Friends, Romans, countrymen,

 OK, it is the first half of November and our Christmas lights have gone up outside and this bunny had then better pull his finger out and get cracking on the Christmas letter.

 Well, where do i start?  For the Canberra recipients of these letters, no doubt you will remember the bushfires that struck Canberra last Christmas.  On Christmas Day, the fires from Mt Stromlo burnt all the way to Lake Burley Griffin.  They also closed Adelaide Avenue and the fires were threatening the mint.  We were also warned to prepare our house in case the fire got closer.

 The fire crews did a great job over the Christmas break, much more on that later.  The pine forests near the Lake took a real beating and it will take many years before they look anything like that they used to.  With all the road closures over Christmas, Kent Street was the westernmost route to Woden and Tuggeranong.

 For New Years Eve, the family spread out in different directions.  Alex went to Sydney with Pierre, Michael went down the coast his friends, and Kris and Kim took advantage of some accommodation deals available through the Internet and took off towards Melbourne.  We drove all the way down with the roof off and were burnt accordingly.  I managed to talk Kris into putting the roof up when we parked for fish and chips in Port Melbourne.  Good thing to, judging by the white roof we had when we returned.

 That night, we stayed in a magnificent hotel that had been renovated from the old Melbourne Railways building.  Very special.  The next day, we joined the throngs driving down to Portsea.  With a salty sea breeze, it was very refreshing.  We drove back to Melbourne and had dinner with David and Margaret before heading back into the city for New Years Eve.  We were staying in another luxurious hotel but it didn't have the same charm.  On New Year's Day, Kim took Kris to Mt Macedon to show her where he has been hiding all this time on his work trips.  They meet two of Kim's work buddies from EMA and had lunch on top of Mt Macedon in the wind and driving rain.  It was about eight degrees and not very Summery had at all.

 On Good Friday, Pierre and his family returned to Fiji taking a very special piece of luggage namely Alex.  Fiji was very special for Alex, a smorgasbord of tropical fruit delights which suited her vegan taste buds.  It was a tropical paradise if not just a little bit soggy.

 In July, Michael and Kris joined Alex in Nadi, staying in a resort on Denaurau Island.  Kim struggled on alone in Canberra, forgoing the nightly cocktail parties that were occurring in Fiji during this period.  Kris and Michael also managed to score business class upgrades for both the journey to Fiji and back again.  Nadi is much drier than Suva and a good time was had by all. 

So, is now a good time to mention that Kim hasn't been away on holiday is 1999?  Probably not.  Kris and Michael managed a couple of day trips to the snow and Kim and Michael went to the Sydney motor show for a day.

 On Sunday, the 11th of August, Kim went to drop some shirts at work then going to visit his parents.  A taxi driver came barrelling through a giveaway sign in the terrible hurry to get to somewhere else and collected the front of the convertible.  Kim was badly shaken but not hurt that has this is written three months later, the convertible still not back on the road.  The panel beater, out the goodness of his heart, has supplied a courtesy car but it is a horrible little Excel that is made up with bits and pieces of other cars that have no doubt, gone on to meet their maker.  We have just begun to apply pressure on NRMA for to get them to speed up the repairs.  The taxi driver got charged for failing to give way in the taxi was off the road for 3 x 1/2 days.  There's not much justice in that. We expect the car back the first week in December.  Ha HA.

 To make up for the pain and suffering, Kim bought himself a new Mountain bike that really is terrific.  Last year, Kim pedalled over 3000 km on his old bike.  In the two months he has this bike, he is already approaching 900 km.  It has front suspension,  top of the line gears and switchgears.

 Through Kim's work and emergency management Australia, Kim has a greater appreciation the role of volunteers in Australian society.  Accordingly, he has finished his basic training and is now pain fully fledged member of Rivers volunteer bushfire brigade.  He looks quite fetching in his fire gear.  He would be appreciated that any readers that know Kim's parents, refrain from passing this little bit of information on.  Kim's mum would worry herself to death.

 Equally worth mentioning are the sails we started putting up in the backyard last year.  The first one went up OK, covering the deck next to the dining room.  When Michael started on the next hole for the taking of our bedroom, the first hole was OK but the second was the site of a massive red gum.  Its lasted about six months , but this was good because Kennards, the hirers had seen as for a while so we got to hire a stump grinder again.  All the sails are up, they look pretty good but the backyard still looks awful.  Not that the front looks any better with the drought that we are experiencing.

 Kris still has plans to buy something bigger and better towards the centre of town.  Kim still refuses to go anywhere near a bigger mortgage. Alex came back to join us in September and she will return to Fiji in January. Michael is still studying his civil engineering and working part-time at a number of different places practicing his culinary skills.