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Linda Ferstendik's blog

Welcome to linda Ferstendik's Travel Page. Here is where I will be keeping a record of my travels for all of you to read. Please feel free to leave a comment for me. If I have time in between discovering new places and meeting new people I will reply to them!

Diary Entries

Friday, 13 July 2007

Location: Beijing, China

Hi all,

We flew from Ulaanbaatar to Beijing yesterday - only 1hour 50 mins. It was a bit like flying into Heathrow - all grey and cloudy. Still, at least it's not raining! It's quite nice to be back in an interesting city since UB has little to offer. We checked in and then hit the shops for last minute bargains and there are many to be had. Peter is a ruthless barterer and I know Alex would love doing just that. We did end up with some real cheapies if only for fake labels. We didn't spend too long shopping yesterday as it was late in the day and we were tired. We will go off and do a bit more this morning and maybe do the antique market. I am now ready to come home but don't know how we are going to pack everything. I have vertebrae bones in my luggage from a horse (all bleached out) which I wanted for the white collection in my bathroom. Not much of interest to write just now as we are really not doing anything cultural today. It has been a very hectic trip with little time to relax. I shall miss Mongolia and the wonderful Gobi Desert with all its empty space and magnificent scenery. Love L x

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Hi everyone
This is our last day in UB as Ulaanbaatar is popularly known (it saves a whole mouthful). This morning we went to the City Nadaam Festival which features horse-racing, wrestling and archery. Sadly, apart from the opening ceremony, we did not enjoy it as it is a real tourist magnet and not a patch on the local nadaam we attended yesterday morning. For a start, we had to get there by 9am to get seats which were slatted wooden jobs with no back. We then had to sit in them until 11 am when the ceremony commenced. After two further hours our bums and backs were pretty sore. The Prince of Japan was there and the Japanese party behind us almost killed us in their efforts to see over a dividing partition between us and where he was seated. We think he was staying on the top two floors of our hotel as the place was crawling with bodyguards with mics in their ears. Even the lift (and there are only two) had been set to automatically go to the 7th floor and remain there. A fleet of limos with blacked out windows lined the hotel carpark this morning and they all appeared later at the Nadaam.

The actual ceremony was incredibly colourful with dancing girls, models, singers, motorbike riders (God knows why) and some amazing costumes. There was a brass band, soldiers, riders etc. all of whom did their bit and made it a very memorable occasion. We so preferred the atmosphere at the local Nadaam which was just for the local people and we were almost the only Europeans there. I am so happy that we managed to see both so that we could make the comparison. When we went to the Cavalry Charge, we met a very nice guy from Brighton who is meeting us for dinner tonight. He had just completed (with 5 other guys) a three week motorcycle tour of Mongolia.

Tomorrow we leave to go back to Beijing for a day and a half and then home. It has been a wonderful experience and we found the people to be gentle and not yet too westernised - they still embrace their traditions. Look forward to showing you our pix - yawn yawn.....

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Hi all,

Today was a remarkably good one. We drove about 58k out of UB to a local Nadaam. This was no tourist attraction but the real thing. As we were too early for the first horserace, we went to visit some real nomads in their ger. They were a lovely family and gave us generous hospitality some of it in the form of large amounts of vodka! We stopped short of their cheese etc which is not to our taste. We had a look around at the horses and then drove into the local town in search of a loo and a cup of coffee. Neither seemed readily available and the little town resembled a spaghetti western with horses tied to lamposts and being ridden around all over the place. We eventually tracked down a loo in a defunct hotel where renovations were taking place and only occupied by the builders.

We then returned to watch the race. The riders have to ride 35k out of town and then gallop all the way back. There is huge excitement when the first horse comes in an rapidly disappears as everyone wants to touch it. The jockey then gets very pissed. The riders range from adults (who have their own race) to children of about 5 years old. They are just unbelieveable to watch and seem to be born in the saddle.

