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The Family Bandwagon
Sunday, 23 December 2007
found this great site - click on the picture to see something very funny.. hope you enjoy it as much as me and dee.. heheh..
p.s. make sure the sound is on!
Friday, 21 December 2007
just wanted to let everyone know that as of next Feb, i'll be coordinating Lab in a Lorry for the North-West of England.
Lab in a Lorry is run by the Institute of Physics and is essentially a mobile physics laboratory. A 10 tonne truck travels to schools where volunteers run lab sessions with school students (11 - 14 years old). My job will be getting it all to happen: booking schools; liaising with the lorry drivers to make sure the truck gets there; recruiting, training and organising the volunteers; welcoming students to the lorry; making sure the experiments are working (and maybe coming up with some more); handling any media.. i'm sure there's more that i just don't know about yet. *grin*
Because the job is for the North-West, I get to stay in Manchester (where I have good friends and a comfortable place to live), and the extreme project management for this position is going to be good for me... as long as it doesn't kill me. *grin*
I've got a lot of ends to wrap up in my current position before February, so I think I'm going to be busy over the 'break' (not to mention that I'm going to Budapest from 24th - 28th.. woohoo). But I hope to be able to chat to all of you sometime in the next couple of weeks - on Skype would be good, just let me know when you'll be around.
Thursday, 20 December 2007
Monday, 17 December 2007
Friday, 14 December 2007
Here's some photos we took while out there... there's not many inside the rooms because really, all the rooms look pretty similar :)
Also, they're not in the photos but Cheryl's friend Bron bought us a couple of garden gnomes! We put one in a clear place, and the other is hidden a bit further back. I think the house really has character, especially that back yard. Plus the second shed is huge! I'm already planning a gym/games room in there ;)
We look forward to all of you visiting, and we'll add some more photos when our rooms actually have furniture in them :)
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Carolynn has been invited to ESC's award night, which means she has done well enough in her classes this year to get a good number of awards. They can get an award in each class for achievement and effort, and there are 7 classes per semester. Last semester Carolynn got 5 awards. The people who get an invitation to the awards night are the highest scoring, so to speak. It's somehow worked on the average of the class. Anyway, Carolynn has been ahead in most classes this year.
She's also been given her subject list for next year, and I was happy that instead of Astronomy she has been put in to one of the other science classes (living world). She didn't want to do it because of the teacher, but I think with her other subjects, and the fact she's been doing so well, this means she can move in to Biology or Chemistry, I think.
Jared has been going well at school as well. His teacher is really happy with his progress, especially in reading. They give the children books and MP3 players so they have to read the book at the speed of the recording. Jared's teacher said this slows Jared down, because he tries to rush. I'm hoping it will help with his speaking as well, since when he talks he has a habit of slurring his words.
Trinity is becoming more and more of a chatterbox, and a cheeky one. A couple of weeks ago we were looking at photos and I was telling her the names. She repeated, quite clearly, "Aunnie Se-well" but refused to try any others. When we visit friends she says excitedly "Day-me" (Jared's friend Jamie's house) She is still pretending to be a puppy when we visit Nanny and Poppy. I'm not sure what Foxie thinks, but he seems to enjoy the extra pats he gets because Puppy Trinity asks for them.
I'll try to put some photos up on koffeekat, will get resizing this weekend if I don't start earlier!
Saturday, 8 December 2007
Cheryl and I are well into packing boxes now. For example, exhibit a - our spare room:
Of course if you think that looks bad, you probably shouldn't look at our lounge room at around 3:30 this afternoon, which I like to call exhibit b - armageddon:
It doesn't look quite that bad now.. close though :)
The reason we are in a flurry of packing is that the truck comes to pick up our stuff on Saturday 15th, giving us less than a week to get everything we have into cardboard.. and we seem to have a fairly large collection of stuff. Where does it all come from?
Friday, 30 November 2007
As I'm sure you all know, I went to Prague back at the start of September (wow, so long ago!). I caught up with an old Uni friend, Alex, and we spent the weekend wandering around the city. I've put up a bunch of photos here. I may have only been there for a long weekend, but I managed to take a LOT of photos. :) Got to make the most of being there, right?! I think I've put comments on most of the pictures, so you can get an idea of what we got up to.
Hmm.. what else happened in September?
The lab group went to Alton Towers - which is a roller coaster park. I SOOOOOOOO like roller coasters.. I'd never been on one that did loop the loops before - I LIKE IT! The photo here is Luke, Laurent and Vicki, three of my friends from work.
Stuart from Canberra visited and we went to see Xavier Rudd play live (very disappointing on so many levels).
