Leeton is the heart of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and is crossed by canals carrying water from the Murrumbidgee River.

Lisa Tiffen with Brioni, December 06
At the Tiffens' farm one evening, we caught up with Lisa & Andrew Tiffen.

Trish and Andrew Tiffen, December 06
Trish refereed a heated game of Scattegories.

We’ve gone picnicking at the Murrumbidgee River, which holds great memories for David and me. Before we married, we spent a lot of time on the river, swimming, floating or kayacking.

Swimming in the Murrumbidgee River, December 06
Here's David, Vicki and Joel in a log in the middle of the Murrumbidgee River outside Narrandera. There were many submerged logs in the river, making boating and even swimming pretty dangerous.

Phid's first fish, December 06
Phid caught his first fish on Boxing Day 2006.

We cooked a meal (couscouse & Morrocan lamb stew) for our hosts, the Hesters, inviting the Sgrois and the Tiffens over as well. The Sgrois’ two daughters were home for the holidays and, though they could barely remember us, joined in the fun. After our meal we had a talent quest with piano pieces, lame jokes, and even a poetry recital. David dredged up a guitar piece to play from memory, and I told the lame joke. We played a fast and furious game of Taboo before relaxing in small groups. It was so much fun!

Catching up with friends, December 06
The Tiffens and Sgrois joined us at the Hesters' house for a meal.

Fiona Sgroi, December 06
Fiona opened the concert with the piano piece she played at her school's recital.

Barry Tiffen recites his poem.
Barry Tiffen's poetry recital had us in stitches.

Barry & Trish Tiffen, December 06
Barry & Trish Tiffen, December 06

We split into two teams and played Taboo.

Another day we visited Lake Wyangan outside Griffith. The park here has deer, sheep, peacocks and an ostrich(!). It also has a beautiful cement watercourse with stepping stones and a shallow wading pool to cool off in.

Peacock at Lake Wyangan
This peacock took a fancy to our car, though we chased it away numerous times! We initially thought it was the superior make & model of our vehicle, then we reasoned it could be the exotic Queensland license plates. However, close inspection proved that the peacock was just checking out its own reflection.

Ostrich at Lake Wyangan
Friendly ostrich at Lake Wyangan's park.

Getting wet at Lake Wyangan park, December 06
The shallow watercourse was so much fun for Aïcha, David and Vicki.

In the water
Here's Vicki, Aïcha and Toby. The water was less than two feet deep.

In Narrandera, we visited the water park at Lake Talbot. We took Aïcha down the big slide as well has having a go ourselves.

Going down the big waterslide
Although Aïcha was terrified while going down the slide, once with me and once with David, when I talked to her the day after, she recounted her 'slip down the slide' with a smile.

Aïcha and Crystal Hester, December 06
Crystal looked after Aïcha often, and they became good mates.

Vicki Hester, December 06
Doesn't Vicki look like she's having fun?!

I love this grin of David's as he slides down, head-first!
I love this grin of David's as he slides down, head-first!

Lauren & Brioni, December 06
Although Brioni missed out on the slide, she wanted to be included in everything else!

Phid playing with local Narrandera kids, December 06
We were having a wonderful time until Phid started throwing the local kids around. Just kidding -- he was playing with some church friends. The Hesters attend a church in Narrandera, about 20 minutes from Leeton.

One evening we stopped by Cuddel, outside Narrandera, to visit Kathy Mahy and her family. David grew up with Kathy’s kids, and we’ve enjoyed visiting her whenever we’ve been in the area. Kathy has a block of land on the Murrumbidgee, so we spent New Year’s Even in a caravan by the riverbank.

David and Ben Mahy, at Cuddel Station, outside Narrandera
David met up with Ben Mahy, who was James's childhood buddy almost twenty years ago.

Kathy Mahy, with Ben Mahy & David, December 06
We met up with Kathy Mahy on her property.

Camping down by the Murrumbidgee, New Year's Day 07
We spent New Year's Eve in this caravan on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.

Good morning, David!
1 January 2007.