Sunday, 29 May 2011

Future Plans, Fruit Picking and Other Farming Tasks

I am now more than half way through my first WWOOFing experience and I am still loving it even though I am now WWOOFing here on my own. My German friend has headed south to continue her travels leaving me to play with the animals on my own and planning the next stages of my own adventure. I have decided to head to Brisbane for Josh’s birthday and spend a week there exploring before heading south to the snow fields for my next job. Last week I received confirmation from a friend that she will be joining me in Australia for a few weeks next October. We haven’t confirmed dates as yet but we hope to meet up in Melbourne before heading to Alice Springs to take a tour through the red centre and back south to Adelaide. Once my friend leaves Adelaide I shall finally head west taking a Nullabour tour through the lower south of the country which will end in Perth, WA. Once in WA I shall have a wee visit with Josh’s family in Perth before looking for work or another WWOOFing host. I hope to spend about 3 months in WA working towards my second year visa extension and exploring. Once I have achieved that I shall head back east and work my way up the east coast at a leisurely pace looking for work as I go.

For now though I am still farming away. Having dropped my German friend off at the bus station on Sunday morning it was back to the farm for the rainy day task of cutting out protective sleeves for  new vines. Seven hundred odd sleeves later and I was done for the day. It wasn’t the most exciting day but it was nicely relaxing as the afternoon was spent chatting and doing bits and pieces around the house.

 By Monday morning the weather hadn’t improved much so we headed in to town to get some supplies including some five seeds cider for me so I could join my hosts in a drink in the evenings. Rum and coke is tasty occasionally but I’m far from being a complete convert! Whilst in town we took the opportunity to visit some nurseries and had a mini tour of town including some of the more expensive houses. Some were beautiful and some were definitely not to my taste but the views that they had of the botanical gardens were spectacular and I can see why the plots were so expensive. Back at the farm the weather had improved enough for me to head out to pick up some fruit and check on some vines. The vines are planted so they grow up sturdy posts and along guiding wires which they have to be twisted round to give them adequate support once they start producing fruit. I found this quite therapeutic and happily twisted vines until I realised it was getting dark. At this point I returned back to the house for the evening much to the amusement of my hosts had not expected me to stay out so long, oops.

Tuesday started out differently I was educated in the working of your basic tap as my host repaired a tap from one of the paddocks. They use bore water here and the minerals in it erode all parts of the taps so it was a case of matching working parts from previously damaged taps until we had two working taps to try. Post plumbing it was time to get the chainsaw out. Much to my disappointment I am not allowed to use the chainsaw as apparently I could hurt myself with it, which is fair enough really but still disappointing. My job was to take the cuttings from the surrounding area and place them on the fire pile in the middle of the lawn.  Sadly the chainsaw cut out halfway through so the tree pruning was temporarily abandoned and the bonfire lighting was delayed. With our pruning task cut short we headed in for lunch then I returned to the vines to pick up more fruit and finish twisting the group of vines that I had been working on the day before.

On the Tuesday there was another delivery of bugs and so my first task the next day was to distribute them amongst the vines as I had two weeks previously. The main thing to remember when placing the bugs amongst the vines is not to squish too many of them which considering how tiny and fragile they are can be quite difficult. I then had a bonus day off as my host decided to take his visitors fishing and I got to go along for the ride. Though we tried a few different spots it turned out to be a bit too windy for fishing. I did get to attempt to throw my line in to the river a few times but the only thing I managed to hook was a floating tree. Taking pity on my terrible aim my host cast my line into the water for me but even then I kept getting it snagged on non-fish debris in the river so I soon gave up. I felt slightly better about my poor fishing skills on discovering that my host and his visitors were also experiencing a lot of snagging and we eventually gave up and returned to the farm. I feel it is safe to say that my fishing skills are equal only to my surfing.

