Monday, 24 December 2007

A Christmas wish from the Royals

Firstly, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (or Season's Greetings to the non-Christian readers) to all. I will be on holiday from work (and blogging as of midday today. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season!

And to something a little more interesting: The British Royal Family have caught onto the whole YouTube thing and created the Royal Channel where you can watch various videos including the first ever televised Queen's Christmas speech, the Queen Mother's wedding and, on Christmas Day, the Queen's speech 2007!

According to the Google Blog, she's not the only one to jump on the YouTube bandwagon!

Chat soon,

Friday, 14 December 2007

To dine for

Inspired by this article, I was wondering how many people out there have tried ‘weird’ food? And I don’t mean sushi or rabbit, I mean things like deep-fried haggis (tried it - Scotland) or chili flavoured ice cream (tried it - Scotland). Below is a list of some of the other unusual things I’ve had and where I tasted them:

· Deep fried Mars bars – Scotland
· Horse meat – France & Italy
· Pigeon – Egypt
· Giraffe – Namibia
· Blesbok - Namibia
· Crocodile – Australia
· Kangaroo – Australia
· Emu – Australia
· Sheep (various bits incl brains, eyes, heart, liver) – South Africa
· Oxtail and bull’s balls – South Africa
· Karoo Oysters (grilled sheep’s liver wrapped in kidney fat) – South Africa
· Black pudding (pig’s blood) – UK

Have you tried anything weird? Leave a note in the comments section.

Chat soon,

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Rugby's coaching merry-go-round

A summary of an interesting article on Rugby365:

England: Brian Ashton out, Jake White in?
Wales: Gareth Jenkins out, Eddie Jones in?
Scotland: Frank Hadden, no change.
Ireland: Eddie O'Sullivan, no change.
France: Bernard Laporte out, Marc Lièvremont in.
Italy: Pierre Berbizier out, Nick Mallett in.
Australia: John Connolly out, David Nucifora in?
New Zealand: Graham Henry out, Robbie Deans in?
Argentina: Marcelo Loffreda out, John Connolly in?
South Africa: Jake White out, political puppet in.

Chat soon,

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Home sweet home

The feel of the new carpet under your feet and the smell of fresh paint. The echo of empty rooms and the unfamiliar sounds of creaking floorboards. These are all the things that come with a new house.

We finally moved in last weekend. The builder had actually managed to get everything done before settlement. Friday night we hung the curtains (most of them) and moved boxes, Saturday we moved the furniture and put up a washing line and Sunday we put up the letterbox!

We had our first home-cooked meal at our new dining table last night. It was a little weird to have dinner and a coffee and then have nothing to do after that – nope, no TV or Internet at home yet. Not even a telephone for that matter!

The bit that I’m not looking forward to is landscaping the garden. At the moment it looks like the Highveld after a good rain! Grass is creeping up over the deck which is at least 3 feet above the ground!

Looks like my Christmas holiday will be a busy one. At least I can get some sun on my pasty quasi-Pom skin!

Chat soon,

Friday, 7 December 2007

Thought for the day

If we only ever use bath towels after washing ourselves, why do they get dirty?

Chat soon,

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

NORAD tracks Santa

A little known fact, but it's true! The North American Aerospace Defence Command has been tracking Santa since 1955!

Check out the article on Google's blog as well as the NORAD website!

You will even be able to download Santa's complete route on Google Maps on Christmas Eve!

Chat soon,

Tuesday, 4 December 2007


We haven’t moved yet! The settlement date was meant to be yesterday (3 December) but it was put off until tomorrow ‘cos our ‘friend’, the builder, hasn’t finished yet! All he had to do in the 5 weeks since we signed the contracts was install the oven, hob and range hood (which an electrician does anyway!), the door handles on some of the bedroom doors and cupboards and cut off a strip of wood on the decking which was longer than the rest. He managed to cut the piece of wood shorter!

So, now we’re in limbo! We went to inspect on Saturday only to discover some other issues. Leaking gutters, badly fitted cupboard doors and chipped shelves inside the cupboard.

We’re almost completely packed to move when last night we receive an email from the agent saying that the jobs won’t be done before Friday! Well, Mr Builder Man. Don’t think you’re getting any money before you finish your work. ‘Cos I know it will be even harder to get you to fix things once the cash is in your wallet!

Chat soon,

PS: I just got a phone call from the solicitor. Settlement has now been moved to Friday!!

Friday, 30 November 2007


Did I forget to mention that last weekend was our engagement party? Well, it was! Although we got engaged in July in Canada (at this very spot), we held off until now to have the party in the sun with our friends around.

It was great to catch up with DeVill & family (who flew in from Papua New Guinea for the weekend), Dazzler (who was over from London) and Matt The Pom (who was very sunburnt after a morning soccer tournament - they never learn!).

Do I even need to mention that it got messy and I ended up wearing my Saffa flag (proudly!) in an almost all Aussie crowd? Didn't think so.

Chat soon,

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Melbourne lunch

Today I went for lunch with Col and Dazzler at a small Italian place on Little Collins Street called Benito’s. I thought I’d write about it ‘cos the food was amazing!

