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Ben & Leigh's Travel Page

Hey All!

This is Ben & Leigh's Travel Diary kinda thing... we'll try and post regularly and if i can be bothered I'll whack a few pics up every now and then! love yas all! BYE!

If you want to keep track of what's going on - try our NEW RSS feed!
At the moment I'm just manually adding to it.. so I hope I remember to update it every time I make a post :)

Check out my PHOTOBLOG - a proper one! I plan on updating it every week - perhaps bi-weekly if I feel up to it.

Diary Entries

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Location: London, UK

Hey All,

Just a quick one to let you know I've uploaded a bunch of photos!
I'll have to catch you all up on the trips we've done at a later date when I have more time!


Sunday, 16 September 2007

Location: London, UK

Heya Guys... Sorry it's been a while!

I'll try and keep this brief or it will go on for days! So much to catch you all up on!

1) Well as most of you know... we went back home for Davids wedding, we caught up with you all which was fantastic! I really miss you all and it was great getting to see you. For those we didn't get the chance to catch up properly with - we're sorry... we were very busy!
The wedding was great, the weather was even nice... but alas... someone gave me a terrible terrible sickness and I was very very sick... so we had to postpone our flights home and miss out on our Japan stopover... But I made it back home... and got better! Yay!

2) We ducked down to Brighton the weekend after we got back... its supposed to be bit of a "Beach" town. Thats if you're happy to call something filled with rocks instead of sand a BEACH. I'm not, so i'll say it was a nice seaside visit. None the less... fantastic weather, i got a bit of a tan... wet our feet a bit and pretty much had a lovely weekend.
We then TRIED to make it to the Notting hill carnival...but didn't quite make it there.. just part of the way to go have birthday dinner for Nige

3) Been watching some Rugby world cup out in pub's n such. We've been hanging out a bit more with Gary, Kyle & Nige, along with some new friends Leonie and Benoit which is nice. People who aren't all about the beer! Hurrah!

4) On friday night, we left work, met at St Pauls Cathedral and headed across the wobbly bridge (aka the millennium bridge) across the Thames to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. We were there to watch a production of "The Merchant of Venice" and definitely an experience not to miss... even the uncomfortable wooden seating! But it gave a real impression of how it would have been back in Shakespeare's time, and it was a nice performance too!

5) Caught up with David's family who are over here in the UK at the moment.. Got to go out to dinner and chat to Adam, Sue, John, Skye, Erica and Matt. That was nice... being with a family over here.

6) At my work they have started doing what they call "Software Socials" in the Canteen/Common Room/Restaurant area downstairs. The first one was for the Launch of Heavenly Sword for PS3. It was as lame as the name "social" implies... but I did get to meet the creative director and character actor for some of the characters in the game, Andy Serkis, who happens to also be the guy who plays Golum in lord of the rings, and king kong in King kong among some other things.

7) We (Gary, Kyle, Ben and I) secured last minute tickets to the Rubgy World Cup match in Cardiff between Australia and Wales, alas we weren't able to find accommodation... so we had to just head out to Cardiff for the day... which didn't sound too bad, until we arrived at Paddington station on Saturday morning and discovered that the train was packed harder than the Victoria line in peak hour...uuughh.. a TWO HOUR train ride standing up in a crush of Australian expats in the isle of a train... Not exactly what I was expecting.

However the game was great, we were right in the back of the stadium, but we had a fantastic view, it was a great stadium. It was a good day... it would have been nice if we could have hung around for a bit after, because the city center was heaving! But unfortunately, we were stressing about being able to make it home... if the trains were as packed as they were on the way there.. and we weren't able to get on, we would have been stuck in Cardiff for the night with nowhere to stay!

When we arrived at the train station, we were dismayed to discover that there was a line about 8 miles long to get into the platform. Not cool. So we decided to be reaaally clever and catch a train further into wales towards Swansea, and then swap at the next station and catch the next train back the other way... cleverly ensuring us seats!

Well... it wasn't to be... somehow we got stuck at some random station in the south of wales for 2 hours because a train broke down on the platform and blocked the whole works up, so we think half the London trains bypassed the station we were at.

In the end it looks like by the time we got on the train we beat half the queue anyways... but it was a long and exhausting trip home.
None the less it was a fantastic day... lots of fun, and a great win by the Aussies!

so yeah... I think thats what we've done in the month since we've seen you! Hope I haven't missed anything out!

Once again - it was great seeing you all, and we DO miss you! You're all welcome to come and visit... we'll make room!

Sunday, 29 July 2007

See above for new RSS feed details! yay!

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Location: London, UK

Hey All!

Not long until you have to put up with me again!

