20 December 2006
Hi to you all - my family and friends, both here in Australia and overseas
You may not receive a Christmas card from me this year so this email will have to be my Christmas and New Year greetings to you for 2006. Life has been so hectic and hasn’t stopped for a minute since April. Currently I don’t have a table to write at (it’s still at Memorial Drive) and I cannot find my address book. So I’m sorry about this generic letter, but please know my thoughts are with you.
Moving to and from Eastwood
As you may know, 2006 has been the year for consolidating my living arrangements. After my back surgery in Jan 2005 (yes it’s almost 2 years and I’m doing really well) I moved to Adelaide in June last year, to my small cottage in Eastwood to rehabilitate and to avoid driving long distances to and from work. I was working in my business at Hahndorf, as well as at UniSA and doing far too much of course! But after selling my business in Oct 05 things settled down…for a while!
In April this year I decided I missed the family, the Hills and local politics too much and decided to sell my cottage, but not after completing a ‘How To’ makeover. Jo and Dave helped and we ended up selling the cottage after the first open for a very nice price. Then I moved to Mt Barker and lived with Jo and Dave for a few weeks, before Jo and I traveled overseas.
Jo and I had a great time in Holland, Germany, Denmark and Austria for 5 weeks, whilst Dave stayed home and managed the house and animals. It was lovely to see all of my Dutch family and friends again. Mum’s side of the family, the Peters are below.
I’m going back to Holland in April 2007, just in time for the 75th Anniversary of my father’s old football club. Dad is coming too of course!
Buying the farm
The day before Jo and I left for overseas Jo, Dave and I put in an offer to buy a 20acre horse property 5 minutes from our house at Mt Barker, thinking we wouldn’t get it. But luck was with us and whilst we were overseas we heard the good news. So since landing back in Mt Barker in late Sept, we have been working very hard making our house at Memorial Drive, Mt Barker look beautiful. The past 9 weekends have been laying new floors, painting, gardening, packing our stuff and finally last weekend we were able to open our house to the market. Now we just have to sell it!
In the meantime, 4 weeks ago we moved into our farm and we are thoroughly enjoying it. I have a self-contained studio about 150 metres from the main house where Dave and Jo live. I hardly see them though as we each have our own privacy, car garage and entrance. It’s a terrific solution and one we hope to enjoy for many years. The open space, cool nights, horses and gum trees all make it a beautiful place to live, but still only 40 minutes from town. Our new postal address is PO Box 1343, Mt Barker 5251 South Australia. We are on Stamps Road, Bugle Ranges, 700 metres from the Flaxley Road turnoff, first driveway on the left. If you’re in the Hills at any time please come in for a cuppa. We’d love to see you. I don’t have a phone there yet, but you can always get me on my mobile: 0412 417774.
New family members
To ensure I could share the horse experience with Jo at the new farm, about 4 weeks ago, we drove, with my dad, about 400km north to Pt Augusta to buy a miniature horse (pregnant) called Cookie (in picture).
Her little husband was standing in a 3m x 3m pen and we thought ‘how sad and lonely’ so we bought him too and came home with two and a half miniature horse! They are delightful and give us lots of pleasure. Hopefully I will be able to breed from them, and maybe one day ride a buggy with them. Does that make me a true van Eck then?
Mum and Dad’s move to Mt Barker
Just recently, mum and dad finalized the sale of their home of 45 years. It’s a bit sad really but the area where they live is becoming very commercial, lots of traffic and noise and they couldn’t walk anywhere. Also their block of land was too large to manage, especially the garden. So they have bought a nice big house (circa 1971), but on a small block in the centre of Mt Barker. They can walk everywhere, and chat to lots of people as they will be part of a community now. Mum has already started meeting all the neighbours. So for the next two weeks, the whole family will pitch in and move mum and dad from Littlehampton to Mt Barker. This Christmas will be our last Christmas at Kookaburra Lane, Littlehampton.
The hard part for us is throwing things out, but luckily we won’t have to do that because most things can be saved for the Van Eck Historical Museum, to be opened at Clayton in 2007. More about that another day. This weekend I start cleaning up dad’s shed with him. That will be the biggest challenge. But after a few beers and listening to some nice German music I think we’ll be ok! Mum and dad’s new address after 4 January 2007 is: 9 Exhibition Road, Mt Barker, 5251 South Australia. They will have the same phone number: 08-83982823. They have been busy painting and cleaning their new house ready for the big move.
2007 has quite a few new projects ready for me at the University and I’m looking forward to these. Jo is still working very hard at GM Holden as a mechanical engineer. This year Dave started out as a sub-contractor gyprocker and is working on lots of new houses both at Victor Harbour and Woodside. With all of us working full time and more, it’s been hard to find the time to visit friends, or even have the energy to stay in touch, so we’re very sorry if we’ve neglected you. Hopefully things will settle down in 2007 (do they ever in our family?) and you will hear, and see more from me in particular.
I hope you and your family are all well and happy. Enjoy your Christmas and New Year break and holidays if you have any, and hopefully I’ll see you in 2007, sooner rather than later.
Many, many kind thoughts and wishes both now and all year
Love from Di, Jo and Dave.xxx