My friends, Paul and Tess (who have recently moved to Huddersfield), had a housewarming party - it was fancy dress with a Movies theme. I went as The Shadow (I'll post a piccy soon). My costume was fairly simple - a black trilby hat, a black cloak (made out of one piece of cheap stretch velvet material), a red scarf and two guns! My friend, Simon, went as Harry Potter but he cheated and hired his costume.
October was also fairly busy - Gregor came to visit for a weekend, but got sick so enjoyed just relaxing and watching dvds at my house; Max came to visit for a while; Vicki, Laurent and I went to see The Coral; the lab group went over to Sheffield for an evening to celebrate Bex's birthday (the photo to the right is one Vicki took on the night); I went to Birmingham for a day to catch up with Bradley from Sydney; and then it was the Manchester Science Festival.
The festival kept me very busy. It was only one week, but it was pretty full on with Murphy's Law in full swing - including me losing my voice on the Monday evening. I couldn't make a sound on Tuesday, but by Friday it was back (but very husky). Overall, I think it went well - about 1250 kiddies came past Marvellous Magnets, the hands-on magnets stall I put together. I had a couple of days off the next week (recovery) and that was October done.
This post is more than long enough, so I'll leave November for next time.
Someone else's turn now!
Monday, 26 November 2007
So we're going to be very busy and maybe a little poor, but it'll be a very nice Christmas present for us! :)
Thursday, 22 November 2007
I'm afraid it's all the untidy stage from here on in. And I'll be very glad to shave it off in December.. it's so hot :(
In other news, why isn't there any other news? Come on guys, I've been posting about the fact that I'm not shaving, surely you all have more interesting things than that to blog about.
Friday, 16 November 2007
Trin - Lemming
Adam - Halo
Lisa - Commander Keen
Glenn - Wario!
Dee - Mario
Carolynn - Link from Zelda
Nana - A playing card?
Dad - Leisure Suit Larry
Mum - Mrs Pac Man
Jared - Sonic the Hedgehog
Dayna - Kurt Hectic from MDK
Cheryl - Lara Croft from Tomb Raider
Damien - Glenn from the year 2020?
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
It's all very exciting and more than a little scary.
(I also made it so you click to activate the new headers now, since moving the mouse around was bouncing between different versions.)
Thursday, 8 November 2007
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Friday, 2 November 2007
Thursday, 1 November 2007
During Movember (the month formerly known as November) I'll be growin a Mo. That's right I'm bringing the Mo back because I'm passionate about changing men's health and the fight against male depression and prostate cancer. Why...
- Depression affects 1 in 6 men...Most don't seek help. Untreated depression is a leading risk factor for suicide.
- Last year in Australia 18,700 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 2,900 died of prostate cancer - equivalent to the number of women who die from breast cancer annually.
- Men are far less healthy than women. The average life expectancy of males is 5 years less than females.
To sponsor my Mo please go to http://www.movember.com/au/donate, enter my registration number which is 129338 and your credit card details. Or you can sponsor me by cheque made payable to the "Movember Foundation" clearly marking the donation as being for my Registration Number: 129338. Please mail cheques to: PO Box 292, Prahran VIC 3181. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.
The money raised by Movember is donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and beyondblue - the national depression initiative, which will use the funds to create awareness, fund research and increase support networks for those men who suffer from prostate cancer and male depression.
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
I know, I know.. I still need to put up the Prague pictures and write a proper entry about that (it seems sooooo long ago now.. oops). I've been pretty busy lately because this week is the first Manchester Science Festival.
The Chemistry/MAGMANet contribution started on Monday (the festival started on Saturday and will run till Sunday, but we're only doing things during the work week). It was pretty hectic - my frames hadn't turned up (actually, they had but I wasn't told about it!), everything had to be transported across to the Manchester Museum, the lecturer for the evening was sick and hadn't come from France so my boss had to re-write the lecture (and learn it) in order to present it and things were generally a bit crazy (lots and lots of kids at the stall!). To top it all off, by the end of the day I was croaky - my voice was going.
Tuesday morning - no voice at all! Yes, I spent yesterday whispering and trying to explain magnets and magnetism without a voice. Not the easiest thing to do, but I made sure I stuck a "I've lost my voice" post-it to my nametag and people seemed to be responsive.
Last night I didn't sleep very well - lots of coughing. I'm afraid that the losing the voice was the start of a cold with very bad timing. I still can't really talk today, but I have regained SOME control of my voice (I can at least make some noise!). I think I'm going to have to whisper today too - and cross my fingers that tomorrow I have some semblance of voice by the end of the week.
Hope everyone else is good. I'll post photos when I've got time to put them up..
*big hugz* to all.
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Sunday, 14 October 2007
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Glenn
Happy Birthday to you
Saturday, 13 October 2007
Today dad went bowling at Heathcote. He hasn't bowled since last season so I hope he has had a good day. I went to a funeral. It was for the CEO of the YMCA here. Only 51, but has been battling cancer for five years. Message was all staff to attend in uniform. Since it was held at the Leisure Centre two blocks from home, that wasn't difficult.
