Saturday 9 December 2023

Christmas Newsletter 2023

 Kevin says that if I don't write our Christmas Newsletter soon it will be the New Year!

Actually it's not the latest that I have ever got round to it, but as our Christmas cards are in the post I thought I better get it written... 

To be honest once again I am not happy with the post. I use both Australia Post and UK's Royal Mail a lot - usually to swap crafty items like ATCs and cards. But this year the parcels I sent to my brother and sister in the UK have both been hit with VAT, more than doubling the cost of sending them. This has never happened before and I thought I had been really careful with the rules but obviously not so! 

Anyway enough of the rant, what have I got to tell you about 2023?

We have now been in our new house more than a year. It has been amazing so see the estate behind us develop. This was our block two years ago:

This is how it looked from the drone this week:

We still have one or two things to do in the house - changing the basic lampshades that were put in by the builders, for example - but eventually the landscapers arrived around Easter time to build the retaining wall at the back and plant and mulch the front. Since Kevin has been back from Egypt, he has been working on the veggie plot and the area we want to put to lawn.
We are already enjoying lettuce, runner beans, potatoes with other crops coming on!

That is Tom's boat on the front which Kevin is also working on...However the weather has been poor in the last couple of weeks - so he started on the Christmas decorations! He came back from Egypt in June, after 15 months away, coming back a couple of times, including for Christmas. 
This time last year Liz and Pete arrived from Devon - so Sophie and I arranged a trip to spend a few days in Waratah Bay.

Most of their family... Ella and Lucas, John, Julia, Chloe and Emma... and Kevin arrived on the 18th of December and then we all got together for various events... The boat trip was our Christmas present from Dan and lizzie!

Here are Kevin and I and our kids - Sophie, Matt, Dan and Tom... and then Tom and Aiden:

 The reason for the photo with the ages on - Ella and John, Tom , Dan and Matt were remembering a similar picture when they were 8, 6, 4, 2, 0...

and another year...

We were missing Jas and Isa and Leo but otherwise the Renshaw and Briens families were all together on several occasions. The Brienses all set off for Tasmania and we enjoyed a day at the races...

Matt came over with Jas and Isa later and we managed a family dinner with Tom and Clare. Matt and the girls were impressed with my temperature blanket. Sophie and I had each made one, crocheting one row each day in 2022, colours according to the weather!

Kevin went back to Egypt on January 13th.
Sophie and I went to the Australian Open on the first day as usual.

Sophie and I then went on a round trip along the Great Ocean Road and back through Ballarat. We saw a number of interesting places en route including the Naracoorte Caves. 

As the Australian Garden is next door we regularly take a walk around it. We also visited the Lotus Garden and the Kabloom festival early in the year.

In April Tom, Clare, Sophie and I went To Cairo to meet up with Kevin. Liz and Pete were supposed to come too but unfortunately they caught Covid.
We saw all the sights, took a cruise down the Nile and stayed in Hurghada.

I/we regularly go over to East Gippsland to see Matt and the girls. I love the walk to the lake...

In May Aiden was 23.

In June, Kevin was back and our first trip was to the Whitsundays with Matt, Jas and Isa and Sophie.

Matty stayed up in the Whitsundays to take more people on the boat. We took the girls back to Melbourne and then East Gippsland.

Now that Kevin was back he could join Sophie and I on all our visits to the theatre, cinema, the Lume Connection, Women's football, Lightscape, Paul McCartney, the Corrs...


In September the three of us went to Tasmania where a highlight was a boat trip where we saw whales...

Kevin and I look after Ollie every Monday.

Just before Christmas the Melbourne Renshaws met up for Kevin's birthday. Matt, Jas and Isa live in East Gippsland (a three hour drive away).

And just to keep us busy, Sophie, Kevin and I have been doing a 3000 piece jigsaw.

We now look forward to Christmas festivities and holidays in January... Just one more Sunday in Advent!

So, here's wishing you a very happy Christmas and let's hope 2024 is a good year!

 love Sue and Kevin xx

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