-kept) grass.
The city of Perth from Matilda Bay - Gavin's office in BHP Billiton is in the tallest building in the foreground.
We were joined by this family of Black Swans (from which the river takes it's name)
On Saturday Sarah and I went to a picnic held to celebrate the 70th birthday of Norman Clough, a member of St Phillips, who is a Facebook friend of Sarah's. The picnic was held under the trees on the lawns of the Civic Centre in Cottesloe (where the Carol Service had been held). We met up with a number of folk we had met at church and spent the afternoon sharing on common experiences.While we were at the picnic the junior part of the family drove out to Mundaring Weir. This is a massive water project set up years ago to pump water to the goldfields way out to the east. The huge lake is beautiful, surrounded by forest and an ideal place for picnics and walks.
Yesterday, Sunday, Sarah, Josh and I went to St Phillips for the morning service and then drove on down to Freemantle to meet up with the others. Jeremy, Brenda, Caleb and the girls visited the old Freemantle Prison, built in the 1850s to house convicts. The prison closed in 1991. It is a bleak, yet fascinating, place and leaves one very aware of the horrors associated with incarceration.We all met up at the Kailis Fish Cafe in the old fishing harbour for lunch where we had the most incredible melt-in-the-mouth fish and chips. Voted the best fish and chips venue in Perth the place was buzzing, and the perfect weather and the holiday season meant that every table was taken.After lunch we strolled through the waterfront precinct enjoying the people, sights and sun.Josh and Caleb (in hat)
Gavin and Amanda
Ruth, Caleb, Nici and Joshua (above)
Brenda, Jeremy and Sarah in conversation
Today, Monday, we are off on another adventure picnic to the Swan Valley. One of the high-lights is the Margaret River Chocolate Factory!