Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oíche chiúin

I was born in Ireland and it was compulsory to study the Irish language in school all the way through to leaving at the age of 18. I was never very good at it and now would struggle to have a conversation in Gaelic but can read the written word quite easily. At Christmas we sang all the traditional carols but also learned the Irish version of them. Same tune, different words. 

Funny how living on the far side of the world makes me feel nostalgic for all the traditions of my childhood. This week I found myself Googling the words to Silent night and this is what I found...

Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic Dé,
Cách 'na suan, dís araon,
Dís is dílse ag faire le spéis,
Naí beag gnaoi-gheal ceanán tais caomh
Críost ina chodladh go séimh,
Críost ina chodladh go séimh.

Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic Dé,
Aoirí ar dtús chuala an scéal,
"Aililiuia" aingil ag glaoch
Cantain Shuairc i ngar is i gcéin
Críost ár Slánaitheoir féin,
Críost ár Slánaitheoir féin.

Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic Dé,
Mac Dé bhí, gáire a bhéil,
Tuar dá rá 's dá lán-chur i gcéill,
Ann gur tháinig tráth chinn a tséin,
Críost a theacht ar an saol,
Críost a theacht ar an saol.

Ah, the nostalgia. It made my eyes well up as I tunelessly sang it in the kitchen while preparing dinner. I thought I would share this tender moment with my English born, Welsh and Irish parented and Australian citizened children. 

We were enjoying our Christmas dinner as I said proudly 
"I can sing Silent Night in Irish... Well, if I have the words"

This was the kids response...

Byron responded with
"I can sing Silent night in Latvian... Well, if I have the words"

Out came the iphone to Google the choice of languages that Silent Night has been translated into and thus started the singing competition. The children's tears of laughter flowed as Byron bellowed the hymn out in languages he had never before spoken, including my beloved Irish. It didn't sound quite the same as I remembered from my childhood. 

I think I'll keep my nostalgic moments to myself from now on!

First food!

Our Veggie patch has produced it's first edible delight! A cucumber. It weighs in at a mighty 49grams and is 10cm long. Just enough for a few tiny slices on each of our sandwiches at lunch today. Although I am very excited I think I am a long way from feeding our family of five from the backyard. Thanks God for supermarkets!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Feeling a trifle tense dear?

Every year we make a Christmas trifle. We use a beautiful Waterford crystal bowl that my brother Joe bought us for our wedding present. This year I managed to find a packet of an instant butterscotch pudding powder in a food shop that specialises in European imports. I was so excited as this was one of the layers that went into my childhood Christmas trifle. Byron was a little less thrilled as it had never been a layer in his childhood trifle and both us us wanted to have one that most closely matched our memories. 

I made it so I won! Italian sponge finger biscuits on the base, raspberry jelly to soak into the sponge and then set, fruit pieces, BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE, custard and finally whipped cream and sprinkles! Yum!

How do you make your trifle?

And how do you settle disputes if you have different traditions?!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas 2011

To all our friends and family and to all who read our blog. 
We wish you a very Happy Christmas, filled with peace and laughter and time spent in the company of family and friends, good food, a glass to raise and happiness in your heart.
Gina, Byron, Sian, Rhiannon and Gareth

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Gareth got a fantastic "Make your own Volcano" kit from his cousins for his birthday last month.

It was with great excitement that he successfully caused it to erupt!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Goodbye friends.

We said goodbye to Simi and her friends last night as they packed to return to Melbourne. 
We wished them safe onward journey and good luck with getting their Australian qualifications and work. 
As we hugged goodbye Simi gave Sian a beautiful set of Rosary beads to keep and remember her by.
I am sure they will be treasured for many years to come...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Goodbye, Farewell...

What a day we have just had. The word emotional roller-coaster jumps to mind. Rhiannon finished Primary School today and there were lots of tears and laughter combined. Many of my photos had images of kids just too upset to share. Looking at them when I came home I filled up myself as I saw the vulnerability on their little faces.

The day started in church with a lovely Mass where they were given candles as mementoes. They then had a lovely lunch in the school hall and were given an amazing "Clap Out" by the rest of the school.

At the end of the day Rhiannon wanted to catch the school bus home for one last time. As the driver let her out he waved and beeped his horn all the way down our road till he was out of sight...

...and that's when the tears really started to fall...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Lights Drive By.

