Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Thoughts On The UK

Well I am sitting here in the business lounge at Heathrow, awaiting my flight to Oz ... I got an upgrade to business class, so very happy.

My thoughts on this brief trip ... I had written out a long detailed list but the PC just scrubbed it so I will have to a condensed version !

1. Being back with my tribe

2. Family

3.The countryside

4. The history

5. Fantastic pubs in the towns and the country and of course dogs welcome in most, downside, too many sprogs allowed in pubs.

6. city in the world, always busy.   I was amazed at the pubs and restaurants were packed during the week ...what recession?  In Sydney they are busy during the weekend but weekdays, nope!
I loved travelling on the Thames clippers; my God, those boats get some stick, and I found out they are made in Australia! I spoke to some of the crew, they love the boats but said the heating system was crap; my answer was they don't need heating in Australia!

7.Driving - the roads are too crowded but the driving is 1st class, which is my biggest gripe about Australia - even more than dogs being banned from everywhere is that the drivers are CRAP.  I wish the Australian authorities would send their road safety experts to the UK to see how drivers are trained properly.

7. The canals of course, the list isn't in any particular order so i don't mean 7th best!

I will do a more detailed blog when I get back with some pics, but one thing for sure I hope we can sell the bleedin' house and get back here asap!  I totally know it is the right thing to do.  Nothing wrong with oz (apart from the drivers) but the change is long overdue!

All aboard and off we go.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sand Spurge and dog walking on the beach ...

What the ?  This article in our local paper made me see red this morning ... apparently we are not to be allowed a bit of a beach to walk our dogs as there is some endangered sand spurge there (?) - you can read the article here ...

I don't know why they just don't say they don't like dogs and don't want them anywhere ... would be a lot  more honest !

Well, that's on whinge for the day - another is that NO-ONE turned up to our Open House today - waaaahhhh !!

Signed ... Depressed of Sydney xx

Friday, November 18, 2011

Health Care in UK ...

... for us types wanting to move back !

My brother sent me a link to the following article ... shows that the 'emergency only' treatment is to prevent health tourism (I often wondered how the UK was coping with all that !).  It's an interesting read ... 
Also this info - again, from my Brother ... is also of interest re. health care entitlements ...
We must remember to keep all our selling and buying documentation when we do get to move ! 

Paul, the House and Shampoo ... 

Well, Paul is still away but heading back to the UK from Amsterdam today (ish!) -- off to Poole with his Boss to see some people.  He sounds like he has been having a nice time - and catching up on plenty of sleep, which is good ! 

Our stand-in Real Estate guy bought a couple of people through yesterday to have a look but rang today to say that one couple really liked it but are worried that when they have children and want the parents to look after them, our slope and steps up to the house will be too much for them - bla, bla, bla !! Note to selves ... always buy a flat block in future !  Ah well, another open day tomorrow ... please, please, please send us a buyer ! 

This morning, I thought I would try to make some doggie shampoo (I've been making soap for a while but never tried the shampoo!).  My recipe was a mix of Poly Decyl Glucose (from Cornstarch), Xanthan Gum, Geogard Ultra, plus Cider Vinegar, some ground oats and some essential oils.  
Sooo many bubbles left after washing up all the shampoo-making pots !
At first, I thought it was a complete disaster because it went all gluggy and wouldn't pour, but now it's not so bad - it settled down a bit in the fridge, so I washed the dogs with it.  They loved it !  Usually, when I wash them, they go mental, running up and down but after I washed them with this (to leave it on for a few mins) they laid down and waited for the rinse ... remarkable !  A success after all - just looks a bit odd !!  
Clean and Happy Dogs !!
Right - that's enough playing for one day ... I'm off to wash the walls in the backyard, brush the leaves, do a bit of pruning and clean the pool out ... Elaine x

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sorry NHS !