In addition to the usual fruit picking on Thursday I got to have go on the sit-on mower, my first time driving in over 2 months! After about 2 rows the belt slipped off the cutting mechanism. I drove the mower back to the house only to find my host had taken one of his visitors in to town. Fortunately it was a simple job to replace the belt once I had an extra pair of hands provided by my hosts other visitor.  So off I went all proud of myself back to the vines only for the mower to cut out once more, this time the belt had snapped and I had to head back to the house for some tea and biscuits whilst I waited for my host to return and replace the belt. It was fun but harder than it looks. I had no idea it could be so difficult to drive in a straight line. After spending much of my day sitting down I used my excess energy to rake the alpaca paddock but I had left it too late and before I could get out the poo-vac the alpacas returned for the evening.

Friday saw the departure of my hosts guests and therefore a slower start to our morning. With most of the morning gone we headed in to town to get a part for the chainsaw and a coupling for the boat trailer. On returning my host attempted to repair the chainsaw whilst I returned to the alpaca paddock this time with poo-vac in tow. I can safely tell you that alpacas can certainly make a lot of poo and by the time I was finished moving the full vac seemed like a pretty good workout! Sadly the chainsaw was still playing up so our bonfire remained unlit and it was back to the vines for yet more fruit picking. The floods up here caused a lot of damage and the vines are not producing anywhere near as much fruit as they usually would at this time of year. Though I am collecting fruit every other day or so I am only collecting a few buckets per block whereas in the summer they will collect twice a day and collect up to 30 buckets per block of vines each time. I wouldn’t like to be the one carrying all those buckets in to the packing shed that’s for sure.

On Saturday we did an extra pick up of fruit in the hope of colleting enough to make up a decent number of boxes and thus warrant a delivery but the clouds were rolling in and it wasn’t meant to be. In the afternoon therefore instead of collecting fruit we headed to the boat trailer to fix on the new coupling. We also tried to lift the motor but there was an electrical problem that was only diagnosed later on once an electrician friend dropped by to have a look. I did learn a little about engines and boats so it was an interesting afternoon and now I want a boat though maybe I should wait until I am employed and have a home first....

Saturday, 21 May 2011

WWOOFing, Welding and Kangaroos

My second Sunday on the farm was fairly similar to my first. We had a late start and the day itself was very laid back. We collected some fruit in the morning and in the afternoon we raked the alpaca paddock and cleaned up more poo with the gigantic vacuum. In the evening I got to watch dancing with the stars where the judges are a lot less annoying and the dancing as pretty much the same compared to back home.

On Monday and Tuesday we planted some new vines. I was the hole digger whilst my German friend was the planter and hole filler-in-er-er. Digging a row of holes for the vines was strangely therapeutic. I put a cup of manure on the ground, mashed it in a little the stuck the spade in the ground and lifted out the dirt a few times and hey presto every time there was a hole pretty much like the last hole. It was simple and there were no surprises plus I figure my arms got a bit of a work out. I certainly ate enough biscuits during morning tea so I only hope I was working off as many calories as my brain seemed to think I was! On Monday afternoon I went for another short run, taking advantage of the sunshine whilst I could, followed by an afternoon of baking. OK I watched and I did wander outside a few times to be sociable and get myself a can of rum and coke but there was baking being done and I was in the vicinity. On Tuesday we had a short shower of rain as we finished up the planting, and I mean short. I think it might have lasted a whole minute maybe even two. It was enough to make us muddy instead of just dusty though so once the planting was finished it was back to the homestead for some food and a shower. In the afternoon we headed to a local shop with our host who gave us a mini tour of the area including driving through a known kangaroo stomping ground where saw my very first wild kangaroos!!

Wednesday brought a break from the planting as we returned to picking fruit. This time we collected a variety of the fruit from called McGuffies that are picked from the vines before returning to the Misty Gems. These are a smaller variety which drop from the vines once ripe and are then collected by us from the ground using our trusty beetroot cans on poles. Fruit collected we moved on to car washing. I am never buying a 4x4 as I needed a step ladder to reach all of the roof! Our mornings work completed there was more cooking awaiting us in the afternoon. This time I stayed in the kitchen and peeled veggies for soup, cut up apples for apple cakes and washed many dishes whilst my German friend made a pear cheesecake and our hosts mum worked on the soup and apple cake around us. I was then very virtuous and remembered to go for another run though if I keeping eating desert with my massive meals I can see me having to extend my route. Currently I only run for 20 minutes so I’m not sure how many biscuits I am really working off not to mention the massive meals I seem to be eating.

