23 June 2008

Back to Bobbin Head

I'm flattered! Thanks a million for all your emails and encouragement to continue with the blog.
So now you know..... stroke my ego and I shall provide blog-fodder! :-)

A little news before I carry on with the catch-up. A promotion finally came through for Scott! One of the Project Supervisors resigned and they asked Scott to fill his shoes. This guy has been supervising a really large project for one of the major insurance firms (think Old Mutual) for the past year or so. Scott took over the position last Tuesday and has already been given 2 additional projects to oversee and they're talking about another one. He's having a blast! He's now finally in a position to effect some of the changes which he's been thinking of since we arrived. So, it took him just short of 4 months! LOL! We all knew he'd make a huge success of this!

I took on a half day job at a plumbing company down the road in the middle of last month. Zero stress, half decent money, great bunch of people and okay hours. The only real complaint is that the hours are are from 10am to 2pm - right smack bang in the middle of the day. I would've preferred to start early and finish early - that way my "free" time would've been a large chunk of time in one go instead of two small bits on either side of my 4 hours of work.

So when a South African businessman offered me a job last week, I went in to see him and today accepted his offer of a job as production manager for his manufacturing line. The business manufactures bags and outdoor lifestyle stuff (tote bags, cooler bags, BBQ kits, loungers, camping chairs, etc) which it then sells on to promotions companies. Basically the promo companies order for their clients and the company then sorts out the artwork and manufactures to order. The company started in ZA and still does most of the stuff for Pick 'n Pay, Makro, etc. The company's also just landed the contract to do all of the FIFA-branded stuff worldwide (this includes the 2010 world cup stuff). So it's not a small company! I'm quite excited - it's going to be a great challenge and the money's not half bad with a review in 3 months time. I start next Monday. Tomorrow's going to be difficult - I have to hand in my notice at the plumbers. They're a wonderful bunch of people and I feel terrible doing this to them. But as they say...... gotta look after numero uno!

Our container arrived! Woooohooo!!!! :-) Now this place feels a bit more like home. All that hard work paid off - scrubbing bikes and shoes with toothbrushes and meths, vacuuming camping gear inside and out, etc. We cleared customs and quarantine without a problem but Pickfords charged us a bit extra because the access to our apartment was difficult. But everything went smoothly and not one breakage! :-) I managed to unpack everything in one day - it was exhausting but extremely rewarding.

And two days later, my folks arrived for the start of their Aussie holiday. They stayed with us for just over a week before they took the train up to my brother on the Gold Coast. They both arrived with bad head/chest colds. Scott & I were just getting over mild colds of our own so there was much coughing and spluttering! I'm actually not going to get into this now 'cos I've got pics which I'll post further down the line as part of a catch up post.

This coming Friday we've got our ex neighbours from Pinelands and very good friends - Penny & Tony - stopping over in Sydney for a few days. They've been hanging out on a beach in Bali somewhere and are on their way to Perth. Tony's a successful writer and extremely knowledgeable Egyptologist. Unfortunately they're only here for 4 days but we'll make the most of it!

And then my folks are coming back down to Sydney on the 19th of July. We're off to see Cirque du Soleil's latest show, Drallion - can't wait for that!

So all in all, a very exciting time for us (within an overall exciting time!) at the moment!

Saturday, 10th May 2008

We met up with Nike, James and Thomas at Bobbin Head for a picnic and a walk through the mangroves and on to the rain forest.

Setting up for our picnic opposite the kiddies playground - chicken salads & beer shandy on the menu!

A view of the river - it's one of the tributaries of the Hawkesbury River - Google Earth has it as Mooney Mooney Creek.

The start of the walkway which goes through the mangroves

Checking out the mangrove roots - apparently the roots send shoots up to the surface to grab oxygen (because the soil is constantly waterlogged, the roots can't grab it from the soil).

Climbing up towards the lookout point.

Thomas conquers the climb!

Thomas digs Scott! It was very cute to watch him even mimicking the way he walks - hands in pockets and all.

