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14th-Aug-2005 03:28 pm - Whine
Diary
I hate lazy days at home. They really don't do much for me. After the nice lie-in, perhaps some nice bakery bread for lunch and a full perusal of the Sunday paper, I've pretty much had as much nothing as I can handle and start itching to get out and DO something. If your beloved wants that, and it's a miserable day out, and you're trying to shake off a cold, I guess it's a good call, but I'm already feeling cabin-fevered and by the end of the day I'm pretty sure I'll have cried from frustration/boredom/life-is-passing-me-by-ness. Trying to complete a Tax Return, funnily enough, did not help.

Thing is, there's not much to do at home. We didn't set up for the long-term, so we don't have all the little knick-knacks of stuff to do, we don't have enough space for us not to be on top of each other (he is watching TV while I type this and I'm pretty certain the clacking will be getting on his nerves as much as the bloody Stargate is getting on mine).

And it's cold. Honestly and truly, this has been the worst winter of my life. Yes, English winters are colder, but we deal with it so much better. You get cold when you go out, but the places you go to are warmed and you come home to a cosy house. Here, they really haven't accepted that it gets cold, so there is no culture of central heating. Our flat has a heater - a big hairdryer type thing that blows hot air across the table, scattering papers, making a racket and not heating the place for a single second after it is switched off. The windows are single glazed and badly sealed; you can feel the cold air coming in through them, and there's no curtains to help insulate the place. Work is no better; the air con is still cooling the place and I am not the only person who spends all day wearing at least their scarf and often their coat. I never wore more than 3 layers in England, here I never wear fewer than 4. And I'm usually wrapped in a blanket over that, and still miserably cold as well as padded. I feel like I got cold sometime in May and have not defrosted, and it is just horrible.

Ah well. At least I am eating enough to fuel an army.
3rd-Aug-2005 05:56 pm(no subject)
Diary
Hurrah. Finally managed a full evening without falling asleep at 7pm and needing to be woken up for dinner. Turns out the key to jetlag may just be fucking BRUTAL films (we went and saw Sin City - how beautiful.. yet.. how violent.) Mind you, I think the film I slept through on Saturday night probably wasn't entirely fluffy bunnies but it was in Russian, and the nice swishy incomprehensible accents and cosy cinema really help you nod off.

Today was one of those days that start off so well, beautiful dreams leaving me all smiley and mushy about my boy, leading gently into one of those days at work that last 6 1/2 months and makes you really grumpy for no apparent reason.

I'm currently supposed to be writing an essay which is why I'm writing nothing in lots of words on my LJ, scoffing licorice and contemplating the bottle of wine in the fridge.
7th-Jul-2005 09:00 pm(no subject)
Diary
Oh my god. Body in Melbourne, heart in London.

I hope you - and everyone you care about - and everyone THEY care about - is OK.
2nd-Jul-2005 03:40 pm(no subject)
Diary
Hello hello. Long time no post. Think we've been busy. Today is a 'study day' as I continue the onslaught of the OU, but since Anthony has slipped out to pick up a video I can waste a little time online and he'll never know. (WEll, unless he ever checked my journal).

Life's good. I've picked this up as some kind of motto - rather unfortunately, so have LG, so now I feel half like a brand of white goods and half like an Australian. But, well, life is good. Even on this sucky study day I have hedgehog (chocolate cake), tea and a wonderful afternoon nap in freshly laundered sheets. Happiness is.

What have we been up to? God knows. There has been a couple of Going Out incidents relating to Anthony's birthday last weekend - first off there was the group outing with friends from work, whereby we took them to an English themed pub and while we chortled with happy memories at the placemats of Big Ben and the pints of Tetley/Scrumy Jack, they were bemused by such culinary offerings as 'bangers and mash' and 'gammon steak'. Food was rather ordinary though, Yorkshire puddings made in muffin tins turn out as a leaden lump of half-cooked batter, and the service with a smile was straight out of your average motorway service station. But we had fun none the less.

Later in the week there was his birthday present - tickets for the Stereophonics, a band that he likes and I don't and conveniently playing in Melbourne 3 days after his birthday. Voila, there we were, shaking our stuff right next to the VIP table. Aside from the faux Roman decor, the venue was rather fantastic, with large comfy sofa booths if you wanted to sit and a large standing area if you wanted to stand. (Obviously we combined the two and stood in the sitting area.)

Work is going pretty well. Various of my 5 bosses have been away over recent weeks, so it's been quite nice and quiet and I could work independently, which was good. Lyn, the CEO, has been away for the last month on various business trips to Canada, USA and England, and I have had the wonderful task of checking her email in her absence. There's nothing more heartening than seeing your boss get joke emails from her mates.

Melbourne is cold. We hit 4 degrees in the mornings these days, which is most unreasonable when you don't have heating in your house. As we were watching a DVD curled up under a blanket yesterday I realised I could see my breath condensing. Inside. This is Wrong.

