Studies finished, time to head south.
Despite the inclement weather ... it rained most of the way as we drove to Orange (NSW) to visit our old friends S and C - with whom we also spent time with when we were in the UK.
We spent three happy days with them in their country-style cottage, helping them look after three little girls.
Leaving Orange, we were not keen to head south via the Blue Mountains, so we set off to Cowra. Hearing vague news reports on the radio about various flood-ridden shires and blocked roads, and noticing a darkness on the distant horizon ... we dropped into Cowra police station just to be sure. They assured us that there was no way we could drive south from there. So we turned around and retraced our steps - about 2 1/2 hours wasted. We had to endure the slow, winding Blue Mountains road with it's endless roadworks, twists and turns, and varying speed limits.
Shoalhaven Heads Hotel/Motel is just around the corner from Mum's little unit, right on the waterfront.
Lovely little spot to recover from the rigours of study and all that!
A few pleasant days with the folks, and then off to "the 'Gong" (Wollongong) for our big day. First we attended a video interview (for a job in Darwin) at a site in Wollongong, and then over to the university to finish what we had started.
We both got all clobbered up appropriately, and then graduated (with distinction).
It was an evening ceremony, so then we spent the night in the Boat Harbour Motel in the Gong.
Followed by breakfast by the water. Mmmm-hmmm!
To finish off the trip, a few days down at Huskisson White Sands south of Nowra, visiting with brother M and his family. M has a boat ....
... and a spin around the bay was very enjoyable.
M and Peter also went out and brought back a meal for everyone.
And of course this was one of those rare opportunities when a large section of the extended family managed to get together.
Various local wildlife came along for the occasion.
Back to Brissie
The weather was beautiful at Huskisson, and we headed back amid warnings of "dangerous thunderstorms" along the way. We heard that there had been thunderstorms in Brisbane in our absence, and Cowra was also now cut off with floodwaters. However, other than a brief shower with huge raindrops, it was fine - and hot - all the way home.
Approaching 'our' intersection in Brisbane, we had the odd sensation that something was missing.
In this photo from several months ago, there is a large traffic-lights pole, and we had often been amazed when looking at it from our windows to see it moving around in even the mildest breeze. Well ... it's gone. I guess it was a casualty of the storms.
AND Santa and friend have apparently moved in to the large apartment block next door.
No idea where to next ... yet. The world is our oyster, apparently.