Back up there!

Okay peeps, just like my decision to take off down under came outta almost nowhere, I can announce that I am heading back to blighty next month!

I’ve had a beautiful time here, but in my gut I feel like it’s time to come back even though I haven’t managed to see alot of things here, the place is just too damn big to do it in one go at a leisurely pace. Oh, I’ve fretted and thought about the possible amazing things that I could still see if I stayed and worked doing odd jobs along the way, but I can only take so much hostelling and meeting drunken teenage backpackers in one year. And I’ve done alot more than most of the muppets that come here and never leave Bondi beach. And old Mr Mastercard is very upset with me, so I better get my sorry ass back to the real world and appease the beauty.

And last but definitely not least, I actually miss some of you more than half as much as I thought I would (or whatever B Baggins would say) 🙂

23rd May, someone is givin me a couch to sleep on for a bit 🙂

Aussie Rules Football

AFL game at Telstra Dome

Finally, I got to see the famous aussie rules football in action! A friend from University, Jamie, was in town and suggested we go catch a Saturday afternoon game with his team Geelong playing the local Bulldogs.

The first point about the game is that it is long – each quarter is about half an hour long, with breaks in between that can be at least 10 mins. So if you go to a game, be prepared to sit (in the cold if in Melbourne) for about 3 hours!

The next is that it is loosely organised mayhem! There were no obvious formations on pitch that I could ascertain, and the general rule just seems to be to find a bloke to mark and give him a really hard time (pushing, shoving, punches to the back of the head included). There are no red cards in the game, although you are penalised for holding other players, and making high tackles.

But overall, I really enjoyed the game! There is a high degree of skill involved in kicking the ball to your team mates (remember kicking rugby balls?!), and catching it requires alot of athleticism. The score lines are generally quite high (98-97 in our game), and the pace of the game is quite exciting once the players manouever themselves into kicking distance. You obviously need to be very fit, as the pitch is huge (well, it’s a cricket oval), and very strong or you’d just fall apart. Apparently the sport evolved from a need to keep Rugby cricket* players fit in the winter season, whilst keeping injuries to a minimum. This either means that Rugby cricket* players are even tougher than I thought, or that AFL today is a little different from its humble beginnings.

It was a great day out, a few beers and snacks and I was quite happy to follow the game for a few hours. It’s also made me consider going to some rugby and football matches in England, just for the experience. And next time I am in the USA, I really want to see a baseball or american football game, as the whole experience seems very American, with the big stadiums, scoreboards and the merchandising and marketing (compare AFL and NFL). Of course, the Americans are padded wussies compared to these guys. If I was to stay in Australia I could probably turn into a real AFL fan. Just don’t ask me which team I would support 🙂

So probably seems like a good point to add a little footnote to this article!

Okay, I’ve been away for almost 7 months, and people might be wondering where all this is going. So far it’s been a great experience, I’ve overcome my unexpected aversion to being away for more than a month from “home”, and I’ve had time to chill out and meet some really cool people. But now I’m reaching a definite crossroads in my journey. The factors affecting me on this highway are: money, homesickness, careers, autumn in Melbourne, and growing aversion to being a long term backpacker. Therefore soon I am going to have to decide whether I think it’s going to be worth carrying the journey on at this stage. Probably I could get by for a few months of cheap travel if I pick up random jobs etc, but I don’t really want to be going near any more hostels and backpacker shared accommodations. My plan for this year was always more on the side of getting some decent contract work and staying in a few places for a good amount of time, interspersed with periods of voyaging and seeing the sights. Since that might not work well enough for a whole years stay, I may have to return another time and just see the rest of Australia without worrying about working. The thing I would miss most is the chance to do alot more surfing and diving…So I’ll let y’all know soon!

*thanks to Amanda for the correction!

The Great Ocean Road (trip)

The 12 Apostles

The 12 Apostles

Decided to do a road trip with my mate Karel whilst there was still some fair weather remaining down in Victoria, so we borrowed a big Nissan 4x Wheel drive Jeep and headed on over to the GOR, to see Bells Beach (think surfing) and the 12 Apostles amongst other things. Spent the first day doing some driving and checking out the spot where the worlds greatest surfers are right now for the Rip Curl World Championships, and ended the day by camping on a lovely remote beach. Spent the night half awake, half asleep whilst having bizarre nightmares about being towed away by vigilante cops/local hicks and such.

Would have stayed longer out of the city, but after yesterdays lovely warm sunny weather it turned cooler and rainier again. And I wasn’t overly enthralled at the prospect of sleeping in the back of the car again, with my giraffe legs all curled up inside. Really enjoyed driving a huge car though, massive 4.2L engine, I think i drove more today than I have done in the past 5 years! Fantastic.

Geeeetar

Guitar art

Guitar art

Well, it’s been 6 months without my guitar, and now that I have a room again it just felt too weird not to have one around! So coming out the gym I went straight across the road to the local axe shop and tried a few out and got this one. Feels great, although I’m not sure what I will do once it is time to move on again.

Observe the dodgy photoshop filter..nice.

What’s that creaking sound?

HobbesIt’s me turning 32…eeek! Anyway, there it is, woke up and my cat was there to wish me a good day, the chillier weather made me think that I might be back in London, how strange. It’s times like these that make you think about comin back home! Still, I’m sure a few beers will smooth things over later, ciao.

If it weren’t for you pesky kids..!!

Hmm, and I thought that after Sydney I wouldn’t have to deal with screaming kids in the house. Well I was almost right. However as I might be freelancing from home again, I have since discovered that right over the fence from my room window there is a childrens’ day nursery, full of the screaming little darlings.

Bugger.

Image of the scooby doo gang

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