Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Monday 2 November 2009 started out hot and steamy and remained that way. By mid afternoon storm clouds were gathering in the south. I had a busy day with lots of activities preparing to leave Canberra after an all too short weekend and head back to Perth. QANTAS Flight 719 is a direct flight to Perth and leaves Canberra at 19:30 hours. By 6pm the storm looked quite large and I was a bit concerned about the flight being delayed or if not that then it might get a bit bumpy up there.

From almost my first ever flight I have been a terrible flyer. I remember once being sick with fear before taking a flight, the friend driving me to the airport had to pull over so I could throw up. I would avoid flying as much as possible, I would treat any flight as if it were my last day. However over the last year I have flown so many times that now I am a total convert and look forward to my next trip into the sky. I think back now and figure I wasted so much time being scared. Now I take a window seat every time and look with wonder at the incomparable view and the wonder of powered flight.

The wonder started after a very long flight to London. I had worked hard to take that trip and it was supposed to be the beginning of a fantastic adventure for me and my family. It turned into a disastrous undertaking and we are still recovering from it but of all things I will remember the joy I felt descending over the beautiful English countryside on a gorgeous morning after a very long flight. The aircraft zig-zagged over London heading for Heathrow and we had the most amazing view of the city. London stole my heart after that and I miss it dearly.

As I made my way to the airport I began to feel that our ride was going to get bumpy. It was bumpy coming in on the Friday night, more bumpy than was usual. It was one the older aircraft though. Slightly smaller wings and a central line of TVs. God knows I am not a plane spotter so I couldn't tell you what the model was. Don't care really. I needn't have been concerned, the return aircraft was much more modern. It had the fold up wing tips. I had one of those exit row seats, port side. Nice, almost uninhibited, view forward. We taxied out and pointed that big beautiful thing at the storm. Take-off is so exhilarating that I had lost all concern about what might come after. Hand brake off, fantastic roar and we are accelerating down the runway; at about 150 knots up she went, my face glued to the port hole and the heart of an excited 12 year old beating in my chest.

I could see the veils of rain a mile or so away in the dim evening light. So beautiful. Then, with the grace of an angel amid the deep roar, we banked right and I tried myopically to see out the starboard windows and catch a last glimpse of Canberra. Not much luck, just a few orange lights, but as we levelled on our westerly course I looked again through my own window. The evening light of a cloudy sky is gorgeous and before we ascended through the misty layer I was privileged to see the Brindabellas laid out in grey relief. Rows of grey mountain lines stretched stacked into the distance.

This trip is magical. I settled into reading for a while. I carry my favourite author with me, Patrick O'Brian. A magical writer whose series of 20 novels I am working my way through for the sixth time, and still catching new glimpses of the lives and adventures he portrays. I look up through the port hole and see we are above the clouds. They are smooth but shaped into giant swells like the sea. Funny how water cannot lose it's character. We appear to be skimming across the tops of these giant swells as we surge into the west. Despite our great height there is a thin veil of cloud above us, like a vaporous ceiling, grey and yellow from the distant setting sun we are chasing.

I am mesmerised by the steady roar of the engines and the gentle grey undulations of the cloud plain we are traversing, however unexpectedly the last great swell heralds a change in the landscape. The cloud plain drops away as if we have come across a large valley, the bottom of which is the earth we call home, shrouded in dimness. Strong gold and red light blurs clarity and the plain honest swells become descending, chaotic ranges of cloud drawing the eye downward. The sun sits just beneath the thinning ever present veil above us and the edge of the world.

Towards the end of our journey the sun appears to rest on the horizon without setting. The thin ceiling of cloud has disappeared and a new phenomena presents itself. The blackness of space thrusts itself at anyone who cares to look. There is a rich vein of blue, red and gold spreading either side of the little sun, seemingly flattened by the weight of the void above it. The limitations of the port I am looking through frustrate my appreciation of the true enormity of space though perhaps what I do see is enough for mortal eyes. Blackness of a depth not seem while there is still light in the world. The blackness sparsely pierced with tiny pricks of light from unimaginably distant suns.

