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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Sunday, 30 September 2007


Yes, I stayed up until now so I could be the first to post it :P

Your present should be on it's way, expect a parcel.................................

Friday, 28 September 2007

Japan trip

Ok, it's only two weeks until we go to Japan, we're getting ourselved organised (Cheryl got some yen today) and finalising everything, so I thought I might post our itinerary for you guys. The first week we're travelling with 25 other people from the SA and New Zealand dojos. We're flying out on Friday 12th on the 11:55am plane from Adelaide, arriving at Changi at 5:50pm. Then at 1am we leave Changi, arriving at Nagoya at 8:35am on Saturday morning.
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

I say old chap ...


Wednesday, 26 September 2007



I had a chicken satay wrap for lunch today.

Nothing to write home about.


Sunday, 23 September 2007

All I heard was "Tar te tar tar, potatoes"

As Dee mentioned, I took last week off and we headed to Ireland for a wee break before Dee starts. It was great fun, really relaxing and good to get away. I was actually quite surprised that Ireland felt like another country - but it did!
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

No News is good News

Heya all, bout time I blogged, firstly Damien if that is you after putting on 6 kilos you must have been a stick there for awhile! secondly I have been offered a role with an Investment Bank called Schroders, an old british company, who are very old and very british, a butler came into the interview to offer ¨refreshments¨ I had a choice of tea, coffee, herbal tea, or water, I requested some water for which his response was ¨still or sparkling"! LOL I would so love his name to be Niles. After some thought we decided I would take it.. so I start on the 24th September. After weeks of many interviews Glenn and I are now off the Cork in Ireland to celebrate and do some much earned relaxing... Better get ready Dayna we could be landing on your doorstep one of these weekends! ;) I hope everyone is healthy and happy. L Deexo


Dayna mentioned I was looking healthy, but I'm forced to disagree.. I've put on over 6 kilos over the last few months, I blame winter primarily :) I think my old technique for losing weight was pretty effective, so i'm going to start it up again - that's doing a bit of exercise at a set time each day, and recording everything you eat for their points values.

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've not fallen off the edge of the earth..

but i have been up to a lot and not much all at once. *grin*

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!

At the start of the 'flight'.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!

Scooby-doo?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


In an act of shameless self-promotion, I bought one of my own t-shirts from redbubble. The colours aren't too bad, they're a bit off the original but for the most part I think it looks ok.
Apologies for the cheesy grin ;)

Thursday, 6 September 2007

a japanese garden?

Today the men from Epsom sand soil and bark dug out Nana's front lawn and replaced it with gravel and stones. Photos will be taken when it's all finished. Bit of a problem wiht the side driveway and the trucks so they're going to continue the compacted stone across to the garden bed.

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

Gatecrashing Shopzilla

Neither photos nor monkeys for us this weekend, but we still had fun - albeit less healthy fun than museums and galleries - gate-crashing a leaving-do for Leo, an Aussie who heads back home on Tuesday. Leo and Mei Ling lived with Grant and Sheila. It was a tenuous link at best, considering we met them for a couple of days only, but when Stuart (another Aussie I went to Uni with) said he was going it was enough for us. Turns out that the only thing better than your company paying for your drinks is when someone else's company pays for your drinks. Good times.

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

Gorge Wildlife Park

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...