I'm increasing work hours again as a workmate has resigned. Next year I'll probably do four full days and have Friday as my day off. I plan to retire in 2009 so we can travel.
Hope all is good with everyone. Carolynn was to go to Westside competitions for calithenics. That's Melbourne so she was getting a ride with a classmate. Jared was to perform with the Lion team at a sale event. Tomorrow there's a garage sale at Comet Hill so Lisa is going to try to sell my cast off clothing. Today I tried on and now have more cast offs. I think I'd better join the 6 month challenge. See you tomorrow Lisa.
Thursday, 11 October 2007
We spent my birthday pretty much how we spent the week before and after - preparing for Japan. However on the free Monday we did have the opportunity to head to a conservation park just outside Adelaide and go on a 4 to 5km walk through the hills.. i'm tempted to call it a hike for all the up hill sections ;) And then we were invited to go bowling with my boss and his family, and were severely beaten by his father in law. I guess Wii bowling doesn't really help prepare for the real thing (although i did get three strikes! That's three more than I got last time I bowled)
As far as Japan, we've managed to get tickets to go to the Ghibli museum on Monday, which is awesome.. so adjust the rest of our plans around that :) We'll be back in a few weeks no doubt with photos, stories and weird little plastic toys from vending machines around Tokyo.
Monday, 1 October 2007
Sunday, 30 September 2007
Friday, 28 September 2007
After we've dropped out stuff off at the hotel, we're heading into Nagoya to see the Tokugawa museum. There's also a festival on in Nagoya, so we'll wander around that for a while.
On Sunday we're leaving at 8am to bus to Seki City. It's an area famous for it's blades.. it used to be swords, but now it's kitchen knives and the like as well. I'll be buying a sword there (I've pre-ordered one) and we have tameshigiri (bamboo-cutting) lessons. The guy teaching us apparently usually just does demos, so that should be really good. We're having lunch at a place famous for it's grilled eel, which Cheryl is very happy to hear. Then that evening we're training at the head dojo (which is a shrine) and meeting the Grand Master himself for dinner.
On Monday, again at 8am, we're catching the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Nagoya to Kyoto. Kyoto is the original capital of Japan, and so there should be some great old buildings to see. That evening we then train to Himeji city and check into a hotel there.
Tuesday we're touring Himeji castle and doing some sword classes on the lawn outside the castle. We had to get permission from the government to be able to do that, but because Himeji is a sister city to Adelaide and we're taking a letter from the Mayor to give to the officials there I guess we get special treatment. That afternoon we'll be going to a Zen temple to do meditation for an hour or so.
Wednesday we head to Hiroshima, to see Miyajima Island and the atomic bomb museum. Miyajima is a sacred island and used to be worshipped itself as a god. It's apparently an incredibly beautiful place, so it'll be great to see it.
Thursday we head to Kumamoto. We'll see Kumamoto castle, and also the cave where Miyamoto Musashi lived for several of his later years. He was a famous swordsman of the 1500s who was apparently undefeated, retired from fighting in his 30s to live at Kumamoto Castle, and then moved to the cave in his 50s and wrote his famous book, The Book of Five Rings. I'm really looking forward to seeing the cave, although we have to walk up a mountain to get there
Friday we head to Okayama, which is a sister state to South Australia. We have a letter from the Premier to present to the officials there. We'll also see traditional sword smithing, and have dinner with the Okayama Friendship Society.
On Saturday we're going to the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei, it's basically a big Kendo grading for all of Japan. We're doing a demo there for some insane reason, a group of Westerners showing Japanese swordsmen how good we are. No pressure. The we have a bit of time in an Edo period heritage town called Kurashiki.
On Sunday we seperate with the rest of the travellers, and make our way by Shinkansen to Tokyo. Our plans for this week aren't as definite, but we've got a few things we'd like to do. Sunday we'll drop our stuff off at the Ryukan (a traditional Japanese hotel with a futon, tatami mats on the floor, that kind of thing) and then either head off shopping or maybe just relax.
Monday we might check out the fish markets in the morning for fresh sushi, and then we're planning on heading to Kamakura. There's a famous giant buddha statue there, as well as a shrine to Hachiman, the Japanese god of war. It's apparently a more peaceful place, quite the contrast from Tokyo. I think it will be good to relax a little after the fast pace of the first week.
Tuesday we're heading north to Sendai, about 2 hours from the centre of Tokyo. There we'll be meeting Cheryl's pen pal Yuko and her husband Akira. We're staying at a Ryukan with hot springs there, another very relaxing time I think.
