Friday, 24 December 2010

The Great Ocean Road

  Hi all

We had always planned to escape from Perth on the night of the fifth day, but the thought that we could have actually retained it  would have been a tricky moment. That dilemma we never had the opportunity to think about. So with slightly heavy hearts we were one of the first to escape Perth and picking up a camper van disappeared off towards the Great Ocean Road for some R&R.
Four years ago we covered this area travelling from Adelaide to Melbourne in just five days which is not nearly enough time to explore this beautiful part of the world. This time we just stuck to a small part of the route namely concentrating on the area between the Kennett River, where we based ourselves and the twelve Apostles was our furthest point. By spending more time around the Otway forest area we were able to do quite a few bush walks and see quite a bit of the local wildlife. This time it was Dean who had caught a cold so we had to restrict some of our activities, but we still had a wonderful time.

The Otway fly was particularly fun as a ramp takes you up to a walkway right up in the canopy of the trees. It gives you quite a different perspective on the world. The other highlight was our campsite where there were Koalas sleeping in the Eucalyptus trees all around the site, cockatoos and loads of different birds. Despite Dean's 'Man flu' we still managed to do loads of walking and really got to rest the liver!
Travelling back to Melbourne was with mixed feelings as once again we had fallen in love with this area and could have spent more time here, yet we were still excited to head back to the city for Xmas with our friends and then onto the impending infamous Boxing day test with whatever that brings!
Happy Xmas everyone

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Minor blip in Perth

Well what can I say after all the excitement of Adelaide and our wonderful trip down to the Coast we were full of expectation as we arrived in Perth for the Third test. Four years ago we had been out on a dive boat in the Whitsundays as we had gone 3-0 down at this point so we were buzzing.
As my cold had started to recede and I had stopped whingeing for five minutes, Dean grabbed the opportunity to trundle me down to the ground the day before to watch England net and arrived just as Australia had finished their practice. The general consensus from those already there was that Mitchell looked all over the place - Hurrah we thought! When England came out they looked as strong and as focused as they had in Adelaide so it was definitely 'game on'. We even bumped into Robbie Fowler who plays for the local side Perth Glory and is a bit of a closet cricket fan. Later Ian (wrong un!) Bailey, Andy (expat) Vogler & I managed to blag our way into a Channel 9 Pre Ashes party and sample a few of the free drinks available and had a tour of the wicket with the curator (groundsman to us!) and my god it looked green.
So the big day duly arrived and Straussy won the toss and we were relieved to hear that he had chosen to put Australia in to bat and by the end of day one we had duly bowled them all out for 268 and at the close of play we were 29-0. The next morning the media were baying for blood and were very much blaming the selectors.
Day two started well until we got to 78-0, then within a few overs we were 98-5 and all out 187........... Michell Johnson was back taking 5 wickets! From then on the whole game turned on its head and we were the underdogs fighting for survival and our woes continued finally falling on day four to a loss on 267 runs. This brought the series back to 1-1 and suddenly from a position of potential ashes retention, we had suffered a terrible blow and finger nails were starting to deplete!
Luckily throughout all of this we found solice in a little back street pub called Durty Nellys who had pints of Guinness for $5.50 for the whole time we were there even when we drank them dry twice!
Well onwards and upwards its nearly Christmas so off to Melbourne we will go..........



Thursday, 16 December 2010

Western Australia

With hangovers still sitting in our bloodstream we escaped rainy Alelaide straight into Perth. We had said goodbye to Tara with a lovely lunch with Janet at the Little pub just off Hinchley Street - (Honest thats its name!) who had only been out for a week. She had also suffered with the terrible weather in the UK and had spent over 68 hours travelling to get the game - now that is what you call true dedication!
Anyway I digress we stayed for the night at the Witches hat which was to be our base for the third test and then hired an car and headed south. Our first stop was Fremantle known by locals as Freo where we had a little wander around and stopped at the famous Cicerellas for Fish and chips on the quay. They were delish, but you had to keep you eyes peeled for dive bombing seagulls!

