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  • Carol Duval

Season's Greetings 2023

Llafranc on the Costa Brava, Spain

2023 has been a year of revisiting places and friends. We started the year in wet, snowy England dog sitting and suffering from various unpleasant ailments, which at least gave Carol time to finish School Gaze: A Teacher's Tale.

In the new year we enjoyed seeing snowdrops and other signs of early spring in Wales and national trust properties in Kent, Hampshire and Sussex.

In late spring we left the UK for the north of Spain where we stayed at a number of paradors such as Avila, Logroño and Olite. After all that wintry dog sitting coping with bronchitis and leprous legs, this was the start of our 'proper' holiday.

After feeling the full force of the mistral in Spain and then Provence, Carol finally understood what her teacher had been talking about in those French culture lessons. All that limey dust and grit in the south of France and Spain made sightseeing tricky but we were not deterred. In fact, it enhanced the experience. Visiting all those ancient ruins, monasteries high on mountain tops and trading towns near the sea, laid bare the fact that while the winds of change might erase the past, some things never change--human behaviour for a start.

Still, we took shelter where we could, whether at an arcade bar in Uzes or in an egg at the Dali house at Portlligat.

We skipped autumn this year but were back in Sydney for spring, starting with a visit from Andy and then dog sitting Marcus, the cheeky Dalmatian, on the northern beaches. We were lucky to see Milo play at the Sydney Opera House with the Australian Youth Orchestra and then have Noah stay for a few days before he left for the Australs debating competition in Krabi.

Like most of you, we've had our share of ups and downs. This year will be last of far-flung pet-sitting and house swapping gigs. We're too old for it now! Family members and friends have suffered illnesses, some have recovered, some sadly passed away. But the only constant in life is change so, at the end of 2023, we're thankful for those who have walked with us 'till the next bend'.

Link hint--a blast from the past from the wonderful Moody Blues.

Hondarribia, Spain

We wish all our friends and family a happy and healthy 2024.

Carol and Richard

Boulevard Bistro, Avalon Beach

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