Well, hello again. Once more it has been a while since a journal was posted but do not worry we are still going strong. The past month has involved so much, including new team members joining and then leaving, previous team members re-joining, circus training (yes, you read correctly), festive celebrations, cricket comiserations and much, much more.
Due to the length of time between journals this may prove to be a long entry so I suggest a six pack of red bull. Enjoy!!
The last time that we wrote, we had just arrived in Brisbane and that very evening me and DSW and Gems and Steph, split up for the evening to have a girls and a lads night out. After, getting dressed in make-up and skirts the boys were informed that they were on the lads night and we headed out to the only bar that allowed Flip-Flops and proceded to consume some alcohol. Due to the fact that there was only one bar in which Flip-Flops (or 'thongs' as these bloody Aussies call them - Very confusing. We usually love thongs!!!) were legal the girls turned up half an hour later and that was the end of the single sex night out and we joined forces.
Also in Brisbane, Steph and Gemma made a visit to Steve Irwins Australia Zoo and got to hold a crocodile and a Koala but not any stingrays curiously enough. They also become fully fledged 'Wildlife Warriors' and even got the wristbands to prove it - Very Cool they look too!!! The Trout also joined us there and thus Team MC was born. Any guesses what the MC stands for on a postcard!!
We headed down from Brissy and found ourselves in a town called 'Surfers Paradise'. As I have previously stated I was the Carlton Palmer of Surfing on my first attempt and so the idea of a paradise ideal for 'rad' surfers did nothing to excite me. However, there were more activities to pursue and one of these was going to a waterpark for the day and running between each of the rides like little kids whilst pushing actual little kids out of the way. The rides were good fun with 'The Wave of Caves' and the 'Funnel of Doom' both producing screams from the ladies
(including DSW) and a bad case of whiplash for JM. A result of this day was Smudger getting himself on the Ossy news. This was not, as he claims, because they were running a search for Brad Pitt lookalikes but was due to some egg chasing team having a charity day at the park and Dave was striding in the background.
Another activity was a bar crawl organised by our hostel during which the Trout seemed to have someone fall in love with her and then break his heart in the space of 2 and a half hours. This was some mental Swiss lad called Julian. Rock On Julian!!
The next port of call was the small town of Byron Bay which was another town ideal for surfers. w***! The day we arrived it was the 24th birthday of Mr David-Anthony-Robert-Smith-Watson, the 3rd Earl of Sunninghill. We had said to the big man that he could do anything that he wanted, absolutely anything. What we did not realise was the term 'absolutely anything' included a circus training session. I'm sure that Dave and I have been referred to as a pair of clowns and this provided our chance to prove it. Pretty much as soon as we arrived we were directed up a very long ladder to start some trapezing action and the 1st trick we had to master was hanging upside down. Running before you can walk and all that! After nervous laughter we climbed up and Steph and then Gems did it no problem while Zoe had a very fun swing with no tricks unfortunately. It was harder for us lads due to the length of our legs and DSW got caught up in the roping and was dangling dangerously for a while. Juggling, hula-hooping, vaulting (my knees, a month on are yet to recover from one, very athletic somersault) and unicycling all followed. Halfway through the session we were informed that we were the oldest people ever to take part but we didn't care as we are young at heart.
That evening we headed to a bar, recommended by the lovely Laura Brander and enjoyed dancing on the tables which was apparently strictly prohibited. The next morning we had arranged to venture to Byron Bay lighthouse, the most easterly point in Oz, to be the 1st people in the convict colony to see the sunrise. Myself and Trout stayed up all night to see this amazing sight and the only problem was that there was no pissing sun due to all the clouds. Waste of time and effort!! Angkor Wat all over again!!
Here is where the team split up with one of the founders leaving for a week. DSW went on what I disgracefully christened 'GayCamp' and what others more factually call Surf Camp for a week and had a blinder of a time. He actually had such a good time he is currently working on the camp as I write. He will be posting his own entry on this period and be sure to read it to find out how good Clary, Winton and Elton John were at surfing.
So, the Greying Mantis was left with the ladies for a few days and on one of these days we headed to Nimbin on the 'Happy Coach'. Nimbin is basically a Hippy Community where they sit around and get stoned and talk nonsense all day. It was a pretty mad place and there were people from the age of 16 to 70 offering us drugs and cookies that contained drugs. Miss Stephanie Cook stated many times after this day out that everything 'Felt Amazing' and there were a few paranoid, light heads about after half a cookie.
The team was further depleted, as Gems and Trout hurried down to Sydney, while Jake and Steph stopped off at a place called Coffs Harbour. This was a pleasant town where we went to a 'Pet Porpoise Pool' and watched some dolphins juggle footballs and do back flips through hoops and seals perform alsorts of mad things, such as catching hoops and heading balls and we got to feed some little penguins (Not Danny Devito). We even had the dubious pleasure of kissing the dolphins and the seals and if i remember correctly Steph actually slipped a seal the tongue. We left there smelling like a tin of Tuna Fish but it was good fun. That evening we went to a funfair with the highlight being the Ghost Train, which made Steph scream and her screams, in turn disturbed me. NOTE FOR RYAN LEV - Lets f***ing Waltzer!!!!