Thomas has got some strange quirks! He also digs his dog which has been in quarantine for the last few months. So he mimicks what his dog does too.......! He sniff stuff too! :-)

A cool lookout point above the river.

And into the rain forest....

I reckon that this spot is a nice little waterfall when there have been some heavy rains.

And back over the suspension bridge to the Bobbin Head picnic area.

My boat is parked at the Bobbin Head marina. I can't take it out yet 'cos I still need to do my skipper's ticket....... (I love dreaming!)

This is the Ware's driveway - it's unbelievably steep! Scott's van couldn't even get past the letterbox at the bottom. Anyway, because a wheelie bin is pretty heavy when full, they've devised an ingenious method of taking the bins down..... Yip, that's james in the boot of the car! LOL!

Just a pic to show you how steep the driveway is - the letterbox is behind me on the right. Scott nearly burnt out the clutch on his van trying to get up the hill!

Cheers for now!


20 June 2008

It's About Time.....

Boy! Am I in BIG poo for not posting for so long! My humble apologies to those of you who check the blog regularly for updates. (Especially you, Grant!)

So what on earth have we been up to? Well, settling in really. Finding our feet, getting to know our way around this enormous city, making our apartment feel like home and doing a few fun things along the way. Gosh, I've just looked at the photos we've taken since the last post at the beginning of May and there are stacks! So we seem to have done more than I thought. Okay, so this requires a strategy to set the records straight, as it were....... The best way to do this - and most manageable - is to post a few shorter catch-ups instead of one long one. Thing that takes the most time, is selecting the photos, downsizing each one and then positioning & captioning them into the blog website. So here's the first one......

Saturday, 25th April 2008

This was a VERY special day for some VERY special people......

Our beautiful niece, Jasmyne, celebrated her first birthday.

Our very special friend and gorgeous goddess, Janke, celebrated her 30th birthday.

And then there's Thomas..... A little background first...... Marc & Janke occasionally host the most awesome braai's. They usually start in the early afternoon and carry on until the wee hours. There are probably about 5 or 6 meal sittings in that time. People arrive, others leave, more arrive, another couple leave, a whole gang arrives, another small party leaves, another arrives......... You get the picture. They're extremely festive affairs and have become legendary. Over the years, we've met some amazing and interesting people as fellow guests at these gatherings. James and Nike Ware are two such people. (in fact I do remember one night, many many years ago.... a restaurant near Caledon Square.... I'm almost certain it was Jame's bachelor party - I could be mistaken) Their son, Thomas, came along 3 years ago and then the Wares left South Africa to seek their fortune in Abu Dabi. From all accounts, it was hot, expensive, bloody hot and not much fun. The company James was working for offered him a transfer to Sydney which he took. And that, in a nutshell, is how the Wares have ended up in a beautiful (if somewhat sparsely furnished) house in the seaside village of Avalon just north of Sydney for Thomas' 3rd birthday. An event to which we celebrated together.

Their furniture hadn't arrived yet, so we took along our blow up mattress, camping chairs, Weber barbie and some extra crockery. Right from the start we absolutely fell in love with Avalon - it's absolutely stunning!!!!

Okay, time is running away from me so I'm not going to write any more - will just add some pics. It was a FABULOUS weekend and I can't tell you how great it was to spend a weekend with people we knew.

A lookout point near James & Nike's place - I think that's Avalon beach behind us.

A pretty cool shot - if you look at the reflexion in Scott's glasses, you'll see us all.

James, Thomas & Nike

Thomas showing off for me & the camera at the beach

Newport Beach - it was such a stunning day - warm enough for sunblock!

Thomas' birthday pressie was a bicycle..... Oh wait, that's James!

Thomas opening some of his other pressies - we got him a Bob The Builder tool belt. It was so well secured to the box that Scott The Handiman had to come to the rescue with his Leatherman!

Thomas playing with his Thomas The Tank Engine stuff - oh, and wearing his Bob toolbelt.

Cheers for now!