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Saturday, 22 March 2008

Location: Sydney, Australia

Happy Easter everyone - not sure if it is Easter at home yet but we are awash with buns and eggs.

Yesterday was a typical bank holiday, wet and windy, yes it also happens here but it was just as well with everyone really tired from the day before including me. I had forgotten just how exhausting two small boys can be and just how much noise they can make. Tonight is dinner with Derek and Ann and then tomorrow lunch with Kevin's sister. There will be Easter eggs and chocolate everywere and hyper e-number children running amok but thats what families are all about.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Location: Sydney, Australia

So nice to be back. Melbourne is a wonderful city and the region that it sits in is outstanding in terms of natural beauty but there is nothing that makes the heart beat faster than flying into Sydney over the bridge and seeing the Opera house in the distance - that should be on everyones list of 100 things to do.

I am looking after the boys today as it is the busiest day in the bakery trade other than Christmas. Kevin and Catherine are both working full shifts and even the girls and Ann have been included to pack buns and sell - somehow think I have the easiest job but Shaun is not feeling brilliant and I think we may have to visit the doctors, still I am sure I will survive, just!!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Location: Melbourne to Sydney, Australia

Today is my last day here in Melbourne before I head back to Sydney. I have had the most wonderful time here, dinners in some of the most amazing places, on the quayside and in one of Melbournes best houses, played pokies in the casino, swam in the sea, walked for miles along beaches and pavements and met some of the kindest and most generous people in the world. Seen some of the most beautiful countryside, had beers in a country pub and generally been totally spoilt. Last night's dinner was Japanese, something that I have never tasted as a treat and yet again, an experience to add to my growing list. Jeff will I think be very pleased to ship me back to Sydney so he can rest and have his weekends back. I think one of the biggest things I have learnt from this experience is that there are still genuine people in this world and I can only hope that one day, I will be able to do the same for someone else. It does not take much to make someone feel at home and the difference it can make is uncountable.

Back to Sydney and my adopted family but this time with clean washing!

Monday, 17 March 2008

Location: Melbourne, Australia

How do you balance a country that you can go from beach and sand to mountains and snow within three hours. Albury is a smallish place just above Shepparton and Wodonga, homeland of Ned Kelly and his band of rogues. This part of the country is so different again, gone are the beaches and sea and instead, rolling plains of grass land and cattle. You can see from the land just how little water there is, several places looked more like Africa with brown and burnt vegetation but at least the cattle look really healthy. I half expected to see balls of tumble weed being blown across the road and this is really a place that you do not have to talk to your neighbours if you don't want too! I think along with Uluru, this is what you imagine Australia to be - the land of the farm and sheep, along with flies!

Saw Andrew for dinner on Thursday night as he was also in Albury for business and then on Friday night, we took off and drove to Falls Creek, about two hours away, up the mountain. It felt really strange to be in a ski resort with no snow and really hard to imagine what it must look like, three feet under snow. Glen and Leonie who own the hotel are the most wonderful kind and generous people and happy for me to stay. At this time of the year, the hotel is closed and most of the resort is getting ready for the new season. The snow falls from June and settles until early September. It must be such hard work making a hotel pay for such a short season. As all of you that know me well, snow and mountains are really not my thing and a fear of heights does not help either but I did manage to survive some of the drives - amazing what closing your eyes can do. It is a beautiful area and still recovering from terrible bush fires that ravaged the area several years ago. most of the trees here regrow either from the top or start sprouting shoots from the base making thicker and denser bush but the mountain gums do not recover and although the pictures do not show it will, large swathes of the hill side are covered with ghostly white trees with small patches of green inbetween.

Jeff decides to return back to Melbourne via Bright a town that is famous for its autumn leaves and lunch at Brown Brothers. Unfortunately, Bright does not live up to its name - the leaves are very firmly on the trees and show no signs of changing colour and wanting to fall but Brown Brothers is very thing you would want from a winery that is famous. The lunch is a work of art - you choose a course and they bring the matched wine to go with - all the hard work of deciding white or red is taken away from you. I had a lamb dish with a wonderful warm red and then a chocolate-chilli fondue with a sparkling red - different but still fantastic. I could get so used to this way of life, ski lodges in the morning and beaches in the afternoon. It has been a wonderful weekend and I feel really spoilt, the end of this holiday is turning out to be just one of the best parts.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Location: Melbourne to Albury, Australia

The beginning of this week was spent as normal walking the city and seeing. Managed to fit in the Zoo and the Aquarium as well as the National Art Gallery and Museum of Modern Art, so am feeling very cultural at the moment. On of the other joys that I have found is the Victoria Markets within the city. This is a huge market selling everything from fruit and vegetables to clothes and junk with a wonderful meat and fish market thrown in as well. I have spent hours wondering around here buying food for dinner, amazing cheeses and pates and just sitting drinking coffee and watching all the people pass by. Poor Jeff has had to put up with me cooking dinner for him. It is the only thing that I can do to say thank you and so far I have not managed to poison him, thank goodness!!