Wednesday we'll head back to Tokyo, and maybe check out one of the shopping districts. It depends on how long we spend in Sendai of course, and we're not completely sure what we'll be doing while we're there.
Thursday hopefully we'll go to the Ghibli museum. You have to book the tickets outside of Japan, and it's very popular, so it will depend on whether we can get tickets.. we'll find that out in the next couple of days. Studio Ghibli are an anime production company similar to Disney maybe? They do a lot of fantastic kids films, you might have seen Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle. It looks like the coolest museum.. it's got a cinema with three films unreleased outside the museum, and statues and all that, plus a rooftop garden.
Friday will be our real big shopping day. There's a 7 story shopping centre Cheryl wants to check out, and I suspect we'll easily spend the whole day there. It's probably best to have this day later in the week so we're not hauling around heaps of souvenirs as we go. Friday night we'll check into a hotel at Narita airport.
Saturday we fly out at 11:30am, arriving in Changi at 5:35pm. If we still have any money or energy left by then no doubt we'll do some shopping at Changi too, since we have 6 hours there before flying out at 11:45pm. Changi has cinemas, restaurants, it's a massive airport.
And then we arrive back in Adelaide on Sunday 28th, at 7:45 am.
Thursday, 27 September 2007
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
Sunday, 23 September 2007
We stayed at Cork, a beautiful little town with rolling hills, green fields, great restaurants and an abundance of live music! We listened to some traditional Irish music the first night, whilst I drank the local stout. Another night we stumbled (not literally!) into a live venue and listened to some (Danish? Strange accents) guys play a kind of rock-jazz-swing fusion mix -- again, so much fun! We also ate so much good food, including traditional Irish stew in Blarney and some tapas in a Spanish restaurant in Cork.
Unfortunately we were locked up in Cork Gaol for unlicensed dancing, and had to escape. Met some great locals there, although I didn't seem to get along with the wardens for some reason (well, except for the one I was dancing with of course).
We took one day out to bus to Blarney and see the (in)famous Blarney Castle. So many American tourists! They love Ireland, apparently. We checked out the castle and I even kissed the Blarney stone:
Shudder to think how many other people have kissed it before me, of course.
Anyway, the photos from Cork and Blarney are in the usual place.
Monday, 17 September 2007
I think if you don't set a time to exercise it's too easy to ignore it, so i'm going to go for a walk each day straight after work. I tried going home, changing my shoes and going jogging, but once i got home there was too much else that needed to be done, so i think walking will work better.. and any jogging is a bonus.
As far as the food goes, i've been getting slack with that too, and I think by recording it all somewhere it'll help me get back to eating sensibly. No more delicious delicious muffins. And I'll record it in a semi-public place - on my blog, but hidden from the front page because it's not really relevant to the rest of the world. You can see it here, and i'm hoping because of the fact that you guys can see what i'm eating I'll be more careful.
So the offer is there to anyone else who is interested in knowing the points values of the food and exercise.. it's very educational, but you have to be honest (no sneaking in little snacks and thinking they don't matter). Anyone who wants to, post in the comments of each day what you've eaten or what exercise you've done and i'll calculate the points for you.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
i think maybe i'll start back when i visited glenn and dee in london. when was that again? the first weekend in august? since glenn has already posted the stuff we did together, i'll just put in the things i did with mez and karlee (who were both jetlagged and space-cadet like). we did a lot of walking and saw lots of sights - picadilly circus, buckingham palace, westminster abbey, the clock tower and houses of parliament, wandered all along south bank from the london eye to london bridge and we all went to see Wicked - an excellent musical on in the west end - and that was just saturday!
the photo is of us on the london eye, which we did sunday morning, before heading to the tower of london (yes, i have seen the crown jewels and wondered at the HUGE amount of gold.. the best bit was a punch bowl and ladle.. the bowl would have been bigger than a baby bath (maybe two or three times as deep) and the ladle would have held at least one litre! crazy!). other sunday adventures were camben market (i'll have to go back there with money to buy clothes - preferably after i've been going to the gym regularly..) and abbey road (just for a photo or few). All my london pics are in the pondering london photo set.
okay. i then had a couple of weekends at home (good for cleaning the flat, resting, watching dvds, all of that normal stuff). the first weekend that mum tried to call me, i was up in edinburgh to catch some of the edinburgh fringe festival. since glenn and dee had moved to london, i had to find other accommodation. fortunately, g&d's friend gregor has a spare room. yay! although i must say, a little room with a skylight that means (at this time of year) waking up at 7am even if you didn't get to bed until 3am!