We had lunch at a Ger Camp and then piled into a ger with our guide and driver for a short nap before our next adventure. This was a huge reinactment of one of Ghengis Kahn's battles performed by 500 military men on horseback. It was a little long but wonderfully executed complete with a model of the cart and ger used by GK. There was some amazing riding - they certainly are the best riders in the world, no doubt about it at all.

We came back to the hotel covered in dust and feeling absolutely filthy. Straight into the shower. I took some good photos but unfortunately I don't have the means in the hotel to post them on this site so they will have to wait until I return. A great day out!

Sunday, 08 July 2007

Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Hi people,

Just arrived back in UB from the Gobi. You all have to go as the scenery is completely unbelievably gorgeous! I have never been anywhere with more impressive vistas than this. The first ger camp was horrible. It was almost empty and had the feeling of a ghost town - we hated it. We were supposed to go there on our third night again but thankfully, we found a far superior camp which had some amazing musical entertainment in the evening and very civilised gers as well. Tell you in detail on my return.

I have never been on a sand dune before but it was an incredible experience, particularly since the one we climbed was about 300 feet in height. We also did an hour on camels the day before yesterday. I am not a camel fan but having two humps to sit between is far better than one. At least you can't fall off so easily. I have to say that my sit bones were very painful for about 24 hours after the experience. The sheer beauty and scale of our surroundings was just incredible and the way the colours change throughout the day is remarkable. We were driving down to the dunes when we encountered a hail storm with hail the size of large peas! You could actually drive into the rain as though it was a veil in front of you. You could see vehicles with their dust trail literally miles away across the plain and mirages which you would swear were huge lakes or even cities which became horses when you drove closer to them. This is a very magical place and hopefully it will stay that way. The most shocking thing is the number of bottles which are thrown from the windows of the few vehicles which cross the plains. I was horrified at the sheer number of them and couldn't imagine who would mar such a beautiful place in this way.

I have so much I could write but it would be better to tell you the finer points at home. We have a free day tomorrow so we are being taken to a National Park about 80k from Ulaanbaatar. I will try and write again after that. We are now looking forward to the Nadaam Festival which takes place in a few days' time. That should be quite something.

Love Linda x

Wednesday, 04 July 2007

Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Hi all,

Today dawned hot, hot, hot! We were on the road at 8.30am to the Hustai National Park. The park was a National property prior to 1998 but this was the year when it was actually granted protection. The journey took about 1 and a half hours. The city buildings gradually end and then there is just plenty of nothing. The landscape is quite breath-taking in it's beauty. The sky seems enormous and the landscape is gentle and hilly with rather spartan grassland. There are odd gers here and there and many horses, goats and a few sheep to be seen. We travelled on the only highway which is in a poor state and ful of potholes. These seems to be caused by the extreme changes in temperature. The most famous animal in the park is Prezewalsky's wild horse. Prezewalsky discovered a few of these horses and took them back to Holland where he bred them quite successfuly. This was in 1898. In 1992, he brought back 15 horses to the Park and re-introduced them to the wild. Currently there are some 333 animals, about 200 in Hustai and about 100 in the Gobi.

Sadly, it was not to be our lucky day, we drove for about 45 minutes to a spot where they were supposed to have been spotted to find - NOTHING. The only animal we did see was the Marmot which is supposed to carry the plague in some places. We did see an Eagle on a nest at the top of a telegraph pole but that was it as far as wildlife was concerned. We had lunch in the ger camp at the Park and then watched a very good documentary about Julia Roberts who spent a few weeks living with a family of Nomads. It was quite fascinating. The nomads may move their pastures as many as 10 times a year if they have to. During the winter, they move their gers to the base of the mountains to avoid the severe conditions.

The gers are beautiful inside with elaborately decorated walls and furniture. They are cool in summer and warm in winter as they are clad in a thick coating of felt.

