Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Short week

It's a short week this week, with a National holiday on Thursday - Australia Day! For some people this means celebrating the fact that Australia became a British colony x years ago, some don't celebrate this at all, they mourn the fact that the British took over, for others it means celebrating their new Australian citizenship (a lot of the citizenship ceremonies are being held on Australia Day), others go to the park for a picnic and a bbq, lots of people go and watch the cricket (there is a 5-day test match between India and Australia here in Adelaide and yes, there are people who will be there for 5 days).

We know what we will be doing! We'll get the key of our new rental place early in the morning, complete some paperwork, inspect the property and decide which furniture items will go where. Then we'll go out for breakfast or brunch and celebrate my birthday!! And do some outdoor furniture shopping, and go to the beach for a swim - as we're currently experiencing a week of 33-37 degrees.

On Friday then the movers will deliver our shipment, which has been cleared by customs and quarantine, so we'll be unpacking boxes once again. But we're getting very good at it; De Boer & Bos, for all your furniture removals.
Our new rental place. Left window is the 2nd lounge, and right you'll see the double garage. Blue skies are included in the rent.
Kitchen. We're not sure our fridge will fit in the designated space there - our's is quite high.
Formal lounge (or home theatre, as it says on the floorplan). The furniture you see is not ours, the home was a display home and is now empty.
Dining and Family. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms are all on the left hand side.
Covered deck - that's where the outdoor furniture shopping is for. And small garden.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Coffee and Sports

Age ordered a coffee machine last week, and Saturday he finally had the time to pick it up from the post office. He also had a second card to call - which basically means that there was another parcel for him/us to collect. It said 'wine' on the card. He thought he could do that easily with the scooter (I had the car in use, transporting myself and my golf clubs to my Saturday golf game), and he thought it all out, taking a very big travel bag with him. However, he didn't count on the amount of wine there was! For our birthdays Lois and Richard got us namely 6 (!) bottles of lovely Canberra wines, in a flat box of 1m long, all 6 bottles neatly displayed in a row. So Age's plan to get the wine and the coffee machine home on the scooter went out the window. He took a taxi home instead. You can't say he isn't creative.

So now we're able to make real espressos and cappuccinos, trim decaf moccaccinos, americanos, long blacks, flat whites, soy lattes, and more! The challenging part is frothing the milk in such a way that you get microfoam, and not big airy bubbles. Need to practice that part a lot more. And because it's such fun to make coffee, we both had a nice and strong cappuccino yesterday evening - which resulted in being awake in bed. That it was 26 degrees still probably didn't help either.

Yes, a hot one today, 30 degrees at 6.30am already, soaring to a 39 around lunchtime, and then a southerly change (phew) with a nice 29 right now (7.30pm). We don't notice the heat that much actually, when it's that hot you just don't go outside much, and inside everything is airco'd. But... today was the first heat of the Santos Tour Down Under (TDU - a Tour de France, but then in South Australia), and I'm happy it wasn't me who had to race 140km on a bicycle with 41 degrees. Not really 'easing back' into the racing season after the winter break.

We hear quite a lot about the TDU, it's on every news bulletin on the tv and the radio, and also via Twitter and the Uni I get a lot of news about it. UniSA is sponsoring a team on the TDU, so that helps in being informed too. Not that I'm that interested in cycling races, but I've never been that close to it. May even be able to get a signature from Eddie Merkx :-)

Also on right now is the Australian Open Tennis tournament. It's great to be able to watch the matches live on tv! This too is broadcasted widely, and we get all the inside information through radio, tv, internet. Australia is fairly proud to have these events it seems. We just heard on the radio that we'll be having the Australian Swimming Champs in Adelaide in two weeks time or so - maybe a good opportunity to see Thorpe in real life?!

Then lastly: a King Crab, displayed in one of the shopping malls in town. Crazy how big they are. Apparently they are a bit of a pest I've heard - I don't know exactly where. Well, you don't want these nibbling on your toes in the water.

Be sure to check out two new blogs in the list of blogs: The Antarctica Diaries, about a scientific mission currently happening on Antarctica. It's not really a blog, so updates aren't detected by blogger, but there is something new every week.
And the Course Superintendent of our golf course keeps a blog too - there's quite a lot to maintaining a golf course!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

And... back to normal

Yeah, it was hard to get back into the swing of things last week, but there is something to say for starting on a Wednesday after the holidays - there's only half a week left then. We didn't do much in the weekend, actually I was fairly active with playing golf on both days, but Age hadn't even showered when I came back from golf on Sunday at 4.30pm!