My brother has put me right on my comments on emergency treatment with the NHS - so I retract my previous statements ... sorry NHS !!  (It actually sounds like it would have been better than here ... I didn't get operated on for 24 hours and never, ever met the Surgeon who apparently did the op. - and who I paid for privately !).  I will meet him next week, however, for a follow up - but I will pay for that too !  Elaine xx

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Appendicectomies and Canals !

Well - there was a turn up for the books - didn't expect to be getting my appendix chopped out when I started off last week !   I must apologise about my husband's graphic details of my bodily functions ... too much info! However - a reality of life!

I was thinking about it all and I figured that my having my appendix out now is the 'Universe / God's' way of making it 'plain sailing' for when we do get on the Cut !  I can't imagine having to find a hospital and dealing with all that emergency stuff in the UK (I hear the NHS can be very trying these days !) but then not being able to lift anything more than 5 kg for 4 - 6 weeks - that would mean I would be totally off lock duties and have to drive the boat for 6 weeks (what a terrifying thought !!) - or be moored somewhere for 6 weeks!  So - thank you God, for getting that out of the way for me !! :)

Paul is in Amsterdam as I write this ... he rang before and said he had just slept for 13 hours !  He nearly had a heart attack driving from Milton Keynes to Luton (!) - said the traffic was just stopped - said he could have walked quicker !  However, he made his connecting flight to Amsterdam with minutes to spare!  He probably overdid the adrenaline there - no wonder he slept so long !   He will be attending the Boat Show with his boss for a few days now, before returning to the UK and doing some other visits over there - also with his boss !

I'm having a week or so off massaging, till things have settled down - so I am having a bit of a holiday myself ... which the dogs are loving !

The House ...
As regards the house - still no takers !  We had another open last Saturday - two couples through but no interest !  Boo hoo !  Please, God - now that my appendix is out of the way, can we sell our house and get on the Cut ?!!

Our friends are going to come around this Saturday and help me to clean up - mostly needing help with mopping and cleaning the pool and the garden - so it shouldn't take too long.  I feel another 'thank God' coming on ...

Thank God for all my beautiful friends and family who help / offer their help / send their love at these tricky times.  We are completely Blessed ! 

That's my lot for now !  Toodloo - Elaine x

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sydney Airport

Blogging from the Qantas business lounge at Sydney Airport waiting for the flight to the UK via Singapore,  I have to change planes in Singapore within a 1hour and 15 minute time frame so I hope the bloody thing isn't late, they are both Qantas flights so they generally wait if the first flight is a bit late.

I made the final decision to go on the trip this morning as Elaine had a good night's sleep and this morning her bodily functions returned to normal, if you know what I mean ... 5 days is a long time between No 2s!!!

We had to get the house ready for yet another open house, we had a bit of a role reversal with Elaine doing the dusting and very light work whilst I cleaned the floors, deck, hoovering and cleared the fu%&ing Jacaranda petals out of the pool.

Elaine just texted to say there were a few couples going through the house.....please buy it, the next time I want to be at this airport is with Elaine, 2 dogs and 3 cats and off to a new adventure!

All aboard we are off......  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Elaine Update

After having the CT scan it was confirmed as appendicitis and the offending appendix was removed Wednesday.
In the words of the eminent surgeon "It was very infected and manky"  Because of this they kept her in another day to pump her full of anti-biotics  so she should be released today I hope. She seemed in very good spirits last night which was good.
She is still in the EMU section (Emergency Medical Unit) which is where the patients are assessed after being taken out of the Ambulance, it is amazing how many nutters are unloaded I feel for the doctors and nurses that have to handle them.
I have taken today off work so I can give the house a good clean up before I pick her up, this of course is in anticipation of a successful open house tomorrow! Although the news coming out of Europe is a tad gloomy.
Still got my flight booked for tomorrow and am pretty optimistic that I will go, we will see how er indoors copes today when she gets home. So I will now have a whole day in England before going to Amsterdam, never mind as long as I can get down to the 3 Locks for a pint and a canal fix
I am now going to take the dogs for a good walk around Long Reef. Poor Bombo he is really missing Elaine and is constantly looking for her, Sam couldn't give a toss!    

