Major Adventures

Just a bloke's records of how his life unfolds.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 - WHAT A YEAR

How do I even start to try to summarise this year. 2006 has to be one of the busiest I have ever lived through ... How do you measure the year past the days, weeks and months?
  • Number of times its been Day #1 of a diet regime?
  • Number of hours spent in airport waiting rooms?
  • Number of hours spent on the internet speaking with friends worldwide?
  • Number of shows seen on the West End?
  • Number of students taught over the year?
  • Number of mistakes made when communicating in French?
  • Number of croissants, pain au chocolats, kilos of cheese eaten in France?
  • Number of hugs from Harry or infact, number of his hairs removed from clothes?
  • Number of friends who came to visit me in France throughout the year?
  • Number of Trains caughts?
  • Number of buses and coaches travelled on?
  • Number of times turbulance and sea levels have made me vomit?
  • Number of new friends I have made?

January 2006

Started in Barcelona - What a magic City :)
Started Working - Wall Street Institute, Orléans.
The gorgeous Alisha and Laura came to stay n visit.

February 2006
Sicily Italy - Pierpaolo and Silvia
Rome Italy - Uli and Mimmo

March 2006
30th - Finished at l'IUFM teachers college ... Just Wall Street and University.

April 2006
University Classes Finish 14th ...
30th Birthday Celebrations with friends from France, Australia and Beyond.
Kerryn, Diane, Bronny, Andrea, Jeanette, Peter, Dave and Sue arrive in Malesherbes.

May 2006
University Final Exams - DSF achieved YAYA :)

June 2006
Wall Street Institute Winds down its operations
Leave Orléans
Leave France
Move to London for a temporary post - Jewish School.

July 2006
Theatre: The Woman in Black
Theatre: Chicago
Leave London to return to France
Summer Holidays in France 6 weeks without Pay... OUCH

August 2006
Travels to Orléans
Travels to Normandy
Travels to Bretagne
Travels to Paris

September 2006
London again ... Living in Hatch End (NW)
Working again at The Jewish Free School.
Theatre: Wicked The Musical

October 2006
Movie: Superman the Movie
Movie: The Devil Wears Prada
Travel: Rome
Travel: Poland

November 2006
Travel: France - Paris / Malesherbes / Orléans
Production: Avenue Q
Movie: The History Boys
Travel: Oxford - Visit Princess Samantha

December 2006
Travel: Italy - Bergamo
Travel: Germany - Dusseldorf
Movie: Happy Feet (Should I bother to mention it at all?)
Travel: France - Paris / Malesherbes /Orléans
Bye Bye: Bokkie my little pal.
New Years Eve: Paris - Eiffel Tower after a nice Seafood Restaurant.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Pensive Thinking ... Thoughts of the Day

This is the first time that in the past 6 months that i have really stopped and not been running around and doing things. It is a dangerous time for me. In the past 6 months I have not stopped working, travelling on weekends, catching up with friends throughout the evenings, seeing shows, movies, dinners etc. The life I have been leading has been out of this world.
When I arrived in France this festive season, I basically slept non stop for 3 days, my body just wanted to sleep, sleep and sleep some more. At this stage, being in a small country town, Malesherbes, which is only 80kms from Paris, but 1 hours 30 minutes on the train which stops at 9pm, is quite isolating without a car. Its been good to try and work out whats doing in life and what the plans could be in 2007 in regards to life, work, accommodation travels and relationships.
2007 looks as if it is going to be a great year, IF I let it be. There is a new job, new house, new friends, new side of London... I have many anticipated visits from friends and family in 2007 so that will compliment well my return to Australia for a short visit and catch up, a reunion of friends back in France in March as well as continuing exploring the life in London and taking advantage of my close proximity to so many cool and groovy places in Europe and of course just finding time to relax and have some fun chilling out with friends and a great bottle of wine somewhere in Europe ... it would be nice in my own place... in London or Paris... let's see what 2007 has in hold for me?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Une Soirée sur Orléans