Firstly, we had to sit at the counter ‘cos we hadn’t booked a table and the place was full – at 12.30pm! We didn’t have time for starters, so went straight onto our mains. The guys had lasagna, which was huge! I ordered the pappardelle with chicken livers and red onion. It was delicious! The pasta was cooked to perfection - al dente!

The service was a little slow, but considering how busy it was and how good the company was, it didn’t matter.

I was looking forward to an espresso (apparently Benito’s make the perfect coffee too) but we ran out of time and I had to rush back to the office.

Chat soon,

Friday, 23 November 2007

Art Smart

The company I work for sponsored the catering for the graduation at the VCA on Wednesday night and I had the dubious honour of attending the event as a guest.

Although I’m no lover of it, I do appreciate good art and I can tell you now, a lot of it wasn’t! It was just weirdo students showing off stuff that pretended to be modern art. There was some great stuff on exhibit too. Some of the traditional Aboriginal art was fantastic as were some of the photos and sculptures, but obviously I’m not intellectual enough to understand that a stage with a speaker under each of the four corners and a sound effect moving from one speaker to the next is art! Especially when I can have one just like it installed in my (new) house by the student for a mere $2500! A bargain compared to some of the other crap the students were trying to hawk to pay off their massive study loans!

At least the food was great and the booze was free. The graduation exhibition runs from 22 November 2007 until 1 December 2007 from 10am until 5pm for those that are interested.

Chat soon,

Friday, 16 November 2007

The Corporate Catering game

Working in the catering industry is almost as much fun as working in the pub game. In the pub we dealt with drunks, hooligans and your common d!%#head, in catering its your ignorant or arrogant personal assistant who doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to know. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against them. They’re only doing what the boss demands from them.

Try these on for size:
1. At 9.42am a certain government office in the city rings us up to ask if we can cater for 100 people for morning tea to be delivered at 10am. That morning! It takes 15 minutes just to drive to their end of town!
2. All cakes and quiches, etc are delivered cut into an even number of slices (for obvious reasons). Try telling a PA that 13 is not an even number when her boss has told her to cater for 13 people!
3. Chicken is not vegetarian! Neither is tuna!
4. If you email us at 9pm the night before, you will not get your 7am breakfast delivered to you.
5. If we don’t call you to confirm your order, it probably means we never actually received it in the first place!
6. Yes, we are based in the Melbourne CBD and no, we cannot deliver to Sydney, Brisbane, Perth or Geelong for that matter. (Well, we could, but considering the charge to Dandenong – 35km away – is $80, beware of the delivery fee to Sydney!)
7. No, we can’t deliver 1 sandwich and a cup of coffee to your office. Not even for a delivery fee!

Oh the joys! And then people wonder why I look forward to the weekend so much!

Chat soon,

Monday, 12 November 2007

Blogger theme maker

For those of you looking for Blogger themes (Isi), here is something a little more interesting. It is a theme maker for Blogger. It doesn't work with the 'new' Blogger templates (except if you know what you are doing), but is great for spicing up your blog if you still use classic blogger.

Chat soon,

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Mountain bike video

A 10 minute helmet cam video of our ride last weekend. There is sound too, so if you're in the office, turn down the volume!

King Parrot Trail from delboy

Chat soon,

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Long weekend!

Warning - long post!

To say that we had heavy rain over the weekend is a euphemism. We had flash flooding, gale-force winds and even a death! Luckily we were snug in our little wooden cabin on the side of a hill. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We arrived at King Parrot Cottages on Saturday morning to find about 40 –50 wild King Parrots ‘grazing’ away on our ‘front’ lawn. Their bright colours are quite startling. We started to unpack and so did the skies. By mid-afternoon everything was soaked and my brother-in-law and I had gone through our first 6 pack of beer. We started the BBQ (under cover) around 6pm and then played cards into the night.

The rain got worse. All night we thought that the wind was going to rip the roof off and the rain was going to wash us down the hill!

The next morning it was still raining. By 11am there was nothing better to do than crack open our first beer and a pack of cards. But by 1pm, the sun started to shine through – barely. We made a deal that if it had stopped raining by 3pm, we would take our bikes out for a ride.

At 4.30pm we came limping back into the cabin – cold, wet and very muddy! We showered with our gear on to get the worst off and the snuggled up to our beers in front of the open fireplace.

By this time the ladies were a little unhappy with us, so we took them into ‘town’ for dinner at the local pub. The food was delicious and so was the atmosphere. Being a Sunday night though, most of the food was sold out – like the homemade apple and pecan pie!

Monday’s weather was perfect! We took a drive down to Lorne on the Great Ocean Road for a walk along the beach. We had a picnic in the sun and played ball with the kids for a bit. We then drove up to the Erskine Falls, which are apparently the most visited falls in Victoria.

By the time we got back to the cabin, I realized that I had caught a bit of sun. Which meant that we needed some much-needed medicine – JD and coke.

Tuesday was a nice lazy start with a hot breakfast and a slow drive home. The long way round ‘cos of the fallen trees and flooded roads.

