Wednesday, 24 October 2012

As promised, pics from weekend in Clare

 Enjoying our provisions: cheese and wine

Age cooking something (cant' remember what exactly)

View from the property we stayed at

Our cottage. Notice the wisteria :-)

Wine always comes with a platter to share

Winery at the Barossa where we had lunch on our way back home.

View from the terrace. The hay bales resemble a tractor with trailer.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Spring is here, and new car

I probably mentioned it before, but spring is definitely here. When I drive on my scooter to work in the morning, there is this overwhelming yummy smell of jasmine in the suburbs. Add roses to that, as they're in full bloom at the moment. They're so big, seem to be bigger even than in New Zealand, and earlier too. We've had blossom a while ago, although near our favourite cafe in Blackwood we saw a (late?) glorious fruit tree blooming majestically. And I'm still waiting for the purple display of the many jacarandas along the major access roads to the city.

Our cottage in Clare had beautiful wisteria all over the verandah (no, they don't call it purple rain over here, I asked), smelling devine, and my own little orange and lemon trees are flowering too - now I know that orange blossom shower gel really smells like orange blossom!

By the way, we had a blue tongue lizard in the garden yesterday. I'd walked in and out a couple of times to the clothesline, and I was chatting to Age through the open sliding doors, when I suddenly saw it, and gave an almighty shriek. Not that they do anything, it was more the shock of seeing this 30cm thing walking about. I went back inside, we closed the sliding door, to give it the opportunity to get back to a better part of the garden, as it was kind of going nowhere.
So he turned around, looked at us, went to the sliding door, and wanted to get inside by the looks of it, tapping the glass. That wasn't going to happen of course. Later on I found on the internet that they like fruit. So next time we see it, I'm going to give him a few pieces of banana.

And we have a new car, a Subaru (again). Something like this:
It's huge, and it's great! By the way, don't ask me if we have a GT or whatever as I wouldn't have a clue. It does have that turbo thing on the bonnet, which is very cool of course, and two exhausts.
Suddenly my golf gear seems very modest in size. It has all wheel drive, which is very good for us, as whenever we're going out and about with me giving directions, we end up on dirt roads, or roads that are only accessible when it's dry. Too adventurous for Age, so he's a happy man now :-)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

My contract has been extended

Good news :-)
When I arrived in Adelaide at my Uni, I got a six-month contract, ending June 2012. Early in 2012 the project they took me on got extended with six months, and my contract extended up till December 2012.
We're getting close to December now, and about a month ago my manager(s) started to think about how to keep me after the project was coming to an end. Apparently they've found some funds - or rather, I think what also counts is that I've found my own funds, as I've developed (and am now delivering) an online and flexible training program for postgraduate students (health professionals who supervise students on placements), which is so popular that I'm actually making money for the team. The program consists of two 157 hr courses, which takes about one year for our (working) participants to complete. In the near future the program will be built out with two more courses,
to offer a graduate diploma in practice education, which then can feed
into a masters degree in this subject area.
So today, I've signed a new contract, which runs from January 2013 till June 2014. I'm VERY PLEASED :-)

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Two long weekends in a row

We've just enjoyed two long weekends in a row. One was related to Labour Day, a National public holiday, and the other one was our own initiative.
Labour Day weekend, the last weekend in September, we didn't do too much. Age had a whiskey tasting evening on Friday, and that knocked him out up till Sunday more or less - much appreciated by me - ...not. So I've been to the beach for a walk and done some shopping on Saturday, and enjoyed the nice, although cold, weather.

Can't remember what we did on Sunday, but it must have been golf for me. Someone felt guilty for sure, because when I came back from golf, the whole house was clean and tidy, including the laundry neatly folded.