Wednesday night, thanks to MSN I was chatting with my lovely friend, Christelle, who lives in Orléans, the town where I used to live, work and study. We decided that we should really catch up for a meal and a chin wag. So at the drop of a hat, we did an email around of our friends and headed out on Friday night to Le Sahara Moroccan restaurant. I have been wanting a nice huge supply of delicious couscous since arriving back in France. This meal certainly satisfied my needs and wants and desires.
It's always fun to catch up with friends in France, well from over the world, but in France, its special because it always adds an extra element of remembering not to forget all of my French. To be able to improve is always nice too. I have noticed I start the evening off in a nervous fashion but my French is OK, after a few hours and glasses of wine later, my French goes into a fashion that I can only hope that people understand every 5th word.
This particular group of friends I worked with at Wall Street Institute before it closed down and we were all retrenched. So a conversation or even a sentence could start in English but end in French or vice versa. You get to a stage where you forget the word in English or a French word or expression is more expressive or to the point. Christelle had a friend with her who I think struggled a little with the way we jumped from English to French all the time. A great night out was had by all, I think, I believe.
On my way home to Malesherbes, I was thinking how ace it really is to live in Europe and how London is only 750kms from here, and to be able to drive to Orléans from Malesherbes takes no more time than from Melbourne to Geelong or London to Oxford. Its too much fun.

OK end of thoughts and sharing of events for the moment ... must start packing bags ready to get back to Paris for New Years Eve then London on Monday... For another bus trip.. OH MY GOD.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

New Member to my kitchen's Family ...

I'd like you to warmly welcome the newist member to my Kitchen ... Kenwood Hot Chocolate maker ... and it can make all other associated warm frothy drinks. Thanks to Santa this Christmas, we can all keep warmer on the inside. YUM.

Monday, December 25, 2006

And a partridge in a pear tree...

Christmas in France is always fun ... the lights, the decorations, the houses, the markets, the food and wine. This year was no different. After the shocking trip over to France from the UK and lack of last minute tickets back by train to london, I spent a lovely time eating my way through the 24th and 25th of December 2006.

Shall i run through a menu with you?

Soft Cheeses
Little breads with various toppings
Oysters a plenty too many to count (think 48 and you'll be on target)
Prawns cooked in garlic and cognac
Foie Gras
Buche de Noël (but an ice cream verion)
Lots of cheese and bread
15 year old champagne
Australian Red Wine
Portuguese White Wine (Gazelo - nice and light like a spritz)
Poruguese Porto White

antacids for dessert! :)


Friday, December 22, 2006

The Bus Trip From Hell and Back ...

So its time to use your imagination a little ...

You finish work at 15h40, your last class on your last day at work was not your favourite class but it was ok, all the same. You finish at the school that you have thoroughly enjoyed being at and you sadly bid farewell to some really close workmates.

Arriving at your house you decide that you should really be packing your bags and house in order to ensure that you can catch the bus in time to ensure you get back to France to see your baby boy, Harry. A nana nap is more inviting for a half hour then will tackle the packign issue...SUCCESSFUL

Imagine equally that the town you are going to attempt to leave, London, is covered in a fog so thick that all domestic planes have been grounded for 2 days out of Heathrow Airport, the busiest in Europe, where a plane lands every 30 seconds. Only international planes were allowed to land and take off when the fog cleared in patches.

Imagine arriving at the bus terminal to catch a coach to Paris to oly be greeted at 20h30 by a line that would normally equal to that at an airport, but only one ticket window open to check passports and issue passes. Imagine your mood when you reach the ticket check point at 22h15 when your bus should have left at 22h00! Not in a happy place, I tell you.

Imagine, at 22h45 the bus finally taking off, and you start chatting to the poor lady squeezeed into the chair next to you, who had 3 bottles of white wine for the ride, then rethink, who is the 'poor' one? Arrivng at the turn off for the M20 to take you to the port of Dover to take the Ferry, one is already late enough to have missed the final Ferry so the driver announced in his best French that we will be taking the Eurotunnel train, which is kinda of cool, because I have never been on it. Only to arrive at the M20 turn off to find out that its bloked because of a huge fetality, the bus driver then tries for the next hour to find an alternative route to the town where the train departs from.

