Location: Dublin, Ireland
Well about 2 and a half weeks since we arrived in Dublin!
After a week of both of us being sick, Ed was quite ill with the flu, could hardly get out of bed, so you could imagine what it was like living in a hostel!, and trying to find a place to stay, we were both feeling very sorry for ourselves and questioning the move, but finally last wednesday we found a great place to live, just out of the city in a place called Donabate (nth of Dublin on the coast) and we havent looked back!.
We moved in the next night, it was so good to do some washing and unpack our bags!
We are living with a great couple, Irish girl Ruth and her scottish boyfriend Dave, who funily enough met in Sydney. So they have travelled around OZ and the whole bit, so we have quite a bit in common. Ruth is a local to Donabate, and her parents live down the road, so its all very family orientated and friendly, her sister just had a baby actually, eva, who is 2months old. Bring on the sunday roasts!
So i have been working for the past week and a half in a consulting agency, doing a lot of work with data and survey work, graphs and boring stuff like that! But its work, got an interview today with an interior design company, and have 2 agencies looking for work for me, so hoping to get something permenant soon.
Ed had a trial last friday at a pub called the woolshed, that was at 5pm and they asked him to work till close, so he got the job, and has worked every night since except last night, till close, which is 1am, so he gets home about 2am.
So not getting to see as much of each other which is a shame, but at least he is working. He drives the van into the city which takes about 15mins. The van got broken into on sunday night, and unfortunatley we still had our TV and DVD player in it so that went, but at least the van didnt go, and no windows were smashed, they somehow jimmied the sliding window. But not to worry, could have been worse.
So we live 5 minutes down the road from the beach, you can see the sea from our bedroom window, which is great. And it is actually a beach, none of that pebbly English stuff, there is actually sand! We went for a look last weekend, very pretty.
More updates soon i promise!
Location: Whitebridge, UK
Well a great sleep in once again, and we were up for a breaky of cereal and toast this morning.
It was xmas eve and we were all getting very excited about santa coming. We hadnt organised a xmas tree for our pressies, so we had thought that once we were there we would send the boys out to find a tree and try and cut it down. However when we arrived the cottage was fully equipped with xmas tree, lights and decorations. They really had gone to a lot of trouble to make us all feel very at home and welcome.
So today we were meeting Malcom, and Frazer the locals we had met the previous night, to see the Highland Cattle. He was coming to our place at 11.30, and he was early!
After a lot of hurrying everyone up, we all piled in the van and followed Malcom to the next village and off the beaten track over a bridge and to a paddock where Frazer was waiting for us. He had a bag of pellets he feeds his cattle so we were all able to feed the cattle and actually pat them. The horns were very long and pointy though, so it was done with great caution!
After the obligatory pictures we decided to head back past the cottage and into Fort Agustus, to see the Loch Ness from one of the best viewing points, at the advice of Malcom and Frazer.
On the way several of the group announced that they were going to go for a dip in the Loch, and after further confirmation that they were serious, we pulled into the cottage for some towels. I still wasnt convinced that they would. They being, Ed, Nick and Shanna, yes a girl!!
But on arrival at the Loch Ness Ed proceeded to get undressed, we all expected him to do a fair bit of hestitating, but no, not Ed straight in he went, with cigarette still in his mouth! Only problem was that the depth didnt seem to change from mid shin level, so eventually he had to just lay down in it. Then staright back out headed for the van which was running with heater blearing. Next was Nick in much the same fasion, rolled around for a split second then was out of there. And finally Shannas turn, she got in sat down and then out again. Just looking at them made me shiver!
So after everyone was all warmed up again and all pictured out, we jumped back in the van, stopped off briefly at the local grocery store and headed home for some late lunch.
At about 3.30 we had another visitor, it was Scott the Scot who had come to take us to see his deer. he was a game keeper on a huge deer farm in the area, im told its the biggest exporter of venison in Scotland.
Firstly we saw some deer that were in a paddock rather close to his house and were slightly more used to human presence because they were farmed, there was a buck that had massive antlers.
Then we all piled into his landrover (this farm was fully equipped with all the mod cons) and headed up the hill to feed the wild deer. Braving very cold conditions we all stood around and watched as the deer darted from one side of the paddock to the other, while Scott emptied bags of pellets for them.
Again we jumped back into the landrover and back down to Scotts house, he showed us the slaughter house and then after some picture taking and many thanks to Scott we headed home, Scott was off to his families home about an hour away for xmas.
So xmas eve, and we all wanted to have a fairly early night to be up bright and early for xmas day. So we sat around the cottage and entertained ourselves once more, i think another game of articulate was played, this time with the whole group. If memory serves me correct i think Rebel and i won by a country mile!
Location: Whitebridge, Scotland, UK
This morning i was up reasonably early to cook everyone breaky aided by my very helpful boyfriend. Nothing beats a hangover better than bacon and eggs!
Then some of the group sporting hangovers, we jumped in the van to do some exploring of the surrounding areas.
By this stage is was about 12pm and we decided to stay reasonably close to the cottage as the sun sets about 3.30, so we headed off towards Foyers, a small village not far away, where we were to see the Foyers Falls. Waterfalls that fall into a stream that joins the Loch Ness.
When we go there, we discovered the path leading down to the falls and headed down. Half way down was a lookout point (where the shots of the falls were taken), so we all stopped there for some pics, and the more energetic of the group kept on till the end of the path, which lead us to a lookout over the Loch Ness. It was really amazing, such beautiful country side.