Thursday saw a return to planting and yet again the whole morning was taken up by planting one row of new vines and a lazy afternoon recovering from digging all those holes. On Friday we got to try another new skill. Our host had to do some welding and after showing us how it was done he provided us with some scrap metal so we could have a go too. It was fun and I reckon if I had been left there all day I would have got the hang of it eventually as needless to say our first attempts were less than successful. It was then time to check the vines, making sure they were wrapped around the guiding wires properly before breaking for lunch. As we’d had a later start that morning we headed back out after lunch though this time to the boat instead of the vines. The boat is due to go to the mechanic next week so we did some vacuuming inside and cleaned the cushions with the air compressor before calling it a day. It is now I must confess that I stayed up until 11pm on Friday night. I know, it’s shocking behaviour. I can see that if I keep this up I shall be the talk of Jindabyne come the ski season. I think I’ve forgotten what a pub looks like. Anyone fancy meeting me in Brisbane next month for a few schooners?!

You’d think after such a late night I would sleep in on Saturday, well I did. I didn’t get up until 7am! Ok I confess I would have slept longer but bring a bit of an eejit I forgot to turn my alarm off. Still I was happy to be up as I decided to go online and found an e-mail from a friend saying that she plans to head out to see me in October! Even more exciting I discovered that we were to have the day off as our hosts were taking their guests to deliver a ram and do a little sightseeing. I then spent the morning planning my friends trip out here, replying to e-mails and planning the next stages of my own adventure. You’ll have to wait to find out what they are as I think it’s time for me to enjoy some of this glorious sunshine whilst I can.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Thoughts from the Farm

I’ve heard it said often but now it’s my turn to say it. It’s so unfair that often it’s when life is going well that we miss our loved ones the most. We wouldn’t wish the sad and difficult times on them but when all is good in the world once more and life is going well then you sit back and think if only they were here, they would bloody love this. I’ve no idea what Josh thought we would do in Australia as we never got as far as discussing it as we were too busy arguing about whether we should come here (him) or go to Cuba (me) first! We would probably have toured around a little, spent some time on the beaches and relaxed as we would only have been able to come over for 3-4 weeks. Working in a carnival or on a farm would never have occurred to us nor would it have been a sensible thing for us to do at that time in our lives which is sad because he would have had a blast. It is perhaps just as well that he is not here on the farm as I know he would quickly become attached to all the animals and be really sad when he had to leave them behind, he had such a soft heart.

Yet even though I am missing him more today than any other day these feeling don’t paralyse me the way they once did. I am able to get out of bed and face breakfast. I am ready to start my day, to pick and pack fruit and earn my keep. I’m not dreading having to go to work and though I’m not sure what kind of company I shall be today I’m not incapable of dealing with people the way I was even a year ago. Hard as it is to admit it the clich├ęs are true. Time does heal. It does get easier to live with the loss. The pain never goes away but you can make it a part of you and learn how to incorporate it in to your life so it no longer paralyses you. Still even though I know all this all I can really think is: I wish he were here, he would bloody love it.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

First Week on the Farm

I have now been WWOOFing for a whole week and I can honestly say I am loving it. I shall never be a morning person but getting up at 7 am means that by 9 am I am awake enough to appreciate the sunshine and by 10 am and cup of tea number two I am almost human.

After an easy weekend I woke up on Monday morning to a rainy day which meant working inside. After a warming cup of tea we headed to the packing shed to do some tidying up then post tea break my fellow WWOOFer did some baking whilst I did a little light housework. It brightened up in the afternoon but not enough for me to venture into the pool.  After a quiet afternoon we finished out day with some Chinese chequers where I was soundly beaten by my hosts youngest son and my German friend.

