It was been an exciting couple of weeks. Firstly, on the work front, Jodie is no longer a lady of leisure and has started an 8 week project management contract with an Australian banks' HQ. The office is in the CBD so it's walk-able. This is great news as not only does this keep us on the straight and narrow, but it gets me one step closer to the dream of being a 'surf dude'. Obviously there is still a bit of negotiation to be conducted before I can go firm on that plan. I still do not have a visa yet, so working options are slightly limited. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
****Stop Press******* Visa now ready to be issued but I must leave Australia for 5 days - where to?????????
We carried on indoctrinating ourselves into the Aussie way and went to the ANZAC day service last Saturday. We were fanatically keen and attended the dawn service which is at the time dawn would be on that day in Turkey. In Sydney it is 4.30 am. Despite the rather 'difficult' hour, it was good to see that thousands of people made the effort to attend a moving service that was wonderfully devoid of politics. The other highlight of ANZAC Day is the tradition of playing 'two up'. The game takes place in pubs all around Sydney involves a man standing on a mat with three coins on a small wooden plank. The coins are tossed and will either results in 'heads' or 'tails' winning. All very simple. The added dimension is the hundreds of increasingly drunk men and women forming a baying crowd with notes between $5 and $50 either stuck to their heads or being waved around like a tail. A 'head' pairs up with a 'tail' with a similar stake, the head holds the money, there is a moment of comparative calm whilst the coins are in the air, then cheers and groans fill the air. The noise is deafening and hundreds of dollars changes hands; some were claiming to be $1000 up. I joined in, betting $5 a time, but noticed that only two types of people bet $5; ladies and me (me being a type in this instance). I came to the conclusion that it was a great way to met the fairer sex, but as someone pointed out, they may bet with the men with a $5 stake, but they want to spend time with the men waving the $50 bills about. I did however finish a massive $25 up after quite a lot of fun. The good news is that it is only legal from midday to 6pm on Anzac Day so the lunacy is concentrated and for the remainder of the year it is possible to be in a pub without losing your voice or having ear drums ruptured.
We also had a visit from Fiona (Galbraith) who had been visiting Tasmania and was returning back to London via Canberra and Sydney. It was lovely to see her, even though in the short time she was here Jodie managed to make her life more difficult. We had planned to pick Fiona up at her hotel and go out for scoff and being a true Brit Fiona had decided that we must have a G&T on her balcony before we went out. The local bottlo supplied her with some crisps, a half bottle of Gordon's, tonic and a lemon, which is pretty much all that is required. Except perhaps glasses. And a knife for the lemon. Anyway, when we arrived we were met with delicious G&Ts served in mugs and hotel bathroom glasses, complete with hunks of lemon ripped apart with the aid of a credit card. Very sophisticated. At some point Jodie decided that Fiona's bedroom door should no longer be open and without a word decided to shut it, out of site to Fiona and I. At it appeared stiff J put her back into it before noticing that the room key had been wedged between the top of the door and the frame by Fiona to keep the door open. The key was removed but by this stage it had already acted as a fantastic pivot which had enabled all Jodie's energy to be transferred to the hinges, buckling them beyond recognition and ensuring the door no longer fitted in its frame. Nice job! In Jodie's defence, she did also supply the penknife that which allowed me to remove the worst of the hinges and then enable us to wedge the door back in its frame before we went out. Luckily for all, the manager had a sense of humour.
Seeing Fiona also helped us remember that we are not that far from home. I felt even closer when I realised that by Thursday Fiona would be walking past my old desk and passing my regards on to those still in the DEC. Although I hear that the DECs are no longer DECs as Defence has decided to change everybody's title, with 2*s becoming Directors, 1* becoming Heads, Colonels Assistant Directors etc. Therefore the Director of Equipment Capability is now the Head of Equipment Capability. Except he isn't. All mention of equipment has been removed from the title as allegedly it makes everybody more efficient. I'm sure they are right, but if my memory serves me right most staff couldn't give a stuff what anybody was called, merely wanted direction, leadership and the feeling that they weren't part of a gigantic self licking lollypop intent on wasting billions of tax pounds on, amongst other things, studies into who should be called what. That's our tax money that is!!! Still at least we can afford it at the moment. Recession? Bah!
One of the by-products of Jodie's job is time spent in shops. We decided that shorts, tee shirts and Birkenstocks were perhaps not the right thing for a bank HQ. I tell you what, someone forgot to tell the make-up covered stick thin, 'ladies who lunch' about this world financial crisis thing. The shops in Paddington were carnage. I thought recessions involved people with no shoes, not fashion victims deciding that spending $600 on the thigh length porn 'puss in boots' boots and the ridiculous sandals with the straps half way up the calf like some Roman gladiator was fine, but the 7" crocodile skin platform high heels would have to wait. I came to the conclusion that if you are part of a bloody huge economy and it shrinks by 3.8% you are still left with something rather big. I felt that perhaps all our whinging about how hard life is, is rather immoral.
Anyway, running is still going well and am looking forward to the half marathon. Jodie thinks that that makes me odd. Just another thing to add to the list I suppose.
Good luck to Mimms and Jon who are about to have their first baby; I wonder when it will do its' first marathon! We are also hoping that Ross survives his trip to Antigua race week and Bridget and her gang do not break him.