Yesterday (Friday) Jenny had Von and Simon plus Anne and myself over for dinner -- with Vietnamese lemon chicken on the menu. It gave us all a chance to hear a bit more from Von while she was here.
We covered quite a bit of ground -- going back to when Von was a kid as well as talking about New Zealand in the present. Von was interested to hear the decision processes that went into the choice of her name. Apparently most people call her Yvonne. It is only family who shorten it.
Then this evening (Saturday) was the BIG Christmas in October party with 20 people attending. I held it in my thickly turfed backyard under party flares. I had two 6' trestle tables with foldup legs this time and they worked very well -- used in conjunction with the two tables that are normally downstairs. George seemed to have had his own chair this time -- seeing he fell out of one of mine last time!
We all wanted to try NZ cheesy rolls so Vonnie's Simon quite heroically made 120 of them for us-- and they were universally agreed to be very good. We also had pizza and champagne to enliven the occasion but the rolls were the special thing. The ladies all brought along goodies too so there were plenty of leftovers as usual. It was all as bit chaotic but that just added to the interest. You don't want to be too organized for a family get-together.
We had three toasts: One to our NZ visitors, a sendoff toast to Simon who is shortly deploying to Afghastiland and a toast to the newest arrival, Dustin Eddie who was all of 8 days old.
Simon is going over with the RAAF to help drop bombs on ragheads from a remotely-piloted vehicle. As such he is in a base and not in much danger of being shot at unless someone in the Afghan National Army goes berserk -- which is not unknown. So we were glad to be able to wish him the best of luck and tell him we looked forward to him coming back home safe and sound
Joe flew up from Canberra for the day and Suzie managed to get along for a while despite still being in some discomfort after her recent childbirth. The only one missing was Tim, who had a big Halloween party going on at his place that he could not get out of.
Hannah was a bit disturbed by the crowd at one stage so Von took her up to my second bathroom again and that settled her! The magic bathroom with the big shiny key!
We heard that Vonnie's Simon is taking on a new job when he gets back to NZ -- as a shepherd! Apparently he will be driving around the sheep paddock on an ATV watching the sheep and putting back on their feet ones that have fallen over! Strange things happen in NZ! From computer guru to shepherd is quite a career change too! I told Von that she would be the shepherdess from now on! From being a business high-flyer to being the fulltime carer of one daughter, one lamb and two dogs is rather a change for her too.
Von spent some time with Suzy every day that she was here from what I gather -- giving her twin both moral and practical support after the birth. So that was a bonus for both of them. Twins being together at such a time has a rightness about it -- as being there is just as important as anything said to one-another. And Von said that Suzy is already feeling in better spirits now that the childbirth problems are fading.
We had five babies/toddlers at the party so that pleased me. A family party with no children present is a sad thing in my opinion.
Joey and Nanna were there
George must have told Paul a VERY funny joke
A comment from Paul on the night:
Time passed quickly and before we knew it the night was over. It was great to catch up with everyone and do a special send off for uncle Simon who will be away for 5 months doing his military service for the country. Hats off to him spending so much time away from the family for the greater good.
A very sad update to my warning about the danger Simon faces in Afghanistan. The very next morning I read:
Three Australian soldiers killed, seven wounded by rogue Afghan soldier
THE Chief of the Australian Defence Force has expressed his deep sorrow after the deaths of three Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. The three soldiers were shot during a parade yesterday morning. Seven other Australians were wounded and an Afghan interpreter was killed.
The lone gunman - an Afghan national soldier - was shot and killed as the Australians returned fire. The dead - a corporal, captain and lance corporal - were members of the Mentoring Task Force in southern Afghanistan.
Of the three, the corporal and lance corporal were on their first deployment to Afghanistan while the captain was on a second tour. The corporal and the captain had earlier this year taken part in flood and cyclone relief operations in Queensland.
Of the wounded, General Hurley said one soldier was being treated for life threatening wounds, four had serious wounds, and the other two had minor wounds.