The next day we ordered sunshine and it arrived bright and early. We headed out to the vines and did more pruning, first at their bases like we did on Sunday then along the tops of the vines higher up. I think I did pretty well; I only managed to snip off one healthy branch by accident leaving the rest intact. Once the farm work had been completed for the day I got to wash the dog. He looked sad when I tied him up but the moment I started rubbing the shampoo into his coat the tail started going and he obviously loved the attention. A quick wash down with the hose and it was time for him to be given his freedom. He gave an almightily shake and then it was straight to the dirt to roll around and get rid of the bad smells the shampoo had left on him! I might have been annoyed except he was so cute and funny that I was too busy laughing at him. I did have the presence of mind to get a few photos and after he had finished sorting himself out I took my camera off to the vines to snap them and their fruit. Unfortunately the batteries in my camera died before we got to the animals so we swapped it for my fellow WWOOFEer’s and went to see the male alpacas and donkeys. The donkeys were happy to be petted and even jostled for position to get their noses rubber but the alpacas though interested kept a wary distance. Having had enough exploring for the day my crazy friend decided to jump in to the pool to cool off. It might be lovely weather up here but the pool is unheated and therefore too cold for me, I must be getting old. After all that excitement it was time for a quick shower followed by some relaxing internet and TV time and of course some after dinner board games.

On Tuesday my hosts received a delivery of bugs, apparently these are good bugs which will eat the bad bugs that attack the vines. In this case I was a lot more interested that my German friend who soon left me with the bugs whilst she made a start on the picking work. I placed strips of bugs on some of the vines randomly throughout the farm so that the 10,000 bugs would spread out evenly attacking the nasty bugs hurting the vines. Then I grabbed a bucket and joined my friend collecting fruit. With some varieties you pick from the vines but the ones we were collecting are picked from the ground after they have dropped off the vines so we used old cans nailed to long poles to scoop them up and place them in to the buckets, much easier than constantly bending to pick them up! After our mid morning cuppa it was a change of pace as my friend headed out on the sit on mower to cut the grass between the vines and I washed the wee convertible car which my hosts are planning to sell as it’s not at all suitable for farm life. It was another beautiful day so washing the car in the sunshine didn’t really feel that much like work! After lunch we had a change of scenery as we headed in to Bundaberg itself to collect one of the kids from school and do some shopping. I was introduced to the wonders of big W and a proper supermarket. Since I was dressed for the sunshine I did find it a little cold as we seemed to buy a lot of meat which meant chiller cabinets, brrrrrr!

Thursday seemed to arrive really quickly and once more we learnt a new skill. Actually my friend learnt two as she was shown how to drive the tractor. We were given the choice but as I am likely to be here longer I thought it was only fair to let her try first. Besides I’m not sure how well my driving skills (such as they are!) will translate from wee fiesta to the not so wee tractor. This time we were replacing dead plants with new ones. I started off by digging the holes whilst my friend removed the old plants and pruned the news ones before we planted them but after the tea break we swapped and I got a break from hole digging. It was nice to get a break from digging but I have discovered I actually quite enjoy digging holes and it is very satisfying working with plants knowing that they will grow and produce something useful. I must be getting used to the early mornings and farm life as in the afternoon I found I still had lots of energy and decided to go for a run, which proved I didn’t have as much energy as I thought I had! I shall have to try again and build up my running muscles whilst I have the space and weather for it or I shall never be fit enough to learn how to snowboard over the winter.

