It’s the 23rd of December

Somehow. SOMEHOW! It’s been a crazy week – of celebrations, work, end of school, terrifying fire conditions and weather and a little well needed rest yesterday. It’s quite the rollercoaster around these parts at the moment – with emotions and weather and to do lists…I still haven’t sorted out all my shopping or wrapped a single present…but I know it will get done, it always gets done, rushed and definitely not perfect this year.

Tuesday we had the school graduation at school where the whole school and their families come together for dinner and then a disco for the kids afterwards. Being a small school (there’s just 35 in kids in total from Kinder to year 6) it’s not hard for everyone to come together.

It’s always a special night and one of my favourites from the year (especially as it’s the only chance I get a photo of all the girls together).

I wore a new Bohemian Traders frock that I absolutely love! The girls willingly stood for photos in front of various flowers because I am a total MUM and made them do it. Bless them.

Rob was out on a 12 hour shift with the RFS and didn’t get back to the dinner until the end with a couple of the other Dad’s from school too. What a wonderful example they set for those kids about community and volunteering. I was so proud.

Thursday night Lucy and I held out pop up shop at the pub which was wonderful – a chance for all in the village to come and see the stuff in person and gran some Christmas shopping. Plus! Lucy and I got to enjoy a glass of Prosecco while we did it!

We were sad to hear about some local RFS boys from another villager who had been burned as their truck was overrun and then on Friday morning when we woke, to hear about the two young men who had lost their lives. Such a tragedy.

Friday was Christmas with my family (well my brothers family who had come down to our place for the day). After such a busy time with the shop and end of year deadlines I can’t say I was ready for lunch for 16 people but we managed to pull it all together. There was no fancy tablescape, but everyone together, sharing a meal, a song, lots of laughs and time together. Plus we all got something to eat and somewhere to lay their heads at night…I call that success!

I collapsed into bed Friday night once I got Maggie to bed, leaving all the kids up watching movies and doing hair – now times change from toddlers to teens…and had a sleep of worry about the next day when Rob was back out fighting fires in catastrophic conditions for another long shift. The constant worry when he is out there in these conditions (I’m usually fine, but given the awful weather it just makes it scarier) makes for a long, long day.

Thankfully Mum took the two small girls and after I panic and stress cleaned the house, I actually got some time to put my feet up. It seemed like an eternity since I hadn’t packed an order or done work – it was merely cleaning up, washing and stressing. So relaxing!

Well that was until I saw on the Fires near me app that there was a fire just down the road in bushland in Wildes Meadow with the wind pumping and about 43 outside…it was a disaster and heading right for the village. We went from a notice of fire, to text messages and emergency warnings to seek shelter as the fire approaches and get out. Daisy and I ran around like crazy people – grabbing what we thought was important (funnily for me it was laptops and hard drives and passports and Maggie’s bunny from her bed) and the dogs while trying to find out from Rob who was 50kms away if we needed to get out. It was a stressful hour or so that’s for sure. We left in the end, on the advice of people who saw the fire and knew what they were talking about.

Thanks to the fast action on the ground with a local crew, 5 other trucks from the coast and then a helicopter dousing the flames, it got under control quickly and the crisis was averted. THANK GOD. 10 minutes without action and that fire would have ran up the hill straight for us all. These conditions are just so scary, so dry, so fast and so unpredictable.

Someone caught this photo of Rob as they found out about the fire back home while they were out.

He would have loved my frantic texts saying WHAT DO WE DO ROB?! I need to add calm into my fire action plan that’s for sure. We were back home an hour or so later, nerves shot and tears flowing as I waited for him to get back (which he did around 10.15pm after leaving at 5.50am). What a long day.

We collapsed into bed, slept for ages and had a very slow day yesterday. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster you guys, what a week.

Tomorrow we have Rob’s Mum and her partner arriving for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, then we have my Mum and step dad and Lucy and Chris here for Christmas Day. I have shopping to do, food to buy and menus to think about, not to mention ALL of the wrapping. We’ll get there though…we always do.

On the 27th we head to the farm for our annual post Christmas New Years trip that we have only ever missed once when we were in Paris 11 years ago. So there have been 14 New Years at the farm over the past 16 years. You guys know how special that place is to us all – time with Rob’s Dad and his step mum have been some of the best for us both as adults and parents and of course what our kids best summer holiday memories are made of. This year we are making a very sad trip up there – this will be Rob’s dad’s last Christmas with us and it makes me so sad I can’t even begin to talk about it because when I just think about it my heart hurts and the tears flow. This is the end of one chapter and it’s going to be very very hard to see it close. My heart is breaking for his Step mum, for Rob and his brother and for our girls and for me to loose someone as special as we will who we adore. We love this man so much.

I’m just…yep I can’t.

So until then, I’ll write the lists, I will try and rest and read, I’ll cook and wipe down benches, I’ll wrap presents and pop champagne, set tables and make up beds for visitors, I’ll cry at every stupid carol I hear. I’ll remember all the important stuff that matters in life which is actually just people that you love. To be loved and to love. Hold your loved ones close my friends x


  1. Oh Beth I cried through that whole beautiful post. So glad you’re all ok. And so very sorry to hear about Rob’s dad. I lost my dad 3 years ago. I wish I had more photos with him. I wish he’d had more time with my kids. To meet my baby niece. Enjoy all your Christmas gatherings & just being together. And thank you for continuing to share your life with us and your gorgeous blog. Merry Christmas. xx

  2. My heart is breaking for you Beth. I can see that family and friends are your world and these are some of life’s toughest moments you are living through.

