SALAMANDER BAY – LE MEILLEUR HORIZONS GOLF RESORT
Tuesday – Deb/Bren/Logan and Owen and Gra and Fay arrived at the Le Meilleur Horizons Golf resort at Salamander Bay around 4 pm. The resort is situated about 50 km from Newcastle or 150 km from Sydney. We spent a quiet evening getting used to the place.
Wednesday – We visited Oakvale Farm and Fauna Park where we got up close and personal with lambs, kids, calves, emu chicks, ducks, geese, wombats, dingoes, ostriches, pigs, koalas, roos, wallabies, wallaroos, peacocks, chooks of various colours and breeds, cockies and more. The ideal place to take a young bloke who’s just turned 2! Logan Jack (LJ) certainly enjoyed the animals and saw quite a few he’d never seen before. His vocab sure got extended. There was a minor hitch when he got between a bottle of milk and a hungry bunch of lambs and kids! The small animals weren’t too worried that LJ had been felled in their midst. Fortunately grandfather and father came to the rescue and extracted him quickly from the line of fire before he was trampled underfoot and scarred forever. It resembled a mini version of “running of the bulls”! His great grandfather Jack (whom he’s named after) would’ve been more amused than concerned once the danger was over. Jack (my dad) passed away sixteen years ago.
Dinner at nearby Soldiers’ Point Bowling Club was enjoyed by the team. Having play equipment right outside was an added bonus.
Thursday – The team (minus Brendan and three and a half month old Owen) went on a whale and dolphin cruise in the morning. Once again there was good news and bad. We saw a few whales and heaps of dolphins. The dolphins enjoyed racing along at the front of the catamaran (right under our eyes) much to the enjoyment of all including LJ. The bad news – I got terribly seasick and chucked up FOUR times! Fortunately it was all done in the privacy of the onboard loo! (No cameras... sorry.) My recovery was as quick as the decline itself. Next time, remind me to take a tablet would you? It was still a beaut trip. Today Jeremy (our #3) turned 30 (see earlier photo). In his absence we celebrated his “coming of age”!
The barbie by the pool at night was great.
Yep, this was just one of the dolphins.
Friday - A quiet start to the day. Off for a swim at one of the many beaches in the area. Met up with friends Margaret and Walter who just happen to own an Avan, ride a tandem and share our faith! Not a bad trifecta! They showed us a good spot with a lovely shade tree owned by Mary. Thanks Mary. Fay headed off to collect Jeremy (the birthday boy) from Newcastle – about 50 km away.) He lives in Sydney. We had more swimming in the afternoon and then a BBQ at night after Jon and Peta (daughter #2) arrived from Newcastle. Ros and Stuart Manley joined us for the BBQ which was an added bonus. Ros is a 2nd cousin of mine. They retired here from Canberra a couple of years ago. Fay and I headed back to their place to sleep the night as previously arranged. We’d run out of beds at the resort!
Saturday – PJ and Jon headed back to Newcastle in the morning to feed their dogs. The rest of us headed to Little Beach where we met up with Earl and Julie Hughes from Karuah (an hour or so north of us here) for a picnic lunch. I bought a pair of sandals in Nelson Bay enroute. We often buy sandals here as we’ve found Jane’s Shoe Shop seems to have sandals that suit us in style, comfort and price. Lunch was purchased at the small kiosk at the end of the beach. The tucker turned out to be spot on. How privileged we were to catch up with Earl and Julie. Julie was my teachers college girlfriend back in 1962! Wow! More swimming in the afternoon followed by great tacos for tea. Turned out to be really scrumptious meal appreciated by all. Plus the benefit of eating “at home” in our apartment. A couple of bottles of champagne plus a bunch of beers and even a red were enjoyed by the team. Fay and I finished up at Manleys’ once again for a bed. Thanks Stuart and Ros. (I'll bet Kerrie from Saddos wishes she was here!!)
Sunday – Fay and I got to chat with Manleys’ daughter Janet in Denver via Skype before heading back to the apartment. We hadn’t seen her for maybe 15 or 20 years! How long guys?
After deciding against quad biking (would’ve cost us $130 per person for 2.5 hours), PJ, Jon and Jeremy headed for Toboggan Hill for tobogganing and mini golf. LJ and friends went swimming yet again in the resort pool. Think Bill would've given that a go!
Deb, Logan Jack, Jeremy, Peta and Owen Cooper at "home time".
Then it was to Walter and Margaret Lamond’s for a lovely pizza and salad followed by fruit and slice. Always great to spend time with these folk we originally met at a tandem bike rally maybe ten years ago. Finally home to our apartment for our last sleep in a very quiet pad. Very quiet compared to the action that had taken place over the previous six precious days.
Our family gathering turned out to be a ton of fun. We are really blessed with our family. Thanks Fay for engineering the tucker scene with one hand tied behind your back. You are indeed a living legend… but then Coult told me that over forty years ago didn’t he?