Thursday, January 04, 2007


A Blue Mountains Christmas holiday (part 1)

Let's see if I can summarise the week in a few posts with a few piccies. Ok, so it's for my benefit, rather than being of any great interest to the blogosphere.. but I suppose it's an insight into one particular Australian christmas. We weren't particularly excited to be going away, if you hadn't guessed from my previous entries, but had resolved to make the most of our time in the Blue Mountains. Potentially cooler weather (well, it could hit 30 degrees, but it could drop to around 10!).. and the chance to get in some bushwalking, and, most importantly a canyon. This was to be Alison's first ever canyon, and we were preparing to do one with her and Caitlin that involved liloing through narrow gorges...

We got away around 9.15 on the Saturday morning.. not a bad effort for us, especially considering Marc just got back from OS and then a work xmas lunch the afternoon before, and I was stressed out with packing and coughing. Glad we were heading south, against the flow of holiday traffic. Any towns on the Pacific Hwy not yet bypassed (and with lights) caused bottlenecks.. We shook our heads in sympathy at a couple of jams of a few kilometres. It seemed that so many Sydneyites had left early (it must have been like 4 or 5 am) to 'beat the traffic' that they all ended up leaving together and causing the jams.

The traffic heading our way was heavy, but moving, so we made good time - and even somehow timed our lunch stop in a lull. The newish M7 motorway on the western outskirts of Sydney made the last stretch through to the lower Blue Mountains a dream. I complain bitterly about having to register for a visitor's e-pass, but in terms of driving time saved, it is probably worth every cent. So all in all the drive was fairly painless. Arrived at our friends' place around 5.00 and the kids had time for a swim in their dam before dinner. It was good to catch up with them - these days it happens all too infrequently, living so far away from each other.

With only about half an hour to drive the next day, we took our time in the morning, and mosied on up to Blackheath. Found the holiday house.. dumped our stuff.. then dumped the kids with Nana, aunty and friend, and headed back to Katoomba for the supermarket stock up. We even managed to miss the christmas eve rush despite predictions, so, all in all, that was painless too.

Santa found the holiday house, despite the lack of a christmas tree; the wrapping paper and glitzy gold and silver gift bags/sacks had to do for festive spirit. A very civilised sleep in possible because of the age of the kids.. the two younger ones woke at 7.00, and waited till 7.30 to wake Her Highness up. She protested till I suggested that she was obviously moving from kid to grown up status, and thus Santa would probably not come to her next year!

Round to Nana's holiday house for lunch.. and that was the view from our table; the vase had a bunch of Christmas bush in lieu of a tree. (Yes a very low-key christmas this year..but I'm tempted to continue that tradition in the future, actually...) We managed to keep lunch sensible with just some chicken and ham, a couple of salads. The family christmas challenge this year was to recreate Papa's famous mayonnaise for the potato salad - the absent sister knew how to make it, but the rest of us were novices. A bit of a team effort, Marc doing the beating, and me drizzling the oil in, and success! And a toast to Papa's mayonnaise.

Oh, and Zoe got a (painted) recorder for xmas (what was I thinking?!) With some sisterly tuition, by lunchtime on xmas day she could already play three tunes (and can still only play three tunes!) Naturally they were sent outside to play, so the neighbours must have been cursing the holiday house tenants.

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what fun! Low key is very, very good.

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