Anyways - just a brief catchup.

Most of my time has been spent trying to get stuff ready for the trip. And getting something to wear at the wedding. So far I have a dress and shoes... but i get the feeling there are other things I need : (

Anyways - wardrobe malfunctions aside... Friday night we went with David to the imax to watch The Simpsons Movie - quite funny, definatley worth a watch.

We've also been catching up with some freinds of ben's from previous work places... i think both ATO AND DEWR.... (You'd think after one of them did it, the others would know better!)

Yesterday tho was very cool - we went to see the Red Bull Air Race. It was staged on the Thames right near the O2 millennium dome. It was really cool - hopefully I got some good pictures out of it!

I guess now you can harass me directly for not posting photos soon enough : )

Anyways - it was fun as... and those wee planes go pretty fast... upwards of 400km an hour when they're entering the course. It was pretty damn cool. And they had a helicopter doing tricks... It was doing loop the loops and weird craziness upside down!!
We both really enjoyed ourselves. I DESPERATELY want to fly a plane now. I'm going to look into flying lessons! Ben says when he's rich he's going to buy a red bull team and I'm going to be his pilot (he's too tall and doe eyed so he's not allowed)

Then afterwards we met up with Gary and Kyle for drinks after as they went as well but had tickets to a different stand.

Sounds all well and good.... until I realised I got CRAZY sun burnt :( I was soo cranky! Even more so seeing as we have the wedding coming up and now i'm going to have a weird tan line!! oh... heheh... wait... i don't tan... I should be alright :)

Anyways - Looking forward to seeing you all!
Smoke on - Braids

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Location: London, UK

Hello all Ben here,

Just checking in to say that I still survive. The pictures aren't just some massive "Weekend at Bernie's" skit.

Haven't been up to much recently apart from what Leigh has written and work. On the work front blinkBox moved into a new office over the weekend. We're now in the very fancy climes of Farringdon. Right in the heart of the diamond district. (All that glitters in this particular region is quite possibly gold and probably costs more than your car. Or your house. Needless to say that the married members of the company don't want to get in trouble with their wives any more)

Congratulations are in order for my brother, now a published writer. And Fleur who I've heard gets distinctions in classes which she thought she had failed.

Looking forward to coming home in August. Should be great to catch up with everyone.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Location: London, England

Sorry Guys!!

Its been a while between posts and even longer between photos - But I have FINALLY put up the photos I have been promising for months!!

Looking forward to seeing you all sooN!

Sunday, 08 July 2007


So we didn't go to Cambridge's for punting.... and we haven't been on a Beatles tour yet... oh and the weather is TERRIBLE.. or at least it has been for the last little while. Rain, Rain and MORE Rain!

And the stupid Home Office changed its rules about getting a Highly Skilled Migrant Visas THE WEEK I applied, so now I have to do a bunch of different stuff to get it organised : (

So we had a couple of bad weeks there... which meant we had to cancel our move to the nicer house :(

But it's all good. So what have we been up to?

Well, Wimbledon releases about 600 center court and court 1 tickets.... but there is a fairly long queue in the morning for these... so If you want tickets you pretty much have to camp overnight.

So on Friday night we camped out overnight in the queue for Wimbledon... we were 191 and 192 in line =) The camping out is quite organised, they have marshalls that parole the queue and hand out queue cards so people cant queue jump etc. and they come and wake you up in the morning and everything! it was pretty good.

So then they compressed the queue and moved the start point into the acutal ticket place and everyone who was getting tickets got these sexy arm bands, and all those behind could either leave or get regular tickets for the day to all the other courts.

Unfortunately for us, We got 3rd row seats to Centre Court right in the middle. And the standing order for the day was Muresmo, Nadal then Lleyton Hewitt. Why is that unfortunate you ask? Well... because it was so much more dissapointing when it RAINED all day and we only got like 55 mins of play : (

But it was still fun, the camping was enjoyable, and the 55 mins of tennis we watched was good, and we had pimms and lemonade, and strawberries and cream. Maybe we'll get a chance to come back next year.

This weekend we also scored tickets to a chinese opera - Monkey - Journey to the West. Journey to the west is a fairly old chinese tale. We used to have a book at home that mummy used to read to me as a kid which was about the same story. Shows like Monkey Magic are based on the same charachters etc. Basically most of the stories include the bit with the monkey sage who gets trapped under buddhas palm for 500 years... but then he is released by a boy who is on a pilgramige to the west (which in this case is India). The boy tricks him into wearing a gold band around his head which tightens and he cant get it off, so whenever the monkey is bad, the boy can make it go really tight to punish him.