Chat soon,

Friday, 2 November 2007

TFI Friday - Long weekend!

As the weekend approaches and the sun breaks through the clouds, people around Melbourne are starting to smile. It’s a 4-day long-weekend for most and the forecasted rainy weather seems to have moved on.

The reason for the weekend: Melbourne Racing Carnival! It’s a week of horse racing that starts tomorrow and ends next Sunday. The public holiday is Tuesday, but most people, including myself, have taken Monday off too.

And I am really looking forward to this weekend ‘cos we are heading south with my brother-in-law and his family to the Otway National Park. We have hired a cabin in the forest and we are packing our mountain bikes too. The Otways are quite a well know MTB area with loads of forest tracks and MTB paths. And after the past few days of rain, there should be tons of mud too!

I promise loads of photos and a possible short video when I get back next week.

Chat soon,

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Beer goggles

I’ve just been reading an article in an Aussie food magazine about this ‘new’ idea of linking good/boutique beers with certain foods like you would drink certain wines with certain dishes.

HELLO!! They’ve been doing that in the UK for a couple of years now!

On the forefront of this breakthrough idea is a restaurant in Sydney called Balzac that is, funnily enough, owned by an Englishman and his wife.

The Aussies drink an average of 95 litres of beer per capita in a year and only 27 litres of wine in the same time. No wonder restaurants are trying to push their beer sales. My question to you is “have any of you tried to experiment different beers with different foods?”

Through my experiences as a pub manager, I doubt it. Most people use beer to quench their thirst or fill their right hand while watching the big game on a Saturday afternoon!

But do yourself a favour and try it. It basically works the same as wine. Try a lighter beer with white meat and fish and a darker ale with red meats. You can even have beer with your dessert instead of a sweet dessert wine. Go on, try it. Below are some of my recommendations:

Seafood - IPA (Indian Pale Ale)
Oxtail - Amber Ale
Seafood pasta - Pilsner (Peroni)
Spicey Oriental food - Tiger, Kirin
Bread & Butter pudding - Hoegaarden Grand Cru
Chocolate desserts - Westmalle Dubbel

Chat soon,

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Time is money!

OK, I know time is money, but this is absolutely ridiculous! And lazy!

I know that people type short abbreviations when texting on their mobiles, but I’ve noticed that people are starting to do it on emails too.

Clients (not mates or family) are signing their emails with rgrds instead of regards and today I even received knd rgrds! Wow, you saved a whole 3 letters! Vowels to be exact, poor fellas!

Where will it end?

Chat soon,

Friday, 26 October 2007

TFI Friday

It’s Friday once again. A crazy busy week at work which just flew by in a complete blur.
Last night I finally got to see Transformers (The Movie). At the Melbourne IMAX which was eye-popping! I went with my sister-in-law who had never been to an IMAX theatre before. She was shell-shocked, not only by the size, but also by the 12 000 Watt sound system. After the 2-½ hour movie, my head was spinning.

Being the start of the weekend, we have all sorts of plans depending on the weather. Tomorrow we are catching up with friends for a braai. Ja, we actually found a butcher who makes real boerewors Now I just have to find some Castle Lager and we’ll be laughing. And yes, we’ll probably watch The Game again.

We are also going to check out our new home tomorrow. We need to measure up for curtains and furniture and things so that we will have everything ready when we move in. And you are invited to the house-warming party of course!

Chat soon,

Thursday, 25 October 2007

More Rugby Kudos

More congratulations to the Boks.

World Champions: Bokke
IRB ranking: Number 1 in the world (finally)
Team of the year: Springboks
Coach of the year: Jake White
Player of the year: Bryan “Jet Shoes” Habana

Chat soon,

Monday, 22 October 2007

A day in the sun

After a really early start (4am) to watch my beloved Boks lift the William Webb Ellis at the 2007 Rugby World Cup and then driving my in-laws to the airport, we decided that yesterday was just the day for a picnic.

The temperature was forecasted at 34 degrees C (it finally stopped climbing at 36!), so we packed our picnic baskets, loaded our bikes into Az’s Jeep and headed for Lysterfield, venue of the 2006 Commonwealth Games MTB race.

There weren’t many people around when we arrived at 11am, but by the time we got back from our 1-hour ride it was packed. The ride was good – a 4km climb up a firebreak then another 4.5km of singletrack through a bluegum forest with log obstacles and deep ruts. If I weren’t so unfit, I would have had a second go at it! Unfortunately, I didn’t take my helmet cam with me, so no video this time.

After a picnic lunch and a splash in Lysterfield Lake, we headed home to crash out in front of the TV.

Chat soon,

PS: I did say that if South Africa lifted the World Cup I would tell everyone if our baby was a boy or a girl. So, for those of you that don’t yet know, it is a … little girl!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Bokke, Bokke, Bokke!

Thank you and congratulations guys!

Chat soon,

Friday, 19 October 2007

TFI Friday

Another week passes by and another weekend is upon us. It'll be the first weekend in a long while that we won't be out house-hunting, but instead we'll be window-shopping to furnish the new place. I don't mind that though, 'cos one of the things we'll be shopping for is a plasma TV.