At this time of year it is fun driving home in the dark and seeing the light displays on some of the local houses. Because it gets dark so late here in Australia we are not often out driving at that time and so tonight as it got dark Sian decided we should all get into our pj's and go driving around the local streets listening to Christmas music. It sounded like a plan to avoid going to bed on a mid week school night to me but we decided to be fun parents for a change and go with the silliness. It was also the night before Rhiannons final day in Primary School and I thought it would be a good way to distract her from thinking too much about it. We had a lovely time laughing and oohing and aaaghing over the elaborate displays. Its not easy trying to show you here what they looked like. Here's a photo, now multiply the magic by 100!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Touch Rugby 2011

As we head towards the end of the school year we also reached the Grand Final of the Touch Footy season. Gareth's team were unbeaten all through the entire season but lost in their final game getting second place. Rhiannons team were defeated every single game including the semi final and came fourth!

Although the mighty oranges were a bit crestfallen it was nothing a medal and a sausage sizzle couldn't fix!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Adventures from abroad.

Our hospital has had some International Nurses working with us over recent weeks. They are doing a course to assess them for Registration in this country. It is almost time for them to get on a plane to Melbourne for the next part of their assessment.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know one of these Nurses in particular. On her first week in this area I was asked to give her a lift to our local church for Mass as she has no car. Through meeting up outside of the hospital I have enjoyed hearing all about her family back in India. I always love the opportunity to hear stories of other cultures. It is fascinating to hear the similarities and the differences. I hope she has enjoyed seeing us and how we live and that she will bring away with her many stories to share with her family on her return.

To wish our friends goodbye we met in Blackbutt Reserve this morning for a breakfast BBQ. It was a glorious day, blue skies and sunscreen. We ate, talked and walked around the park and saw the animals before going our separate ways. It is a wonderful thing to meet people from outside of this country. It makes me stop and look at where I live with new eyes. I get butterflies in my tummy to think that this is our home and makes me appreciate the opportunities we are living every day.
Safe travel everyone and good luck in your next step of your adventure!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A change is as good a rest...?!

In the midst of all the craziness of Christmas a position came up at work. A temporary post that would involve leaving my ward based work and driving around five Newcastle hospitals, assessing patients for suitability to be admitted to our Rehabilitation unit. It sounded like a change and I was lucky enough to be offered it. And so I find myself working twice my normal hours, learning on the go, enjoying the new challenges and meeting many people I would never otherwise cross paths with.

On the down side it means I have missed many school events that I would normally attend, the Year 8 Award Ceremony, the Primary school Advent Liturgy, the school band concert at the local old folks home. My house  is slowly becoming more chaotic as normal chores are left undone through lack of time. Christmas cards destined for the UK and Ireland are written and ready to post. If only I could remember to put them in the car to bring to the Post Office. I have hardly looked at my regular blogs that I normally enjoy reading and my blog writing here has been sporadic.

There is a saying that the grass is always greener. That you look at someone else's job and see the glamorous side of it but it is not till you actually do it that you have an appreciation for how hard that person might actually work. I'm enjoying the change in scenery but I also know that next week when my colleague returns relaxed and refreshed I will be very happy to swap the car keys for the drug trolley ones once more!

...and yes, I promise I'll get those cards in the post first thing tomorrow morning!

Monday, December 05, 2011

An angel in disguise.

Gareth received a beautiful present in the post this week from his Godmother in England. It was to mark his Communion that he made this year. He was delighted when he saw that it was a boy Willow Angel because we have a few that are girls.

The ones that we have are lined up on a table next to a window on our stairs. He moved them all a little closer to one another to make space for his boy. I stopped to take a photo of it to send back to Cathy.

As I pressed the button on my camera the sun came out from behind a cloud and the shadow behind our boy changed!

It was the shadow of one of the girl angels (complete with wings) that just lined up perfectly with our new arrival.

A bit like our Gareth... An angel in disguise!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

I'm an Auntie again!

Welcome to our family baby Cara. 
You are already so very loved. 
Your cousins are going to have so much fun spoiling you as you grow!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Getting Christmassy Down Under!

It's December, the first day of summer and we are getting out the Christmas decorations.

I know I've said this before and I'll probably be saying it when I'm sitting in a Nursing Home, but preparing for Christmas in the heat is just plain odd!  

We got a bit silly when we opened the boxes of decorations and all squeezed into the little kiddy dress-up outfits, except for Gareth who stuffed himself and some pillows into the only adult sized Santa suit!

I can only blame the heat!