The Hills are Alive ...with kangaroos!

Both mother and baby are doing well!

Katelyn is growing apace and has already outgrown her new-born-baby outfits. She is such a good baby, she mostly eats and sleeps, although Suzi is now beginning to introduce playtime. So sweet! She also loves it when Suzi takes her out in the pram for a walk. Long may it continue!!

Katelyn on her play mat, quite relaxed!

We have been able to take some glorious walks up the hill behind Suzi and Neil's house. It's magic! Not a sound to be heard but a chorus of bird song and the occasional thump, thump, thump of the kangaroos as they flee our presence. I have tried so hard to capture the kangaroos on camera, but they are too fast. What I need is a hide where I could sit and watch and wait until they appear.

If you look VERY carefully, you will see two kangaroo to the right of the picture against the skyline.

The bird life is very exotic too. Unfortunately, although I have a new digital SLR camera, I still have to buy my mega zoom lens, so I haven't managed any useful images of birds - all in good time! There are also foxes, deer, possums and a strange creature called an echidna (looks rather like a porcupine). Here is an image of one trying to bury itself in the grass.

Ozzy Dave in his drover's hat


Life in the Hunter Valley, Australia

Neil and Suzi's house at Ellerston in the Hunter Valley

Daddy Neil has the magic touch with Katelyn.

Mummy Suzi is already out and about walking the baby up and down the drive to their house.

We arrived in Scone a week ago to be met by Suzi, Neil and baby Katelyn. I can't believe how quickly the days are sailing by! The countryside here, in the Hunter Valley, is beautiful and very peaceful. The nearest house to Neil and Suzi's is one kilometre away and their driveway is so long we don't even hear the occasional passing car! We have hardly moved from the house. We have been to town once to shop and take Katelyn for her hearing test (passed with flying colours - naturally); and to Ellerston twice, once to the little shop there and once to the club to have dinner, but as it is only 15 minutes down the road to the main buildings, it is hardly a mission!

Dinner at the Ellerston Club

Suzi has recovered well from the traumas of labour and Katelyn is quite delightful. We keep busy with household chores like herding the chickens into the veggie garden (see photo of David the Chicken Herder!) and Suzi and I have been baking. On Tuesday we will go to town again to take Katelyn for her first visit to the clinic to be weighed and measured.

David the Chicken Herder

The view down the drive from the house

This is the view from our bedroom window


Istanbul to Sydney via Singapore and Adelaide

Our flight to Australia was VERY LONG! It took ten-and-a-half hours from Istanbul to Singapore, then a seven hour stop over in Singapore before catching our Quantas flight to Sydney - stopping briefly in Adelaide. The time in Singapore passed surprisingly quickly as a new Doctor Fish Spa had just opened. Always ready to try anything new, I opted for a twenty minute Doctor Fish Foot Spa, followed by thirty minutes of reflexology massage.

Apparently, this slightly bizarre treatment began in Turkey, where people are totally immersed with these fish. In Changi, you only have to dangle your feet in among them. The fish are Garra Rufa fish and they love to nibble away at dead skin, leaving the feet smooth and very clean. The mouths of the fish are like little suckers and it feels rather ticklish when they nibble away. It actually felt quite soothing for my poor swollen feet after the long flight. The secret of these fish is an enzyme in their saliva, which is good for the skin.

After my session with the doctor fish, I had the reflexology massage, which was great. I was able to lie back in the chair and have my poor, aching feet and lower limbs restored to normality before our next flight.

We enjoyed our flight on Quantas; the cabin crew were great and kept us entertained. We were delayed on the Tarmac before leaving Adelaide as a rather drunk and abusive woman was escorted off the plane by four state policemen; and then her luggage had to be taken off. The cabin crew had refused to fly with her in that state as they couldn't be sure what she would do once we were in the air.

The Boat Show in Darling Harbour

Once in our hotel in Sydney, we took to our bed and slept all afternoon. That evening, we walked around Darling Harbour for some exercise. The boat show was on and there were some stunning boats in the harbour. We then ate in the hotel restaurant and crashed once more so that we would be in a fit state for our four-hour train journey to Scone the next day.

Elizabeth Coughlan

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I couldn't resist this one!