What a crazy year this has been, for everyone I am sure! We have had some significant challenges this year, but we’re trying to take the positive out of it, and the only way is up from here. Firstly Clare lost her job at the WACA, then our big planned half loop of Australia in the caravan was aborted, and the final blow was being kicked out of our rental property! It all sounds a bit dramatic I know, but sometimes life has a way of telling you where to head, and we just got moving in a different direction. All is now good in the Woods, and we feel very fortunate to be living in Perth, mostly isolated from the rest of the world.

Losing the WACA job in March, was very unfortunate, as Clare loved working with the WA cricketers. She was lucky enough to end it with a trip to Sydney to see the Women’s One-Day team win the Grand Final! The upside of losing a job was the new freedom to relax on our planned trip through central Australia in our newly bought Jayco caravan.

family at border
Crossing Over

Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out as planned due to Corona. We headed off in late March unaware how serious it would become, and only a week into it, after just crossing over the Nullarbor, we had no choice but to turn around to avoid being locked out of our home state. We were rewarded with two weeks of quarantine, luckily fulfilling it in our home, and surviving it thanks to a big backyard and some fantastic friends and family to help with groceries (and thank goodness for online deliveries).  

Soon after returning, to add salt into the wound, we were also forced out of our rental. We really loved our location, and it was a very difficult time to find a new place to live. Thankfully a relative sent us a lifeline, offering us his ‘not quite finished’ vacant house. Luckily there wasn’t too much to complete, and we moved right on in. It is a little small for us, but the bonus is that it is still in our desired suburb of Mount Hawthorn, and within walking distance to the school for the boys. 

Clare and shark head in Streaky Bay
What 2020 was like

Clare has had some bits of consultancy work in the latter part of the year, but has mostly been doing some writing for Rob’s website. She has also had more time to help care for her mum, who is deteriorating with dementia rather quickly. 

Gorgeous Rob at Karijini
Gorgeous Rob

Rob’s main website was only minimally affected by COVID, thankfully, and he continues to spend more time improving his empire (including this website), though the new house does not have an office so he is constantly in the way as he works from the bedroom, lounge room or kitchen table. 

Adventurous Olive in Kalbarri
Hanging in There

This year Olive has reached a whole new level of independence. She has been loving Scouts, and has been given greater responsibility becoming a patrol leader of her troup. She has also become the social co-ordinator of her friendship group, always planning and organising outings with her friends. She started Judo in term 3 which she is really enjoying, and it’s great to see her enjoying some physical activity as its not always her favourite thing to do! Finishing another fabulous year at Shenton College, her teachers unanimously reported that Olive is a polite, well-liked and hard-working student.

Jetson Blues Man at Coral Bay
Blue at the Beach

Jetson is still sports-mad, continuing to play soccer and cricket. He has graduated up to Scouts, after fulfilling his patrol leader duties as a Cub. One year after his major surgery in 2019, he had the pins and plate removed from his lower leg, and thankfully this time it was a much quicker recovery. He has qualified for NDIS funding, so we are transitioning to more private services and will be spending more time away from the Children’s Hospital. Jetson is excelling in maths at school, and has completed a year of PEAC (Primary Extension and Challenge) selecting the Maths Curse and Google Doodle courses. Jetson also enjoyed singing in the choir this year, though there were fewer performances on this year for us to enjoy.

Casper at Pildappa Rock
Jumping the Puddle

Casper is still participating in Cubs, but he is not as passionate as his siblings, particularly now that his brother has moved up to the next level. He is loving cricket this summer in the big kids’ team, and is back playing indoor soccer with some of his school friends, as well as doing a term of tennis. Casper is doing great at school with a smashing end of year report. He is a climber just like his big sister and even has callouses on his hands from all the time spent on the monkey bars. He enjoyed a session at the Ninja warrior gym for his birthday and unfortunately broke his arm climbing the tree outside our house on Rob’s birthday and the first day of the school holidays!! For such an active kid, he still loves his quiet time, and often wants to just stay at home and read. 

Despite not finishing the planned 2-month trip to Darwin, and being restricted to local only travel, we have had some pretty amazing trips this year. We briefly considered driving to Melbourne for Granny’s 80th birthday in mid-March but decided to fly instead. After our two-week trip comprising mostly of the Nullarbor, we returned to Perth with our van and the desire to explore as much of WA as we could. We journeyed to the spectacular Karijini National Park in the July break returning via Coral Bay and some beach action. In the October holidays, we went north again to Monkey Mia, stopping at a few gorgeous station-stays on the drive there. Finally, Clare went on a girl’s weekend away in November to Yallingup to hike the famous Cape to Cape track, completing three solid days of walking, with lots of fun in between. Apparently, it’s Rob’s turn next!

We are impressed that so much was accomplished this year with many memorable experiences. Writing this letter has made us realise that when life gives you lemons you really need to make lemonade, or in Clare’s case, some lemon butter generously provided by the neighbours of the new house who both have lemon trees abundant with fruit. We hope you have had an equally good year and have stayed safe and healthy, despite everything happening around us. At these times we need to adapt, be positive, and be grateful for what we do have.

Clare, Rob, Olive, Jetson and Casper (The Travelling Woods)

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