Tuesday, March 24, 2009

England win the World Cup in Australia!

Congratulations go to the England Women's cricket team who won the Cricket World Cup last weekend beating New Zealand. Hosts Australia unfortunately didn't make it to the final despite being pre-tournament favourites.

Warwickshire fast bowler Nicky Shaw, called into the squad only minutes before the start, returned career best figures of 4-34 as New Zealand, batting first were bowled out for 166 in 47 overs after winning the toss.

In response, after a nervy start, where they were at one stage 149-6, England reached their target with 23 balls to spare. Shaw returned to star with the bat knocking 17 off 23 balls earning her the player-of-the-match. It's the 3rd time that England have won the tournament and they replace Australia as the No.1 women's team. Surely a good omen for the (men's) Ashes starting in July.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Little Audrey in the News

No, not THAT little Audrey, but a landmark in Melbourne.
I heard on the news today about the restoration of a 1920's neon sign which was the first of its type erected in Melbourne. It portrays a little girl (nicknamed Audrey) the logo of 'Skipping Girl Vinegar' and has a long and interesting history. It was declared a Victorian Heritage Icon by the (Australian) National Trust in 2007.

The sign which hasn't been operational for 10 years was taken down today by two large cranes (the sign is 7 metres high) and will be restored over the next three months - even equipping her to work on renewable energy. After that Audrey will skip again and become part of Melbourne's landscape. I'll definitely be looking out for her on my next trip to the city.

Little Audrey in Abotsford, Melbourne

Friday, March 20, 2009


I was in Sydney for a couple of days this week and when I returned home I found Amy with this book by the side of the bed...should I be worried?
If you're reading this after my demise - then draw your own conclusions!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Going on 40 - no electric shocks

Saturday marked my 40th birthday.

It was a bit of a strange watershed to be honest as I think I've spent the last 20 birthdays elongating my birthday into about a week of celebrations. With this one I was happy to let (my age at least) pass relatively un-noticed. Hopefully I won't be having a mid-life crisis anytime soon (Amy says I'm not allowed one).

Amy organised a lovely garden party for me on Saturday morning, although to be honest the amount of children there meant that it very quickly became obvious that it was really Audrey's party. I think all that was missing was pass the parcel/pin the tail on the donkey etc. There was a good turnout of people, although they were probably considerably out numbered by the flies.

I must admit it was a tadge strange to be surrounded by Aussies (ok there were a couple of Brits there) and I certainly missed friends back home, but the nice weather and good company meant my birthday was definitely a Reason to be Cheerful.

(Part 3)

Audrey prepares to help her dad eat his cake

Tim, Hayley, Ted and Alex made the track from Sydney to help celebrate

Friday, March 13, 2009

Brumbies v Waratahs

Tim and Hayley (Alex and Ted) came to stay for the weekend from Sydney.

Tim had managed to scrounge 4 tickets to the big rugby game at Canberra Stadium, so for the second time in as many weeks I made the trip to north Canberra along with Andy and Simon.

If I'm honest the rugby had a lot more atmosphere than the football, perhaps because Brumbies (the Canberra team) attract a regular crowd whereas the lot watching the football were all strangers to each other.

Tim started in fine voice with his support of Waratahs, the Sydney team (causing the guy in front of us to change seats!) but grew steadily quieter as the game moved in favour of the Canberra team.

After some awful kicking by the Waratahs, the Brumbies emerged victorious (21-11) and we headed into Kingston for a (very rare) pint (or large/pot/schooner or whatever it was) and the obligatory kebab.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Degas at the National Gallery

Monday was 'Canberra Day' celebrating 96 years of the town. It's a declared public holiday, so I got the day off work and the three of us decided to go and join the Canberra cognoscenti by visiting the Degas exhibition currently showing at the National Gallery

It doesn't have much longer to run (it finishes on 22nd March), but if you are in Canberra before then I'd recommend taking a look

It's a really big exhibition with paintings sourced from across the world, tracing the Artist's early paintings through to sculpture and his later photographic work.

The exhibition was packed on Canberra Day, and there were multitudes of people filling the gallery. It didn't really take away from the exhibition though and we spent quite a long time looking round.

One of the best things about the exhibition was the childrens' room - a small annex off the main gallery. It was well staffed and the kids that ended up in there had lots of Degas-related activities laid on for them. These ranged from Degas books, through to toy horses and clothes allowing children to dress up as ballerinas or jockeys (Degas was pretty keen on painting both horse racing and dancers)

We put Audrey in a (too big) tutu and she really loved parading in front of the mirror and looking at herself - unfortunately she kept treading on her skirt and falling over, so I don't think we'll see her at the Royal Ballet for a little while.

spot the difference

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Canberra Balloon Festival

We woke up at the crack of dawn to visit Canberra Balloon Festival this week.