we saw a few great comedy acts including bob downe - the australian man with fake hair and big teeth, he's very funny; greg wool - a moustached scottish comedian; greedy - a skit show; and one man star wars - which was mightily funny and i recommend you see him if he comes to australia.. just don't sit in the front rows... he spits! when we weren't seeing comedy, we hung out at the festival sights - and as you can see in this photo, some famous people did too (yes, scooby-doo went to the festival this year. *grin*). it was quite relaxing just sitting about in the nice-ish weather. lots of beer though.. not a bad thing, but not necessarily good for the figure. *grin*
the weekend also involved a walk up a hill (that i can't remember the name of) with gregor's dog, fen. most of the photos i took are from that walk and can be found in the festivally goodness set.
then, mum tried to call me this last weekend.. i'd popped over to prague in the czech republic for the weekend. alex is travelling around europe before heading back to australia, so it was a good time to check out a new city with some company. :) i haven't taken the photos of the camera yet, so i'll leave the prague stories until next time.
one last thing before i go, i also have damien's artwork on a t-shirt. i got it printed here, but as you can see, there's a black box around it.. but it's still one of my fave shirts at the moment. *grin* yay damien!!
hope everyone is happy and well. i will write a prague update soon..
*big hugz to everyone!!*
Monday, 10 September 2007
Thursday, 6 September 2007
I also went to Comet Hill for a fun hour with Jared.lisa and Trinity came too. We played maths games and saw some of Jared's work.
Yesterday I went with the kinder to the Discovery centre. Two girls from Questacon (Jena knew Dayna from the Circus) put on a show for the children. We followed the show with snack time then an hour exploring the rest of the Centre. Lots of changes since I was last there. One great discovery was the kaliedoscope area where under eights could play safely and we only had to watch the gate. After trying to keep track of three who all wanted to go different ways, that was a great find.
Another excursion tomorrow. This one is a walk to the local school with three year olds.
Two more weeks then a fortnight's holiday. We're going to Hay the first weekend for a Federation Ball. Bendigo Senior Secondary has a back to on the last weekend. Relaxing in between?
Monday, 3 September 2007
Spoke to a bunch of people that Leo worked with, including a French girl Lawrence, David the translator and some random Poles who were impressed by Stuart's admittedly limited knowledge of Polish (his girlfriend Malvina is Polish and he's trying to learn).
Such good times on Friday meant we spent Saturday at home, moping about and swearing we would never drink again. (Actually we didn't drink too much at all, but the image of us scuffing about bleary-eyed and dishevelled is more authentic.) We were recovered enough on Sunday to head out to the sticks (Ealing Broadway) for Mexican - again with Stuart and Leo, but also Malvina, Darren, Victoria and Mei Ling's sister Fiona.
Of course, now I want a monkey.
Saturday, 1 September 2007
After my surprise picnic a few weeks back, Cheryl had told me she had a day trip planned for today. As it turned out, the trip was to Gorge Wildlife Park, about an hour or so north east of the city, up in the hills.
It is like your typical wildlife park - you can buy food (peanuts) and feed wallabies, see all manner of Australian birds, and even have a turn holding a koala (which is awesome!). However this park has something different, something very special..
And man, these aren't just any monkeys. These are monkeys who will reach through the bars of their cage to have you hand them peanuts. And stare. Some of them would roll the peanuts to break the shells, others just ate them. They certainly fared better than the wallabies, who kept having their peanuts pilfered by long beaked (and very bold) birds.
So yeah, it was an awesome morning, And I took a stupidly large number of photos. You can see the best of them over at flickr, including a great shot of Cheryl with the baby koala Poppy. We managed to get some good shots by getting right up close to the cages and shooting between them too.. like the one below, in which I think the monkey looks so sad to be trapped.
And now I fail to see how I can top this day for the next surprise day trip. Hmm.. maybe something with monkeys...
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Sunday, 26 August 2007
Work has been okay, fairly standard really. I still don't have a confirmation of what I'm going to be doing in the long run (well, I know which project I'm on, but I've asked for a clarification of roles because at the moment I seem to just be passed tasks from every which-way). I spoke to a guy I'm working with on configuration management (no, not quite a management position) and he said he'll probably be taken off that ... which will just leave me? That could be fun, as much as work can be called "fun".
The real fun, of course, happens after work and on the weekends. We've finally got the phone line and Internets (it's not a big truck, it's an inside joke) connected, although even that has been an effort and a half. We still need to talk to our ISP about the speed -- 500kbps instead of the (theoretical) 8Mbps. Yup, that means our connection is 1/16th the speed it should be; the speed we're paying for. Regardless, having the wacky web has meant Dee can do her job application-y stuff from the comfort of home. We hope to have some good news by next week ;-).
