Family Christmas picnic 2013

Ho ho ho!

As Jac and I are away from home for Christmas, my family got together for a Christmas picnic by the river a couple of weekends ago at Hinds Reserve in Bayswater, next to the ANA Rowing Club.

Jac dropped me off earlier with our trestle tables, fold-up chairs, life jackets and two kayaks. She then drove home to grab the second two kayaks which belong to my friend Prez (we provide storage of the kayaks in our garage and are free to use them). While she was gone, I choped a shady spot for our picnic, with wooden bench, close to the playground and toilets within easy walking distance. The word “chope” is one Malaysians and Singaporeans will know about, but westerners will know the concept – placing one or more of your possessions to mark a chosen spot as ‘taken’.

The art of picnic spot choping The art of picnic spot choping: get there early, chope using your stuff. “This spot is taken. Taken!”

In this case, I choped and set up camp at the same time. When everyone arrived with more chairs and food, we got ready for our breakfast feast.

Juji made turkey, brie & cranberry rolls and spinach & feta rolls. These were fantastic, gorgeous to pull apart with your hands. I really hope she makes them again (was that hint obvious enough?).

Juji's turkey, brie & cranberry rolls and spinach & feta rolls Juji’s turkey, brie & cranberry rolls and spinach & feta rolls

By special request, Mum brought rice porridge with pork meatballs and ribs, kept hot in her “Magic Cooker”, along with all the essential trimmings – yow char kwai (Chinese crullers), chopped spring onion, fried shallots, garlic oil, soy sauce. She even brought a thermos of hot water to help water down the porridge if anyone thought it was too gluggy – which it wasn’t! It was baby bear perfect.

Mum's picnic porridge kit Mum’s picnic porridge kit

Serving up the porridge Serving up the porridge

Grandkids with their Mah-Mah Grandkids with their Mah-Mah. The kids all had sunscreen on, but Caleb kept taking his hat off

Rice porridge with pork meatballs and trimmings Rice porridge with pork meatballs and trimmings

Caleb doesn't believe I've flies go up my nose - but he wants to hear more about itI told the kids about my problem every summer – Caleb didn’t quite believe I’ve had flies go up my nose – but he wanted to hear more about it!

Ruby dips her roll into her porridge Ruby ripped her turkey roll into chunks and dipped them into her porridge

May I have some please? May I have some please? Pepi the chihuahua with her human, my brother-in-law M

My sister CW made one of her bountiful fruit platters, this one with stone fruit, summer berries, cherries, grapes, mangoes and everybody’s favourite – fruity shish kebabs.

Fruit platter with whole fruit and fruit kebabs Fruit platter with whole fruit and fruit kebabs

Fruit kebab(Maybe) how to eat a fruit kebab

After the first round of food, the kids worked off their energy in the playground.

Climbing Climbing

Zoe climbingZoe climbing

Swing Higher, higher!

Upside-down Zoe Upside-down Zoe

The kayaks proved to be a big hit. The children have been in kayaks before and were much more comfortable in them than their doggy cousins. Leggy Mia wasn’t a kayaker, preferring to just walk or gallop through the water. The chihuahuas Paco and Pepi were torn between wanting to be with their human parents, perching nervously in the kayaks versus watching from afar, safe and dry but alone on the shore.

I had no desire to get into a kayak but had a great time photographing everyone else kayaking.

Mia Juji and Jay’s dog Mia isn’t much of a swimmer, but she enjoyed being in the water

Test run The chihuahuas were bemused when the guys got into the kayaks on the grass

Paco the sailor Paco the sailor

Zoe with her Uncle Mike Zoe didn’t hesitate to jump into a kayak with her Uncle M

Jay My brother-in-law Jay

Juji Juji looks the business!

Mum We never thought we’d see our Mum kayaking, but she had a go and quite enjoyed herself

Angela with CalebCaleb was in a kayak with his mum

Ruby with her dad, dipping toes Ruby with her dad, dipping toes

CW My sister CW wearing the paper hat from her Christmas cracker

Note: My family were quite happy for pictures of their kayaking (and picnicking!) prowess to be shared on the blog. Jac still doesn’t want her photo shown on the blog, which is why there are none of her. And of course, as usual, no one took any pictures of me!

