Monday, December 31, 2007


My sister and nephew visited yesterday and we had a game of Scrabble with my father. We have very strict house rules: no slang, no prefixes and there's a list of two letter words which are and are not allowed. This resulted in much consternation, culminating in outrage at the realisation, two turns too late, that "zo" (Himalayan cow) was allowed. I brought my nephew a boomerang back from Australia and we had great fun trying to fly it. At one stage it became lodged at the top of the magnolia tree and he had to climb half way up and give the branches a good shake to retrieve it. After half an hour or so, it was beginning to make its way back to him, although its predeliction was to soar towards the heavens and land in perpendicular style in the muddiest spot it could find. December 2007 saw a first for him: it was the first occasion he had had a hair cut of his own volition.
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

The grim reaper

Eurodog was wondering yesterday, after the sickening assassination of Benezir Bhuto, if there would ever be peace on earth. I recently read a biography of Nostradamus who lived from 1503-1566 and yet predicted with accuracy the events of the French Revolution and the execution of Charles I and thought that the end of the world would be at the beginning of the seventh millennium. In his day, people believed that there had been 4000 years between the creation of the world and the birth of Christ so the seventh millenium would begin at the year 2000. There was no mention, as far as I could see, of peace in his predictions. I suppose peace, like charity, begins at home.
My boyfriend's mother died yesterday so he is back off to Australia to make the funeral arrangements. 2007 really has been the most appalling year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


One good thing about working between Christmas and New Year is that public transport is deserted and hardly anybody's in the office. Anyway, it's a good chance to catch up on my favourite blogs. Thank you for all your comments while I was away: they really made me laugh when I was loafing around in ghastly airport lounges and Australian internet cafes. I had such fun catching up with old friends in San Francisco and then there was the Christmas sprint on my return which involved procuring one of the last Christmas trees in Winchester, decking the house with holly and ivy, collecting the goose, salmon and berry trifle which I'd pre-ordered from M&S, doing a mad last minute shop on Christmas Eve when the HMV queue was all way around the shop, wrapping many presents whilst listening to the King's College, Cambridge carol service on Radio 4, baking a ham, going to midnight mass, making cooked breakfast, going to listen to the Bishop preach on Christmas morning (he's off to Burma in February to inaugurate the new Archbishop there), cooking the goose, microwaving the Christmas pudding, putting my feet up and then having people over on Boxing Day and discovering that a mouse had got to the salmon (which was sitting in the outside shed) first and had gnawed its way through the cardboard box and cling film and taken rather a large bite!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

American service

I'm sitting at Melbourne airport remembering old days in San Francisco. I was Chief Financial Officer of an animated graphics company in Silicon Valley and used to drive down there everyday in my soft top ancient Alfa Spider which was "stick shift" and rather alarming to do hill starts on the 90 degree hills in SF. Anyway, I was driving to the office at about this time of year, looking forward to a Board meeting at 11am followed by the office Christmas lunch, going at my usual speed, around 90mph, in the third lane of the four lane motorway, the fourth being the fastest lane, when suddenly one of my tyres blew and I swerved into the fast lane, where fortunately nothing was coming, and had to pull over in the hard shoulder in the middle of the motorway. Vehicles were passing me at a rapid rate and my whole car juddered as each one went by. I called the office, explained my predicament and was advised to call the emergency number 911 which I did and within 15 minutes a police car drew up, a man emerged and said this, "I am going to drive on and take the next exit from this freeway. Then I'll turn back and get on at the previous entrance. When you see that all the traffic has been stopped, I want you to drive across to the hard shoulder next to the slow lane." That's the only time in my life that I've stopped the traffic. I was very impressed as they have a free roadside assistance service in California and half an hour later a man came to change my tyre (which was somewhat worrying as he was virtually kneeling in the slow lane just round a bend) and refused to accept a tip. That's what I call service!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I went on an amazing drive along The Great Ocean Road yesterday. This goes along the coast west of Melbourne towards South Australia. It was exhilarating to see the waves crashing on vast sandy beaches, empty apart from a handful of surfers. There are some astonishing rock formations, in particular the Twelve Apostles, huge pieces of cliff cut off from the rest, towering out of the sea. Only nine remain now. London Bridge (broken) is also spectacular: a flat piece of rock isolated from the cliffs with an arch underneath it. It used to have two arches and be attached to the mainland but a few years ago one of the arches collapsed to the dismay of a couple of tourists who were stranded in the sea on top of the second arch and had to be rescued by helicopter. I'll try to post some photos when I get back home. I couldn't resist the opportunity of going back to San Francisco so am flying there for one night tomorrow. My old friend Matthew and his wife Amanda are very kindly hosting a dinner party for me and I'm very much looking forward to seeing all the old crew whom I used to party with and my erstwhile landlady, the charming Sally, is treating me to lunch at her club which overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge. Should be a blast!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Australian humour

This Australian blogging idea is not an easy as I thought it would be as there's no internet connection where I'm staying. Anyway, I met a man last night who'd been in the same form at school as Barry Humphries, whom he described as "a real sis." During the Melbourne University rag week, some men were digging up the tram line outside their school. Barry Humphries approached these men and said that if their work was interrupted by the police, they should ignore them as they were just university students dressing up as policemen. He then rang the police and said that some university students were pretending to be workmen and digging up the tram rails outside the school.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The benefits of blogging

This is a quick thank you to the Anon who left me some useful tips about things to do in Melbourne. My boyfriend has lost his passport so I'm currently sitting in Singapore airport about to head off to the unknown. Hope the b/f will make it by Sunday. Cross your fingers!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Bye for now

I'm over the moon today as I'm off on hols tomorrow and not back to this desk until 27 December. I'm flying to Singapore tomorrow to stay a night with "the Burmese kitten" Jessica and then off to Melbourne the following day and land there at 6am on Friday morning. I've never been to Australia so am greatly looking forward to it and to some sunshine. Hope to post something from Oz next week. Toodle pip!