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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

This weekend was the annual Technology Challenge Maryborough here at home.  It is hard to believe that it was ten years ago that this iconic event began and my involvement began in earnest a year later. 

These days I am a volunteer and do not need to put in the 96 straight hours that I once did!  It’s great to see the thousands of young people converge on the site, renewing old friendships and making new ones and all the time competing in teams that bear none of the dog eat dog attitude that we see so much these days.  Yes, there is much to be proud of.  And with the community of Maryborough out in full force to support it with every service club, the scouts and many sporting groups helping out, this is the City at its best!  Michael has gone down to marshall one of the corners today and I take on the graveyard shift at Admin from midnight tonight!

With the arrival of September coming the start of the preparations for Christmas.  Don’t groan – at least this year I am on time!  When we were in Brisbane last week, one of the purchases at the wholesalers was the bulk dried fruit for the fruit cakes.  It has now begun its journey into drunkenness with the first of a bottle of rum and brandy added!

Winter continues its late visit to Queensland with the temperatures plunging again last night, although not as cold as the 4 degrees on Sunday morning at 5 am – just an hour before my shift at the Technology Challenge Maryborough finished!

My aunt and uncle from Newcastle are visiting tonight and so I have spent a couple of hours preparing rolled pork belly stuffed with prunes and pistachios, potato and celeriac mashes, veges and a bread and butter custard with a difference – made from the last of the panetonne left over from last christmas!  You should smell the house just now – amazing!

Plans are now being considered to go to Jamaica for the wedding of my brother Michael and his lovely fiancee Carline.  This event was a big surprise for the whole family – and I think even Michael has surprised himself somewhat.  The Caribbean is not somewhere that I have actively considered before, but I’m liking what I see in doing some research!  Quite a few in family are going to try to get there – so it should be a blast.

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In the immortal words of the oh-so-eloquent John Lennon, time marches on.

I was amazed when I logged on to see that my last post here was in August last year.  While I don’t want to be tied to blogging daily (because I am sure no-one wants to be subjected to drivel!), I couldn’t believe that I had let so much time pass.  Suffice to say, the latter part of 2010 became busier and busier.

Through couchusurfing.org we welcomed many travellers throughout the year.  This is an exciting social project to be involved in and allows us to continue to engage with others from around the globe.  I guess the proof is in the pudding – for us almost quite literally – at Christmas we had 7 Germans, 2 Czechs, 1 Chinese and a smattering of locals here to share the spirit of giving and sharing.

Most of these had visited us earlier in the year and our new friend Ina (from China) was also a link from the Couchsurfing project.   It was a time of challenge as we were in the midst of the wettest Christmas, December and year for 80 years.  It rained the proverbial 40 days and 40 nights and then some, which was followed by the flooding of Queensland that the politicians are calling ‘of biblical proportions’!

Having farewelled Jerry and Klara from Prague only a week earlier to head to Mackay and then (hopefully) to Carnarvon Gorge, there was a tense morning spent waiting for them to arrive ahead of waters pushing the Burnett River into major flood.  Thankfully they got through OK, but they had to miss Carnarvon – a good enough reason for a return visit some day!

Anja came back from Brisbane, Anne and Johannes (with Phillip and Trostan in tow) drove down from Ayr and Markus and Inga drove back from Melbourne to turn around and retrace their steps to Sydney after Christmas.  And while James, Antony and Amanda and the kids were not here, Gen added the family flavour to the day.

We began our festivities on Christmas Eve when the main part of the celebrations occur in Europe.  Not giving in to the desires of our visitors,we made them wait until Christmas morning for presents, but we did do a nice big traditional pork roast which was supported by Klara’s amazing potato salad.  That night, they all took turns is Skyping to their families at home – a nice Christmas surprise for most. 

Christmas morning was chaotic.  Eggs Benedict was followed by present opening before a quiet day for most.  We sat down to a late lunch around 3:30 pm of seafood, more of Klara’s potato salad and an amazing White chocolate Mousse prepared by Anne and Inga.  Of course we also had Christmas Cake – one of the better one I have made!

And no sooner had the last departed, we then welcomed Gan who was leading a group of young Japanese English language students who were staying in Maryborough.  An altogether much calmer experience to say the least!!  Very laid back, this was his tenth visit to Australia in this role. It was just such a pity that the weather was so terrible that we could not take him to see more of our amazing area.  More opportunities though to share some good local produce.

Hope that our very busy home wasn’t too much of a shock for him – mind you, we got a lovely shock one day.  Phone rang and the conversation went thus:
“Hello”
“Maria?  Its Allyson”
“Hi.  How are you?”
“Are you on the other side of the river?”
“Huh?  What do you mean?”
“Are you on the other side of the river?”
“Where ARE you?”
“Blitz Imports.  Tinana Road.  On the other side of the river”

Now, to put this in context you need to know a few things.  Blitz Imports are in Maryborough.  The river was the Mary River and the Lamington Bridge was closed to traffic in anticipation of flooding.  Oh.  And Allyson and Leith (her husband) are from Perth and we had no idea they were in Queensland!!!
Turns out that they had flown over to buy a car (as you do – ha ha) and had decided to hire a car for the day and drive up and say hello!  As well as these totally unexpected and thoroughly welcome visitors, we had a steady stream through the house last week and we even managed to squeeze a restaurant dinner in at the Port Residence with Andrew and Meredith and dinner with Anne and Mick from Brisbane and local friend Judith.  Poor Gan is probably glad to leave~!~ 

His farewell this morning was bitter-sweet.  We have promised to stay in touch and we issued an invitation for him to bring his family for a visit one day.  He left me with a beautiful Tahitian Pearl that he added to my phone dangle late one night – so lustrous and warm – a special reminder of a special visitor!

On the business front, Funding Power has grown from strength to strength.  The last couple of months were very very busy and I got to work with some fantastic people at St Stephens Hospital for a frenetic couple of weeks.  And although our Rotary Club application was unsuccessful in its first round, Michael from Bay Connect phoned this morning to say that they had received advice that the application we prepared to help work with young people disengaged from main stream services was successful.  It is always gratifying to hear that hard work has paid off!

So, I’m back in to the swing and promise that I won’t leave the posting so long this time!  See you all soon.

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