2003-11 (NOVEMBER, 2003)

Home Alone - Sydney, Australia

Andy went of to Perth this weekend to attend a wedding, so I got to be 'home alone' for a whole weekend. Cool!

On Saturday I popped down to the Balmain Arts & Craft Show to check out the 'Balmain Living' Photography Competition results (a week or so before Andy had picked me up an entry form for the competition, so I had had a dig around and submitted this 📷). There were three awards up for grabs: a professionally-judged 'technical' award; the Mayor's Choice; and the People's Choice. I walked into the display area and was greeted with 160 entries (crikey!). I made my way to the 'Finalists' board, but my photo was nowhere to be seen (Doh!). I made my way around the rest of the display area - still no joy (double Doh! - had they lost my entry?). I was on my way out, choking back the tears, when I spied the 'Winners' board (as distinct from the 'Finalists' board?!). And there was my photo! It had picked up the 'technical' award! I won AU$200 and a camera - how cool is that!

On Sunday I made a dozen double-banana muffins and ate 11 of them. I also pressed on with building my wooden canoe 📷 and made some good progress. I did no cleaning, no washing, no ironing, slobbed around in my track pants (actually, that's not that unusual), watched the Rugby with no interruptions, farted without having to apologise (again, not that unusual, but at least I didn't get yelled at) and generally enjoyed a wee taste of Bachelorhood. Now all I've got to do is clean the house before the old girl gets home... anyone know how to get muffin mixture off the ceiling?

Molloy Family Reunion - Auckland, New Zealand

This weekend I met up with my Mum, Dad, my sister, Milly, and her boyfriend, Mike, and attended an extended Molloy family reunion in Auckland. My Dad's side of the family does this kind of thing every five years or so, but we worked out that I hadn't attended one since 1985. People had changed, I can tell you - all the pre-teens from last time are now knocking on thirty! We were looked after so well by the family - one advantage of having relatives of Irish decent is that they are well used to looking after a large crowd. The food and drink flowed all weekend.

On Saturday morning the boys breakfasted in Devonport whilst the girls went shopping in Newmarket. I got to collect some fibre-glassing supplies that I needed to help complete my canoe. We rejoined the girls and headed out to Molloyville for our gathering. I bent the ear of a second cousin, Jess, who is a boat builder by trade, for a good hour or so - the poor chap will probably never want to speak to me again! He's off to Europe at the end of the year to try his luck at joining an America's Cup Syndicate (Kiwi boat-builders still have a good reputation, despite the lemon they produced for the last Cup). That evening we went over to some friends of Mum & Dad to watch the All Blacks get thrashed by the Wallabies. Cak. I did, however, get to meet their daughter, Eve, and we chatted for ages about photography whilst the old people shouted at the television.

On Sunday we met some more Molloy's for breakfast before heading over to the W? Cemetery. My Grandfather, Jack Molloy, had past away some years ago, but nothing had ever been done with his ashes. Today we added them to the newly refurbished Molloy Family Plot (home to 14 other Molloys to date) and we all said our goodbyes. We adjourned for lunch to the Titirangi home of some more relatives, with a detour past our old family house. I spent a splendid half-an-hour wandering in the bush and along the rocky shoreline of my childhood - bliss. Our party, less Dad, spent the afternoon in the Auckland Museum before meeting up again for dinner at the home of yet another set of relatives. After a great, if somewhat rushed, meal, Milly and Mike headed out to the airport, whilst Mum and I returned to our motel.

I caught the Red Eye back to Sydney on Monday morning.

Weekend By The Sea - Surfer's Paradise, Queensland, Australia

This weekend Andy & I met Mum & Dad in Surfer's Paradise. They had an apartment by the sea for 10 days and we took over their spare room for a weekend of blobbing out and not a lot else (the weather was a bit poo). I did get my first swim in the ocean for the season, though - gorgeous!

Tim & Matt arrived on Sunday to spend the rest of the week with the Olds. Today was Mum's birthday so I treated her to dinner at Palazzo Versace. Not bad.

Andy & I caught the Red Eye back to Sydney on Monday morning.