Thursday, 26 February 2009
I suggested that Dad took Mum out for tea and that Rob and I arrive unexpectedly from our seperate corners of the state and surprise her. So after quite a lot of emails, messages, and phone calls Dad managed to organise Mum, Rob and I managed to organise ourselves (and each other), and we managed to surprise Mum. It wasn't very exciting as she didn't scream or faint or anything, but it was nice.
Mum's birthday was, of course, a brilliant excuse (if I needed one) for me to spend a couple of day's quality time with my cat. If any of you have forgotten, her name if Fidget she is 12-13 years old and she is beautiful. I wouldn't mind if you forgot her age as we are uncertain exactly what it is ourselves. I would even forgive you if you forgot her name as I hardly ever use it (I use lots of different, rather cheesy names like "bubby", "pusskins", "flopsy", "snuggles", and "mouse")... but you must never, ever forget that she is beautiful! This week she was especially beautiful when she decided that it was clearly, absolutely unacceptable for me to be more than 10cm away from her at anytime yesterday afternoon.
Recently, she devoloped a limp in one of her front legs - it didn't stop her doing anything she wanted to do, but it did motivate Dad to build her a ramp up to her favourite bed (as he has been planning to do for quite a while because it was a rather decent jump to get up there). Somehow that idea of building her a ramp up to her bed which was located at the back of the desk grew into rather a larger idea of building a 2-story cat palace.
At first, Fidget was rather annoyed that her Daddy had stolen her bed and put it somewhere else so she stubbornly curled up and slept on the desk where her bed used to be,
but I am happy to report that she has now gotten quite used to her new complex and makes good use of all its features going up and down the ramp, hiding in her downstairs bedroom when she isn't feeling very sociable, and sharpening her claws in the carpet. Her limp has now almost disappeared as well.
Monday, 23 February 2009
A lot of my life over the past couple of weeks (well, months really) has been trying to be civil and polite when answering questions that I am sick of being asked.
"So, what are you doing with yourself now that you have graduated?" ...
"Are you going to be staying in Hobart?" ...
"Are you going to be moving back to Launceston?" ...
"What sort of a job are you looking for?" ...
"Are you still going to study Vet Science?" ...
"Where was your favourite place in Europe?" ...
and "Did you have a good trip?" are some of the most regularly asked.
So here are my answers:
I don't know...
I don't know...
I don't know...
I don't know... I'm pretty much applying for everything that comes up.
I don't know...
I don't know... I liked lots of places, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Scotland, Salisbury (no, the last one isnt a country, its a village)... I don't really have a favourite.
Yes... I think so... yes... yes, I had a fantastic time and I loved it.
As you can see I'm a little uncertain at the moment. I wouldn't be at all uncertain about the last question except for the fact that I have, by this point, been bombarded with so many questions from so many different people that I would be uncertain if you asked me what my name is.
When I answer these very well meaning, sincere questions with such a non-commital answer the person who posed that question invariably looks a little disappointed.
And the poor, faithful few who have been asking the same questions since I graduated a couple of months ago are now starting to look a little exasperated.
I think shortly they are going to start looking a little annoyed.
And so am I.
Thursday, 12 February 2009
We have made it back to Australia and we are both very glad to be back. It was hard to be on the other side of the world watching all the headlines about the bush fires in Victoria. Especially knowing we had family and friends scattered around Victoria and weren't sure exactly which areas the fires covered. Thankfully, everyone we were concerned for has survived the fires virtually unscathed apart from our cousin, Maddy, who lost her home.
Well, as all of you know, going to and from the other side of the world involves tortuously long flights followed by a few days of the foggy-headed-ness of jet lag.
We spent around 21 hours actually in the air, but spent a good deal longer than that in transit from England to Tassie. The first flight was the longest at 12 hours - we then had about an hour in Singapore airport before the next flight which was another 8 hours to get to Melbourne.
We left London at 10:00pm so we responded to the fact that it should be night by trying to get some sleep. I actually managed to sleep better than any other flight I have ever been on (including the ones to America a few years ago) - I got around 4 hours broken sleep. We were fed breakfast before arriving in Singapore, which felt appropriate as we knew that if we had gotten on to the plane at 10:00pm and it had taken 12 hours to get there it should now be morning. But it wasn't morning in Singapore - it was 6:00pm. It was nighttime again. So we were, of course, fed tea shortly after take-off when we left Singapore again and expected to want to try and sleep.
Neither of us bothered to even try - we made good use of the movies on offer. I didn't watch anything that was so good that I can recommend it to everyone reading. But there are hardly any movies that would appeal to such a varied audience.
We got into Melbourne at around 6:00 in the morning so they, of course, fed us breakfast at around 4:30. We then finally made it into Launnie in the early afternoon and Dad picked us up from the airport. Rob was really happy to be able to drive again - after all our time in tour buses, ferries, trains, taxis, and planes he was glad to be back in control of a vehicle himself.
Our top priority was, very understandably, a shower. After that important duty was completed I got comfortable on the couch with my feet up (literally, with my feet up - my ankles got terribly swollen from the flight) and accidentally had a nap. It wasn't deliberate - Judge Judy must have been even more boring than usual. I didn't wake up until a couple of hours later after Mum had gotten home.
I managed to stay awake until a reasonable time to go to bed after that and after 9 hours sleep or so I woke up. And I mean I woke up - there was no hope of going back to sleep so I got up and kept Dad company while he had breakfast and got ready for work (Mum had just left already).
