Monday, October 31, 2005

This weekend flew by, I can’t believe how quickly the weeks are going by. I was talking to my Mum last night and it’s only 6 weeks until she comes out here to visit me!
The birthday celebration for Linn on Friday night was good fun, the bar we went to have a members night once a month, and all you have to do is show a members key ring and you get half price drinks. There was only 2 people in our group who actually had a key ring, so there were about 10 of us using only 2 key rings! They had some really lovely cocktails there, we all made the most of the deal by trying lots of different types. Needless to say it ended up being a pretty late night!!
Saturday was a great day, Jason and I went into the city for the Sydney Food and Wine fair at Hyde Park. There were loads of stalls there from some of the best restaurants in Sydney selling all different types of food and wine. We had a look around at most of them until we found something we fancied, I had a stir fry dish which was yummy, then we sat on the grass in the sunshine, chilling out with a glass of wine, listening to the bands, and watching the world go by, it was great. After a few hours of doing nothing the sky started to cloud over, so we took a walk to Darling Harbour to have a look at the 'Chalk the Walk' exhibition. There were about twenty pavement artists chalking their artwork on the Pyrmont walkway, some of them were really fantastic.
Yesterday was a really bad day, the weather was awful. I didn’t wake up until 1pm (well it would have been 12, but the clocks went forward!) I must have needed that sleep!! I spent the day cleaning and tidying up, not much fun, but it needed doing. I always feel like I’ve achieved something when things are looking really clean and tidy!!
Tomorrow is Melbourne Cup day, it's Australia's equivalent of our Royal Ascot, it's a big thing. They actually have a public holiday in Melbourne for it, and even here in Sydney there are loads of do's on. The racing season has been on for the last month or so, everyone gets dressed up to the nines and gets really drunk, we've seen a few casualties walking out when the races have finished, well I say walking....what I actually mean is stumbling, it's very amusing!! So, I'm going to put a bet on, well a sweep anyway....fingers crossed!!!
While I'm here, I've just added some photos of Cronulla where we went a couple of weeks ago:
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Friday, October 28, 2005

Bloody flies!!!
If it’s not moths... it’s flies!! The warm weather here (it was 32degrees and humid yesterday) has brought with it swarms of flies and they’re so bloomin annoying, everyone is walking around wafting them away with their arms, they call it the Sydney salute!!
I am a bit tired still today, we had a really late night on Wednesday. We went to the Basement, which is a really cool club near Circular Quay. The Esbjorn Svensson Trio, a Swedish Jazz band, were playing. The music was great, and it was all their own compositions. Our friends Lin and Martin who are also Swedish have seen them before, so they recommended to go and see them. I must say, I felt very grown up and civilised going to a club and listening to a jazz band, it was very enjoyable!
Got a couple of things planned for the weekend, tonight we are going to the Cushion Bar in Coogee to celebrate Lin's birthday, then tomorrow I might pop down to the Sydney Food & Wine fair at Hyde Park.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Feeling a bit tired today, I met Sue yesterday afternoon for coffee, and the plan was that we were going to the theatre to see a play. Well, we walked there to pick up our tickets, but the theatre looked really dodgy and we decided it was a lot of money to pay for somewhere that didn’t look very nice, so I hate to say it, we carried on walking and decided to go for a drink instead!! Plus it was a beautiful day…too nice to be inside. We ended up going to what I think must be the most expensive bar in Sydney…..$18 for 2 drinks, and surprisingly we stayed there for 4 each…so much for saving money! It was lovely to catch up with Sue again, we don't see each other as much anymore as she has moved to the North Shore and I'm in Coogee, its a fair trek now. Anyway, so that was Sunday. Friday night the lads all came around to the flat to watch the 2nd tri-nations rugby game between New Zealand and Australia….New Zealand lost this time. Saturday, Jason and I went for a drive down the south coast to Cronulla, it was only about half an hour away. It’s a really nice area, first we went for a walk along the seafront by the marina, there are some really beautiful houses right on the front, they must cost a mint. Then we took a walk over the other side along the beach front, it was really busy as there was a surfing competition on and there were loads of people sunbathing as it was a lovely day. After a drink at the Northies hotel we set off back home…by this time it had started to rain a tiny bit, then the next thing we knew it was absolutely throwing it down, so much so we could hardly see out of the windscreen, then it started thundering and lightening. I haven’t seen a storm like that in ages, and it was quite cool watching as the fork lightening struck really close to us. Saturday night we just ended up watching a dvd….exciting stuff!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The days are going by so quickly, I keep forgetting to update my blog! Well, I'm on a bit of a diet again, well summer is coming up after all! I've been to the gym Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, not today though, I'm feeling like I need a rest! I've given up baked potatoes too, it's been 10 days now and I really miss them (if you know me well, you know how hard that is for me!!) trying to do the low carb thing, so hopefully will get some rapid results!!
