Saturday, January 14, 2006

Driving billions of miles can be fun

It certainly feels like billions of miles. No sooner had I shut the doors of the shop on Dec 23rd we'd hit the road to Adelaide for Christmas, at slightly above the speed limit. Well, c'mon, I'd been driving in Germany. It's hard to adjust to doing a boring, fatigue-inducing 100km/h for 7 long hoursszzzzzzzzzzzz....

It would only be a week. We had to hit the road again to dump the kids at Horsham on the way back and have a kidless NYE and see Claudia and Jörgy arrive.

Jumpin' Sam, Picnic at Albert Park, pre-Christmas

Christmas was a quiet affair, since our family seems to be getting either smaller or more forgetful. I can't remember which. Boxing day was the start of our usual we're-in-Adelaide-so-we-need-to-visit-as-many-people-as-possible tour. I went to visit Jordy and Irma but Jordy misplaced his Playstation GT4 with full Nurburgring sim, so I'm not sure if we are really friends any more. Although maybe he did me a favour because trying to forget the hallowed 'Ring is as hard as giving up smoking.

Fools (with champagne)

slightly less foolish and less champagne.

A blast from the past, groomsman Greg The Perve was down from the Top End (Katherine) so it was great to see him again. He hasn't changed a bit in 5 years apart from losing some hair and being stuck on a RAAF base in the middle of a hostile, Arabian Desert for three months. Doha in Qatar may not be Iraq but it sure sounded like as much fun. Join up, they said. See the world, they said.

Andrew and Linda were next. We sat on their OH&S-unfriendly half-finished decking looking out over Mt Barker Summit, sipping wine, reminiscing while our kids wrecked their beautiful new house. Becky decided that Linda is the "other Mummy".

On Wednesday we caught up with Uncle Frank and Aunty Judy where I was finally able to capture some of Franks post WWII memories as a Hungarian refugee. Fascinating stuff. His memoirs will make great reading when I get around to writing them.

After the kids had destroyed Frank's garden we took this nice picture

Somewhere in all that I also caught up with Mum's friend John who owns Kart Mania at Richmond (great place by the way, spent many a buck's night there). For other references to this chap see the blog on the Clipsal 500 "work" tour. Then there was Baxter with the little Katie, and Martin...(somebody else I could impose my 'Ring addiction on..)... and

....take a breath...

We really gotta stop being so popular. It is either Sharon's charm, my wit, or our three wonderfully well-behaved children.

It must be Sharon's charm.

But sadly it was farewell to the beautiful Adelaide Hills. Our beloved Germans were arriving in Melbourne on NYE and there was a party at Cam's. We stopped at Horsham and when we continued, we'd forgotten the kids. Drats!!

Home, shower, drive again, airport, wait...and bingo. Our little friend has got some colour back in her cheeks, more than enough hair, and the same smile she had when we arrived in Dresden what seems like a million years ago. But then, it wasn't her carrying the tonnes of baggage. Jörg is such a good boy. They were both way overdressed coming from zero degrees to 40 in Australia. They were presented with the traditional arrival gift of...a pair of thongs each (the flip-flop kind of course).

Down to Cam's and a NY party with some drunk adults and two jetlagged Germans. I want everyone who reads this to ask Sharon how her night was....go on, I dare you all.

The following weekend it was back up to the Grampians to show Jörgy the stuff that Claudi has already seen. But wouldn't you know, there was nary a kangaroo in sight. The locals reckoned it was too hot for them. Strange that, most kangaroos I know are Australian and should be used to the heat. So alas, poor Jörgy was starved of Kangaroo action apart from the odd dead one on the side of the road.

We stayed in a caravan park miles away from anything other than great views. I don't think the caravan park owner had seen anyone from outside Melbourne or possibly Horsham before. So, I don't think he'll understand what Claudia meant when she wrote "the caravans have GDR-decor .." in the guestbook.

A good weekend was had by all. The Germans are off up the coast now and will return to us on February 3rd. I fear Claudia will run us ragged. we are auctioning off babysitting duties to the lowest bidder.

So today I whittled away some time doing "studio" work- and about time too. The concrete around the structure has to go. The water doesn't drain away from the timber frame and rots it, so whoever laid it in the first place must be some kind of idiot. So I hired one of those concrete cutting machines. I was eventually covered with so much wet concrete dust, that when I took my pants off they stood up by themselves.

But overall it was a successful day. Sure, I only managed to remove 1 square metre of concrete (7 to go). But I did succeed in annoying the neighbours with lots of two-stroke noise and swearing, AND I managed to go all day without severing both my feet. So I'd call that a success.

Now for some more piccies...

On the estate of Andy Pfitzner trying to locate his sewerage tank

Welcome back

I see HIS wife let HIM smoke a Cuban cigar

Punters take note; in this defining moment, Cam has just wagered Claudia that, when in Germany in March, he will not only ride her horse with a hangover, he will jump her. I think "without a saddle" was mentioned at some point also

Spared no expense in accomodating our German friends

The road to our caravan park, I think it was called "Alby Mangels' Adventure Hideaway"

We don't believe in tacky product placement tricks on this blog

Notice total lack of kangaroos. You bunch of lazy Aussie slackers.

Look at that rugged Australian....(bush)

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