We came back to town and just walked around but apart from the tourist shops, there really isn't much worth looking at. The temperature was probably around 30 c today and the air conditioning in our car isn't too special. Tomorrow we fly off to the Gobi Desert for 3 days so I doubt I will be writing until we arrive back in Ulaanbaatar.

Tuesday, 03 July 2007

Location: Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia

Hi everyone,

It seems that the whole entry that I wrote from Beijing yesterday failed to go onto my page! Damn. A brief resume. Beijing was great but very humid which just makes sightseeing very tiring. Our first visit was to the Summer Palace where I think the whole populatin of Beijing had turned up! Way to many crowds to make it an enjoyable place to be. The whole Palace is set on a lake which would have been beautiful if it hadn't looked more like Disneyland with loads of tourists on pedalos and various other types of boats. I guess the high spot was a beautiful 800 metre corridor (open-sided) which is very ornately decorated and runs along the side of the lake in a straight line. I don't think I would bother with this one again.

The Forbidden City on the other hand was wonderful. It is currently under a lengthy programme of renovation but it was interesting to compare the newly decorated buildings with the old. In its prime, some 1 million people lived in the 8000 rooms. We managed to see some of the artifacts and heard some very interesting tales about the Emperor and the Empress as well as the customs in those times. It is just the most enormous site and well worth a visit. Once you get away from the main drag there, there are many little havens in the form of small walled courtyards.

I am having to be brief as we are off todo a museum shortly. We flew into Mongolia this morning. We are currently in the Capital, Ulaan Baatar where the temperature is around 27 degrees with no humidity. I will write more when we have seen a little of the city. It is far more modern than I had anticipated and our hotel better than expected as it is brand new. We have two nights here before going off to stay in the Ger Camps. Anyway, miss you all and hope you may leave a message on my blog. Watch this space, Love Linda x

Monday, 02 July 2007

Location: Beijing, China

Hi everyone,

We arrived in Beijing two days ago and are staying in luxury at the Peninsula Hotel which is very central. On our arrival it was raining heavily and very misty - not what we had expected. We had no particular plans and so we headed off to the Weekend Antique Market which, thank heavens, is under cover. It is a vast market which is split up into areas of beads, china, antiques, art and various other bric-a-brac. We just trawled up and down the rows and just enjoyed looking at the bits and pieces on display. Around the edge of the market are small individual antique shops displaying their goods. We spent about two hours there before returning to our hotel feeling rather weary.

The following day (31st June) we visited the Summer Palace which is about a 40 minute drive but still in the City. The buildings are quite small and it doesn't feel as though you are in a Palace. Sadly, you cannot enter any of the rooms and the only way to see things is to look through the glass windows which means that you never really get the feel of how it would have been to live there. The other downside was the sheer volume of people. It was like being in Grand C

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Location: London, UK

Hi all,

Just to let you all know that I shall be leaving for Bejing on 29th June. We intend to spend a couple of days there before moving on to Mongolia. It will be impossible to write anything from some parts of Mongolia (no internet cafes) and don't suppose the Gobi desert holds much promise either. I may have to catch up on some of my days using my diary to remind me of things. I am going armed with loo paper, wet-wipes and cuppa soups as I hear the food is dreadful! Watch this space. Love Linda x

Sunday, 03 June 2007

Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Hi friends,

This is a very quick one as I only have 20 minutes on line. We have just arrived in Gothenburg. Drove 400 miles yesterday but only a couple of hundred today and it was through beautiful countryside. It has been quite a tiring trip so far although we did get a free day in Copenhagen yesterday. We had a funny experience at dinner. The concierge had booked us a place and we pitched up to find it was very starchy and we already knew that everything in Copenhagen was very expensive. We were asked if we wanted to start with a glass of champagne. The warning bells should have started then! They poured us Bollinger and we were then given the menu. There was nothing kosher for anyone to eat and everyone with us couldn't eat shellfish etc. We had already been served with canapes and we faced the embarrassement of having to say we were leaving. We were presented with a bill for £100 just for the champagne and canapes!!! We ended up in a lovely little Italian place where we had an excellent meal. The proprietor was a mad Italian with a huge temper who was more interested in footy than serving us. The town was swarming with supporters for the Sweden/Denmark game. Can't write more now as I am out of time. Missing you all and catch up more on my return. Weather has been great but would like to have seen more of the countries we passed through. Hope some of you will sign on and leave a message.