How could I possibly come down to earth and leave this magical and utterly hostile world? But come down we did, back into the trials and wonderment of our earth bound world. Nonetheless, for a while, I felt as if I walked 6 inches off the ground.


To balance the anger I felt last night about the Masterchef program, tonight was much better. The judges judged impartially, the guest chef was a genius gentleman, not a genius clown. The contestants could be themselves and humiliation was entirely in their own hands.

Monday, July 19, 2010


An interesting word, and to be provided with a fine definition for it all you need to do is watch the Masterchef Australia episode of Monday 19 July 2010. Never in my life have I seen six fine people so ritually humiliated as I have on tonight's show. The pressure test could not have been better calculated to make fools of aspiring talent. The more cluey contestants even wondered what was going on. The sheer divide between the expected result and the contestants offerings was so stark as to make anyone wonder. One judge even referred to their efforts as similar to kids mucking around. As soon as the Zumbo walked in with the cake from fairy land I knew that the only object of the program was utterly humiliate the remaining contestants and then on some pretext kick one of them from the show. And so it proved to be. The contestants were so out classed and intimidated by the Zumbo and his cake (the Zumbo openly laughed at some of their efforts), that the judges may as well have paraded them down Pitt Street at lunch time, dressed in rags, pelting food at them and shouting abuse for being amateur cooks who dared aspire to something better. Talk about being set up to fail. I felt sick and angry at the spectacle. I am ashamed of the judges and the producers of the show for the lack of finesse and creativity they displayed in tonight's effort. It was amateurish television. Badly done Ten, badly done.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Natural Selection

I think I had a eureka moment in the garden just now. It stemmed from earlier today when I was listening to ABC Radio while doing some computing. Geraldine Doogue was hosting a forum on the future of the coal industry in Australia and everyone was getting in on the act. Politicians, unionists, coal mining execs, workers, workers family, everybody. Debate was lurching to and fro on the impact of burning coal on global warming. However in the debate they missed something: Charles Darwin. Clever chap really; and his theory is very elegant. Some creatures are better adapted to survive because they have evolved some new trait or ability that can harness changing circumstances.

Well I think that his theory will ultimately determine the efficacy of our responses to self induced global warming. If the people in power don't get it right then natural selection will weed most of us out. Really sad when I think of my young boys, and their children and children's children. The good old GFC (Global Financial Crisis), has quite amply demonstrated our credentials and penchant for greed; right down to the base level, not just the people who started it. So what chance do we have when we get mother nature pissed off. Life is going to be much simpler in a couple hundred years. Harsher, probably, but simpler; and the richness of humanity will still be there flourishing in ways we cannot possibly imagine. Just like the people of 200 hundreds years ago could not imagine in their wildest dreams the society of today.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Stop Number 17628

Normally I would do my shopping 'en masse' on a Saturday morning; picking up milk or bread during the week if I need to. However my uncle-in-law is in town for a week or so and has reclaimed the grotty old van I use sporadically for transport. So this morning I had to plan my shopping trip. I google mapped Claremont, found the bus stops, checked the routes and departure times for the return journey from the shopping precinct. My plan was to walk the mile to the supermarket, do the shop by weight, then walk the quarter mile back to the nearest bus stop and come home on bus No 24.

What I mean by 'shop by weight' is to buy only those things that I need which I can comfortably carry over a long distance; certainly further than the car park! Until the van returns large heavy items will need to be bought, and carried, individually.

I crossed the road going down the hill to stop number 17628, passing the gothic sandstone memorial to the numerous wars in which men and women from Claremont have fought and died over the last century. As I came nearer the stop I noticed a fellow staring at the timetable. This is a good thing, I haven't caught a bus here before and it is a sort of confirmation that indeed a bus would come. When I arrived at the shelter there was also a handsome young woman seated with her shopping. Excellent, I am not the only one with the same idea.

