Happy Christmas!

G’day, and season’s greetings to all of our friends and family! We just wanted to provide you with a festive update, and fill you in on what we have been up to since we last spoke.

In our last blog, we told you a bit about life in Perth, and how we were settling in here. Since then, we have got to know Perth a little better, and we are really starting to enjoy living here. The weather, obviously, plays a massive part in that, and we have really enjoyed spending time outside – riding our bikes, walking along the beach or the river, and sitting in the beer garden of our local pub.

The economy in Western Australia (WA) is still going strong, mainly due to the resources boom, and it looks like things will stay this way for the foreseeable future. Whilst the cost of living here is high, we feel that it is all relevant and fairly affordable.

Together again...

Both of our jobs are going well. Sarah is receiving extremely positive feedback from her boss, which is great, and Simon is enjoying his new job – although working as the only man in a team of 20-30 women has it’s challenges!

We are still living in East Perth, and enjoying the convenience of being so close to where we work in the city – a 2 minute walk to the train station, a 3 minute train ride into Perth and a 10 minute walk to our respective offices. In fact, we have just renewed the lease on our apartment for another six months. The possibility of living closer to the beach and by the sea is very appealing, so this is something that we may reconsider next year. However, being so close to the city, and only a 20 minute drive to the coast, maybe we couldn’t be better located…

We have now sold our camper van and, whilst we didn’t get as much money for it as we would have liked, we are pleased to have sold it fairly quickly. We are now in the market for a new vehicle and are currently taking motorcycle lessons, with the view to purchasing a Vespa scooter in the new year.

Hello sailors!

Sarah’s dad and brother are currently staying with us, and it has been great to see them again. They landed in Perth on Tuesday 13 December, and their first week/ten days has really blown by. Ian and Jamie are having a great time, and are enjoying the laidback, outdoor lifestyle, as well as the great weather, of course! We have kept them busy with trips to the Swan Valley, Fremantle and Mandurah, and we have a few other things planned before they fly home on Tuesday 3 January. Here are some photos that we have uploaded to our Flickr account. We are off to Sydney later this week, to celebrate the new year by watching the fireworks in Sydney Harbour, and we will also catch up with some friends, and do some sightseeing. We LOVE Sydney, so we cannot wait to be back there! The flight time from Perth to Sydney is approximately five hours, and there is a time difference of +3 hours.

What are we doing for Christmas? It will be a fairly quiet one, starting with the obligatory beach barbie on Christmas morning – with a shed load of snags and prawns, and then the slightly nontraditional roast [goose] dinner with all of the trimmings on Christmas night. The weather forecast for Christmas Day: sunny and 32 degrees…

Happy Christmas!

So, with the new year just around the corner, what do we have planned for 2012? Well, we both turn 30 this year – Simon in February and Sarah in October, so we will, no doubt, do something to celebrate. We have more visitors coming to Australia at Easter, when the rest of Sarah’s family are joining us for three weeks. We have an action packed itinerary, with trips to Sydney, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and the Gold Coast, although we simply do not have enough time to squeeze in a visit to our home here in Perth – so we will look forward to doing that next time.

That’s it from us. We hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas, and a prosperous new year, and we look forward to speaking to some of you on Skype later today.

Lots of love, Simon & Sarah xx (and Ian & Jamie)

PS – our NEW video camera died this week, so there will now be an unfortunate delay until the latest release from Pickle Productions is ready. Sorry…

Farewell to Melbourne

Hello to everyone in the sunny (!) UK…

Five weeks after our arrival in Melbourne, we are getting ready to hit the road again. We leave town on Wednesday morning, heading for Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia, which is nearly 1000km (700 miles) away. Running from Melbourne towards Adelaide is the Great Ocean Road, which is famous worldwide as being a fantastic and stunning road trip – we can’t wait to see it.

Yesterday we attended the Formula 1 Grand Prix, where the track runs through the streets of the suburbs of Melbourne. As you must know by now, the weather in Melbourne has been dreadful for much of the time that we have been here, and we found ourselves wearing hoodies and Ugg boots again last week! Having pre-purchased tickets for the Grand Prix, we waited [im]patiently for the date of the race – had we not already made this commitment we would have left town weeks ago, leaving in search of sunnier climes. Anyway, in the days leading up to the race, the weather was still crap, but on the big day, the sun came out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We had a great time, basking in the sunshine and enjoying the activities on the race track. This was Sarah’s first experience of watching F1 cars “in the flesh”, and she loved it!

We were not allowed to use our cameras at Penguin Parade, so this is NOT our photo. Thank you to theage.com.au

You will recall that we had a date with the little penguins at Penguin Parade a couple of weeks ago. Penguin Parade is probably the biggest tourist attraction in Melbourne and entertains about 2000 people every night, on one of Phillips Island’s beaches, where the audience watch the penguins making their nightly journey from the ocean back to their burrows in the sand dunes. We had opted to pay for Penguin Parade’s ‘Ultimate’ tour, which, despite costing about three times as much as the standard package, was well worth every cent. We were to join a group of no more than 10 people on one of the more remote beaches on the island, where we would sit on the sand with night vision goggles and watch the penguins without the bright lights or commentary service. When we arrived and were told that we would be joined by just one other couple, we could not believe our luck – just us 4 and the tour leader. Result! During our half hour on the beach, we watched more than 80 penguins waddling across the sand, with some coming within inches of where we were sitting. On top of this, the weather was on our side as, again, after several days of misery, the sun came out and the rain stayed away. Without doubt, this was our favourite part of our trip so far, but with the Grand Prix yesterday, and a cage dive with Great White Sharks planned for when we leave Adelaide, we are getting new favourites all the time!

We did have some sad news this week when Simon’s camera was confined to the rubbish dump after it died on the way to the Grand Prix. With repairs costing more than the value of the camera, it is time for a replacement. So, with that, a few minor repairs to the van, and, now that we have had a roof rack fitted, the imminent purchase of a surfboard, we need to find jobs to pay for all of this. That sucks, but hey… We will probably wait until we get to Perth, as we are planning to spend at least a couple of months there before we start the long trek up the west coast of Australia.

In other news, Simon “got sporty” when he took up a new hobby – fishing, something he hasn’t done for 20 years or more; and Sarah got a new hair-do! Keep an eye on our Flickr account for photographic evidence.

Lots of love to you all, xx

PS – happy wedding anniversary to Jacq & Nick. We hope that you have a lovely day. x