This last week we have been very good with our pennies -- planning to live on one salary for as long as is needed (although I'm hoping not long -- Dee said she's going to buy herself a Wii when she gets a job, yay!) -- and it's actually been really, really good. For one thing, we've not been eating out (much cheaper) but best of all we've been cooking from scratch! There are so many markets and stalls around here that it is in fact cheaper to just buy the raw ingredients and put it all together ourselves, including growing our own veges out on the balcony. The food really has been awesome -- we even managed a barbecue one fine night. Yup, loving the balcony.
More cheap-osity -- about half-way between my work and home is a college or University or something, because there's a little street that is always filled with trendy students eating (and being students, drinking) on the cheap from one of the student-focused eateries. One day this week I met Dee there and we sat on wooden bench seats eating hamburgers with every type of salad we could find, all for £3.50. Okay, it doesn't sound cheap when you do the conversion back into Aussie dollar$, but it really is (consider that a normal sandwich from the bank canteen -- subsidised canteen, mind -- can cost around £2.80).
This weekend is a long weekend, but because we're being cheap (and because there is a mass-exodus from London on long-weekends) we're not going to either Brighton or Stonehenge, which were our two preferred options. Instead, we went to the London Science Museum (Dayna would approve, ;-))! For the cost of a bus then the Underground back home (too tired to walk to and from the bus stop :-D) we saw all manner of crazy science stuff -- the history of medicine, flight, computers, mathematics, stuff about the future of physics (the Large Hadron Collider will smash particles at higher energies than have ever been done before, hopefully shedding light (heh heh) on the nature of gravity. Dee thinks it will blow up the world. Hmm).
Today we're off to the markets again -- what a surprise! -- and then may catch a Horror movie in Leicester Square as it's the annual FrightFest here this weekend. Guess I better go jump in the shower, huh?
More photos in my new Life In London photoset, including a couple of the new apartment.
Friday, 17 August 2007
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Sunday, 12 August 2007
Yesterday we went to China town & the markets for a bit of shopping and lunch, and then drove out to one of the cinemas and watched the Simpsons movie. The movie was quite good. Not fantastic... but still very entertaining.
Today Damien surprised me with a picnic lunch! I thought we were heading to the supermarket, but Damien drove right past. Then he explained that while I was in the shower he was quickly making sandwiches & looking for directions to Mt Lofty on the net. Everything was already in the car so I didn't suspect a thing. It was very sweet! :)
Saturday, 11 August 2007
As mentioned, we had dinner and drinks with Jools and Paul, starting at the Phoenix (a pub) and migrating to a Spanish restaurant for tapas, sangria and some kind of alcoholic coffee. It was fun, although we were at the pub by ourselves for a little while until Julie could manage to pull herself away from work -- I think she's addicted to the stress of IT support! Go figure.
Dinner was awesome, we bought three little dishes each and shared: meatballs, ensaladas (salad), calamari, some omelettey thing, chorizo and yummy paella. All washed down with sangria which, for anyone who doesn't know, is some kind of white wine and lemonade and fruit juice and pieces of fruit floating on top. Pretty good, especially with the hot weather we've been having recently.
What else? Our phone still isn't connected and the BT engineers haven't contacted me with an update (which they said they would! Argh!), so it's unlikely that our broadband will be working by tonight (which it's meant to be! Double argh!). So today we're off to a movie, some shopping (well, window shopping at least), then a housewarming next door.
Anyway, what's everyone else been up to? :-)
Friday, 10 August 2007
Seriously, how hard is it? So frustrating, especially as I've already organised to have the ADSL connection done on Saturday. Even more galling is the fact that BT have already sent us a bill! The cheek of it! So in righteous fury I stole somebody's hands-free headset, jumped on the phone and set in to do battle with BT. I was on hold for most of the three hours, then transferred between departments getting a little bit of info each time, before finally ending up on the line with the one person in the company who knew what she was doing. A quick line-test, then repeated to make sure it wasn't a once off, and she sent out for the engineer AND contacted the billing department to make sure we weren't paying for a service we'd not yet enjoyed.
Thank the stars there is someone paying attention at BT.
But it's been a bit of a traumatic week really -- okay, "traumatic" is dramatic (heh heh), but it's sporadic and emphatic in a paddock full of haddock. Thank badness it's Friday!
Forgot to mention some good luck on Sunday afternoon: whilst looking for el cheapo bargains, Dee bought a couple of "scratchies" and gave me one ... and I won £50! Nice one! Spent it almost immediately on lunch and (some on) the Wicked tix, but still good to win one. Could've been the £250,000 of course ...
Work this week has been wacky -- lots to do, not a lot of time to do it in -- and my "to do" list has grown and grown.
Dee's had a couple of job interviews now, which I'm sure she can tell you about, so to celebrate we went out on Wednesday night to a Turkish restaurant on Brick Lane (yep, we love Brick Lane). Very nice food, hopefully traditional (it looked that way -- cooked over hot coals under an ornately decorated brass range hood thingy) and not too expensive. It was meant to be our "night out" for the week (weekend notwithstanding -- still have to fill it with glee).
