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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?

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Lynwood Life

Great to read what everyone's been up to! 

Little Masons, sounds like you had a fun (and productive) holiday! Congrats, Damo! It's so cool that you're so far up the ladder with Iado.. But that you continue to climb and improve yourself. Cheryl, I've seen a few of the fb pictures, so even tho it sounds like the kids were a bit difficult, still looks like everyone had a fantastic time! I love Lily's comment about being naughty but still getting chocky! 

G&D, we'll keep our fingers crossed for you! Sounds like what B & I had to deal with lay time we moved! It's so disheartening! But keep your chin up, something will come along.. Hopefully soon! Our flat here isn't as lovely as our last one - hard wearing carpets, odd shaped rooms, no built-in a wardrobes.. But it works and is convenient for both of us getting to work (easy and fast train links for me, not too far to the motorway for B). We actually had a brief look at the market (both rental and buying) a month ago - there's nothing out there that's as good as this place in the same price range! So we're staying here for at least another year.

For the last fortnight, work has been full-on! I was in Bath Monday for my quarterly review in Bath (my RSC line manager is going on maternity leave soon, & it was easier for me to travel to Bath than her come all the way to Cardiff) - of course, no issues, keep doing what I do! Tuesday took me to Swansea to talk to trainee teachers. Then for the rest of that week I was in Cardiff - meetings, catching up on email, and training PhD students (I run the training.. And I had feedback that it was the best training they'd done at Cardiff Uni! Woohoo! Even if it was only one person's comment, I'm taking that and framing it!). *phew*

Last weekend we took it easy - went to a couple of shops on Sunday, nothing much.

This week has been even more mental for me - I spent 10 hours on trains! I headed to Aberystwyth first (a Local Section meeting..) But I had to leave early to get the train to London! Our Regions Team meeting was in London Tuesday, then they bussed us to Cambridge for night & second day. I started an extra night (didn't fancy another 13+ hour work day this week) and came back to Cardiff Thursday. I even took the afternoon off to make up for Monday's mammoth day! Yay! Yesterday I ran another training session and hopefully this means I won't have to go out on as many SIAS sessions! Hopefully! 

So, not very exciting.

I'm definitely counting down to our trip to Aus (less than two weeks!).. Might start to pack this weekend (b's folks are visiting next weekend).. I've currently misplaced my fitbit, my Myki card and my Bendigo Ambassador card, so I'll probably need a few days to "pack". :-)  What's the weather like, Bendigonians?

Keep smiling! 

Nelson Street Nomads

More house-hunting today — I think we saw five places today (might’ve been more, as for a couple of them I stayed in the car with a sleeping Jules and let Dee scope it out on her own). Of those, we’ve applied for just one, a tiny place (really), but probably not any smaller than our current house, and nicer: 3BRs all on a single level, on-street parking and close enough to the city that we can still ride in.

I have appropriately low expectations this time: there were quite a few people looking at it, and I’m sure at least one of them will offer more, or not have a dog (or a child!), or bribe the real estate agent or whatever it is you need to do to get a rental property in Sydney these days. We’ll keep looking!

The other places were mostly unworkable — no yard, or smelly (damp and mouldy), or just weird. (One place had a toilet in the “open plan” bedroom — what the…? Privacy, who needs it??)

We’re not going camping this weekend, but we have taken Monday off and will be putting Jules in to daycare so we can go see a movie (thanks K & M for the movie voucher). Think I can convince Dee to watch the new Star Wars movie? (see image above)

I continue to train, but apart from that we’re being pretty boring until we find a new house.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Gordon St Gallivant

We just had a bit of a holiday in Adelaide.

The main reason was so I could do my next Hokushin grading - they only happen once a year (actually once every two years for me), and it's likely we wont be around when Sei Shihan travels to Victoria around April.  Good Dog have also brought in a few new people in the last year or so, so it seemed like a good opportunity to meet them.

It was an interesting trip. Cheryl wrapped up some presents (pencils and colouring books) and snacks (rice crackers, nuts) for the kids, so for the first few hours they were very excited to open them up, and delighted at finding snacks (even though it's the usual stuff they eat during car trips, wrapping it in foil just made it so much more exciting). We stopped off at Horsham at a caravan park with a pool. Not our entire motivation for stopping there, but nice nonetheless.

