Michael has a large extended family and when we left Sydney to live in Queensland all those years ago (just short of 20 years ago), we tried to make sure that we kept in regular contact. As the kids all started school I took a part time job so that I could be there for them most of the time and as it was with the Department of Education I was able to arrange my hours so that I was able to have time off in almost all the school holidays. And in those holidays we would drive back to Sydney to catch up with the family. I remember great times when we (all the various families) would get together for a big Greek style picnic at Neilsen Park in Vaucluse. And so, now that we have arrived back on the mother soil, everyone is coming over and we are catching up all over again. LOVE IT.
Today our nephew Micah and his lovely wife Amanda came up from the Southern Highlands south of Sydney. Yes, there are a whole heap of Amandas in the family at the moment! Micah is the eldest child of Michael's brother Peter and he and his brothers and sister are all pretty close to our kids. I guess all those trips back to Sydney paid off! Antony and his Amanda called in and spent time with them when they were on holidays recently and will do so again en-route to Antony's new posting in Wagga in January.
Micah has just completed studying an Advanced Diploma in Mechanics at TAFE and has been enrolled in an Engineering Degree at Wollongong University to start next March. We are all so proud of him!
A little later Michael's cousin Phil and his wife Mandy called in. Philip is a Captain with Qantas and we had eagerly scanned the crew faces before we left Singapore wondering whether we might have been lucky enough to have him flying us, but no it wasn't to be. Together with Mandy, they have established East Ridge Olive Grove west of Sydney at Lue near Mudgee. This year was a bumper year with great tasting oil by all accounts, and Mandy has bought me a bottle today - can't wait to get home and try it. Mandy and I used to catch up every year and it was great to see them today! There was lots of story sharing as Phil and Mandy were in the UK for a wedding while we were on the continent. And there was even more reminiscing about times gone in the family.
Morning tea became lunch and salad ingredients and cold cuts on the table were soon stuffing breadrolls. Too hot for tea and coffee so we had made a large bowl filled with punch (peppermint tea, mint, apricot nectar, pineapple juice and ginger ale - very refreshing) and managed to down the lot - all 7 litres of it!
Great day!! Tomorrow after we take mum to her eye specialist we are off up to Newcastle 2 hours to the north to visit my mum - and Netta is coming with us - yahoo!
And as the night is winding towards a close, brother Peter comes in! Yep. Great all round!