the rambles of a family of five in Australia

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2011: Reflections on our year

Looking back, 2011 has been a very full year.

We had a trip back to Australia in January, comprising two 24 hour plane flights with Mr E – about which we lay awake and worried, and which went beautifully smoothly when we had to actually do them! We had a wonderful time in Sydney and on the coast: visiting family and friends; swimming; lying on the warm sand; dipping our toes in the water; eating summery food; drinking wonderful coffee; catching up on 9 months of news that never makes it into phone calls but is interesting nonetheless; and watching Ewan become reacquainted with all those who love him.

February and March were spent setting up the nursery for our eagerly awaited new baby, busying ourselves with work and church life and looking forward to spring and its freshness after the lowering grey skies of winter. We also welcomed our great friend Bill, who stayed with us and lived an English life with us – always encouraging and entertaining us.

April heralded Ewan’s 2nd Birthday, followed by the London Book Fair and then Suzannah’s arrival early on Easter Sunday morning. Ewan began at preschool for 3 hours on a Wednesday morning, and we entered on a period of busy spring social activities.

May and June were full of new baby health checks, burgeoning spring flowers, visitors – like Cousin Matt and our lovely friend Asa – and exploration of new historic houses and gardens – courtesy of the National Trust and  our Tuesday expedition leaders: Ben, Gaynor and Phoebe.

July brought our 9th wedding anniversary – our good friend Kerry up from London for a visit and exploration of Stowe, and the summer harvest on Wakefield. We added to our busyness with toilet-training Ewan, and although it was potentially frustrating, actually yielded results in under a week and has been a source of joy to us all since!

August was grey and cool, so September was a warm and welcome relief – an Indian Summer which we relished. We took to the high road and had a week’s holiday in Wales – and although the weather was less than ideal, we had a grand time and loved exploring all the gorgeous countryside.

In October, people were prophesying a repeat of last year’s snowstorms, so we rugged up, topped up our oil supplies, made preserves and waited. And waited. And waited. No snow. Hurrah!

November was full of cool, but blue-sky days which we celebrated by spending as much time out of doors as possible.
December was long-awaited because of a pending visit from family from Australia – Steve, Bronwyn, Hannah and Isaac – and we loved preparing for Christmas and family festivities.

In the midst of all of this there have been sickness (although far less than we experienced in 2010), sleeplessness, and worries of one kind and another – both for our lives here and the lives of those we love in Australian and elsewhere in the world, but overall we have learned and are learning of God’s continuing faithfulness to us, of His Fatherly love and care, of His grace and favour in teaching us more of Himself – through both the rough and smooth ways of life. We are reminded that Paul ‘learned to be content’ and that Christ was a ‘Man of Sorrows’ and we are inestimably thankful for the faith in our Saviour who sustains us.
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”

Suze watching Bob the Builder

E and P at Hidcote, in the Cotswolds.

A beautiful day at Cliveden

A rare smile during the difficult business of ‘tummy time’.

E and his proudest creation – “A crab, Mummy, a crab!”

Painting some Christmas wrapping paper. E loved the roller best of all.
“If you go into the woods today…you’ll see two little bears!”

Mummy and Suze

Suze in her pod, having a lovely time in the garden helping Mr E.

What a joyous occupation, to fill a bucket with mud and stones!

Suze hoes in to H’s apple at Blenheim after a not-very-satisfying first course.

Bill, washing up, and smiling. How we miss him!

Our lovely cottage on a bright sunny morning.

Waddesdon – one of our favourite National Trust haunts.

The pram snuggle in evidence, but not too cold yet.

E’s favourite in-car occupation (like his mother before him) until he attains his licence, of course!

At Stoke Bruerne in March

The spring flowers erupt along our side path

Summer scuttle-bugging!

Our first walk with Suze – she is lying (fast asleep) tucked in behind E.

Our small Mr E, prior to Suze’s arrival. R loved his long curls.

Pajamas from Grand-Nan and a train set from Mandy – life is good!

We four, in spring, when Suzy was new!