We got Audrey out of bed (normally it's the other way round) and took her down to Old Parliament House. There were around 35 balloons taking off, and it was great to see them. The morning was crisp and the sun was just coming up.

Audrey really loved watching them, and we stayed for quite a while before heading home for breakfast.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Australian War Memorial

We paid a trip to the Australian War Memorial on Saturday. It's a pretty impressive building which forms an integral part of Burley-Griffith's master-plan of Canberra.
They've got a really good and informative museum there. Australian's war history is obviously all fairly recent, and as such is un-burdened by not really having to go much further back in time than the Boer war - so no need to squeeze in that list of Henry VIII's victories, or even having to mention Napoleon.

There's also a really good kids' section, where you can pretend to be on a submarine or fly a helicopter whilst a projected screen of choppers fly in front of you. Audrey loves this - she's been there twice and it's been a real favourite of hers... perhaps she's got ambitions to be a pilot? I enjoyed co-piloting the helicopter with her, whilst imagining myself on the opening credits of M*A*S*H

TC eat your heart out

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Socceroos Cambarrasment

While Wolves were struggling to maintain their lead in the Championship, 10,592 miles away three of us (me, Mark and Andy) went along to watch the Socceroos (Australia) game at Canberra Stadium. They were playing the mighty Kuwait ranked somewhere around 1,025 in the World.
There hadn't been an international football game in the Capital for several years, and combined with the city's bid to host an 'A League' big things were expected.(I was pretty excited about it all)

In the end 20,032 people turned up (pretty impressive for a 'rugby town') and the roads were full to and from the game.

That said I can't really say there was a big-match atmosphere. The noise volume of the crowd ranked somewhere between the Madjeski and the Billy Wright stand (that's quiet). Certainly there wasn't any chanting (from our end of the stadium at least) and we smirked a bit when the ball was kicked into the crowd and everyone leaned to watch, and then cheer, as someone caught the ball (....errm it's not cricket chaps)

Mexican waves abounded - the crowd almost oblivious to the rubbish being trotted out on the pitch. Australia had a chance to take an early lead but their striker ballooned the ball over. Lanky Central coast Mariners striker Simon being particularly poor missing a hatful of chances and looking completely lost throughout the entire 90 minutes.
Kuwait scored on 37 minutes, a stumbled/diving header from a free kick - their small contingent of fans gleefully celebrating the goal. Despite having 50 minutes to chase the game the Socceroos never really came close to getting an equaliser. They were a very poor team playing in a very poor game.

Despite all this, it made a nice change to sit and watch football with a glass of beer (the chips were v.nice too) and the tickets had only set us back $25 (about 12 pounds) which wasn't bad for international football, despite its quality. (It costs at least 16 quid to get into a Cambridge United game)

We wandered away into the night loaded down with a stack of promotional merchandise - blow up clappers, scarves and of course our Aussie hats. Don't get me wrong despite the dire Australian performance my memory is also long enough to remember England going behind against San Marino (and also Sven's 22 players losing 1-0 to Australia). It really is a funny old game.

...or perhaps not

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fun in Sydney

Last weekend Trevor had to go to Sydney for a conference so Audrey and I decided we'd tag along and have a mini-holiday. We stayed in a great location - a one bedroom apartment about 5 minutes walk from Darling Harbour.

We had an early start on Saturday morning but Audrey proved herself to be a consumate jetsetter. She woke up in a lovely mood and was happy to amuse herself on the plane by playing with the lights, tray table and studying the emergency landing card. She grinned all the way in the taxi to the apartment. I think she sensed that she had landed in the 'big smoke' and that she was in a for a fun few days.

We managed to see the aquarium, zoo and the Wildlife Park while we were there. Audrey loved seeing the hoppies (kangaroos) again and fell in love with koalas too. Perhaps though the highlight for Audrey was the playground at Darling Harbour which had two slides - I think we spent quite a few hours there going up and down (with her precious doll 'baby' in tow).

Here are a few pics of the trip.

Audrey spots the penguins in the aquarium

Audrey does her best Dugong impression for the camera

On board the cablecar to the zoo

Audrey wishing her mum had packed more snacks so she didn't have to pick her own!