While Ness blogged fairly comprehensively about our Christmas capers, given we've got a powered site and some coverage and I've nothing better to do, I thought I'd add in my two bobs worth.
* This is a hawk or eagle of some description trying to stay ahead of a massive storm which came in while we were at Seal Rocks.
Candi & Steffen's party in Newtown was an awesome return to the binge drinking we were supposed to have left behind in September, but with hindsight proved a good warm up act for the next couple of weeks. Steffen and I were the last men standing, but only he had the capacity to set about the clearing up while I bent his ear about alternative medicine.
Sunday was a tough day for all of us and getting up to Dangar was harder than usual. At least I didn't throw up on the train like Candice did (into a clear plastic bag in front of other punters). The Troopie was packed to the roof with presents and food and drink which meant hard work up the hill. Most of the presents did not have my or Nessa's name on them so were always going to have to come back to Sydney but they did look impressive under the makeshift indoor stick Christmas tree.
Nevertheless we did very well on the present front indeed. We'd bought a wicked new extreme close up lens for our camera with some money from my parents and grandma so we'll be able to bag some more wildlife shots over the rest of the trip. I bagged my first wife-beater and I love it and have added two more to the collection since. I also got a wicked straw hat to protect my fair skin and slightly balding head from the harsh aussie sun. Candi and Steffen and Mik had gone through our photos from the first leg of the trip and had three of them put onto canvas - and they look absolutely awesome.
It was sensational to be back on Dangar and to catch up with all our friends there. It's so nice to have the community there to look forward to when we move there full time once this wild ride is over. My new rugged appearance seemed to surprise a few people. I was described variously as like a tanned and hirstute greek god (thanks Ms Brown, I think the champagne helped) to scruffy (Corrinthe). I took Corrinthe's word to heart and had my beard 'trimmed' in Hornsby. I'd spoken to Greg, the oracle on all things beard related and he'd suggested a number 1. Instant regret as my hard earned beard disappeared. Two months growth gone in under a minute. The Hugh Jackman look I crave was even further from me than ever, but it will come back.
* Close up Cockie action. Awesome idea from the Johnstons to introduce a bird feeder to the deck at Dangar, and even Millie obliged by not chasing every bird that dropped by.
Christmas with the Johnston's is a noisy and fun filled affair, and this year we had 11 nights of it, and for a change at Christmas the weather was superb. So much fun and laughing, and Dangar was just sparkling.
Steffen got right into the bowling action and got to meet some of the more interesting characters on the island who joined us from time to time for a roll.
* I was impressed to get all that into one wheel-barrow (finally managing to pick one with out a flat tyre) and down the hill without spilling it, . VJ had the cat which was trying to escape and the esky.
* Quick stop at Kiama for a dip after 5 hours in the car on a 35 degree day. The windscreen was almost melting!
New Years at Bondi was tops. Thanks so much guys for the hospitality, and Candi for coming to pick us up in the morning and not being angry even though there were hundreds of cabs and I'd just not gone outside to check before calling her.
Great to catch up with my nephew on New Years Eve and Day and he needed no encouragement whatsoever to get stuck into the grog at Camperdown Bowlo and then the curry house before we packed him off to see his Mum and Dad who are out here on holiday (and also bought us an awesome feed at the Bank). Hope you didn't get in too much trouble!
The time in Sydney gave us the chance to pick up some new items for the trip, some are pictured here. New camping chairs (Our old ones gave up and Westpac let us down again with the free ones arriving the day after we left, ggrrr), a wicked new red retro rechargeable camping lantern, a boogie board (stolen from Scone), a London Underground tea towel from Tash, a two step ladder so I don't need to get the milk crates out of the car anymore and Ness and Jean turned our outsize bed sheet in to a fitted sheet which is awesome.
Anyhow, despite all the fun, it's great to be back on the road for our remaining 9 month camping marathon. We pulled in for a night at Carrington Falls near Kiama (awesome and free camp ground and absolutely beautiful falls and wildlife).
The sky walk thingy was good. There's more to the Gong than you think these days and I might even send some of my relies down here if they make it over for the wedding.
Tomorrow we turn back in land and head for Kossie and then the Victorian High Country for the 4wd action the bad weather robbed us of in November. They're forecasting 30+ degree days so we've a chance of a bush fire or two rather than snow this time.
If we make it across the mountains we'll be getting to South Australia quicker than we expected but are still keen to give their 10c refund scheme another go. Please drop any unwanted cans or bottles round to 4 Prospect St, Newtown and Candi can forward them on to us - she'll give you 5c for each, minimum batches of 100.