On Friday we jumped on the back of the tractor and took some fertilised water down to the new plants. Whilst watering them we decided to ‘christen’ them, naming them after our friends and family back home. Germany has some really interesting names and it was fun to chat about folks back home whilst we worked. Post tea break we trimmed some weeds down in preparation for mowing which wasn’t hard but I really should have taken some hay fever tablets first, oops. Fortunately for my hay fever my friend rather likes the sit on mower so we left her mowing whilst we headed over to the alpaca paddock to suck up poo. Yup, you read it right. We used a giant vacuum to suck up the alpaca poo from the paddock. It may not sound nice but since it is essentially a giant vacuum cleaner it is actually rather good fun and moving it about is not a bad work out without needing too much effort. In the afternoon there was more baking and whilst the others did paperwork and made ‘surprise’ muffins I decided to clean the bathroom, a great idea until I realised half way through that really I should have waited until after we had showered. Really, I am not so bright. We finished off our day by visiting the female alpacas who were starting to come in from the other paddock for the evening. The girls were a bit more friendly (or maybe just more inquisitive) than the males and they came a lot closer than the males had so my friend managed to pet one of them. In the evening we played Aussie monopoly again managing to finish just in time for dinner and TV. Being Friday night I managed to stay awake (just) until 10pm, yup it’s a rock and roll life style on this Aussie adventure.

Given the choice of Saturday or Sunday off we chose Saturday and after a lazy morning we headed in to Bundaberg. Our hosts dropped us off in the CBD and after a quick perusal of some of the more interesting shops we headed out to the rum distillery. It was a little bit of a walk and once we got there we took the mini tour round the museum to learn about the history and how they make the rum. We then headed to the bar to taste their reserve and smoother red top rum. Originally they gave us the drinks neat but after we had tasted them the bar staff added mixers and we took them outside to enjoy the sunshine. Once they were gone we tried the liquor which has caramel, chocolate and vanilla in it and tastes really good. Feeling slightly more light headed than we had on the way up we headed back into town for a wee snack and some more exploring before being picked up and taken back to the farm. Sadly most of the shops on the main street seemed to be closing or closed by 4:30pm so we walked until we found a cake shop and purchased a cheesecake for desert that evening. Whilst waiting for our lift we were both surprised by how loud the birds were as the sun went down. There were loads of them and they were flying about and chattering at each other as if there would be no tomorrow! On arriving back at the farm we were introduced to one of my hosts mother and her partner. We then had a lovely meal and a relaxing evening in front of the TV until once more it was time for bed. Now it’s Sunday once more and we are getting ready to start work again and I for one will be interested to see what this week will bring.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

My Introduction to WWOOFing

It has certainly been an interesting week. In my usually fortunate manner I have once again landed on my feet. After my longer than usual blog I did actually start looking for work. I looked on my usual websites and took a walk to an oft advertised recruitment agency. As suspected neither of the websites or the agency were of much use. The agency did clarify that bar work even in the remotest areas would not qualify me. On the way home from the agency I stepped in to the very first backpacker agency I visited and picked up a leaflet on WWOOFing. WWOOF stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms and the deal is basically that you work on the farm and they provide you with accommodation and feed you. I first heard about the organisation from a girl I shared a room with in San Francisco and have wanted to try it ever since. From the leaflet I picked up from the agency I discovered I could join at the other agency I had just visited! As the only reason I hadn’t joined previously was the fact I didn’t want to wait in Sydney for the book I went back the next day and joined up. It cost me $60 and for my money I got a book detailing WWOOF hosts and access to their online bulletin board. That afternoon I signed up online and by the evening had a profile online and had e-mailed one host in Queeensland and one in Victoria. Luckily for me the Queensland hosts returned my e-mail very promptly saying they could accommodate me.

By Wednesday evening I had a train ticket to Brisbane and had said goodbye to most of my Sydney friends. Thursday morning saw me packed up with a train ticket from Brisbane to Bundaberg in addition to my train ticket. Thursday afternoon and I was on a train and on my way. The train was great. The seats were spacious and even though I was travelling economy I was able to get some sleep. The change over at Brisbane was easy and the bus journey passed quickly with the help of a few films and an afternoon snooze. Once at Bundagberg I had the slight inconvenience of my phone battery running out but fortunately I had written down my hosts mobile number and a lovely lady let me use her phone. Of course the minute I sat down to wait for my lift I remember that my PowerMonkey portable battery would charge my phone and a few minutes digging through my case produced it and in a few more minutes my phone was back up and running. I met some interesting people at the bus station and got a good tip on where not to stay should I ever decide to stay in Bundaberg itself but before long my host arrived and I was on my way to the farm.