Anyways the guys from the band Gorillaz got together with some other people and made an opera about this story. And there were a few bits of animated stuff in it which were done by the guys who do the film clips for the gorillaz. The opera is in chinese, so they project subtitles onto the screen and they used a bunch of chinese acrobats to do most of the parts, so there was always people hanging from the roof, or climbing up bamboo poles, or doing flips, or hanging from strips of material.

So it was showing in Manchester, so we caught the train up for the day and got to check out a bit of Manchester before popping into the matinee and then grabbing some dinner then heading home on the train!

Anyways - better go have breakky!
Cyas all in about 3 weeks =)

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Location: London, UK

Hey all,

Long time no write! Yes, yes… I have been very very lazy…. And I apologise!

Hmm… so what have we been up to since I last posted…

• Blood brothers – a musical, it was pretty ordinary… the direction was ORDINARY and their voices weren’t exactly strong… oh and the adults acting in kids roles for half the musical didn’t exactly work for me either.
Avenue Q - another musical was awesome - like an adult version of the muppet show... very funny and entertaining.
• Gamarjobat - a comedy mime act type thing from Japan. We saw them up at the Edinburgh Festival... and JUMPED at the chance to see them again down at the Soho Theatre. Lovely show and fantastic night as the weather was good and we had a really nice dinner and a couple of cocktails before the show.
• Borough Markets - not especially exciting - but a nice trip down to Southwark (pronounced Suth-uk) for some fresh Ostrich, cider, vegies and bread... cooked into a nice roast meal!
• a couple of trips down to Canary Wharf for movies and a stroll with friends

Before that, alot of our weekend time was spent trying to find a new place to live. We finally found somewhere so we now have time on the weekends to DO stuff. Plus Ben has been working a lot on the weekend which makes it hard to get away.

We're going to be moving to a flat of our own (no more crazy house mates!) in Shephards Bush - yes yes - I'm ashamed of it... but that area had the best value for money and good transport links! (for those of you who don't know London... SheyBu is notorious for being Aussie Central)
That will happen in about a month... right before our visit to Australia (for David's wedding) and Japan!

We're also in the middle of applying for our Highly Skilled Migrant Visas (HSMV)... its a pain - and expensive as... but we'll be legally allowed to work as much as we want! YAY

The only problem with that, is we'll need to surrender our passports for a while... so we wont be able to plan any trips away for a bit. So we're going to try and do local trips in the near future... like Stonehenge and Oxford and stuff.
Actually - Next weekend we're going to try to get out to Cambridge for some Punting! They let you hire out a punt/boat/whatever and punt around yourself... so that should be cool. Hopefully i can get some good photos... I've been pretty lazy with my photo blog of late... I really need to stop neglecting it!

And I'm also trying to organise to go on one of those Beatles Tours... a mate of mine went on one last weekend and she said it was fun and not as lame as it sounds.

So yeah - that's kinda what we've been up to... Summer is really kicking in here... we've had quite a few days up at 26ish... and because of the humidity... and the long days... it seems sooo much hotter than that. especially on the tube... i swear they're trying to cook us alive... like in one of those dutch ovens... where they stick the food in a pot and bury it underground...
I've been wearing Thongs to work almost every day! (classy Birkenstock thongs... not just havaianas so i'm not a COMPLETE dag) mmm sunny sun sun

Anyways - love to hear from you all... and love to catch up when we come back in august!
We arrive in Canberra on the 3rd of August and leave around the 14th I think

I keep promising new photos - and I promise I'll have some up soon... but its just a bit of a pain at the moment... I'll do my best though!

PS - join facebook... I have some photos up there. You know you want to - It's what all the cool kids are doing these days!

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Location: London

Hello all!

Exciting week for me! The building behind my work caught on FIRE!!!! and they had to close of a section of Oxford Street!! This morning there was a massive river running down Great Marlborough St which i had to wade through to get to work (left over runoff from the 200 firefighters) and everyone was getting headaches from the weird burnt plastic smell... Half the building wasn't even allowed to go to work cause there was concern that the building on Oxford street would fall down and crush people.

Anyways - Tonight Ben and I went and saw the musical Wicked... and it was really quite good! The story is basically the prequel to The Wizard of Oz... and its not bad... the songs are quite good... if not a little Disney... But the costumes were MIND BOTTLEING!!!! They were AWESOME... i really want to remember some of them so I can get someone to make some for me. The special effects... or creative effects even were really cool. Some of it was a little overacted... but all in all it was one of the best we have seen in London. Plus the theater (the Apollo Victoria) was really good compared to the stupid one we were in for spamalot.