Unfortunately, and here comes the trauma, we got locked out last night by the cleaner! I know, it's very cosmopolitan to have a cleaner, but I think he cleans all the flats in the building and it seemed like a small price to pay (considering we don't have a broom, a mop, etc). Anyway, he arrived just as Dee was leaving, so we were both looking forward to returning to a nice clean house.
Which we did. We just couldn't get in.
When Martin had finished he left and locked all the doors, including the deadbolt which we haven't been using for a couple of reasons (deadbolts are dangerous; there's a heavy door downstairs; it's 93 steps up to our flat; we don't really have anything worth stealing) and therefore left the key inside. Bugger.
With Martin's phone number also inside the flat, we knew we wouldn't be able to track him down. Dee looked, in case he was doing another apartment, to no avail. We also knew that our landlord-neighbour would have a spare key, but the mobile number we had for him was now disconnected! A conspiracy, I tells ya!
Nothing to do but leave a note on the landlord's door, head out for dinner somewhere and hope that he was coming home tonight. We ate at the Dove -- the solid pub-grub place mentioned in a previous post -- and this time I got to try a beer I'd last had in Belgium, the Chimay Blanc (or white, as the brit's would have it). Yum!
The night wore on with no call from our landlord, and we began to despair ever getting in, until Dee had the bright idea of knocking on our other neighbour's door and, if home, climbing over the wall that separates our balconies and in through one of our windows. A bright idea primarily because it would be me doing the climbing, not her. Luckily there's no neighbourhood watch four floors up.
Long story short (altogether: too late!), he was home and I managed to scuffle over the trellis and onto our side -- don't worry Mumsie, it's a fairly low wall and I crossed on the roof side, not the down-down-down to the road side, so there was never any danger. The windows were open (they're quite big windows) so I could quickly get in, open the door from the inside, and stand around basking in the glory of being the hero of the hour.
Even better, we got invited to our neighbours house-warming party on Saturday night, huzzah! So I think a movie during the day, Lis, then a party at night. As for tonight, Dee already organised dinner (Spanish this time) and drinks with a friend named Julie -- "Jools" -- from her old work. We're meeting near Liverpool Station at around 6:30pm. Shouldn't be too late a night but it's always nice to meet new people.
Ooh, before I forget, here's our new address and phone number, providing it ever gets connected. I'll also update the Contact Details page in the sidebar.
26 Minstrel Court
London E2 6PQ
Monday, 6 August 2007
Dayna arrived on Friday and Dee met her at Bethnal Green station -- I was still at work! (Hmmm, it gets in the way, work.) We went out for some drinks and a lot of good Indian food on Brick Lane on Friday night -- by the end of the evening I seriously thought I would never need to eat again. (I later also realised that white wine, although deceptively tasty and easy to quaff in the rare London-evening sun, was merciless if you don't have enough water before going to bed. Still, I recovered soundly by Saturday morning.
Dayna headed off quite early on Saturday morning to meet her round-the-world friends Mez and Carly, while Dee and I took it a little easier and headed out for shopping along the market-esque Bethnal Green Road. Talk about cheap! We had fun searching for housey stuff (pegs, coat hangers, an iron) in the plethora of discount shops and stalls. Our new iron was £5! Bargain!
We met Dayna (and co.) in the city that night and went to see the stage show Wicked -- the true story of the Wicked Witches of Oz. Very funny, very entertaining, great music, fun fun fun! I think Mez and Carly were almost falling asleep tho' -- they'd been up and traveling for some ridiculous amount of time.
Sunday we took it easy. Well, Dee and I took it easy -- Dayna got up early to go meet her friends and do touristy stuff (sensing a pattern here?). Heh heh, probably shouldn't have stayed up so late when we got home from Wicked, sorry Dayna -- guess we were just being wicked. Anyway, we got up eventually (tee hee!) and toddled off to met Dee's friend Emily, stopping at a couple of the Sunday markets along the way -- the Flower Market and Spitalfields. (We'd intended to hit Cambden Market too, but didn't quite make it as you'll read soon.)
When we finally caught up with Emily we were tired (from walking) and hot -- it was sunny! We had to wear sunscreen! I might get a tan! Luckily Emily invited us into a cool underground cinema to see a movie with her -- but not, as it turned out, exactly what we were expecting!
Em's brother was the director, for one thing, which is cool in itself. The film was a documentary about the Zawoses, a family of musicians living in Tanzania, and how they struggled (are struggling) to keep their music alive now that the head of the family has died. Tanzania suffers from the same problems that much of Africa does -- the shortages of food and water, difficulties in education and health, and the epidemic of HIV -- and training the new generations in the music making skills of the Wagogo tribe whilst staying alive is a difficult proposition.