I received a lovely welcome. My hosts are the nicest people and I am joined by a German WWOOFer who I thankfully speaks very good English and is great fun to be around. After dinner I found myself with a cup of tea watching escape to the country and I couldn’t help but be reminded of my visits to my in-laws back home. After a restful night I woke up at 8am ready to work, however being Saturday apparently farm work doesn’t start until after 9am, an excellent start to my first day! After a relaxed breakfast we headed out to the fields for some vine trimming and fruit picking. Did you know passions fruit grows on vines? I didn’t but I do now! The sun was shining as we headed out and we stayed out for the rest of the morning and a little of the afternoon (with a tea break of course!) but post lunch it was into the pool where my fellow WWOOFer attempted to teach me the butterfly stroke. There was a lot of splashing and whilst she ‘waved’ through the water I was more flailing but with practice I am sure I’ll get it right. The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent playing board games and discovering I could get an intermittent internet signal. I cannot believe that I have been so lucky as to have been taken in by such a lovely family with an amazing property. I am sure the work will get harder and I look forward to working properly again but for now I am enjoying settling in and acclimatising to the Queensland weather.


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Thoughts on Leaving Sydney

I realised the other day that since arriving in Sydney I have spent the most consecutive days in one place than I have anywhere else in the last two and a half years. It seems strange since I am travelling that this should be the case but it does explain why I have had such itchy feet in the last two weeks. I love Sydney and I have met some great people, some of whom I am genuinely sad to be leaving behind, but I am ready for the next chapter of my Aussie adventure.

I had become very comfortable in Sydney. As well as meeting some fabulous people I got to play tourist for a decent length of time before I found a fun and interesting job that lasted just long enough.  To leave and head to the unknown is therefore slightly intimidating but no more so than travelling half way round the globe with not a plan or scheme to my name. I am on my way to stay with a couple who breed alpacas and grow organic passion fruits amongst other things. I have never done anything like this before but then that seems to be the only requirement for me to become interested in a job these days! I have no idea what will be in store for me over the coming weeks but instead of being scared or apprehensive I am excited. I really believe that I can take whatever this next job may throw at me, well except from the spiders, I’ll leave them where ever I find them I think.

I find it weird that in the last six weeks I have become more confident doing nothing and working at a fair than I have been in the last two years. I know that part of this is due to time but it’s also due to leaving my comfort zone to take on a role I would not have even considered before or been considered for back home. I didn’t always fit in with the other fair workers but I knew I was doing a good job and I could usually find someone to chat to at break times. I want to go WWOOFing. I’ve wanted to try it since I first heard about it in San Francisco last November yet I considered putting it off because I thought I should work for money. Thankfully after only a day of searching for paid work I talked myself in to signing up and here I am heading up the north coast of Australia to a place I would never get to go as a tourist. I am a little apprehensive about how well I will be able to do the work and if they will like me or not and if I will like them but I think we’ll be ok and I know if we are not then it’s no harm no foul I’ll move on and they can take in another WWOOFer.

When I got to Sydney I didn’t know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go and I still don’t. I now have a sort of plan that will take me to November but apart from my 3+ months up a mountain I can go where I want when I want. There was a tremendous freedom to be able to say “I’ll be there in two days”. Six weeks since I arrived in Sydney and here I am on a train leaving. I must say economy class seems more comfortable than economy back home, but then I guess these trains are used to going a lot further and soon I will be to. 

Monday, 2 May 2011

All Work and No Play...

My time as a games operator at the fair has come to an end and I am back to looking for work therefore I thought this was a perfect time to update my blog. The main reason for my procrastination is that I have decided that I like it here so much I would like to apply for my second year visa and to be eligible for it I shall have to do some fruit picking. There are other options but they require skills I lack, such as being able to ride a horse or drive a tractor and other similar things.

