Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Christmas Newsletter 2022

 It always takes me a while to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) to write our Christmas Newsletter, but as our Christmas cards have all been posted I thought I better get it written... 

I was very disappointed last year at how long our cards took to arrive (if at all) so I am hoping this year they do better. Postal strikes in the UK may be affecting the ones sent there but in any case I wish you all a wonderful festive season...

We have moved to our new home - but if you have sent us a card to Gladesville Boulevard, we have redirection organised so no problem... Our new address will be on our cards - but if you would like it, please email me (susanrenshaw0404  at 

So what have I got to tell you about 2022?

In February we will have been in Australia for 3 years - and the time seems to have really flown. In April 2021 we put a deposit on a block alongside the Australian Botanic Garden just South of Cranbourne. Work began on our house in November 2021. It was very exciting to keep driving there to see the progress! On October 1st this year, we moved in!

 Inside we are pretty settled, but there is still a lot to do on the garden. We had hoped we would have landscapers here before Christmas, but we will now have to wait for the New Year.

The picture at the start of this newsletter is of Kevin and I at the front door with a new smart doorbell. Unfortunately we cannot fix this as we are still waiting for an internet connection. The installers keep postponing our appointment as they keep trying to confirm on Kevin's phone which won't work as he is in Egypt! Kevin will have spent more than half of 2022 working in Egypt...the picture at the door is just before he went back again. He was here for two months just in time to help move to the new house! He will be back again on December 17th - and then plans another 5 months from the middle of January - but he says this will be the last long stretch...

In the meantime I continue to sort out things in the house - this was a new BBQ that Soph and I chose the other day- we thought it was very pretty!

The weather in Victoria has been very wintry despite it being Spring going into Summer. This is Sophie's hand holding hailstones a couple of weeks ago.

Sophie and I have been making temperature blankets, crocheting a row each day since January 1st and with an appropriate colour to match the max temperature of that day. It has turned out to be very 'blue' recently! The final task will be to stitch the two halves together. We both think it is not a project we will embark on again...

What is interesting is that there are only a few navy (less than 11 degrees) - and that was when Sophie and I went to Tasmania.

Liz and Pete arrived from Devon on Monday so we have started our festive celebrations...

We are expecting their family... Ella and Lucas, John, Julia, Chloe and Emma to arrive on the 18th and then of course our family will be getting together for various events...

Last year we had Christmas Lunch at Dan and Lizzie's - it was Ollie's first Christmas and Matt and Jas and Isa were here for the holiday.

During January, Kevin, Sophie and I went on a couple of trips: one where we saw some of the Silo art, one when we borrowed Matt's camping trailer and went camping...

An incident on this trip was when we got bogged down on a country road and had to be rescued...

We went to the Australian Open - as you can see at this stage we were still wearing masks. All restrictions have now been lifted - but Covid is still around. (I caught it in August after being so careful for so long - however, it was not such a severe case!)

We regularly meet up with the Melbourne Renshaws and go over to East Gippsland to see Matt and the girls.

Kevin went off to Egypt for his first 5 month stint and the end of March.

 It was my 70th Birthday on April 4th so we had quite a few celebrations...

I also have a picture of Aiden with Ollie around this time:

My Birthday trip was to Tasmania with Sophie and we had a marvellous time.

In June I went over to look after Jas and Isa again - one of the crafty things we did was making soap - and they love slime!

Around this time Sophie was working on her permanent residency visa and went for a medical in Aubury. Tom, Clare and I decided to join her there for a weekend away. We enjoyed touring around, visiting various places!

Also in June there was a spectacular light display in Melbourne Botanical Gardens.

In July Sophie and I went on another trip - this time to Adelaide then Sydney - and we enjoyed museums, theatre, ballet and opera.

The house was coming on - but still had a few jobs to do...

In August I was back again at Matty's to look after girls. This is Jas wondering if she dare try an oyster!

