Christmas 2023

Surprise! An early Christmas letter from the Stainsby’s.

Truth is that Hayden, Andrea and Brianna are visiting, so I have to get all my Christmas preparation sorted before they arrive on 8th December.

This year marks our 50th wedding anniversary. Couldn’t imagine that happening, at the time.

We celebrated in style with two nights at The Windsor, lots of good food and wine and High Tea shared with Evan, Steph and Aida.

It’s been fun reflecting on 50 years – a rushed wedding so Bruce could take up a fellowship post at the Manchester Polytechnic and then finding ways to explore England and Europe in our VW Combi.

Back to Australia and into home ownership, two wonderful boys to share our adventures and subsequently two gorgeous little girls to melt our hearts.

We often chat with Brianna over WhatsApp. She prefers to show us her latest toys and giggle a lot. Brianna, now 4½ has settled into school in Granada. Some of her lessons are in English and her comprehension is certainly very good. Brianna told me that her swimming lessons are wonderful.

We have a standing weekly appointment to play with Aida, nearly 3. Her preference is a playground or two and an ice cream at Brunetti’s in Carlton. The order is unimportant. Watching her develop week by week has been a joy.

We shivered in Melbourne for most of winter, but managed a 7 week break that took in the east coast as far as Yeppoon in Queensland. From there we went west to Carnarvon Gorge, Longreach to visit the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and the QANTAS Founders Museum, then to Winton to find dinosaurs and be thoroughly entertained by stories of Waltzing Matilda at the North Gregory pub.

We continued west to the tiny town of Boulia in the Channel Country, then south down to Birdsville and the famous Birdsville Track, accompanied by more flies than I have ever seen. We are still brushing red dust out of the car, after the 500km stony, dusty track.

The last part of our adventure was in the Flinders Ranges. Bruce can’t remember where they shot the Chrysler Jeep commercials there, but it is such a stunning area, it could have been anywhere.

To engage our little girls on our journey, we took my newly adopted Dolly Op. She got her name after I rescued her from the local Opportunity Shop. Dolly Op posed at many different sites, often hidden or lost by big things. As I sent pics to the families, the little girls had fun looking for Dolly Op. Can you find her in these pics?

On a sadder note, after we arrived home in late August we discovered our beautiful home, at 10 Ocean Street, Hampton between 1979 and 2010, had been bulldozed to make way for an apartment block. Progress can be very sad.

We are excited about sharing a family Christmas with 5 little people, ranging from 6 months to 6 years and two baby bumps (Sarah mid-January and Steph mid-February). We also have English visitors, just to add to that festive, sharing feeling.

We do hope to continue our adventures in the new year, perhaps at a slower pace – giving us time to absorb our surroundings. We are hoping to get an invitation to a 5th birthday party in July in Granada – if not, we will simply gatecrash the event.

Have a wonderful Christmas and very best wishes for a wonderful 2024.

Our charity of choice for this Christmas is Djirra, a Victorian organisation that supports Aboriginal women – commitment

Dolly Op’s adventure

Some craft for 2023. More will be published after Christmas!

A massive shawl for Kate for her 70th. She chose the colours and the challenge.

The long journey through the Queensland Outback was a great time to knit the rug, which will go to the Hamlin project in Ethiopia. They asked for bright colours.