We remain very happy in our choice of Retirement Village, but there have continued to be changes during the last year. In the 2009 letter we reported new ownership of the Village but since then two other companies have taken over. We are currently owned by Stockland, our sixth owner. We hope that this is the last change of ownership. We have many events in the Village. Recently, our son-in-law, Mark, and three of our grand children, Josh, Cameron and Troy, joined an ensemble of players to accompany our Christmas Carol Singing service. The video below contains some brief segments of the event.
There were two landmark birthdays this year. Stephen turned 60 in September and Michelle 40 in early December. We celebrated Stephen’s birthday with a cruise on the Tramboat (pictured below).
Margaret had originally organised the cruise for the last Saturday in September. Most Australians will understand that as a sacrosanct date – the AFL grand final. We changed the date to the first Saturday in October. Unfortunately the grand final finished in a draw which is rare – the last one was more than 30 years ago. The replay, unlike the first game, was a dog, so it was not a particular problem that we were partying during the first half of the game.
Stephen cut the cake wearing the Tramboat hat:
He is quite happy to now be a certified old coot as his Seniors Card is quite handy, particularly providing cheap access to public transport.
Given that many kids would be attending Michelle’s celebration, she chose a great venue with lots of activities. Some shot down bombers over wartime London, others fired balls at each other from small cannons and yet others set PBs in the 10 pin bowling centre. A great time was had by all at both celebrations.
The letter this year features some of our younger grandchildren.
Naturally we attended functions that involved our grand childern. The video below shows Mandy performing gymnastically at a school concert ...
The next video shows Jonathan playing an unusual instrument at a school assembly:
Stephen is known as grandpa cricket by many of the grandkids. It is good to see that Spencer has got the bug. Here he is wearing his milo cricket gear:
Next year we plan to visit England for Hayley's 13th birthday, so next year's letter will feature Hayley and Jeremy.
A major aim in our retirement was to travel, and we decided that 2010 would be an Australia year, with travel only in our homeland. In February we went to Sydney with other people from The Village to see the Tattoo.
Maybe, one of these years, we will see the Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle, but the Sydney one was very entertaining.
Here is a slide show of our Tattoo trip.
In April we stayed at timeshare resorts on the Northern and Central NSW coast, where we saw some magnificent scenery including:
... turbulent waterfalls ...
... tranquil rivers ...
... and wandering wildlife ...
Our major trip was in September, to Probus Rendezvous in Darwin. Neither of us had been to Darwin before, and we really enjoyed it. Of particular interest were the trips to Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks.
At Kakadu we cruised the Alligator river ...
... and saw eight crocodiles, including those in the video below ...
The entertainment included the sing-along below ...
... we also cruised Darwin Harbour ...
... and spent lots time eating and socialising ...
For a full report on Rendezvous see this post.
All of our children are doing well, in their lives and careers. In spite of the parlous state of the British economy, Philip has found an excellent job with Airbus. Sometimes he works in Madrid, and we hope to visit some of his Spanish friends next year. Beth continues to work with the Victorian Police Force in the payroll section, Recently she travelled to Perth to inform the WA police force of the work being done in Victoria. Christopher and Catherine have been promoted to a position where they are responsible for running programs for the Salvation Army youth in northern Melbourne.
That the years roll by quickly is attested to by the fact that next February four of our grand children will be in Secondary School, with Troy entering year seven, and thereby joining Joshua, Hayley and Cameron, in the second stage of education.
The Older Generation
There is, though, some very sad news. Recently Stephen’s mother, Edna, had a stroke. She is currently in the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Although we would love to report that her prognosis is good, her doctors can give no clear indication of her chances of recovery. As well, her brother, Bill, is a patient at the Western General Hospital suffering from bowel cancer. Finally Margaret’s mother is also un-well with a very bad tooth infection.
Weddings and New Additions
On a more cheerful note, there were a number of happy events in the family involving Stephen's three nieces - two weddings and two births:
Krystal married David:
Narelle married Emile :
Fiona and Warren welcomed Gemma:
and very recently Krystal
gave birth to Chloe
Congratulatins Krystal and David and welcome Chloe.
Lots of love,
Margaret and Stephen