A phone started to ring, very similar to my own and after the initial surprise, the young woman liberated a red hand knitted sock from her pack and released a maroon mobile phone. Looking at the number on her phone a knowing smile crossed her face though it enigmatically disappeared as she answered it with a name. I picked myself up as an intruder and looked away. I noted more people with shopping coming down the hill. Perhaps my smart idea is more common place than I realised. The young woman says something in German, a language I adore, and I look back. A tear is rolling down the side of her face but her voice betrays no emotion to me. As she talks she wipes the tear from the other side of her face but her voice continues conversationally, her German more clear to me now that I recognise it; understanding little but the occasional word. Her hand crosses casually in front of her and wipes the tear closest to me away. When it is gone I know it has happened: she was crying, but her conversational tone betrays nothing.

My heart goes out to people in tears, particularly quiet restrained tears, and my chest constricts at what I think is her pain or grief. She is protecting someone, perhaps herself, her listener, or those around her now, by continuing to speak casually, attentive to her interlocutor. I look away again. Other people are arriving. A young couple with Subways, eager to scoff them before the bus arrives. A Japanese woman arrives and is also on the phone but there are no hidden depths there. I am reminded of another bus stop, near work in the city, some weeks before where a young woman answered a phone and burst into tears, talking a language I did not know, but the tears and emotion in her voice required no other understanding.

The bus turns the corner, the phone conversation has ended and the closely held turbulent emotions of the last few minutes are cast loose and dissipate in the westerly wind.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Perth Passengers ...

... your next service to Perth departs in 2 minutes. The announcement at Claremont Station is more informative but less exciting than the one I used to get at Greenwood Station. The Claremont Station is an oldie, adapted to modern trains from the steam era. It's much smaller than it used to be but still has it's historic infrastructure. The old works shed is still off to the side, currently unused, but still with it's Australian Boiler Company shield on the side. The original station house, a grand old building is also sadly unused. It would be a great civic resource. My train journeys are usually interesting in one way or another. A part of the trip takes several minutes to pass the enormous Karakatta cemetery with's its historic headstones flitting past the windows bathed in sunshine and shadow in the early mornings. There is also a smattering of characters riding the rails along with us mundane travellers. The fun ones are the simple fellows who love to 'announce' the stations along with the train's internal speakers. You can tell they are proud of getting the words and intonation just so. One fellow today set up a loud humming and vocalising that mimicked the sound of the electric motors as they accelerated along the straights and slowed slightly as they passed through urban stations along the way. It was beautifully musical with his harmonising to the thrum. It was quite lulling as the train rattled, rolled, lurched and clacked along the tracks.

Most days I walk to the station from my lodgings through leafy Claremont. I am privileged to be living in such a place. Typically only the very rich live here. I have a mile long zig zagging path from Riley Road where i live in unabashed squalor to the commercial area and the station. Agett Road has to be my favourite and longest part of the walk; and Number 19 Agett Road is to die for. Its a vast old federation house on enormous grounds, it must be a couple of acres. I cannot imagine living in such luxury. I have never seen it's inhabitants as most of the property is protected by a high wall. I get glimpses through the gates and foliage of the small part of the low walled boundary. I can imagine having to log your whereabouts with the police if you said "I am just popping out to the west garden to watch the gardeners weeding!", picking up your binoculars as you leave. The roof line stands proud behind the ivy, creepers and trees; resting solidly. Other favourites are the hacienda just down the road, standing out among the others for being so different. There is also the unusual two storey slate roofed swiss style mansion which is glimpsed through the gates as I pass. Lastly but not least is at the other end. A classic french style residence built in 1905 imposing itself on the corner of Agett and Chester Roads. 1905 is embossed largely on the top of the corner facing wall.