Love Linda x

Friday, 18 May 2007

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Hi everyone,

Almost on the last lap now - only another three days to go and I will be on that hatefully long journey home. I have just got back from Tasmania and I am having a quiet evening in Alex's apartment while he has gone out with friends to a bar nearby. His flatmate is also out for the night so I can please myself.

Tasmania was interesting. The countryside is beautiful and in the late afternoon yesterday, Alex and I set off from a little town called Burnie, where he had business, to drive back to Hobart via the mountains. I can only say that the trip was 'awesome' as they say over here - trouble is, everything they say or do is 'awesome'! In this case it was all true. Every turn in the road (and there were many) brought an incredible new vista and when it wasn't mountains, it was an enormous lake which had been created by damning the river. The remains of dead trees protruding from the water gave the landscape a quite eerie quality and was certainly begging to be photographed. Unfortunately, although I did take a lot of pix, time was against us and with the approach of sunset, we were anxious not to spend too long in one place in case we should miss the views further on. I wanted to take photographs of the dead trees lying along the shoreline in grotesque, twisted forms but the fading light made this almost impossible. It would have been wonderful to have had a whole day just to do some hiking in the area which is a National Heritage Site. I so wanted to take a walk along the lake-side - well, next time maybe. I think Peter is quite keen to come to Tasmania with me when we next return to Oz as it's only an hour by plane from Melbourne. I now have two lovely hotels there to stay in so if anyone is planning to go, ask me for addresses. Well possums, it probably won't be worth writing again as this weekend will be spent re-packing, searching for the last pair of Ugg Boots for middle daughter and generally partying and saying goodbyes to Alex's friends which won't make interesting reading for you. Look forward to catching up with you all at home and thank all of you who suffered my blog for taking the time and trouble. I think my next one will be very interesting if I can get to a computer as it will be the charity rally to Russia via Scandinavia. Watch this space and love to you all. xxx

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Recent Messages

From mfi
it sounds very different .is there any way that photos could be added on so that we could see what you see?
london wet the summer seems to have past us by and there is certainly no sand dunes here.
Response: Hi Martin, As I am on the hotel computer I can't add any pix sadly. I probably could if I went to an internet cafe. It's a pity because it makes the blog so much more interesting. Sorry but I haven't sent postcards because they probably won't arrive knowing the efficiency levels which exist here! Love Linda x
From Pippa
Being a virgin at this blog thingy I thought I'd just try and say hello. Hello!
How are you coping with the food out there? Have you resorted to the cuppa soups yet?
Please bring a camel back with you. Plenty of room in your garden for us all to ride round on it : )
Have a wonderful time and hope you don't need the extra loo roll and wet wipes.
See you soon.

Lots of love Pip xxxx
Response: Hi Pip, lovely to get your message. The gers were not too bad barring the first one which was akin to a ghost town! We had western style loos but you were not allowed to chuck the paper down them - that had to go into a bucket yuk! When I get home we have to get hold of a film called The Weeping Camel. I saw half of it and it's very sweet - I want to see the rest of it. You really wouldn't want a camel, they spit and sneeze gunk all over you and are very unpredictable - our guide nearly had his head kicked in by one when we had just arrived back from a ride. Loo rolls not needed and the food quite passable (if you like carrot salad)! Well done for finding my site. Miss you two and look forward to a good curry. Lots of love, Linda
From Mark & Pip
Well, you've made me properly jealous now - Mongolia. Dammit, I'm still dreaming about taking the bike out there, 'Long Way Round' style. It just looks fabulous, although I'm presuming no-one's fed you testicle stew or sheep head yet... can't see either of those catching on as 'Specials' at the planned new Bampton Takeaway. Mind you...