And then on Monday we went to Lady Bay. I was adamant to go there. Had heard stories about that it would be beautiful there on the coast. Well, we're nearly there, it's almost a two-hour, quite beautiful drive, when I finally see on the map where we're heading, and realise that we've been there multiple times. Never knew that it was called Lady Bay, as we know it as Normanville. Very nice cafe / deli there too, so that was where we made our stop. We went to the beach, not for very long, as the wind was a bit chilly. And then back home again.

Last weekend we went away to the Clare Valley, another one of the famous South Australian wine regions. It is about a two and half hour drive from Adelaide, and we left straight after work on Friday. About eight in the evening, it was pitch dark, we arrived at our cottage. We'd rented a cottage, or rather, a victorian villa, on a small vineyard near Clare. We got the torch out of our bag, and followed the instructions to the key box somewhere on the verandah. We opened the box.... no key.
Aaarghhhh. No key!
That's the last thing you want when you arrive. Pitch dark, in the middle of nowhere, past dinner time, and then no key. We looked around, but it hadn't fallen out the box or so. At least, we couldn't find it.

So Age rang the owner, to tell them we'd arrived, but couldn't find a key in the key box. Of course, they didn't pick up the phone, and we left a message. But really, they could be anywhere, and not notice our message till the next morning. We looked around again. Still no key.
I asked Age if we really had the cottage for this weekend, and not next weekend - always a fine thing to say in such a situation :-)
He looked up the email trail in his phone, and discovered that he had his dates wrong all along! We were expected tomorrow, not today! Jesus crap.
Okay, we got back in the car, left another message for the owner that we had our dates wrong, and that we were going to find something to eat, and maybe a hotel room for the night. A call back would be greatly appreciated.

The nearest thing we found was the Clare Country Club. It had a restaurant, and a room special for this evening. We explained the situation to the receptionist, saying that we might want a room for the night, but were going to have dinner first. You never know, the owner of the cottage could give us a call.
Well, we'd just ordered when they rang! They were sooooooooooo sorry for the inconvenience (Age kept saying that it wasn't their fault, but ours), and would try to contact the housekeeper to see if the house was ready. There was a spare key somewhere hidden, so we could at least get in. We rather quickly finished our meal, and drove back to the cottage in the darkness.

Age rang the owner again, who talked him through finding the spare key. The spare key, of course, was hidden in some half open shed / bbq place. And was guarded by a huge spider, sitting nicely very close to the place we had to stick a hand in. Taking a deep breath, Age manouvred his hand behind a pole, and wild plants, and found the little box.
On the verandah I crushed some kind of big animal under my foot and left a couple of big wet footprints - lovely. But it was dark, couldn't see what it had been.
We entered the house, and it was lovely. And clean :-)

The next morning, about ten-ish, a car came up the driveway, just as I was looking out the window from the bedroom. I shove Age out of the bed, he quickly put on some clothes, and let the housekeeper in. She said she'd had the shock of her life, hearing about our early arrival, and she came to bring us our provisions for the weekend (food!). Two big shopping bags with food. I wasn't expecting anything, maybe a carton with milk, but she unloaded eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, lots of fruit, wine from the owner's vineyard, cheese platter, cookies, orange juice... and more. That was just lovely.

So we started the day with a big breakfast. And then got ready for some sightseeing. We went into Clare, immediately had lunch at a deli / cafe in town, and then went on to the Sevenhills winery, a monastery where the monks make wine, did a tasting, bought some wine and orange pieces covered in dark chocolate, did a bit of a walk there, and we concluded the day with a walk in the area of the cottage.

On Sunday we had lunch somewhere else, a nice platter with some more wine, and then played nine holes of golf in gorgeous weather.

And on Monday we left the cottage, drove to the Barossa (another wine region a bit closer to Adelaide), and had a truly fantastic lunch - which was 'just' a pie - (with even more impressive views) at yet another winery. And bought some more wine.
When we arrived home, there was a box at the front door... with yet some more wine... a selection of 15 big reds, from the WinePeople.

Yes, we made photos, this time with our proper photo camera, but the pics are at home on the computer, so we'll add them later on.