The next day (Friday 8th) was 4 and a half hours to Adelaide, where the kids got a little tired and stroppy. We got there by around 3, and I had a quick trip into the GDD offices to catch up with Tom (over from the US, leaving Saturday) before heading to Chinatown for some dinner.

That weekend we caught up with some of our friends and checked out our old house in Morphett Vale. We also wandered around Marion Shopping Centre, and I had a quick wander through the mall. The kids hadn't really recovered from the trip, so we were somewhat limited in options, but we did go out that evening to check out my friends Japanese restaurant/Izakaya.

For the next week I worked at Good Dog, which was weird but familiar. I trained on Tuesday and Wednesday night at a couple of different Dojos, which was great - really good to have an instructor again. Cheryl took the kids on adventures across the city, but she'll need to tell you about that. I did finish early Friday so we could go into the city for a look.

Saturday we headed to Glenelg Beach to have a little play at the Beachouse and a swim in the ocean. Lily now loves the ocean.

Sunday I finally had my grading. It was for 6th dan, or Rokudan. I passed, so that's good, and Sei Shihan has given me some advice for how to proceed with my training, which is even better.  It's nice to be at a point where he's no longer saying "put this foot here and hold the sword like that" and is now saying "relax, move faster, have an opponent". We had another little wander around the mall, ate at the Japanese restaurant again, and then we were done.

We stopped in Bordertown on the way home (once again the kids went to the pool, although this time I lay in the hotel room recovering from training while they did so) and were back on Tuesday to a very affectionate Max.

Monday, 11 January 2016


Can't find where to comment on the posts.

Thrilled to have you visit Dayna and Bruce and as I messaged you , Clive is happy to drive to the airport on Saturday night (realise could be 11pm or so)and bring you back here for a sleep. We'll do the return journey on the19th as well.

Glenn and Dee, I'm sure the owners are happy to have sold. Where do people get that sort of money?Guessing new owners don't want existing tenants so fingers crossed for the place around the corner.I'll hang on to the leather jackets etc for you Glenn. February is approaching rapidly.

We had a lovely night here tonight with two other couples for dinner. I did a roast and made a very yummy chocolate cheesecake. Airconditioning was handy with the very hot weather. Hopefully you'll get plenty of chances to swim Dayna.

Tomorrow a friend I went to High School with is calling in for a chat. She lives in Malua Bay now but came to Victoria for an Aunt's 90th birthday.

Busy social life. I've offered to give Carolynn a hand too so that may be the afternoon job.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Back to work

Bruce and I were back at work this week. For me, that meant a trip over to Aberystwyth to talk to trainee teachers, a little bit of office work and two workshops for 14-15 year olds. *phew*
B spent the week looking at flights and stop-over destinations, with a bit of work here and there. ;-)

The result - we're coming to Australia!

We arrive into Melbourne at 10pm on Saturday 6th February and will stay over at the airport. We'll then make our way to Bendigo on Sunday 7th. Hopefully the weather will be warm - I'm bringing my togs and hoping for some swimming time! :-)

We leave from Tullamarine Airport at 4pm on Friday 19th February. Rather than flying straight back, we're stopping for 3 days in Abu Dhabi - which will give us a chance for more adventures and hopefully reduce jetlag a bit (since we're back to work on the Wednesday after arriving at Heathrow Tuesday night!).

So the visit is a little sooner than we thought - it was the best option to fit around work and everything. I know we spoke about flying in to Sydney and out of Melbourne (or vice-versa) but by the time we came to booking the trip, those flights had become stupidly expensive. That and the fact that Glenn, Dee & Jules need to move in February means we probably won't get to Sydney this trip. Sorry guys - we'll just have to video chat more.

Somehow I picked up a cold this week, so I've been taking it easy this weekend - I've got more travels coming up (Bath on Monday, Swansea on Tuesday..) but I'll tell you all about that next week.

*hugz* to all!

