I stitched this gorgeous Santa while I was holidaying in the country in my campervan. It's an oldie - Father Christmas Bellpull from the 1997 issue of BH&G's Cross-Stitch Christmas. The designer is not credited in the magazine. I stitched it on 28 count natural jobelan. I changed all of the charted floss colours, added some shading to the hat and coat, and added some beads (the holly berries, the bell clangers, and the tree decorations). I also added a bead-decorated border. It's 28cm (about 11 inches) long x 8 cm (about 3.5 inches) wide. I'll go looking for some dowelling tomorrow for the top and bottom, and make it up as a wall-hanging.
I had a lovely holiday in the campervan. We were away for just over 2 weeks, and I celebrated yet another birthday while we were away. I'd like to say I feel older and wiser for it, but honestly - it's just older! We travelled over 1200 km, heading north-west to Lightning Ridge, which is a town I have visited before and really like. It's an opal-mining town, but most of the opal has been dug from the area, and the town has diversified to cater for tourists, in a very laid-back eccentric way. Lightning Ridge. Of all the towns I've visited here in Oz and overseas, I consider Lightning Ridge to be the most unusual and interesting. There were three vans in our party - 7 adults and 4 dogs in all. We stayed 3 days longer than our planned week, as the caravan park we chose to stay at was at the end of a long dirt road - only navigable in the dry - and it rained lots towards the end of our first week there. It took the 3 extra days for the road to dry enough for us to tow out our vans, and even then the trip out was a bit slippery and exhilarating, and we brought quite a bit of the red mud with us on the car. We were marooned in the caravan park ankle-deep in red mud, and the dogs, the vans and our annexe got more than their fair share of red mud too. And the caravan park didn't even have a kiosk for emergency suplies (or chocolate!). But it was fun, just the same! We stayed at Narrabri on the way up, and Tamworth on the way home - all very enjoyable, but for me Lightning Ridge was the highlight of the trip.
The holiday is over now. The van is cleaned, washed and back in the garage. Our bags are unpacked, groceries back in the pantry, and the second of 6 loads of washing is in the machine. Tomorrow we'll be back in the real world again.
I almost didn't make the trip, as my 87 yr old moderately demented Dad was not well. In the week before I left on my trip he went off the rails big-time (depression, paranoia, psychosis) and required admission to hospital. In his distressed state, he also did some further damage to his already compromised heart. He got the most amazing care in hospital, and they did a major review of his medications, and started him on a new drug. His mental state is so much better, though at times he is more confused. In the end I did decide to go on the trip, which had been planned for months, as he was improving, and my siblings were able and willing to keep an eye on him. My sisters Wendy and Gayle did a great job of communicating with the medical team and keeping me informed of Dad's progress. Today he was discharged back to his hostel, so I am looking forward to seeing him there tomorrow.