I have finally meandered my way to my desk (after trekking across the state in the past week) to sit down and tap tap tap away at some words, click click click editing some photos – to share with you all our very full (of family, joy, food, gratitude and cousins), a very merry Christmas indeed.
This year Chrissy was spent here on the farm in Thorpdale, fairly low key and slow and easy, as much as a full traditional spread with four roast meats and all the trimmings can be! My brother and sister-in-law hosted lunch, the first time they have in their home ‘Ballina Park’, which used to be our grandparents home and where we had Christmas lunch growing up. Serendipitous and cyclical and lovely. Since Mum sold her house and moved to Melbourne we haven’t had a Christmas in Thorpy (last year we had it at my sister’s in Melbourne) so this was actually our first ever Christmas Eve going to bed at Brindabella and waking up to chewed carrots and Santa’s empty beer and full Santa sacks…
It was quite lovely to have Christmas morning with just the girls, and my mum who was staying with us. Usually there’s cousins at ten paces and chaos, which is definitely part of Christmas morning fun, but I did like getting to enjoy my cup of coffee whilst my sleepy heads still snoozed before realising they’d better wake up and see what Santa brought them! Of course Harriet doesn’t really have a clue what’s going on this year, although I was pretty surprised at how enthused she was and how quickly she cottoned on to the idea! Eleanor hasn’t quite reached the pinnacle of Santa excitement, I think perhaps next year she’ll really hit her stride as she will remember this Christmas (when I asked her if she could remember Christmas last year when Santa came to Aunty Creina and Uncle Russell’s she gave me a blank stare followed by a slow nod and fake smile…I’m taking that as a no!)
Just as lovely as the quiet-ish morning at home, preparing and glazing the ham whilst admiring new toys and books, was packing up the gifts and lunch supplies into Matt’s ute and trundling across the hills through the spuds to my brother’s house for Christmas lunch. My sister-in-law Mandy did a fantastic job as the hostess-with-the-mostest…what other kind of Christmas would we have? YELLOW AND BLACK. Of course.
And the food! The food. We are not a cold meat and salads find of family for Christmas lunch, nor do we do seafood (although we usually eat our weight in prawns and oysters and scallops on Christmas Eve and/or night, because: #balanceddiet) Lunch is a hot roast affair, with each sibling now taking care of each meat. I have done the ham a few years in a row, and this year did a Donna Hay recipe ‘cheat’s glaze’ which used almost a litre of port – wooooweee! My sister Louise got the world’s most enormous bone-in pork at the Vic Market and my sister Creina was on turkey duty (as well as the stupid chicken my brother-in-law insists upon). As much as we proclaim that the baton has been passed onto the next generation when it comes to food preparation for Christmas lunch, Mum/Grandi still advises and watches on (read: cringes and intervenes when we’re ‘doing it wrong!’) from the sidelines. We always marvel that Mum used to do it all by herself with us four kids underfoot. Proof again that she’s a true Super Grandi, not that we needed the proof, she is the original Christmas fairy (true story: she toted her Christmas brandy custard and pudding and gifts in a golden bag that said ‘Merry Glitzmas!’ Classic Grandi.)
Doesn’t everyone serve their Christmas gravy in a replica premiership cup? No? Huh… There may also have been a belting out of Oh We’re From Tigerland, as well as a ‘Duuuuusty, Duuuuusty…’ chant go up when Violet was given her much longed for No.4 guernsey.
Gifts were exchanged between cousins and adults, we do a KK for both – Eleanor was given some much sought after Shopkins (hold me!) and a very practical Wahu vest for Grandad’s pool and Summer adventures. I was gifted a chook! Not just any chook, one which will grow a delicious rusty patina overtime sitting in my garden. It’s already in pride of place by the back path and makes me smile every time I walk by. Husband dearest came through with the goods also and gifted me the beautiful Paul Bangay book ‘Country Gardens’. He’s a good egg. Husband and Paul Bangay. Mad twitcher sister got some bird magazine subscription, I gave Mum tickets to the tennis and she got all of the grandgirls tickets to The Wizard of Oz – yay! Experience gifts over material gifts for the win.
Christmas Day isn’t Christmas Day without a buzz from Bill and some chips for the kids falling from the sky, although I think the big kids love it almost just as much as the littles! Merry Christmas to the Robbo’s crew over the hill…grateful as always to live in this little patch where friends are family and family are friends.
And so that was Christmas at Ballina Park 2017 – full to bursting with crazy cousins and champagne clinking and lashes of ham and blessings of the year past and the one yet to come. With or without the turkey, the pudding and brandy cream, a bottle or three of Moet and presents under the tree, more importantly is that we spend the day together – especially our seven girls, running amok on that front lawn with that view just as I did as a little girl. Good times, job well done hostess Mandy.
Hoping your Chrissy Day was equally as merry and bright as ours was, as well as being relaxed and fun with family and food.
What did you get up to?
Crazy cousins galore?
Any chips falling from the sky?
Or gravy in a premiership cup?
Rusty chook floating your boat?