Saturday, August 19, 2017

Birthday Celebrations

It was Freyja's birthday on Thursday.  She and Simon celebrated by going to London on a Magical Mystery tour which involved food, more food, drink, taking in a show, stumbling upon a creepy toy museum and catching up with friends.

Jim and I celebrated by going to VicRoads and converting his British driving licence into a Victorian one.  Then we headed to the Medicare office to get him a Medicare card so he can access Australian health services.  We possibly shouldn't have gone at lunchtime, when there was one Medicare officer trying to deal with several enquiries.  And I possibly should have thought to print out and fill in the application form before we went.  Still, we got there in the end and he now has both a driving licence and a Medicare card - so two forms of identification :-)

We ought to see about getting him a Tax File Number so I can send him out to work. His bridging visa allows him to work - although I think he would prefer not to.  And I don't think we can get him a Senior's card until his resident's visa is approved.  His Medicare card states that he is a visitor and you need to be a resident to get the Senior's card.  The turn around time for the resident's visa in Australia is between 18 and 24 months.  Simon and Freyja's application (for Simon), which was submitted in London, is being processed now.  Obviously far fewer people submitted applications in the last week of June in London than did in Australia!!!!

Jim and I occupied the rest of Thursday by unpacking a couple of the boxes that came over from the UK.  We repacked most things, not having anywhere to put them, nor having any use for them at the moment.  But I was glad to see some more clothes, some notebooks and pens, and a few other bits and pieces that we have left out of the boxes.  Alas, Jim's radio controlled clock doesn't work.  I looked it up and the National Measurement Institute (who would have thought that there would be such a thing!) says that the relevant radio signals don't reach us in Australia.  I could set it up as an ordinary clock but we have plenty of those and there doesn't seem much point. We'll give it to the next passing visitor from the UK where it does work.

We might unpack some more boxes over the weekend.  There are only three or four left to unpack.  It night be interesting to see what's in them. Apart from my Toast and Marmalade crockery set, which I am assuming is taking up most of the remaining boxes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Time Passes (Gallops!!)

Facebook's On This Day feature alerted me over the weekend that we had reached the one year anniversaries of leaving Tupton,  leaving Sheffield, having a family weekend in London and, today, leaving England and flying to Osaka.

One whole year.

Who'd have thought it.

In the meantime, life goes on.

Lindsey arranged a referral for me to see an allergist about my nut allergy, largely to see if there were any nuts I wasn't allergic to.  Much to my surprise the skin prick test suggested that I wasn't allergic to any nuts.  I'm not sure I absolutely trust these results, convenient and useful though it would be not to be allergic to nuts. Last time I unwittingly had coconut the reaction was almost instant and was quite strong.  So the allergist has arranged a blood test for the common nut allergies and told me to continue avoiding coconut.  It would be very much more convenient to be able to eat coconut, it must be said.  It is absolutely ubiquitous in Australia.  I think the Aussies have been duped into thinking of it as some sort of miracle food!

While I was out in Bundoora (which is where the allergist is based), I went to look at an outlet centre which I had seen on the map.  I would visit it again, if I were in Bundoora.  But I wouldn't go there from East Melbourne, nor from Ballarat.  There is a very large outlet centre down by the Yarra in the centre of Melbourne.  There is another very large outlet centre by the Essendon Airport.  There is a Rivers in the Bundoora one.  I had a good potter around in that.

The morning had been enlivened by a strange burning smell in the flat when Lindsey was getting ready to go out and I was getting ready to go to the allergist.  Eventually we narrowed it down to the dishwasher.  So we turned it off, unplugged it and I checked to make sure the smell was dissipating before I left.  Ian called in later and found that a vegetable peeler had fallen on to the element and was nearly burnt through its handle!!  No wonder there was a strange burning smell.

I have had my first solo flight on the reception desk at the surgery.  I have a had an occasional, gentle nightmare since I started covering on the desk where I have been rung up on a Saturday morning and told I have to cover the desk, with no notice and no instruction on how to open up or cope with emergencies.  Fortunately, I was given 24 hours notice and had time to run through the opening procedures before flying solo.  Even so - I walked in at 8:15 on Saturday morning and realised that I didn't know where any of the light switches were :-D  Happily it didn't take much effort to find them.

And now I must go and shower and get dressed.  I'm supposed to be going to the surgery and attempting to catch up with the scanning this morning.  Tomorrow, very excitingly, I have an appointment at St Vincent's hospital to have my hand looked at. My left hand has quite a severe contracture and is becoming more and more useless for day to day activities.  Lindsey says that I can't have a bionic hand replacement, which is a bit disappointing.  But a hand that works will do.

Rupert doing excellent sitting

A magnificent example of a Romanesco cauliflower,
picked from the garden two minutes earlier

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A weekend in Sydney

It came as something of a shock, when Jeanette and I tried to organise a weekend for us to go and visit, and we realised that they and we have been in Australia for almost 12 months and we still hadn't managed to see each other!!

Time, as you will be aware, does vanish at an indecent rate. Jeanette, Matt, Rebecca and Evie have had visits from Matt's parents and from Jeanette's mother and her husband.  Evie plays soccer on Saturday and Sunday mornings. They have other commitments, other things to do.  We've been busy as well.  Life happens.  But even so!

So we compared our calendars and I booked flights and off we went.

