A Compass for Holidays

It is 18 years since I spent either Boxing Day or the day after at home. In all that time I have been traveling to a holiday destination with my family. Even last year, I spent the first week away with my daughters before doing a tag team with their mother. So as with Christmas, there is a great sense of change lingering upon me. That comes with a touch of trepidation and one can only hope some day that this holiday will once more become one of anticipation for me. Daughter number two and her mother are heading off tomorrow, once more to Narooma, where the summers are great. So I am glad that they are continuing this tradition even though I know I won’t ever be part of it again.

Today I took daughter number two shopping for a birthday present for her Mum, because that will occur when they are away, and we decided also to go and see the movie “The Golden Compass” which only opened here yesterday. I have read with interest the pannings it has gotten from critics and noted also that it has been considered a box office failure in the States. There has been some talk about it being anti-religion but to be honest, who cares, in my opinion it’s a good story well told, and we both enjoyed it. So don’t be put off by what other people are saying, it’s a book written as a child’s fantasy, no Lord of the Rings, but stunning visually and as good as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

A Compass for Holidays

It is 18 years since I spent either Boxing Day or the day after at home. In all that time I have been traveling to a holiday destination with my family. Even last year, I spent the first week away with my daughters before doing a tag team with their mother. So as with Christmas, there is a great sense of change lingering upon me. That comes with a touch of trepidation and one can only hope some day that this holiday will once more become one of anticipation for me. Daughter number two and her mother are heading off tomorrow, once more to Narooma, where the summers are great. So I am glad that they are continuing this tradition even though I know I won’t ever be part of it again.

Today I took daughter number two shopping for a birthday present for her Mum, because that will occur when they are away, and we decided also to go and see the movie “The Golden Compass” which only opened here yesterday. I have read with interest the pannings it has gotten from critics and noted also that it has been considered a box office failure in the States. There has been some talk about it being anti-religion but to be honest, who cares, in my opinion it’s a good story well told, and we both enjoyed it. So don’t be put off by what other people are saying, it’s a book written as a child’s fantasy, no Lord of the Rings, but stunning visually and as good as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

A Compass for Holidays

It is 18 years since I spent either Boxing Day or the day after at home. In all that time I have been traveling to a holiday destination with my family. Even last year, I spent the first week away with my daughters before doing a tag team with their mother. So as with Christmas, there is a great sense of change lingering upon me. That comes with a touch of trepidation and one can only hope some day that this holiday will once more become one of anticipation for me. Daughter number two and her mother are heading off tomorrow, once more to Narooma, where the summers are great. So I am glad that they are continuing this tradition even though I know I won’t ever be part of it again.

Today I took daughter number two shopping for a birthday present for her Mum, because that will occur when they are away, and we decided also to go and see the movie “The Golden Compass” which only opened here yesterday. I have read with interest the pannings it has gotten from critics and noted also that it has been considered a box office failure in the States. There has been some talk about it being anti-religion but to be honest, who cares, in my opinion it’s a good story well told, and we both enjoyed it. So don’t be put off by what other people are saying, it’s a book written as a child’s fantasy, no Lord of the Rings, but stunning visually and as good as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The episodes of Life

I must admit I had been dreading Christmas Day mainly because last year sucked so bad when I had Christmas lunch alone and for the first time I didn’t awaken in the same house as my kids. The lesson I learnt yesterday is that Christmas does change through time and that the phases whilst frightening in anticipation are perhaps simply a way of marking the episodes of life.

My earliest memories of Christmas are of days spent at my Grandparents houses. Like most kids, my sisters and I would be up early creeping up to the loungeroom to see if Father Christmas had come. We would then run down to Mum and Dads bedroom to awaken them, not knowing that they were already awake and waiting for us. After exchanging presents there would be the visits to the neighbours to wish them Merry Christmas and to exchange even more gifts and then sometime in the late morning we’d jump in the car and head off to Merlynston for Christmas lunch with my Dad’s family. I’ve written before about how many of Dad’s Aunts, Uncles and cousins, as well as his brothers and sister all lived within about five blocks of each other in that mostly unknown suburb in Melbourne’s north, so after lunch there would be a lot of quick visits to half a dozen other houses in the area.

