Birthday Party in Moonan Flat

We travelled over the mountain to Moonan Flats for our friend Mandy's special birthday. The road over the pass was in bad condition, so we had to bump slowly along, trying to avoid the potholes. Eventually we arrived at the Victoria Hotel, where a surprise party had been arranged.

Mandy, centre, was surprised as people gradually arrived at, 
what she thought was, a quiet family lunch

Mandy's mother, sisters and brother-in-law

People gathered on the back terrace of the Victoria Hotel

Guests entering into the festive spirit

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed catching up with old friends.

I love the old-world feel of the pub

It definitely has that country feel!

We were shocked to see how very dry the Upper Hunter Valley was. Not a blade of green grass to be seen. We drove past dry and dusty pastures, and creeks reduced to a trickle, or even just piles of dry rocks. In places, the once "Mighty Hunter River" had become a series of muddy puddles. The farmers here were desperate for rain.

Fortunately, since our visit, the rains have arrived and the pastures are becoming green again. Maybe, when the land fully recovers, the farmers will be able to survive the dreadful effects of the drought, and recover their livelihoods.


We Visit Forster, NSW, Australia

Forster Main Beach

Suzi has the builders in. They are adding an extra room to the house, so we all decided to escape the dust and noise. Katelyn was very excited that we were off to the seaside. We went to Forster Main Beach for a day of sand, sea and fun.

After a typical seaside fish and chips lunch, we headed for the beach. Unfortunately, the water was rather too cold for swimming, but the sandy beach was perfect for playing in!

There's even a submerged wreck in the bay.

Forster's salt water swimming pool

We decided to try the salt water pool, but that was also too cold for Katelyn to swim in.

...instead, she played in the sand with Suzi and Neil.

Here is Katelyn the mermaid.

Over Christmas, this beach is crowded, but now is a great time to go.

The coastal town of Forster, was named after William Forster, a one-time Premier of New South Wales. It is renown as an adventure playground, with whale and dolphin watching cruises, fishing, sailboarding and scuba diving, making this a popular holiday destination.


Enjoying the Australian Countryside

A view from Suzi's house

I am presently in Australia visiting my daughter, Suzi, and her family, who have moved into a new area near Stroud, a small country town one hour north of Newcastle.

The landscape is looking rather dry

They are on a cattle station, surrounded by gorgeous views of gently undulating hills, and forests of indiginous trees. Unfortunately, they desperately need rain, so the landscape is rather dry. Fortunately, we are expecting rain in the next few days, so the vegetation should green up again soon.

Another beautiful view

I have been trying to take photos of Katelyn and her new brother, Brandyn. But, although Katelyn is a great model, her brother, at three weeks, is not always so cooperative!

Katelyn and her dog, Tinker

However, I eventually managed to catch Brandyn napping. So sweet!

Press Centre

Press Centre
I couldn't resist this one!