Well, we're back and Kiri has had it's day in the sun. And a very nice day it was too despite dawning overcast and stiflingly humid and then proceeding to rain torrentially for the best part of the morning. Brisbane has been having an unseasonably damp spell so we were all a bit concerned that the outdoor ceremony might end up taking place in a hastily erected marquee, but fortunately the weather pulled itself together in the afternoon and was beautifully warm and sunny so the wedding was held around the fountain as intended.
O - who definitely won the looks section of the genetic lottery in our family - looked absolutely stunning as is her wont, the groom and his entourage were splendidly bekilted, and the ceremony proceeded without a hitch (apart, obviously, from the one it was celebrating).* There was a slight issue with bagpipes and Amazing Grace, but we won't go into that...
The champagne flowed freely, large quantities of exceedingly good food were consumed, speeches were speeched (it seemed a little unusual that they came before the meal to begin with, but since the first speaker began by detailing the time that D waxed his b*llocks for a bet, we were actually quite thankful not to have eaten!), cake was cut, and generally good time had by all.
Owing to the inevitable preponderance of wedding-related activities we didn't get an awful lot of time for standard sight-seeing and tourist activities during our ten days** - all the more reason to go back - but we did manage to get to the botanical gardens and the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane where we encountered a variety of antipodean critters, including lots of surprisingly docile and deer-like kangaroos/wallabies which would happily take food from your hand.
We didn't get round to seeing the red kangaroos, but since they will apparently eviscerate you soon as look at you I wasn't too upset by that. We did however see a wombat. A surprisingly solid sort of creature it sat and regarded us from the top of a hollow log with an air of mild exasperation, as if we were the ones in the cage and it was waiting for us to do something amusing. We also, naturally saw a lot of koalas which were quite unreasonably cute, especially the little ones, though how a species that lives in such tall trees can be quite so bad at climbing and still survive is beyond me. We watched while a baby koala tried to climb onto its mother's back, missed, and with a series of increasingly desperate "eeeps" gradually lost its grip until it was hanging by one claw from her fur while she frantically scrabbled at the branch they had been sitting on. At this point the mother seemed to decide something had to give and shrugged the baby off. It spent the next twenty minutes or so eeping and scampering about the bottom of the cage hopelessly trying to shin up all the trunks and poles it could find. Unfortunately the place closed at 5.30 so we never did find out if it made it.
For the last couple of days we left O and D to recover and decamped up the coast to the seaside resort of Noosa, spending an enjoyable time playing in the sea and the sand and working out too late which bits we'd missed with the factor 50. Swimming was fun since, as there's pretty much nothing between there and South America, the waves are fairly substantial, so the whole experience was a bit like being in the washing machine. Not a very strong swimmer at the best of times it was all I could do to stand up and keep hold of my swimming costume most of the time. Sand everywhere. My brothers and I had a go at recreating James Murray's Sand Grendle, but since we only had about an hour before the tide came in, we didn't have anything to dig with, and the sand was considerably drier and more friable than it probably is in North Wales, it didn't really measure up.
Murray's version: Our attempt: So, O is now Mrs Whyte and we are back in blighty with only jetlag, two weeks' worth of dirty washing, and occasional patches of sunburn as reminders that we've ever been away. Not to mention the sudden realisation that it's Christmas in a fortnight and we haven't done anything about it. The trip back was long and dull, but fairly uneventful. Needless to say the last 3.5 hours were the worst. That's the time it took us to get the 40 miles from Heathrow by train having previously covered the c. 4000 miles from Sydney to Singapore in only twice that. Ho hum.
* More photos on flickr for anyone who's interested. ** I finally managed to overcome the bootee curse though, and got a matching pair made the first day we were there in between making wedding favours. Though since the yarn was originally Australian, was posted to me, then taken back to Australia, in order to be posted back here with Christmas presents, they have quite a disproportionate number of airmiles on them now!