We began in the usual way of leaving Canberra - heading north in order to eventually go south. There is no easy drive out of Canberra to the south, so you go up to Yass and turn around, adding almost two hours to the trip (depending on how carefully you observe the speed limits).
We hoped our first coffee stop might be in Holbrook, the "submarine town". Yes, there is a submarine in town. There is some wonderful historical story behind this that I don't know; as far as I'm concerned it's just plain weird in a town that's 400km inland. However, it does make for an interesting drive through the town. Which is what we did, because no coffee shops were open that late on Christmas Eve.
Instead, we kept going. I actually can't recall where we stopped, if anywhere. We contemplated stopping in at the Ettamogah Pub, but decided against it and kept going. Eventually we ended up in Euroa, where my parents reside. There we spent the night, and the first half of the next day, pleasantly relaxing and inhaling cat hair. As much as I love Tiffy, I am somewhat allergic to her! My dad has taken to calling me (affectionately) "Fatty", in reference to my increasingly visible pregnancy - although the first time he said that, I thought he was referring to the cat.
We left after lunch on Christmas day and, skirting the city, headed on down to Rye where Aidan's parents live. It was getting a little chilly (the myth of the sweltering hot Australian Christmas has not really held true for several years now), but we still managed to barbeque our sausages out on the verandah before coming inside to eat. We also found time to drive to a nearby town where liveth a friend of Aidan's from school, who has a one-year-old daughter we'd never met. We finally met little Danielle! She's a cutey, although rather shy.
On Boxing Day was the traditional lunch at Craig and Kim's - Craig is Aidan's cousin, and from there the relationship of each family member to me gets more and more convuluted. I just call the lot of them my cousins, and leave it at that. Santa came for the kiddies (Aidan's dad, dressed up), and for some of the bigger kiddies too.
Now, a little explanation may be required for the next day to make sense. In Australia we have this wonderful sport called cricket. Cricket is a game which, in it's longest form, can be played over five days. Yes, five days for one game. It's called a "test match". Every year, on Boxing Day, the Boxing Day Test begins at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). Whilst I'm not a huge cricket fan, I do like to keep an eye on scores and suchlike for the Boxing Day Test each year. But I've never been before! So this year, Craig and Aidan and our good friend Andrew went along to Day Two of the Test. Kim packed us lunch (although I think she thought she was packing for nineteen people instead of four), and the four of us enjoyed an excellent day of cricket. We arrived just in time to see the last Australian wicket fall, and by the time we left the South Africans had lost seven wickets and made less than 200 runs. It was looking good for us! I don't know what happened the next day, but somehow we lost. Oh well.
The next three nights were spent in the city proper. We had a hotel room on Flinders Street, and we wandered and explored and reminisced and wished to move back home. We caught up with friends, we bought some maternity wear and baby clothes, and decided we'd be home within twelve months if possible.
On the way home on Tuesday, I couldn't help but think of our dear Canadian friends, and what they would make of some of the names of towns we passed during the drive. Us Aussies think nothing of Baddaginnie, Barnawartha, Tarcutta, and Jugiong. If you don't believe me, Google them! But the thought of Donn and Chris getting drunk and trying to pronounce them made the long trip go much quicker! Not to mention trying to recall each town's odd little fact or historical significance - they've all got a story, and if I knew them all well I'd love to tell them. I'm sure your Google searches will yield some results. I wish I'd had Google in the car, because nine hours is a long time and we were tired when we got here!
And finally, although the tale of the journey has concluded, there is other wonderful news. I had my second ultrasound today, the first time I've been able to see Bean actually looking person-shaped! Aidan was able to drive me there and come in and see everything, and we got quite emotional watching our little baby squirm around. It's a stubborn little thing, it wouldn't move for the ultrasound technician - it kept it's legs curled up so she couldn't measure them, and wouldn't roll over when she wanted it to. In that respect, it takes after both it's parents!! It's so good to know it's really in there and alive and well - although I've started to "show" a little of late, it's still hard to comprehend and believe that I'm actually growing a baby! I'm into the second trimester now, and all is still going well.
I will leave you with that, as I'm sure that's more reading than any person really wants to do on or around New Year. Go and get drunk, everybody! And have a great new year, my love to you all!