Back in London

Well we just arrived back in London. I'm surfing the jetlag express. Oh what fun! Pretty soon, I'll be hallucinating, no doubt. Just as soon as I finish chatting to the purple numbat sitting on my monitor.

Oh dear. I really need to stay up at least 2.5 hours more.

Flight was relatively uneventful. We managed to spend a few hours in Vienna during the (planned) six hour stopover. Nice town! We plan to go back for a long weekend. Reckon winter would be a nice time, with snow and stuff.

Oh there was the small problem of the wings falling off the plane we were supposed to be flying Vienna to London, or whatever "technical problems" really means. We ended up on a little Canadair, and loads of others getting bumped. Finally got to London.

Jetlag permitting, I'll be back at work tomorrow. It doesn't look promising from how I feel right now, but you never know what "sleep of the dead" will do.

Next thing to do is find somewhere to live. Oh joy.

Beds are Burning?

They say travel broadens the mind. Well I guess it does. Tonight I was reminded that the horrors of BBC Radio 1 are nothing compared to the pain of Eurotrash radio stations. Sitting in a pizza joint in Ljubjana we heard over the restaurant's PA the disturbing sounds of Midnight Oil's Beds Are Burning, the Eurodisco cover. Eek! Peter Garrett would be turning in his Australian Conservation Foundation office.

And now I've found the song.

Ljubuljana and cross-country skiing

I'm sitting in my hotel room nursing a beer (they stop selling take away beers at 9pm, so it's a minibar one that will have to be replaced before the maid gets here and counts them) and revelling in a wonderful day. I've been out here in Slovenia since last Sunday working for the TV station here. It's been very hectic, but we're making real progress.

Today I spent the day with the production manager, Igor, and his family. We started at 08:30 and went up into the mountains for cross-country skiing. I've only ever been alpine skiing, so this was a new experience for me. After a few pointers, Igor and his wife Biljana took off on the more difficult circuit into the forest. Still trying to get the knack of the technique, I clambered on down the easy run alongside the road. It was mostly downhill, so I made good progress. There were moments when I got the technique down, swishing along at a decent pace, but as quickly as I got into the right rhythm I managed to lose balance and tumble into the snow. Still, I think I'll get the technique with practise. It's good fun and seems like it would be like hiking only with alpine scenery. Something to try again!

The rest of the day was spent with Igor's family. Biljana cooked up a great meal and we sat around chatting and drinking wine for the rest of the afternoon. His kids regalled me with stories of their recent ski trips and practised their (already excellent) English on me.

In other news, my mate Saul has made the news for winning the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for his invention that can mould glasses for less than US$1 a pair, aiming to improve sight around the world. Well done Saul!

Weekend in Glasgow

I had some frequent flyer points that were about to expire, so we went to Glasgow for the weekend. We had a very nice time in lovely weather, actually warmer than London. The Scottish Riviera?

Anyway, was a great weekend. Got to catch up with Juz and Gav, check out Justine's amazing new apartment in the centre of town. Also saw Thea Gilmore at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. Worth it just for the venue name!

Photos are here.

Off to Slovenia

I'm off to Ljubljana on Sunday night for two weeks doing test support on a client site. I'm looking forward to seeing a new city and country.

Spring is on its way here in London. Leaving work at 17:30 last night, there was still a glimmer of light on the horizon. Some of the early buds on trees are sprouting and the daffodils are punching their way up. Looking forward to some nicer weather.

And we're moving to Barons Court soonish. It's a much nicer area to our current place and it's about halfway between my work in Wembley and Holly's new job in Balham. Less than ten kilometres each so it'll be a nice cycle commute.

Some new photos

My parents have been in town, though they're heading back to Sydney tonight. We've been out and about a lot, including a week in France and a weekend in Norfolk. This weekend we spent in London.

Yesterday we went to Borough Market and then wandered around the Square Mile. Photos here.

Today we went to Greenwich with Louise, Mike, Deidre, Andy and Lorna. We caught the ferry in and took the scenic route, then had a picnic and went to a pub. A great day but it's perhaps getting a little brisk for picnics. Photos here.

Hiking the Ridgeway

Holly and I went hiking along The Ridgeway over the long weekend. Looking at that map, we started at Avebury and climbed the ridge, then kept going for three days. We ended up at Wantage.

A great three days. We both ended up with very sore feet every day, the trail being very hard after all this dry weather. However the scenery was beautiful and the people we met along the way were fabulous.

Along the way we met a father and son doing quality time hiking and camping. One evening in Uffington, we all found a lift into the town and went to the local pub. Holly and I were a bit low on cash but the pub didn't take any forms of plastic. We asked about taxis, to see if we could get one to another town with a cash machine. No taxis in town, but one of the guys at the bar, pointing out he'd just arrived and only had a mouthful from his pint, offered to drive us there. Amazing hospitality! Find someone who'd do that in London. Or Sydney.

It's amazing how the simplest food, after a day's tramping, can seem so good. The food we ate camping was pretty basic: sausages with onion on bread rolls, pasta with sauce packet mixes, Ryvita with mad cow cheese. But it always tastes so good when you're camping! Yum.

All in all, a really nice weekend. We both got a bit sunburnt, saw some amazing countryside and ate yummy food. Very nice.

Photos are here.

Photos are up

I spent much of the weekend scanning photos. There's stack of new photos up here.

There will be still more, particularly photos from Welney, the town where my great-great-great-grandfather lived before emigrating to Australia.

Also still have to get around to writing about our adventures in Russia. In good time...