Weekend also means the finals of the Rugby World Cup! And we all know who the favourites are. Not that that means a thing - we seen enough upsets to know that we need to be very careful ("we" being the Bokke, of course). I mean, England in the final? That alone is an upset!

It also looks like summer may finally be arriving in Melbourne with predicted temperatures of 25 and 31 degrees C for Saturday and Sunday. Might have to drag the old mountain bike out again...

Chat soon,

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Rugby Patriotism

Most of you have probably seen it by now, but I couldn't resist!

Chat soon,

Moving on

After weeks of searching for a home to call our own, we finally found something. We saw it on Saturday, put an offer in on Sunday morning that we had accepted by the vendor on Monday. Now we’re just waiting for the bank to hand over the cash!

It’s nothing flash: a three-bedroom place with en suite bathroom and a second bathroom, a laundry, large kitchen and open-plan lounge-dining area. It also has a double garage and a small garden out the back. Aussies call it a unit; there are 2 homes on one lot of about 800 square metres.

Anyway, we have about 6 weeks until we can move in ‘cos the place isn’t finished yet. That’s right, it’s brand spanking new and we’re still waiting for them to finish off the kitchen and install hydronic heating in the bedrooms.

So, six weeks of furniture hunting I guess. Too late for that wide screen plasma World Cup Final!

Chat soon,

Monday, 15 October 2007

Rugby, rugby, rugby

With the weekend over, I’m finally starting to calm down a little. Again, the underdogs (England) beat the favorites making me very nervous for the SA v Argentina game. Needless to say, I needn’t have worried.

Now the big question is “Can we beat the Poms?” Or more importantly, can Schalk Burger take care of Johnny Wilkinson? He seems to be the only thing keeping Ye Olde English Steam Engine on track. Their rugby is boring to watch and yet it works for them. Ask the Aussies! And it keeps the English happy.

But hopefully Jet Shoes Habana can show them a thing or two and we can walk away with the prize: The Web Ellis Trophy!

Chat soon,

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Rugby commentators in Australia

OK, I live here and I should probably stop complaining, but I feel the need to vent my frustration. Aussie rugby commentators are, well, crap!

Not only are (were!) they biased towards the Wallabies, but you think that they would learn to pronounce the players' names before the game. Or at least write them down phonetically to help themselves. You could easily write Skulk for Schalk Burger, but instead Schalk becomes Shelk, Jaques Fourie becomes Jack Foori, Danie Rossouw becomes Danny Russo, Steyn becomes Steeeen, Botha becomes Booter and Smit and Smith get mixed up!

And I sometimes wonder if these guys are even rugby fans when they call England the Lions!? Come on Channel Ten, spend some money on decent commentary!

Chat soon,

PS: How did the All Blacks reduce their carbon footprint after their trip to Europe? They dropped the Wallabies off on the way home!

Friday, 12 October 2007

TFI Friday

Yes, it's that day of the week that we all love. 'Cos Friday means weekend! And weekend means rugby! It also means more house-hunting, mountain-biking (if the weather improves) and most of all, sleeping late!

I noticed this week that Melbournites aren't exactly fashion conscious. Now I'm no fashionista, but I can match a tie with my shirt and suit. This seems to be a major problem for most Melbourne men. And they can't use the excuse that they dress in the dark, 'cos it is light outside by 6am! The worst thing I've seen all week: Crocs with socks!! Let's be serious!

Getting back to the rugby, Go the Boks! Can we beat the Pumas? Who knows, but I know I'll be up by 4am on Monday morning to watch the game. Luckily my boss is a rugby fan, so he understands!

Chat soon,

Tuesday, 9 October 2007


I spent today at a search engine optimisation (SEO) /search engine marketing (SEM) seminar. It was quite interesting and I managed to stay awake through it all. Just when I thought I knew about marketing online, along come the professionals and you learn some more!

The seminar was run by Reed Business and sponsored by people like Yahoo Search Marketing and Netregistry, our company's site host. The useful stuff came mostly from the guest speakers who are in the online marketing business. They told us things about Google, Yahoo and MSN and how their spiders/bots work on the web, searching all the time.

I was so inspired that I came home and checked my Google rankings for various sites that I look after. It was quite fascinating to see what searches had taken people to my personal site! For example, a google search for '350d self portraits' took people to this picture. I also discovered that search terms like 'del cheeta' and 'raven girls' took people to my site. Go figure?

Anyway, I'm so inspired now that I might even start blogging about SEO! I'll keep you posted.

Chat soon,

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Rugby hell!

Oh my God! What's going on at the Rugby World Cup? It's the onslaught of the underdog! Can South Africa survive the weekend? Or will Fiji make a laughing stock of us just like England did of Australia?

Let's wait and see.

Chat soon,

Friday, 5 October 2007

TFI Friday

It's weekend again! And not a minute too soon! It's been a long week of marketing meeting after marketing meeting after meeting with marketers and designers. The owner of the company flew home this afternoon which signalled the start of the weekend for everyone in the office. Even our GM was relieved!