Last night we had a bit of a dinner party at the flat, Jason cooked for Rachel, Stu, Todd, Lily and me, we had some yummy food (a bit too much in my case) quiches, salads, garlic bread, cheese and biscuits...not good for my waistline, but I have been exercising loads, so I deserved it!
I was told today at work that I can stay there another 2 weeks, my contract finishes at the end of next week, but they want to keep me on a bit longer which is great news.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Drinks on Friday night turned out to be a big night. We met at a pub in Surry Hills after work, I don’t often get to that area so it was nice to go somewhere different.
Had a really good night, I met lots of different people which was cool. Later on we went to another pub where they sold wine by the bucket (well they were huge glasses, but they might as well have been buckets!) Ended up rolling home about 3am...... slightly merry, I must remember to eat some dinner next time I go out straight from work!
Saturday we went out for lunch with Rachel and Stu, had a big plate of nachos which made me feel better. Then Saturday evening we all met up again to go and watch the Tri-Nations rugby. The game was a good one, the score was New Zealand 38 Australia 28, obviously it was good that New Zealand won as I was with a bunch of kiwis!! I was wearing a New Zealand scarf to support them, but I told them that when they play Great Britain at the end of the month, I definitely won’t be wearing that scarf again!!
Yesterday I had a really quiet day, the weather has been pretty bad over the last week, loads of rain, so I just went to the cinema to watch Pride and Prejudice, which was really good. Todd was taking the mickey as I went on my own….he seemed to think that made me a loser…..I mean if I can travel to all these countries on my own, I’m sure I can go to the cinema on my really doesn't bother me!!
I've also booked mine and Mum's flights to Melbourne in December, we're going to go for a few days as I still haven't been....more money!!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Had a lovely evening yesterday and very cultural! Went for dinner straight from work at the Rocks. The Rocks is where mariners of the First Fleet stepped ashore on 26 January 1788 and British settlement of Australia was first established (bit of internet history for you!) Anyway, so had a nice Italian dinner and a big bucket of ice cream and then headed off to the Opera House. First stop was a couple of glasses of wine at the opera bar, it’s got to be the bar with the greatest backdrop in the world (or definitely one of them) We sat outside with the view of the Opera house and the Harbour bridge, definitely an Australia moment!!
Then it was into the concert hall for a night of 500 years of music (Beethoven to Elvis) from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (I told you it was a cultural night!). I’ve been in the concert hall before when I did the guided tour, but this was totally different. What an amazing evening, the orchestra were fantastic, I must say there was a lot of music that I wasn’t that keen on, it wasn’t very melodious and sounded a bit disjointed, a bit like the music you get on a horror film soundtrack! but on the whole it was very enjoyable. The lady sat next to me really enjoyed it…she was crying practically the whole way through!! We had a dose of opera, string quartets, a bit of dancing and a lot of singing. The singing was mostly in German and I’m embarrassed to say I think I only understood a couple of words out of the whole lot (but it is harder to understand when people are singing it!). I loved the opera, I will definitely go and see one there before I leave, and they do put subtitles up, so you know what’s going on! Towards the end all the lights came up and what looked like a random guy in the audience stood up and started belting out this song, then he went up onto the stage with 3 other randoms, they had the most amazing voices, so they sang for a while, then a whole load of people in the audience in the front balconies stood up and started singing too. It was fantastic, the singing was beautiful, and none of them had microphones on, that’s the beauty of the design of the Opera house, you just don’t need them. The acoustics were fantastic (running out of adjectives here) it actually really moved me listening to this…..I had another big Australia moment…wow, I’m at the Sydney Opera house listening to this…cool!!
So, now I’ll be going all the time, well, money depending…. I’ve really got the bug!!
Now I’ve got a busy weekend lined up, we’re going out for drinks tonight to celebrate a friends new job, then tomorrow night I’m going to the rugby at the Telstra stadium….yes, I’m seeing Australia v New Zealand (league) I’m going to be supporting New Zealand as I’m going with a bunch of kiwis!!
There was a bomb threat to the fire stations in Sydney on Wednesday, and the one in the city is only the next block to my work…scary stuff!! They had all the fire engines lined up on the road all day. It wasn’t really that big a deal here though, it made a brief mention on the radio and on the internet, but that was about it.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Had another nice weekend....the summer is definitely on it's way now!
