Another Pommie update.

G’day, how you goin?!

It’s a while since we last spoke, so we wanted to say ‘hi’ and let you know what we have been up to, and what we have planned for the start of 2011.

We had a great Christmas, if not a little unusual. By that we mean that we enjoyed glorious weather – clear blue sky, temperatures in the mid-30s, and a walk along the white sands of Jervis Bay. But it was just the two of us, and no chaotic family gatherings, or games of wink murder – although we did have a couple of hectic Skype conversations with the family, so we didn’t miss out too much! It was really nice to experience an Aussie Christmas, and something that we would recommend to you all… The barbie is on us next year, for those of you that can make it out here!

Speaking of bbq’s, having spent however-many-dollars on a lovely charcoal barbie, we have realised that we actually need to swap it for a gas one! The camp site that we are currently staying at has a “no open fires” policy and, apparently, even our little barbie qualifies as being an open fire. I think this is something that we are likely to have more problems with as we travel around the country, as the last thing we want to do is cause a bush fire!!

Back to Christmas – we headed south to Jervis Bay (about a 3 hour drive from Sydney), and we stayed at a place called Huskisson Beach, where the sand was white and the sea was crystal clear. It was beautiful! Before we left the city, we braved the “36-hr Sydney Fish Market Marathon” so that we could pick up our festive foods – XXL prawns and lobster for our Christmas Day bbq. The market was manic, and like nothing we have ever experienced – it made the Christmas Eve pilgrimage to M&S and Tesco seem like a walk in the park! But it was all well worth it…

We started our Christmas Day with a walk along the beach and a paddle in the sea, followed by a lunch time barbie, and a rest in the arvo with a few beers and homemade Egg Nog (it seemed like a good idea at the time!!).

The temperatures cooled down on Boxing Day, which prompted a case of the man flu for Simon! A few days later Simon had recovered from his near death experience (!!), and we returned to Sydney for the New Years Eve celebrations…

An Aussie friend had recommended that we watch the fireworks from a place called Mrs MacQuaries Point, which is a vantage point in Sydney Harbour that overlooks the bridge and the Opera House. When we turned up at 10am, knowing that we needed to be there early to beat the crowds, we hadn’t counted on the fact that 5-10,000 other people had been queuing through the night – we have never seen such long queues for anything! We finally entered the park after more than three hours in the queue, and instantly realised that we had to leave. This was a “tourist haven” of a vantage point and was just too busy – we couldn’t even see the Harbour Bridge, and people were packed in like sardines! So, we packed up our stuff, and moved on… We returned to the camp site (an hour on the train), collected our van, and drove to a place called Vaucluse, which is on the eastern side of the harbour, where we were sat on the side of the road, on our deck chairs, with two old ladies. We had a perfect, if not distant, view of the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, and of the fireworks that followed throughout the night.

We are please to report that the relationship with our van is improving. We had the new stereo fitted (no subwoofer yet…), as well as our trucker-style CB radio – which we haven’t got a clue how to use, although we believe to be essential Outback-survival kit…

We are currently staying at a campsite on the outskirts of Sydney. When we checked in a couple of days ago, the sun was so hot that we were unable to put up our awning without burning our hands on the metal poles and pegs! The temperature must have been pushing high-30’s, if not higher, although Google suggested it was much cooler… What does he know?!

We had to make an emergency visit to the chemist today, as Simon’s last remaining snore spray has been misplaced, and a few local children have been heard laughing at his snoring in the mornings… Little bastards, I’ll show them!

This afternoon, we have confirmed our travel arrangements for the next month or so. Next week we will be travelling up the coast to Byron Bay and Nimbin, with stops at Shoal Bay, Port MacQuarie, and Coffs Harbour, before returning to Sydney through Yamba and the Hunter Valley wine region in time for our Plan B gig and Australia Day celebrations at the end of January.

We will be hitting the road and heading for Canberra in early February; then onto Melbourne and Adelaide, and we will, of course, keep you updated on our progress… To give you some idea on the timescale for our travels, we anticipate that we will be heading north from Perth, up the west coast, in April/May time, but, as ever, these “plans” will remain *very* flexible…

We are enjoying life on the road, and whilst the esky is full of ice cold beer, and the fridge is full of steaks, we will continue to do so! We had a “learning experience” (which I think is what the occupational psychologists out there would call it) during our stay at Jervis Bay, when we realised that the second battery in our van would only last for a couple of days without being recharged by the main van battery. Effectively, this resulted in a fridge full of gone-off meat, after the fridge had stopped working without us realising. We now understand this system much better, and will not let this happen again!!

The kids go back to school after their summer holidays at the end of January, when we will then be able to visit the zoo, climb the Harbour Bridge, etc, without the little darlings getting in our way!

Finally, we have uploaded some more pictures to our Flickr account, which can be viewed by clicking here.

We hope that you are all well, and are enjoying being back at work after your Christmas holidays!!

Lots of love from us both xx

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