Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Lotsa snow

No golf this morning due to snow, lots of snow. We had a good 6 inches of fresh stuff on our driveway and the road through the village was silent until 9ish and then only sported 4x4s for a few hours.

It's a shame as it was the already re-arranged Captain's Drive-in which had to be cancelled. He must be wondering if his long anticipated Captain's year is destined to be doomed by the weather.  Hopefully not.

It did mean we could have a lie in, cooked brekkie, snowy walk, browse of various wedding websites and then cook a roast lamb supper before settling down with a bottle of very tasty Shiraz to watch the final day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational (golf). A lovely, lovely day.

The snow was fresh and wonderland-ish. Although we have had big snowfalls in recent weeks, they have been accompanied by strong winds so the trees have been bare. I love this icing sugar effect.

It was bloody cold though. We wore a lot of clothes and didn't stay out too long so as not to chill the dogs too much or hurt their paws with the snow marbles and grit issues.

Shelagh cannot complete a snowy walk without hunting down a snowball and then carrying it off to be carefully buried in more snow. Today was no different.

Rich is laughing his head off because I had just caught him about to stuff snow down the back of my trousers! I was squatting down fussing Shelagh and suddenly realised that my trousers were a bit low and...yep, sure enough, there he was advancing. I obviously know him too well!!

Shelagh off in burial mode.

This was the selected resting place, between 2 logs. It was a struggle extricating herself but totally worth it!

It is now very cold and my walking companions don't have time for yet more photos - the warm house beckons.

Hope you all had a great weekend, snow or no snow.

On the wedding front we have now picked a date - 1st June 2019. We've booked the church (Bradwell) and the reception (Sickleholme Golf Club). We've worked out our preliminary budget and, providing we don't go crazy and let the little things mount up, what we want is affordable. Phew!

We have room limits of 90 and 120 for day and evening receptions which will be okay but require some care. We thought we had loads of room when we jotted down our first list but of course we had forgotten loads of people so now, not so easy. Fun though.

I'm lost in a welter of questions which didn't exist when I got married the first time. Whether to rely on a wedding app or do it manually? If so, which app? Moposa? Wedding Wire? Do we want/need a wedding website? Can you do "Save the dates" by email? Do you need them at all?  Aaaargh!!

I feel old as most wedding websites seem to be aimed at 28 year old Boho Chic cute young things.....  My style ideas are either so unstylish as to be uncountenanceable (not a word I know...) or waaaay  ahead of the curve. Whatever they are, they do not accord with the mainstream options for invitations and design ideas. Hey ho, I will plug away and get as near to what I want as possible in the end, or give up and conform!!

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Icy blast (of weather and reality)

Tired of all those sunny Australian photos?? Let's have a change of pace eh? We were snowed off golf this morning so took the dogs out for a walk. It was freezing cold but clear when we set off but, as you can see, conditions worsened once we hit the hills.

When we came off the fields and turned onto Granby Road we were blasted by icy, powdery sideways gusts; shaving the eyeballs off me. Rich and the dogs were not impressed.

"I have a warm coat and a warm house, Mummy, what am I doing out here??!" Yes, bad dog parent that I am, I had not put her coat on....tut tut.

Alert readers will have noticed a lot of pretty pictures but not much in the way of diet and exercise chat. 'Tis true. I've not actually DONE anything this week.  Sort of watched my food. Cut back on booze quite well, until we nipped out for a couple early doors last night and ended up having a meal and 2 plus bottles of red between us and staying out til all hours!!

(It was a good fun night with loads of people out but not exactly diet friendly.)

Exercise has been woeful though. No runs, one round of golf and a handful of dog walks. Hmmmm

I met a woman in the White Hart last night who also got engaged on New Year's Day. The difference is that they are getting married this August in Ireland so she has not had the luxury of taking things slowly like us!! She was showing me her wedding app and website - such things did not exist when I this last time round. It was good to get the juices flowing on the wedding planning front.

Anyway, I was having a browse through a couple of the apps this morning and it hit me that I really need to knuckle down on the dropping weight. I'm playing at it now, much as I did last year pre-Australia and look what happened then?! Nothing. And we all know that, if nothing changes, NOTHING will change!!