And it was a splendid weekend.  We flew up on Friday evening and came back yesterday evening.  The sun shone pretty much all weekend.

Here is their backyard:

Despite the lovely weather, we didn't use the pool.
It was a tiny bit on the cool side for outdoor swimming

We went to watch Evie play soccer on Saturday morning and went to the skills session on Sunday morning.

Evie and Matt are to the left of the picture

We had lunch and a mooch around in their local shopping centre.

What to choose ...

... oh what to choose?
(some delicious pork and fennel sausages, lamb and Middle Eastern spiced sausages,
duck breast, amongst other things!)

We went to Manly for Sunday lunch.



Jim and Jeanette

I couldn't decide between the watermelon and raspberry juice or a glass of wine
- so I had both :-D

Didn't take me long to choose the flathead and chips, though

Thanks to Matt for the photo of us all

And thanks to Jeanette for this lovely snap

Matt cooked us a wonderful barbecue for Saturday evening.

Jeanette made a splendid slow cooked casserole for Sunday dinner.

No photos of the barbecue or casserole.  We had eaten them before I thought about it :-)

Bayleigh seriously hated Jim when we first arrived but loved him to bits by the time we left.

We took her to the park for a walk on Monday morning.

Jim in the park

Bayleigh and me (photo by Jeanette)

It was all good.  I hope that they enjoyed having us as much as we enjoyed visiting them.

We probably shouldn't leave it 12 months before we go and visit again!!!

We got back to Mount Helen just before 9:30 yesterday evening.  Rupert was snoozing in his cage.  Sam was snoozing in his basket.  They were both very pleased to see us.  Rupert was almost entirely  wag when he realised it was us :-P

I've just been out and gathered in the veg for tonight's dinner:

The huge green cauliflower is hiding the stalks of sprouting broccoli 

Oh.  I almost forgot.  I've lost my Japanese study folder.  ;-(  I took it to Sydney with me and actually did do some writing practice and some vocab revision.  I also had the boarding passes in it.  When we were waiting for our checkin to open on our way home so we could put our suitcase through - I had checked in for the return flight when I checked in for the outward flight on Friday, which was quite exciting. I've never been able to do that before.  Anyway.  I digress.  As we were waiting I said to Jim that I must be careful not to lose the folder, partly because it had the boarding passes in it, but mostly because it had some of my study material and my study notebook.  Check in opened.  We dropped the luggage in.  We went through security.  We went to the bar and ordered dips, chips, bread and wine.  And it was then that I realised that I didn't have my folder ;-(  I think I left it at the check in counter.  I had to have had it then to take out the boarding passes.  And I'm fairly sure I didn't have it when we went through security.  Fortunately, I had saved the files from my online Japanese classes on my laptop so they weren't lost for ever.  I have lost a couple of vocab sheets but that isn't a catastrophe.  I have plenty of writing practice sheets, so also not a worry.  And today when we were in Ballarat I went to Typo and got not one, not two but THREE new notebooks (3 for the price of two) so I have lots of opportunity for Japanese study notebooking.  Just have to  find another folder and then make sure I don't lose this lot.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Jesus Christ Superstar

There was much rejoicing some little while ago when Austin's (and the family generally's) mate Zoy announced he had got the role of Judas in a production of JCS.  It was to be a two week run in the State Theatre at the Melbourne Arts Centre at Southbank.

Lindsey, Ian, Ant, Jess and Emily arranged to go.  Then Emily found she couldn't go so Matt took her ticket.  Then on Tuesday Matt discovered that he also couldn't go.  Ian contacted me.  Might I be interested?  Might I be interested?????  Of course I was interested.

So on Wednesday evening, Ian and I made our way to Southbank.  We were there a little early so went for a pre-dinner drink at Ponyfish Island, which is a little bar on a wooden island around one of the pillars of the pedestrian bridge which goes from Southbank to Flinders Street Station.  I can't say that I have ever noticed it before, but I don't often have reason to go to Southbank. When I do it tends to be for specific purposes and it is a long, long time since I have been wandering around down there.

Views from Ponyfish Island:

And Melbourne looking glorious from Southbank:

We met Ant, Jess, Christian, Cassie and later Lindsey at Sake on Southbank where we had a delicious pre-show bento box each.  No bento box for Lindsey. She finished work too late to join us for the start of the mal.  She had a plate of gyoza when she arrived.

And then on to the main event:

I thought it was a magnificent production.  Zoy was fabulous as Judas.  Herod appeared to be channelling a mix of Donald Trump and Liberace and was amazing.  Mary Magdalen had a spectacular voice (Zoy has a spectacular voice too, but I've known that for some years!). The chorus was energetic and enthusiastic.  I was a bit mystified by Jesus in the first half.  He seemed to be a Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, a bit vapid.  No reason why not, of course, but then it is hard to understand quite how he managed to generated such devotion amongst the disciples and the crowd.  Then Jesus lost his temper and you could see the charisma!  

We looked for Zoy at the stage door but couldn't see him.  Then Jesus ambled past and said he was in the main exit at the parking machine.  We found him there!

It was a great evening.  It is, of course, a great pity that neither Emily nor Matt was able to use the ticket.  Or, it's a great pity from their point of view.  It was a piece of great good fortune from mine!

Thank you to Ian and Lindsey for such a lovely evening.

Mind you - it was quite a late evening for a school night.  It was a bit of a struggle to get up and go to work yesterday morning.