We are going up to a place called Albury today as Jeff has a meeting and then onto Falls Creek for the weekend. Jeff has friends that run a hotel there and have asked me to stay!!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Location: Melbourne, Australia

The pace of life here is getting too much - I shall have to go back to Sydney for a rest soon.

The motor show was interesting, cars are so much cheaper here than the UK but at the moment everything appears to be. An evening of champagne (again) and fast cars and then to finish off, a visit to the casino. So many people and so many pokies, you can understand just how easy it is to become addicted to them, the feeling that you might win and if you walk away, the next coin will make the jackpot. I managed to make my 20 dollars last for about an hour but walked away with nothing to show.

Saturday is festival day on the river and the city is full of people going to watch the water ski-ing, Federation Square is taken up with fashion week, thin people everywere and the weather is wonderful. Jeff and I went to the Botanical Gardens and watched all the weddings. You can get married just about anywhere in Australia and the park was full of couples tying the knot by the lake or fountain or park bench watched by everyone walking past. Sunday was spent driving along the coast to a place called Lorne. This is on the Great Ocean road and eventually leads to the Twelve Apostles further round the bay. It is an amazing trip, you drive hugging the coastline and around every corner you can see another small bay or people surfing. One of the bays that we stopped to look at was getting ready for a surf competion, just a small bay , the entire beach covered in chairs and stalls selling everything from food to boards. So different from England, the Australians can and do live outdoors, each town has braai's on the beach front for general use along with showers and places to sit and eat. I know the weather makes a huge difference and there is no way we could do this in the UK but things here also do not get broken or ruined as much as at home or so it appears. Kids are busy throwing themselves in the water and posing on the beach trying to impress. We eventually arrived in Lorne and spent a couple of hours on the beach reading the Sunday papers and swimming. That is the only major fault I have with this side of the coast, the water is freezing and I really do like my swimming water as hot as my bath.

Showers are the thing here and at the moment, everywere is on restrictions. Since arriving in Melbourne, we have gone from a level 3 to a 3a and some area's are on a 4. It is against the law to wash your own car and gardens can only be watered on certain days of the week - prehaps that is the way we are heading.

Friday, 07 March 2008

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Busy week here and my feet are killing me - I am sure that I have shrunk by several inches but it has been worth it. Been to a concert in the Cathedral, organ music for lunch, totally brilliant, seen the Immigration Museum and wondered about the courage of all those people that sailed out on the early ships to find a new life - 6 weeks of sailing, often longer if the wind dropped and such cramped quarters. As the ships got faster, so did the sailing time and the death rate from sickness dropped but in the early days, some families left the UK as six and arrived as two, can you imagine the blame you would put on yourself if all the children died just because you wanted a better life. The stories that some of the people have recorded are heartbreaking to read. In the later years, conditions did get better and under the ten pound sail, very few deaths happened but there was one common thread running through all, the chances of getting back home were almost zero. How things have changed with the advent of charter flights, telephones and now e:mail. Taken a cruise on the Yarra River, seen Melbourne's version of Luna Park and shopped.

Jeff has managed to get VIP tickets for the motor show tonight, so I have had to buy posh clothes and shoes - no thongs tonight (thats what they call flip flops), so I am off to wash and try and look a little less like a new age traveller.

Monday, 03 March 2008

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Another wonderful weekend - this time spent driving along the coast from Melbourne to Werribee, Portsea and Sorrento. The weather has changed and is wonderfully warm, idea for looking at beaches and sitting on quaysides to eat fish and chips. For me this is just a wonderful place, a city to shop and work in and then just 30 minutes away, beaches and sea. It is no easy to descibe all this to you my readers as sitting in a car and driving does not inspire exciting reading but believe me, it was fun and I hope the pictures show some of the wonderful sights I have seen. It is such a shame that I am fonder of fish and things that crawl from the sea as they abound here and are so cheap that people think nothing of eating 1 dozen oysters as a snack!

