We didn’t know that friends would celebrate our arrival with fireworks. After receiving such a warm reception, we feel like we’re being treated like royalty!

The first friends we are visiting in the Far North are Pat and Mandy Downer. They have two daughters — ages five and four — and are adventurous souls too.

Pat and Mandy are building their own home on a 300-acre piece of paradise. When we last visited them, they were house-sitting but now they’re camping on their land while they put the finishing touches on a small shed-home.

Aisha with a sparkler, March 2012
Pat brings out the sparklers that he's been saving for a special occasion, and we use them tonight.

Calista with a sparker, March 2012
Calista is sucking her thumb a lot at the moment. She says she's doing it because she's still three years old. I wonder if she's set herself a deadline and is aware her birthday is coming up.

Delaney with a sparkler, March 2012
These are the first sparklers that Delaney's been aware of. She is fascinated and terrified by them but bravely holds the stick until the sparkles are finished.

Aisha watching fireworks, March 2012
The kids love watching the fireworks display that Pat puts on. He forgot to light them on New Year's Eve and thought tonight was a great occasion to bring them out.

Fireworks at Fern Flat, March 2012
As the fireworks light up the night sky, we "ooh" and "aah" appropriately.

We’re looking forward to enjoying the weekend with Pat especially, as he works all week in a nearby town. It will be great to spend time with them, helping them with their projects and hearing about what’s happened in our absence.

It’s good to be among friends, it’s good to be here.