Monday, October 22, 2007

Hanging out in Watchfield


Hola! Como estais? Estoy estupenda!

There's someting about airports and aeroplanes that are condusive to blog writing. Perhaps it is the waiting-around-with-nothing-else-to-do-factor or perhaps it is the being in confined spaces factor. Maybe if I learnt how to signficantly disable an elevator I could become a novellist of fine literature...or myabe of Mills & Boon.

Finally getting excited now! Gideon and I are off on our first proper European holiday! (Wales doesn't really count - very belated blog entry still to come). One of the few places that we were both very keen to visit was Iceland. Very much looking forward to experiencing the stunning waterfalls, lava encrusted landscapes, lakes and glaciers. I think my interest in Iceland has been nurtured somewhat by watching those unaffordable machines of beauty roaring around the island on Top Gear - that show is good for all sorts of things. who doesn't want to know whether it is possible to sail a car across the English Channel?! Best of all, I now know how to spell "Reykjavik" without cheapting.

Well, it has now been a week since I went cold turkey and got off the drugs. Finally the headachesare gone, I thought they would never end. I have a newly earned respect for those people who get migraines.. it would almost be worth decapitating oneself. So it will be back to some serious job hunting once this weekend is over... I need to work. Being at home every day (all day - wasiting time - unbelievably I seem to run out of time to do things (damn Facebook!)), is making me cranky and has exposed just how paitient and supportive Gideon is.

The last 24 hours have also been a bit of a frazzle. In addition to packing and researching excursions for Iceland, I had left my tax return ot the very last possible day, typical. Why do we have to fill in tax eturns? In this day and age, why can't all the transactions just be traced back to a central office via our TFN's? I guess that path starts to cross the line of barcoding or big brother. Anyway, the night before last I went through my pile of paperwork looking for the plastic evenelope of tax statements and documentation that I had carried in my hand luggage all the wayfrom Darwin to Melbourne to London to Swindon, only to find that it was missing. Holy flying drumsticks Batman! Luckily, with anticipation that I would be so stupid, I had recorded some of the required figures back in July and with a last minute call back to Melbourne, the dreaded tax return was completed in the the nick of time. Phew.

Don't get me wrong though, despite my complaining, life is pretty sweet. Even though England is so similar to Australia in many respects, things like that continual grey skies and the 5pm sunsets, now that the clocks have been turned back, are something of a novelty for the moment. I'm still on an extended "holiday", there is a great opportunity to travel, and we have made some new friends.

Here are some snap shots of us hanging out:

Pizza and board games at my surprise birthday party.
Clare, Claire, Jon, Shaun & Gideon.
Gideon & Shaun get ready to bat for the Australian's at the Foster's Cup.
Unfortunately the Australian's got whooped by the Internationals.
Owen & Jane enjoy the beautiful sunshine and the game in their matching tops.
Everyone with the compulsory beer after the match.
Japanese Night
Clare and Claire -
Master sushi chefs

Recreation of the infamous Ogg incident -
Shaun managed to break one of the two wine glasses we brought with us with an Ogg.

All dressed up for Trafalgar Night - my first Mess Dinner
Owen, Clare, Jon, g, Gideon

Trafalgar night is a celebration of the Battle of Trafalgar.
There were all sorts of Naval traditions such as the passing of the port decanter down the table for toasting, the roast beef being paraded around the room and the ships made out of chocolate.


Movie Review

Ratatouille: 4/5

In a nutshell: A case of the extreme warm and fuzzies.

Brief Synopsis: French rat with an unusual palate for good food and a talent for cooking seeks his fortune in Paris.

It is definitely of Pixar quality, and many will just love it. For me, it was excellent, but missing the more adult wit and spark of some of its predecessors such as Monster's Inc, Finding Nemo and especially the Incredibles. It does leave you wanting to go hug lots of people. Definitely entertaining and definitely one for the kids.

*Bonus Interesting fact: In the version of the movie to hit British screens, the food inspector is voiced by Jamie Oliver. Not so for the US version, and therefore probably not for our Australian compatriots either.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The coolest of phones!

Well, it has been two weeks now, and I am still getting headaches that make me want to sleep all day. This last week has been tough, the headaches have made sleeping difficult, which has made me stay awake half the night and want to sleep all day, which has thrown my sleeping pattern out completely and made me feel more sick. But after endeavouring to stay awake all day, things seem to be getting back on track. The doctors have said that it is likely that the headaches will continue for 3-4 weeks... so all I can say is, "bring on the ibeprofen"! Makes up for all those years of not getting headaches. Good thing I'm still out of work at the moment!

So what else is going on at the moment?