Of course, being Melbourne, weekend also means that its started raining again, so I'll be lucky to get out and ride my mountain bike. It also means that our trip to the races at Caulfield tomorrow will probably be cancelled.

Oh well, guess that means that I'll just have to laze around at home all weekend. Damn!

Chat soon,

Friday, 28 September 2007

Bizarre Australia

I keep talking about some of the weird things that the Aussies do or have, so I thought I'd actually start a list. Here are some of the things that I have noticed so far:

- hook turns: See link for the most awesome/scary driving innovation I've seen in years
- petrol prices: They go up and down. Not over periods of time. No, it's cheaper on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and very expensive on the weekends.
- drive-thru bottle O's: Quite literally a drive-thru liquor store. Like drive-thru McDonalds, but you buy alcohol instead.
- AFL: Australian Rules Football. Although the 'rules' bit is a little exaggerated. Oh hang on, you're not allowed to push someone in the back. Other than that, anything goes!
- chicken & champagne: It's an Aussie-style Champagne breakfast. With chicken pieces.

I can't think of any others at the moment, but I'm sure my list will keep growing.

Chat soon,

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

She's back!

I got my PC back! Finally! And she's been upgraded too! With a new motherboard, processor and memory. And I still have all my files on the hard drive. Only prob is that she's not connecting to the internet, so I get the feeling that I've lost some drivers along the way. Better than nothing.

I've been riding again. And it feels great. Nothing huge, just enough to keep me puffing a little. But it's raining tonight and me being a fair-weather rider and all... you get the idea.

Back to house-hunting again this weekend. Did I mention that I hate real estate agents? Nothing personal, of course, it's just that they are always looking after the seller (and their own commission) first!

Chat soon,

Sunday, 23 September 2007

TFI weekend

Thank goodness Its weekend! Not 'cos my job gets me down or anything, but 'cos I get to do what I want to do, not what I have to. (Well, that's not entirely true either 'cos I have a fiancée and a kid to entertain too!)

I did do two things that I love: rode my bike and watched the Boks. The ride was fantastic; 22km through the city all in greenbelt (Australian style - I'll post video later) with amazing scenery and wildlife.

The rugby, although we won, was NOT so great. Bloody Tongans nearly beat us! Jake White, WTF??

I also spent time working on our website (let me know what you think). Did I mention that my PC is fixed and I haven't lost anything! And it's been upgraded to a Dual Core P4 in the process! For AU$150! Bargain!

Chat soon,

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

White Van Man

Melbourne (and my job) are turning me into that proverbial white-van-man. You know, they guys who cut you off in traffic, make U-turns whenever they like and double park 'cos they can? Well, that's me.

When I'm in a work vehicle, it's either a white van with the company name on the side or a red Zafira with a 'courier' sign on the door, I pretty much drive where I want, when I want.

I double park, I take up loading zones for as long as I need and, yes, I even make the U-turns whenever I want; more importantly, whenever I need. Which, with my sense of direction in this city, is pretty often!

AND, I've managed to stay out of the way of the trams so far!

Chat soon,

Sunday, 9 September 2007

On yer bike!

I finally got out on my bike again today. I had it serviced this week and brought it home on Friday night. With the great weather we've been having, I couldn't wait to get out there!

So this afternoon I took a gentle ride through Dandenong Creek, up the killer hill that is Moorak Road, back down Terrara Road and then home through Bellbird Dell. I was a great 12km ride and now I'm not even stiff!!

With it getting dark later every night, I'm hoping that this will become a regular thing on week nights!

Chat soon,

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The new job

I've been in my 'new' job for three weeks now. And still enjoying it. To be fair, my general manager has been away on holiday for the past three weeks too, which has made life pretty interesting. Not only that, but the guy I replaced actually got the boot the day before I started - literally! That all adds up to zero on-the-job training!

On the bright side, being thrown in the deep end is probably the best way to learn to swim. I wouldn't say that I'm heading to Beijing* just yet, but I could manage a few lengths of the local pool.

I enjoy the fact that I don't spend all day in the office, but driving in the Melbourne CBD can be pretty hairy. Ever heard of hook turns? Melbourne has them and is the only city in the world that I know of that uses them. (Leave me a note if you know of anywhere else that has them). I'm definitely adding them to my "Bizarre Australia" list!

Enough chatter, time to finish up and head home. It's BBQ for dinner tonight!

Chat soon,

*Next year's Olympics

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Boredom leads to creativity

Sorry, not much to blog about, but I was sent this link and I really enjoyed the video!

Chat soon,

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Blog blank

It's been a while and and I've had some 'complaints', so here's a little catch-up.

Last week was pretty busy between job interviews, house hunting and getting ready for the wedding. No, not MY wedding, my brother-in-law's wedding. I was the official photographer for them.

I spent most of last week commuting into the city and back again, going to interview after interview. On Wednesday, while mid-commute, my mobile rang. It was the agency who had set-up the interview that I was on my way to. I started getting nervous, expecting the worst. But, low and behold, it was good news. I was no longer on my way to an interview, but on my way to sign contracts!

