As we mentioned a couple of days back, we had a party on Sunday running concurrently with a party being held by ThirstyKirstie near Grandchester in Queensland. Along with a lot of people in the area, Kirstie and Michael have been flooded in (and flooded out) this year. They decided to start the year all over again and have a New Years eve party at 18.00 on Sunday evening.
The gathering was international - a bit of an expat and blogger fest in fact. We had Americans, French, English, Australian, Indonesian/Australian and American/Dutch. We really value the contact with not just local French people, but the thriving international community here. A few people couldn't make it due to prior engagements and not being in Preuilly for the weekend, aged parents or the flu (42.5°C temperature on Thursday in one case!). Simon's Uncle Geoff couldn't be here, but had a glass of spiced rum at 8.00am in London. After a morning's drinking, nibbling, mingling and chatting, about half the guests left. The remainder settled down for lunch.
Susan made lamb stew and chocolate angel food cake. One of the guests is a coeliac, so Susan adapted the cake by using chestnut flour rather than wheat flour. Very unusually it appeared to make no difference at all to the end result. Usually straight ingredient substitions to accommodate a gluten allergy are a compromise at best. We had wanted to make something iconically Australian, but struggled to come up with something suitable that we could actually produce in our temporary kitchen. Luckily Rosemary, a fellow Australian, arrived with mini pavlovas.
We'd alerted quite a few friends that the party was being streamed live, so we got messages from a couple of Susan's old school friends, blog readers, and Kirstie and her family during the party. You can see a little of it here.
We'd like to thank everyone who generously supported us and the people of Queensland affected by the floods. Every dollar really counts in reconstructing lives and livelihoods.
Simon & Susan
p.s. For those interested in what's happening weather-wise in Australia:
Northern Queensland (parts of which two weeks ago was underwater) is in the path of a cyclone which is predicted to be the strength of hurricane Katrina, with winds of about 300kmh and expected to drop a metre of rain in the next 24 hours. The cyclone is expected to make landfall in 6 hours. The radar is here.
Sydney, and Canberra are suffering a heatwave, with minimum temperatures in both towns expected not to drop below 20°C for at least the next 7 days (for instance, at 4.00am Sydney time, the temperature was 31°C)
Western Queensland has had bushfires, Western Australia has had dust storms, and Victoria has just suffered a heatwave and is expecting floods.