Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas in Australia

Apparently we have just had Xmas!

I say apparently because it is nothing like we have ever experienced before. At work there was home baking and morning teas (not a lot of work was done!!) and although there were cards around the place and a tree with lights it still all felt a bit surreal. Added to the fact it was so light you never noticed the lights on the tree were actually switched on!

However Christmas eve came and all were wished a merry Christmas but to me it felt as though everyone was just going on their summer holidays! The temperature outside was around 30 degrees and the sun was shinning and Xmas day itself was forecasted to be even higher.

As the shops were to be closed for the next couple of days I attempted to get the usual stock of milk etc.... forget that the car parks were full and the shelves were empty - thank goodness for petrol stations!!

We were invited to an Aussie friends house for Xmas - it wasn't until she phoned and confirmed details that we realised we were going to be up at the crack of dawn and on the road - it was for Xmas breakfast at 8am!!!

We wrapped our son's presents and decided to let him open just a couple before heading off for breakfast and the rest would be left for later in the day when we returned. He opened his present to reveal a digital camera (Fisher Price Kid's tough) and was absolutely delighted and photographed everything in sight - didn't really need to get him anything else but we had!

Off we set for the breakfast in two cars - my husband was on call and was determined he would get a call out - the roads at 7.45am were reasonably quite with just the odd car going about so we were quite surprised to go through a speed trap - think we were okay but will have to wait til the new year to find out.... When we arrived at our friends house we could actually see the trap and he never moved for about 4hrs.

We had a lovely breakfast and then went for a walk through a working orchard which had miles and miles of netting over it at a cost of thousands and thousands of dollars but we were warned to watch for snakes and at this point I started to freak a little when said son kept disappearing into the distance and out of sight - couldn't get out because of all the netting though but 400 hectares is a lot of area to go searching for him!!

The new camera was well used and lots of quite interesting photos were taken - I would download them when I got home.

As I sat down at the computer to download the photos from the new camera all I could find were pictures of my son's feet and the back of the front seats in my husbands car - he had deleted all the photographs of the morning some of which were actually really good for a three year old.............sorry none survived you will just have to imagine blue skies and hot weather and views up valleys (not green but brown as the grass is all burnt!!) and a lone car trapping all the speeders.

The afternoon was spent cooking the turkey roast on the BBQ.

On Boxing day the shopping centres had all had the Xmas decorations down but the sales were in full force.

The TV was even worse than that in the UK.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Evil Knevil eat your heart out!!

Getting into practice early!!

Motorbike mayhem or not!!

An annual event. - 15000 motorbikes leave from the seaside suburb of Glenelg lead by santa and travel into the Adelaide Hills town of Handorf.

It is a charity event which sees the bikers hand a toy in at the Handorf oval to St Vincent de Paul charity lorries where they are collected and redistributed along with food (at a later date). The toys are strapped to the bikes by any means and the presents range from the small to the extremley large for a motorbike!!

Whilst travelling through Adelaide the bikers pass out (throw!!) sweets etc to the many children that line the roads some who have gone prepared with their camp chairs and large bags for collecting their wares!

Whilst in Handorf we had never seen so many bikes parked at one time - there is everything from the modern day to the first days of motorbikes and then some! - every biker is supported - moto cross, day riders, trike, hells angels etc etc........ No trouble was to be found and none has been reported - a great day out!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

As we had competed for several years at agility in the UK we decided, that although we were now down to just the one dog, we would continue.

Our Australian Shepherd that we imported with us had just started agility back home so we were nowhere ready to compete with her but required a training club.

After several phone calls to various people we found a club local to where we were staying and more importantly would be training that night and we could go along and be assessed.

We turned up at the training venue which was about the size of a couple of football pitches (length wise) and there were about a hundred dogs there!! Alas they were not all for the agility but for the obedience side of the club - the agility was at the rear of the club house. We went round and there was about 10 dogs there!!!!!

The dog was assessed and it was decided that she was very good - by their standards - and she could join in with their competition dogs on both a Wednesday night and a Sunday morning.