Turn right onto Chester, left onto Princess, quickly across the road and take the path between the primary school and the tennis courts, emerging into an old park with no name that I can find. It has ancient trees lining it's walk way. A pair of old gums stand out for something that I have only just noticed. I call them the ballet trees. For all their lives they have been slowly twisting anti clockwise. Imagine if you dare, holding a piece of tubular licorice; before you stuff it in your mouth. One end is held still while with the other you slowly twist it. Notice the lines appear spiralling to the top. This is what you notice with these gnarley old gums. They have been dancing quietly through the decades performing an arboreal pirouette, laughing and giggling in their way at the human ants scurrying and zooming through the months and years. Clever old buggers :)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Sound Of Bells ...

... klang, klang, klanging at a moderate talking pace, announces the commuter train from Fremantle to the city is close to Victoria Street Station. The bells come from the level crossing next to the station. Look left and you see the big boom gates lowering into place, stopping traffic, and red lights flashing. Look right and you see the train approaching, framed by the lights of Fremantle harbour and the sea. I am looking forward to getting out of the weather and sitting down. This morning started cool, windy and grey. The night brought a lot of rain but it has abated enough for me to risk the 1,600 yard walk to the station. I set off from the house with 20 minutes to get there; usually a brisk walk. Down Rudwick, right into Palmerston and up the hill. Left into Jimbell to avoid walking to the very top of the hill then right into Horgan which intercepts the long straight Victoria Street. Other people are just starting their day, having leisurely breakfasts behind dim yellow lit windows. I am walking briskly by this stage and quite warmed up, perhaps 1,200 yards to go. It's quiet in the grey drizzle but on the other side of the street I hear a steady paced clopping sound. I look over to see a young person smartly dressed in brown with a jacket, cloppy shoes and a determined look, glancing at their watch and setting a brisk pace. It occurs to me they too are determined to catch the 7:44 from Victoria Street Station.

It shouldn't really be called a Station, more like a Halt with just two long platforms and a small shelter on each side. It is small, completely unmanned, but I suppose because you can put money into a machine and purchase a ticket that it qualifies as a station. I am heading down the road and the clopping sound is following me and infecting my own walking rhythm. Its quite staccato, short quick steps; these are at odds to my own long strides. We have a different method for setting the pace. I feel a spirit of competition begin to course in my blood. I start figuring parameters and vectors. Can I beat them to the station? They are on the right side of the road, I have to cross over at some point. Their steps are shorter and faster, not to mention they are approximately 25 years younger than I am. Hmmmm. I speed up a bit, seeing what it's like to keep the same length of stride but do them quicker, focus on my own rhythm and stay in front. After about a hundred yards though I slow down again. At that pace I would be a basket case before ever reaching the station; not to mention the body odour :( Slowly but surely they are making up the distance and what was once 20 yards is now 10 or 12. I am going to lose this race because I have to cross to that side of the road at some point, and then I will drop further behind. I refuse to run because that would end the little challenge I have set myself. I have run quite a few times on other mornings, and it's nice to lope along for a bit and make up some time; a purely personal thing.

There is about 400 yards to go and I can't put off crossing the road any longer, they are about 5 yards in front of me now and after crossing I find that I am about 15 yards behind. However I plunge on and maintain the pace up the slight slope to the Stirling Highway, it's in my mind that maybe my longer legs can win back some ground on the rise. Not much luck but I do gain a few yards. My salvation comes in crossing the highway. It's a funny set of lights but they are not favourable when they reach them, however they know them as well as I, and after a slight pause reach the safety of the middle before pausing again. When I reach the lights the pedestrians are free to go and in crossing the tracks I am only 2 yards behind. We tag on at the Smartrider port with only seconds between us and I feel I have come a creditable second. Stamina, fitness and strategy. Gotta get me some of those.