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Elaine is a bit Crook

Elaine has been feeling a bit crook since about 2.00am on Tuesday morning, she had been complaining of stomach pains. When I got home from work Tuesday night she said she had spent most of the afternoon in bed as the pains were getting worse, the area of pain had moved to the lower  right area of the abdomen, so we thought we had better go to the local medical centre as it was looking a bit like appendicitis. Ten minutes after a quick diagnosis by the quack we were off to the emergency department of Manly hospital. We arrived at about 7.00pm and by midnight she had been seen by 2 doctors and 3 nurses, upshot being they were going to keep her in so they could monitor her vital signs etc.
I went home had a glass of red and went to bed at 1.30am!
I went up to see her before I went to work and by then the surgeon had been to see her and said she was going to have an CT scan and a ultrasound to make sure it was appendicitis. At 2.00pm they had completed the tests and confirmed it was appendicitis. It is now 5.00pm and they are operating as we speak. She will be kept in overnight and should be released at lunchtime tomorrow (Thursday)

Now this is the bit where it gets a bit spooky....5 years ago I was just about to go off on my annual UK/Amsterdam business trip and Elaine was diagnosed with the big C! Thankfully after they had operated it was found to be a benign lump! 3 years ago she broke her ankle a week before  was due to go, and now this. I am supposed to fly out tomorrow but have postponed it till a Saturday afternoon flight, she should be OK by then but if she isn't I will can the trip.

We also had a hot prospect coming to look at the house today but I had to put them off as the house looks like a shit fight at the moment, at least I can get it ready Saturday morning before the open house, and then off to the airport.
I came home from work early today as  the poor dogs had been locked in all day and were busting.

 I also jumped in the pool to 1, cool off on a bloody hot day and 2, clean all the Jacaranda flowers out of the pool.
Why o why would you plant a Jacaranda next to a pool? Every early November it blankets the pool and I have to clean the pool and filters every morning and night, the rest of the year once every couple of weeks is suffice.
There is an old boy who lives behind us and loves sitting on his deck looking at the Jacaranda, he is the only reason I haven't chopped the bloody thing down

Bloody Jacaranda

This was taken 5 minutes after I had cleaned out every flower, by tomorrow morning it will be completely covered!
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mods and Rockers

Today was the annual Ride with the Rockers 2011.  I borrowed my mate Matt's Triumph Tiger for the day; Elaine was going to come with me but as Matt and his family had gone camping for the weekend we were looking after their Golden Retriever Jackson, so she stayed at home with all the dogs.

I was up bright and early after another night on the turps (!) (we didn't get in till 1.00am) ... but it was all in a good cause - it was a fundraising night for a local family with 2 severely disabled daughters.

I decided to wear all my full leather gear today and guess what, the temperature reached the low 30s!
The Mo is in aid of Movember!
The meeting spot was Harry's Cafe de Wheels at Tempe which is a southern suburb of Sydney very close to the airport.

There were literally hundreds of bikes there of all shapes and sizes and of all vintages.

I will let the photos tell the story...
This is an original WLA Harley and it is still being ridden
Unfortunately, my bike started cutting out and refusing to start again!  I got it going again after some other bikers gave me a push start, but I was a bit worried about breaking down in the sticks on a stinking hot day so after about 30 mins into the run I decided to bail and and chuck a U-tun and head off home. Of course, the bike then ran faultlessly so I went for a bit of a spin up the beaches as I hadn't ridden a bike since I sold my beloved Bonneville a few months ago.

Mod and Rocker discussing the route
I had a Lambretta LI 150 in the 70s

Too Funny
Hope he has a big Alternator!
Lovely 1960s Triumph Bonneville
As I got home Elaine was just about to take all the dogs out down to Curl Curl Lagoon where they can legally go for a swim!! So after a quick change I joined her but forgot to take the camera so she just took one with her phone - you can see all the doggies enjoying themselves escaping the heat swimming in the water!

