2004-11 (NOVEMBER, 2004)

Ma & Pa Visit - Sydney, Australia

My Mum & Dad came to stay with us in Sydney for a few days. They arrived on Thursday afternoon and I met them at the airport and escorted them home to our little house in Balmain.

They were left to their own devices on Friday, but we all met up for a posh dinner out that evening. Our meal at Aqua Dining was typically Sydney - a stunning location, outrageous prices, decidedly average food and odd service.

On Saturday Dad piled off to a Dental Conference (the reason for their trip) whilst Mum went shopping. Ma cooked us a slap up meal on Saturday evening and we ate, drank and chatted outside whilst the sun slid down.

On Sunday I had arranged for us all to have brunch and a tour on an island in Sydney harbour. The Fort Denison Brunch trip was great - the place itself was fascinating 📷, the building works stunning 📷, the tour informative and the food yummy. Fort Denison is a example of a military 'folly' - a defensive fort that cost vast amounts of money, was never put to the test and would have been next-to-useless if it had. The only 'action' that it saw was as the victim of a US 'friendly fire' incident in WWII. Upon returning to Circular Quay we all went our separate ways - Mum to the Botanical Gardens and Art Gallery, Dad to the shops and Andy to Los Angeles (away for the week with work). I went home to do chores. A great dinner was had at a nearby Tapas restaurant.

Monday was their last full day in town and they made the most of a rather grey and rainy day by meeting my brother at Bondi Beach before a stroll along the cliffs to view the 'Sculpture By The Sea' exhibition. Pizza and a DVD were the order of the evening.

They departed early on Tuesday morning and I had the house back to normal before heading into work.


... as in "up the", not the beer in The Simpsons (mmmmm, beer...).

Yep, we are now able to officially announce that we are 'with child'. Well, Andrea is - I just look as though I am. All going well we will begin several decades of sleep deprivation in May of next year. How exciting!

Addendum: 8 week scan: 📷, 10 week scan: 📷

A Weekend In The Blue Mountains - NSW, Australia

We spent our penultimate weekend in Australia in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. We shared an idyllic cottage near Blackheath with the Barker Family (Chris, Judy, Anna & James).

Andy and I drove up on Friday evening after work and got in at around 20:30. The kids were in bed so the grown-ups (and me) tucked into a fine repast of pies from the Blackheath Bakery and a red wine or three. We had all had a long week, so the night was not a long one.

The kiddies had us up early on Saturday. After a leisurely breakfast, the Barkers and myself piled into the car and drove to the head of a bush track that we wanted to try. Unfortunately the weather closed in around us before we got underway, so we deferred our hike in favour of coffee & cake at a local café. Back at the cottage, we spent the rest of the day grazing, snoozing and playing with the young'uns. Andy & I were in charge of the dinner arrangements and we cooked up a sausage and potato casserole to ward off the wet and windy night. With a dash more red wine the Molloy/McDonough team slaughtered the Barker team at Cranium.

Another child-induced early start was had on Sunday. Andy & I elected to mind the sprogs whilst Mum & Dad Barker went out to do the walk we had postponed the day before. They returned with reports of the good, but challenging walk and relief that we had not taken the wee ones on it the day before. For lunch we splashed out on an excellent meal at Collits' Inn in Hartley Vale. I spent most of my afternoon sleeping off my lunch. A Cranium rematch that evening evened the score.

We drove back to Sydney first thing on Monday morning. A most pleasant penultimate weekend with friends!

Dave & Jenny Come Down To Play - Sydney, Australia

The Dogwood Duo came down to Sydney to stay with us for a whole week (well almost - Dave had to go to Canberra for 2 days) before we head away from Sydney for good. Activities included: an evening at the Welcome Tavern (of course); Andy's leaving do (a music trivia evening at the Pyrmont Tavern); a wee gathering at our house to farewell the Balmain gang (lots of homemade sangria); a trip to the flicks to see 'Hero'; and a half-day of stuffing Jenny's car with all the crap we couldn't take with us.