My memories of those lunches are of the smell of roasts taken from the wood fired oven mingling with that of freshly baked scones which I enjoyed with lashings of butter and vegemite. I know for those of you who like your scones with jam and cream that makes me a bit of a philistine, but that’s the way I like it.

From lunch with the Joyce’s we’d go to tea with the Smith’s and there was a fair contrast from the gentility of Nana Joyce to the loudness of Nana Smith and the teeming masses of Brunswick. The house was full of cousins and aunts and uncles

But those days changed when my cousins got older and got married then spending time with their in laws families. Mum decided that it was time that Christmases were held at our place and my grandparents then used to travel to our place each year until they passed away. The aunts and uncles then also chose to stay away so those large family Christmases with the extended family passed with my childhood into memory.

Things changed again when my sisters and I got married and had our own children. We still come together on Christmas night at one of my sisters houses and all of the kids still come but in the next few years will no doubt have their own family obligations that will intervene.

Yesterday I waited for my daughter’s phone call telling me it was now time for me to go around to their house and exchange presents – this year was also the first year they had moved out of the family home. So it was 8 am when I got the call went around, had a cup of tea, sat for a while and then came home to my own house. This year rather than eating alone, the lady I live with and I had a roast lamb dinner, then took the dog for a walk in a local park, before going our separate ways to family dinners. One day when the pain of separation eases we may be able to spend time with each others family on Christmas Day but till then I guess what we had will do. This year was not as bad as last year and I’m sure will get better as we all move forward.

And thus another episode of life moves from anticipation, or apprehension into memory never to be experienced again.

The episodes of Life

I must admit I had been dreading Christmas Day mainly because last year sucked so bad when I had Christmas lunch alone and for the first time I didn’t awaken in the same house as my kids. The lesson I learnt yesterday is that Christmas does change through time and that the phases whilst frightening in anticipation are perhaps simply a way of marking the episodes of life.

My earliest memories of Christmas are of days spent at my Grandparents houses. Like most kids, my sisters and I would be up early creeping up to the loungeroom to see if Father Christmas had come. We would then run down to Mum and Dads bedroom to awaken them, not knowing that they were already awake and waiting for us. After exchanging presents there would be the visits to the neighbours to wish them Merry Christmas and to exchange even more gifts and then sometime in the late morning we’d jump in the car and head off to Merlynston for Christmas lunch with my Dad’s family. I’ve written before about how many of Dad’s Aunts, Uncles and cousins, as well as his brothers and sister all lived within about five blocks of each other in that mostly unknown suburb in Melbourne’s north, so after lunch there would be a lot of quick visits to half a dozen other houses in the area.

My memories of those lunches are of the smell of roasts taken from the wood fired oven mingling with that of freshly baked scones which I enjoyed with lashings of butter and vegemite. I know for those of you who like your scones with jam and cream that makes me a bit of a philistine, but that’s the way I like it.

From lunch with the Joyce’s we’d go to tea with the Smith’s and there was a fair contrast from the gentility of Nana Joyce to the loudness of Nana Smith and the teeming masses of Brunswick. The house was full of cousins and aunts and uncles

But those days changed when my cousins got older and got married then spending time with their in laws families. Mum decided that it was time that Christmases were held at our place and my grandparents then used to travel to our place each year until they passed away. The aunts and uncles then also chose to stay away so those large family Christmases with the extended family passed with my childhood into memory.

Things changed again when my sisters and I got married and had our own children. We still come together on Christmas night at one of my sisters houses and all of the kids still come but in the next few years will no doubt have their own family obligations that will intervene.

Yesterday I waited for my daughter’s phone call telling me it was now time for me to go around to their house and exchange presents – this year was also the first year they had moved out of the family home. So it was 8 am when I got the call went around, had a cup of tea, sat for a while and then came home to my own house. This year rather than eating alone, the lady I live with and I had a roast lamb dinner, then took the dog for a walk in a local park, before going our separate ways to family dinners. One day when the pain of separation eases we may be able to spend time with each others family on Christmas Day but till then I guess what we had will do. This year was not as bad as last year and I’m sure will get better as we all move forward.