Friday, 29 February 2008

Location: Melbourne, Australia

I have had the most interesting week walking in and around Melbourne. Jeff takes me into town at the start of the day and off I go. It is a wonderful city and much more European than Sydney. The cafe society here is very important and it appears that most business meetings are held on the pavement along with cups of strong coffee. The city itself is a strange mixture of the old and the new. They decided before Sydney did to keep the old buildings and so have some wonderful examples of victorian build including the cathedral and anglican church's. The main theatre is a testiment to the victorian ideal of cover up and is just a masterpiece of carved stone and ornate roofs and then there is Federation Square - a total new build of strange shapes, materials and modern ideas but it works and has become the place to met and greet. They actually have a museum of horse racing here along side the gallery of Modern Art.

Melbourn is know for its shopping and appears to have a factory shop for most names - you know I was worried about my bag and the weight before leaving Sydney, well I am now in total panic mode and am probably going to have to send stuff home, again. It is going to be like Christmas when I get back and manage to round up all my boxes - each one will be a suprise upon opening. The other joy about here is that the city is laid out on a grid system and once you get to terms with that, it is almost impossible to get lost - I use the word almost loosely as I have managed it.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Just love Australia - flight from Sydney to Melbourne cost just under 40.00 sterling and took just over an hour and yes, another time change. It is really hard sometimes to judge the size of this country and all the changes in climate, time and scenery. Every place is so different from desert to city.

Jeff managed to find me at the airport and all is well. On Saturday the weather was overcast and so we went up into the Yarra Valley and a look at the winerys. Just beautiful with the gentle sloping hills in the background and all these wonderful places to sit and drink wine - my idea of heaven!. Lunch was had at Moet - a small feast washed down with glasses of champagne, what more could a girl ask for on a miserable saturday in February. The rest of the weekend was spent driving around and just looking at the area around Melbourne including the Dandenong's. What a marvellous name for a group of hills!! It is really strange here as most of the place names are ones that I recognise from England - Sunbury, Torquay, Matlock. You do not have to know any history to work out where the orginal settlers came from, there is even a Mansfield and I have to say, prettier than the UK version. The weather in Melbourne is also totally different from Sydney and at the moment colder. For anyone that comes here and decides to travel, bring your entire wardrobe, you need to be able to change from hot ot cold in a matter of moments.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Location: Sydney to Melbourne, Australia

After a few days in Sydney and a catch up with all my chores
(clothes are clean once again) and a try at packing my bag for home, I am going off again, this time to Melbourne. This is really a fantastic trip to Australia and I am going to come home and say that I have seen more than most people that live here - often the way concerning the country that you live in. Biggest worry now is can I get everything home within the weight limit??

I have spoken to Andrew's collegue several times now and feel really safe in going to visit and stay there. People are so nice and generally everyone that I have met, kind and generous. Jeff is going to collect me from the airport, so I am on the lookout for a man wearing a bowler hat, carrying a rolled up paper and sporting a red carnation, well that's what they do in the films.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Location: Sydney, Australia

Well I am back home or the place I call home at the moment. I have forgotten just how tired travelling can make you and how nice it is to go to sleep in the same bed. It also feels nice to be back with the children and part of a family again.

I have been asked to go to Melborne and stay with a friend of Andrews, well in fact they work together and it will save on hotel fees - getting very aware of the moneny that I am spending now and the fact that I have no job to go home too and no lodger!!!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Location: Launceston, Australia

Two days here I think is enough for anyone and even more so when the city is in the middle of a pop festival and the arena for the main gig is just across the road from your hotel. It was not so much the music, I am used to that but all the slamming of doors at 4.30am when people got in and then the sreaming and yelling of those who had been locked out!!! but you are only young once, still it got the bill reduced a little.

Back to Sydney later today and then I must decide what I am going to do then. I think that poor Catherine and Kevin will be really pleased to eventually get rid of me and I believe, I am going to spend some time with Derek and Ann over the next few weeks.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Location: Launceston, Australia

Well, back in Launceston after spending the last 5 or so days driving around. Cradle Mountian was just incrediable - views, lakes and walks and the log cabins - something from an old movie complete with possoums running around during the night. I have really enjoyed this trip and although Alex may not be the best, he tried hard. Tassie is a wonderful place and I would say a must for everyone that visits Australia. It has such a different feel and yet is so close. It is still a cheap place to live and to buy land, 15 acres and 4 bedroom house for approx 250,000 sterling - not bad - just don't think that there is that much work on the island.