To join their agility section the dogs had to be 18 months old and completed grade 5 obedience training - ours was over the 18 months but had not done any obedience other than basic training - sit, stay etc on lead! (the equivalent of their grade 1!) Handlers had to be at least 12 years old to train and to compete.

There are several clubs in the surrounding area that train agility second to obedience but there is a club closer to Adelaide itself which trains agility exclusively - we again had to be assessed and move up through their grades - again something she has done quickly! We now train 3 times a week - which sounds a lot but because of the size of the clubs, tends to only mean about 4-6 runs a night.

Another rule they have is that they don't train when the temperature is forecast to go above 32 degrees that day. It does stay this hot even at night and we are not anywhere near the summer yet!! It can also get pretty cold here - something we weren't prepared for.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The only whale we found whilst whale watching earlier this year at Victor Harbor!!
We hunted high and low for them but they always turned up the next day!!

The smallest penguins in the world come ashore every night at Granite Island, Victor Harbor.
There are tours at night that allow you onto the island to be part of the penguins return from the sea.
We've not made that exprience yet but hope to soon.
These penguins in the photo were part of a group in the rescue centre on Granite Island but they were a bit camera shy!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The great rental search!

Well we rushed out in the morning to get the local paper - all the jobs and rentals were to be in. Reading through the adverts for rentals we soon came to the conclusion that we had absolutely no idea where anywhere was and that most inspections were only available for about 15 mins at a time plus most said no pets - this was going to be a problem as our dog was currently in quarantine and would be joining us in just under a month!

Getting the map out we planned our route through suburbs that we had heard of and opening times that would mean we see as many properties as possible.

We were not prepared for the condition of the houses and gardens - if the house was clean the garden was a jungle with huge holes in the fence or the garden would be lovely but you couldn't fit a single bed into the bedroom - these were best case scenarios - there were a lot that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

However after seeing one bad one after another we settled on one that was close to the CBD - it had a reasonably sized garden and the rooms were a good size - needed cleaning but the current tenents were to have the place cleaned and presentable before we moved in. The dog was not going to be a problem.

We felt settled and started the hunt for furniture to see us through until our own furniture arrived.

Moving in day arrived! Horror of horrors when we went to get the keys the previous tenants were still there with quite a few of their belongings strewn throughout the house. We were informed that they had washed the carpets but they were still filthy - don't know which carpets they had cleaned - perhaps it had been at their parents house!!! The sun room windows nolonger had furniture in front of them and they also had no putty holding the glass in!! With a 2.5yr old in tow this was just too much to bear and told the owner we would not be taking up occupancy.

Our panic had begun!

However our panic was soon over thanks to forum we were part of - we were offered an unfurnished house in one of the more southern suburbs - about an hour from Adelaide.

We took about a month to secure the rental we are currently in and when our own furniture arrived we felt much more settled.

Life became for living not for hunting for rentals, cars and furniture!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Next stop Adelaide

Well after an 8 hour drive with a three old we finally arrived in Port Noarlunga South - about 30mins south of Adelaide's CBD.
Glad to have made it all in one piece - the weather had been pretty wild for the past couple of days and the TV news was full of destruction as it had been the worst storm to hit for about 25 years - just our luck! The weather had started to calm down and we were not under a tin roof - not recommended in a rain storm!!
We stopped here for the night before continuing into Adelaide the following day to the motel accommodation that my husbands work had organised for us for a fortnight. Little did we know that this would actually be the start of us living like nomads!!........

Friday, October 10, 2008

Our arrival in the land down under

When we arrived in Melbourne, Australia in April it was admist a huge storm and we wondered what we had let ourselves in for. Driving away from Melbourne's airport all we could see were clouds of red dust and the further out we got there were trees strewn across the main roads and all sorts of devastation and destruction from the strong winds.

Heading for Adelaide we decided to drive the Great Ocean Road - the scenery both on land and off is fascinating or least we think it is! - couldn't see too far because of the dust storms and the mucky rain!!! Normally rain will clear your windscreen, not that day it was mucky!!
We saw our first and so far only wild Koala on the drive just before we reached Mt Gambier, there were also emus feeding at the edge of a forest but of course the camera was in the boot at that point - typical!