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November 16th 2010
Published: November 16th 2010
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Evening all!

It’s been a really busy few weeks, and it’s time you heard about it: we moved into our new place; there was a party with three (three!) cakes; some English visitors came to town; and I got a little bit older.

It’s all meant that Sport is Global (yes, I’m banging on about the sport blog again) has taken a break, but oh my goodness it’s back this week baby, with three (three!) entries, which you can find at the new abbreviated link (thanks Andy) here:

Where we live

Sarah and I now live with our friend (and bridesmaid) Jasmine in a two-bedroom flat in Hawthorn. In case you’re not au fait with Google Maps, that’s a suburb in Melbourne’s inner east, with Richmond to the west and Camberwell to the east. It’s a short tram ride to the city, so we can go out more – even a taxi isn’t too much if necessary now that we live close. It’s far enough out, though, that we can head east towards parents/hockey/shopping without getting snared in traffic.

The flat is pretty spacious. Our room is big enough for a large desk, chest of drawers and filing cabinet, with ample built in wardrobes. The clear views of the city from both bedrooms – we’re on the second floor, with windows on three sides – are spectacular, especially by night. There’s a big bookcase in the lounge that I bought for Sarah, and we’ve got freeview, a dishwasher, wireless broadband and a dedicated beer fridge so things are working out ok!

Hawthorn’s a great suburb. We did a three-week housesit here – with a large, friendly but occasionally pungent labrador named Robert – and used the time to get a feel for the area and search for a home. The high street has everything we need, and plenty that we want, like great restaurants and charming bookshops. The supermarket’s right by the train station, and the launderette even closer; it’s a therapeutic ‘time out’ to read a book for an hour while the washing tumbles.

Where we work

Great news! You see, since returning from England last August Sarah has been working hard to find work. Before too long she was working pretty much full time, but the constant effort went on because only a day at a time on a relief basis was available. Eventually one or two schools realized how good she is, and started giving her a week at a time. Then, a few months ago, Mount Lilydale Mercy College offered her a contract for the whole of this term.

There was still the whole of next year to worry about though. Well not any more, because Sarah now has a one-year contract starting in February after the summer holidays. She’s not sure exactly what she’ll be teaching yet – over here they train in multiple subjects so it could be anything form Geography to Textiles. It’s a load off our minds, and the very least Sarah deserves, although I still think she should make continue to pay her through the summer holidays.

So, every morning the three of us pile into the car and head all the way back towards where we all lived until a month ago – Jasmine’s working in Lilydale too! I get out halfway, to do my data entry and customer service stuff. The prospect of a permanent contract there has evaporated, but that would have been a bit suffocating to be honest, and it appears I can continue as a temp for as long as I want, so until something better shows up I’m secure yet untethered – perfect.

Actually I’ve another job too. I’ve mentioned before how I trained as a tennis line judge. Well, that’s really starting to take off now. On average I’m getting a Saturday or Sunday and one weekday every week – another reason why it’s handy that I’m temping. The big test will be the Aussie Open qualifying tournament, but with my mate Sof working for the selection team, it could get even better. Oh and on Saturday I start work as a chair umpire!

Fun we’ve had

Last week was a big week. No, sorry, the week before – wow, it took a week to recover… Anyway: Tuesday November 2nd was Melbourne Cup Day – a public holiday in Victoria. Many take the Monday off but we had no such luck. Still, Melbourne Cup Eve (seriously, this horse race is as big as Christmas to these people) was spent at a fundraising dinner with Neill and Alison, and some former colleagues from the driving school. I ate way, way too much at the buffet.

We went home with a raffle ticket that corresponded to a horse, running in a ‘phantom call’ of the Cup on the sponsor radio station. Seeing it as a sign, we put a bet on the horse for the actual race, which we watched in the pub, surrounded by people dressed ‘for the races’, just to watch the race in the pub. I know! Anyway, you’ve guessed it, Americain won it for us; THEN we learnt that the raffle ticket applied to the race itself too! $600 later…

How could the week get better? Ah, that’s right: my birthday! I took the afternoon off and went to the cricket with Carl, Stuart and Brett. Australia played Sri Lanka at the ‘G, and the 19,000 crowd (relatively small) must have included 18,000 Lankans, each with their gorgeous national flag, a stunning site as darkness fell. Seven hours, and several beers later, we were delirious as Aussie snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Pub, football, more beer, bed.

There can’t be more, in the same week, can there? Can there?! Hell yeah. That Saturday was our housewarming, engagement, birthday party. A triple celebration – well, for me anyway. Loads of friends came to enjoy my decorations: streamers and balloons in red and white, and green and gold; an England v Australia theme! It was good for some of our friends to meet for the first time, the atmosphere was great and we got some awesome gifts.

I fell asleep before the end, of course.

And finally…

Well thank you VERY much to Jennie Lear and Bianca Grasso for today’s hangover. It all started on Saturday. Jennie and Bianca are Haybridge girls from back home. Bianca’s lived in Sydney for a few years and we caught up a few months ago. Jennie flew in from England last week and our two English visitors brought the high school reunion to Melbourne on Saturday, fresh(?) from four days cruising the Great Ocean Road. We went out for a couple of quiet drinks.

Six hours and several beers later, eight of us crammed into a Japanese style private karaoke booth, Stuart muttering about what a silly idea this is. Fast forward another 90 minutes and we are politely asked to leave, our voices hoarse, and Stuart begging the staff to keep the venue open just for him. It had been a grueling night, punctuated by a mammoth quantity of Chinese food, and I once again felt the need for a week’s intensive recovery time.

No such luck. Monday night, you see, is Neighbours Night, and for any Pom visiting Melbourne it’s an unmissable occasion. That’s why Bianca and I have now been three times, to our considerable shame. This wasn’t just any weekly-backpackers-party-with-celebrity-guests-and-live-music-loosely-based-around-a-quiz, though. Dr Karl was there as usual, yes, and Summer was, well, adorable, but this time we met MADGE! Madge Bishop herself, back from the dead.

It’s all a bit hazy, but luckily there are photos. They’ll appear on Facebook, eventually, and maybe even on here. There’s even talk of some photos of the flat and the city and us and all this stuff I talk about being made available eventually. That’s me though, isn’t it? All talk…


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