Though I can’t say I am expecting it to be a fun experience I think that much like the fair fruit picking will be a worthwhile and interesting one.  One of the things I learned at the fair is that if you are hard working and willing to try your hand at anything then you can make the most of any opportunity. Though I was originally hired just to run one games stall I was apparently good enough at it that I was often chosen to cover the breaks of other backpackers thus allowing me to have a go at running many different fair games; I am now well versed in the secrets of the lucky ducks, laughing clowns, smash a dolly, barrel toss and more. It also meant that on one rainy day when most people went home I was able to pick up a few more hours by helping to pack bags. Towards the end of the show I was even helping out in one of the small cafes and at the end of the fair I was one of the many backpackers who stayed behind to help pack up. My contribution to this mostly involved carrying boxes from the store through a muddy field (occasionally in the rain) to various trailers which I looked upon as a paid work out a good practice for fruit picking.

It hasn’t been all work and no play by any means. A friend from home who happens to be staying in Melbourne for a few months came up for a long weekend and we were fortunate enough that it rained on the morning of her arrival as it meant I got a bonus day off work. After lunch at one of Sydney’s many sushi restaurants we walked down toward Circular Quay and the Opera House and buy tickets for the evening performance of Much Ado About Nothing. Tickets purchased we started to walk towards Darling Harbour as I swear it didn’t look that far on the map but it was indeed very far away so not long after leaving the Rocks area we turned back and instead settled ourselves at the Guylian Cafe for some sinful chocolate treats which we had totally worked off already, honest we had! I cannot recommend their dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake highly enough, it was delicious. Sunday and it was back to work for me and the bus tour for my friend who said it was worth doing if you in Sydney for only a short of time. That evening we headed to Darling Harbour where we found some rather nice cocktails and a fabulous steak restaurant called ‘I’m Angus’ where I discovered I really do like oysters and I had the most perfect steak accompanied by an excellent red wine. It was nice to have a break from the usual backpacker fair but this was a meal I would have enjoyed at any time. The evening was nicely finished off at the Blackbird Cafe where I was introduced to the tastiness of a lychee vodka martin. Thankfully Monday was a late start for me as it was ANZAC day and we had an early finish due to yet more rain. Seriously it keeps raining here, if it weren’t so warm I would swear I was in Scotland. For my friends last evening in Sydney we had dinner at the Rocks at a superb little restaurant called The Rocks Cafe that served fairly simple but excellent food. The evening was finished off by an impromptu decision to hop on a ferry to Darling Harbour and the Blackbird Cafe for a final lychee cocktail. The perfect end to a fabulous weekend.

Having worked hard for over two weeks and played well over the last weekend I decided to relax for a few days before resuming my job hunt. I allowed myself a lazy day where the most exercise I got was to take my wages to the bank (very exciting) and post a birthday card (which though posted before the birthday will not arrive until after it, sorry Joshua!) and ended with a dinner and a play at the Opera House with a friend. What can I say, the Bell Shakespeare production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ was so good I had to see it twice! The next day I attempted to learn to surf and spent a great deal of time falling off the board, occasionally being hit by the board and always enjoying being in the ocean. I did not see one shark or jelly fish or any other of the many things people keep warning me about, I did however see the underside of my board many, many times!  Surprisingly enough after that adventure and have decided that I shall try and learn to snow board whilst I am in the mountains this winter in the vague hope that it will help improve my balance and allow me to at least learn to strand up on a blasted surf board next time!! Unsurprisingly the day after me failing to learn to surf all I was capable of was resting, though I did manage to write a few postcards and make it out to a few pubs in the evening. I wasn’t really in the mood for partying and it took 4 attempts but I finally found a bar that sold decent whisky which I enjoyed whilst sitting in a comfy chair where I was entertained by watching three different guys complete for the attentions of the same girl who though being friendly enough didn’t really seem that interested, poor blokes.  After a night like that there was only one way to spend my Sunday and I know that a few of you reading this will be pleased to hear that I genuinely did nothing for the whole day, yes I am capable of it. And now (if you are still reading!) you are up to date on my Aussie adventure and I really must resume my job hunting; especially since this blog has run over my self-imposed one page limit and there hasn’t been anyone knocking down my door begging me to come work for them since I started writing.