I spent the day doing not much and most of the time my cat, Fidget did not much on my lap.
I managed not to have an accidental naps (or any on purpose either, for that matter) yesterday, but that was clearly exhausting as this time when I went to bed I slept for over 12 hours. And even now, after an epic sleep like that, I feel as though if I tried to watch Judge Judy I would end up asleep again. In fact, I think if I stopped typing and just sat here for a while I would be asleep in a few minutes.
Rob has just gone back to Devonport - so this is the longest I have had without him for almost the last month. I'm surprised, but quite pleased, that we didn't end up killing each other - over 3 weeks of sharing a room and going everywhere together would be a challenge for any brother and sister, especially when you then add in jet lag and living out of a suitcase. But I'm glad to say that we made it with only one or two major disagreements ;(
Monday, 9 February 2009
It was Rob's idea to visit Cardiff really - it is the location where most of Dr Who is filmed and boasts several landmarks that can be seen in the series and in the spin-off, Torchwood. It also houses the Dr Who exhibition - a collection of props, costumes, and memorabilia used in the filming of the show.
Cardiff is also an interesting city in its own right, though. A rather impressive castle sits in the middle of the town - you just round the corner from the mall expecting to see more shops and are quite taken aback by a very large castle just sitting there staring at you.
It also has quite a nice dock land area - but it is no where near as pretty or full of character as the Hobart water front.
The other surprising thing about cardiff is that half the people seem to be willing to bend over backwards to help you and are extremely friendly and the other half seem to be quite aggressive and violent towards each other (but not towards us, thankfully).
Oh, and, of course, I should mention Welsh. Welsh is a fascinating language - although we didn't hear it spoken anywhere it is obviously still very much in use as it is on all the signs around Cardiff along with the English translation. Welsh is an interesting language because they seem to have somewhat of an aversion to vowels, and always use a double 'f'.
Salisbury (pronounced Souls-bree - rather strange, but remember these are the people that assure us that Thames should be pronounced as Tems) is a beautiful English village - I absolutely adored it.
After spending the morning at Stonehenge we took the train for the hop, skip, and a jump over to London where we spent the night (and where we are currently) to be closer to the airport as another snow storm is forecast and we didn't want to get stranded in England even if Australia seems to be a bit of a mess at the moment.
We will head off to the airport soon so we should hopefully be home in a couple of days.
Friday, 6 February 2009
Our first taste of
There are two things that immediately stand out in
And the castle. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the castle it was dark. But I think it looks medieval in the dark, and perhaps more impressive than it would in the daylight.
After having now mastered the
Inverness is a smaller city than
The B&B we were staying in was in easy (well easy compared to some of the others) walking distance of the train station – there was, however, the matter of a few steps to climb with our bags, but we made it.
As we were getting ready for bed snow started gently falling, and by the next morning a thick white blanket covered the city.
We lugged our bags back down to the train station and put them in baggage storage for the morning because we had an excursion to go on – we were off to see Loch Ness.
We were very glad to see that the bus we needed to catch was one of the ones that were still running (the snow was causing a lot of road closers), so we got on for the half-an-hour ride to
When we arrived, the castle ruins were closed due to the snow, which was much thicker than it had been in town so we spent time playing in the snow, taking photos, and then going through the displays and watching the video at the visitors centre. Then, 15 minutes before we had to leave, half the castle grounds were opened as they had managed to clear the snow off the paths so we got to have a closer look before we had to go.
We hurried back up to the bus stop and stood there waiting for a few minutes before watching the bus that was meant to take us back to Inverness sail straight past us without stopping. Thankfully, there was another bus scheduled for 20 minutes later and we managed to wave it down and get back to
Our train to
We eventually returned to our room to start a rather long wrestle with my bag as the handle that extends so that you can pull it along behind you would no longer retract. The bag and I have now come to a compromise on the situation.
The next morning when we got up we went down to the dining hall for breakfast and, seeing the cereal and toast, we assumed we were simply getting a continental breakfast and began to tuck in. But then, after cornflakes and toast, a full Scottish breakfast was placed in front of us so we were very full when we left.
We then started the trek back to the train station and caught the train to, very sadly, leave
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
We spent practically the entire day on Saturday in travelling from
We made the most of the opportunity to get a good nights sleep and have a little sleep-in the next morning until about 8:30 (which was a very significant sleep in compared to every day we had spent on the tour).
We then meet up with a Tasmanian friend from way back who has been living in
We first of all went along to
We then went to
Madame Tussauds was good, but is the most over priced attraction we have been to on the trip.
We stopped by Paddington Station on our way home to go bear hunting, but were sadly quite unsuccessful. On our way home it started to snow and it didn’t stop until the next day so when we ventured out of our hotel the next morning everything was sparkling white.
We then started the second stage of our trip- we will now be using the rail system to get us everywhere we want to go around the
We made it up to Newcasle… eventually.
While most of the
As it was dark, raining/snowing, and we were having trouble figuring out the buses we caught a taxi to the hotel – unfortunately it wasn’t one of those attractive black cabs that you see all over
The next morning we took a bus into the train station where we checked our luggage into the luggage minding service and walked over to see the Castle Keep – the
From the roof of the Castle Keep you get some great views of the rest of
The railway goes right past the Castle Keep.The interior of the Castle was been well looked after as well
The King’s Private Chamber
The King’s Most Private Chamber.
After our castle explorations we went back to the train station, rescued our bags, and caught a train to …