As it's about a six hour drive from Sydney, we set out on the Friday afternoon, and drove up to a small town called Murrurundi (try saying that when you're sober, never mind about drunk! Suffice to say, the locals pronounce it Mur-run-die and leave it at that). We were stopping with a work colleague I had met the week before who, upon learning that we were passing through her town on the way north, very kindly offered us a room for the night. Obviously, had she know us much better, she wouldn't have made such a silly offer, but by the time she realised, it was already much too late, bwahahahahaha....
We had a lovely evening, as it happened, arriving just in time for dinner (my stomach always ensures we arrive at this time, regardless of the actual digits on the clock) and had lovely home made pizzas, along with copious helpings of wine and interesting chat. So interesting, the next time we looked at the clock, it was 1am and time for bed!
Next morning, we had a yummy home cooked brekkie and then went for a walk around the town, which was beautiful if you enjoy sunshine, crisp, fresh air and the whiff of log fires burning on the breeze, which, I REALLY DO. We stopped off for a cup of coffee and a cookie (well, you can't go on the road hungry, can you? Even if you're only driving for an hour...) said our goodbyes and then it was onwards to our final destination.
We arrived in the afternoon, and were greeted by the world's worst guard dog, who ran over barking and then lay down for loves and cuddles and in no way tried to protect his territory from the incoming masses. We spent a great afternoon in the sunshine with snacks and beers, and Jan got taught the country way - ie he was shown skinned rabbits (with their little fur paws and heads still on), taught how to crack a whip and other mysterious practices. I wasn't present for that, but got told he had only lost one ear and a bit of his nose during the whip cracking, so I think it went successfully.
When the sun went down and it started getting chilly, we went inside to the log fire and an amazing three course Christmas dinner. We had yummy pumpkin soup, then lamb and chicken and vegies, followed by Christmas pudding. Some of us (JAN!) had two helpings of EVERYTHING and got called a suck-up for asking for extra cake to take home with us. It was a great evening and there were lots of laughs, and Jan even learnt some brand new words - like what "getting dacked" means (although thankfully it wasn't practical lesson). He even went full-on Aussie when his little feet got too cold and borrowed Kym's sisters Uggs:
This is against everything he stands for, as he thinks Uggs are Ugg-ly, so naturally I took pictures and uploaded them to the internet immediately.
On Sunday morning, we woke up to another sunny day and spent all morning with the kids playing on their trampoline in the yard. Jan taught them some tricks and basically they were all in love with him by the end and arguing over who got to hold his hand:
It's a tough life, being popular. Although I didn't do too badly myself - I am now the "new best friend" of the little 2-year-old, after a rather extensive bonding session of playing with her toy dolly and puppy and helping her feed them and put them to bed.
It was a fantastic weekend, full of getting to know some really great people and sharing lots of laughs. And also getting to see a bit of life outside Sydney, which I have to say, is looking rather attractive!