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Time with the Family

Written on: Tuesday January 16th, 2007

A journal entry from: The Winter of 2006/2007

Before leaving Perth Jean asked for the corkscrew as they would be on the road in New Zealand.  We entrusted it to their care, the final owner of the corkscrew will be the winner of the Protea Cup (a golf competition between the Handleys and Arnetts through Africa, Australia and New Zealand).


When we checked through security at Perth airport, I was told that the x-ray machine had picked up a corkscrew in my computer case and sure enough there it was.  At first we thought Mike and Jean may have planted it but they deny all knowledge and assure us that the corkscrew is definitely in their possession.  Neither Roger nor I can remember putting a corkscrew in my bag, however it was confiscated ? airports must be getting a huge collection of corkscrews. 


We were met at Brisbane airport by Kay and Ben, we were most delighted that Ben was still light enough for us to pick up and give him a cuddle even more delighted that he allowed us to do so.  It was raining, the first rain in months apparently ? there?s a drought here so everyone was very pleased.  We didn?t mind either as we?d had a lot of hot sticky weather over the past few weeks.  When we pulled into the driveway at Kay and Ian?s house, Anna came rushing out to greet us, followed closely by Ian.  We felt like grandparents right from the first minute, Kay and Ian have obviously done a good job of keeping the children aware of our connection even though we live so far apart.


The next few days were a hive of activity as Kay readied for Ben?s 5th birthday, a joint party with two friends.  The parents had hired a bouncy castle and placed it at a nearby park and the children all had a ball.  The day started rainy but by the afternoon it had stopped and the temperature was perfect.  The following week we spent visiting local playgrounds and local malls as we picked up our Christmas shopping.  One night we drove to South Bank which is on the banks of the Brisbane River close to downtown.  This is a super area with playgrounds, walking and cycling tracks, restaurants and a children?s pool complete with imported beach ? it looks very natural though.  For three nights before Christmas they switch on the Christmas lights and there?s children shows, buskers and a fairground.  At 8 pm there?s a fantastic firework display over the river which we watched from the beach area.   Ben, Anna and Ian went on the big wheel, very brave.


Before we knew it Santa had arrived, we were up at 5:30 am, not an unusual time for Kay and Ian but very different for us.  The children were very good, enjoying opening their pressies and didn?t get too hyper.  For the last five years Kay and Ian have spent Christmas with some friends who?s family live in Melbourne, so after the young ones had had their sleeps, Fiona, Dave, Isla and Keeley came over for the afternoon and a turkey dinner.  It wasn?t quite traditional though as the turkey was accompanied by salads rather than potatoes and veggies.  Very enjoyable though and all eaten out on the deck.  It was a warm day, the first Christmas we?ve spent in air-conditioning.


Boxing Day we mooched around, went for a walk and then on the 27th it was Ben?s birthday.  After he?s opened his presents, we picked up a rental car, got ready and then drove off to Noosa for a week?s holiday. It rained the whole day.


Noosa is about a two hour drive from where Kay and Ian live, it?s on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane.  Noosa sits at the mouth of the Noosa River and is a very popular tourist area ? it was bustling with people.  Kay and Ian had rented a three bedroom townhouse in Noosaville which is about a five minute drive from downtown Noosa and a five minute walk to the river.  The river has a few beaches but the main beach is actually in Noosa Bay.  All the beaches are very safe for the children to play on and in the water.  Fiona and Dave were also in Noosa for a week so in the afternoon we met them by the river where we had fish and chips and a birthday cake for Ben.  Again the weather was a bit dodgy but we made the most of it. 


The weather for the rest of our stay, until the day we came home, was excellent and the children spent most of their time in water, either at the pool where we were staying or in the river or ocean.  Ben swims quite well and Anna can swim too but only underwater so her swimming is limited to how long she can hold her breath.  We made lots of mud pies, buried granddad and ate quite a few sausage rolls and ice-creams.


Since getting back from Noosa Kay and Ian have been preparing for their departure from Australia on January 21st, we?ve been helping where we can looking after the children while Kay does some running around and taking them out to parks while Kay clears out old toys.  Ben and his friend Luke have been constructing a treehouse in the park near where they live, every day that they meet there they are very industrious but the untrained eye would just see it as a tree with masking tape on it.  It?s been a lovely time with the children, we?ve done lots with them and enjoyed being active grandparents if only for a few weeks.


We had our first game of golf since Perth, it was good to get some exercise as we?re feeling a bit porky, we hope to play again before we leave and that will be it until we get to New Zealand.  We were going to take our clubs on our camping trip but would have to pay quite a bit extra for them on the flight and they would also take up much needed space in the campervan.  On looking at our itinerary for the three weeks we?re camping, I don?t think we?d have much time for golf anyway.


Took Anna and Ben to Redcliffe Lagoon, while Kay got some moving stuff done, they had a whale of a time running between the lagoon and a playground, they were really good and we enjoyed having them to ourselves for the day.


Also went to Seaworld which is quite the place, lots of rides for the children to go on and seal and dolphin shows.   


So here we are ready to fly to Adelaide, pick up our campervan and drive back to Brisbane, our next adventure.