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Around the world in 50 days

Travel has been a regular theme of my blogs – and this one is no different!  The last few months have seen me back in Chile running some enjoyable workshops on extension (“but what do we do differently in our extension work once we arrive at the farm?”).  I also had a good excuse to visit the Netherlands to take part in a PhD ceremony – this time on the examining committee’s side (last time was my own public PhD defence in 1994!).  We also managed to go to the Dutch Floriade – a once in a decade flower expo!

This was followed by catching up with our daughter Amy and her husband Chris in London. Amy, of course, has been a key person in Coutts J&R over the decade or more of the business.  She has found a fascinating niche in London overseeing the evaluation of public relation campaigns in government and charities!  Amy still keeps her link with company – which is great!  We got to London pre-games – and just loved the city as always.  We did manage a trip out to the Cotswolds so that I got some fill of stone walls and country lanes.

Then on to Rouyn Noranda in Canada to catch up with our other daughter Jocie – her husband Pat – and grandchildren Alex and Ben!  Rouyn is in the north of Quebec Province – amongst wilderness and lakes and mining towns – quite remote really (but then I guess Toowoomba seems very remote to many people!).  And very French! The name of the game was ‘spot the moose’ – which we did eventually in a wild life park and animal shelter!  But we did spot a ‘wild’ bear crossing a road, and a deer when on a morning walk. Not to mention the beaver that swam in front of us only a few hundred metres from the family’s home!  It was very hard to leave everyone there – but we will be back!

Ben – now living in Whistler in British Columbia – didn’t get a visit.  At least not this time.  Fortunately for us, he was able to hold the fort with much of our work demands.  He certainly adds an important dimension to the business with our web platforms and data analysis!

Our final port of call before returning to Australia was a couple of days in Los Vegas. Now that was an education!  The city is an incredible adult Disney land – and the themes of the casinos and shopping centres fascinating!  Who would have expected gondolas in canals being punted through a shopping centre?  Or dolphins, tigers and lions out behind the shops? Or the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, great pyramid and the skyline of New York!  And then the Grand Canyon – just magnificent!  Man-made creativity and natural splendour!

So it’s back to work – not that I escaped work completely while away!  It’s the interesting variety that comes my way in this work that makes it so enjoyable – and the rest of this year is shaping up as no different.