I met my future boss, chatted about work and money and then signed the contract! I started this Monday past!

My title is Business Development Manager and the company I work for is the biggest corporate catering company in the Melbourne CBD. The best bit is that I get to stay in the hospitality industry AND work 9am to 5pm with weekends off! I don't think I've ever worked a 'weekends-off' job before. I'm really enjoying it so far. And to top it all, my boss is on holiday in Scotland and Ireland until September 10th!

The Melbourne weather has started to settle down again with nice sunny days and really cold nights. This weekend I'm off to watch the Aussie Rules game between the Bombers and the Tigers. Looking forward to it.

Apologies for not posting Foto Friday, but my PC and my back-up hard drive died last week on the same day! Hopefully I can rescue my data else I've lost all 12 000 photos that I own!

Chat soon,

Monday, 13 August 2007

Melbourne update

Almost one month since we arrived in Melbourne and things are still going fine. I finally got my PC set up (no more messing about with the old laptop) and I feel much more at home now. I also have Skype up and running again, so I can call my family and friends around the world for free.

The past two weeks I have been pretty busy with interviews, but so far no jobs! I'm starting to get a little edgy 'cos I need to keep myself busy or I just sleep/eat/mess with the computer. I spent Saturday helping my broter-in-law-to-be at his cabinetry business - we installed desks at the Melbourne Business School in the city.

On Saturday night I caught up with some friends at the casino for a drink and to watch a game of soccer (Sunderland v Spurs). Needless to say, it was a pretty boring game so we bailed after the first half. It was great to catch up with the guys though; I haven't seen them since November last year!

That's about it for now. Back to job-hunting on the net for me. I missed Foto Friday last week, but I promise to have it done this week.

Chat soon,

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Foto Friday

Another belated photo. Mainly 'cos I haven't yet set up my PC and had time to move, resize and edit my pics.

So, enjoy this one. Taken in Leicester Square, London last Christmas. I was messing about with different speed settings and came up with this one.

What do ya think?

Chat soon,

Monday, 30 July 2007

Aussie life... so far

It's two weeks since we arrived in Melbourne. Not much has changed. The weather is still bloody freezing, I'm still job hunting and still living with the in-laws. At least our stuff arrived from the UK today. All 27 boxes undamaged!!

The hardest thing for me so far has been the language. Not so much the slang (there are enough Aussies in London for me to have picked that up!) as the pronunciation of place names. Try some of these on for size: Corhanwarrabul, Wonthaggi, Mooroopna, Warrnambool, Rupanyup or Buninyong. Easy? I guarantee that however you said it, the Aussies would say it differently!

And then there's the price thing. Don't get me wrong, it's relatively cheap over here, but after spending pounds, prices just 'look' expensive. An example: A shirt that used to cost, say, GBP15 now costs A$35. Same price, but sounds like a lot more!

Anyway, for those of you visiting or moving to Australia in the near future (yes cuz), these are some of the words that you will have to learn (or learn to pronounce):
Queen's English = Aussie English
hello = g'day
good-bye = hooroo (pronounced ooroo)
afternoon = arvo
swimming costume = bathers (only in Vic and S. Australia
duvet = dooner
chicken = chook
crisps = chips
trousers = pants or daks
beer = amber liquid
short bottle of beer = stubby (375ml)
cool box (insulated thing for your beer) = esky
turtle neck shirt = skivvy
sausage = snag

There's more, but I'm not listing them here. Try this link for the Aussie Slang Dictionary.

Chat soon,

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Foto Friday (on Sunday)

OK, so it's a little late, but these things take time to do.

This week's pic was taken, you guessed it, at Niagara Falls. I have stitched together 6 photos to get the final product. As you can see, it was sunset - around 8.30pm I think.

Chat soon,

Sunday, 22 July 2007

A new beginning

It's been almost a week since we arrived in Melbourne now. Most of our time has been taken up with red-tape stuff that everyone does when they first arrive in a new country: tax file number (so I can pay taxes and also get a job), MediCare (government healthcare), bank account, local driver's licence, etc. I've also done a little job hunting, but nothing too intense yet. That will start in earnest this week.

For those of you who don't yet know, Deb & I have another baby on the way, so we also made a couple of visits to the doctors this week. This visit included a scan to make sure that there was only one little person in there (which there is!). Below is a picture of this scan.

I also took a trip to my first ever AFL game at the MCG yesterday. Almost 66000 people joined me. For those of you who don't know what Australian Football is, well, it's like a cross between American Football, Gaelic Football and rugby, but with no rules! To familiarise yourself with the game, check out some YouTube footage. BTW Sim, I didn't find any gristle but I'd still rather have a hot dog any day!!

That's about it for now. Life's not too exciting yet, but I will keep you all updated on Australian life's little mysteries.

Chat soon,

PS: Did I mention too that Deb & I got engaged while we were at the Niagara Falls?

Friday, 20 July 2007

Foto Friday

This week's pic was taken in Fairfield, Connecticut from my friend's back yard. We'd just finished having a braai and were about to go inside when I noticed the colourful sunset.