As you have probably guessed I am back in Perth again. I had a few lovely all too short weeks in Canberra however the work did not continue. I am hoping it will come back soon. In the mean time I have had to go where the work is and so now I am working for BankWest in Perth.

When I grow up I think I would like to be a travel writer. Hahahahhahaha.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tales of Two Cities

Just to let you all know that I will be coming home soon. This weekend. I have a contract starting in Canberra on Monday 25th so I will be home Friday night. Woo Hoo!! Saturday I am out to Gundaroo to watch my youngest play football. He is goal-keeping; so as his mentor I will be helping out. Looking forward to it. Back to the incessant chatter and questioning of very young men. Really missed it. Really.

Perth. Canberra. Two cities; and their satellites. Interesting. It has taken a while but I have some more observations to expand on. I have been doing a lot of work for a client whose office is in a city east of Perth, called Midland. If you catch a train which I mostly do, or drive, to Midland you do not notice any break in suburbia. No thinning of the human enterprise. For all intent and purpose they are one. But Midlanders say “Are you going to Perth?” They do not say “Are you going to the city”, like I do. There is certainly a difference. It’s like Canberra and Queanbeyan but without a state border. Canberra has insulated itself from Queanbeyan physically with defence installations, an airport and other mercantile activities, whereas Midland feels pretty much like another part of Perth, but the difference is there. Just like Canberra and Queanbeyan.

Perth and Western Australia are very much rooted in the earth. The whole state economy is based on what it can achieve from the soil or dig out of it. It influences how the people behave and think. It's very physical. Intellectual and cultural pursuits are in evidence but they are dominated by the all pervading physicality of the state which influences politics and thought. Canberra and the ACT on the other hand are very much dominated by the mind. It is a centre of politics and policy, education and bureaucracy. The physical pursuits are dominated by the intellect, thought, organisation and the "right" way to satisfy the human condition.

There are some interesting characters here too:
"Good morning Sir", I say in welcome to the fellow selling newspapers from a trolley outside Perth Underground station.

"Good morning Sir", he replies with more meaning than I am ever able to construct. He is a fine fellow, a simple fellow, and it's a highlight of my day to pick up a copy of the West Australian from him. We chat for a few minutes about football, fishing, the weekend, yesterday, next week, the weather, the joy of sleeping in; anything. I have toyed with the idea of asking him his name and one day I will, but for now we share the same name and are on an equal footing.

I have achieved an appreciation of AFL football having lived here for some months now. I am actually beginning to understand the game and talk intelligibly about it. There is some beauty to the game but it isn't the "beautiful game". My uncle-in-law, who I board with, has a deep and abiding love of the sport and travels every weekend to see his local team play. He works hard in the yard and around the house on Saturday and Sunday mornings so that he can indulge himself in the afternoons watching his sport, having a beer and telling the teams through the TV how the game should be played. He also grows tomatoes with an ease that astounds me. I have a great love of tomatoes and look forward to the day when I can indulge what little green thumb I have to grow superb tomatoes. I have learnt a few things, that's for sure. I can't wait for spring in Canberra so I can get stuck into a new season of growing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Wottr Feetchr

As some of you may have guessed that means "The Water Feature". In English. The water feature is rather large and dominates the entrance to the main building of the Acergy campus. Apparently it cost £40,000 to build however it is a one off and causing the builders to have nightmares in the wee hours. They are having a great deal of trouble getting it to stay level and perform as required. This can also be true of applications created by software programmers such as myself so I can sympathise with the people mucking around with it. I am sure it will keep somebody employed for life.

So in a round about way I finally get to tell you all a little about my work and work environment. The Acergy campus is a set of 3 brand new buildings on approximately 3 acres of land in rural Aberdeenshire. It is in a little town just outside Aberdeen called Westhill, or possibly Elrick. The building site, and indeed the building I work in, is still a construction site. I was to have started work in an old building in Aberdeen but just before arriving I had an email saying go to Tarland Road, Westhill. As it turns out there is no road called Tarland Road but there is a road that goes to Tarland. Hmmm, very handy.

