Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Bird people, cat lady, duck lady, kookaburra!

This morning we waved a final fond farewell to Tracy, Andy and Molly as they drove off in a taxi to the airport. Their next adventure will be settling into life in Singapore just in time for the arrival of Molly (after much discussion on names last night it was decided that to keep things simple the new baby should be called Molly too)

Talking of Molly, Rebecca and I took Molly 1 out for a walk and a swing at a little park down the road this morning while A&T packed up the last few things. She was as good as gold, no tantrums...a good thirty minutes in the swing and then she went to watch the birds being fed by some slightly crazy-looking hairy bird people! You can see her in the picture with Auntie Becca...I thought it wise not to point a camera at the hairy bird people who had just torn up almost two whole loaves of bread for about four pigeons!

Then we saw a cat in someone's front garden and stopped to look at it from outside the gate...then unfortunately "someone" turned out to be in, and also slightly batty and waved us away -grr...cat ladies!
So we walked on and found another park with a slide and eventually Molly got tired so I carried her home for some lunch. I think we are both (and particularly Auntie Becca) missing the gorgeous cuddly bundle of fun that is not running up and down the living room. Hoping that she is enjoying her business class seat on the plane-they have got one each, so plenty of room compared to cattle-class! The flights came with A's new job-v.good news.

This afternoon we pottered down the road to the botanical gardens, which given it is winter weren't too bad-not exactly colourful but there were some bird of paradise plants in bloom which are pretty and also some palm trees, cacti and enormous aloe vera plants (which always excite me...not sure why, think it might be something to do with the aloe vera farm on my kitchen window sill at home.)

We had a cuppa by a lake- chai tea seems quite popular here-i had some and it's really good-tastes like African tea. We also watched another crazy duck lady feeding the ducks and an enormous black swan, right next to a sign that said "Do not feed the birds!" I hereby conclude that the Australians like their animals just like us but of the representative portion I saw today there are more finicky fruit-loop fanatics here.

Just as we were about to leave, a kookaburra flew past and landed on a tree surprisingly close! On this occasion the Australians carried on their work around the park while the crazy English tourists stood and photographed the tree for hours! We walked around to the other side of the tree and it stayed there the whole time and let us get really close! Very exciting...it even winked at me...the only thing it didn't do was laugh...but then I suppose I didn't do anything funny.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Toothbrushes and tantrums!

I feel like I've just got back from London! We've just walked around the center of Melbourne, visiting the apparently famous Federation Square...all I can say is it wasn't very square. It had some interestingly shaped buildings around it, and quite a lot of fake grass, and I narrowly escaped being dragged into another museum, but there's not much more to say...didn't even see any pigeons!

Then we went to find a post office (don't get your hopes up, there will be no postcards from me!), and an internet cafe to print off our flight tickets, then walked down the river and got a metro home. So like I say, London-esque!

This morning on the other hand was brilliant! We went on a boat to Williamstown and saw some great views of Melbourne from the river. We had a humorous pilot (oh the brits do love their humour-i bet we're the only country to have had a humorous Olympic opening ceremony) and the sun also came out so we could sit outside on deck especially on the way home.

We had lunch after a long wander accompanied by a long tantrum (in the end I told Becky that if she didn't want to go in her pushchair she was going to have to walk by herself!) Because the ferry was on a winter timetable our only option was to come back at 1.30pm or get several trains so we headed home. Molly cleaned most of the boat on the way home (with a baby wipe and my toothbrush which had been brought with us this morning to prevent tantrum number 1 of the day!) and was happy as could be! Luckily I saved the free toothbrush they gave us on the last flight...

Sunday, 29 July 2012

"Oh there's Princess Philip!"

Becky has been helping her brother drink up his port stash as he cannot take it to Singapore. I'm going to ask her to do today's yoga quota in a minute...!

More cake!

So this afternoon's foray into the world of cake cost almost more than our entire lunchtime meal yesterday...but was it worth it?-judge for yourself! We went to St Kilda where they have what can only be described as Cake Row ..cake shop next door to cake shop, next door to cake shop, next door to a tree full of raucously squawking birds...who I assume had been turned away from one of the cake shops. Sadly by the time we had finished guzzling the sun had gone down so my swimming costume and snorkel had to remain in my backpack...oh well I'll have to poke a blue-ring octopus another day.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

More museums...

If Melbourne is not famous for its museums, it should be! We've done another one this morning and had lunch there-it was a very good museum actually and I learnt that there was a prehistoric mammoth-type creature in Australia related to the wombat. It looked like an enormous wombat...and a lot cuddlier than the mammoth. I'd quite like to bring one home...except it might eat Lottie. I forgot to check if it was a herbivore or not.

I also found some museum bugs which eat away skin and flesh from a dead animal so that you are left with a perfectly clean skeleton. It's much more effective than a human cleaning it so they use them in the museum to clean carcasses-genius!

