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Another year has gone by! Somehow it hasn't been a good decade. In addition to the
COVID-19 pandemic, which seems
to be getting worse rather than better, we have the war in Europe and extreme weather events
that haven't left us untouched. The best thing that we can say is that we're about as far
from the action as we can be, something that we had taken into account when we returned to
Australia in 1997. As we said last, year, “Hopefully things will be better next year”.
House and garden
We've been here for nearly 8 years, one of the longest times we have lived anywhere.
Somehow our plans for the exterior have still not made much progress. And with the change
in global weather patterns, we're wondering whether we should reconsider what we want to do
outdoors. In the last 3 months of the year we had 500 mm of rain, three times the seasonal
average and nearly as much as in a whole normal year.
Our riding arena roof is finally complete, after only two years, and with a cost blowout of
It wasn't easy, right up to the end. The contractor (“I'm a man of my word”) took four
months and constant prodding to finally finish the job, and when he did, it still wasn't
finished: we also needed drainage, which required a different contractor, another 10% of the
base price, and arguments with the council.
Yvonne's health issues are roughly under control. Both her
heart problems and potential pancreas problems seem to cause no concern to the doctors. So she had to go and
fall off a horse in the new riding arena, only shortly after it was completed. The
result: a multiple fracture of the T1
vertebra, requiring her to wear a full body brace for 6 weeks. Here she is when she
was finally allowed to take it off:
That, too, seems to have healed, though there's the question of whether it's prudent to
carry on riding. Yvonne says yes, of course, and Greg says no. Still, much of her activity
rotates around horses and horse events. We had two riding clinics with Anke Hawke this
year, and Yvonne has a new Tennessee Walker-Paso cross mare, Kybeyan Dana, and she is
looking after her as well as her health allows.
Chris Bahlo from Narrawin Stud will start
Dana under saddle early next year, and then we can decide whether she can be considered a
safe riding horse for her oldie owner. It would be so lovely, as she is a real darling.
How did the accident come to pass? The horse in question, Carlotta, suddenly started
bucking for no obvious reason. Yvonne stayed on for a while, but finally was bucked off.
She fell on her back on her inflatable riding vest and helmet onto the soft sand of the
arena, and in principle she should have been uninjured. Yvonne suspects that Carlotta had
some pain from a recurrent sacroiliac condition, so one consequence will be that Carlotta, now 18, will be
retired from riding.
Greg has finally broken out of his lethargy, at least in part, and joined the FreeBSD Core Team again after a
gap of nearly 20 years. He's still wondering whether that was a good idea: things have
changed almost beyond recognition in that time. Email is out, video conferences are in, and
Greg can't come to terms with the idea.
Apart from that, things haven't changed too much. He seems to have done nothing interesting
for years. The reports from last year and the year before that could equally well apply this year. He has
done nothing and reported about it at great
length. He continues to mess around with computers and the technical aspects of
photography, has spent some time cooking, and that's
Our daughter Yana finally made it to visit us in late January after she had the all-clear
She went with Greg to a family gathering in Briagolong to commemorate the life of Greg's aunt Freda, the last member of that
generation, who died in December 2021 shortly before her 97th birthday. She had asked for
her ashes to be spread round her favourite fig tree:
In the course of the year Yana completed her art studies, and in December she participated
in an exhibition, which unfortunately we weren't able to attend. On the positive side, she
sold one of her exhibited paintings on the first day of the expo.
Last year wasn't a good year for our dogs: both of them died. This year was much better,
though Elena got bitten by a snake, occasioning much concern, but it seems that it was a very slight
bite, and after lots of driving through the night, she recovered without any further
Larissa came up with more health problems some months later. She was diagnosed with
osteoarthritis in her hip
which impacted on her way of moving and her mood. She initially responded pretty well to
the prescribed monthly injections of cartrophen, but then seemed to get worse again, so we tried Rosehip Vital powder,
which appeared to work well for a couple of months, but then the problems reoccurred. So we
resumed the Cartrophen, and things are looking good again, though it looks as if she will
need to take it for the rest of her life.
After Yvonne got old and a bit fragile and wobbly in the aftermath of the accident, walking
Larissa became a bit of a worry, as she tended to start jumping frantically when she spotted
a rabbit or neighbour's dogs. So Yvonne came up with the idea to walk her in a head halter
for dogs, which did the trick. Walking is back to being fun. Here she is with a kangaroo
skull that she found while walking:
Greg took her to the vet, who diagnosed kidney problems—it seems that kidney failure is the
leading cause of death in cats, and commercial cat food helps by putting too much sodium in
the product. Only fresh food for her now for the rest of her life. Greg checked the food
we were given her and found that it contains 1.5% “sodium”, which translates to about 4%
salt—very salty. And then there's the small print:
That's on food that's sold by the dozen with no warnings. Not a good reflection on
Piccola doesn't like the new food (minced chicken and beef, cheese, eggs and even milk) at
all, but she's eating it anyway, and she seems to be looking better already. But it's
unlikely that she will survive until this time next year.
As always, if this letter isn't long enough, you can read about our 2022 in excruciating
detail in Greg's diary. A Happy New Year to
you all from Greg, Yvonne, Carlotta, Larissa, Elena and Piccola!
Maintaining the email list for this newsletter is a non-trivial task. Email addresses keep
changing, and we get up to a third of all messages rejected. In addition, some large mail
services, notably outlook.com and bigpond.com, have broken spam
recognition software and reject our mail. If you got the cover message, it's a result of
much work on our part. Other messages may also be lost: you should consider changing to a
reliable email provider.
Did we miss you this year? Or did you get this message via a different source? Please let
me know your email address and I'll update the distribution list for next year.