When we got home, the dogs were all exhausted ... here is Jackson having an afternoon siesta !

As we write this blog it has just started thunderstorming and torrential rain is pouring ... what a change !

Tonight we are off to a nice Thai Restaurant on Dee Why beach with our Ex Pat pommie friends who we met in the early eighties in Oz, plus two who I went to school with and worked with back in Luton - so a bit of history there ! 
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Selling Houses Australia & other Stuff

We had another meeting with Mr Real Estate last night, he also brought along his side kick, Tonto, as Mr Real Estate is off to Bali for a couple of weeks.

We had a good long chat on what to do next and why the house had not sold yet.  The main reason for not selling is because we are on a slope and the majority of people don't like steps!  So, last night I counted them, and guess how many steps.......12!!  So they like the view but not walking up 12 steps to get it, plus we don't have a lot of lawn just natural sandstone rock and bush.

We had to laugh when he said that the house was 'quirky' and needed a buyer who was a bit arty!   Don't know what that says about me ... when it comes down to art I wouldn't know my arse from my elbow! Elaine is arty because she has a brother in law who is a brilliant artist. (You can see his website by clicking here !)

The upshot of all this is that we will carry on advertising for another 6 weeks, albeit in the smaller black and white ads, plus the Internet (click here to see the ad!).  If it doesn't sell in the next 6 weeks we will take it off the market until the day after Australia Day - Jan 27th 2012 and start all over again!  Yawn !

The good news is that the bank rate dropped by .25 points 2 days ago which is the first drop since April 2009 - plus we have noticed that more houses are being sold recently, so still confident but it is such a pain getting the place ready for its Saturday open days!  Last Saturday was bit of a disaster because I went out with the works boys on Friday night for a Oktoberfest night, so after ending up upside down in a urinal and losing my mobile I wasn't a lot of help to Elaine getting the house sorted on Saturday morning!  My head healed about 1.00pm and someone had handed my phone in at the pub ...bloody honest these Aussies!  The open day last Saturday was a non-starter (after Elaine had toiled all morning getting the place sorted) ... one couple turned up .. and they didn't like it ! We were depressed to say the least !  Mr Real Estate reckons people don't like seeing the house next door, so we are looking at getting some screening put up !

Another good thing was that  Elaine got her car back from the panel beaters looking all nice and new again - it had a bit of a problem with the windscreen not being fitted correctly but that is being rectified today.

I would have to say the insurance process was so easy - one phone call, in which I explained that the car had been vandalised but didn't know when or where, and that was it - no forms to fill out, take it to a panel beater and get it fixed plus no loss of our no claims bonus, total bill was nearly $7000.00!  Glad we didn't have to pay that lot !

This weekend is all go!  We are going out with friends to a charity do on Saturday night, borrowing a mates Triumph Tiger on Sunday to go on a Motorbike ride and finally to a Thai restaurant on Dee Why beach with the ex- pat Pommie contingent on Sunday night ... maybe we will be celebrating selling our house - fingers crossed !!!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

UK Trip

I am off to the UK again next week, the main reason is to attend the METS trade show in Amsterdam. But 1st I fly to London then pick up a hire car and go and see mother, family and friends in the Milton Keynes-Luton area. Next stop Amsterdam for the trade show and various nights out being entertained, that means dinner and drinks, not red light area!! We stay at the Americain Hotel which was used as the Nazi headquarters in WW2, it has the most fantastic dining room and bar. This will be my 12th year of visiting Amsterdam and METS. We then  fly to Southampton, hire another car and go to Poole, London, Norwich, Kings Langley and London again, that's the business part done I am then left with 2 days off before flying home. I will be away for a total of 15 days.

Closest I will get to a canal will be the 3 Locks at Soulbury :-(  

This Saturday (bonfire night) will be 31 years since I left the UK and came to OZ as a young back-packer....I WANT TO GO HOME......just got to sell the bloody house....update tomorrow!