I really enjoyed myself! I have to remember to go see more musicals while I'm here... I'm really hanging out for the west end to do West Side Story.... THAT would be awesome. In the meantime we have mary poppins, billy elliot, sound of music, blood brothers, we will rock you and a few others to choose from.

love Braids

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Location: London

Hey - good weekend we had... we checked out the London Marathon!!! cool.... apparently some dude died from heat exastion... it was a SCORCHING 26 DEGREES!!! OMG!!! Whilst the londoners were complaining about the dreadful temperatures... Ben got cold in the shade and put on a jumper.

I however, got my first sunburn in about 1 year!

Last weekend was also nice, out in the sun doing a walk along the Thames with a friend from work - David, who grew up in like Syria or something crazy... he has good stories :)

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Recent Messages

From David
Response: ECHO
From Mark
Good plan with Swansea, shame it didn'r work out as well as you hoped (Kyle tells is better, if a bit different :) Say Hi to all. Cardiff Bay would have gone off that night shame you couldn't stay. Be great. Willis.
Response: Yeah - the truth is always a little less exciting :( I'll have to jazz up my stories a bit! :)
From Nick
So how's it feel to be back in the Eng?
Response: potato
From Nick
Hey did you guys get flooded?
Response: nope... that was more north of here... we haven't even seen that much rain here... well, no more than usual!
From Danc
heh heh i would love to see the row of tents open up their zippers at sun-up and step out of their tents onto the road. Good morni-*SPLAT*!!!
Two kilometres of tennis fans all along the road and the traffic
Response: hehehe - I think thats why they had the orange plastic barricade... that or they thought it went nicely with my hair... and tent?
From VJ
Hey Leigh, sounds like things are going well there - just an update from the grads, Abs has taken leave for several months and has gone to India (we suspect to get arrange marriage :P). Zane moved out with his gf to Gungo (i.e. scummy North), and i'm about to take my first days of annual leave, going for a month to follow (i.e. stalk) the Socceroos as the play in Asia Cup (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia)....should be mad fun....i get back on 1st, good timing with u guyz getting back in town.......drop us a line sometime!
Response: Holy Cow! Sounds like you guys are having awesome fun! Enjoy your trip - that sounds really cool!
From Nick
Hey ben and leigh, I just saw this on the news. Were you at this party?,23... I never knew you were into that sort of thing leigh! Public animal sacrifice? What does sony save for when the cameras aren't around?
Response: generally just human sacrifice
From Mark
Get in the water you wussies !!! Geez it's not like your in the highlands now :) Glad to see you getting out into the real Wales ( I only got as far as Cardiff Bay, but thought it was very cool). Hope everything is going well, but I need more photo's (I've still got you covered so pick your act up :) The boys are on their way in July and we will see you later in the year, be brilliant. Mark
Response: heheh - good point... I have a few photos lined up but I keep forgetting to resize them and put them up! I'll find some time this week to catch up on all the photo's I've forgotten :) Thanks for the kick in the arse! I needed it!
From VJ
Hey guyz, good to hear ur having alot of fun over (whilst the rest of us work hard over here :P). Kickin ur butts in the tipping comp - i guess some things never change.......say g'day to Stevie G for me at Liverpool ;-)
Response: heheh - thanks Veej, but we all know in a couple of rounds you'll be back where you belong at the bottom of the table ;) Have fun - Braids.
From Fleur

So exciting to read about your adventures - and I thought going over the hill to superbarn was exciting! So jealous about Paris. I miss it - does it miss me? Gotta love the Gypsies.
PS I love charlotte church, isn't she the Welsh version of Paris Hilton or something?
Response: NoooooOOOO - I support CARDIIFF! She is not exactly the welsh version of Paris Hilton... although she parties almost as much! Paris, France seems to be struggling along without you tho.
From Nick
I just want to say that Hot Fuzz is exactly as awesome as Ben and Leigh said it was.

That is all.
Response: lolz! We'll said.
From Nick
Happy birthday guys! Glad you had a good time. Ben you sounded hella groggy when I rang you on Monday, but, well, it serves you right for living on the wrong side of the world!

See you in August...
Response: Cheers and SEE LEIGH - OTHER people say HELLA too!
From Suse
Hi guys
Hope you are keeping warm in the cold - snow is always fun though!
Nothing to report from Canberra. Still hot here and just life as usual.
Hey if you come home in August you will be able to meet our addition to the family :)
Take care
Suse & Mick
Response: ok... that's kinda cryptic... But ANYWAYS we ARE looking forward to catching up with everyone in August!
From Rob
Celebrate arriving home... You don't do that too often??

Ben: I'm just going down to the corner store to get some toast for breakfast before work. Back in a couple minutes.

