Friday, 19 March 2010

Melbourne City Romp

This week I'm opening up with some statistics - our blog now receives an average of 5 visits a day, except on a day when we've posted a new entry, when we receive around 50 hits! I'm quite pleased with this, so thanks to everyone for continuing to read. Obviously these statistics don't capture our offline readership, and 'Tom and Katie Down Under' is now truely accessible to all through both printed and audio formats. A big thank you to our diligent parents and their hard working printers for distributing printed version of the blog. Perhaps we should seek sponsorship from Hewlett Packard to cover the ink costs?!

We've had a busy week, Tom with two big projects at work (which were very successful) and me with various social activities (a much better type of busy). On the social side, our friendship pool has expanded by two more people thanks to the arrival of one of my colleagues from London and his girlfriend. I never thought I would celebrate the arrival of two more Brits, and I'm sure you think that we should be mixing with the locals, but it's actually very hard to make new friends in a city of strangers, particularly as an adult. Our closest friends mostly hail from North America, the UK or Ireland (Northern or Republic, we're not fussy), however I did break the cycle on Tuesday evening when I caught up with my Aussie-friend Danielle! Is it cheating that I actually met her in London?

Danielle and I went to watch Mamma Mia the musical, which is a light-hearted story of a young bride conveniently written so as to include all of ABBA's biggest hits. Except Waterloo, which the writers couldn't seem to fit into the story so it was the finale song instead. If you haven't listened to the songs (older generation), seen the musical (middle generation) or watched the movie (younger generation, in which I include children), then you must have been living under a rock for the past two to five years. The show was almost a complete package - it had great music, brightly coloured flared trousers, lots of laugher and a sprinkling of rather attractive half naked young men... but was rather short on a decent plot. I've often wondered how on earth the writers came up with a good story that so many ABBA songs conveniently fit into, and I now realise that they didn't...

Having sworn that we would take a break from fundraising for a few years (mostly to recover some goodwill from our very generous family and friends!), we've been tempted back by an incredibly entertaining Melbourne fundraising event called 'The Melbourne City Romp'. Described as part treasure hunt, part amazing race, the event requires teams of 3 - 6 people to race around Melbourne using clues to look for checkpoints and solving puzzles. After much emailing amongst friends for willing participants, we rounded up a team, which was appropriately named 'Spot the Aus One Out', as from 5 people there was only one Australian.

After a late dinner party on Saturday night, we hauled ourselves out of bed early on Sunday morning to meet our team-mates for a power brunch. Then we spent a gruelling four hours racing around the city! It was great fun and an excellent way to get to know Melbourne better. We received free entry to a lot of the attractions and museums, but the competitive spirit got the better of us so we didn't hang around to browse!

The final results were released today, and we visited 16 checkpoints in 4 hours, earning us 320 points. Topping this up with 14 points for sponsorship money raised, we clocked a total 334 points which placed us 363rd out of 2,400 teams! We were very pleased with this placing, especially as we only raised $14! Discounting the fundraising part of the points tally, we placed 21st - not bad for a bunch of newcomers?!

Katie, Tom, Jacqui, Rob, Erinn - can you spot the Aus one out?

Other recent highlights have included Skyping into Tush's hen weekend, which was fantastic (second to actually being there in person of course), and completing our camera course (watch this space). This weekend it's the Melbourne Grand Prix, and next weekend we are off to Brisbane to visit Tom's second cousin Merryl, so lots more to blog about in the near future. Many thanks to Florence for responding to my question about the official name for Tom and Merryl's family link!

That's me on the computer screen!

Until next time... G'Day!

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