Well - not much really. Afterall, I'm spending most of my time sleeping or trying to sleep. Am enjoying some of the peculiarities that are unique to England. Last night we had scotched eggs for dinner - yummy! Yesterday on TV they showed the top 50 video clips featuring Take That or Take That members! Now, you'd never get that in Australia. I didn't even think they would be able to find 50! But I should have known that about half of them were Robbie Williams videos.

Lots of catching up to do... here's something I meant to post ages ago...

I have the coolest new mobile phone (well, I've had it for over a month now, so it's not that new)... It's the Sony Ericsson W580i. Take a look at this beauty:

I went into the phone shop thinking that I'd like a Samsung flip phone - that's what I've had before and generally, they are small and pretty phones! Basically I had three requirements - MP3 player, compact and pretty. Very girly requirements, but that is what I wanted. The salesman was a cool dude and he picked one phone from their stock to recommend to me. And what do you know, he was right on the money! Once I saw it, there was no other phone that I wanted! What clinched it for me was that the salesman said that it was the phone that he wanted to get for himself. As it is a Sony Ericsson, it has a Walkman quality MP3 player, and a pretty good quality camera. The interface is pretty and simple to use, although learning to text on a new brand of phone always takes a while.

There are two other things that make it really cool.
1. One of the imbuilt games is Sims2! A somewhat watered down version, but it kept me occupied for a few days!
2. This is the coolest GIMIC ever!.... When you are listening to the Walkman MP3 and you don't like the song you are listening to, you can press the walkman button and shake the phone, and it will change the song for a randomly chosen song from your library!! How COOL is that!!!??

Now for some movie reviews:




Atonement: 3/5

Cast: Kiera Knightly (Bend it like Beckham, Pride & Prejudice), the very handsome James McAvoy (Becoming Jane, Last King of Scotland)

In a nutshell: Touch on the slow side for me... and... Is it possible for Kiera Knightly to look bad?

Brief Synopsis: After misinterpreting events, a young girl wrongfully accuses an innocent young man of crimes and sends him to prison and war, separating him from the love of his life, her sister. Follows these characters over time and the consequences of that accusation.

Similar to other lost love stories during wars such as A Very Long Engagement or Cold Mountain (a personal favourite), it takes two very likeable characters and pitches them against all odds and prevents them from being together. Kiera Knightly looks devine in the period costumes, but does not really have much acting to do. James McAvoy, is servicable - he still doesn't convince me as a good leading man - but there is something about him that is still adorable - must be those baby blues. Despite all these ingredients, and some very tight direction and storytelling, I still found this one a little slow.

Shoot 'em Up: 3.75/5

Cast: Clive Owen (Children of Men, Closer), Monica Bellucci (Matrix Reloaded, L'Appartement), Paul Giamatti (The Illusionist, Sideways)

In a nutshell: More awesome action that you can poke a stick at

Brief Synopsis: Man finds himself protecting a baby against some full on gangster dudes and some serious gunfire.

This is one movie that is destined to be a cult classic. This movie just doesn't stop. When you think they have exhausted all avenues for more super cool gun fighting scenes, they come up with something else! In attitude, it reminds me of a Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs, just without the intricate story telling and twists and turns. Totally fun, humourous, entertaining and seat rivetting. Loved it!

Monday, October 01, 2007

So, this is what happened on our trip to York...

So we drove for over 5 hours on Friday evening, and made it to York around 8.30pm. Gideon's grandparents had waited up for us to have dinner, and we have an extremely pleasant traditional meal of Friday fish and chips. Our plan for the weekend was to spend some time with Gideon's grandparents, and spend Saturday being tourists in York. Instead, the weekend ended being a little more subdued.

We had a glass of champagne with dinner. I don't know if it was the champagne or something else I had eaten that day, but shortly after dinner, I fainted in the kitchen, banging the back of my head on the floor and giving Gideon's Gran a right scare. After that it was straight to bed for me to sleep off that alchohol nausea that I sometimes get. That night wasn't much fun. I couldn't get comfortable, and I had a pounding headache, and throwing up was definitely on the cards. Unfortunately, what was to be a lovely weekend away, improved only slightly. I spent the rest of the weekend in bed feeling sorry for myself and nursing a sore head.

What a sorry state of affairs. Anyway, for those who are worried, I'm feeling much better now. Very big thanks to Gideon's grandparents and Gideon for taking good care of me this weekend. I'm almost back to normal except for a headache and a black eye!

This is me this morning...
It's like instant makeup!!

By the way, how cool is this top that I'm wearing. Huge hugs and kisses to the Haynes (Andrew, Katherine and cute little Zoe) for bringing it all the way from Boston! Here's a close up of what it says on it:

Hot, Baby, Hot!

Check out my brand new car seat covers!

Even the troll likes them!

Big thanks to the gang - Rob, Sonia, Tania, Paul, Sophie, Geord & Geoff for sending them all this way!