This blog is a wee bit difficult because M has gone to Perth and E is in Terrigal. M decided to fly over to see Tracy, Hamish and Gary before we left Australia and I took the opportunity to have some time to catch up with the many bits and pieces that need doing before we head off:
- sorting out flights and accommodation
- planning our route through Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines
- forward planning New Zealand and South America
- sorting out our USA visa - we need an interview with the US Consulate
- arranging medication - malaria and top-up injections
- downloading photos (over 30,000 so far!) to leave space on the laptop
- loading music we've brought with us and accumulated onto a new ipod (loads of space)
- finalising affairs in Australia - cancelling membership of various organisations, closing bank accounts, phone accounts
- keeping this website up to date
- and more, much more
It is just like being at home - well, maybe not!
We had a great few days with Jean, a highlight being seeing Bryan Ferry and Joan Armatrading in concert. It was much better than we expected. Joan's set was excellent and it was great to hear her old numbers as well as her new songs. She was extremely relaxed playing to such a large audience and had a good line of chat with the Aussies in the house. Bryan too was on form - E had to hold on to M and Jean who think he looks dishy. Don't know what they mean when E was nearby!! Afterwards in the toilet, E heard someone exclaim - "what a great concert". He replied - "Do you know why?" Back came the reply - "They are old and established.". No responded E - "They're British." And with that he made a mad dash for the exit!!
Of course, as mentioned in the previous (Thornleigh) blog, we also experienced another major event last weekend - the Australian General Election. We think this is the first time we've seen an election and change of government while in another country. We cannot recall having met anyone who was a John Howard supporter, or at least admitted so! It was therefore unsurprising that the Labor Party was swept into power. But TV coverage, while somewhat similar to back home, was a little confusing for the 2 of us and most of the friends who were also watching. Polling took place on Saturday and the polls closed at 6pm (the primary school over the road from Jean looked like a garden fete one minute and by 6:10 you'd never have known it had been a major polling station). But that means that votes are being counted much earlier so results come in earlier too. However, the TV stations appear to take account of the votes counted and predictions based on the counted votes in their coverage. So from very early on we were confused by on-screen headlines stating that Kevin Rudd had won (which at that stage he clearly hadn't), graphics showing that existing Ministers had been voted out (which at the time they hadn't and some went on to retain their seats) and so on. It was a bit like New Year when you never know exactly when to start celebrations. So, while most of us knew the likely outcome it was all a wee bit confusing all round.
More to come.
E M xxx