05 January, 2014

Gooch week

We had 2 hire cars while we were away as I left it too late to book a mini van that could hold all of us.  So we had one big nissan x-trail and one nissan micra.  By choice I drove the micra when I could (I love little cars) and the whole time we were away we had Australia's awesome public radio station Triple J playing (apart from when I got the new Arctic Monkeys Album, AM, for Christmas).  The radio announcers on JJJ kept referring to the time between Christmas Day and New Year's Day as "gooch week"; hence the title of this blog post.

For the last I don't even know how many Christmases, it's been just us 6 celebrating with maybe a guest or too later in the day.  My kids haven't grown up with the standard family Christmas of going here there and everywhere.  This year was a bit of a shock to them.

We started off by spending Christmas Eve out with Matt's parents.  I wish I'd taken more photos as it was fun, chaotic and mad (just how Christmas with family should be).  Matt's brother Dave and his super star photographer wife (and one of my best friends in the whole wide world), who had a wedding shoot on Christmas eve and got their later, and their 4 gorgeous girls came up too.  It was mad, it was loud and it was fun.  Matt's dad was adamant that we had to go next door to sing some Christmas songs to their neighbours, and just as adamant that we had to do a few practice runs.  It was awesome and the neighbours LOVED it.  The only photo I got was this quick one of my father in law as we were about to go in (we all wore hats).

Christmas morning and present opening was spent with Matt's parents.  Then we drove 30 minutes down to visit my adorable grandmother...my uncle, mum and my brother and niece were also there.  We didn't stay long as Nan gets tired, but I later heard that she told someone that it was the best Christmas she'd had in years.  After that we drove 30 minutes up to my brother's place and had Christmas lunch with him and my niece and mum popped in to have second Christmas lunch with us later on.  From there, late in the afternoon, we drove another 30 minutes down to Dave and Chelsea's and opened presents with them, shared left overs and had a grand old time.

While we were up at my brother's Matt and Ella and I (and mum amd Sarah and Jake) went for a bit of a walk.  Matt and I were "house hunting" (a game we play EVERYWHERE we go), and quite liked these houses in Sandy bay right by the playground and the water...
 With a perfect place to have a post Christmas lunch nap on the grass...
 On boxing day, Kit headed off with his cousins to watch the Hobbit.  Since Matt, Remi and Oscar had seen it in Singapore before they came and Ella and I are happy to watch it on DVD, we used the opportunity of one less child to be able to fit into one car and went for a bit of a jaunt.  As you can see, the weather was totally different from one day to the next...oh Tassie I love you.
 We drove up Mount Wellington, and though it was foggy, misty and cloudy, you could easily see all the way to the East coast.

Matt pointing out the lay of the land to Oscar while Remi goofs around in the background.

Oscar and Remi love it up here, especially when it's cloudy as it reminds them of Lord of the Rings territory

 It was quite cold and windy up the Mountain so we headed to the Fern Tree Tavern for some lunch.  Matt and Remi were seduced by the Schnitzel on the menu called "the Mountain" and claiming to be the largest schnitzel in Australia.  I don't think it was an empty claim...

It came served on a pizza tray and Matt only managed half.  Remi finished his, but didn't eat his chips and salad.  It was actually quite tasty, but I thought this kind of superlative food only happened in America.  

After lunch we did a bit more driving around.  We went up to Mount Nelson to show the kids where I used to live when I started Uni.

 We caught up with some old family friends and Ella got to have these cool photos with their combi

The following day we all set off with the 2 cars for a road trip down to Port Arthur  on the Tasman Peninsular.  The trip down was a real eyeopener... a year on and there is still so much evidence of the bush fires that ravaged the area last year.  Some of you may be aware of these images, and driving through Dunalley, I could just imagine the devastation.

We stopped for a while on the way at Pirates' Bay just by Eagle Hawk Neck.
 I just adore Tassie's ruggedness.

As for Port Arthur, well I remember going there as a kid and it seemed such a horrible end of the world kind of rough place.  These days it seems quite idilic and I'm not convinced the convicts had that bad a time of it.  

The Isle of the dead where 1100 people are buried

Scenes like these really melt my heart.

 I understand that conservation needs to happen to stop these buildings crumbling to nothing, but I do love a good ruin.

The Chapel with individual stalls for the convicts

I know, too many photos, but oh so gorgeous!


  1. Good fun, but now I am obviously waiting for all the flash photos of Triabunna in the next blog.

  2. The real Maggie - so good to have you back blogging.
    Maggie XXXX


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