He back tracks, follows signs through towns, around towns back thruogh roads that have never seen a vehicle bigger than a scooter. He then takes us up the road where it is well indicated to the train terminal but he refuses to listen to us, as a consequence 4 minutes up the road, he decides that perhaps the passengers were right and so he decides to do a 3 point turn on a country rad in a 40 foot coach... Inteligent move, hey? So he decides he cant quite succeed in the manoeuvre that he wanted to do, so he continued driving up the road but on the RIGHT HAND SIDE of the road.

Headlights are seen in the distance, we wait for him to correct his driving, the headlights are coming closer, closer, closer, we yell at him to go on the Ledt hand side of the road, he doesnt listen, not in French nor English, the car coming towards us is forced to go off the road and into a ditch. Finally he manages to do a 3 point turn, taking half a tree with the coach. He slows down to look at the car, doesnt stop, doesnt apologise, then just keeps driving to the round about we'd been around 3 times, then to the appropriate turn off to the train.

Due to his operations, we missed the train and the next one was in 2 hours time, 3h38 in the morning. This gave enough time for the full security and customs officers to empty the bus and go through everything, interview everyone, search luggage etc. I told the police about what had happened just incase there was a complaint or the car was still in the ditch!

To end the story of course, the driver of the coach, he went in the exit of the bus terminal, and thats the end of the story ... arriving some 3 hours late.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Accommodation Found

For all of you out there worrying, OK so Mum, I have found a place to live in Streatham, or for the snobs amoungst you, St. Reatham. Its in SW London, and the house is just 50m from Streatham Common so will be perfect for Harry here I think! the wonder Dingo. I will be sharing with 3 others in a nice Edwardian house. Seems nice and relaxed household.
I didn't want to leave North London but as I did not have the choice because of the work situation, however, I have now adjusted to the new position in life and will be happy so too will be Harry. What i like about it is that it is close enough to London, good leafy suburb, close enough to work and friends who live in the area, particularly Croydon, so its happy feet fun! I have more and more friends in the south of London but am now further away from my Western London friends ... will have to try and organise the social life better. One thing I am happy about is that I am about 20 minutes from Gatwick Airport all the better for overseas jaunts I say!
The house is huge, with a great size back yard and 2 cats to keep Harry entertained. Yay us.

Ciao then.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Harry Potter/Drago Malefoy - vidéo gay

Its One Way to Come out!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Peter Andre and Katie Price Jordan - A Whole New World VIDEO

So all you Australians reading this blog today will be wondering or NOT what happened to Peter Andre ... well he went on a celebrity show over here and found his future wife... now they are the trashy celeb couple who appear everywhere on trashy TV and Radio and the switching on of Christmas lights... Watch and listen, just know that Jordan (Katie Price) did not actually sing this. Cheerio.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bye Bye Bokkie Baby 1993-2006


London Times Edition: November 30, 2006 

Bye Bye and Thanks Little Man 1993-2006 

Thursday marked a very sad day in our family when we bid farewell to our 13 year old Shih Tzu, Bokkie.  
He entered the household in 1993 and was destined to be part of our family, a little kooky, strange and special. We found an advertisement in the paper to buy a little black and white Shih Tzu puppy in a bird shop. Off we trundled and came home with this tiny bundle of  joy.
Naming a Shih Tzu is always a hard task, and it warrants the use of the traditional Chinese names for Shih Tzus book. We looked through the book, from cover to cover and nothing seemed appropriate. All our other Shih Tzus have had the right name, so it was only appropriate that the new edition to the family would partake in such tradition. Whilst visiting friends of the family in the following days, a chef friend suggested Bok Choy, Chinese cabbage and as we are into food in our family, that was the name adopted, a Shih Tzu puppy bought from a bird shop given the name of a traditional Chinese green leafy vegetable, why not?
In order for Bokkie not to attack Smudge, the black cat too often, Mum gave him Teddy, a gift from her friend, Tony. Teddy stayed with Bokkie through every event in his life. Its amazing that Teddy lasted the 13 years, the monthly washes and hanging up by the ear on a nice sunny day. Teddy was flung in the air in a joyous parade of pride, joy and frivolity when ever Bokkie wanted to show us he was happy and wanted to please up. Most dogs do balls, the Major dog, did the Teddy.
So attached to this teddy was he, that it was not uncommon to spend many a night entertaining ourselves by using Bokkie's tummy as a buffer for the parquet floors of the family room. Many a friend has called him rag or mop without a handle. Bless, little did they know that Teddy was Bokkie's handle and soul mate. 
How do you say thanks to little friend who knows so many of your secrets, more than any human knows? How do you say thanks for all the unconditional cuddles, the happiness and joy, the hours of love given. Thanks for keeping me company throughout all the 'all nighters' in Year 12. Thanks for being so excited to see me when I came home every night after school. Thanks for not forgetting me or stopping to love me or get excited when I left Melbourne and didn't return as often as I wanted to. Thanks for wanting to still sleep on my bed with me and still listen to me 12 years on. Thanks for being my sounding board for my move to Bendigo, Alice Springs and for listening to me about my adventures going to Europe.
Thanks Bokkie for giving me cuddles when I was sad, and knowing I needed someone next to me. Thanks for absorbing the hundreds of tears into your fur over the years. I can tell you, my little friend, the saddest moment of my leaving for Europe was knowing that I would not see you again, thanks for plodding up to the door to say bye bye to me for the last time, it's a little face that will never erase from my memory.  

