2001-11 (NOVEMBER, 2001)

Marianne Comes Out To Play - Sydney, Australia

Andy, Dave & I had stationed ourselves in the Paddington Inn, awaiting the arrival of Marianne, a visiting friend of ours from the nest of reprobates otherwise known as ABAS Technology (UK).

Suddenly we were accosted by this blonde woman, at whom we politely smiled and to whom we extended an enquiry as to whether she was also a friend of Marianne's. As it turned out, it was Marianne. She was very quick to point out that it wasn't "blonde", it was "highlights" and "Brisbane sunshine" and "the lighting in the pub" and, also, that we were "wankers".

Andy soon disappeared and was replaced by two more of Marianne's Sydney-based friends. After a wee bit more drinking, the five of us transferred to the Light Brigade for dinner. Here Dave and I proceeded to ensure that Marianne would never invite us out with any of her friends again (although Dave and myself stand by the observation that the logo on the menu, if turned upside down, really did look like a set of male genitals).

The evening culminated in typical style: several pints smuggled out of a local pub; a pile of bricks; a homeless person; and the invention of a new game called 'Brick Jenga'. We're pretty confident that Terry-the-homeless-person is still teaching our new game to Sydney's out-of-doors community to this day.

Things wound up around 03:00 - not a moment too soon (and some would say many moments too late).

Our First UK Visitors - Sydney, Australia

Dave and I went out to Sydney airport to collect Stacey and Simon, our first visitors from the UK. We dropped them at their hotel (where they were staying for their first few night in country) and then got stupidly lost trying to find our way home across Anzac Bridge - which we could see from where we had started, but which quickly dropped from sight after entering Sydney's One Way system (we even got stung AU$2.20 trying to retrace our step across the harbour bridge at one point).

On Friday they relocated from their hotel to our house - our first guests in our new home.

They stayed with us until the following Wednesday and then took the crap weather with them up to Brisbane. Bummer. Still, it was nice to see them.

Our First BBQ - Sydney, Australia

We had actually bought the BBQ on the day we moved in. We had intended to cook our helpers a BBQ dinner to thank them for all their hard work. As it was we spent that night in A&E trying to find out why Andy couldn't breathe, so the BBQ was canceled.

This weekend, however, it was most definitely BBQ weather. We started at 14:00, when Dave and Jenny arrived and carried on through the afternoon as various people came and went. Yum!

'The Beaches Of Sydney: Mission One' - Sydney, Australia

Bungan beach, almost the most northern of the Sydney beaches, was the destination for Mission One.

We caught the bus into town and from there a bus up the north coast. The whole journey took almost two hours (including the walk at the end to get down to the beach), so we were hoping for something pretty special. As it turned out, the beach was pretty average, about the only highlight being the complete lack of other people. We spent several pleasant hours doing beach stuff (i.e. not a lot) and got a bit burnt. Fortunately we'd brought our own food and water, as there were no facilities. I've decided to build a 'Sydney Beaches' web site, which will, of course, require lots of field trips. Oh, well.

Miscellaneous Events - Sydney, Australia

This month we also enjoyed various events and arrivals. Events included seeing Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' at the Sydney Opera House (excellent, as ever) and the Melbourne Cup (when the whole of Sydney grinds to a halt for ten minutes, and most of it for the rest of the afternoon). Other arrivals (than Marianne and Stacey) included Cags (from ABAST UK) and the surprise appearance of the until-recently-employed-at-PwC, Master Alex Draper.