Christmas Eve family stuff

It’s Christmas Eve, which means the big gathering of my extended family. We’ve always had it on Christmas Eve, which makes it easy for people with partners to attend the other family’s Christmas Day events.

It used to be a gathering at on the family member’s house, but with all of my mother’s generation having now downsized or moved out of the city after the kids have moved out, nobody has a suitably large home to host it any more. So for the past few years it’s been held at a park in Sydney’s west, by the Nepean River, but we’ve missed them because of COVID. This year is the first year we went to attend the event in the park.

It’s about a 45 minute drive there on motorways most of the way. We arrived a bit after 2pm (it had started at 2, though a few people had got there early to reserve a spot in the park. They needn’t have bothered – I thought the park would be packed with people out having picnics, but we actually had the whole park to ourselves! Scully got to run around free of the leash for the whole afternoon (and now she’s super tired tonight).

It was warm there: 35.5°C. Fortunately we were sitting in the shade and there was a bit of a breeze, so it didn’t feel bad at all. The generation below me (my cousins’ kids) are all roughly teenagers, and they were playing variously casual cricket, softball, and soccer. I joined in and had a bit of a hit with the softball bat. I prefer cricket, but by the time I joined in they’d retired that and moved on to softball. We also played some quoits.

There were just a few snacks and nibbles, and the wife of one of my cousins made her famous caramel slice. Everyone else was moving on to dinner at a nearby rowing club in the evening, but we left a bit before then to drive home (where I just made omelettes for dinner).

On the way back we stopped for petrol, and I went in to pay and said, “Pump 2”, and the guy behind the counter seemed confused and said, “No, you’re 1”.

I said, “No, I checked, I’m 2”.

He said, “You’re the black car there, right?”

I said, “No, I’m the blue car at the other pump.”

The guy had a look of horrified revelation and said, “That guy who just walked out paid for your pump!”

He must have realised there was something wrong because he came back in. The guy behind the counter said, “Sorry, you’ve paid for this man’s fuel.”

And the man turned to me and said, “Merry Christmas!”

We had a bit of a giggle and the guy behind the counter sorted it all out. Unfortunately… because then I had to pay for it!

After we got home I took advantage of the cooler evening to go for a 2.5k run. I really wanted to get this done before Christmas, because this run took my total running distance for the year 2022 to 500 km! I noticed a couple of months ago that this landmark was within reach, and have been diligent to try to reach it, so that felt pretty good. Although I ran a fairly slow time in the evening heat. (25.3°C, 66% humidity)

Tomorrow we have Christmas Day lunch with my wife’s family. I’m looking forward to meeting her nephew’s girlfriend, who is from Norway and has never been to Australia before. I hope she’s enjoying the heat which has finally hit us after that unusually cold start to December.

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