Beating the heat

Last night, I opened the curtains way back in my bedroom, and the breeze rushed into our bedroom, combined with the gentle whir of the fan (and the hum of our neighbour's airconditioning unit) I felt envious (of the neighbours) yet both invigorated and glad to be alive as I listened to the the swaying palm trees outside my windows and reflected that we had survived yet again another Christmas where I have mopped the perspiration from my brow and got on with the tasks of preparing the house for Christmas guests.

This year, 16 adults, 11 children. We prepared an early dinner, the tradition of christmas day lunch has long disappeared and won't reappear unless there is a fully airconditioned room where we can all eat in comfort.

Our deck however, is spacious enough and catches most prevailing breezes so it is perfect for a sit down Christmas buffet style early dinner. Plus our backyard is perfect for a dozen children to play while we monitor from the deck. The only problem was, that a storm brewed and hovered around the house from 3pm till 6pm making it impossible to send the little ones downstairs and away from our house so it made for a chaotic time, trying to control the excited sugar loaded, Christmas spirited kiddies along with a panicked storm averse dog, who tried to ride out the storm in the pots and pan cupboard. I would estimate there is about 30cms of head room in that particular cupboard and a bit of a squeeze for a 20kilogram dog.

Once the blasted storm that decided not to be had passed over the house, we sent the kiddies downstairs and things settled into a semblance of normality at least as close as it can get when having nearly 30 people in your home that is, and we got to sit down and enjoy, the Christmas buffet which consisted of:

hot roasted pork belly,
cold turkey,
freshly carved leg ham,
a pear/parmesan and rocket salad,
my brother-in-laws traditional Canadian potato salad,
tomato, boccincini and basil salad,
a mixed garden salad, and
a roasted pumpkin, baby spinach, feta and pinenut salad.

Then later dessert:

My tradional trifle,
Aunty Sue's perfect pavlova, and
a Cheesecake.

I should mention the starters involved first up: where some lovely fresh prawns served simply with a cocktail sauce, and rocket, chilli and macadamia pesto and some barbecued prawns in a chilli marinade and a dill marindade with sliced fresh baguettes. My sister and brother-in-law also prepared some tiny cherry tomatoes filled with basil pesto and rolled slices of roasted capsicum filled with tuna. We had also made a christmas punch (courtesy of the ubiquitous Women's Weekly) a watermelon and blood orange softdrink mixture which could be combined with some champagne for those not doing the driving.

I posted some of the photographs of Christmas day below, the children woke up and discovered their presents from Santa, for Elliot a ping pong table (he received the bat first and a note directing him under our house for the rest) and for Gabriella a large porcelain doll (which Elliot at first exclaimed was a bigger present than his bat!), and Toy Story 1 and 2 being the major gifts.

We inflated and filled our little pool and they got to have paddle around that morning after some french toasted brioche and ham and ham and english mustard on toast (my husband's family tradition). We also got to swim in our neighbours beautiful pool for an hour or so when they headed off for lunch (we have an open invitation to use their pool!) and after we had finished off our chores in preparation for the hoardes who would come later.

Now we are enjoying the post-Christmas relax, where every day is a holiday and the only other traditions we had to complete involved the watching the first day of the Test at the MIL and FIL place (mother/father in laws). My Canadian BIL came too and decided as per his tradition we were to eat Chili con carne, which was surprisingly appetising in 30+ degree heat with approximately 80%+ humidity.

Yesterday we made it to Narnia(warning spoiler alert this paragraph), where I cried with sadness and joy to see a story so much beloved by me as a child come to life on the screen. I bought Elliot the complete Chronicles as a gift last year from Gabriella on her naming day, so I was glad that he had heard the story (as read by his father) before he watched the movie. I cried as I first cried when Aslan met his fate, nothing could console me when for the first time I read the story, not even his later resurection could make the deep sadness that I had experienced when I read what happened to him disappear. I would have to say the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe had the greatest impact on me as a child discovering the world of fiction, so I was so happy to see the movie has been executed so faithfully and well.

A few more photographs will be posted as I want to have a few other details committed to this record.