Here’s the latest Barrasmith Australia update, eventful times down under.

So, we’ve been doing more research into the drinking establishments of the Melbourne area… Two weekends ago we had Matt (former Whippet) and his lovely missus, Anna to stay for the weekend. We began proceedings with a night in the Royal Saxon Bar and Restaurant in Richmond. Very tasty, though I managed to order a starter that turned out to be bigger than all the main courses put together. Think they were trying to get rid of the whitebait (and several other larger fish/crustaceans/foliage items that crept in there). Despite the overeating we managed to push on through until the early hours and Steve inadvertently entertained the gang by getting chatted up by a Cougar (older lady on the prowl). We eventually decided to rescue Steve and head home where Matt got completely over-excited about the ‘Best of Neighbours’ DVD that my thoughtful brothers bought us as a leaving pressie and until this moment had been sitting unwatched and unloved by the telly. So we had another beer and watched Scott & Charlene exchanging vows in soft focus and with surround sound. I didn’t think Aussies gave a xxxx about Neighbours but we couldn’t drag Matt away and left him to it watching the demise of poor Daphne.


Sore heads all round on Saturday, again. But no rest for us wicked types, more house viewing to be done. We’d seen a really great place down the road in SandringHam (you have to say the ‘h’ over here) a few days earlier and put in an application for it. But you have to wait a week or so to find out if you’ve been successful, so on with the search just in case. One feral place and one massive place in the middle of nowhere. Had a spot of breakfast and then met up with the others at Chadstone Mall – MASSIVE shopping centre out east of the city. Will definitely be going back there when we start getting paid. Later on we all discovered a second wind and went out in the CBD to a very cool Thai restaurant called Cookie, followed by a teeny weeny bar full of kids. Getting a bit old for this poncing about in cool bars, so bailed back to Brighton for a cheeky one in the old man pub before bed.


Had a second viewing of the SandringHam house during the week – and our application was approved – hurrah! And the owner is getting it re-painted before we move in on the 18th, bonus. Signed the lease agreement a few days later, a bit nervously as our visas still haven’t been granted – erk.


I’ve been running quite a lot in the mornings along the sea front. Gotta start running off all that red drink! There’s a lot of exercise that goes on before dawn here, hundreds of cyclists, loads of runners, people doing some sort of boot camp on the beach, and a considerable number of complete nutters swimming in the sea (bear in mind it is actually winter here).


Last Saturday, (after a repeat performance at Royal Saxon on the Friday), Steve got us tickets to a Roller Derby game. This was a new one – teams of ladies on roller skates, the two at the back have to get through the pack and lap the pack to score points and it seems that almost any amount of barging, shoving and tripping is ok in order to help your team mate and scupper the progress of the enemy. The outfits and the names of the players are all brilliant.


This week Steve has jetted back to the UK to collect the lady Stoners. So Mark, Terri and I are holding the fort here – erk. Got an email from Steve during his stop in Dubai to say that our visas have been granted – hooooray!! We’re official at last, so we went out for little drinkie, of course.


This weekend has been ace. No more house hunting for a start. Kicked it off by not getting sozzled for a change and went to see Super 8 instead. Note to selves: in Australian cinemas films actually begin when they say they will begin, not after 45 minutes of ads and trailers. So if anyone has seen the first 10 minutes of Super 8, can you please fill us in? Thanking you.

Saturday – WENT RIDING!! At Blinkbonnie Equestrian Centre, half an hour from Brighton. My horse was called Thumper and he was a hilarious Clydesdale (cart horse) crossed with an Arab. So he was chunky and hairy all over with a cute little arab face. I was warned of his slight attitude problem, ie laziness and bucking, but we soon came to an understanding and he was really quite sweet. They do things a bit differently over here, riding without stirrups means just taking your feet out of your stirrups – no crossing them over, and then we all had to do rising trot with no stirrups, all a bit 1989, but hey, when in Rome. And then all of a sudden we were doing a bit of jumping, no body protectors or any of that nonsense. I’m still aching two days later and I’m going back for more next Sunday. Already been moved up a group, smug mode engaged. Spent the afternoon shopping for small appliances – thrilling stuff.

Sunday – had a fabulous day watching the cross-country phase of the Melbourne International three day event in the beautiful grounds of Werribee Mansion. As we got there I heard music coming from one of the arenas and we snuck in to watch someone practicing their Kur for the evenings world cup dressage qualifier – excellent start to the day :) The weather was very foggy to start, which made the running commentary quite amusing… “yes, I think I can see a horse coming toward the lake, but I’m not sure, oh yes, I can hear the splashing, I think they made it through, but I’m um, who knows…”. Funny. Then in the space of about 5 minutes the fog lifted and the rest of the day was wall to wall blue skies.

Had some friends around for dinner in the evening and drank far too much red drink, sore head this morning, but who cares because it’s the Queen’s birthday and that means it’s a bank holiday – whoop! Got up and skyped the folks and then headed out for a mooch around the funky shops of Fitzroy and Collingwood, another splendid sunny day, beginning to think I’ll be able to cope with winter if it carries on like this.


Now there’s a nice fat chook roasting in the oven and it’s smelling goooood. So I’m off to do the spuds. Goodness, that was a long rambling one, well done if you made it this far!


E x

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