Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Barossa Valley

It was lovely in the Barossa! Just what we (= I) needed. Very peaceful, calm and quiet, with not too much to do, just the right mix to recover from the flu. I became ill a week ago on Tuesday, nothing special, just a running nose. Quite a bad running nose, when I held my head down the water just poored out of it! So I stayed home from work on Wednesday. And Wednesday night got a fever too. And then I threw up on Thursday, and on Friday I added some diarrhoea to the mix as well!

Lovely story I know. And I didn't have a present yet for Age's birthday, I thought I had more than enough time to get something! My last chance was on Friday, so off I went on my scooter on Friday morning to find something for the man, but I just managed to get into the village and off my scooter, and that was it. It didn't help that it was 35 degrees or something. I went home again, and straight to bed!

Saturday promised to be another scorcher, Age's first 38 degrees here! I've had it before, but Age was in Sydney. Hot weather seems to come with lots of wind, which makes it feel even hotter - the shade doesn't get the chance to cool down or something like that. And then the humidity on those days is only 12%, which makes it hard-going too - you're thirsty all the time, and your eyes and nose dry out, but you probably feel that particularly well when you're having a cold :-)
Anyway, it feels like dangerous weather for the body.

The best thing on Saturday? We drove to the Barossa, which is only 1.5hours away from us, a beautiful scenic drive, went to our hotel, and plonked straight into the swimming pool. Pure bliss! The pool bar was open too, and with our drinks, wedges and views of the valley the holiday had started.
Watching an electrical storm go past on Sunday afternoon
Santa visited the Barossa - yes, he's really busy - and got Evelyn a....... cockatoo!!! Woohooo! Age and I have had some good fun about it, as I'd seen it from day 1 in the Proshop at the golf club (the cockatoo is a cover and you place it on one of your clubs). Then suddenly it was gone! Someone had bought it, a couple of weeks ago! So when I saw Age again after a round of golf when I discovered that the cockatoo was gone, I told him about it. His reply was that I then maybe wanted Goofy? Or the Road Runner? Nooooo, I only liked the cockatoo.

Anyway, I forgot about it, until the night before Christmas, lying in bed, I suddenly figured that Age must have bought the cockatoo for me (as you can see, it kept nagging me), as I couldn't think of anyone else in the whole golfclub (not that I know anybody there yet) who would buy something like that for his missus. And then I got the giggles! And told Age that I knew what was in his present for me!

Funnily enough I was right! And Age kept pushing me towards the golf club on Sunday, and I kept trying to avoid playing golf, as my bowels and stomach didn't really what they were supposed to do, but in the end we ended up on the golf course for 9 holes. I was going to play - I brought my own clubs, and Age was going to caddy for me as he wanted the walk he said (which was strange as Age is never the one to propose a walk). Okay then. So when I turned around to rummage through my golf bag, there was MY cockatoo sitting on A NEW GOLF CLUB!


Santa bought me a brand new driver (yes, he knew the specs exactly), and a new 3 Wood was under way. Which they rang about on Saturday morning, while we were still in bed, Age said. At the time I asked him who that was on the phone, and he said that it was someone from tennis, he didn't have to play tennis that day, he wasn't needed. Which I found somewhat strange, that there would be a competition on on the 24th, as everybody would be busy with Christmas and so. And Age in turn thought that that 'lie' wouldn't go down very well, because we would leave for the Barossa, but I'm probably not every ordinary house wife who keeps her man on the leash on those days, so I didn't think much of it. If he was going to play tennis, I could secretly go out again and try one more time to get a birthday present.

Well, I had the best Christmas ever! And Age didn't get anything. That was not very fair, but he didn't seem to be too hurt actually. Even on his birthday there was no present in sight - all the shops closed, but we did have quite a nice day. We drove back from the Barossa, and later on did a lovely walk along the coast in South Adelaide, see the pictures below. It was the Hallett Cove Walk. Halfway down the walk we saw signs 'Snakes regularly seen in this area'. Just what we thought, we slowly get to know snake country. We haven't seen one yet, but I'm sure we must have walked past some here and there now that it's getting hotter.

The other day we had a blue tongue lizard in the garden, it made lots of noise when cruising through old leaves, and at first I thought it was a snake as I only saw its tail, so I got a little bit of an heart attack :-) They apparently are a gardener's best friend as they feed on snails!
Blue Tongue Lizard

Rock formations formed by glaciers 380 million years ago


Age will get his present, as soon as we've got the courage to dive into the after-Christmas sales. He wants garden furniture! Well, that can be arranged :-)

Looks pretty there on the coast, doesn't it? All those strange structurese have been formed by glaciers and melting ice about 380 million years ago. Insane, isn't it?