Prezewalsky's Wild Horse sounds like the title of a novel, but it's a shame you missed seeing them.

All very well indeed here - do say a big thanks to Peter and tell him the new biz campaign is going a storm!

Have a blast in the Gobi Desert and don't forget yer sunhat and GPS!

Lots of love,

Mark & Pip
Response: Hi Mark, have just written to Pip but will pass on your thanks to Peter. You will be a millionaire yet! Love Linda x
From caroline
Don't get them mixed up will you?
Good meal at Tavern last night - like home-cooking. Long may it continue.

Enjoy your trip, C
Response: You may write little but its always good and funny. Lovely to hear that things at the Tavern are back on track. Read my new entry. Love Linda x
From Antonio
hi Linda, where you are at the moment?.... i hope you will came in Italy for the summer... and have wonderfull lunch and dinner with ''spumante'' and not champain.

Response: Hi Antonio, I am now in Mongolia in Ulaan Baatar on another vacation. I was in Beijing for 2 days and I will soon be going to the Gobi Desert to stay in a special nomadic house called a Ger. Very interesting so far. Hope you are well and exams over for a while Love Linda x
From Mark & Pip
Blimey - sheeting rain and a smelly, dodgy hotel. Shades of Bates Motel... be careful in that shower, particularly if you suddenly hear staccato violins. That's never a good sign.

You're missing bugger all here, m'dear - rain, rain and yet more rain. Everything verdant but very, very damp. Think the bike's growing mould...

The People's Republic of Bampton is still standing and everything's well. Don't know if you'll make it back in time for the Shirt Race, but there are rumours of various Ferstendiks wandering the streets of the Republic after the Boot Sale, clutching newly-bought chairs. All very odd if you ask me... ;-)

Loads of love, M&P

Response: That must have been one of my daughters. Peter won't let anything through the door - we are trying to declutter! I have seen some great Hardly Ablesons out here. Hope Peter hasn't de-cluttered too much of my possessions in my absence. He's kept pretty quiet about the table-top sale so maybe he didn't partake this year. Will be down for a curry on 25th (think that's the Friday if you are free. Love to catch up. xxx
From Sue R
Just to say Hi - have now got the hang of this blog thing - enjoy the rest of rainy Tasmania!

Love Sue xxx
Response: Will do. At least you will be able to log on for my next trip to Russia. Love L x
Dear Linda, glad to hear you are bearing up well in spite of the bad weather which sounds just like home - Oz is a long way to go for a bit of rain! Just enjoy being with Alex and make the most of a bit of bonding. I saw Peter on Sunday at Ann and Brian's barbecue and he seems to be bearing up well, even planning a dinner party it seems!! I thing he is very resourceful.

My dear daughter, Sarah ran away from home on Sunday morning leaving her sleeping husband and Brighton at 7.30a.m, and coming to see her Mummy for a little t.l.c. We had a lovely two days and then I packed her off home. Life is full of excitement!!!!

Lots of love

Response: Pat, how lovely to hear from you. It hasn't all been rainy - we have had amazing weather up until about the last 3 days. It hasn't stopped our enjoyment though. See you at home for a catch up. Lots of love Linda x
From Mark and Pip
Look, how are we supposed to leave you comments when we're off swanning about in Santander?! ;-)

Just back, so thought we'd leave you a note...

Sounds like you're having a blast - that tram car sounds cracking, particularly the 'unlimted wine' bit - apparently some of that Aussie stuff is supposed to be drinkable nowadays. Can't imagine you had a hangover though, surely not!?

All well here in Bampton, although it's absolutely pissing it down. Bor-ring, particularly after Spain. And what do you think - should we turn the Poachers into a tapas bar? Heaven knows, we need something like that out here!