Tassie has two major towns, Hobart and Launceston, both coastal and both with airports. I am in Launceston and have reached that point of saving, just another town but I think that prehaps an early night and a bath will find me in a better mood for tomorrow. As much as the driving is being done by someone else, travelling is hard work at times

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Location: Stanley to Cradle Mountain, Australia

Sorted out the breakfast problem, got up early and went to the Ye Olde Cafe and yes, it was spelt like that. Bacon Sarnie and large coffee started the day off well. Michael decided to come alone too and made good work of a full English breakfast. We have done the trip from top to bottom of Tasmanian and the next two days are going to go into the mountains.

All across this island are pockets of english countryside and as we drive towards Cradle Mountain, this becomes more and more obvious, the scenery changing from sand and sea to hills and forests. At on point, I could have imagined Julie Andrews and the children marching across the meadows singing. Tassie seems to have a little bit of everything and is not totally unlike New Zealand in that respect. The area around Cradle Mountain is beautiful and I really wish that I had more time to spend here. Tonight we are staying actually on the Mountain and as there is no restaurant, we have to buy food!! A chance to have a braai and a steak without going - how much!

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Recent Messages

From Deb
Hi Kim
Have a look at this to see what Tom is getting up to over Easter.
Think he has got a touch of your travel bug!
We are planning a get together in Sheffield for his 21st so keep 31 May in your diary.
Home soon?


From Dee and Matt
Hello from him and hello from me! :-) great to read the blog again, you tell it all so well I felt I was actually there at times. Love all the pics too. They are great. See you soon.
Dee xxxx
From Tony
Lovely to have you back and to see Taz thru your eyes. You sound definitely smitten by the place. Where to now? I ask.
Keep the diary coming...your home soon aren't you. Be lovely to see you.
Response: Vietnam, Cambodia and other places after I have sorted out the broken things at home
From Chris
Happy mothers day, hope having a great day, and enjoying the last of the sun befor your nearing return.

Love Chris xx
From Leslie
22 Feb 08: Did you meet my and your mum's cousin & Vera's daughter Gail [Mellor] who lives in Darwin? Nice to read your account of your trip to Darwin as I won't do it due to hating the heat! Are you still in Australia?
Response: No but I have Bruces number for Melbourne and was going to try and give him a call if you think that would be ok? Did you get my mail ref houses etc for kevins parents??
From Angela
Hi Kim
Not heard from you in such a long time. Hope you're well, such a shame I won't be in OZ til April, we could've hooked up and had a ball!!!
Keep safe
love Angela x
Response: Hi, all is well here - been doing the travel thing here in Aus - So envious of you getting a job here but I could be back sooner than you think, so bare that in mind!!!! Take care and lets meet soon
From tony
Enuf of this lolling about girl ..back on the road for you and tramp, tramp, tramp along the highway----get up and go, go, go and we'll see you when you get home
From Leslie
28 Jan 08 : We are both fine, still packing boxes & hope to have house on the market in about 2 months. Plan is to rent a furnished place while house is on the market so it stays tidy & the oven keeps clean! Once we can be cash buyers we will find the apartment of our dreams! Take care xx
Response: And you both - am going to Ayers Rock on Saturday and then up to Darwin on the Ghan!! So there will be more adventures soon
From Sue Rutter
Hiya Mate
Weather in Sydney seems to be typical of variations which can happen there. Tony had the same when he visited in October 04. Happy new Year to you. We are all okay after various viruses which have been attacking everyone in the UK! Just trying to plan this years holidays- Baby Scott adorable so placid. Global Knowledge still the same!!! Both mums doing okay Take care Sue xx
Response: Hi and happy New Year to all of you. Glad to hear all is ok as I will soon be looking for that job again - put a word in for me?? Need to talk to you in private so will send a message on other line xx
From Leslie
Enjoy Sydney and the storm so long as you are safe. Give our love to the Varnals clan if you are still with them when you read this! Henry's demise was understandably wobbly news for you so glad you are amongst loved ones. Love Leslie
Response: Thank you my love - hope all is well with you both
From Leslie
5 Jan 2008. Seasons Greetings. I hope you got my Xmas message on your hotmail. What a time you are having. Glad I only have to LOOK at the pictures - you are so intrepid! You will never be the same again! I hope you have a publisher lined up with this terrific collection of travel stories. Nice you saw the Varnals but why no Photos of Derek? Lovely to see the kids all growing up. We are no further with house-sorting. Paul's voice much better now. Think of us very cold and dark as we are at the moment. Love Leslie
Response: Dearest Les, I did get your card, thank you and so pleased to hear Paul is better. No pics of Derek as he was sleeping - did not think that would be fair. Am with Cath and Kev - staying to house sit for them before moving on - maybe Fiji after seeing some more of Aus and yes, I am going to try and do something with it when I get back - Love to you and kisses for Paul
From Luke Pritchard
To kim hope you had a great
xmas and a happy new year
looking forward to seeing
you in 2008!