NEXT STOP - SYDNEY BABY!! We all, including DSW met up in Manly Beach, which is a ferry ride away from the Sydney CBD and stayed in a hostel run by an Asian family with Dev, the man of the house being very friendly, perhaps over friendly to the female contingent and contrastingly losing his temper with strangers. A man not to be crossed!!! In Sydney, before Crimbo we met with a couple of familiar faces from our Asian travels and had a great night out with Kezza and Deano who you may remember from Laos and the Full Moon Experience. Kezza was on good form as usual and even seemed to influence Gemma, with both of them ending up without tops on in a Sydney bar.
The 25th of December, as everyone knows is the birthday of someone special, and Jesus Christ our saviour. It is also Stephs bday and so came to be known a 'Stephmas Day'. This day was spent by waking up and indulging in some scrambled eggs and smoked salmon and then heading down to the beach to have a BBQ which was a very different a Beaufort Gardens Christmas Day. DSW and JM got on the Barbie and cooked up a feast but unfortunately undercooked some of the chicken thighs as Zoes bowels proved the next morning. Deano derserves a special mention on this day as he came to join us but due to the busy nature of the day the fairly simple journey took nearly 6 hours and he actually had to have a Bacon Double Cheese Burger for Christmas Lunch. We stayed on the beach until the early hours of the morning drinking the cheap ossy wine and even toasted a few cheeky marshmallows before JM wandered off and turned the 30 minute walk home into a tour hour one. Merry Christmas/Stephmas!!
Open another Red Bull - There is more to come!!!
Between Stephmas and New Year there are only two things to report. One was a massively gay night out involving Deano, Jake and DSW. Deano suggested that we should swap shirts on the hour every hour as he thought his was dirty. This soon backfired on our Ricky Ponting lookalike friend as he was stuck with a yellow tshirt that was tight on my 7 stone frame and so looked like it had been painted on him. (Pictures available). If you want to know what this looked like then just watch Graham Norton, BBC 1.
The second was a one night trip with team MC and Deano to Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains. Believe it or not we went on a 4 hour walk by choice seeing some amazing sights over the mountain region and the three sisters rocks which was pretty impressive. We also went on the steepest railway in the world which took us back up the hill we had trekked down. Although, it was undoubtedly steep, we felt that it was similarly steep between Winnersh and Winnersh Triangle on the Waterloo to Reading line. ENVELOPE.
New Years was a great experience and those of you from Ascot may wish to know that we met up with Hoddy and his mate from IBM, Liam. Actually thinking about it you probably won't want to know as Hoddy is a Massive Top c*** We went to a place in Sydney called Macquaries Point which had the best view of the Opera House fireworks going, as the picture shows. We got there a whole 12 hours in advance and filled in time with plenty of banter and a game of footy in which the English tonked a group of swedes. That night Hoddy and Liam had to stay on our dorm floor as the pair of mugs hadn't booked anywhere for New Years Eve and beyond. Losers.
On New Years Day we went to see the Barmy Army play a group of Aussie fans in a charity cricket match and braved our hangovers in blistering heat. Not surprisingly, the Barmy Army got hammered but the mad Englishman in the St Georges cross outfit and 'Billy the Trumpet' were there and the atmosphere was awesome. We went to an after party where all of the army were and the trumpet lad got on stage, playing alsorts of classics such as the Rocky theme tune, Only Fools and Horses and any song which took the mickey out of the convicts. Pure Gold!!
Mr Tony Mant arrived in Australia on the 2nd of January and I met up with him and took him around some of the sights of Sydney and up to the Blue Mountains. He is doing a whistle stop tour around the country currently. Readers, you will be lucky as he will be putting his Australian experience down in words on this very site. Something to look forward to!!
We enjoyed a few more nights out, one being in the darker side of Sydney called Kings Cross where there are a lot of Strip joints and hookers knocking about and another night where we used vouchers for free booze to cut down cost. Also, DSW and Gems went to the sub zero bar where you can only spend 30 minutes in it due to the cold and had a cocktail or too which was nice by all accounts.
Both me a DSW went to a day of the Sydney test and while Dave got a full days play I went on the fourth day and saw about 2 hours of play before we lost. People have said at least you saw Warne and Mcgraths last appearance - Give a s***!!
DSW has now returned to Surf Camp to work for a few weeks and me, Boo Deano, Steph (Now fully fit and on top form after a bout of illness) and Miss Gemma Curtis are in Melbourne for a while.
There will be a seperate Melbourne Entry as I can't be arsed to write anymore.
Congratulations to those of you who managed to stay awake.
All the best.