Hope you're well and having a superb time. We're looking forward to catching up on all the news when you're back.

Loads of love,

Response: Hi lovely people, In Launceston at present following A around whilst he works. Took a drive round the wine route in the pouring rain today but it's thin stuff - not enough long hot summers sadly. Holed up in our hotel room watching movies this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow will be better as we drive back to Hobart through the mountains. Glad Spain was good for you guys. Tell me all when I get back. Miss you all Love L xx
From Sue R
At last I've managed to get to the read your BLOG of so happy you're having a wonderful time...loved the photographs...Alex is certainly in his element...he looks great...and so do you my darling.

Am still settling back to life in London after three weeks in Cannes....your Peter came round for Friday night dinner...was lovely to see so impressed with his cooking skills (the curry and the Thai)....a man of many talents.

Went to the Rock & Gem Show this weekend....but got the wrong date....derrrrr. Still looking for those coral discs!
Will have a jewellery sale in early June, so am making some more FAB necklaces AGAIN!

Last Bank Holiday Monday, Dorothy, Ruti & I did a stone carving workshop in Saltdene (nr Brighton)...with two carvers from Zimbabwe....was wonderful....although the weather was very grey, cold and stormy....we were on the sea front getting sprayed with sea mist....!!!....very bracing....and envigorating.

Katie's got exams in two weeks...and Peter's away to Australia very soon...both working hard.

Off to see Elly now...she's most unwell at the moment...hope to be able to cheer her up...

Bye for now...with love...Sue xXx
Response: Hi Susie, sorry to hear Ellie is poorly - she seems to be slowly fading. You must be a breath of fresh air for her. In Launceston, Tasmania at present and its bucketing rain! Drove round the wine route today but all that lovely scenery was in a miserable mist so no pix. Hope tomorrow will be better. Love Linda x
From antonio
did you recive my e-mail?
Response: Yes I did. Great to hear from you. When are you ever going to finish studying. Went round the Tasmanian wine route today but nothing outstanding. Not enough hot weather so light wines only. Will write more later. Love Linda x
From Caroline
Wow, the photos are amazing - brill sunset and yes the cloud one is stunning. Alex looks v like his father now - don't think I've seen him since Quiz night in the Tavern when he was about 13! Enjoy Tasmania...
Response: Hi Caroline and Alan, Our one free day in Launceston and its pee-ing with rain! Holed up in our hotel room watching the box having driven round the wine route in the rain and unable to take good pix because its all misty and orrible. Hope tomorrow will be better. Love L x
From Tanya part2
sorry computer died at end of message...
once again... sorry for not being in touch sooner, hope I can be forgiven :-)
lots of love Tan x
Response: Hi naughty neice. Consider yourself forgiven! Yes, Alex is about 6ft 1in tall now and has been working out in the gym constantly. He is much more developed than last time I saw him. He still loves Pizza though! Hear that you have done the right thing and got yourself a Jewish boyfriend - sensible hey? Where did you go in Italy? Hope you had fun. Look forward to seeing your place some time after July when I have stopped travelling. Off to Russia next by road and then to Mongolia. Will definitely take you up on your offer of a meal sometime - its been far too long. Tell your Bro that he promised us dinner about a year ago!....Love from Alex and I xxx
From Ken & Lorraine

