The four hour flight to Vancouver was a delight. My window seat afforded me a fantastic view as I passed over the provinces. The National Film Board flicks were great; fun animation and educational stories about some homegrown artists and writers. Sunset found me cruising into Vancouver over the snowy Rocky Mountains and glistening harbour as we touched down beside the Pacific Ocean
The first few hours of flight were ok sipping wine, watching movies and reading my book. Then everyone around me settled in to sleep. The cabin lights went off and each time I got up to stretch my legs, I observed that 99% of the travellers were stretched out, had heads resting on their neighbours or sat upright skwooshed into their travel pillows, all sound asleep. I became frustrated that I could not even master a cat nap. Anyone who know me well is aware that I can sleep anywhere and drop into dreamland within seconds of hitting the pillow. I think I discovered my sleep nemesis.
I managed to keep busy, resigned to the fact that sleep would not be assisting me in counting down the hours. At one point I was convinced that I must almost be in Australia but when I checked the flight map, I was only half-way between Vancouver and Sydney, in the air for eight hours!?! With difficulty, I struggled to convince myself that I would be able to last another nine hours. Thanks to my Ipad apps and my book, I survived and was soon thrilled to be peering down on the Island Down Under. The collective feelings of anxiety and impatience from the passengers was palpable as everyone was held on board waiting for the luggage compartments to be sprayed against foreign bacteria. Luckily I did not have to wait for my suitcase and customs was a breeze. A four-legged airport employee, a well-fed beagle, walked nonchalant by my luggage and gave me the nod to be on my way. I jumped on the train where I had my first view of Sydney, the harbour and Opera House and its suburbs,with lush flowering foliage, palm trees and a few coloured fall leaves. Al picked me up at the train station and drove me in his coveted Land Rover to greet Danielle. She had completed a Colour-Run that morning where participants douse each other with coloured chalk after the race. Check out images on Danielle’s blog: healthyasahorsevet.wordpress.com
What a joy to hug my daughter and her partner Al after one year apart. The drive through the country to Patinack Farm was delightful. The area of New South Wales where they live is The Hunter Valley, known for its Stud Farms, Olive Groves and Wineries.
Danielle has always been an independent child who set her heart on a future goal to become an Equine Veterinarian. From age five onward she followed her passion into Guelph University in Ontario and then Edinburgh University in Scotland. She and the love of her life, Alastair McEachern, moved to Australia about three years ago where they now work and play. The home that comes with Danielle’s work contract has a great porch and back yard. Salty, their German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) loves his yard and nearby paddocks and river to run through. They have a veggie garden and a few chickens or “chooks” in Aussie-talk, that provide them with fresh eggs.
There is a unique type of pleasure that a parent gets when they see the home, the family and the career that a child has created for themselves through hard work and determination. Danielle and Al welcomed me into their home with special food, decorations, drinks and a relaxed, comfortable environment. Dani made a gorgeous pumpkin lasagna and salad for our first meal together.
After dinner we had a great stroll to the river where Salty and Rudy,a Kelpie, that Dani and Al were sitting, swam like mad chasing rocks and each other. I took a few shots of the Aussie foliage and rocks. It is so fun being in a totally different environment where everything, including the way the locals speak English, is different!