I got back home from this trip and discovered I had Covid - Matty also tested positive the same week. Only Tom and Clare in our family have not succumbed to date...

In September and October, Kevin was back. He had great fun playing with Ollie!

And we are looking forward to him being back soon! Ollie seems to like my handbag at the moment!

So, here's wishing you a very happy Christmas and let's hope 2023 is a good year!

 love Sue and Kevin xx

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Christmas Newsletter 2021

 I usually write our Christmas Newsletter much earlier than this

 but as our Christmas cards should be arriving soon (well, depending on the post...) 

I thought I better get on with it... 

And in fact last year I was only three days earlier!

Covid restrictions have flavoured the year but it has not all been 'doom and gloom' as my Mum would have said!! 

In February we will have been in Australia for 2 years - and so far, getting on for 40% of the time we have been in strict lockdown. Much of the rest has been under Covid restrictions. Opportunities to meet up with family and friends here in Victoria have been few and far between; inter-state and overseas non-existent. The last time we went on a plane was when we flew here.

We are fortunate however to have had various stretches of normality throughout the year and we obviously have tried to make the most of them. Now it feels like we are getting back to some kind of normal, although it's not over yet...

We are almost ready for Christmas - although as I write this, Sophie and Kevin are wrapping. I have been pretty late (making and) sending out Christmas cards. The post has been so unreliable I didn't think it would really matter! 

We will be meeting up with all the family on Christmas Day but not necessarily all at the same time!

Last year we had everyone here for a Christmas dinner as lockdown had ended and in fact we then had several months with eased restrictions.

This meant that Sophie, Kevin and I could go for a trip to the Grampians in January - we also saw some of the Silo Art -

and then to the Australian Open in February- we plan to watch some of this year's Open too in January.

We have managed several trips over to East Gippsland to see Matty and the girls - This was in March.

We spent much of the earlier part of the year travelling around looking at where we might buy a house. In the end we decided to buy a block and build - more of this later. Around April time we discovered the Australian Botanic Garden just South of Cranbourne.

 Alongside this we found a block that we decided to buy. In the meantime we continue to live here in the rental in Patterson Lakes with the lovely view:

We have managed to see quite a lot of shows and exhibitions: the Travelling Wilbury's, Harry Potter, an exhibition of impressionist paintings, a Doll's House exhibition, Van Gogh's Lume.

We have enjoyed picnics and days out - a memorable trip was to go whale watching!

In May, Aiden was 21 - we were lucky enough  to celebrate his birthday in a restaurant but within days we were into lockdown. 
(Sophie, Lizzie and Tom all spent a second birthday in lockdown!)

Aiden and Tom

During lockdown Kevin and I had to find projects. Kevin renovated a sailing dinghy amongst other things and of course I had my Crafting. I have participated in virtual retreats and Zoom craft and chat meetings - and Zoom crafty sessions with Sophie.

We were so pleased when lockdown eased again! Finally we could take part in events that had been postponed - in particular Sophie and I did a Champainting session at Melbourne Aquarium - drinking champagne and painting a jelly fish.

Dan and Lizzie's baby was born on August 1st. None of the rest of us could see Ollie for ages - but now it is quite a regular occurrence.

Work began on our house in November. We keep going over to watch progress and we're very excited to see the wall frames up this week. Of course the next stage will not be for a while because of the Christmas holidays.

Once again we have decorated the house for Christmas - boats on the canals each night take trips to see the lights. We hope to get the canoes out soon to go and have a look.


And this is this year's decoration using junk...

So, here's wishing you a very happy Christmas and let's hope 2022 is a better year!

The girls arrived and now I have a picture of Jas and Isa in the same spot!

 love Sue and Kevin xx

P.S. Most of my Facebook posts have been memories as it seems that we have fewer new stories to tell. But these memories do remind us of lovely occasions spent with Mum and Dad - it is now over a year since each of them left us...the orchid that Matty and family sent us at the time of Mum's funeral has amazed us with its reflowering!