I woke early in Freemantle thinking about calling home. I wasn’t going to let our last chance at a reliable internet service go without making another effort. I did some brief exercises, went out to the van and took up some coffee and milk and had it ready by the time Pam woke. Thus equipped we paid the 11 Aussie dollars to get the internet in the room for an hour so we could call the kids.

Jon and Nic were first, but although we left a message on Jon’s phone, there was clearly not much hope of getting them that morning. We found out later they had gone skating. We had better luck with Liz in Calgary, catching both Liz and Greg shortly before they went out to Greg’s folks for a Christmas meal. They both looked happy and relaxed and looking forward to a family meal. Greg’s folk’s just bought another place in Phoenix, but neither Greg or Liz can afford to go there this Christmas.

Then we called Dave and got an equally cheerful visit with him. He had delivered the Christmas gifts we had sent to the three of them and was planning on going to Greg’s place as well and had a couple of other Christmas invitations to look forward to as well. We tried Jon and Nic a second time, but no joy there. It was too early to call Mom, but Pam put in a call to her Dad, who was delighted to hear her voice. The nerve pain in his head had miraculously abated, leaving him pain free for the first time in years. Many of the family had been able to get together at Christmas at Ray and Diane’s new restaurant in Ipperwash. We praised the Lord for both of these answers to prayer.

The drive south from Freemantle was a real joy. Pam found us some really lovely roads to drive, free of traffic and full of interesting little towns. We stopped at one called Pinjarra with an old church and a wooden bridge over a verdant grass-lined stream. Lunch was hard to come by on Christmas day, and we made several stops in vain before we found a little deli with some amazing meats pies. We split a beef and Guinness and chicken and vegetable in the lightest flaky crust. We bought two more for lunch tomorrow.

Banbury on our drive south had a beautiful drive along the ocean front and we stopped for a short walk on a completely deserted beach. Busselton a little further south had a tacky beach with an enormous pier and four young kangaroos on the grass entertaining the tourists. The drive from Busselton south to our campside went through a tree-lined road that wound through bucolic vineyards that looked much the south of France. We marked a couple for further exploration tomorrow.

The campsite itself was set among the trees like you would find in Canada, and like all of the sites we have been to in Oz, was clean, well-run and quiet. The Aussies clearly love to camp as much as we do back in Canada and they take very good care of the natural environment. We have seen no signs of litter or vandalism anywhere at these sites, and everyone cleans up the kitchen and dining areas as if they were living at home. We set up camp quickly on a very nice site and went to bed very happy on Christmas Day. The Lord is good to us.