They've cut down the tree outside our bedroom window. No more possums walking past our flat for us :( But on the plus side, we have a whole new block of flats to spy on :) Wonder which of the bastards in the flats opposite is the drug dealer? Someone in the neighbourhood clearly is - can think of no other explanation for cars pulling up at 2am with doof-doof music blaring loud enough to shake the windows, honk their horn, hang around about 2 minutes and then pull off again. Just about every night.

I bought a custard apple this week. Never seen one of those critters before. But one thing I am really loving about my life in Melbourne is that I can use my lunchtimes to go shopping the Queen Victoria market and buy lots of wonderful cheap and fresh vegetables. It's an amazing place, there are dozens of stalls to choose from and I can spend hours (well, an hour) wandering up and down, choosing a little of this and a little of that... And I've decided to use the opportunity to sample a few of the more 'what the hell is THAT' things they have. Like custard apples. Which are... very sweet, quite creamy, not very appley. So there you have it.

Hey ho. Back to english use in the bilingual and multilingual classroom. *sigh*
14th-Jun-2005 09:52 pm(no subject)
Diary
Yesterday was the Queen's Birthday. We spent a good proportion of the day in a couple of wineries, sampling their wares, and yet still failed to raise a toast to Her Majesty, which is a bit rude considering she'd netted us the day off work to celebrate. The Australian's think we're a bit odd because we don't celebrate the Queen's Birthday in the UK - we think they're a bit odd because they do. Still, a Public Holiday is good in whatever form it is served.

We used it, as we always do, by hiring a car and going away for the weekend. Up to the imaginatively named 'Grampians'. The settlers were rubbish at naming things. Either they just pinched names from back home ('oooh look a mountain range, can anyone think of a good name for it?' or they picked comedy names like 'Mount Difficult' and 'Mount Abrupt'. I gather there's a 'Lake Disappointment' somewhere and I'm dying to see it. And guess what will it'll be when I do...)

In deference to the fact it is winter, we both have colds, and we were heading for the mountains we elected to stay in a youth hostel rather than camp. It comes to something when you think you are pushing the boat out because a twin room in a youth hostel is the height of luxury... Not that it was. There were a million screaming brats in the place. What a wonderful form of contraception they are. Perhaps I'm just bitter because they commandeered the TV room all weekend for football so we didn't get to see Dr Who :(.

It was an 'eco-hostel' which meant, well, very little in practical terms. There were solar panels which provided leccy during the day, the shower water was re-used to flush the toilets, and there were free free-range eggs available in the kitchen. But it's probably good that being ecologically friendly is not massively obvious or intrusive.

The trip was wonderful. We went on several short walks to see the traditional famous views, lakes, waterfalls etc, and they were suitably spectacular, and we went on a long hike for most of Sunday up a mountain. Australia has some very strange ideas about what constitutes a normal walking trail, and they tend to mean it when they say things like 'strenuous' and 'wear sturdy footwear' because a lot of the time it is clambering over rocks. A footpath is a way of getting across the land, not a carefully beaten out track. Sometimes they might help you out with a bit of fencing if you are really likely to fall off the mountain without a little support, but often you are just on your own to pick your way up a mountain to the next little paint blob marker - the only way of telling that this patch of land is the footpath at all.

All of this is, of course, a lot of fun, and we climbed up a lot of gorges, saw more waterfalls, and had the most amazing, far-reaching views. We were lucky with the weather too - having been pissing down in Melbourne on Friday night, and pissing down again on Monday night, the weekend itself was clear, dry and beautifully sunny. We walked in t-shirts in the sunshine and couldn't believe this was the middle of winter.

Sunday night we had a well-earned meal at the best restaurant in town - and oh my, if it wasn't the best meal I've had in Australia! The restaurant specialty is venison, which they rear on the property, but sadly they were out of stock. The abattoir was shut for the holiday. The Australians have a strange aversion to making money out of tourists at times - the canoe company we tried to book with also refused to take our money - they weren't going out this weekend 'because of the weather'. That beautiful still clear sunny weather I was talking about...).

And then on the Monday, we drove back via a couple of wineries, where I sampled some very fine ports and all the most expensive bottles they would offer, and then bought the cheap bottles. Aaaaaaah.
8th-Jun-2005 05:49 pm(no subject)
Diary
I've just noticed that our peppercorns very helpfully tell you they add 'a strong, fresh, peppery note to any meal'. Well really.

--

Why do we always leave it to beyond the last minute to book car hire and accommodation for weekends away?

--

I stayed up stupidly late last night (damned insomnia) reading my diary of our Oz trip. It amazes me how much we've done and what an awesome time we are having. I should probably stop giving Anthony a hard time when he wants to take a break from my relentless mustseemustdo route march. On the other hand, we could just continue having a wonderful time...
7th-Jun-2005 06:21 pm(no subject)
Diary
I launched my modelling career today. Appearing soon on the cover of the Heart Foundation Overweight and Obesity management guidelines, with a cup of coffee and a cheesy grin. Though I have decided I'm allergic to my make-up as I've spent the rest of the day trying to claw the itching off my eyelashes and lips. Either that, or that article I read was right when it said you should throw out make-up over 6 months old. 6 months? Geez, I have stuff that's 3 years old I still think of as 'new'.

