|Aeshe and I returned to Eckert today, revisiting more gorgeous scenery of snowy hills, frozen lakes, icy rivers, and deer, deer, everywhere! I even saw genuine reindeer. Unfortunately the deer seem to have a magnetic attraction to the road, so for every live deer I saw (some complete with antlers, even more exciting!) there were the same number of road-kill deer. I found that a little disturbing at first, but I suppose it's not a lot different to the road-kill kangaroos which feature along the roads at home, so I got used to it fast enough once I had made the comparison. Speaking to my brother on the phone later in the day, I mentioned the deer, and his one word response summed up his appreciation of the species quite well.... "venison"!!!
Seeing as Australia is a day ahead, I spoke to all my family today as they enjoyed their warm and sunny Christmas day down at the beach. Usually it can be a little blowy and grey around Christmas at the coast, but that's when I'm there and apparently my absence is enough to guarantee much more pleasant weather. Figures. It was great to speak to them, even if I was standing in a Walmart at the time, just before closing, trying to ignore the announcements; it was the only place I had reception on my phone, and that was also warm and protected from the icy weather outside. As I spoke to them I was wandering around laughing at some of the product range being promoted for Christmas in the Walmart; namely, a large plastic mounted deer head that sings no less than six songs and wiggles ears and so forth as it does so. As tempted as I was, I thought the thing might just not fit in my backpack, so narrowly avoided leaving the place with one.
In Eckert, Aeshe's mother has rented a cabin that dates from sometime in the 1800's and normally functions as a bed and breakfast for all of us to occupy through the holiday period. The reason that Aeshe's family are all here this particular Christmas is that her grandmother (Grandma) is about to turn 90 (on the 30th) and the family is all gathering for the occasion. So shortly after Christmas we are expecting an influx of long lost relatives of my adopted Christmas family, and the cabin is well equipped to cater to us all. Luckily for all of us, the hot water system is somewhat newer than the original construction, and the facilities are overall quite luxurious, and include a hot tub. Yay! Our evening was spent settling into our new surroundings, and, in my case, getting rather excited about discovering a fully equipped laundry. Any prospect of freshly laundered clothing is something I have a great deal of appeciation for these days.