I'm back! I returned from my trip up north for Christmas yesterday, and while it was fabulous to get away and spend some time with my mum, it was great to get home too. I love Melbourne. I love my flat. I love my own bed.
And I love mail! I came home to a letter box stuffed with Christmas cards, which made the homecoming even more gleeful. I don't get much 'real' mail these days - mostly bills and junk - so getting not one, but a clutch of cards was fantastic. You just can't display text messages and emails on your mantlepiece and think fondly of the sender every time you look at them like you can with a real, old-fashioned greeting card. I have decided from now on to revert to posting greeting cards by snail mail.
A posse of pelicans fighting over fish off cuts
It was wonderful seeing mum again for the first time since last Christmas and lapping up the motherly hugs and home cooking. She took me to see the new house she has just bought in a little town inland from Port Macquarie. It's completely her style and I think she will be much happier living in a country town again (population 6,000 to Port Macquarie's 70,000+). All she can see from her back deck are trees and horses grazing in green paddocks.
We had a Scrabble match which I won 2-1, partly because mum only got O's and A's and I was able to marry Zs, Qs and Xs with triple word scores. We enjoyed a nightly dose of Seinfeld and Frasier. Mum absolutely adores Frasier - she still relishes it and laughs out loud, despite having seen most episodes many times already. Frasier is one of my favourite shows too and I enjoy watching it with her (seems like TV1 hasn't changed its evening line up in years). I loved seeing Seinfeld again too. The Penske file! The nipple! It was a scratch! Not a pick!
I watched half of the latest season of Scrubs on DVD while I was there too. I stayed up really late watching it because I love it so much I just couldn't turn it off. I watched the rest last night and now I feel bereft because it's finished. Think I might start watching it again from the beginning. Scrubs is the only TV series I own on DVD.
Mum and I saw Madagascar 2 at the movies (my choice!), which was cute and funny, and ate pizza on the foreshore afterwards. We went to the beach and read our books, and even though it wasn't hot, I had a dip in the surf. Bit nippy at first but quite pleasant once I got used to it.
Nobby's Beach where I swam
We had a low key Christmas Day with a yummy roast dinner and pavlova for dessert, although we had already tucked into the pav on Christmas Eve because we couldn't wait. Mmmmm...pavlova with big fat strawberries on top.
I slept late every day. I read two books and started another one, which was published in Australia by the publishing company I used to work for. I love coincidences!
On the first Saturday, I met one of my online friends, Wayne, for the first time. We had lunch at a beach-front cafe, followed by a wander along the foreshore and marina, where I had to stop for fish-spotting and was gleefully rewarded. (Yep, I'm that Viking in The Far Side cartoon who's storming over a drawbridge, pointing into the moat and saying "Ooh! Goldfish!"). I've met quite a few of my online friends 'in the real world' now and hope to meet more next year.
One of the town's few original buildings (and also where I had lunch with Wayne)
I saw a really, really big hornet! It was like a small bird (and fortunately on the other side of the window to me)! Everything's bigger up north. And there's frogs! I love listening to them burbling away in the distance at night.
I had window seats for nearly every flight. I love looking down at the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the wide rivers winding their way through green hills on the Sydney-Port leg of the trip. And I know it's silly, but I can't help scanning the ocean for sharks ("Oooh! Sharks!"). Always in vain, of course. But most of all, I love looking at the clouds. It's so surreal being up in or above the clouds and being so close to them. I saw some really awesome fat, fluffy ones.
And, as you can see, I took plenty of photos.
I love frangipanis
I bought a digital set top box for my TV today, mostly so that I can watch the national broadcaster's digital channel, ABC2. And guess what? Despite being 5/8 techno-twit, I managed to stick all the plugs in the right sockets and make it work! I am so proud of myself! (Still can't get the lid off the jar of homemade tomato relish my mum gave me though. Dang. That's going to have to be a job for a guy downstairs.)
How was your Christmas?
Last night in Melbourne