Sorry but todays message was the first inkling that you were in Oz and had this blog site going. All are well here. Obviously you are having a wonderful trip round parts of Australia and assume we won't get to see you here in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Quick update from our end, eldest daughter Andrea getting married in Feb next year, our grandson now 19 months, middle daughter Samantha living in London with her partner, youngest Stephanie has left school and taking a travel/tourism course so she can get her parents cheap travel in the future. Well one can hope. We are contemplating a trip back to the UK probably next year, it is overdue after all.
Trust that you will continue to enjoy your trip round our neighbours back garden!
Response: Hi folks. All good news about your kids - great stuff. I continue to wait for mine to sort out their lives and get married. Staying out in Oz with Alex is an experience as I watch the pretty girls come and go. He is seeing a gorgeous Canadian girl right now but its in its infancy so who knows. Having a quiet few days before we set off for Tasie next week. I get home for a week and then drive to Russia on a charity rally in our Honda NSX. After that I go to Bejing and Mongolia - bit worried about that one as its all staying in Gers and drop loos! You will no doubt be able to follow my travels on this site. Maybe we will get to see you if you come over next year. Lots of love in the meantime x
From Peter R
Veronica seems quite sensible to me.P
Response: is that on the fornication side or the racism?
From ros
Hi Linda,

I'm amazed that you are finding the time to write all this while having such a fantastic time! I've not yet had the time to read it all but shall do later today. We were away last week, walking in southern Spain. The people in Port Douglas sound very, what can I say, characteristic?! We'' be there in September...

Be in touch again soon when I have read the rest of the blog. By the way, it's windy, grey and rainy here. You're missing nothing...
Response: Hi Rossy,

You must stay at the Sea Temple Hotel in Port Douglas - lovely! Its a cool place and everyone here seems to agree. Southern Spain is supposed to be beautiful so hope you had a great time. See you back home at some point Love Linda x
From Paul
Hi Linda & Alex,

Sounds like you are having fun (at times)!!! Re the diving Linda, you can do it despite your asthma, Vikki has passed her PADI and is enjoying the undewater experience out there. I haven't noticed the visits to wineries yet!!!!!

Keep the updates coming.

Love, Bear xx
Response: Hi Bear, I am under strict dietry supervision by my son who only allows me limited amounts of wine. He's a big strapping lad now so I don't argue with him. We haven't had time to draw breath until the last two days in Port Douglas when we finally had time to get up late and please ourselves as to what we did.
From Caroline
G'day from Alan & Caroline.
What an adventure you are having. There must be a lot of mother/son bonding going on. Life in 'Bamfield' continues as per normal. Can't think of any scandal or anything tumultuous that you are missing. The Tavern even had beer this weekend & we have had some rain. Have fun, C & A xxx
Response: Hi Caroline and Alan. The Tavern had some beer! That makes a change but I wouldn't give a Castlemain 4X for it! We are now having a short gap in adventures. We have had two days of doing nothing in particular. Lovely to hear from home so keep em coming. Love to you both. Curry when we get home?
From Natalie Ferstendik
Hey ma,

You really are quite an adventurer! Guess you're making up for lost time (having babies in your twenties!)....

Your trip sounds amazing....particulary the Ayers Rock experience. Last night, after Dad's impressive and impromptu curry night, Peter (of Dee and Peter), read us your emails. There was something rather old-fashioned about hearing them read out loud at the dinner table.....and there were a few chuckles along the way, specifically, the idea of mother and son sharing the same name and therefore, bed!

Anyway, sorry have been a bit out of touch you may or may not remember, I've been working on on location for the last week in the Midlands and return there for another full-on week after the Bank Holiday. Long days, long hours and no feel rather out of touch with the rest of the world when I finally head back to my little B&B for some sleep. Still, it all seems to be going well and Virgin are already requesting me for some additional dates in August.....

Aside from that, it's been all work and no play really. Kate Moss window is in (will email you a picture if I can get one...), I've nearly got all the illustrations for the book I'm doing done and on the boy front, have a second date with a sweet guy on Sunday.

So, nothing really all that exciting to report...just pleased that you're getting a taste of what the world has to offer (beyond Bampton curry night...!)

Love and kisses to you and my little bro.

