Monday, 23 December 2013

A Christmas wedding in the country

Everybody loves Christmas and everybody loves weddings, so when the two are combined, it's bound to be a joyous occasion, particularly with the added attraction of a rural setting.

The bride has been a friend of our daughter since they were in their late teens.  They were part of a core "gang" which swelled in numbers with the addition of boyfriends and girlfriends, and this eventually led to weddings and children over the ensuing years.

This wedding was organised with the precision of a military manoeuvre.  You see, the bride is stationed in Cyprus, the groom is a journalist in Adelaide, the bride's parents live in Sydney, the grooms's in rural Victoria, so naturally the wedding took place in the vineyards of the Hunter Valley, a two hour drive from Sydney.  Most of the wedding guests arrived the day before the wedding.  It was the middle of a heatwave and they wasted no time cooling off in the resort pool.

For something a little different, the bride's niece and nephews swapped roles - the ring bearer was an adorable little girl,

... and there were flowerboys.

They were followed by the beautiful bride.

Some traditions still hold though.  The musicians in the gang have sung at each of their weddings over the years and our daughter was was devastated when after hours of practice a throat virus reduced her soprano voice to a squeak and she had to pull out.

A hot afternoon called for cool drinks.

And time to catch up with old friends.

What a delightful occasion it was.  If you get the chance to attend a country wedding, don't miss it.

Wishing you all a very happy and safe Christmas.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Christmas in the city

At about this time every year we take a trip to the city to soak up the atmosphere as we prepare for the Christmas season.

In my younger days I spent Christmases in both England and the USA and I've never forgotten the joy of being caught up with the whole spirit of Christmas, with the city streets lit up to the hilt and just about every department store and smaller shops beautifully decorated.  Forged in my memory is one cold evening in London leaving the office where I worked and turning the corner onto Oxford Street to see it transformed into a world of wonder.

Sadly, we don't go quite that far here in Australia, but even so, there are enough sights to gladden the heart. 

The Strand Arcade is one place we never miss at this time of the year, with its beautifully decorated walk and shops brim full of irresistible goodies.

Haigh's chocolate ... mmmmmm .....


The other must-see venue is the Queen Victoria Building, with its iconic Christmas tree.

Santa was in residence and it was so lovely to see children donned in their Christmas best for photos with the man in red.

In fact, children were everywhere, their eyes bright, taking in all the wonders around them.

There was even something for Russel Crowe, so I guess he's dried himself off and come home for Christmas.

Of course, no trip to the city would be complete without a browse through the David Jones Food Hall.

Where else could you find pasta for chocoholics?

There is something for everyone.

It's such a pity that they chose to use their traditional Christmas windows for blatant self-promotion instead of something that would bring gasps of delight from the children.  Bah humbug.

So now that my batteries have been re-charged, I'm ready to tackle the final week at Hot Fudge, finishing off all those orders.  Can't wait for Christmas.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

First day of Summer

Our local village Christmas Fair falls on the first Sunday in December which this year also happened to be the first day of summer.

By tradition, the day begins with the pipe band from the local grammar school.

It made my Scottish heritage heart swell when I heard these young men play so professionally.

I love the swagger which comes miraculously as soon as a kilt is donned.

The dogs certainly loved it.

Time to check out the stalls.

They even took over the parking lot.

There were delicious edibles for the adults ...

... balloons for the children ...

... and a bandanna for the dog.  

Here are a few things which took my fancy, in no particular order:

 We Fudges have the uncanny knack of seeking each other out in crowds of thousands and somehow our granddaughter spied us from the distance.

The boys were fresh from breakfast with Santa, so we were pretty tame in comparison.

Ah, summer.  Got to love it.