  3. What a picture you paint, so different than the usual holiday run up with its predictability and tradition. I’m sure you’ll make the most of every minute, and thank you for sharing your experience, definitely puts things in perspective. Sending you much gratitude, peace, joy and good health along with best wishes for our beautiful Australia.

  4. Thank you for sharing Beth. You captured the sentiment a lot of us (even in the cities) are feeling this year, worry, weariness, gratitude and love for the real things that’s matter. Merry Christmas to you and yours x

  5. Beth, how on earth do you find the time to write and share with us all when …. EVERYTHING!!! I’ve been glued to the fires new me app and my heart skipped a beat when I saw how close they are to people I care about – you included. The most important thing at this time of year is family and friends and love, so feed everyone ham and cheese sandwiches on Xmas day if that’s all you can manage, and make this Christmas with Robs dad a celebration of love. Thank you for including us all in your lovely, crazy, beautiful life. Merry Christmas

  6. Oh thank you for post, I wiped tears away as I read though it. Not hard to make me cry at the moment, but you’ve shown the essence of how vulnerable we are all feeling right now.
    What an amazing job Rob and rfs volunteers are doing around Australia. Their selflessness has meant that many communities are still standing. I cannot imagine what would happen without them.
    I hope your Christmas break is full of good memories with your father in law at the farm. Merry Christmas from my family. To yours

  7. beth that photo of Rob should be on TIME mag its a special image. Hope for better news.

  8. Hugs and love to you all. My first Christmas without my dad, the feelings are big.
    Take care of yourself
    Cheers Kate

  9. Julie Quirke says

    We are tired of the rain in NZ and wish we could send it across the Tasman to our neighbors who need it so desperately.

    Take lots of photos if Robs Dad . Don’t worry about the things – just being together with each other is enough. My dad died 4 years ago. I know he knew how much I loved him, but if I could go back I would write him a letter . I would remind him about the time he taught me to make tea and coffee for the family, when I had nightmares he would get me up and give me milk and biscuits, the time he let me drive his car, how he made me breakfast in bed when I was home sick and how he waited up late for me when I was out late as a teenager.


  10. Hoo boy. The end of this post is a doozy. Very sad to hear what a bittersweet celebration it’ll be this year. I hope the fires calm down soon so you can enjoy the time together without that in the back of your mind. Sending you lots of love this Christmas x

  11. I am so sorry to hear that….none of us know what us going on behind the scenes for others. Cut everyone some slack, do only what you have to do and enjoy your time with those you love while you can. Sending a hug to you all. 🤗😘

  12. Beth, i’m A wreck!!!
    The fires, horrendous, people lost their homes and even worse lost loved ones. But those RFS volunteers and fire fighters who have come to help. Well I have no words for their amazing work!!!
    Enjoy enjoy enjoy your last Christmas with Rob’s Dad. Make those memories extra special full of love 💕
    Merry Christmas Beth to you and yours.
    Give Rob and your girls an extra big Christmas hug.
    We need more photos of Dotty’s smiles. I just love them.
    All my love

  13. Belinda Catt says

    Oh Beth, I read this and I felt your pain. The end of the year is soooooo hard and this year with the massive stress of the fires at times it’s just too much. Please thank your husband and his RFS mates from us, and thank you to you for holding the fort for him.
    My Dad passed away on January 12th this year suddenly and unexpectedly and my heart broke. I’ll add that I wish I had a copy of Dads voice, just to hear it one more time. And there are never enough photos. Please accept my deepest thoughts to you at this heartbreaking time.
    We have just finished all 4 sons through school and 2 with University and I promise you that everything you are doing now pays off, it does. Big love from my family to yours, B. xo

  14. It’s a Christmas like no other I’ve seen. So much sadness, worry and danger. So very sorry about Rob’s Dad. Losing people you love just sucks. I know you’ll treasure the time you have with him. My heart breaks for Rob, you and especially the girls who may not have the life experience to help them through. Good luck with the lists, wrapping and packing. You’re such a special person whose writing and photos bring so much pleasure to the virtual community you’ve built 🎄💕👏

  15. Oh Beth, I just want to give you a big hug. You’ve had so much going on & behind the scenes things must be so fucking hard knowing your father-in-law won’t see another Christmas but you still show up here & take the time to share your life with us. I really hope you get a chance soak it all in over the next few weeks & really unwind. You all deserve it.
    Big love to you all xxxx

  16. Pauline Walden says

    Your words – as always so eloquent. It’s difficult to think of wishing you a merry Christmas but I’m sure you will rise as you always seem to do. Love and peace and les effing fires to you all. Px

  17. Renae Foottit says

    Sending love and strength to you and yours right now. What a rollercoaster for you all. You’re not alone and no matter what presents do it don’t get bought and wrapped, you are surrounded by loved ones which I know you know is the most important thing.
    Merry Christmas ❤❤❤

  18. Oh my dear Beth…such a post…all of the emotions and I like many was watching those horrid(but necessary) updates all of Saturday and when I saw Burrawang heart was in my mouth for you and yours.

    Knowing all I do now, thanks to this very heartfelt and sad news, tears about Rob’s Dad…and all that is ahead for you all…I can only send one thing. LOVE. Denyse xx

  19. Tears are close to the surface at this time of year beth!
    My late mothers birthday today!
    What an emotional roller coaster is life!
    Oh Rob … What a trooper!
    May you all anjoy the special times this christmas too!
    Life is temporary!
    Much love mxx

  20. Merry Christmas to you and your family Beth. it sounds like a topsy Turvy time for you, so I hope you have a relaxing, peaceful festive season. And here’s hoping for rain for everyone

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