Nat xxx
Response: Hi sweets, lovely to hear from you. Glad you have enjoyed your work despite the long hours. Dying to see your window pix. Enjoy your date and read my latest entry in my blog. Hear you had a good curry night with Dad providing the food! Love and kisses Mum x
From lovely daughter (jo
Hello mum and little baby bro,

I am writing this message from the country in a lovely picturesque village called Bampton. (All plates and objects of interest still intact, worry not!) Dad has spent the last two nights cooking up a storming curry which was enjoyed yesterday by Dee and Peter, Pippa and Mark, Biz, Nat, my wonderful self and the clown. Food was great and you never have to cook again as dad is now head chef although will never make as good a bologneise as you. The lamb and plum and the vegetarian option were a favourite.

Nothing much to report. Sounds as though you guys are having a lovely time despite the grumpy ozzies. Your e-mail got read out over dinner, to everyones amusement and your lack of response from friends was noted and shall be dealt with accordingly!!!

I do hope you haven't bought me too many presents yet and they won't be taking up too much space on the aeroplane.

Hows my brother? Would like to be sent a recent photo of him at some point to put in a frame and dust when necessary.

The new dishcloths are great!!!!! We love the colours and Keith is a week away from passing his training exam in kitchen utensil management, with flying colours.

That's all for now folks. Have lots of fun and don't forget to give eachother a cuddle.

Lots of love and kisses
Jo and clown
Response: But how are the sheets! Seriously though, Dad seems to have now taken to cooking - great I need never do it again!! There's nothing to buy here and believe me, if there was, I would have found it! Will try and upload photos when we get to Melbourne as Alex is using his work PC and not allowed to up or download anything. Most of the Ozzies are really friendly and chatty. We met two Jewish couples in the space of 24 hours and ended up all having dinner together the night before last - good fun! Loved your line about Keith and his training exam! We have plenty of photos of us cuddling don't worry. Weather is great here in PD. More to follow. Love and kisses, Mum x
From joyce
so pleased that you are enjoying most of your holiday but please take care some of it sounds very scary love you, joyce and patrickxx ps moira back from her walking holiday had a great time xx
Response: Joyce darling, having a bit more rest now as per my new entry. I haven't been able to use the computer at the hotel as we couldn't use a dial-up link. In the internet cafe now so just updated my blog. Miss you and sending you a big hug x
From Dee & Peter
G'day cobber. What an adventure! Don't get too dehydrated, don't forget the hat for the corks. Peter is bearing up without you. Has bought lots of newspapers to read in the house so he won't get bored while you're away. We'll make sure he'll get fed & watered and we'll try to keep him out of trouble. You know you can trust us!!!! You seem to be getting a lot of exercise and it does sound like a seriously enjoyable trip and we're looking forward to hearing (and seeing) more of your adventures as you go on. xx Dee & Peter
Response: Hi there possums, having more relaxation here in Port Douglas. Lots of massage and rest but we did a goodly bit on the firtst two days as you will see from my new entry. Thanks for looking after the old man for me. He seems to be having a far better time in my absence! More soon. Love Poofoot x will explain that when I come home!
From Jeffrey
Hi Linda,

Hideous flight, hideous flies, hideous overly-fit girls (yes, you should have done the rest of us a favour and pushed over over the edge) - but sounds like you're more than making up for it! Looking forward to big curry and loads of photos when you get back!

BAck to placing lupins (!). JJ xx
Response: Hi lovliness, just sent you an email accusing you of not writing so ignore that! Lovely to hear from you and hope you got your lupins in. Speak soon as we have to vacate our room now. Miss ya! xxxx
From joyce
dear linda don't know whether I lost other message so trying again , have a lovely time take care all well here love you lots joyce xx
Response: Hi Joyce,
You can now read some of my entries as I have put a lot on today. We have had no signal for a couple of days so haven't been able to use the computer. Love Linda x
From joyce/patrick
what an awful time you had but well worth it in the end do take care love u lots joycexx
Response: Better now though Joyce. Heading out of Central Australia and no more flies I hope. Next stop Port Douglas. I will write soon