Chat soon,

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Foto Friday

Another Niagara Falls shot. This one was taken from the 'Maid of the Mist' boat which takes you right into the spray of the falls. The photo is of the American Falls.

Chat soon,

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Too... many... totems. Must... post... pics!

I've fallen in love with them! Totems are art forms produced by peoples indigenous to the North West Pacific coast. The generally tell a story: myths, important events or ancestral lineages. Read more on Wikipedia or on SFU's website.

Chat soon,

Vancouver - City of Totems

Four days into our visit to Vancouver and I'm loving it! The people are friendly, the weather has been great (28C today!) and the scenery is magnificent!

Today we went across to North Vancouver (North Van as it is known locally) to visit the Capilano Gorge. We walked across the Capilano Suspension Bridge and visited the local park. Also was lucky enough to see maybe half a dozen totem poles.

We arrived on Sunday but were too tired to do much after our long stint flying and sitting around in airports. Plus the fact that United managed to send Josh's pram to Dallas, Texas (!!??) instead of Vancouver. (They delivered it to us tonight at 10pm!) We did some food shopping and went for lunch at "Frenchie's Diner", a 50s-style American diner. Food was good, service sucked!

The place we are staying, Penny's Place, is really nice. It is a small apartment with kitchen, large bedroom and bathroom and 100 times nicer than Loftstel! The area is really nice too; quite arty with loads of restaurants, take-aways and organic food shops. Think Portobello Road in London or Brunswick Street in Melbourne.

Monday was spent visiting Stanley Park, one of the biggest urban parks in the world. We walked for about 5 hours, stopping for lunch and ice-cream. We also did some geocaching. There are some magnificent totems on display in the park! (See photos)

Tuesday was spent on Granville Island. Shopping, eating, chilling and drinking beer from the local brewery were the order of the day. Nice and relaxing! Oh, and the beer was good too!

I'd recommend Vancouver to anyone. It has something for everybody.

Chat soon,

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Niagara Photos

Some of our Niagara photos. Enjoy! We certainly did!

Chat soon,

Sunday, 8 July 2007


It's just after midnight and we're sitting in JFK Airport in New York. We arrived here an hour ago from Buffalo. Our next flight is in 5 hours, so we're spending the night in the airport. Luckily the wireless is free. Unfortunately, I have 20 minutes of battery left on my laptop with not a power point in sight!

Toronto was nice. Niagara Falls were amazing!!! We visited the Canadian side on Friday and the American side yesterday (Saturday). The view from Canada is much better as you can clearly see both the American and Horseshoe Falls from here. We took some awesome photos (coming soon) and to top it all, we took the 'Maid of the Mist' ride from the American side to within spitting distance of the cascading water!

Photos will be up soon.

Chat soon,

Friday, 6 July 2007

Foto Friday

One of my favourites so far from New York. The Manhattan Skyline, taken on Monday.

Chat soon,

New York pics

Some photos to whet your appetite.

Chat soon,

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

New York - Day 3

Day 3 of the big trip "home". Be aware, this is a loooooooooong post!

After a 10 hour flight and a 1 hour bus trip (next time it will be a taxi!), we finally checked into our 'loftstel'. It may have looked good on the net, but it's a hole! It's disgustingly dirty! The bath still had hair and a dirty ring in it from the previous guests! Anyway, we're cutting our stay short and checking out tomorrow!

After checking in at 4pm on Saturday, we went out to buy some food, came home, cooked some dinner and then went straight to bed at around 8.30pm.

Next morning we were up at 5.30am! We had some breakfast and then made the journey to Grand Central Station. (New Yorkers will tell you that it's a terminal, not a station 'cos all trains terminate here!) We caught a train out to Fairfield in Connecticut to visit an old friend of mine. We spent a fantastic day with them, braai-ing some juicy lamb chops and eating ice-cream on the beach. Unfortunately, reality came rushing back when we had to come home to our (still) dirty apartment.

Today was a sightseeing day in the Big Apple. Our first stop was Chinatown. Smelly fish markets and crowded veg stalls abound. We dodged our way down Mott Street and took a left into Godfatherland; Little Italy. Our $11.00 breakfast of coffee and... well, just coffee, was going to have to last until lunch time.

Next we caught the subway to the ferry terminal at South Ferry, hoping to sail out to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. But neither Deb nor I was willing to brave the 3 hour queue that had already formed! We took some photos, then walked the five blocks to Ground Zero.

This was quite a sight. Not only was the place crawling with workmen rebuilding the area, but the number of policemen, memorials and tourists (did I forget to mention that it is school break over here) was amazing.

Our next stop was Central Park for lunch, but we couldn't find anything to eat. After a short rest in the park, we caught the bus and the subway back down to Times Square for a bite of McDonald's (it had to be done!). We did some shopping on 5th Avenue before walking south to the Empire State Building.

The 3 of us headed straight to the top - 102 floors up! What an awesome view from the glass observatory. We caught the elevator down to the 86th floor to view the city from the outdoor area. Again, eye-popping.