Love Luke
Happy new year!

Here's to a great 2008!

From Deb
Happy Christmas!
Response: In the jungle, watching the rain fall with only coffee to drink!!! HOpe you had a good day and Happy New Year to you all with my love
From Debbie
Happy Christmas!
I have no other way of reaching you other than via this site so I send huge Christmas good wishes and love for a happy Christmas day. I think that wherever Mum and Dad and Pete are they will be raising a giant glass of champagne in your direction and saying. 'That's our girl!'
Happy days.

From Jackie
Hi Kim
Still haven't received anything to forward to Aus?? Can we chase anything up this end? Hope you enjoying Borneo, James thought the photos were great. Speak soon.
Love Jackie x
Response: It should be with you soon - or I will hassle after the break - Have a great Christmas day xx
From Sandra
Hi. Just caught up with your blog, some as though you have been to some super places, love Thailand, has to be a favourite. I received my shawl from Thailand, thank you so much. I did send you a note for your birthday but it looks as though it didn't arrive... Where will you be for Christmas? Send me an email on hotmail please. I am very busy, but what is new. Hope you have a lovely Christmas where ever you are, you will certainly need a couple of weeks rest after all this.
Take care
Response: In Borneo!! living it up with several other people and apes!!!!!!!!!!
From Deb
Hi Kim
We have been to Oxford for the weekend - Paul back for a college jolly and Jess and me for shopping and the hotel life - talk about being poles apart from your experiences!!
Christmas is looming here and the shops are filled with tinsel and tat. A boat market sounds a little more challenging - and interesting!
Perhaps we will get a chance to talk over the holidays?

Response: In the jungle in Borneo until 28th and then back to Thailand - have a wonderful day and give my love to all
From Leslie
House clearing very slow - just taking our time - no pressure. Still looking at villages we might like to live in so a few days out here and there. Paul had benign polyps removed from vocal chords so voice still recovering, very hoarse & sexy sounding. Otherwise we jog along. I await the next instalments. Enjoying the photos!
From Sue Rutter
Sorry for delay but our llittle chap arrived safely on the 16th November - A hectic entrance into the world first pain to delivery 42 mins and job done by paramedics on Jo's bathroom floor!! We were downstairs and heard first cry saw him almost immediatley 8lbs 14 1/2 Scott Anthony named after Grandad! Been a bit mad here so remise of me to take so long in letting you know. Take lots of care and speak before Xmas xx
From Denham
Sounds like a great holiday, now back to some work...
I have still jkot recvd a letter to send on to you in Aussie....
All Looks Ok from this endand you are having a great time.
Have a great Xmas in 2 weeks time, will you you be with Derek + co???
Love Denham
From Leslie
18 Nov 07 - wow - what a lot to read. Glad you are out of India. Hope your leg is quite better. You must be in the sticks to have gone silent again. Still lots of lovely photos. What a memory album you will have! Take care.
Response: WIth elephants this week after a week on the beach at Ko Samet - lovely. How is the house thing going? Hope you are both well - lots of love to you both
From tony
Sorry for not writing but my computer is giving me sthick Lovely to have you back on line though!!!!!
Ayup chuck! Sent you e-mail, no reply? Text me. Ta. x
Response: Got it today - will text as soon as I can - glad all is ok and well
From Dee & Tom
Happy birthday to you
Happy birhtday to you
Happy birhtday dear Kim
Happy birhtday to you
Response: Thank you - hope all is well - did you get shawl from SA??????