Lordy that's real rain!

Just tried to get to work and was turned back by being soaked, head-to-toe, at about 1/3 of the way to the bus stop. This was with an umbrella. I'd got used to London rain where it's constant but doesn't actually get you particularly wet...

After turning back, I found the street at the end of our street was almost knee deep. Had to wade through it to get home, but I was soaked already by then anyway. Gave up on work today.

Great party

Housewarming party

We had our housewarming party last night and it was loads of fun. The theme was "Departure Lounge" and we had some fantastic costumes. Lots of boogie board bags with suspicious additions. Trolly dollies and rock stars. And lookit the great racoon-ski look in the bottom-left of this photo. Fantastic one Mel!

Thanks to those of you who came. Was great to see youse all and the house is now thoroughly warmed.

Photos here.

Loving the beach!

My family has dinner together most Mondays. Last night we went out to Bronte Beach for a surf and barbecue. This is probably the best thing about being back in Sydney: getting to the beach regularly. It's very very nice.

Though when I see upcoming gigs happening in London, or Glastonbury news, I get a bit sad.

Good Invasion Day weekend

For those of you outside Australia, Invasion Day is Australia's national day. Officialy known as "Australia Day", it commemorates the day white people took over Australia. Hardly something to celebrate if you're one of the original peoples of this place.

Anyway, due to it being a Friday, Holly, me, Matt, Maz, Vickie, Adam, Mikey, Leonie, Kev and Marg went up to my parents' holiday house up the coast for a weekend of lazing around, grilled pork products and drinking. Was really nice to get out of town and the weather was pretty good.

This was our first Invasion Day back in Australia in quite some time so it was strange being in warm weather. Still, I got to read about the festivities in London around at Scott and Katie's.

In other news, I'm doing a mini mash brewing course at my local homebrew shop.

El Nino winding down: Lake Eyre visit?

It seems that the current El Nino cycle is winding down, which should end the severe drought much of Australia is currently experiencing. It's common to assume that these droughts are somehow worse than before, possibly because of global warming. In fact, Australia has borne these cycles for thousands of years, and the flora and fauna are adapted to 7-12 year cycle of drought then flood.

A great example of this is Lake Eyre, a large dry salty lake in the desert that is Australia's lowest point. After big rains in Queensland and Western New South Wales, waters flow into the lake and it briefly blooms into an incredibly productive ecosystem. This event only happens once or twice every 5-7 years, but the frequency is highly erratic and is intimately tied into the El Nino cycle.

As the lake fills, enormous numbers of brine shrimp hatch, plants and algae burst into life, fish start breeding and the entire region teems with life. Millions of waterbirds from coastal areas hundreds of kilometres away somehow know that the lake is filling and fly directly to the lake to begin breeding.

These birds, and indeed the fish and plants, have adapted to the cycle. Some birds are capable of breeding more than once in a season when the lake is full, to compensate for the lack of breeding opportunities in the preceeding 5-7 years. They gorge themselves on the shrimp and fish that briefly bloom in the lake.

It's an amazing example of the way this dry country is adapted to its climate. I'm hoping that, as this El Nino cycle ends, I'll be able to witness Lake Eyre filling. It's always been a fascination of mine, and I'd love to see it in full flight. The trouble is, to see it filled you don't get a whole lot of warning, and it only stays filled for a couple of months. It's also quite inaccessible. I think my best option might be some kind of (expensive) organized tour.

Anyone been there and seen the lake have any comments?

Happy season folks

Well it's Xmas here in Sydney and it's pretty warm and humid, raining but it's supposed to clear in the morning for the big day. Xmas is more hectic, as expected, being in the same country as the family. Yesterday we went down to see Holly's Dad in Wollongong. Tomorrow we're opening presents with my niece in the morning, then dinner up on the Central Coast with the family in the evening.

Still, it's a nice change to be warm. Ben has a swimming pool so we can go swimming. Then up the Coast we can go surfing every day. Woo!

I'm back at work on the 2nd January.

Have a fun and safe break everyone. Be especially careful on the roads. Every dickhead going seems to be out there, and a good proportion of them are probably drunk as a skunk.

Settling down in the Inner West

On Saturday I did some farting about in the house. Got flyscreens made for the windows, improved the window security a little, toyed around with my new Internode ADSL and Nodephone VOIP stuff. I also did my Driving Knowledge Test down at the RTA and got my learner's license. The test was bloody easy, and I can't believe you could fail it!

Sunday I went and (re-)joined Alfalfa House, a food co-operative on Enmore Road. I used to be a member before I moved over to London and it's changed a fair bit. It's no longer compulsory to do work, though you get an extra discount for one shop if you do a two hour shift. The range of foods has also improved, with lots more reasonably priced organic fruit and veg. Though in one area the selection has reduced: muesli. There used to be a great range, now there's only two. I might have to make my own.

Then I wandered down King Street and picked up a yummy Burek, got a hair cut, dropped into Fiji Market and bought some spices, then headed home.

I'm enjoying being back in the Inner West. Especially liking having a garden!

Moved in

Well after the major hassle on Saturday, we finally got moved in yesterday. The house is pretty cool and we're already really enjoying hanging out in our lovely garden. Certainly makes a nice change after six years in London with no real outdoor space. Now we have a garden and a patio out the front. Perfect!

Our bedroom is kind of an attic conversion, so it might get a bit hot. However the house seems to catch the breeze pretty well.

Now I need to get the landlord to put in a TV antenna so I can get my MythTV system going.