After dinner at a local brewery and a quick stop at Madison Square Gardens, we caught the subway home for a 10pm finish.

More adventure tomorrow.

Chat soon,

Friday, 29 June 2007

Foto Friday

Photo Friday with a difference. Today's picture comes with a story.

On Wednesday, Dazzler & I decided to take up the tube challenge. No, not the full 275 station challenge, just the 64 stations of Zone 1. As beginners we were aiming for 3 1/2 hours.

Needless to say, our 2 stop into the challenge and we hit our first delay - signal failure! Once we got off the central line things got better. Then, at King's Cross, we bumped into another person doing the challenge. We started chatting to him (he was aiming for 3 hours 15 minutes) causing us to jump onto the WRONG tube, costing us another 10 minutes! More delays on the Piccadilly Line (gas leak) cost us another 10 minutes plus we lost another 10 minutes waiting for a tube at Aldgate East.

We finally completed our run in 3 hours 49 minutes, but we're pretty sure we could do it in 3 hours 15 minutes. Unfortunately, today is my last day in London, so Dazzler will have to find a new partner!

Chat soon,

PS: Klein Jaap completed the challenge with us too!

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Farewell London

Last Saturday was my farewell party. We held it at The Elgin, the pub that I was the boss of until Friday.

The day started off great! My cuz had come over from Ireland (to make sure I actually was leaving) with her hubby and she dragged her sis down the pub with her. Some old friends from SA came down too. I hadn't seen them in at least 2 years. Unfortunately, it was downhill from here.

First we lost the rugby! No comment. Then, as we started to braai (BBQ with wood/coal), it started to bucket down. I had a few beers, a couple of JDs and one or two sambucas and the next thing I knew, it's 10.30pm and I'm being woken up by B on my lounge room floor! I then proceeded to drive the porcelain bus for 10 minutes before returning to the party, which had just started hotting up!

The musician was playing "Hier kom die Alibama" and people were dancing. I remember lots of photos being taken (if you have any, please email them to me) and then some good-byes.

We eventually hit the hay around 2am. I had drunk about 10litres of water by this time so felt great the next morning. I even volunteered to cook the fry-up!

Photos to follow...

Chat soon,

Friday, 22 June 2007

Foto Friday

Another Friday, another photo.

This week's photo was taken 2 days ago at Holland Park, London. Josh was on the swings, He absolutely loves the swings. But in this shot he looks quite 'serious'.

Until next time...

Chat soon,

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Around the world...

Not yet, but before I die I want to visit every continent. I'd be lucky to get to Antarctica.

OK, so I was a little bored and I've plotted every city that I have visited onto a Google Map.

It took ages and I'm not even sure they're all there. Call it a work-in-progress!

If you're interested and have Google Earth, click here.

Chat soon,

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Politics and sport

I don't often talk politics, especially not South African politics. Especially not on my blog. But being a mad Bok supporter and seeing how the ANC are planning on destroying our beloved side, I felt the need to post this story.

Reply to Robbie Fleck's story "Off the field dramas need to end - now"

BTW, congrats to the Sharks, sorry, the Boks for their come-from-behind win against the Aussies yesterday. But do you have to make the fans sweat so much!?!? Thanks Frans for those great drop goals, especially the first one!!

Chat soon,

Friday, 15 June 2007

Foto Friday

Photo time again. Keeping with the summer flower theme, I have posted another photo of a bee collecting pollen. I think the flower is a bluebell. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!

Chat soon,

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Blog slog

Only 7 more days of work left! This has become the longest month of my life. I can't wait to hit the road now! Our stuff has all been sent, our bags are packed and my residence permit arrived in the mail on Saturday. Five years. After which I can apply for citizenship.

I went to my last area meeting today too. What a waste of time. Discussing the future of the company. But I came away with 2 boxes of chocolates and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. No complaints there. I'm a chocoholic!

Now I'm off to go have dinner at my favourite restaurant...

Chat soon,

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Foto Friday

So it's late again...

This was taken on the weekend. The weather was fantastic and all the insects were out and about.

Chat soon,

Friday, 1 June 2007

Foto Friday

This Friday's photo was taken on 20th May.

The subject is the English Houses of Parliament with St Stephen's Tower (also know as Big Ben) on the right. I have fiddled the colours a little with Picasa.

Chat soon,

Monday, 28 May 2007

Lock, stock and the kitchen sink

It feels strange to live in an empty house. Our last lot of furniture goes tomorrow and on Tuesday the shipping company will be picking up our boxes. I've done well; arrived in London in 1993 with a backpack weighing 12kg, leaving London 14 years later with 24 tea chests, a bike box and a family!

We were going to ship our furniture too, but we decided against it and sold everything. We still have a bed, 2 couches and 2 TVs. And a laptop of course! But that's about it. Four more weeks in our home of almost 5 years and then we're off to greener pastures.

I'm already missing my friends that I'm leaving behind.

Chat soon,

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Foto Friday

This Friday's photo was taken last Sunday in a small garden, St Dunstan's, in central London.

Chat soon,