We are sitting in Castlemaine on Christmas Eve; but to us, it feels like Boxing Day. This is because we had our "Xmas" yesterday; a picnic in the park with our daughters (and Alison's mum, Elsy) which now seems to have become a tradition in our family. No-one feels any inclination to return to a formal Xmas dinner in someone's house; this way, everyone brings a bit of this and that, we sit under a tree, and it is very pleasant. And roundabout in the park there are many others doing something similar.
(And, at last, I got approval from our daughters for the length of my shorts - which I suspect means that the (silly, to me) current fashion of men's shorts being knee-length may be on its way out. I see little difference between knee length "shorts" and long pants.)
This morning, after a bit of intensive lawn mowing (we had worried that various plants up here would succumb to heat and lack of water while we were away in New Zealand, but there was quite substantial rainfall - which means that the grass grew more than it might have) we walked down into town. As we often do. We found heavier traffic than we've ever seen there before - people circling look for a car space - and also more densely packed cafes. We were going to have a coffee out - but that's what everyone else was doing too. So we walked home again and had one there.
Tomorrow, it is "real" Xmas Day, and we have no plans at all. We'll sleep in and perhaps not be too active - the temperature predicted is for 35 degrees or so.
We'll begin the next year leading our usual lives, working in Melbourne on Thursdays and Fridays and living up here in Castlemaine the rest of the time. We've booked a trip to Sri Lanka in August, for two weeks (to get a bit of warmth in the depths of winter) and I vaguely think about walking the Overland Track in Tasmania again in July. (But what Alison thinks about this I don't know). But - we do plan to go to Britain in 2020 and do some walking somewhere there Yorkshire? Scotland? - all vague but the trip itself is sort of definite.