Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A year on and Ellen.

A year today and I was on the plane leaving the UK for my new home in Melbourne.

Waiting patiently in line

The Blonde and The Brunette

Jessica Mauboy!!

Eye Candy!

The Lovely Ellen

I was in bits, very sad to be leaving, anxious to get there to be reunited with Hubster and worried sick that Radders could not fly with me and was left behind at Heathrow. (He was passed unfit to fly due to an injury to his paw).

Fast forward one year and here I am queueing in the stunning Melbourne sunshine with my friend Anthea, waiting to see Ellen Degeneres.

I could never have predicted anything of the like.

The queues snaked around Federation Square and along the banks of the Yarra River, thousands strong.

Australia LOVES Ellen Degeneres and to be honest I really like her too.

She is very funny without ever being crude or insulting. She comes across as a very warm person and she is a lot of fun and dare I say it, is very humble for an American star.

Ellen only released news of the venue yesterday and so it was impressive to see such a crowd.

She was clearly in awe of the turn out and she delighted the crowd when she said more Melbourne fans had turned up than in New York's Central Park, or in Sydney, her only other Australian stop.

"You beat Sydney." she shouted to rapturous roars of applause.

It was great fun and marked yet another vibrant occasion for a City I have come to love.

Anthea would also say "hear hear" to that.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Ironman Melbourne 2013


Checking out the route from Milanos Bar!

Volunteers preparing watermelon and drinks for the competitors

The worthy volunteers, their day will be a long one

2200 competitors from all over the world gathered early in Melbourne yesterday to compete in one of the toughest challenges on the planet.

The Ironman Challenge.

3.8km open water swim in the sea, 180km bike ride and a gruelling 42km run to finish.

It makes me wince to think about it and I was full of admiration for everyone competing.

The all year round training is gruelling, brutal and relentless, their diet is strict with virtually no capacity for indulgence.

You have to ask what drives people to push their bodies and their minds to the limit like this.

We lined the route at about 34km into the final run. The competitors will be on their reserve of their reserves by the time we see them.

Craig Alexander, who won last year's title

At this stage it is a mental battle even more than it is a physical one. They are truly neck deep in the hurt box and every clap and cheer from the crowd helps.

It was fascinating to watch and be part of the atmosphere.

The men's winner was Eneko Llanos from Italy, we saw him tailing the then leader at 34km and knew he had got it in the bag. Craig Alexander the Aussie and last year's winner came in 3rd.

The lady's winner was Corinne Abrahams from Wales. (The in-laws will be proud). She was incredible and led from the outset.

However, anyone who even manage to finish the course are all winners in my eyes.


Well done Melbourne, another huge event brilliantly done!


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Special People

Mother Hen once told me "special people deserve special things" as she handed me a beautiful bottle of vintage Moet when Hubster and I remarried in 2007.

I will never forget the moment or the words and I have drawn on them many times since.

Well special people just need to know how very special they are too.

You have never left my side for all the highs and plenty of lows I have shot across your bow.

I want you to know you made my first birthday in Australia with your thoughtfulness and generosity and I can't wait to come home and give you the hug that you may well need to brace yourselves for!

Hambleton Hall get those bubbles on ice, the blondes are back!

PS. The koftas with broad beans and lemon are first on my list, bring on the mise en place! (from the book) xxx

PPS: oooh what to wear? xxx


Friday, 15 March 2013

Philip Island Revisited

This mid week trip was not quite as we planned.

The plan was to hire two cottages side by side. One for us and one for Mum and Dad and go and do the touristy things like the Penguin Parade which the island is famous for.

Without Mum and Dad though we didn't see the point of doing all that stuff again and we nearly cancelled the trip altogether.

However, Hubster has had a very hectic work schedule of late and we decided the break would do us both the world of good.

It did not stop us however exclaiming at every turn that "oooh mum and dad would have loved this, that and the other!" It still felt a little sad they were not there.

The cottage was lovely, all things catered for and a sweet little court yard garden to boot.

The day we arrived it was a blistering 38 degrees but then the cool change came in over night and we enjoyed more moderate mid 20's.

Perfect for walking - lots of it too.

Barely saw another soul. Just as we like it.

Instead we enjoyed the company of mutton birds, shearwaters, wallabies and oh yes a red bellied black snake. (never get complacent, this is Australia)

We climbed high along the cliff tops and tramped low through the forests, wetlands and mangroves.

We covered some kilometres and with each step perspective returned and recent worries were put behind us to float away on the wind.


At the end of the day, with muscles tired enough to know we had used them, we sipped a glass together, mused, chuckled and chilled and made the very most of our time together.

Because that's what we do.


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Above par!


When Hubster suggested we pop up to his golf club to watch some amateurs in a competition, it was one of those situations where I thought, "ok I'll do this for you and suck it up".

Hubster is generally known for his lack of verbal detail with most things really.

We pitched up at Riversdale golf club and it is indeed extremely beautiful. Cedars, gum trees, pines and lakes teeming with birdlife.

Hubster failed to say that we were about to watch the Australian Open Amateur Golf Championship, "as what is also televised!"

It was very hot (again) today but if you are well armed here you will be ok.

Hat, umbrella for shade, sun block, water, sensible footwear.

Bobs your uncle.

We had a lovely lunch first in the clubhouse and then pootled out onto the course and followed the lead group of 4.  The cedars provided wonderful shade between holes.

My goodness these young lads were good and kept their composure in the heat too.

I tried to keep well away from the camera but I am sure Hubster got in a few shots, only because he had to get as close to the action as etiquette would allow.

He was very enthusiastic about describing his course to me, the lie of the greens, the speed, the up and down and left to right. It was lovely to see his passion for his hobby.

Well I will eat my hat. Contrary to all expectations it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, appreciate some new up and coming young talent and all in all, an above par day I'd say.


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Hairdryer Day

We have had consistently high temps in the 30's now for whats seems like weeks on end. Across the whole of Australia it is the hottest Summer ever recorded.

This is the Australia that many Brits relate to and certainly I know I did but it really isn't the norm. We are now in Autumn and it is unusual to be clocking up these temperatures still.

So glad I managed to swerve Hubster from cycling to lunch today, it registered 38 degrees in the car and on top of that it is a hair dryer day.

You know those days back home when they say it is 10 degrees but with the wind chill factor it actually feels like 3 degrees?

Well if you reverse that idea and factor in the hot north winds blowing south from the out back desert and all of a sudden a mid 30's becomes quite unbearable. Just like standing beneath a very hot and relentless hairdryer.

It's one of those days today.

We personally seek the aircon but not the Aussies they seek the beach.

That's when I know we are not truly acclimatised, how can they do that?

Now a beautiful lunch with pink bubbles, oysters and Barramundi and aircon whilst watching the Aussies play on the beach? Now you're talking.

A symbolic lunch at Cerberus Beach House.

A toast to absent family.

A toast to the end of a traumatic time.

A toast to Hubster's first year in the job and his year end results.

A toast for being so blessed to have the chance to live the Aussie way of life.