Yesterday we had the postponed Fullagar Family Christmas. Chonk and Irma had originally planned to be here from Switzerland for conventional December Christmas. Elf suggested they delay until February, for various complicated family reasons, but with the bonus of cheaper airfares and accommodation.
So we have them and their beautiful kids Bea and Eric here in Tasmania for a week. They are staying down at Imp and Ed's a) because we had them last time and b) Chonk is allergic to Hattie. Also the little Swiss are a bit nervous about dogs, but they seemed to make great strides with Winston over the last two days.
Bill and Felicity and Uncle Fred are here as well, and everyone piled in around the two tables for a big lunch yesterday, preceded by a Kris Kringle-style present exchange. I received coffee beans and cheeses. which of course I used as an excuse to make dadjokes about the infant Cheeses in a manger etc. Michael was given some fantastic giant stuffed hand-gloves. They have a little pocket in them for a battery-operated movement-sensitive noise-maker. The idea is that you punch on with them and the noise-maker goes thwack, pow, kerrang followed by some ogre-style growls. Michael initially wasn't too thrilled with this, but once we took out the noise-maker, he seemed quite pleased with the now-silent gloves and the now-free noise-maker. This afternoon he was quietly and happily reading a book while tapping his noisemaker on the floor, generating all the sound and fury of a classic ogre v. werewolf battle to the death.
Karri and Miah received bright blue and cerise velour jumpsuits with hooded tops, from Felicity. Immediately the girls pulled the hoods over their heads and said "Look - we're Dementers!!" Those of us not au-fait with Harry Potter asked the obvious question. "They're evil black soul-suckers!!"
We had fifteen at the table for FebuChristmas lunch, which I think is a sit-down-meal record. Ed picked up a couple of hot chickens from the shops to make the whole thing easier, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We finished off with one of Felicity's amazingly decorated fruitcakes, and Imp's pavlova. Splendid. I highly recommend choosing a weekend at random (preferably sometime in summer), and calling that Christmas. Shopping is easier and cheaper, food is not so hard to come by, and people can fly in from wherever at half the price.
Bill and Felicity however, tend not to fly. They like to have their car with them, so they drive 8 hours from Canberra to Melbourne, cross Bass Strait on the ferry, then drive 5 hours to Hobart. Very often these trips (and others they undertake across the continent) are for a birthday, Christmas or a wedding, and Felicity has a large cake for the occasion. I was nearly going to ask yesterday what is the longest trip they have made in the car without a cake, but I thought that might sound rude.