     I sit here, in tears, as I did 2 days ago when Sheli told me of the horrid deed of taking you to the vets, for the final cuddles, the final moments with her, Mum and your Teddy. God speed baby boy. A little puppy who brought so much joy and happiness to family, who so often dissolved friction, who provided light entertainment and a comedy routine to lighten the mood. A little man to whom I remember pretending to be Alain Prost and racing from one end of the house to other, always trying to better the land speed records of a house circuit. The smallest yet loudest guard dog in the world who'd be the first to race to the balcony and warn other dogs playing in the adjacent park, that the whole 2 ovals and surrounding green areas were all part of your domain! It's a pity you never thought yourself as a dog though. Bless.  
    We won't recall the incidents of growling at anyone who didn't have an Australian accent, especially Hungarian old women or Malaysian friends Sheli. Nor shall we mention trying to attack Ziggy, the hugest dog in the world when you were only 8 weeks old. We couldn't possibly mention the day that you ate all the TimTams that Sheli stupidly left on the coffee table… she should have known better than all of us. Who in our family can resist a packet of TimTam chocolate biscuits? I don't know if we should really retell the stories of you putting the cat into his early grave? or at least the increase of white hairs on his once perfectly beautiful black shiny coat. You little devil!
     We can recall, however, how excited you used to be to go for drives with me in Randy and Sheli in her Honda, to see your world, your St Kilda Pier, to bark at people who dared cross your path or road. Talking of recalling how is it that the older you got, your memory never failed you? You still knew it was time to take medicine, albeit your muscles and body sore and tired you mustered the energy every morning and evening to avoid the medical roll call. How is it that you never failed to forget that your treats we kept in the cupboard and, I have to say, I loved your cunning plan to fake 'senility' just in order to be given more biscuits and treats from the larder. With that angelic expression, who could resist?
The banging at the door that incessant pawing at the glass window, what was that caper all about in anywise? Exercise? That constant barking, the several attempts every night to jump on beds and couches. How mean was it of Mum to buy a bed that was too high for you?
We know you appreciated everything we did for you, as the little lamb of the family the thousands in Vet bills, in new beds for you, in the latest fashion colours, and materials, a winter bed and summer bed, with out without your lambs wool. Your bed in the lounge room, your pouffé, your 2 beds in Mum's room, your outside bed, your various water and food bowls. The number of hand-me-down dressing gowns, it was a great excuse for Mum to buy new ones, and she thanks you secretly, really!
Well my little friend, I said lots to you in the days leading up to my departure 'en Europe', but I was very sad to find out that you did not get to hear the voice message I left you on Friday as you had already left the Earth. AND of course, I know you will be reading this blog, either over my shoulder now or it will go up the golden email ether link.
Thanks Bokkie, for everything, could we say it any better? Enjoy the other side, chasing cats, and eating all the TimTams barking at all the people you want to, no more tablet runs, no more coughs and no more wobbly feet. Love you.  Thank you. Will always miss you. PS We would never let anyone know that you used to get all the ends of the ice cream cones, or have your own bowl n stuff, K, Bokkie? K? That's just our little secret. J  

Love you long time munchkin.