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December 31st 2009
Published: January 3rd 2010
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Day 249 - Melbourne City

Despite the heat we slept really well last night in our new spot on the drive! The only drama might have been if we woke in the night needing a wee but we didn’t so everything was fine.

We heard Grant go off to work earlier this morning and when we snuck into the house through the back door we found the girls were up too so sat with them for a while as they watched TV. As luck would have it they were watching the Disney Channel and up popped the ‘What a Life’ program that just happened to be all about Darren Morgan and his drag racing family. Darren is a Top Fuel driver here in Australia and his kids are already doing very well in their Junior Dragsters. Good on you Disney Channel for beaming drag racing into more homes and for giving us the opportunity to explain it in a bit more detail to the girls as the chances of us ever getting them to the drag strip are questionable to say the least!

With the girls and the dogs going down to the beach house for the night
Gosh this is the nicest Gosh this is the nicest Gosh this is the nicest

Anna & Grant's new bathroom is switz-swoo beautiful
in order that we get a clear run into the city for the New Year’s Eve celebrations, Anna is urging the girls to get their toys ready so they can get going but they’re taking it slowly so we have a go at dying my hair while we’re waiting! Because I’ve been such a good girl wearing my hat when we’ve been out in the sun I’ve got ‘hat hair’! It’s beautifully sun kissed except the bit that gets covered by the hat. Armed with a highlighting kit Anna sets to work and in no time at all I’m using the new posh bathroom to run conditioner through it and get out the excess dye. Result, sun kissed hair all over - perfect!

With that done Anna headed off with her precious cargo (girls and dogs) to the beach house while we took the opportunity to visit Aunty Daph, cousin Bert and Uncle David who was visiting from Warwick, Qld. We find them all in good spirits, Daph and David will be spending the evening at a friends winery in the Yarra Valley while Bert is having a poker night, so he could be a millionaire by morning! We catch up on recent news and of course give them an update on Dad’s progress.

Before we left to head back home we managed to snaffle some more of Daph’s delicious Christmas cake. It’s hard work making these cakes, the fruit has to be soaked for months to keep everything beautifully juicy and tasty but gosh it’s worth it when the result is this awesome. It’s lovely to see them and we’ll catch up with them again before David flies home at the end of January.

We arrive back at Grant’s armed with a cheese & biscuit assortment for tonight’s celebrations. Everyone is bringing platters we can graze on throughout the evening but we realise we have no idea how many are coming so hedge our bets and cater for quite a few! The leftovers can be enjoyed by whoever is lucky enough to find them intact in the morning and remember to pick them up!

Grant’s organised his platter of prawns, smoked salmon and oysters so once the cooking operation is complete we pile everything in their car and set off into the city heading for The Rialto, the hotel where we will lay our weary
On our way out for New YearOn our way out for New YearOn our way out for New Year

It wasn't our limo!
heads for the night. We booked the hotel using our Priority Club points built up over the years with work, I’m pretty sure a night in a hotel of this calibre would not have been on the cards if it wasn’t free!

Unfortunately parking the car comes at a cost, we have the choice of ½ slots where we will need to keep putting money in the meter / moving the car to the opposite side of the road or a $50 valet parking charge. Had we been leaving the car here for the night the valet parking would have been the way to go but its packed solid with chairs and food so we’ll have to drive it to our celebration destination which meant Grant was in charge of the parking meter for the next few hours!

The hotel has a pool and spa so we having checked out our deluxe rooms (they weren’t too bad but not as nice as the caravan although admittedly the beds were bigger!) we rushed down there. It was packed! Three of us got in and Anna was now in charge of the parking meter!

It was soon time to get ready and start the journey to Port Melbourne, it doesn’t take long and we set up in the usual spot overlooking the beach on the edge of Albert Park. We have to admit that the weather forecast for tonight is not good, not good at all. It’s been a very hot day but now the skies are starting to darken and the wind is picking up making us rush to rescue chairs when they topple over and things generally start to blow around.