Amphitheatre - limestone
More limestone structures

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas frenzy

I still find it hard to believe that Christmas is already knocking on our door again, but all the signs are there:
  • people who have end-of-year road rage - we have to be really alert when driving to work as a lot of people seem to have forgotten how to drive;
  • lots of Christmas do's - we've already had Christmas drinks at Age's work, drinks with my team, and this week we had a Christmas lunch with my team, and a Christmas dinner with Age's team. And somehow it feels like we haven't touched a pot or pan in our own kitchen for weeks, we've been out for lunch and dinner continuously the last two weeks!
  • really busy in the CBD, it's buzzing!
  • me doing a lot of Christmas shopping during lunchtime. It's quite annoying that the shops close at 5.30pm, so there's never time after work to get things done, only on Thursday and Friday. Last weekend we got this nice parcel at the front door (and you know how we love parcels at the front door) - and yes, it was a box full with little presents - but that made us have to kick into action!! So gone were the lazy walks along the river after a Malaysian, Thai, Indian or whatever lunch! Evelyn had to hunt for presents to send away (Age escaped his obligations as he was in Sydney)!! Four lunch breaks later we finally thought we had some nice little packages.

    Then yesterday we had one hour to drop everything off at the post office. Well, that hour clearly wasn't enough, considering the queue that went through the doors up till the kerbside outside. So the only thing we got done was buying the boxes (in every size and shape) to put it all in. Then Age dropped me off at the golf club, and he finished the job - writing addresses - and found another post shop that was still open (also very annoying - post shops that close on Saturday at 12pm). It cost more than $300 (!!) to send our nice little parcels away! Every year we say 'this really was the last time' because of that and because we are always too late with these kind of things and never prepared, but probably the best thing to do is just to quickly forget about it. The nicest thing is buying the gifts, placing it all on the floor in the lounge and look at it :-)

    Oh, and they won't arrive before Christmas - we knew that already :-) People who think they might be eligible for a gift from Santa shouldn't start running to the front door just yet.
And lastly, we have our South Australian drivers licence! Within three months of arriving we needed to exchange our NZ licenses for an Australian one. Of course we were late arranging this too, mostly because it's all so bureaucratic, you need forms, identification, and evidence of residential address (what on earth does it matter where you live???). Anyway, we've got it now, and can't use our NZ licenses anymore. And we found out that every state has its own drivers license. So we don't have an Australian drivers license, no it's a South Australian license. A nice milk cow for the government - don't know if this saying makes sense in English, but you get the point.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Socialising

Golf Adventures
Last weekend I went to my new golf club to try out the set of golf clubs I borrowed from Roger and Fran. When I was just about finished I saw this lady on the practice putting area, and I started chatting with her. She was there to play 9 holes with a friend, and they invited me to come along, which was a very good idea indeed! One of them regularly plays with the business women on Sunday, which was the group of ladies I was going to play with the next day (that's why I was practising).

With golf you always end up in the bar afterwards, for a drink and a bite to eat, usually together with the people you just played with. The golf club has a bar downstairs and a big restaurant/bar upstairs with great views over the course. There is a fully equipped kitchen, with chefs, there is bar personnel, and there are waiters! And an extensive lunch and dinner menu too. Yummmmm.

On Sunday I played with the business women, a small group of about 12 ladies who tee off together and have their own competition. The actual day for the women to play and have their competitions is Tuesday, then there is a field of about 70 ladies - obviously those women don't work on that day, or are retired. The ladies were lovely, took care of me during our round of golf, and invited me for their Christmas get-together that same Sunday evening, which was very nice of them.

Planning Day at Work
Then at work on Tuesday we had this 'planning day', a whole day with our division to ''plan the year ahead', but it wasn't really clear to me what that meant. Looking closer at the invite, we were advised to wear comfortable clothes and shoes and bring a hat as the organisers thought it would be much nicer to spend the day with colleagues, do something active, and get to know each other better, than to sit in a meeting room and work. An excellent idea indeed :-)

The day started with a healthy breakfast and a short lecture about the pros of starting your day with a good breakfast (after all I'm working in the Division of Health Sciences), and then it was revealed that we were going to be split up in teams, walk to the Adelaide Zoo and spend the day there scavenger hunting, taking photographs for a 'best picture' contest, and completing heaps of other assignments! The zoo is about 500m away from work, it looks very modern, park-like and leafy, and it was going to be a terrific day with 31 degrees. And it has two giant pandas!

