Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The blessed day has arrived

I engineered it this year so that all of my stepchildren and their children were home for the Christmas period.  Unfortunately "the girls" could not be present for the actual Christmas day but it was still great to see them and their children very recently.  It is amusing that although the two mothers are not at all alike, their two daughters are growing up as little ladies.  Both mothers are very indulgent, however, so both little girls are free to be themselves.

It may help to realize how good our Christmas reunion has been if you know that the families literally came from opposite ends of the earth, from Scotland and New Zealand respectively.  It is one of the wonders of geography that despite their great distance apart, both families speak their native language in their native accents in their new homes and are perfectly understood and respected. Our seafaring British ancestors did a great thing through their voyages.

Some great journeys of emigration are well known -- the Mayflower etc. -- but one of the greatest is little known outside Australia -- the convoy of 11 ships known to Australians as The First Fleet.  In fragile little wooden ships of mostly under 400 tons, powered only by the wind, the fleet sailed half way around the world and arrived at their destination in good order.  From England, the Fleet sailed southwest to Rio de Janeiro, then east to Cape Town and via the Great Southern Ocean to Botany Bay, arriving in 1788 and taking two thirds of a year to do it (May to January).

It was a military expedition -- run by the Royal Navy, including marines -- so that no doubt helped in maintaining order. But it was still an heroic enterprise.  In a very British move, the personnel even included a judge. I love that. It is because of them and other intrepid British sailors that you can now move from one end of the earth to the other and still freely speak your native English.  We have been very well-served by our ancestors.

So we have had Paul, Susan and their three with us for most of December and have them with us today.  They have three exceptional children: A boy who is exceptionally bright, a girl who is exceptionally feminine and another girl who is exceptionally naughty.  They are all a great delight.

I am writing this early on Christmas morning and the BOM have forecast rain.  I have little respect for the BOM and their forecasts but we had a big storm yesterday so they may be right this time. In the circumstances we are all going to crowd indoors rather than having our activities around the BBQ in the back yard.

In times past Anne and I used to go to the magnificent St. John's cathedral for the Christmas service but we have got out of the way of doing that these days.  That the sermons were always complete mush did not help.  It is an Anglican cathedral. Spurgeon would weep


The gathering at  Jenny's place was a large one, with David, Timmy and Timmy's wife Rachel also turning up. I arrived at about 9:30am.  Nanna even appeared at the dinner table.  She is very old and frail so her appearance was a rarity.

Paul and Ken had one of their usual arguments, with me taking Paul's side.  Ken thought that cash will be abolished one day while Paul and I thought there would be too much opposition to that.  Joe talked about shares, bitcoin and finance generally.  He is facing some absurdly high closing costs in buying his new house.

I talked quite a lot with Susan and Jenny about Bambam and how to understand her exceptionally naughty behaviour.  We agreed that she is bright so will probably learn better behaviour as she grows up.  She ran around very energetically for a couple of hours and then flaked out in the middle of the living room. She must have exhausted herself.

I also talked to Paul about Matthew's future and we speculated about getting him into Eton eventually.  We also talked about Scotland generally, Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson.  Both of us are very pleased by the advent of Boris and see in him great hopes for the future prosperity of Britain

The BOM was right for once.  We had some quite heavy rain. We were under cover, however.

The dinner was excellent, featuring kebabs and some very good ham.  I left at about 3pm

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