We had a huge downpour on Saturday afternoon; I saw that it would be 31 degrees that day, so opted to play golf early in the morning, but even at 7.30am it was already 29 degrees and a bit drizzly! The downpour didn't come unexpected, and it cooled down nicely after it had passed. There was enough rain to wash the driveway away from one of our neighbours. They spent some time shoveling up the dirt from the road and put it back to where it came from.

Then some news on the property front: we found a new rental place! It's a lot bigger, brand new, and has been a display home for a builder - never been lived in. Our container has just arrived and is now with customs and quarantine and will probably be released within the next 10 days. We expect to move house later this month - I am quite looking forward to seeing our own things again. It's all very well to be surrounded by someone else's furniture, but our own stuff - of course - is the best! I miss my pots and pans, cookbooks, comfy chairs, my own golf gear, bicycle, clothes, computer, desk, bed (the bed we're on now is much smaller!) and so forth.

Other news: From February onwards I'll be working 36 hours in a 4x9 format, with Tuesdays off. That way I'll be able to compete in the main golf competitions, which take place on a Tuesday, tend to my business, and do other things I might like to do. For Dutch people not really newsworthy, most people I know have some sort of personalised flexible workweek. Down Under (or maybe: in every other country than NL) it's not very common to work less than 40 hours, let alone to arrange these hours in a way that maximises a certain work/life balance. But... working at a university has its advantages, and flexibility is one of the key pillars of employment policy here, so no fuss at all to arrange it. I have to add that I've actually been very lucky with the managers I've had in NZ, who stood up for me and allowed the flexibility I was looking for.

It has been fairly chilly the last couple of days, and we'll have a lousy 22 degrees today. We were saying to each other today that in NL you'd probably wear shorts then, but here it's back to long sleeves and long trousers! Summer will be back soon though, 25 tomorrow and then every day a bit warmer up till Tuesday, where I saw a 34 in the forecast.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Perth

We spent the second part of our holidays in Perth, with Marc and Marjan. They live the expat-life, working for a Dutch company in Perth, and already nearing the end of their four-year stint. It was about time to see where they work and live, and to see their 1-year old little one, Tirza.

By going to Perth we just escaped the worst from the first heatwave of the season. Australia is currently experiencing some hot weather very early in the year, and it was the hottest start of the new year in a century, with 41 degrees in Adelaide. We arrived in Perth with 38 degrees, and the rest of our time there was reasonably nice with temperatures in the early 30's. It was unusually humid though, which made it still quite warm during the day. But.... M & M were very smart three years ago in finding a nice house with a swimming pool, which seemed like an absolute must in this weather.
King's Park in Perth.

We started the day with a dive in the pool, we cooled down in the pool after an afternoon of doing things, and then often just before dinner or after dinner we spent some more time in the pool :-) That was VERY nice.
More King's Park
We also have had our first Australian surf experience! I have to say that I really liked lying in the water, I don't think that what I did with the surfboard resembled surfing at all, and I still have sore arms and bruised shins from it. I was very pleased to hear that it takes four or five lessons before you're able to stand straight up on the board!
Yes, it's us :-)

On New Years Eve Age and Marc showed off their cooking skills by making us absolutely delicious oliebollen and appelflappen. I don't know why, but they were very good! Must be the new pan we bought for this purpose, as the heavy-base saucepan we wanted to use was gone camping with Marc's parents - they had to leave the house to make room for us!
We also had some serious fireworks to work through as you can see on the pics.


On the first day of the new year we went to Penguin Island (?). Again everyone crammed together into the car with tons of stuff. This island is a very small island in a marine sanctuary with a 2km return walk along the beaches and over boardwalks, where heaps of sterns and pelicans were nesting, as well as little penguins. We weren't the only ones on the island, it was slightly over-crowded actually. But after the walk around the island we found a private spot on the beach in the shade, where we splashed around in the sea a bit and savoured the last remaining oliebollen and appelflappen.
Appelflappen

We're back home in Adelaide again now, and caught up this morning with Pauline and Ian, whom we met in Wellington, and who moved back to Melbourne last year. They spent their holidays in and around Adelaide, and we went to Hahndorf for a nice brunch before they would drive back to Melbourne today.

We'll be off to IKEA now for some new garden furniture (Age's birthday present)! And then back to work tomorrow, that'll be a bit painful in the morning I'm afraid...