I must say, without a doubt, we all deserve to pop open more than a few spectacular bottles of wine to celebrate the end of what has been, personally and I’m sure for many as well, a dreadful year – an annus horribilis as the English Queen would say.
Without going into a lot of unnecessary detail, we’ve witnessed bucket loads of local and international disasters – both natural and political, endured (and still riding) a global financial turmoil; and on a personal note, I’ve watched my own life turned upside down and right-side back up again before the year is done. It has definitely not been a kind year in most cases. Challenging as it may be, yet here we are, standing defiantly and ready for what the next year may bring. So for now, as we gently ease our way towards the last few weeks of the year, we MUST jump straight into some pleasure-filled days – just because we can.
And where else is a better place to remind us of such blessings than in Western Australia’s Margaret River region?
This year has certainly not been a party for them either. They have battled their way through what some wine experts claim to be possibly the worst vintages in living memory and not to mention the negative effects of the recent bush fire tragedy with tourism dollars equivalent to a couple of millions being pulled out in the last three weeks.
Lets set the record straight here, the Margaret River region has not burn down to the grounds as some news coverage would have you thinking. Thankfully (and sadly at the same time), only a small coastal stretch and a few homes off Prevelly were affected. We too were concerned and hesitant before our trip, thinking there would be no wineries left to visit. But our host, the region’s tourism agency, assured us that all was well and plenty of fun-filled days were just ahead for us. And indeed, together with Cumi & Ciki, we had a swell of a time – enveloped in the warm hospitality that only the good folks at Margaret River could have offered.
And despite the recent tragedy, the region has come together as a community to help each other get back on their feet and rebuild the lives of those who have suffered great losses.
Summer has begun rolling in, just in time, bringing along the much needed sunshine and festive accolades. The tune of Jingle Bells never fails to lift the spirit as the town folks chorus in unison at last weekend’s Christmas Carols in the Park celebration. Lights twinkled in the trees; tiny tots had their eyes all a-glowed, folks dressed up in red and green with antlers and glow sticks in their hands. In place of roasting chestnuts and Jack Frosts were trucks selling ice cream, barbeque hot dogs and Yahava coffee instead – bringing joy to every kid from one to ninety-two. No, the citizens of Margaret River would never let the Grinch of a bush fire steal their holiday spirits away.
Resistance is futile, of course, as we join them in another resounding chorus of Silent Night before the evening was over.
Now, let us raise a glass to a bright and beautiful future ahead. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
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