Monday, December 29, 2008


Quick note about Sally - She LOVES Christmas. When she and Jon headed from the guest shack (which was not at ALL referred to as the "love shack"), she was faced with a sign on the door:

IMGP0915.JPGIf you have trouble with backwards reading, Christmas was canceled. Sally was very upset.

IMGP0916.JPGI will be starring in "Heidi's Christmas Special". Merry Christmas.

Once Sally had recovered, it was coffee all around, then a round of early morning spirits.

IMGP0917.JPGNew Zealand Christmas cheer. With champagne at 8:30AM. In the sun. It is about 70 degrees. From the left is Jon, Sara, Sally, myself, and Nick.

I was quite surprised to find that Santa had come with not one, but TWO gifts!

IMGP0918.JPGGuess getting Santa liquored up instead of cookies gets results.

IMGP0919.JPGSome serious giftage. Yes, that IS a blow-up kiwi bird behind Nick. Jon's phallic gift is actually a Mag-Lite, expensive only because is must have been sold by the pound. It is amazing.

Other than finally having a day free of leg soreness, Santa also brought me a VERY visible safety vest for biking AND a christmas tree crystal growing kit. Sweet!

IMGP0920.JPGMag-Lite vs deadly blow-up kiwi. You will notice that, two pictures above, champagne was enjoyed all 'round.

At this point, more friends starting coming over. A dizzying array of people, all British ex-pats, made a very jovial round of the house for several hours.

I notice that I am saying the word "Brilliant!" much more often than I would in the States.

At this point, the presentation of the homemade bench is made to Lloyd and Laura.

IMGP0921.JPGRarely have I seen unbridled joy of this magnitude. I think that Laura was speechless for a bit mostly to give her some time to come up with the most polite way to ask why we had built them a hitching post. That weighs approximately 400 lbs. I think it came out brilliantly.

Lloyd also received a Jesus action figure with "gliding action". Sara came up with some big-time ring bling, and Nick ended up with a brand spanking new PS3. The look on his face when he figured it out was indistinguishable from that of a six-year old who received a PS3. Pure joy.

Breakfast was served, a fancy affair including eggs and toast, chutney and more champagne. And wine. And beer, later on.

A VERY merry Christmas.

IMGP0922.JPGJust after Christmas breakfast. Left to right: Jon, Richard, Nick, Sara, and Laura. Not pictured: Copious amounts of British slang.

IMGP0923.JPGEither this kid is built like a giant capital "L" or my shoes are just so cool he had to try them on.

Things finally started to wind down and visitors left slowly. A trough of energy led to a call for a swim. The five of us packed into the car and headed for the beach, a five minute drive away.

IMGP0926.JPGI just really hope that all these boats have sewage holding tanks. . .

The water was a little crisp at first, but within 5 minutes, felt as warm as bathwater. Cold bathwater, yes, but very tolerable.

IMGP0928.JPGSara was forced to sing "I've Had the Time of My Life" just before leaping into Nick's arms during this impromptu Swazolympics. This was the best attempt of the group.

Needless to say, the performance of Nick and I was slightly less graceful.

Back to the house for a serious round of drinks. And party poppers. And "crackers".


Lloyd, Jon, Sara, Sally, Nick, and Laura's arm. The big things on the table are the crackers. I have never seen these before in my life, and everyone was shocked at this.

IMGP0933.JPGSo you pull these, there is a small explosion, and they come apart to reveal a tiny prize (I got a small rubber fish charm!), a piece of paper with jokes, and a paper crown that you have to wear.

IMGP0935.JPGQueen Sally and King Nick oversee the peasants.

Dinner was delicious, including individual banty chickens for everyone as well as a pheasant. I think I should re-label this post "Christmas Renaissance Day" given the British accents, cooked pheasant, and crowns. The empty wine bottles are really stacking up at this point.

As night came on, the sky filled with stars. There is not a lot of light pollution here, so it is easy to pick out constellations. Down here, Orion's Belt is about all I can identify, but I'm pretty sure Orion's Pants are connected somehow. Buddum-ching.

The best place to view stars, scientifically-speaking, is from a hot tub, so it is there that we retire.

IMGP0938.JPGSally, Jon, Nick, Sara, and me. We may or may not have shorted out the hot tub by overflowing water. Just to be clear, we all had requisite bathing suits on.

This led to extreme relaxation. And off to bed after this. The plan for tomorrow is for some boating action.

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