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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Letter 2014


INTRODUCTION

It has been a busy year of travel, Village activities and changes in our family.

TRAVEL

We spent three months of the year away from home, most of that in North America

North America Tour

For a more detailed report of the North America Tour click on this link.

Here are a few of the highlights:

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Grand Canyon

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Monument Valley

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The Venetian, Las Vegas

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Yosemite

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John Lennon memorial, New York

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The falls at Niagara

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Amish farming

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Lincoln Memorial, Washington

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Butchart Gardens

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Bear, Blue River

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Athabasca Glacier

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Morraine Lake

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Rocky Mountaineer (in a tunnel)

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Margerie Glacier in Glacier bay, calving.

Bike ride to Skagway

Australia Touring

We also toured in Australia, mainly with out friends, Jenni and Les.

Lakes Entrance

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North Arm Stitch

Port Macquarie

PortMacQ_Aug_2014_080 PortMacQ_Aug_2014_031

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Buchan

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THE VILLAGE

There are always many activities occurring in the Village, particularly at this time of the year.

The Christmas Party

Carols in the Village

Mark organised and led the band again this year, which was greatly appreciated by the Villagers.

THE Solstice Party / BBQ

FAMILY DEVELOPMENTS

School

Our grandchildren continue to progress through school. Next year we will not have any primary school grand kids with one in each of the following levels: Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11. They are doing well, for instance Amanda received an Outstanding Effort award!

Two of the grand kids completed their secondary education this year. Hayley has now started at Year 12 / 13 College (the English system is a bit different to the one in Australia). Cameron has completed his VCE and is now working on the best process for entering the police force, which he can't do until he is 21.

Work

Two major work changes this year.

Catherine is taking up a new appointment, developing a Salvation Army presence in West Heidelberg. This has meant shifting house, and Cath and Spencer are very happy with their new accommodation.

David left his contractor's position at Telstra to take up a permanent job with Australia Post. He is doing the same style of work - project managing - developing the Post Office's bill payment system.

CHRISTMAS DAY

We first visited dad in his nursing home. He will be 87 in January is becoming increasingly frail, but regularly assures us that he is well cared for at Colton Close. In the afternoon Phillip took him to his house for afternoon tea. IMG_0449
Catherine organised Christmas lunch this year, at her new house. The weather was near perfect and we ate on her back veradah. As you can see it was attended by Beth and her family, Cath and Spence, Christopher, Christina and Jeff, Margaret and me. IMG_0457
We had Christmas tea at hour house, for Michelle's family, Ian and Rita, Margaret and me; all organised by Margaret. IMG_0463

Merry Christmas from Margaret,

        Happy Saturnalia from Stephen,

                And a happy and prosperous New Year from both of us.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

North America Tour

Introduction

There were four sections to our North America tour. This post provides a brief overview. For more detailed descriptions click on the links below:
1. Western USA,
2. Eastern USA and Eastern Canada,
3. Canadian Rockies, and,
4. Alaska Cruise.

Western USA

The tour began in Los Angeles, as can be seen on the map below. The order in which we visited the various locations is marked alphabetically. Click on the place holders to find the name of the location (and generally a photograph or two). The map is interactive and can be zoomed using the plus and minus icons at the bottom right, as well as moved around using the hand.



Here are some photographic highlights of the western tour. (Click on a picture for a larger version to be opened in a new tab or window.)

DSC_0093 Grand Canyon
DSC_0154 Grand Canyon
DSC_0227 Monument Valley DSC_0321 Bryce Canyon
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Antelope Slot Canyon
DSC_0389 Zion National Park
DSC_0463 Fremont St, Las Vegas DSC_0496 Death Valley
DSC_0513 Yosemite National Park DSC_0675 San Francisco


Eastern US and Canada

This tour, which followed our Western trip, began and ended in New York.



DSC_0072 New York DSC_0092 Old State House Building, Boston
DSC_0177 Ch√Ęteau Frontenac, Quebec City DSC_0224 Canadian Parliament Building, viewed across the St Lawrence River, Ottawa
DSC_0275 Boldt Castle, Thousand Islands DSC_0338 Dinner at CN Tower, Toronto
DSC_0409 Horseshoe Falls, Niagara DSC_0489 Amish farming, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
DSC_0627 Lunar Lander, Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC DSC_0616 Capitol Building, Washington DC


Canadian Rockies

This tour, following the Eastern tour, began at the capital of British Columbia, Victoria, on Vancouver Island. It ended in Vancouver.


DSC_0022 The harbour, Victoria, Vancouver Island DSC_0074 Butchart Gardens
DSC_0270 The Gondola, Whistler DSC_0110 Blue River Safari
DSC_0122 Jasper DSC_0174 Athabasca Falls
DSC_0256 Bow Lake unfreezing DSC_0225 Athabasca Glacier
DSC_0001 Lake Louise DSC_0177
Banff hot springs
DSC_0245 Rocky Mountaineer DSC_0332 Rocky Mountaineer
DSC_0421 Vancouver Harbour


Alaska Cruise

The cruise, following the Rockies tour, began and ended in Vancouver.



DSC_0456 Juneau Photo 29-06-2014 7 41 06 Near Skagway
DSC_0518 Margerie Glacier, Glacier Bay DSC_0609 Crows Nest Bar, Volendam
DSC_0567 The main pool, Volendam DSC_0547 The sun sets over the rear deck, Volendam
DSC_0529 Stitch Ketchican

Finally a reminder.

To view more detailed description of the four legs of the tour click on the following links:
1. Western USA,
2. Eastern USA and Eastern Canada,
3. Canadian Rockies, and,
4. Alaska Cruise.