Nelson Street Nomads: Is it 2016 already?

(Caveat: There is every chance that my optimism and dedication to writing on the Bandwagon is a stereotypical “new year, new you”-type thing, and I may well fall back into my old habits of isolation and radio-silence -- BUT I HOPE NOT! “Intention” is a necessary (but not sufficient) precursor to “action”, after all — and right now, my intentions are strong! I have a good feeling about 2016, and think we’ve planned just enough fun and challenge for the year: a little camping; training for a second attempt at the Sydney marathon; learning to snow-board; and later in the year, a week-ish long “motorcycle sabbatical” whereby I hire a motorbike, pack a swag and travel to my 20-year high-school musical reunion.)

I think the last time I posted, we’d just found out that the owners of 301 Nelson were selling, and that we would have to move. No change there: they sold (in two weeks, without advertising, just via Facebook (!!)), we agreed to a shorter lease (Feb) and have the benefit of “no notice break-lease” to boot — so as soon as we find a place, we’re outta here!

This weekend we started packing. Something like twelve boxes, which has made a dent but is just the beginning. (When did we accumulate so much stuff??) Fingers are crossed for a place around the corner, which is available for viewing on the 18th — 3BR, a little yard, “pet-friendly”.

We really want to stay in this neighbourhood: apart from the well-regarded primary school “catchment”, our neighbours are amazing. Today, for example, I took Jules up to see Allanah — they ran upstairs, I came home for more packing, safe in the knowledge that one of the older neighbourhood kids would bring him home if needed.

Christmas in Brisbane was nice, but busy — we visited both the Australia Zoo (by crickey!) and Movieworld, as well as catching a football game (Melbourne Victory vs. Brisbane Roar) and the Christmas Parade. And of course I have to confess: your Christmas gifts didn’t arrive in time (sent to work) and I *still* haven’t sent them onwards — we only just got around to sending a year of birthday pressies before Christmas arrived! I’m hopeless. (But Lisa, one of your birthday cups was from me — Dayna is a MUCH better sister than I am!)

NYE was pretty low-key: Dee was sick, so stayed home and babysat our boy; I took Uncle Chris and Aunty Sarah into the office for a barbeque and fireworks, since we have such a great view of both the bridge and the Opera House. T’was a bit of a mission getting home on public transport afterwards, but I think we made it by 2:30am.

Yesterday was a good day, which you may have seen on Facebook. After a delicious breakfast (barbecued bacon and halloumi, with eggs and avocado) we spent most of the day packing boxes; in the afternoon we took Jules to meet his friend at the playground, and actually got to relax (sort of) as they played together. Dinner was Mexican, at a real-live restaurant no less, then home for Little Big Planet on the Playstation.

I’m trying to remember that “life” is the more important side of “work-life balance”, and as part of the social committee I get special preview on some of the events we’re planning, including craft-beer, bubble-soccer, Chinese New Year, a pancake breakfast, board games, a LAN party and karaoke — seriously, if I can just forget about project deadlines and the pressure I put myself under to try to ship the software, I could be having a ball!

So there you go: my first, but hopefully not my last, Bandwagon post for the year. I’ll let you know how we get on with the house, and try to get these presents off before NEXT Christmas, and look forward to seeing you all on Hangouts on a Friday or Saturday afternoon/evening.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

More decluttering

I have three leather jackets and a pair of dririder pants. Who do they belong to? I have put them in the spare room for Dayna to check when she visits but they may be Glenn's. Do you want to keep them, sell them??

Despite 9mls of rain on Saturday, the pots are still quite dry. I collected 500l in my new tank and have put half of that on to the nectarine in the hope of getting bigger fruit. Might have left it too late.

Clive cleared the strainer on my large tank when I noticed it had overflowed. today I got up to check the 1000l one and it was well blocked as well. Cleared now and while I was there with a ladder I trimmed some of the lemon verbena. Bin emptied yesterday is full again.

Finally got a new microwave and a settop box so the TV in the back room works again.

Looking forward to Dayna and Bruce's visit in a month or so.

Trying to lose some weight before we go cruising on 24th February.

More posts wanted please.