Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year!

The decorations are all down, packed away, most of the pine needles and glitter hovered up ( that task will take at least 6 months to complete fully!) and the Christmas tree taken off to the recycling point in the local park. I hope that packing everything away before Twelfth Night doesn’t give us a year of bad luck!  I am now ready to settle down and get stuck into my neglected course work.  I had meant to do lots of reading and sorting out of my notes over the break but, instead, had a lovely social family time so I feel rested and refreshed as though I’ve been on holiday!  

...actually, I can hardly believe I just wrote that.  We had eight people and two dogs over for Christmas Day, 12 people with six overnight guests on the 28th, and cooked for friends on New Year’s Eve.  We did an awful lot of cooking, washing up, and cleaning but it was interspersed with catching up with friends and family, lovely wintry walks, long phone calls to my Oz rellies, and blobbing out with Christmas movies. When the house was full of people they all mucked in to help so we never felt overwhelmed and had lots of fun.  On Christmas night we got out the games and I introduced my English rellies to the joys of Squatter – the Australian Sheep station game first invented in 1961.  It has become rather a vintage classic now and after initially wondering what from planet I had descended, they all became thoroughly hooked.

According to  http://www.boardgamegeek.com/ it is an
Australian sheep farming game. Each player starts with a sheep station, consisting of 5 Natural Pasture paddocks, fully stocked with 3,000 sheep. The player must improve the Station, in order to stock more sheep, first by paying the cost of Improved Pasture, and then Irrigated Pasture. The first player to have 6,000 sheep on a completely irrigated farm is the winner. The money needed to improve the Station, to buy the extra sheep and cover other expenses occurred when moving round the board is earned mainly from shrewd buying and selling of sheep, and from the sale of wool from sheep owned by the player at the time he reaches the 'Wool Sale'.
There are dreadful catastrophes awaiting the poor unsuspecting payer who can be hit by natural drought, bushfires and flooding or lose sheep to such diseases as blow fly infestation, foot rot, and pulpy kidney.  Until she began to thrash us all, my sister in law was beginning to get horribly depressed with all the disasters affecting her poor sheep!
We then had to cheer ourselves up with a few rounds of dominoes, rumicub and backgammon – far less stressful!

You will notice up to now I have avoided the dreaded topic of New Year resolutions.  As  those regular readers will know I do not believe in setting these until the new year closer to early spring.   I believe that now is the worst time to start getting exhausted in the gym and starving oneself living on rabbit food. When the days are longer, the daffodils wake up, the Easter bunny visits and the sun starts to shine I will come out of hibernation!!  For now I am just going to hunker down, get on with my work, wrap up warm and get through the winter.

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