CW and Paco Paco’s pleased to have his human back on land again

FishingJay got out his fishing gear, but no bites

Sleepy chihuahua Sleepy chihuahua

After all that activity, we were ready for dessert – Angela’s homemade mini fruit cakes and shortbread caramel sandwiches.

Fruit cakes Fruit cakes – I ate one AND took one home for later

Shortbread caramel sandwiches Shortbread caramel sandwiches

Reading Christmas books Reading Christmas books

After wiping down sticky fingers and brushing away crumbs, more fun – M brought bubble wands and showed the kids how to use them.

Bubble instruction Bubble instruction – everyone was very good and paid attention. Zoe insisted on wearing her new backpack which she got for Christmas

Zoe with Uncle M Zoe with Uncle M

Ruby the bubble queen Ruby was a natural bubbler

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, guys! And if you don’t celebrate Christmas as such, I hope you enjoy the holiday season. I’ve been posting updates from Melbourne and King Island this past week on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and am now in Hobart to enjoy Christmas with Jac and a couple of our friends. Stay tuned for blog posts about this trip in the new year.

Where are you and what are you doing for Christmas?

Christmas in PerthThe things you see while choping a picnic spot on a Sunday morning

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  • wino1970

    Mmmmm, the rice porridge with all the trimmings looks so delicious. I have serious Christmas morning food envy.

    • I could eat rice porridge almost every day and not get sick of it – having it as a Christmas breaky treat was AWESOME. :D

  • Priscilla Clapson

    Merry Christmas TFP! I also wanted to say that your photos are amazing!! My ultimate aim is to take photos like these to capture moments but I still have a long way to go and need lots more practice!

    • Thanks, Priscilla. Hope you had a great Christmas and NY. I probably drive my family nuts with my constant pointing of the camera at them, but 1) I think they are used to it and have mostly accepted it and 2) I think they like the photos. :)

  • Hi Cynthia, this looks like a perfect, relaxing picnic! I have been following your Twitter updates from King Island with interest. My family took a holiday to KI earlier this year and loved it. I hope you blog about it, I am curious to know what your experience was like!

    Happy holiday season to you.

    • Thanks, Jane. I will definitely blog about KI and have lots of great pics to share. I had a wonderful time on KI and want to go back for more. Hope you had a lovely festive season.

  • Helen (grabyourfork)

    Haha love the cycling Santas! Looks like you had a lovely early Christmas with family. Hope you’re enjoying yourself in Tassie!

    • Helen, Tassie was brilliant. I hope to return again as there was lots we didn’t get time to do. That’s the usual story of any holiday, no matter how much we cram in.

  • Craig Hind

    The porridge looks good!

    The kids (well everyone actually), look like they’re having a great time. I love the bubble pictures. So shiny! :-)

    • Craig, it was good fun and we may well have set a precedent for future Christmases…

  • milkteaxx

    the congee looks amazing and so well prepped! nice pics u hv there!

  • girlfromaamchimumbai

    Oh my god how delicious do those rolls look. I am so hungry after seeing the pictures.

    • Haha, yep – the rolls were a highlight. I’m trying to think of when the next big occasion will be, when I might be able to convince Juji to make more of them ;)

  • What a wonderful celebration – from traditional to non-traditional Christmas food, and outdoor activities as well!

    • Amanda, we tend to do a mix of east/west, traditional/non… always an interesting combo of food, but it all tastes good together. :)

  • Cindy M

    Oh wow! I’ve just come into your Archives. What a day this was! I’m glad your mother tried kayaking, and that she enjoyed it. :-) Upside-down Zoe…gave me a giggle! All the kids are cute, like always. Love the chain climbing and all those bubbles. :-) And the food (of cousre), wow. Homemade fruit cake; that’s a tradition in my family (buttermilk base). Bet those shortbread caramel cookies were absolutely delicious too.

    • It was a really fun day out. We were all so surprised when Mum gave kayaking a go! You’ve just reminded me that we must organise another picnic at this location again sometime.