At the end of the film there was a question and answer session with the director and one of the Zawose band members, followed by a live performance! Now we don't generally listen to African music (or even world music really) but the beats and drums and handmade instruments and dancing was so cool! Complex rhythms and timings, harmonies and just such a wide vocal range. Very cool -- I bought the CD to put on my MP3 player and listen to whilst at the gym!
Afterwards we caught up with Dayna, Mez and Carly again for dinner and drinks at "The Dove". Good solid pub grub, and plenty of different beers. Dayna bought a jug of strawberry früli beer, I had one called "Lucifer" (very strong) and then we tried a chocolate beer which was surprisingly chocolatey. (I know, I know, what was I expecting? But it was weird that "beer" and "chocolate" could go so well together.)
So a busy weekend indeed. Needless to say we're having a night in tonight, maybe watching a DVD (we bought The Last King Of Scotland after renting and watching half of it back in Edinburgh). Now don't tell Dee, but I'm trying to figure out how we can cram even more into next weekend ;-).
Could be my wicked side again, I s'pose. >;-P
We'll have to organise to go see Dayna one weekend.
Wednesday, 1 August 2007
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Monday, 30 July 2007
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Here's the age page - http://blogs.theage.com.au/creativitycorner/
While I'm spamming you guys with links, make sure you have a look at my blog and my RedBubble page.. I've been doing a fair bit of work recently, and I'm seriously considering printing out some samples to send to childrens book publishers. I seem to be getting a good reaction from the work I have up, I even sold another framed print (not sure who to.. was it one of you guys again?) and quite a few cards. I would love to illustrate a kids book.. that would just be fantastic.
Sunday, 22 July 2007
Thursday, 19 July 2007
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
First stop, Telstra Dome. Unexpected, and not something we'd have done on our own. Lunch at Victoria Market with 40 minutes to eat and shop.
Next stop MCG. Did I mention a man planned this mystery trip. I think I'd have preferred DSO, but I guess again it was somewhere we never would have visited. Now I know there is a 20 year waiting list to become a member with all of the privileges that includes. I sat in one of the leather seats in the Long Room. An hour and a half of walking around and up and down to see it all. There was a film crew to record our visit. Not sure which station but I think it may be on Friday night somewhere. We headed for home at 4.30pm, just when peak hour traffic peaks,continued thru more snow and rain to arrive home at 6.30pm.
Since I now will be working on Tuesday(if only for 1 1/2 hours) I won't be available for any more trips unless they are on Thursday, and Dad isn't available Thursday.
Looking forward to Carolynn's concert next Saturday and Trinity's birthday party Sunday week. I think I might consider that to be my celebration as well. ( and we'll say Happy birthday to Cheryl) I guess even if Trinity has her own birthday, we'll be sharing the celebrations for a few years. ( I don't really need to keep count do I?)
Monday, 16 July 2007
As you can see in this photo, I've decided to try the summer colour.. I wanted it natural, they took out most of the black and it went coppery-red. Not exactly what I was after, but it will do for now.. it's certainly MUCH lighter than it used to be. And I still don't recognise myself in shiny surfaces!
My new place is a studio flat, so one room for living, a bathroom and a kitchen. Really, it's all that I need. Most of the flat was furnished, which is good - Jon (my 25 yr old landlord) bought a new mattress for the bed and everything, so it's pretty good. I bought some drawers and little tables from Ikea (and even managed to put most of them together.. the small desk drawers have nails when I think glue will be most effective (after bending 5 or 6 nails trying to hammer them in to the layered board the drawers are made of).. anyway..).
This picture and the next are from different points but are the same room - my living area. In the first you can see the corner of my bed (and the corner of the window opposite). In the second you can see my desk and computer (which also serves as my entertainment unit - my dvds are on the shelf at the top. *grin*). I even managed to take those pictures when it was kinda sunny - it's been raining for the last 5 weeks or so..
The final picture is my kitchen. It's not very big, but I don't have to share, so it doesn't need to be big. The oven and microwave work (bonus). The fridge is bar-fridge sized (and in one of the cupboards under the bench). The washing machine works (no dryer, but I'm sure I can deal with that). And there's even a tiny freezer in the storage room, so I can have frozen meals for when I can't be bothered cooking. All in all - functional and all that I need. :)
So, I'll be here for at least 3 months, and it's my intention to be here until my contract at work runs out (which could be end of October or end of April - it's unofficially been extended till end April). However, Jon's trying to sell the flat, so it could all go sour if someone buys for living in, not buys for investment. But until I get notice, I'm happy to stay here. And there's plenty of space for visitors - provided they bring an airbed and don't mind sleeping on the floor in the same room as me. :)
That will do from me for now. Anyone else??