Family fun in NSW – part 1

Friday morning (14 January) we were up really early and, by 7am, the boat was secured, the car was packed and we were off to New South Wales. Woo hoo!

We had a really good drive along mostly empty roads and the occasional tall bridge plus the iconic sign to the Big Banana water park. We made a couple of comfort stops along the way and, this time, rather than the usual huge spiders we came across a large monitor lizard. At least it wasn’t sharing the toilet cubicle LOL.

We arrived at Jamie’s house at around 5pm, right on schedule! We enjoyed our reunion and had a lovely Thai takeaway to celebrate. Pretty tired after so many hours of driving we turned in at a reasonable time and it was a real treat to sleep in a huge bed that didn’t move LOL.

Saturday morning we headed out to the Gosport waterfront as Jack and Adam were going to the aqua park for a birthday party. As Adam was a bit younger than the rest of the group Jamie joined in too…. Have to say it looked like hard work – we didn’t mind just sitting down, watching, and keeping cool in the heat with a slush puppie!

We then returned home for a short while before Jack went off for the afternoon for a big boys’ birthday sleepover. Adam was clearly feeling a little left out (as no younger brothers were invited to the sleepover) so we gave him carte blanche in terms of what he wanted for eat – shepherds pie was the request – so we popped out to get ingredients. We then returned and played Uno all afternoon and had a lot of fun before preparing and enjoying our dinner together.

During the day we heard the terrible news of the volcanic eruption in the Kingdom of Tonga and the resultant tsunami. Having travelled through this area in 2017 we were aware of how devastating this natural disaster could be on the low lying islands. All we could do was pray for positive news, those poor poor people. Despite the tsunami warning for the east coast of Australia we weren’t particularly concerned over the impact on Morphie left alone up the river in Queensland as she was quite a long way inland. Sadly not to be the case for some boat owners on New Zealand’s north island.

During the evening we had a massive thunderstorm and hailstones…. Jamie had been warned (via text) from his insurance company to get the car under cover so had already put his car in the garage – but no room for us so we just had to keep our fingers crossed that our hire car didn’t get damaged in the biblical deluge. The young guy across the road came out during the storm to put blankets over his car, so he clearly took the warnings seriously. After it was all over Richard went out to check the car and, thankfully, it was unscathed.

Sunday morning we headed out to Davistown for a walk along the waterfront and had a coffee out before returning to relax at home. With the huge surge in Omicron infections here in New South Wales we had already decided to keep ourselves to ourselves and only enjoy outside spaces to minimise the risk of picking up an infection. And really can’t believe how tall Jack has got in the last 12 months – didn’t expect him to be taller than me at just 13 years old! And, of course, it wouldn’t be a good day out without some lovely pelicans posing…

We then received a photo of Morphie on the dock at the Boatworks from Lester and Helen who were out and about in the river and took a photo for us. Thanks guys, much appreciated!

Later on we headed out to Crackneck Point and the spectacular view was marred a little bit by sea mist with the huge powerful surf crashing onto the rocks and the shoreline. After admiring the view for a while we headed back home again, this time armed with a fish and chip supper, just in time to watch the embarrassment of the English cricket team falling apart in the Ashes on the TV. Sigh….

Monday morning we had a lazy start. Jamie was running a tennis coaching session so we headed out to Avoca beach without him. When we got there the beach was completely closed due to the ongoing effects of the tsunami and the very strong powerful surf that was coming ashore as a result (not helped by other weather systems converging on the region). So we headed around the coast to Terrigal where there is a bit of a lagoon provided by a rocky enclosure so we enjoyed a wave jumping session in the sea together. Was a lot of fun which was rounded off by an ice cream – which was a real taste of home!

On our return to the house we had a BBQ evening meal followed by a family movie night – this time it was Venom. Not sure this was a film we would have chosen ourselves LOL but it wasn’t too bad…. The boys loved it of course!

Tuesday morning we headed back to Avoca and dropped Budd off at the local groomers. We then went to the beach and the surf continued to pound the coast, but the beach was now open with resident lifeguards. So we stopped for a coffee break and enjoyed watching the surfers having fun! We had some great coffees and cakes before making camp on the beach with Jamie, me and Jack sitting it out whilst Richard, Hayley and Adam played in the surf.

The intrepid trio were swept off their feet numerous times and it was fun to watch them being pushed up the beach by the surf. I was very envious but realised that I wouldn’t be able to stand up against the strong pull of the currents so made the decision not to join them sadly. It was all very dramatic and beautiful to watch.

Later in the afternoon Jamie and Hayley headed out to pick up Budd – OMG – he didn’t look like the same dog! Poor Budd had been shaved pretty close and he was clearly distressed, refused to eat and was absolutely exhausted after the experience. He needed constant reassurance and cuddles so here we are with a before and after picture!

Back at home we had dinner and then a family Uno night with Jack being the ultimate winner. And was he happy or what?!? This is one competitive teenager LOL.

Wednesday morning Richard and I headed out in the rain to do a bit of shopping – he wanted a couple of things at Bunnings (of course!) and to top up with petrol. Jobs done we returned home to rest up for the rest of the day as the rain was pretty heavy. We then had another movie night – the Disney film Jungle Cruise this time – before another Uno night with Adam the victor this time. Was a lot of fun, especially seeing Jack’s really bad reaction to losing! He only came 5th with me coming dead last – I blame my neighbours who constantly made me pick up cards. Mentioning no names Hayley and Richard LOL. Was another fun day.

During the early hours Jamie and Hayley were awoken by Velvet the cat who had brought them a present – a live bandicoot! This was chased into the ensuite and eventually caught before being put outside. Bit of a drama or what?!?

Thursday morning and it was raining again. Richard and I stayed home with Budd whilst the rest of the family headed out to the mall for some ‘return to school’ shoes and trainers. They came back and the weather had improved, so we all headed out to Saratoga Oval where the family made a video to send home….and no clues other than a still shot….

Then, of course, the heavens opened so we rushed back to the cars and headed over to Terrigal. We enjoyed a walk along the boardwalk admiring the spectacular sandstone cliffs and wondered why the seagulls had died in their nests…..

We then headed back home armed with the ‘best doughnuts in the world’, or at least that’s what Jack says LOL.

Sadly Budd was still feeling off colour so Jamie and Richard took him off to the vets only to find out that he had had a serious allergic reaction to the shampoo the groomers used; they got water into his ears causing an ear infection; and they have nicked his skin in a couple of places…. So not impressed! So obviously we all made a big fuss of him when he came home.

This morning, Friday, and I am pleased to report that Budd is much better and, although clearly still a bit poorly, he has improved considerably. Phew…..that’s a relief. We are not sure what we are doing today, although the sun might have just peeked through, but we have a reservation for the Indian in Terrigal tonight so looking foward to that.

So that’s it for this blog…. Hope you are all well and taking care of each other. So just to sign off, thought it was time for another Australian cutie, and this quokka definitely made me smile.

Lots of love and bye for now, Jan