Just had afternoon power nap-museums are tiring! Mollie is also asleep, and from the snoring coming from upstairs I reckon someone else is too (it's too loud to be Molly).  Either that or we were followed home by a prehistoric wombat...

Immigration museum

I forgot to say that we went to the immigration museum in Melbourne today. It was a really interesting place actually, contrary to how it sounds in title! One floor was all about identity and what gives you your sense of identity and the other was about travelling to Australia in various conditions through the ages and being allowed or not allowed into the country. I was astonished to discovery that Australians seem to be getting more racist over time, while the rest of the western world is trying to eradicate racism. Apparently there is still a faction that wear t-shirts that say "F off we're full." Then I thought about it some more and realized that a lot of people in dear old blighty still believe that we are over-run by immigrants stealing all our jobs...unaware of the statistic that it is in fact less than 1% of our population who are immigrants (well it was last time I checked!) The people who believe we are overrun may as well wear the same t-shirts really!

This has all got a bit heavy for a Saturday night (it's 9.40pm here) so I shall just finish by saying that if anyone has got hold of a video of me holding four semi-blown balloons in my mouth whilst entertaining Molly who just kept saying "more"...If you even think about putting it on YouTube I shall track you down and use my newly-learned wombat combat techniques on you!!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Mary Poppins vs Voldemort!

Surreal! We're watching the opening ceremony for the Olympics several hours after it has happened from the opposite side of the planet! And wondering whether the money spent on it could have wiped out 3rd world debt...but at the same time laughing at Rowan Atkinson...and wondering how the Queen looked like not a hair was out place after parachuting into the arena!
Oh and eating these...


I thought it was about time I posted some pictures of Molly so that Becky's parents can see pictures of their granddaughter rather than any more of their daughter who they saw last week! she is clutching cat who comes everywhere with us, and has recently met my Lottie substitute "little Lottie". I'm wondering if little Lottie will make it to Sydney...she's been so enjoying being thrown up and down the stairs it almost seems unfair to tear her away!

True irony

Becky's brother and his family are moving to Singapore next week and we were looking for accommodation in Melbourne (which is currently colder and wetter than England...which is saying something!) After discussing several options and the possibility of 12-bed dormitories, we decided that actually it was cheaper to scrap our flight to Sydney on 5th and start again with a flight on 2nd. If Jeanette (Lawrence's godfather's ex-wife's mother!!) is able to let us into the unit in Sydney early that will be great and if not, we will bring forward our trip to the Blue Mountains and do that before Sydney. And the true irony? The one flight that we had ensured ourselves for three times (due to a farcical Debenhams policy that didn't cover internal fights...but that's another story) we will not even be getting on! grr....

Thursday, 26 July 2012


This is Auntie Rebecca fulfilling her yoga target for the day...watched by her niece with a slightly bemused expression on her face! We have faithfully promised our wonderful yoga instructor that we will do at least ten minutes three times a week...I'm looking forward to doing it on the beach! She's now doing the tree...quite impressive balance whilst jet-lagged!

Made it!

We are here and heading to Andrew and Tracy's house (Becky's brother and sister in law) It is 11pm here-we are 9 hours ahead, so it feels like 2pm. However, fingers crossed we will be tired enough to sleep when we get there and then wake up in the morning fresh faced and bushy nosed...and a little less smelly..in fact I'm not sure I'm willing to take my armpits to bed with me as things currently stand! Not going to write any more in case this doesn't work...goodnight!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

And she says she's not blogging!

Becky has just said that Blog probably stands for Bloody Load Of Garbage! We'll see what she's saying in 44 days! I have a feeling I might make it into the book...so I thought I'd get in quick on here...I'm also a little over-excited... can you tell? About to board the plane... See you down under!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Blogging from phone!

This is extremely exciting...I am now blogging from my phone...and just to test the picture facility I'm going to try to show you a picture of my darling Lottie, who i parted with yesterday :-( and is currently having a whale of a time with her friends, Freya and Maia, in Suffolk! :-)

Really nearly packed!

Yes, its all (more or less) in the bag now, and we've been fed delicious shepherd's pie by friends - perfect travelling food I'd say.  So just one more sleep and we're off - cannot wait to be sitting on that plane knowing that it is now too late to do anything about forgotten things!  Quite looking forward to reading the Lonely Planet too - about time I found out where we were going...and what delights and dangers lie ahead.  So far Becky is in denial of her role as OC Spider Remover - but she'll soon get used to the idea...!  Well, stay with me good readers and I'll see you in September...well some of you!

Nearly packed!

Actually that title is an exaggeration...I'm not nearly packed, but I should be within the next hour (she says confidently, and in the hope that putting a time limit on it will make it happen!)
Tomorrow morning Becky and I will go to Manchester airport and fly out to Australia, to spend a fun-packed 44 days in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Port Douglas (Cairns).  It will all seem a whole lot more exciting when the contents of my living room are safely stowed away in my backpack and it doesn't weigh more than 23kg...so here goes...