The McMads
meet the Wattlers
 When I used to use Genes Reunited all the time, there was a permanent thread on there that was predominantly for The Wattlers.  This was a group of people who live in Australia or New Zealand area and I would occasionally pop into their domain and have a wee chat with them all, usually with my friend Jupee. 

When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I found out that one of the Wattlers had also been given the same diagnosis, literally a few weeks before me.  It was this common bond that really began a whole host of friendships between me and the other side of the world! Trifley had had Breast Cancer years previously and knew first hand the worries and fears I would be going through and she showed me so much support through it all.  When I was in hospital for my week's stay after my lymph gland clearance she even phoned the hospital to see how I was doing and although they didn't allow personal calls, they made the exception for Trifles as she was calling from so far away!

I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful support network the Wattlers proved to be to me throughout my horrible journey.  They are indeed a truly fantastic bunch of people and they made me an honorary Wattler, earning me a middle name of McSheila!! They sent gifts, cards and flowers to me when I was ill and we received birthday and christmas presents from them too. 

In March 2008, Loz in Oz was due to come over to the UK and we had made plans to meet!  Finally I would get to meet one of my dearest Wattler friends!  But unfortunately, Loz had her own cancer scare and was unable to make the journey over at that time.  However, my parents were going to Australia on holiday and Loz very kindly met up with them in Sydney!  Was I jealous or what!!  It was so not fair that my parents had got to meet a Wattler before I had!!  They had a wonderful time with Loz, and they even took my auntie along to meet her and had their photo's taken with Wattie Bear - their little yellow mascot who goes wherever a Wattler goes!

Sadly I don't have any photographs of their meet up in Sydney as my computer crashed and I lost everything! Hopefully Loz will still have some and will send me them!

 First Wattler Meet

In June 2008, Printheth Lew and Uncle Tez were touring in Barcelona, Scotland and Ireland.  So they had arranged a stopover time here with me to visit!  Finally I was going to meet a beloved Wattler!!

On Saturday, June 28th I went over to Edinburgh airport wearing my Ozzie meet and greet outfit (pictured above) to meet them both off the plane from Barcelona.  Did I ever feel like a right idiot waiting for them in my groovy get up!! I wondered if I would know them for sure when they walked through the arrival gate but I needn't have worried!!  I knew exactly who they were and when they came through the gate I put on my best ozzie accent and greeted them with the long standing joke words of "G'day Sheila!  How the blahdy hell are ya?"

They were going on a week's bus tour around Scotland so I took them to their hotel, checked out their room and then we went to meet their Bus Tour Guide and have some dinner.  After all their travelling they were very tired so I left them at around 9pm.

On the Sunday I got a text asking me to go and meet them for a drink in Edinburgh, so I jumped on the train and headed over.

 On Saturday 5th July, I returned to Edinburgh airport (which was their drop off point from their bus tour) and collected them to bring them back to my home.  We had the Saturday night free of my children to chat and eat and drink and get to know each other in person!  What a laugh we had!  Tez is a very conversational man and I asked him questions about Australia and likewise he asked me things about Scotland and the UK.  We had a few very interesting conversations throughout the week! Lew introduced me to the "Lewella Platter".  Salad - including rocket, asparagus tips, green beans and mushrooms.  Uncooked!!!  Well I didn't know that!!! And alongside the salad a board of various cheeses!  And the most important and addictive ingredient - Paul Newman's Ranch Dressing!  A must for every household!

My children returned home on the Sunday at tea time, ready and very willing to meet their new Ozzie friends! McProper showed off her singing skills and did a wee performance of her winning song from our Annual Gala and McTart had a strop, which Lew dealt with in her own very unique way!

The Printheth Lew and Uncle Tez were particular hits with McTart and McProper!!

 McTart wanted Printheth Lew to stay with her for a wee sleepover!!!


On the Monday, friends of Lew's came up from Morecambe to visit her and they went out for lunch whilst I took the kids off to the shops to give them some peace and quiet to be able to chat.

We had arranged to go for a drive on the Wednesday, so the children went off to their Grandparent's house so that we could have a child free day out!  I took Lew and Tez up to Callander, Killin and Kenmore to show them my favourite places in Scotland and we had a lovely lunch in a pub by the river, in Killin.

An open top bus tour in Edinburgh was the agenda for the Thursday!  It took us around various sights in the City whilst giving us spoken information through wee headphones!  The girls insisted on sitting upstairs in the cold!!  Having lived in Edinburgh growing up, I really enjoyed the tour, as I'd never done it before!!  And learned a fair bit about my home town in the process!

A standing joke that I share with all the Wattlers is my love of the Australian Soap Opera Home and Away!  I think Alf Stewart is just wonderful and I'm always telling the Ozzie's that he is the stalwart of the Summer Bay community!  McProper and I are totally addicted to the soap and we made Tez watch an episode!  Of course he just had to do the accent and the words - "stone the flamin' crows" - which the girls thought was extremely funny!  Out on a walk along the coastal path where I live, Tez was stood admiring the view - and looked just like Alf Stewart!!

Mum and Dad had the pleasure of meeting their second Wattler's when they collected the children on the Tuesday afternoon, and we even managed to finally capture a photo of McLaddo!

All too soon the week was over and it was time to say our goodbyes!  McTart and I were at the airport to wave them off and the hankies were out before I even got there!!! McTart tried to sneak in with the cases to go with them but didn't succeed!!

I can't thank Lew and Tez enough - not only for coming to visit me and my family but for everything they did for me when they were here!  It was very emotional for me having to say goodbye, but I'm just so glad I met them.  Lew is my online big sis and it was simply wonderful to finally meet her in person!  And what did they think of the great Scottish weather??  Well - it rained every day!!!!!!!

 Haste Ye Back!!