Anyway, Acergy had to get out of the old building in Aberdeen and organised to occupy two floors of the new (unfinished) main building. We have very strict paths to follow and places that are off limits because the campus is still a construction site. All in all though it's very nice and in October when the site is handed over we will also receive 600 people from another Acergy campus in Aberdeen. The main building will have a restaurant/cafeteria; not sure which as they use the english language meanings a bit differently over here. One of the other buildings is a massive company health and fitness centre (but no pool).

The people I work with are an interesting and generally fun bunch but not many Scots. Last night we had a little team social at the Monkey House. Its a bar. Honest. Really lovely evening and nice to be out of the B&B at night. On Saturday week I am meeting up with some more work people at The Queen Vic (public house) to watch Scotland V Macedonia. Promises to be a hoot, and my son Elliot will be so jealous. I have been set to work on a project and am meeting some nice people. The work isn't challenging yet which is a good thing as I can focus on getting to know people and processes. Even though we use Lotus Notes Release 7 everyday I have to do my development work in Release 5 because our applications are used by ships at sea who haven't yet come into port and been upgraded to Release 7. OK thats enough of the technical stuff, I am sending myself to sleep.

Getting to work is always interesting. The local buses have a different notion of time up here. I have had all the variations - turn up on time, turn up late, turn up early, drive right past you, and don't turn up at all. That almost covers it. The only other thing is the route they take. The drivers each seem to have their own notion of where they are going. Thankfully there are some common points for them all and one of these is dropping me off and picking me up on the corner just up the road. And the X15 or X17, which I catch, all say their destination is Elrick not Westhill. Confused? Then join me in Aberdeen, Elrick, or possibly Westhill.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yards and Inches

What a blast into the past. Miles, yards, inches, gallons, pints. Well that last one is how you order beer at the Old Blackfriars where Tracey and I meet after work everyday. They do a nice pub meal. We have nearly worked our way through everything on their menu. Only two of these tet a tets left as Tracey flys back to Oz on Saturday. She will return with the boys once things settle down here. I won't bore you all with the various issues that we have had to face since arriving in Aberdeen, and there have been a few, but I will tell you about a little trip we did last weekend.

We hired a car for the weekend, and on Saturday we took a little trip to the Loch Ness tourist trap. Very nice day even though it started out with bucketing rain. By the time we got to Inverness the rain had stopped and the weather was starting to clear. A generally gorgeous drive with lots of the green beauty you expect from Scotland. Black faced sheep and hairy brown cattle are quite popular. So is wheat!! Ah hae ne'er seen so much wheat. Even though Australia probably grows more wheat than Scotland can dream of you come face to face with it here. Wheat, potatoes and barley. Mile after mile of it. I suspect the farmers are gauging when to harvest though as it all looks prime. In fact it seems very little of Scotland is not farming in some way. If it isn't agricultural crops its forestry - hundreds of acres of forest. All very picturesque.

Inverness was a lovely little place, a nice relief from the grey of Aberdeen. We stopped there for lunch and a look around. We passed a shop window which was decorated with rain coats and funnily enough some of them were advertised as being water proof, but not all them. It seems that a notable couple were being married in the church (kirk) at the centre of town and there were lots of interested bystanders hanging around outside waiting for a glimpse of the bride and groom. We moved on but later as we were leaving and walking past the church again the skirl of pipes began and the bride and groom appeared to general applause and celebration from the waiting throng. The bride looked delighted and the groom emanated a touch of "how embarrassment" before accepting it all good naturedly.

By this time it was quite sunny and warming up. We navigated our way out of town and onto the "A" road leading to Drumnadrochit on Loch Ness. This is the favoured spot for concentrating tourists and has a museum, tourist shops and the Urqhart Castle ruin. The drive down the west side of the lake, oops, I mean loch, was really lovely. A relief not to see wheat fields :) I took a number of film photographs and you will have to wait until they are processed printed and digitised before I can show you.

