Hello Beautiful people
We have had an amazing year in the Coutts Household with seven weeks overseas, my book being signed up by a major publisher and having a studio built.
The trip was awesome – first up a 14 day cruise on the Azamara Quest, from Southampton to Guernsey, Cork, Dublin, Liverpool, Belfast, Isle of Skye, Stornoway, Edinburgh Sailing overnight and then Shaun playing gold with 150 other golfers, mainly Americans at all those ports. It was bitterly cold the whole time! I read three books, did a few land tours, drank wine and ate too much food. Met some great people (600 total on the ship). Went to the British Open at St Andrews for a day and it was amazing. Not a golf person but to see such a massive world class event was fabulous and we have great seats at the 16th Hole and saw all the top players in the world going past. Again it was bitterly cold.
The best part not having to constantly pack and unpack and lug cases around on the cruise
Hired a car in Scotland and spent seven days visiting family. We ate Pheasant and Venison and fresh Salmon and of course drank way too much wine! – Drove right into the Highland’s where a cousin lives, and looked for Nessie and visited Braveheart Country at Stirling Castle. Highlight was seeing the ‘Kelpies.’ If you get to Scotland make sure you see these massive stainless steel sculptures of two horse heads.
Down to London by Train and met up for our 12 day European Whirl Coach Tour. 52 people on the coach – Belgium, Amsterdam – dinner sailing down the canals, lunch sailing along the Rhine in Germany and staying overnight in Heidelberg. Went to Tyrolean Dinner with traditional German dancing, lots of beer and yodelling!
Into Italy to Florence, Venice, Rome and a lunch in a restored castle in Tuscany. Saw the Vatican and the Coliseum, went on a gondola ride in Venice, visited Murano Glass and so much more. The weather was nice but experienced a one in 25 year hail storm at about 7 o’clock at night. The ceiling of the hotel’s dining area leaked all over the buffet dinner!
Left Italy and spent a day and night in Lucerne in Switzerland – beautiful country of course and then off to Paris for a couple of days.
Paris is everything and more – Did all the sight seeing, went up the Eiffel Tower, floated up the Seine, Arc de Triomphe, Palace of Versailles etc. etc., but the highlight for me was going to Moulin Rouge.
Back to London and then 3 days in Ireland/County Kerry for another family reunion. My mother in-lawCreina Coutts was Irish. 350 people attended and we were the only Aussies. I often felt like I was the set of “Mrs Browns Boys”. Again cold windy and wet! A day in London and then the big trek home. 44 days away – no cooking – no washing up – no cleaning. Came home with the worst flu I have ever had and took six weeks to get over it. With the Australian dollar so low it was a very expensive trip.
Had one child living in Katherine when we left, and all three living here when we returned. Ben and Darcy moved to Warwick in QLD in January and were back by July when he was offered the job of Manager for Landmark. 25 year old Shannon broke up with her boyfriend in Darwin and moved in with her 2 cats! They are now back together and living in Katherine. The eldest granddaughter Cassey has finished school and has got a permanent job at the Childcare Centre which is what she wanted. Chelsea left year 11 a few weeks early after being beaten up at school by another girl. She is working at the Pizza Shop five days a week and considering her future.
The biggest excitement is that my memoir ‘A Sunburnt Childhood’ is being finalised this week and will be launched Australia wide in April 2016 by Hachette Australia. I will be going to Sydney for the launch, talk shows etc in April so look out for the Territory girl on a TV screen near you.
Shaun continues to travel too much and work too hard but manages to alleviate that with lots of golf and this year a trip to Thailand with his mates. He will be 70 next year so is looking to slowing down just a little.
Celebrating my Mum’s 80th Birthday this weekend, and we are going out to Killarney on Sunday to place a plaque on his grave. He only died in 1992! I turned 60 in November so now a SENIOR! Shaun and I are off on an 8 day cruise on the maiden voyage of the Azamara Quest in Australia, on the 28th December. Get on in Darwin and travel up to Thursday Island, around Cape York to the Great Barrier Reef, Cook Town and Port Douglas. Stop off in Cairns and fly home! Just hope we don’t come across any cyclones! The first night is dinner in Darwin at Crocosauras Cove – place with big glass tanks and massive crocs cruising by.
The Tapp family are all good. Joe and Judith sold up King River and have bought a place in Bendemeer near Tamworth. Their daughter Holly still pursuing her music career down there and getting some good gigs. Ben Tapp won the Warwick Gold Cup for the second time and is the only Territorian to have ever won it. Masterchef Lynton Tapp mainly lives in Darwin but does a lot of appearance work and PR for Tourism NT – He has been to Hong Kong, and London to cook Australian fare to the Duchess Camilla. Younger sister Emily Tapp who became a paraplegic in 2010 has been chosen to go to the para-Olympics in Rio doing triathlon. She also has been to Japan and Chicago to qualify and now lives in Canberra at the Institute of Sport. So we should be seeing her on our big screens next year! Another claim to fame is that Shaun’s brother Don, won a Scottish BAFTA for Best Director for his children’s series, ‘Katie Morag’ which he is hoping to sell to Australia.
Our writers group produced its 7th Anthology ‘Journeys Jaunts and Jeopardy’ this year and I designed the cover did all the final layout etc. Glad that is over. I have also started writing another book about our years of living down in the Gulf/McArthur River Station. So my dream is to now just work 20 hours a week and do lots of writing.
I have had my two year clearance from breast cancer so life is grand. Last week I was invited to speak at the opening of the Katherine Chemo Unit. Very exciting. When I started out lobbying the government for a chemo treatment unit in mid 2013 I never thought it would become a reality so soon.
So that is my life in the past year in a nutshell! Thankful everyday for where I live, and to have a strong healthy family, and great friends. Facebook tends to take over all our communications now and I love that too. But it is good that Xmas makes us take some time to Catch up with friends far and wide.
WIshing you an amazing 2016 and I will blog a bit more.