Winter in America is cold ... so they say but I can only say with certainty that Tamworth is bloody freezing, so it seems, just as it has for the last fifteen of so years, it is a far better idea to head to Yamba. 20C when we arrived and tonight is headed for a balmy low teens.
Set out a little after 8 am, driving in convoy with son Sam and his girlfriend Amy and other son Chris in their back seat. Uneventful trip. Chilly in Guyra where we have suffered much worse and pleasant and warm at Jackagery where we had lunch with a mob of bogans with animal trophies - the sort which are mounted on the wall and whose eyes follow you suspiciously around the room wondering which of you was the bastard that shot them, cut their head off and thought it proved them a greater man than most. Don't get it. Never did.
Played a liberal sprinkling of Jenny Biddle coming down the mountain and then on the 120kms to the sea. "Village By The Sea" summed up our feeling pretty accurately ... "if it was just because of the sand between my toes I may not be coming home ..." Yeah, that's the feeling Jen.
I unpacked the car whilst Sue settled into the familiar in much the same way as Ethyl Thayer does as she opens up the place on Golden Pond. Twelve months apart, every corner, every view from every window is comforting, much like that warm welcome your mother gave you on wet afternoons after school. Sue did her equivalent of calling to the loons and then we made the bed, unpacked the clothes and hid all the bags and boxes so we could play at pretending home.
We joined the kids for a late afternoon tea in their fabulous digs across the road -a very impressive renovation of an old unit. Better views than us and a bigger price plus none of the memories.
Down the street for the traditional first night fish chips. Sue and I had deserted that ship a few years ago so Sue had half a kg of prawns and me a healthier than most hamburger. Sam, Amy and Chris kept the first night menu flag flying.
After dinner, we went to the home of Sue's brother Lance and his new partner Cheryl, which is a new dynamic in the Gibbens clan after our families had grown up with other personnel. Changes take effort if they are to work and this will be no exception. It was pleasant, which was a good start. Amy was lost to us once the twins, Ava and Jack, arrived and with Sue's niece Rachael and Sam, soon had the energy levels jumping among the youngsters. Sue and I made early excuses and retired for the evening as a week of family lies ahead and not all the catching up had to be done in one night.
A warm day in the offing with winds from the right direction to make the beach pleasant in the morning.