Our team won movie tickets with a contest of creating a zebra from tin foil in 10 minutes, and a yummy chocolate panda bear from Haighs Chocolates with the scavenger hunt. There were actually some really good prizes, and the team that won the overall prize for their assignments got a voucher for one day off plus a $50 voucher. The team that came second received four hours off work and a $25 voucher. Quite neat!

More Golf Adventures
On Thursday there is Twilight Golf at the golf club, meaning a 9 hole competition, where you can tee off between 4 and 6pm with a meal afterwards. We found out that it is quite a race to get away from work early, to get home, get changed, and be there before 6pm ready to tee off! Age dropped me off and he went straight to tennis, and I was just in time to play my 9 holes with two blokes who were about the last ones to tee off (teeing off after 6pm means that it gets too dark to be able to finish - even in mid summer it gets dark here around 8.30pm).

Xmas Drinks @ Work
Then on Friday we had the Christmas drinks at Age's work, to celebrate the year that was and all that has happened with the company: a new office, new employees, new clients, a new name. It was a very nice evening with a group of about 15-20 people.

Even More Golf Adventures
Yesterday I played golf again, really early, at 8.17am. You think you're the only one getting up and so, but no, you can start at 6.30am if you like! The course was packed, as Saturday is a popular day. Usually there are then 250 men in the field and about 2 or 3 women. I played with two men, again, they took care of me during my round, even raked the bunkers for me :-)) And I got into heaps of bunkers, as I don't know my borrowed golf clubs that well - what distances I shoot with them, so there was a lot of raking to do. Afterwards we had lunch in the restaurant, and they invited me for next week :-)

That morning when I looked out of the bedroom window I thought it looked rather cloudy, a bit foggy even. Well, when I drove to the golf course, which is further up in the hills, I couldn't see a thing! It was seriously foggy! The fog made our round rather interesting, as you didn't see the group in front of you, the group behind you couldn't see us, and we couldn't see where our balls were going. There was a lot of yelling going on between groups: 'anybody on the green??', 'are you past that bunker yet?', I can't find my ball, I'm coming back!'. It was really funny! One of the men I played with lost 4 balls on the first 9 holes - then the fog cleared and it became all sunny.

Out for Dinner
In the evening Age and I went out for dinner with Roger and Fran (from the golf clubs - we met them through Lois and Richard) and another couple,good friends of them. We went into town to this organic pizza place, a nice looking eatery, and very busy. I should say: very very busy. And therefore incredibly loud! The acoustics were terrible! That was quite a shame, as we couldn't hear ourselves and our conversations were going nowhere. We finished our pizzas quite quickly and decided to have our coffees somewhere else, which was a very good idea.

Looking Forward
There's only two weeks left before Christmas, and that is very noticeable; people are in a festive mood! The students at Uni left two weeks ago for their summer break, staff is busy marking work and there is a lot of 'holiday' talk. We'll be in the Barossa Valley with Christmas, followed by a trip to Perth to see Marc and Marian :-)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Stitches

Last week Age made a lasting impression at his new tennis club. He tripped over his own feet when diving for a ball, and tried to set his chin alight on the surface of the court. The result was that at 9.30pm at night he needed stitches. So where do you get stitches on a Monday night? At the emergency department of a hospital.

So two guys who played with Age had to get him to the hospital, one to drive our car, as Age had to keep a towel or something like it against his chin, and another one to drive a second car, so that they could go home after dropping Age off. Apparently the driver of our car hadn't driven a manual for a while, so the ride must have been quite entertaining.

I was at home, doing nothing much, and I got this phone call, and I thought it rather nice that Age let me know he was about to come home from tennis, but it was a bit different: 'Hi, it's me. I fell on the court. Now I need stitches'.
'You did what??'
'I fell, and now I need stitches'
'O, you idiot!'
'Yeah'

So he got his stitches, and his anti-biotics, and a tetanus injection. And came home around midnight.
It's healing fine, the stitches have just come out today, and now he needs to be careful for 2 months. Careful with what, I wondered, well, apparently it's shaving! So I may get a wild looking beardy guy soon, rrrrrrrrrrrr.