Friday I met Dave after work for a few drinks, he'd just got back from Japan, he had been on a business trip and he had a fantastic time, it sounded like a great trip, maybe one day I'll get there. It wasn't a late one like it normally turns out to be when we meet up...I was at home at 8.30 and in bed by 10! Saturday daytime, just did a few bits and bobs, then I met Sue for a girls night. We had a really fun night as usual and we had a lot to catch up on, so we were gassing all night. We went to a few different bars for a change, we went to the other side of the city, but we both felt really old, you should have seen what some of the girls were wearing (I sound like my Mum don't I!!). So we ended up in the old faithful Burdekin on Oxford Street...our local which we haven't been to in ages. It was really funny, we got chatted up by the most weirdest guy, well I say got chatted up, he didn't say anything really apart from you're really pretty (in a strange voice) and then he would just stare and grin at us....a bit freaky actually. We called it a night after a while, we couldn't get rid of him!!
Just got back from the gym....I'm really going to make an effort to go now, what with my holidays and being sick I haven't hardly been, and the summer is coming, better get it sorted.

Friday, October 07, 2005

some pics from New Zealand (see below for write-up)

on the drive to Wellington
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the weather slowly gets better
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on Mount Victoria (excuse the big was windy!!)
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Beach at Wellington
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on the drive to Napier
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The Mission (oldest winery in New Zealand)
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the vinyards
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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Last week was a bit of a nightmare. I got home on Wednesday night after work to find that the flat was absolutely inhabitable after the painters had been there, they’d said we would be able to sleep there still, but they’d started on every room and the beds were piled high with furniture, so that would have been impossible. This sent me into a bit of a panic as it meant packing clothes to stay at a friends house for the next few days, and also getting my stuff packed for New Zealand, and there was nowhere to put anything as everywhere was covered in dirty sheets. Anyway, I managed to get it done eventually, it meant searching under the sheets on the bed for my suitcase, but I got it sorted. Then Todd gave me a lift to Rachel and Stu’s….by this time it was about 9.30pm. So, I got myself settled there and went to bed. Then Thursday at work, everything was going fine, until lunchtime…. Jeff was showing me how to do something on my PC and all of a sudden my vision went blurry and I couldn’t really see anything. Jeff phoned the first aid guy who came down to see what was the matter, I’d figured it was a migraine…I’d only had a couple before, and the symptoms were the same. Anyway, the first aid guy got it into his head that he should phone an ambulance (apparently they don’t like to take risks when it comes to problems with the head) I was mortified…. I tried to say that I just needed to lie down in a dark room and close my eyes, but he was determined. I guess if they didn’t and there really was something serious wrong then they’d be liable, so they can’t take any chances. So they took me to the sick bay where I could lie down and we waited for the ambulance…and waited, about 40 mins later, they realised that actually everybody thought that somebody else had called the ambulance and it turned out nobody had (which I was really relieved about….fancy calling an ambulance for a migraine!) It was a good job it wasn’t serious though, imagine if someone had had a heart attack or something and noone had called the ambulance! Anyway, by this time my vision had mostly come back, but my head was killing, so they asked what I wanted to do, I just said I’d go next door for a check up at the doctors to keep them happy…so they took me there where I was given some painkillers and written off work for the rest of the day. But to make matters worse, I didn’t have a key for the flat where I was staying, so I couldn’t even go to bed…I had to stay in the sick bay all afternoon. When I knew that someone would be at the flat,I got a taxi back (which work paid for and which I nearly threw up in!) nightmare!! Anyway, I slept for a while when I got back and started to feel better. I was really annoyed tho as I was supposed to go out and meet Aaron and Mike that night, but there was no way I could have gone out. I still felt a bit funny on Friday, my head was hurting so I took some more of the painkillers from the doctors, but a couple of hours later I felt nauseous again, I couldn’t do anything at work, I was useless, so I ended up having to go back to the flat again. Tanya from work was really sweet and drove me home…I had to get her to stop at one point though as I was going to be sick…how embarrassing!! So I just went to bed and slept for a couple of hours, and Rachel gave me some anti-nausea tablets which helped. I was really worried that I would be sick for my holiday, but I woke up early on Saturday morning and felt reasonably ok…. more excited than anything!

So onto nicer things…..
New Zealand was great, I was staying in North Palmerston, which is a city in the south of the north island. Jason had booked to go back and surprise his parents for their 25th wedding anniversary party, so I tagged along with him. We got there Saturday afternoon and were picked up by his friends Reece and Yvette who we were staying with. After a relaxing afternoon and some fish and chips we went to the anniversary party. We had a great night, Jason’s Mum was really shocked to see him there, she just burst out crying when she saw him! The music was quite old fashioned and at one point the whole room ended up doing the hokey cokey which was very amusing!! The drinks were free all night, so we all had quite a few…. the wine wasn’t bottled, but in a box, so I polished off quite a lot of chateau cardboard (as we like to call it!)
