Christmas 2021

As I wrote last year, we thought we were recovering from the year from hell. But 2021 brought a double dip and we were once again locked down or restricted for the majority of the year. But survive we have.

On 13 January we welcomed little Aida into the world. She weighed in at a cute 2508 grams and came with a full complement of doting grandparents. Evan and Steph have been extremely generous with her, allowing us cuddles, walks, book reading, playing on the floor and anything else to keep her amused.

Aida loves being outdoors. Watching trees and the creatures that inhabit them and sitting in a park looking out for friendly dogs are favourite pastimes.

Sadly, we have missed even more of Brianna’s growth, but our tickets are booked to Berlin in May 2022 and a booster vaccination is booked in January. Brianna is getting to know us remotely with sing songs, books, kisses and demonstrations of her toys. I love how she can chatter in Spanish as well as English.

Brianna’s favourite pastime is exploring local playgrounds. I’m sure we will have a long list of playgrounds to visit in Berlin and Granada.

So we were back to entertaining ourselves, and two little granddaughters was a wonderful excuse for me to knit. Often there was a matching something for their special friend. My last project was a knitted Christmas wreath!

Bruce kept up a fair amount of his freelance work and explored his new computer. He designed even more t-shirts and created the fillings for an Advent calendar for Aida.

A planned weekend at Sorrento with Evan, Steph and Aida resulted in us all together for two weeks after lockdown number 5 was called. It was an opportunity to watch Aida develop day by day, as well as sharing baby duties and working on our own craft projects.

We made some short journeys within Victoria and even ventured beyond to South Australia.

Our first was a Bushfire Relief journey to north-eastern Victoria in March. We just wanted to provide some support to the communities that were ravaged by the 2019-2020 fires. It was with mixed feelings that we observed the massive regrowth to the giant eucalypts. This is a beautiful part of the world, well worth preserving. Of course we bounced from brew-pub to brew-pub as Bruce explored the offering in that part of the world.

In April we made a family tour to Yackandandah – the birthplace of my g-grandparents and the town where my father grew up. Sitting just west of the Great Divide, Yackandandah is a community driven town. The whole region is known for its autumn colours and this year they did not disappoint.

Little Aida, just 3 months old, was taken by the colours of the leaves. It is tempting to return next year to show her them again.

We continued our journey to Corryong in the high country and then the Great River Drive along the Murray to the Hume Weir. Bruce researched the road and some extra history.

We made great plans to travel to Adelaide in South Australia in July, which was delayed until August. Our first stop was Warrnambool on Victoria’s south western coast and we arrived just 45 minutes before a state-wide lock down was announced. Our experience was limited to a 5km radius of our motel for just 2 hours per day and an experience of Warrnambool’s take away cuisine.

We did make our planned trip to South Australia in November, having passed numerous COVID requirements. It was daunting to go to another state, but we enjoyed the change of scenery, and to remember there is a world beyond our own backyard.

Christmas will be a Stainsby/Watson affair. I’m particularly looking forward to sharing the day with Fred (3 years and 11 months), George (1 year and 1 month) and Aida (11½ months). And there will be a couple of dogs thrown into the mix.

Alex with Freddie, George and Aida in the Fitzroy Gardens VIC

Our Christmas list is small – just support for something we are passionate about. This year we are devastated by the crisis in Afghanistan. But we admire the vision of Mahboba’s Promiseto provide a sustainable future within a secure environment for disadvantaged Afghan women and children.

We wish you family fun at Christmas and a safe and healthy 2022.