Celebrating Tom’s birthday last night…It’s Christmas Eve on this side of the International Dateline!! Traditions for world travelers?

Mersey Beach bluff where we went to dinner last night.

Last night we made the 30 minute drive to the town of Devonport for a reservation we’d made at Mrs. Jones, a popular upscale restaurant located on the ocean near the mouth of the Mersey River.

Veterans Memorial in Devonport, Tasmania.

I made a reservation at 6:30 last week for a table by the window. After the pleasant drive through the ocean/riverfront town, taking multiple photos along the way, we arrived at the restaurant well before our reservation, planning on a drink at the bar and then seated at our table.

A historic house under renovation in Devonport.

As it turned out, all of the window tables were marked with signs stating “reserved.” None of those tables were assigned to our reservation, much to our surprise and disappointment.

Another historic house on Devonport.

When shown the other seating options for two located against a bare wall, none provided the romantic ambiance we’d hoped for. As far as I was concerned, I’d have been happy to sit anywhere had it been OK with Tom.

But, as we’ve learned so well in our lifestyle over these past years, we can decide what works for us.  I wasn’t upset at all when he said, ‘Let’s do something else!” 

A small lighthouse on the Mersey River.

There’s no doubt the food would have been good and we’d have written a great review for the establishment. We place no blame on the owners or staff for being unable to fulfill our expectations. That was our choice to say no.

Instead, we enjoyed our drinks at the bar, were as gracious as possible that we’d changed our minds based on choice of table and within an hour were on our way out the door.

Live entertainment at Drift Café on the beach.

A casual dining spot, Drift Café, is located downstairs from Mrs. Jones Restaurant where diners were enjoying live music, casual dining, seated at tables and on the grass, creating a lively and festive scenario. We decided to dine there and join in the festivities overlooking the Mersey Beach Bluff. Today, we’re sharing some photos of each establishment.

Entrance to Mrs. Jones and Drift Restaurants.

Tom ordered a juicy bacon cheeseburger with chips (fries) and I had a chicken and avocado salad.  The food was great, the setting was ideal and we had a great time.

Today, Christmas Eve, we’re making our usual tradition of steak and lobster, well, not quite lobster. We’d purchased the Filet Mignon from the meat market in Ulverstone after visiting Pedro’s Restaurant and Fish Market to see about purchasing the lobster. 

The restaurants adjoin a beautiful park and recreation area.

In Australia, lobster is called “crayfish” and is outrageously expensive. Since both of us prefer the tail only as compared the remainder of the body, it made no sense to pay AU $51, US $36.60 for a .11kg (4 ounce tail). 

Pedros Restaurant and fish market seemed to be a great spot for seafood most of which is battered, fried and wouldn’t work for my way of eating. The smell was intoxicating. We’d hoped to buy crayfish (Australia’s version of a lobster) here, but the cost was prohibitive for the small tails. 

Instead, we purchased jumbo prawns which will go well with the tenderloin. The menu: garlic butter sautéed prawns, Filet Mignon with sautéed portobello mushrooms, fresh green beans and side salads will make for a fine Christmas Eve dinner along with the bottle of wine we purchased for the occasion. For dessert? Homemade low carb, sugar-free fudge. 

Lounge/bar area in Mrs. Jones Restaurant.

Today, the warmest day since we arrived in Tasmania three weeks ago, we’ll spend time outdoors on the front veranda overlooking the sea while waving and saying Merry Christmas to passersby who walk and jog along the sidewalk in front of our vacation home.

Life is good. We pray it is for all of you as well. Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate and happy day to those of you who do not.

Photo from one year ago today, December 24, 2015:

A year ago at Tom’s birthday dinner in Fiji my rumpled lobster juice soiled clothes were a sight to see after dinner. Click here for details.

Merry Christmas!…It snowed an hour from here…Welcome to Hawaii, Santa…

The next-door neighbor’s chair gives a good perspective of the massive size of these waves.

Here’s a link to the news report on the snowfall and subsequent road closing on the Mauna Kea volcano.

Tom says that our kids from Minnesota brought the white Christmas with them. On top of that Tom and I, alone at home preparing Christmas Eve dinner while the kids all went to the beach, saw some of the biggest waves we’ve seen so far!

The pool in our yard is located in front of these white chaise lounges.

In our travels, Mother Nature seems to gift us with something wonderful for Christmas, a treasure she seems to pull out of a hat, a treasure she knows we’ll love.

It almost appears to be a waterfall.

Isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Appreciating God’s wonders, the birth, and life of a son. the birth and life of those we love and the myriad gifts we receive when we put aside the presents, the shopping, the laborious tasks in preparation of the next celebration with those with love.

The wave as it builds momentum.

This year, the gifts we receive are that of our grown children, their spouses, and our precious grandchildren right here beside us. In the past two years, they’ve been with us in our grateful hearts, and today and over these next many days we see their smiling faces, taking a hug, a glance, and a moment, always to be remembered, always to be treasured.

What a beautiful break in this wave.

Oh sure, it’s not all sweetness filled with perfection. But then, who’s family is? For us, we all get along even with our varying views on life, politics, and even child-rearing. But, we choose to keep those staunch opinions to ourselves for other places and other times in order to bask in harmony and lightness. Time and life are too short.

Our yard in the second house, so close to the surf.

Yes, the questions are asked, “Will we settle down in the US anytime soon?  When, where, and if we will we ever settle down.” At this point, we have no clear answers other than the one we cling to whenever we’re asked,  “Health providing, we’ll carry on.”

The aquamarine color of the wave as it breaks near the shore is breathtaking.

Who’s to argue with happiness? I remember as a child, longing to see happiness reflected in the faces of those I loved and that wish continues today for all of our loved ones.

We were curious as to this shape on the left side of the upper portion of this wave. Do any of our readers have an idea as to what this could be?

Today, we reflect on our joy in these photos we took last night on Christmas Eve shortly before sunset. It bespeaks the magnificence of this magical world we live in with all its ills, political unrest, and waning bounty that Mother Nature tries so desperately to gallantly protect.

The variation in the colors of the sea is amazing.

We sign off today wishing each and every one of our readers, our family, and friends the utmost hope, passion, and contentment in the holiday season and year to come. God bless.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, December 25, 2013:

This lovely female impala came to visit us on Christmas Eve while we were in Marloth Park last year. For details, please click here.