Sunday (feeling slightly hungover) we went to a local park with Jason’s family and then took a drive right up into the hills to have a look at the windfarm, there are hundreds of these windmills on the hills that generate power, unfortunately though the weather had taken a turn for the worse so we couldn’t get out of the car without getting soaked, and we couldn’t see the view either. Sunday night we went out for dinner with Yvette and Reece which was nice. Then Monday, Jason borrowed his brothers car and we took a drive to Wellington, which is 2 hours away. The day started off raining, but it cleared by the time we got there. We dropped in at Jason’s brothers house to say hi, they have a gorgeous house up in the hills with a fantastic view. After we’d had a cup of tea and some cake, we drove up to Mount Victoria and saw the view of the whole city (which is surprisingly small) it was absolutely freezing up there, and blowing a gale, I was glad I took my scarf! We then drove along the coastal road and stopped for a walk along the beach. It’s a very rugged coastline, it reminded me of home a bit. I also loved looking at the houses there, each one is so individual, you will never see two looking the same, most of them are built on the hills so they’re really high up, not sure if I would like to live that high! After that we parked the car in the city and had a look around, we walked to the Beehive (where the government offices are) and took a couple of pics, then we went to the cable car and took a trip in that. There are botanical gardens at the top, but we only had a quick look and then headed back down again as we were both starving. After we’d eaten, we drove back to where we were staying.
Tuesday morning it was raining again, the plan today was to go to Napier, which is on the east coast of the island and is supposed to be sunnier than the west. Jason’s parents had taken the day off work as it was their actual anniversary, so they picked us up in the morning to take us out for the day. The drive was quite a long one. As soon as we were out of Palmerston (or Palmy as the locals call it) the skies cleared and the sun came out. I tell you, it made such a difference when the sun was shining, the countryside is beautiful, it’s so green and there are hills everywhere…and the amount of sheep…well! It reminded me a lot of England, it’s such a contrast to all the places I’ve seen in Australia….quite unbelievable. All along the journey you can see the mountains in the distance, that actually reminded me of Germany and Austria a bit, there was even a bit of snow on top of some of them. It took about 2.5 hours to get there, we drove up to a view point called Bluff Hill where you can see a view of Napier and the beautiful green sea. We had some lunch there and took some photos, then drove back down to the town where we had a look around…I could definitely live there, it’s gorgeous…very pricey tho!! After that we fancied a bit of wine tasting (it’s a wine region) so they took me to the Mission, which is the oldest winery in New Zealand. It was established in 1851 by the French Marist religious order. The whole place is absolutely stunning, you drive up the hill, through the vineyards towards the main house, which is beautiful, and the view from up there is amazing. We tried 5 wines….well, I had an extra tasting as I couldn’t decide which wine to buy (honest!!) I decided on the Riesling, which I’m saving for a nice meal.
After that it was time to make a move back to Palmerston, it was also time for another sleep in the car for me…I tell you, every time I got in a car that holiday, I just couldn’t keep my eyes open, it got to be a bit embarrassing, I was that bad.... it was really annoying too as I wanted to see the scenery! Anyway, by the time we got back there we were starting to feel hungry again, so to celebrate their anniversary, Jason’s Mum and Dad took us out for an Indian. I hadn’t had a curry actually since I’d been in India in February, so I really enjoyed it.
What I saw of New Zealand, I really loved it, I had a really great time there. There are hardly any people (more sheep than anything) and they are so laid back (the people, not the sheep). Another thing I"ve got used to is they always add 'eh' on to the end of most sentences, even when they're not asking a question, very funny. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't see a kiwi (only the human kind!) maybe when I go back next year I will.
So yesterday it was time to come back to Sydney. Our flight was at 6am, so we were up at 4am, it was a long long day! The flight was not the best, I think the more tired I am, the more nervous I get, it was quite bumpy. It was a 3.5 hour flight too which didn’t help! So got back to the flat and it was a right state from when the painters had been there, apparently they didn’t finish until Monday night, so Todd and Lily hadn’t had a chance to clean anything…so yesterday morning was spent cleaning and washing, it took 5 hours...I was knackered…that’s all you need when you get back from your holidays, I just wanted to go to bed!! Anyway, it looks lovely now, a vast improvement….but today I feel like I’ve done a major workout at the gym…..I’m aching all over from scrubbing and hoovering!
I returned to work today to find we have an infestation of moths…they are flying around the whole office, in the toilets and kitchen too….there were a load of them lurking behind me on the blinds all day!! Apparently this happens at this time every year, luckily I haven’t been dive bombed at work, but I've just been to a shop and I tried on a t-shirt and about 6 moths flew out of it into my face...that scared me I tell you! Won't be trying on anymore clothes that are hanging outside a shop!