Leigh: I'll get the champagne ready!!
Response: Lol - SPOT ON!
From danc
g'day dudes,
what's the go, i haven't had an update from you in like two weeks! Nothing too much different going on here, lots of late nights and not much sleeping, going on. you?
Response: Just going to whack an update in now ;) But yeah - we have been a bit lazy!
From David
We had snow here in november (or was it early december?) - a little out of season but we'll take it.
Thanks for your sacrifice guys, looking forward to your visit.
Response: Looking forward to the visit! And you're hitchin' party!
Weird tho... the cold snap seems to have passed... its not too bad again!
From Mark
Well thats two very random rants for the 11th :) Brussels looked fantastic, good to see you in Europe again, but what was that... eat your damn snail !!! I can't believe they let you see the worlds best Xmas tree and you are spitting snails all over their streets... bad tourists!! :) Willis
Response: Have you SEEN the mannequin pis? Those Belgians don't care WHAT's lying around in their streets!
ps. Leigh looovves the snail
From Mark
Hey you two, just wanted to wish you a Merry Xmas and New Year. Hope you have something delicious planned for your first away Xmas (better than the Easter feast?) Glad you enjoyed Brussels, Whats next? Willis.
Response: Thanks for the good tidings! Hope you have a Merry Xmas also! Nothing TOO wild planned for Christmas Day... just a little one with the remaining flatmate's!! But we (ok, me) plan on cooking a big Christmas dinner/lunch (depends on how well the cooking goes as to which)
From danc
ooh that's exciting. I wish i could stand on that imaginary line. I'd be all, hey everyone i stood on that big red imaginary line! and they'd be like, uh huh, with all your imaginary friends dan? and i'd be all ...damn
Response: Ohh man - you wouldn't believe how long it took me to figure out what the hell you were on about! i was like? what? imaginary line? what the hell? I even did a search on our web page for imaginary... then Line... and only THEN did it click... AHHH prime MERIDIAN line...
From Nick
Hey guys. That job sounds cool, Leigh! Do you get discounts on PS3s? I read in the paper you could sell them on ebay for thousands of dollars. Sounds like a tidy little earner, if you can get your hands on a few with a staff discount.

You should totally emo up your christmas with a black tree out front of your house. Then you can cover it in dead ravens, put a black wreath at the top and then sit beneath it wearing black and cry in an overly obvious and bad goth poetry way whilst people take pictures and, possibly, laugh. You'd be the coolest...
Response: nahh i wouldn't stand out enough... I'd be dwarfed by the big black trees all the stores have... and dead birds aren't exactly out of place in London : )

ps. I'll see what i can do about those PS3s... they're not even released here yet!
From Nick
Hey guys. Ben, do you have a neckbeard? One of those photos from the Guiness factory makes you look suspiciously like you do... Don't you realise the consequences?!?!?

Anyway, do you guys still have that no cameras sign from St Andrews? That would be an awesome souvenir.
I have no neckbeard!
From Mark
Hey Leigh,
Just caught up on everything, the pics on Picasa are excellent (good eye). The Ireland trip sounds like a lot of fun with a massive group of people, I would never have thought to do it :) Glad it's going well and the site is getting some love at last. Be good, see you late in the week. Willis
Response: Sweet! you're in town? Look forward to catching up and hearing about your adventures!
From Mark
Hey you two! Loved to read the update, nice to see you were paying attention as well as having an awesome time, great read! You´ll appreciate all the details later. Some nice pics as well, good trip all round.
I´ll be back in London around the 10th I think and be in the UK for 10 days, looking forward to catching up, let me know if you have floor space for a couple of days.

Hot Porridge you say ? :)
Response: Dude, love to catch up when you get into town. Let us know when you're in town and we'll make room somewhere for you.
From emily
wow, leigh you outdid yourself with the diary. If i forget anything of the haggis trip i am totally coming to your page to rememeber. Keep having fun.
Response: Hey Emily - Great to hear from you! if you have any updates (things we've missed) let me know... and I hope you're enjoying your travels!!
From Suse & Mick
Hi Guys
Great to hear you are alive and well - you had gone AWOL for a while! Glad to hear the highlands trip was fun, looking forward to seeing the pix. Would love to hear all about your new pad and life in London - make sure you fill us in on what is happening! All is good back here in Canberra. Warming up for Summer now and daylight savings starts next week. Take care and hope to hear from you soon!
Ciao, Suse & Mick
Response: Hey Guys - yes! We ARE Alive! our new pad in London is Tops... however the London daylight hours are shrinking before our eyes! I swear we'll be living in constant darkness the way things are going at the moment! Hope you lot are having great fun back home in Canberra!