And thus another episode of life moves from anticipation, or apprehension into memory never to be experienced again.

Merry Christmas

To all of my blogging buddies. Thank you all very much for your support and comments through what has been a very eventful year for me. I appreciate the time taken to read and comment and the advice given. May you all have a great Christmas with those who care for you and who you care about.

Merry Christmas

To all of my blogging buddies. Thank you all very much for your support and comments through what has been a very eventful year for me. I appreciate the time taken to read and comment and the advice given. May you all have a great Christmas with those who care for you and who you care about.

Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain is one of those iconic images of Australia along with Uluru, the Harbour Bridge and the 12 Apostles. It truly is breathtakingly beautiful and within reach of virtually anyone. There is accommodation to suit all budgets but a word for the wary – there are places with names like cradle view or similar that may be as far as 40 or 50 kilometers away from the Park boundary. We stayed at Cosy Cabins literally a five minute slow drive from the park gates. The cabins were comfortable and warm when they needed to be and the general store in the camping ground catered for most things. It was considerably cheaper to stay their than somewhere like cradle mountain lodge – not that I am criticising that place because it’s fantastic.

I recommend purchasing a Tasmanian National Parks car-pass which is good for two months, costs around $50 and gets you into all of the parks in the state as many times as you want to go. If you have one of those tickets you can catch a free bus all the way into Dove Lake car park although, when we were there it wasn’t quite the peak season so it was just as easy for us to drive ourselves in each day. Buses leave every 20 minutes from the Cradle information centre and stop at several places along the road in to pick up and drop of passengers.

Here is the first lot of photos from the trip, subsequent posts will show the trip from Cradle Mountain to the Tasman Peninsula. Click on a photo to be taken to the Picassa web album where you can view the images in larger size.
http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

Cradle Mountain – Tasmania

Cradle Mountain is one of those iconic images of Australia along with Uluru, the Harbour Bridge and the 12 Apostles. It truly is breathtakingly beautiful and within reach of virtually anyone. There is accommodation to suit all budgets but a word for the wary – there are places with names like cradle view or similar that may be as far as 40 or 50 kilometers away from the Park boundary. We stayed at Cosy Cabins literally a five minute slow drive from the park gates. The cabins were comfortable and warm when they needed to be and the general store in the camping ground catered for most things. It was considerably cheaper to stay their than somewhere like cradle mountain lodge – not that I am criticising that place because it’s fantastic.

I recommend purchasing a Tasmanian National Parks car-pass which is good for two months, costs around $50 and gets you into all of the parks in the state as many times as you want to go. If you have one of those tickets you can catch a free bus all the way into Dove Lake car park although, when we were there it wasn’t quite the peak season so it was just as easy for us to drive ourselves in each day. Buses leave every 20 minutes from the Cradle information centre and stop at several places along the road in to pick up and drop of passengers.

On a trip in November 2007 here are some images of Cradle Mountain.

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

Cradle Mountain – Tasmania

Cradle Mountain is one of those iconic images of Australia along with Uluru, the Harbour Bridge and the 12 Apostles. It truly is breathtakingly beautiful and within reach of virtually anyone. There is accommodation to suit all budgets but a word for the wary – there are places with names like cradle view or similar that may be as far as 40 or 50 kilometers away from the Park boundary. We stayed at Cosy Cabins literally a five minute slow drive from the park gates. The cabins were comfortable and warm when they needed to be and the general store in the camping ground catered for most things. It was considerably cheaper to stay their than somewhere like cradle mountain lodge – not that I am criticising that place because it’s fantastic.

I recommend purchasing a Tasmanian National Parks car-pass which is good for two months, costs around $50 and gets you into all of the parks in the state as many times as you want to go. If you have one of those tickets you can catch a free bus all the way into Dove Lake car park although, when we were there it wasn’t quite the peak season so it was just as easy for us to drive ourselves in each day. Buses leave every 20 minutes from the Cradle information centre and stop at several places along the road in to pick up and drop of passengers.

On a trip in November 2007 here are some images of Cradle Mountain.

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