Happy New Year to all and sundry, though New Year celebrations will never be the same for me after my experiences in northern Laos last December. This year's events were a very quiet affair, amongst friends camping up at our usual windsurfing haunt of Coronation Beach.
I took the camper trailer down a week before Christmas and spent a bit of time commuting before the holiday proper. Even though I already live in a beachhouse within 150m of the high tide, it's very relaxing staying in the camper, with no mod cons, and getting up with the sun for long walks along the beach, paddling over the reef at low tide spying small fish and the occasional octopus, and getting lots of windsurfing in. It's great for getting that early session in before the hoards from town arrive, and to enjoy the evening session just before dusk when the waves smooth out and the wind turns offshore, knowing a hot shower (courtesy of the good old solar shower bag) and a cold beer are only a few steps away. It's a great crowd of regulars who do the Xmas stint at Coronation, so it's also very social.
The kids from next door joined me again. Maddie and Demi stayed five nights but Carter only managed 2 nights before he missed mum too much, though I suspect he probably missed his computer games even more! The girls relaxed once they didn't have little bro' to look after and just chilled for a few days. The highlight of the trip was when we strategically placed a toy rubber snake across one of the paths leading from the beach to the camping area. Six hours of fun was had as successive campers were confronted by what looked to be a possibly poisonous snake obstructing their passage, and we laughed hysterically at their responses. Then further mirth occurred after the girls decided to slip it under the wall whilst people were showering! The occasional gasp of disbelief was thankfully not followed by the sight of a frightened naked bather, and mostly there were bellows of recognition as the same snake made a second appearance amongst now much wiser campers.
But after another week of commuting I at last packed up the camper and headed home, to a house which has had mice free ranging for a few days unchecked, and the death of my last chicken by what looks like a fox. I've still got the neighbours' three, who roost high up in the bougainvillea where no fox will get them! They've even been known to lay eggs in there!
Hazel has loved being up at Coronation, so much so that she has been extremely reluctant to return home on those days when I've had to come in to town to work. Her rebellious nature has raised its ugly head a couple of times, with one day where she ran off down the road to the beach and then slipped out of her collar and ran back down again after I'd hauled her home. I think I'm reading her body language pretty accurately when I say she is not happy about being home. Bah, she'll get used to it!!