We saw a rather large bronze statue of Nessie in a little pond near the museum however I think the real thing probably had her fins up watching the football somewhere. We bought a number of little gee gaws for the boys but not a single Nessie as they were all crap furry numbers for tiny kids, not for budding-almost-teenagers-in-a-couple-years type boys. There was nothing plastic that would roar, bite, gouge or spit and shoot projectiles across the room; something they could take to. Oh, I did actually get them a pen each which had a floating Nessie in the barrel. Hahahahaha. Tracey persists in trying the coffee here but sadly Drumnadrochit, like the rest of the UK, makes crap coffee. They do however make a superb [ice cream] cone with double flake. Mmmmmm. It's called a cone here, you don't need to say the ice cream bit. Similarly you only need to order chips to get hot ones. The packet stuff are "crisps".

On the Sunday we went south of Aberdeen. Once again the day started out wet and grey with passing storms but cleared by lunch time. We had no real itinerary for the day just drive where the fancy took us. So we first stopped at a sea side village called Stonehaven just south of Aberdeen. Pretty enough with a lovely little harbour, and a ruined castle. I saw my first car boot sale market happening there. In fact people advertise stuff in the newspaper as being appropriate for a car boot sale, hoping that someone will buy it for re-sale in a car boot. Hmmmm. Makes you wonder. It started to pelt down rain again when we decided to drive to the ruined castle so we didn't see it.

We headed off down the motorway again and turned off to a place called Montrose. When we eventually got there after driving past an interminable number of wheat, potato and barley fields it was a bit like stepping back 50 years. Nothing was open and the place was dead as a dodo. We kept on going and eventually arrived at Arbroath. We got out here because we were getting fairly hungry. Once again it was a bit like stepping back 50 years and just about everything in the high street was shut. We thought we were going to expire from starvation when we found a mini-mart of sorts where you can buy the ubiquitous packet sandwiches. We got one each and a drink and bolted to the sea side to eat. They were shocking things to eat but we were so hungry that even dead donkeys ran away from us.

Arbroath has a lovely little harbour, and after eating those shocking sandwiches and subsequently not feeling hunger at all, we found a nice little fish and chip shop that was really well patronised. Ho hum.

Ah weel, thaat is ma wee story for noo. There are some scots ah cannae understand at all but for one or two words in ten. I must sound very strange to them. I know now that if I am asked to repeat something it's not because they didn't hear me. They heard me perfectly well but understood nothing I said. Hahahahaha

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Mind The Gap

Woo hoo!! London Town. We arrived after an uneventful flight from Sydney about 4 days ago. Not much problem with j lag but last night was my best sleep yet. We are flying to Aberdeen this morning for a work start on Tuesday. It's been marvellous having a few days off. The last couple of weeks and days in Canberra were absolutely manic. Mostly packing and cleaning. We have successfully rented our house out. A lady vet from New Zealand will take up residence in about a week.

London is 'ot and steamy. By hot I mean mid to high 20s which believe me is plenty. Any hotter and there would be deaths, I am convinced of it. We have done a number of touristy things with Tracey's sister. Been to the Tate Modern and viewed the art, numerous tube trips, walked all over the West End, took a day trip to Brighton and saw that marvellous sea side town (along with half a million londoners and about 2 million other foreigners).

Getting used to pounds and pence slowly. They still have penny pieces as legal tender. Absolutely marvellous public transport system in the buses and trains. One swipe card will take you everywhere. Although the tube at rush hour is a thing to avoid!!

Still can't believe I am actually here, have to keep pinching myself. Looking forward to starting work and meeting new people. Starting a new job is one of my favourite times, it's crucial to setting you up for the remainder of your time there. Really looking forward to a snowy cold christmas where it isn't a crime against nature to have hot food. So indoctrinated :)