We’re joined by Jo, Nicola, Colleen, Puneet & Poorvi so it’s a small but select group of people for the celebrations - we hope they like cheese! We’re so pleased to see everyone and luckily they seem pleased to see us too and don’t seem to mind hearing snippets from the trip. Puneet & Poorvi have been reading the blog quite regularly and they’re into 4WDing so there’s a possibility that we’ll join them for a weekend away at the end of January to test our skills! It could be fun!

Everyone notices how healthy Dar is looking and I’m told I have myself a very hot husband! Of course I do, he’s beautiful but he’s less of the man he was when we left the UK - about 2 stone less to be precise! We weighed ourselves before we started this trip and whilst I’ve remained level due to the amount of cheese I consume (runs in the family Dad!) it’s Dar that has definitely dropped some off. The Rialto rooms all have weighing scales and whilst a woman never divulges the heftiness of her man, just let it be said that considerable pounds have been lost somewhere along the way and we’re not talking about money! Good on you Dar, way to go!

So there we were, happily chatting and then the weather showed who’s boss, the wind hitched itself up another notch and the rain came down. The serene (ish) surroundings were suddenly a picture of mayhem as the beach party goers grabbed their gear and rushed for cover.

Luckily we didn’t have far to run, just across the highway and into Coll’s apartment. We’re soon set up again and the party continued.

We laughed, joked, chatted, drank, ate cheese (!), oysters and prawns and just had a ball. Puneet was chosen to be the group photographer which was a hoot - it’s never easy doing that with a collection of friends who have been drinking for a while but it worked out well and we have some lovely photos for our memories of another great night. Well done to Coll too who always takes the time to run round with her camera capturing different moments. They’re all here!

We tried to send texts to people back home but we’re not sure how many made it through. We tried to phone Mums and Dads but no luck, the phone network was already jamming up so we hope that the texts got through wishing you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR even before it had arrived!

Phoning inside Australia did seem to work, well 2 out of 4 did and we managed to talk to The Elliotts in Perth (2 ¾ hours behind us) and The Reeves in Streaky Bay, South Australia who were only 30 minutes behind at that stage. We didn’t manage to get Kangaroojack (Caroline & Andy) or Tony & Jane which was a shame but no worries, we know we will speak to them soon.

It was still raining but with just over 30 minutes to go we decided to head down to the beach for a swim in the sea, well some of us did. Dar, Grant, Nicola and Jo were watched by myself and Puneet. I would have gone in but wasn’t equipped for the ‘stripping down’ element that was required, if you get my drift! Anyway, the water was warmer in than out but they had a great time swimming and we had a great time watching!

We saw in 2010 with friends, fireworks, kisses & hugs all round and rain! How ironic! The celebrations from Sydney’s Harbour Bridge were beamed out from the TV and with that we said our goodbyes to everyone and started to make our way back to the hotel.

The journey was made partly by Tram (free public transport tonight) and partly by taxi. The driver coped well with the four of us telling him which way to turn in order to avoid the clogged up streets in the city. It was amazing to see all these people dressed in white for the Telstra dome rave and just masses of people out on the streets after partying or in the middle of
Looking lovelyLooking lovelyLooking lovely

Photo by Colleen
partying or just trying to get to the next party!

Only 150’000 people turned out for the celebration in Federation Square which was a lot less than the numbers predicted, the weather seemed to keep people away which was a shame but the traffic on the road network seemed to indicate people were here but just not in the Square!

The Rialto was an eventual welcome sight and we wondered whether we should check out the pool for a late night dip! It’s much easier when we’re in Box Hill, there’s no sneaking around required because we’re always with the owners but here it was a bit different so for once we decided to be good and went to bed.

We’ll do our New Year’s Honours list tomorrow but for now we’d like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year. We’ve loved the 249 days that we’ve spent out here in Australia and we’re very much looking forward to the remaining 116 and the adventure they will bring. Thank you to everyone that has joined us on our journey be it by reading the blog when time permits or physically on the road, we’re
Cheers Shag!Cheers Shag!Cheers Shag!

Photo by Colleen
just having the best of times.

Happy New Year everyone!

Dar and Sar

Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24


Darryl and PoorviDarryl and Poorvi
Darryl and Poorvi

Photo by Colleen
Coll & DarColl & Dar
Coll & Dar

Photo by Coll

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