Huffing and puffing we all made it back to the van by about 3, which was good timing as the sun was starting to slide away. Despite the hangovers from the previous night, the majority of the group were keep to check out the local pub (50 meters away from our cottage).
So half went to the pub and the other half stayed at home to chill, it was Nick and Shannas night for cooking, although Nick was part of the group that went to the pub, so Shanna ended up doing all the cooking! Naughty Nick! It wa a yummy meal, even if it was consumed a little later than we were supposed to, the pub was just so much fun!
It was this night that we met the locals and they offered to take us the next day to see the Highland Cattle and the deer, so it was well worth staying at the pub.
We continued into the night at the cottage entertaining ourselves with dancing and singing etc...joined by a few of the locals that we had met. Dont think the little village had seen so much goings on in a while!
Location: Whitebridge, Innverness, Scotland
So after a great nights sleep (the beds were really comfy), and having no food we all jumped in the van and headed to Inverness, the counrty side was so beautiful and it was clear day with bright blue skies.
We got to Innverness and took a while to find a supermarket, but eventually found a massive Morrisons, so pulled in there for some breaky before som serious grocery shopping.
Because i had originally planned to do it online, i was able to print off the shopping list i had prepared and give each group a few sheets and we all headed off.
On return we had 3 shopping trollies overflowing, and getting very hard to steer! The budget was £500 and bets were placed as to what the total would be. On first guesses we thought we would be over for sure, but we quickly changed our bets and the countdown began.
At the end of it the grand total was exactly £450.10!! amazing, the longest receipt ive ever seen. So we were under budget which left us with extra for fuel.
So back in the van, which i might add was going a little slower due to all the extra weight, and heading home to unpack and have a well deserved beverage.
Nick, Beaver and Alison (after she missed her flight due to fog) were driving up seperatley today so we were all eagerly awaiting their arrival to complete the group. So filling in time consisted of having a yummy dinner of lemon chicken cooked by Lyndall and Megan, and bread & butter pudding, then few more drinks, a game of articulate, some hair braiding, which turned into everyone getting into their PJ's so was then a PJ party!
The other guys arrived about 11.30, they made great time, and we continued to celebrate being on holidays!
Location: London, England
Well, after a few dramas with the hire of the van (very stressful!!!) the van was dropped off about 9.30am and we were all able to pack it up and hit the road for Scotland! We were all extremly excited.
With Jason at the wheel we managed to get through the thick fog out of London onto the motor way, however the fog did hang about a bit till we got a bit futher north.
We stopped for a very hearty lunch of Hungry Jacks, the clock was ticking though so back onto the bus and heading for Glasgow.
The orginal plan was to have our groceries delivered through a big grocery store that i registered with and could order online, but lack of response to get cash together put an end to that idea, so we decided we would shop on the way up in Glasgow.
So we arrived in Glasgow, and tried for about an hour to find a Tesco store, but to no avail. So the exectutive decision was made to push on as it was now 7pm and we still had about 5 hours driving to do. We decided we would do the grocery shopping the next day in Innverness which was only 30 miles from our cottage, much more sensible idea.
So after Glasgow Edwardo took the helm and steered us closer to out destination, off the highway now and the roads were a lot smaller and it had started to rain. A lot of concentration was needed.
About 9pm we came across a small little country pub called Drovers Inn, who were still serving, so we stopped in there for our first Scottish pub meal, which was delicious! The roof the pub was lucky to reach 6"5 tall and huge roaring fires at either end. In front of one was a huge dog warming himself, and the bar as small as it was managed to fit some very large hairy scottish locals inside.
We finished our meals and headed off for the last stretch of the journey, all feeling very weary, no more so than Ed, who was still at the wheel.
We managed to reach the cottage in Whitebridge, Scotland, at about 12.30am, unpacked the van, and exlpored the place very quickly before retiring for a long awaited nights sleep.
Location: Cardiff, Wales
Today we headed off to Cardiff to watch the wallabies play wales. Ed and i hired a car, and our mate Hamish came with us as well. Between the three of us it was cheaper to hire a car than to get the train, and a bit quicker (although wasnt that much cheaper after the £50 parking fine we got on the friday night!).
So we left about 9 and got there about 11.30 with one stop along the way. the place was crawling with rugby fans. Eds cousin Sam goes to uni in Cardiff and said we could stay with her over night, which was great, one less expense.
So we parked the car in the train station car park ( only place that had spaces left) then headed to the cardiff walkabout for a few drinks to wait for the others to arrive (they had taken the train option). It was sooo packed and i was glad to get out of there. It was such a beautiful sunny day, not a cloud in sight.
So it was about 1.30 by the time we met up with the others for a quick hello then because our tickets were purchased at a different time, we were in different spots, so we headed off to find our seats.
We were right up the top behind the posts and it was a great view.(see pics). The game was awsome although Australia made a lot of mistakes which saw the game end in a draw 29 all. Very disappointing, but a great day none the less.
Then it was off to find cousin Sams house and drop the car off. Due to bad directions this took us a while, but got there in the end, dropped our stuff and Sam was kind enough to drop us back down town where our friends were.
The evening was filled with great company, very cheap drinks and plenty of dancing, topped off with a pit stop to maccas and then home!
So we got up about 10 the next day, got ready and had some breakfast and then met the others back in the centre of town. Headed home about 1 and made it by about 3.30.
Was a great weekend and good to get out and about meet new peopel and see new places, will definatley like to head back to cardiff for another night out!