Monday, 14 December 2009

Full House

Today I’ve moved one step closer to becoming a ‘local’ – by driving without the sat nav! I made it all the way to work and back without the need for directions, and even managed a detour to Bunnings Warehouse (that’s B&Q to you) without getting lost. Given my car park antics of three weeks ago, this really is progress in my automotive abilities! In another driving first, I was also pulled over by the police and breathalysed on Saturday night – thankfully they weren’t testing for Diet Coke consumption. (Note from Tom: Katie was not pulled over due to the quality of her driving, it was a random Police check!)

Right now we’ve just finished what I hope will be a very typical Aussie day for me and Tom. A good day at work for both of us with a prompt finish, home for a snack then off to the gym to get in some time on the treadmill before returning home for a dinner whilst the sun sets. Unfortunately today we are running a bit behind and the sun has already set, so instead of cooking the shrimps on the BBQ, Tom is cooking them on the griddle on the hob (I blame my Bunnings detour for this tardiness, and given my mum’s obsession with Homebase I’m afraid I just can’t help shopping for home improvement items – it’s in my blood!).

Anyway, more about the past week – it’s been a great one! Firstly my ankle recovered – after much rest on Monday and Tuesday I was limping around and then back to normal in no time. Secondly, this week marked the arrival of our first (and second and third!) set of visitors, which we’ve been looking forward to for weeks.

Sue and Peter (Tom’s parents) arrived on Tuesday evening, and we were really pleased to be able to go to the airport to meet them. They had already been travelling for 10 days by the time they reached us, having taken in Singapore and Perth. We were really excited to show them our flat and catch up on all their news – but before we could blink, the next set of visitors arrived! Peter’s cousin Merryl flew in from Brisbane the same night, and the next day Tom’s almost-sister Emma (long story) arrived via train from Perth. Ironically she left Perth two days before Sue and Peter and arrived one day later (moral – take a plane, not a train).
So, on Wednesday night we had a houseful and cooked dinner for the whole clan. We were blessed with a fantastic sunset and the food went down a storm – a really great evening.

On Thursday night we all went for dinner in Lygon Street – the Italian district. The pasta was fantastic but it was the desserts that really caught my eye. Tom and I shared a very elegant ice cream swan (see photos below), and the menu also included a rather dubious reference to a fruit dessert, served with “an appropriate sauce”... as opposed to what? An inappropriate sauce? Sue ordered it out of the curiosity, and just so you know, she didn’t rate the sauce!

Tom and I were flagging by Friday, by there was no rest in sight! We took Sue and Peter to the airport for the Tasmanian leg of their trip (they’ll be back with us next week) and in the evening Tom went for drinks with Emma and I had my work Christmas party! It wasn’t lawn bowls this time, so there was no health and safety assessment required for fear of me repeating my ankle injury. This time it was a big boozy night out at the famous Crown venue in the city. We had a fantastic ballroom, wonderful food and a great band – the fact that I only knew about 10 people out of a 1000 made it a bit difficult, but I’m sure it will be easier next year!

At the risk of this sounding a bit repetitive and diary-like, I’m now going to tell you what we did on Saturday.. we drove to the Dandenong ranges with Merryl. This trip is worth a mention just because I had the best pizza that I’ve found to date in Australia, and it is a real shame it’s a 50 minute drive from our flat. On second thoughts, it’s probably not a shame for my hips. By taking a walk in the forest, Merryl demonstrated that she is at least ten times fitter than me, despite being a generation older. Perhaps that has something to do with her volume of pizza consumption compared to mine. She took Tom and I to the most fabulous Greek restaurant in the evening – we will definitely be returning there and I thank you very much for the recommendation Merryl!

This week is my last week at work and I will be decorating the flat for Christmas. I still haven’t taken proper photos when it’s tidy so I’ll have to wait a bit longer before I post some. Here are a selection of pictures from the week however...

One of our sunsets

Merryl walking in the Dandenong Ranges

Tom and I taking in the view to the North in the Dandenongs

Station Pier is usually host to the Spirit of Tasmania - on Saturday the pier was shared with two huge cruise liners however!

Dinner with the Lister/Peterson/Roache clan


Our dining area, sea in background, blinds halfway down

Our lounge/dining area

Yachts on the water on a summer's evening

Ice cream swan!

One more sunset...

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