Well, it was an hour out of the office, messing around in Flagstaff Gardens and seeing how a professional photographer works. Even if it did mean I entirely missed my lunchbreak today, and for the second day in a row my boss has told me I'm ill and should go home, then given me enough work to ensure I end up going home late instead. *sigh*. And I *am* ill - Saturday was a 4 hanky day, as we traipsed round Melbourne looking at cars. We test-drove two but shan't be buying either, though we feel we are damned good test-drivers. We're nightmare customers.

Our internet connection is being very strange. It won't let me load anything but livejournal. You guys are just *special*.
4th-Jun-2005 07:02 pm(no subject)
Diary
Urgh. Cold from hell. It came on impressively quickly - absolutely fine all day, dinner, cleaned the house, fine. Settled down to watch The Empire Strikes Back and by the end am dying of snot overload. How is it possible to come down with a cold in 2 hours?

More car shopping today. We did test drives. We were Thorough. One was a shocker, one is possible. I'm very excited by this whole thing. Anthony's fear seems to be lessening, thank god. More car shopping tomorrow. Hope I feel less like death.

Brunetti's hot chocolate is possible the finest in the world.
30th-May-2005 04:50 pm(no subject)
Diary
This weekend was pretty good, apart from the mad crying 'we have no social life!' incident on Saturday. It had got to me a bit, but this is stupid as what had brought it on was going out with the girls. :) I was just upset because all afternoon they'd been swapping stories of good bars to go to, and they'd turn to me and say 'have you been there? have you been there?' and I'd say 'no... no... no...'. Sometimes its hard to remember that I haven't been in this city for that long, I haven't got 25 years worth of friendships built up here, and that actually I'm not a completely sad loser with no friends at all.

Because like I said, I was out with friends. One of the girls from work is on the social committee for her bloke's football club (that is, Aussie Rules Football) and had arranged the 'Ladies Day' on Saturday. Actually it was surprisingly ladylike; although we trounced the champagne stash the beer was untouched, and when it came to the goal-kicking contest there was some very delicate little booties making very wild shots at the goal. Still, that worked out for me, as it meant my first ever footie kick wasn't so wildly humiliating as it might have been. I did, for example, get it through the goal, although there was a lot of rolling and it stopped dead on the line. So I didn't go out on the first round, and have saved English face. Though embarrassingly, it was my friend that won, and she is 7 months pregnant... I suspect this is because we'd all been tucking into the champagne and cocktails and she hadn't - at least, this is my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday saw us out looking for a car. When I say we've decided to buy a car, I mean that I have decided and Anthony is still in denial that it is happening. There is no reason not to though, we are going to need a car for our Big Trip so there is no reason not to buy it now and have the use for an extra few months, at least this way if it breaks down immediately we can take it back to the same dealer. But buying a car is daunting, especially when we've never done it and are in a foreign country. And Australian car buying IS different - for a start, they don't seem to think that a 20 year old car is on its last legs. They still want 1500 GBP for cars built in the 80s that have done 200,000 miles! My dad wouldn't even let me look at cars that old back home, here I am buying one with a view to driving through desert with hundreds of miles to the nearest phone. Interesting.

Today I am off sick. I woke up this morning feeling shocking. Slept till lunchtime and have been feeling pretty good ever since. Though obviously not well enough to clean the house. Poor me. :)
27th-May-2005 05:46 pm - Feeling the Force
Diary
We saw Star Wars. Bizarrely, I liked it. It's bizarre because after a whole childhood loving Star Wars, they re-released the originals at the cinema, and I discovered I actually hated it. I hate all characters, especially that damned wookie, and I have never figured out the plot. Obviously the new films 1 and 2 were a total bust (I went to sleep in the first one as a defence mechanism, I was that bored).

So I went to see 3 only really because the hype made me, and Anthony. But I liked it. Really quite a lot. I made him go down to the video shop the next day to look for part 4 (of course they were out, of course they were). I suppose it helps that I'd had Anthony summarise the plot of all 5 other films over cake in a trendy bar beforehand.

But then I am rather afraid he is going to turn me into a sci-fi geek. Shortly before we came to Oz, he borrowed his dad's Babylon 5 DVDs and because I was feeling tender and loving I sat down to watch the first one with him despite the fact I hated it passionately when it was on TV and swore at it many times for taking up the essential 6pm Channel 4 slot I needed for my homework. And, well, I got rather hooked. We finished watching the entire series in the month before we came out here, since when we have bought series 2,3,4 and 5 and are rather rapidly demolishing them. How did this happen to me?

On the upside, we watched the first episode of Stargate together the other day, and that still left me completely cold. *phew*
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