I'm sure there will be outpourings of grief, bringing forth cries of anguish and lamentation for the loss of long tradition, but this won't dissuade us from dispensing with the A4 sheet of paper for our christmas newsletter this year—the chrissie card is empty. The office is paperless.
I've watched over the years as my annual contribution to the news-go-round has maintained its iconic (or ironic?) look of unadorned sentences, but I admit to secretly admiring the colour, decoration and photos that are creeping in to other desktop publishing efforts, and in the face of Facebook and tweet of Twitter, we've gone electronic and the newsletter can only be read here, where I can add adornments without spending the Porsche money on printers' ink.
* * * * *
We'll commence with some appropriate clip-art. I thought the obvious image for the Australian summer would be that bloke in budgie smugglers, but it's even more obvious of course—holly! —you only get a little prick out of that!
* * * * *
In a round-up of news from the extended family, we now have seven grand-kids—actually the same as last year but there seems to be a lot more of them, bigger and tougher, specially when they're all here together which is always great to see.
Ronja got an electric guitar for her birthday and has really taken off. Her version of Vance Joy's Riptide shows plenty of talent and I love to hear her sing. Mason is a bit of a goer as well with guitar but he might be more the outdoor type being into cricket and he's just completed the Great Victorian Bike Ride.
All the kids are special and growing up way too fast. Amelia plays a mean game as dee-fence in her basketball team—the sound of ball bouncing on boards drives me to distraction but it's beaut to see her playing with a big grin. Nara is into calisthenics (and the footlights). Harve has french knitting all over the house, and Theo has fun in the "bush" backyard building cubbies out of sticky tape. Sully has a girlfriend but don't say I told you.
My interaction with Harvey, Nara, Sullivan and Theo has been increasingly through games like backgammon and chess, and not to forget "Shut the Box"!
* * * * *
During the year Helmy and Perran bought a house in Glen Waverley, and have been busy turning it into their nest. They renovated and paved the front courtyard.
Daniel and Monika went back to live in their own house in Frankston after they'd rented it to William, Wendy and Jakob for some time. Dan changed jobs during the year and is much happier with the new company and challenge. Daniel and Monika jointly celebrated their 40th and 50th birthdays at a beaut party.
Jac and Pat are always busy with family activities and had a beaut holiday in Vanuatu. The news from Central Australia is that Andrew and Sarah did a season of their show "A Circus Affair" at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and followed this up with a nine-show season at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland.
Much of what Doortje and I have been up to can be seen in other posts on the blog this year so I won't be repetitious. A highlight of the year was the gathering of the extended clan in Adelaide for John's 70th birthday. We did our last camping trip in the tent at Easter to Yarra Junction, bought a new car, and went back to old haunts in East Gippsland.
In November we were told that I have a brain tumour and the end is nigh. It's turned into a very busy time. The kids and their families have rallied around and been very supportive. My siblings have come from far and wide to spend time with us, and I appreciate it immensely.
Doortje and I have played games of scrabble and backgammon, and done the crosswords. I've spent a large amount of time reading this year, possibly a hundred books, and there are still books I want to read, and of course music continues to give me great pleasure (although it now sounds as if I'm sitting inside a washing machine to listen).
As we have always done, Doortje and I are still able to enjoy those beaut little moments, that are able to melt my heart. As well, there are still times when I get cranky 'cos things should be done my way despite my best efforts to stop myself.
Life continues to be an adventure, right to the very end.
* * * * *
For those who haven't seen a chrissy card, all the best from Rob and Doortje for the summer holiday season and new year.
This photo is a "selfie" taken at Glen Helen, NT, on my 60th birthday.
* * * * *