So, as I ramp up my work life now that I feel healthy again. And pick up loads of home and financial chores which have been left undone for too long - you know the tedious changing of gas, electricity, broadband etc etc. And get going on wedding stuff. I must also make time for a proper stab at diet and exercise too; not just saying I'm going to do it and then hoping that it happens without effort being expended.

As ever I have to make a concrete plan and this is it - I'm going to join the local gym tomorrow or on Monday or Tuesday of next week if tomorrow not possible. I'm going to commit to going 3 times per week and see if they have a personal trainer/weight management counsellor at least once a month.

Even if this only takes me through the next 2 or 3 months until the good weather arrives, it should get me moving. I need some actual results!!

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Boxing Day Test

After a perfect Christmas Day, what do 4 sports lovers do on Boxing Day in Melbourne?? Yep, the legendary Boxing Day test match at the MCG. We were bubbling with excitement as we joined the throngs of people flooding towards the ground.

We all wore Wednesday shirts for the crack. It gets you noticed and we met several other Wednesday fans in the ground. 2 people actually came over to have their photos taken with us!


The ground is huge. Holds over 100,000. Probably because the Aussies had already beaten us back in Perth, it was not full, just the 88,000 people there!! Which made it all the more remarkable that I bumped into 2 blokes I know! Well, they both spotted the Wednesday shirt then realised it was me. One was a manager from the Council which was amusing.

God was it hot though?! As we walked in I thought to myself "I hope we're not sitting in the shade back here". 1 hour later when the sun had crept over us to stay, burning and cloudless, I was dreaming about shade. It was relentless. Hats and sunscreen essential. All you could do was sit as still as possible and drink plenty of the watery, over-priced beer.

The cricket itself was pretty dull. Saw some wickets but then it settled into nothingness. I can't blame the players, how they could run in that oven I do not know. The Barmy Army was hilarious though, magnificent singing and support.

The Aussies are rubbish at singing to the frustration of some. They only have "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oy Oy Oy". Snooze...

It must be our national football training. I particularly enjoyed (and joined in with) the traditional word perfect rendition of Jerusalem in the second over of the day. The boys missed it as they had joined the supposedly faster queue for folk with no bags....haaa ha ha! Also good was the national anthem with all the "our"s changed to "your"s. As in "God save YOUR gracious Queen" etc etc.  Got a few bites....

What a great day and a bucket list item ticked off.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

A Melbourne Christmas

Here we are on our first afternoon in Melbourne - Ackland Street, St Kilda to be exact- famous for it's lively pubs, bars and restaurants and.....cake shops!!

We were staying in an AirBNB house just round the corner which was perfect. Beautifully decorated, well provisioned with a pretty terrace garden with BBQ for Christmas  Day lunch. So much nicer than a hotel over Christmas.

Handy for the tram too.

And the beach.

St Kilda is a brilliant, quirky place with loads of pubs and restaurants of every conceivable type of cuisine.

On Christmas Eve night I had booked a fancy  meal in a beachfront restaurant a few miles down the coast called The Cerberus on Half Moon Bay. It is run by my old hairdresser from Sheffield and her husband. It was nice to briefly catch up with her and the food was just heavenly!

I'm no foodie reviewer like Seren and can't really remember what we had but the snapper was gorgeous and nothing was left!

Christmas Day was bright but rather breezy. The only hint of Christmas was the santa hats being worn by the bikini'd and board-shorted backpackers.  Those and a T-shirt which read "It's the most wonderful time for a beer" which tickled me.

We had a lovely stroll along the boardwalk, all the time marvelling at the fact of a warm Christmas.

And a paddle too.

The iconic Banksia tree. I love these and have brought a polished cone home with me as a keepsake.

The view over the bay towards the CBD which we had yet to explore.

Another Christmas novelty - the boys cooking Christmas lunch. Obviously Carolyn and I prepared all the salads and did all the marinading etc etc but hey, give him their glory. I didn't fancy standing behind a hot grill in that sunshine!

Those prawns were pure delicious.

It was the perfect Christmas Day - exactly as we'd imagined it. And that doesn't happen often does it? A scrummy meal, lying out in the sun listening to music and drinking wine.

And finishing the evening off with a cutthroat few games of dominoes and cards. No telly! It was very liberating.