Happy 5th anniversary

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28th March 2012…….that date will be forever etched into my mind.

It was the date I got up in the wee small hours to head to Sydney airport with a one-way ticket in my pocket and my final 30kg of possessions crammed into my remaining bags.

It was also the date, thanks to the vagaries of time difference and a ‘direct’ Emirates flight, that I touched down at Gatwick, ready to start my new adventure ‘Back home’

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Cold Feet

cold-feet-reunionOne of the first casualties of parenthood for me has been the ability to commit – really commit – to watching an entire TV series.

I start off with the best intentions, but after episode 2 or 3, my ‘live’ viewing pretty soon switches to ‘catch up’ and not long after that to the deleted bin as I realise that other time pressures have left me with too much to catch up on and not enough time to catch up in.

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We are the Mods

400Last weekend, taking advantage of the glorious summer weather, we decided spontaneously to pack up the car and head over to the Isle of Wight on the ferry.

I hadn’t visited there since a school Geography field trip to Sandown many years ago and I wondered how much had changed in the intervening decades.

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Cleo

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Despite the fact I have been back in the UK for nearly 4 years now, I still keep in regular touch with all manner of news from down under: general news, sporting news, celebrity news, popular culture news….

But every so often a piece of Aussie news finds its way onto my radar which strikes a particular chord and reminds me vividly of some aspect of the time I spent there.

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Bowie

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“Bowie’s dead”.

It was one of those moments, a bit like the deaths of Elvis Presley or John Lennon, when I’m sure millions of people all around the world couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing or reading.

“But how can this be?”….. “He only just released a new album” ….. “I didn’t even know he was ill”.

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Lemmy

Lemmy

This Saturday evening in Hollywood, the funeral takes place of Ian Kilmister, a 70 year old man from Staffordshire.

(If the name sounds unfamiliar, you would probably know him better as just plain Lemmy).

In a fitting tribute to the man and his maverick approach to life, the funeral is being streamed live to enable his many fans around the world to be part of the occasion and raise a final glass to his memory.

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Pantomime

Beauty and the Beast - Devonshire Park Theatre - 12 December 2014 Written and Directed by Chris Jordan Choreographed by Sam Spencer Lane Lighting by Douglas Morgan Fairy Formidable - Ellie Leah Malevolent - Carley Stenson Jean Jacques - David Alder Belle - Emily Bull Potty Pierre - Tucker Dame Derriere - Martyn Knight Prince Gallant/The Beast - Adam McNab

This is the third Christmas since I left Australia and each festive season, I have made a point of visiting that most British of institutions, the Pantomime.

For the uninitiated, Pantomimes could be broadly described as musical stage shows, taking place exclusively over the Christmas period and with a particular appeal to a family audience.

But in reality they are so much more than that – they are part of the wonderful eccentricity that makes Britain great.

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Driving home for Christmas

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Several weeks ago, I met up with an Australian friend who has recently relocated to the UK in search of a new adventure.

He was experiencing the lead up to his first ever cold Christmas, following a lifetime of festive barbecues and Santas on surfboards.

It was all completely alien to him, but I found one of his observations particularly interesting. He said that for the first time in his life, he truly ‘got’ Christmas.

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Summer daze

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A couple of months ago, I wrote about my anticipation at the start of summer, fingers firmly crossed that it didn’t turn out to be a fizzer.

I needn’t have worried, because despite the best efforts of Ex-Hurricane Bertha to spoil things over the last few days, this summer really has been a glorious one.

Week after week of warmth, with July 2014 even being hailed as one of the top 10 sunniest and warmest Julys since records began (1910, if you’re interested).

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Farewell Jonny

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About 10½ years ago, on November 22nd 2003 to be exact, I joined 82,956 other people at Sydney’s Olympic stadium (I’ve lost track of which sponsor it is named after at the moment, maybe ANZ? …or possibly Telstra?) to witness the final of the Rugby World Cup.

The game between Australia and England was a classic – truly one of those ‘had to be there’ moments. It was eventually won by England, 20-17 in extra time, courtesy of a drop goal from the right boot of English fly half, Jonny Wilkinson.

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