Gripper visit

My friends are here!
Of course, it rained and rained prior to the visitation, so to add to the excitement of the Gripper visitation, they had to leave the car and trailer across the river and wind kids, adults, and an extensive array of camping paraphernalia across the river when they arrived.  We had a mad rush to get the campsite mowed while the boys gave their upper bodies a good work out on the winder.  Then it was full steam ahead with tent erection, mattress pumping etc while the children and I jigged with excitement at being reunited . . . aaahhh!
We had the most amazing week.  It was bliss to be woken up by the children in the mornings and we had some great adventures in the kitchen, morning and night, making pancakes, pasta etc to fuel all that boundless enthusiasm and energy.  Neil and Jane drove me up to Comboyne one day and experienced the perils of Tom’s Creek Road for themselves, and lunched at ‘The Udder Cow Cafe’, they did ‘Timbertown’ in Wauchope another day when Jemima apparently charmed the birds out of the trees and had hard-bitten artisans giving her presents, bewitched by those big green eyes, button nose and engaging smile.  Work it, baby, work it!!
The rain slowed to a drizzle, then stopped, and we were blessed with some lovely sunny days so the Grippers set out for a day on the beach and then, inspired by their aquatic antics, set out to travel the Ellenborough river.  They had such a great time washed downstream by the current (despite having to clamber home carrying their Li-Lo’s and boogie boards) that they insisted that we down tools and join them. ‘Why not?’  We had never been down the river, never explored it, never even been in it!!  So we had a friendly fight over modes of transport, and brought the rubber boat into play to accommodate us all and the Grippers generously relinquished a Li-Lo each to us as they reckoned that was the superior way to sample the stream.  It was a gorgeous day and perfect for letting the water caress our cares away as we just let the current direct us through tranquil pools and mini-rapids.  Pure bliss!
When we got to the bridge I was keen that they go on and sample the whole stretch of our river boundary so Angus and I walked back up the river to the house to get the car and drive over to ‘the other side’ to collect the weary wanderers.  It takes 45 minutes to let the stream carry you from ‘Gripper camp ground’ on Ribbon River Flat to the bridge, and then a further 50 to get to our boundary – amazing!
We had some lovely starlit dinners together at the campground and one night we cracked open the pink Moet that Shirley and Marcel had bought us for our engagement and followed it with our sample bottle of Peterson House bubbles which we had to use our expertise to judge whether suitable for the wedding.  Considering that we drank it AFTER the Moet, it held up very well – dry, appley and crisp – lovely!
We had an abortive day in Port Macquarie looking for bridesmaids’ dresses with Audy, even Jane could not believe the lack of taste, style, or class demonstrated by the pathetic array of shops in Port.  See what I have to put up with!  As a result, we have handed over Bridesmaid Accoutrement to the Team UK – Mummy, Millie and Maria have teamed up online and in person to track down something pretty for Audy and Issy to shine in on the 15th March.  Go, Girls, Go!
Jemima had all the animals eating out of her hand (as usual) and we had some really good Platypus sightings despite the slight spate in the river.  All good things must end and the Grippers left us after a week – sadly missed, not forgotten, always welcome!

Chook taming, Gripper style!
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