Friday, 24 December 2010

Festive Cheer, Christmas is Here!

Our tree decorations!

Merry Christmas from Melbourne! It’s now Christmas Eve and I am finally getting into the Christmas spirit.... we have a Christmas tree that is up and decorated (thanks Sarah and Neil), a fridge full of food (thanks Coles), and two very delayed English friends on a plane from Heathrow as we speak (thanks Virgin Atlantic, no thanks to the weatherman). It’s hard to feel festive in the summer, and this certainly helps on the home-sickness front. This morning we woke up to bright sunshine and two cruise ships docked at nearby Station Pier. When the cruise ships begin to double-park in Port Melbourne, it means summer has really begun!

Our visitors for Christmas are friends and newly-weds Tush and Andy. Tush and I lived next door to each other in University Halls, and Andy is the lucky guy who gets to spend the rest of his life with her! We usually like to make a bit of effort when visitors arrive, given the investment of time and expense that anyone coming to see us has to make. Often this means preparing lots of food or planning lots of things to do, but this time Tom has cleaned the windows! Lucky Tush and Andy. Did I mention that this trip is their honeymoon? No honeymoon is complete without sparkly windows!

Not to disappoint on the food front, we’ve also been preparing food for Christmas day. Having no family here this year, we are spending the day with our ex-pat gang, and we call it ‘Waifs and Strays Christmas’. Everyone is bringing a contribution to the meal – Tom is making a fish starter and stuffing to accompany the meats (which will be BBQ’d, of course), and I’m making pavlova and a flourless chocolate and pear cake. The latter is currently in the oven and looking like a borderline disaster. Stay tuned for future news updates on pudding-gate.

The Canadians open their first ever Christmas gift (we shared a night of Chanukah with them a couple of weeks ago, so thought it was only fair to return the favour)

Nab Nab is the Star on the top of our tree!

Decorating our free - another first for Richard and Tamara

As if this wasn’t enough, I managed to fit in completing both Tom’s and my UK tax return today! Now, before you think that this should be a doddle for me because I’m an accountant, let me explain that my job has nothing to do with tax returns, tax years or anything involving the ‘t’ word. If I knew more then perhaps I would have avoided the temporarily-paralysing situation of learning that I owe HMRC £155,000 in additional tax by 31 January 2011! Some quick investigating revealed that I’d included one too many zero on my income for the year....

In other news, last weekend we made a long weekend trip to Adelaide. I’d be interested to know what you first think of when you hear the word Adelaide – cricket perhaps? Maybe wine? If it’s anything else, please do email me, because I might learn something new and discover that there is more to Adelaide than it managed to display to us in three days of average-to-dull weather and activities. Thank goodness the company, food and drink was riveting (quick save). Oh, and for Peter I must also mention that their O-Bahn travel system is indeed extraordinary, and now that I’ve been to Adelaide I understand why you found this the most memorable part of the city!

Tom and Katie at Wolf Blass Winery

Wine tasting for Dummies

mmmmm wine

At the Wolf Blass cellar door (Tom with Richard & Tamara - the Canadians)

Not content with the free wine tasting, Rich was still looking for a good deal. Would you pay $1 for this shirt?!

Soon to be, 'The Belfers' (they are getting married in Sept 2011)

This was the periphery of the plague of locusts. It was disgusting when they hit the windscreen at speed!

One of the little blighters!

Where's the free food?

Oh, there isn't any. But there's more free wine!

.. and more!

The free Vegemite didn't go down so well...

I’ve been taking my photography very seriously recently, and have a number of shoots to share with you in a future blog, as I reveal my new photography website – stay tuned in 2011!

I’ll sign off for now, and leave you all with best wishes from Tom and I for a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2011. Thank you for reading our blog and sticking with me as a type away. Here’s a Christmas card from us both: