Thursday, 13 September 2012

I'm on the bus out of here....


Yeah OK, if I really wanted to go anywhere on that bus, I'd be waiting rather a long time. It's the old bus of the MShed museum in Bristol, and formerly of the Industrial Museum, a vintage bus on which I have "travelled" so many times over the years, for as long as I can remember.

But bus or no bus, I think I am out of here. It's pretty clear I am not updating this blog anymore. This blog always felt like my "Australia" blog and I am finding it hard to adjust it to my new life. I've lost my way.

So I'm closing up and moving on. But this is not the end, it's just the revolution. I've started anew.

Join me: The Weimar Republic

Thursday, 31 May 2012

sumus Bristolienses!


One more exam to go! My Legal Practice Course is nearly finished! And then the real world is, once again, my oyster. This is quite terrifying. Although my previous foray into the real world turned out fairly successful, that was in another country. My track record in Blighty on the other hand leaves something to be desired. I hope this will change, but in the current climate, I have my concerns... Oh well, just need to keep my options open.

I have had 2 of my elective exams already - Employment Law to begin with and Advanced Commercial Property last Monday. Just Commercial Law to go, hence I took my IP statute book out for coffee earlier, as a first date, to butter it up, in preparation for the beginning of what I hope will be a short-lived yet passionate love affair lasting hopefully until 12.15pm on Friday 8th June. I've just dropped some custard cream crumbs into its spine. Surely that will win it over.

Coffee was an iced espresso frappé thingy at Coffee #1 on Gloucester Road. Yes, I have abandoned Beestonia for Bristolia for the week! Mark is away in Munich for a conference and with a lengthy revision period, I had a grave concern that a week of unstructured time in isolation might send me loony. Always a worry. I have a genuine fear of retirement. Or any period where I might be at home for a long period without any role more pressing than doing the washing up. No joke. For the same reason, finishing the LPC with no work lined up is giving me the fear. Financial fear, yes, but bigger than that is the fear of the endless ocean of free time I am about to be dunked into. I can't enjoy a dip in the ocean of free time if I can't see the shores of purpose, the island of responsibility, the dinghy of gainful employment.

So anyway, I am in Bristol, revising, enjoying the weather, enjoying a bit of TV and the company of Lep and Père. And not enjoying the public transport (Firstbus? FAILBus. Why can't the drivers just CHEER UP? I used to be able to u-turn the mood of the grumpiest of Post Office customers*, but the bus drivers of Bristol just DO NOT respond to my mega-cheeriness. They need some serious...I don't know...intravenous seratonin? provision of bouncy castles on their lunch breaks? Srsly bus drivers, stop bringing me down!) But the weather is pleasant enough for walking everywhere, so I can avoid the grumpy-poos and retain my joyful state. Tomorrow I may venture to Stoke's Croft for some srs revision and flat-white consumption. And I MUST go to St Nicholas Market and eat falafel....I dream of the St Nick's falafel nom nom nom nom nom nom.

*Case in point: A very grumpy man came into the Post Office, early one morning. He ranted, he raged, he had a parcel problem. Within about 15 minutes, he was ready to leave, a smile on his face, "Thank you so much, you are an ANGEL!" he cried. My colleagues stared in amazement. "What did you do??" they gasped in disbelief. "I gave him some of my good mood, there's enough for everyone!!" I cried, and undertook a flourishing dance to illustrate.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Reflecting and Spain

Sometimes I wish I had never lived in another country so I would never know what I was missing. I don't think anywhere is truly a perfect place to live, but now I just feel these huge glaring omissions in my life in England. Like the sun; beautiful surroundings; affordable yet good quality sushi; amazing independent cafes each different from the next (Costa I want to bring you down*); Sundays on the beach; incredible restaurants; and...y'know...general joy, fun and vastly improved quality of life.

But I know that if I went back to live in Sydney there would be other empty holes that cannot be filled. Like family; The Guardian; BBC 6 Music; affordable and regular live music; London; proximity to Europe, and British and European culture, history and society; better clothes; and just a whole lot of really nice and interesting things that make you feel alive. What I also get in England though is a general feeling that life can just become a joyless daily slog towards not a lot.

I uploaded a bunch of photos the other week from my trip to Barcelona the week before Christmas, so here's a little insight into some fun in the Spanish sun (15 degrees and bright blue skies - perfect winter). Mark and I went out there to meet our friends from Sydney - Emma, Anya and Ellen, and another of their friends, Hannah.


Beautiful poinsettia in our apartment - the apartment was really nice and so cheap!


We went up to Gaudi's Park Guell - the only place I had really visited last time I went to Barcelona. It's so lovely there, although seemingly permanently heaving with tourists. It's like a lifesize toy park or a strange board game come to life.


View over Barca.


I made everyone pose as animals etc for photos but Mark would not pose!


We found this amazing cocktail bar called Pile 43 which served 674824 varieties of mojito. We went there twice actually. The lady who ran the bar was awesome and gave us vodka-lemon slice-turkish coffee shots along with our mojitos!


Mark and I on our second (early evening) visit... We visited the Picasso Museum which is really good and well worth a visit - I love it when you can see the progression in an artists work (often from a fairly traditional starting point - always particularly strange with an artist such as Picasso who ended up known for something rather more abstract and modern. I think my favourite instance of that kind of development is if you look at the works of Mondrian - quite a transformation!)

We ate paella and tapas and drank sangria and on our final day caught the train out to Figueres, a town famous as the birthplace of Salvador Dali and home to the Dali Theatre and Museum, which houses the largest collection of Dali works in the world. It's amazing - Dali helped to design it so the whole thing is like a Dali work in itself. He is also buried underneath the building.


The main courtyard. There are creepy people in the car and it rains inside the car!



Emma and Anya on the stairs...

It was nice to come home for Christmas, but Barcelona was definitely a fun distraction from surrounding stresses of life and work. Made me glad to be in Europe.

*Ubiquitous blandness is normally associated with Starbucks I know, but I learnt something from the Telegraph Magazine today: there are 650 Starbucks in the UK, compared with a staggering 1,300 Costas. That's more than there are even McDonalds.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


Ampelmann Ostalgie

Enjoying some caffeine in my Ampelmann mug, from the Ampelmann Ostalgie shop in Berlin, via the parentals (thanks Lep & Père!!!!)

Christmas soon, and hopefully a much needed quick break from my Legal Practice Course. Seriously, I barely have a spare minute in the day at the moment. You're not missing much from my lack of posts - my entire life is study law/think about law/eat/sleep.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Ship Song Project

I cannot watch this without bawling my eyes out. It is amazing.

The Ship Song Project - Sydney Opera House reinterprets Nick Cave's iconic song. Performed by Neil Finn, Kev Carmody and The Australian Ballet, Sarah Blasko, John Bell, Angus and Julia Stone, Paul Kelly and Bangarra Dance Theatre, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Opera Australia, Martha Wainwright, Katie Noonan and The Sydney Symphony, The Temper Trap, Daniel Johns and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Directed by Paul Goldman. Arranged by Elliott Wheeler. Photography by Prudence Upton.

Take me back...

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Long time no....

Today was a Saturday and a sunny day, not even that cold. I put washing out and it even dried, mostly, which was nice. Unfortunately we spent most of the afternoon in Mark's office at Nottingham Uni, doing our Australian tax returns... you can only do the online thing on a PC, and it was the only place we have any PC access these days. I pretty much hate doing things you can't do on a Mac.


There's Mark in his office....see all those books? They were piled up in our living room for about 3 months until the new office was ready. I am so glad they are now more orderly. At about 5pm we decided to have a break and go for a walk in Wollaton Park. There was a big red sign up at the gate saying "DEER RUTTING SEASON - DEER MAY BE VERY AGGRESSIVE AND YOU SHOULD KEEP CLEAR". We steered clear as much as possible, but we did see this noble stag:


He didn't seem too threatened by us. But we tried not to look too interested in the lady deer, just in case.

Tax return is nearly done....the only annoyance is that National Australia Bank chose today (tonight? I guess?) to have their site down for maintenance, so Mark couldn't get his interest and tax figures! Which meant we'll have to go back to finish it. Grr. Now off to watch a French film we got from LoveFilm - Tell No One, and slumber.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I feel like I haven't really had a holiday in a long time, not since the epic holiday trio (Canberra, Melbs, North NSW) of last October/November. But we did get away a little in July, cramming a lot into a short space of time, unfortunately that did mean it felt like it was over rather quickly!

Mark and I started out with a little trip down to Dorset, primarily for Sam and Georgina's wedding. We travelled down the previous day, but the journey took FOREVER due to traffic and roadworks and we arrived late. Add to that, the weather took a turn for the worst as we arrived and poured with rain all afternoon and evening.

We stayed in Stinsford, just outside Dorchester, which those in the know will know as the place where Thomas Hardy is buried (well, his heart is buried in Stinsford, his ashes are in Westminster Abbey, in Poet's Corner), and we walked over to the church to visit the grave. We were going to walk out into the wood bit with the stream so I could show Mark the scene of many a Fellows Family Picnic, but the weather was too misery so we headed back to the B+B. It's been a long while since there has been a Fellows Family Thomas Hardy Trip, I think it should be resurrected soon. Especially as the one time Mark came with us the cottage at Bockhampton was closed.

Anyway, we ended up driving into Dorchester for the evening, having pizza for tea and a few drinks in the Wetherspoons, before taking a bottle of port and some good chocolate back to the B+B and watching some TV. We had to be up early on Saturday for the wedding, before which an emergency shopping trip had to be made as I'd left part of my outfit in Bristol, error.


The wedding was at a Victorian hall in another village north of Dorchester, it was a nice place.



I won't bore you with details but it was a super fun day of friends, cider, dancing and even some sun at the right moments (i.e. photo time!)


Sam and Georgie had got this tandem bicycle that they both left on at the end of the night, they were obviously really well rehearsed on it but a lot of the rest of us were a bit wobbly! It requires a lot of teamwork.


My favourite thing was that they made (yes, hand-made!) an individual owl for EVERY SINGLE GUEST.

On Sunday, we scoffed our big veggie breakfast (any B+B that finds you Linda McCartney sausages when you tell them you are vegetarian gets a GOLD STAR in my book) and drove down into Weymouth to meet up with everyone again. Everyone was a bit lacklustre to say the least, haha, but we had a couple of drinks at the pub and Sam and Georgina came to say goodbye to everyone before they flew off back to Melbourne a couple of days later. Weymouth is nice on the sea front, the beach is really big and golden and it seems a smarter sort of place. Mark and I got in a few rounds of cricket (cricket? sort of....) on the beach with Ed, Gen, Cat and Alex, thanks to Ed's provision of the smallest cricket bat known to man.


And then it was time to drive home, Essex for Ed and Gen, Surrey for Alex and Cat and Bristol for Mark and I, ready for a good night's sleep and the next adventure....

Which involving an early start the next morning was not something I was originally overjoyed about! But I was off to London for a day of fun times. Mark wasn't joining me, preferring instead to stay in Bristol and have my mum make him cups of tea, but he did kindly drive me to the coach station nice and early.

Arriving after a couple of hours of motorway boredom, I made my way up to King's Cross and the British Library, to see their exhibition on Mervyn Peake, which was very interesting and very thorough. I learnt a good deal about Mervyn Peake I didn't know and it was great to see his early Gormenghast sketches and plans as well as those from when he illustrated Alice in Wonderland.

I then went over east to meet my old Sydney gang! Rosie, who was on my team at HCF, was visiting Europe with her bf Alex, and our other two teammates Mark and Daniella came into London so we could all have a meetup. I found them all in the Pride of Spitalfields off Brick Lane and we had a good old catch-up, before Mark and Daniella had to set off to make Daniella's flight back home to Glasgow. Rosie, Alex and I went to the Natural History Museum for the rest of the afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed the animals, especially this one:


I think the Natural History Museum is my favourite museum at the moment. It is certainly the one in London I go to the most. They also have a really great room with lifesize models of whales and sharks and dolphins and stuff, which is my favourite bit. I sound like I'm about 5 but it really is good!