Our next stop was at the Leschenault waterway for a walk around the wetlands which were packed with Cormorants and pelicans . A bit further down the road we went on a short hike through a Tuart Forest - these trees only grow in South Western Australia and are strikingly tall and cast a dappled shady over the forest floor. Our final stop for the day was Busselton which is famous for its jetty which runs for two kilometres out to sea unfortunately it was closed for renovation phew! We stayed in the town overnight then the next we went out to Cape Naturaliste which is a most beautiful coastline and we took one of the coastal walks. I had woken up to find I had got another horrid cold which was a bit of a bummer, but we travelled down to Eagle Bay which has a really beautiful beach and a cute little restaurant. More walks around the forests as the heat was pretty tough and a night in Margaret River full of cold pills yuck!

Next morning we had a trip down to the local birds of prey centre, where we both turned our hands to a bit of bird handling when some brown kites which were 'second chance' birds who had been injured and brought back to health. There were three kites in the group and they all had quite different personalities, which was fasinating to watch. We then carried down to the more stark coastline of Cape Leeuwin where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean and we had a lovely if blustery walk.

 We stopped at nearby Augusta for the night where we had all sorts of fun trying to get a room for the night as there was a

Dean was incredibly excited as not only were we only two days away from the third text, but his tour partner in crime Tubey had arrived whilst we were away. So we picked him up and headed off to Scarborough beach for the afternoon and then the pub - what a surprise!!
Back in town we hit the BA HQ - The Lucky Shag where a pint was $10 or 7 quid to you or me so we didn't hand around there for too long once we had caught up with 'wrong un' Ian and off we went to what was to be our hang-out for the rest of the week - Durty Nellies at $5.5 for a pint of Guinness which for Oz was a result! Suffice to say the night got better and much more hazy for the boys - hic
Night all

'biker' convention in the town and it was loud bikes and leather everywhere! The lovely couple whose home we stayed at really looked after me squeezing lemons from their tree for me to take with hot water - yum. On our return journey we stopped at Margaret river and had a wonder around the very lovely Xmas market there. The big problem in this area is that they have had no decent rain for nearly nine years and as a consequence the whole local economy is in deep recession. Despite that it is still a beautiful place and the people and business that are still there were incredibly nice. Another night in Busselton after an afternoon of wine tasting in a couple of wineries - which would have been yum if I could have tasted them! (but we bought a sparking light rose for later when I could) Our final day of sightseeing was spent dolphin watching and walking around Freo where we spent our final night before heading back to Perth.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Adelaide....... it begins

Its been a while since we have posted. I always knew it would be hard in Oz with all the Cricket etc, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be writing this with a win under our belt! We arrived in Adelaide with the idea that if we could get a draw here we would game on for the rest fo the series, but from the start everything went our way. The day before the start we went down to watch the teams netting and managed to run into Punter who was none too pleased, but was kind enough to stop for a photo. It later transpired that he had just found out that Mitchell Johnson had been dropped and was pretty angry about it. We of course were very pleased to hear it! The England team looked so focussed, not something we were used to seeing and the talk around those BA there was perhaps there was some room to hope!

Day 1 arrived and we arrived to a full house an hour before the start. We found a few spare seats in front of the hill right on the bowlers arm, which is where we based ourselves for the next few five days. Day one saw another first day collapse with the Aussies 3-2 by the second over and all out for 245 by afetr tea. England came in and closed the day 1-0. For the next two days we dominated the play with Cook putting on another 148 caught off Harris, before getting out and Pieterson coming back on form just in time to score at tremendous 227 (caught Katich off Doherty), just 1 run higher than his previous highest score.
This photo shows him when he got his 200 coming straight towards the Barmy Army and raising his bat directly to us which was lovely. We finally declared on day 4 at 620-5, another staggering innings. The weather was not playing ball with storms constantly passing over and some rain falling. Once Australia were back in it the storm clouds really started to roll in and the Aussie media really thought the weather would give them the draw they really wanted to salvage, but the clouds stayed away long enough on day 5 to take the last 6 wickets and we had done it! The final day had pretty much been an English affair with the Aussies not bothering to attend.

The Cathedral pub which had been our lunch time haunt for most of the week cranked up the music and the party began two hours later the heavens opened and the rain that the Aussies has so desperately wanted had finally come far too late............ the party carried on down the centre of Adelaide all the way to PJ O'Briens where you could hear the singing on the Balcony all the way down the main street.  I think the locals will remeber us for a while.......................                               Off to Perth we will go ......
Sara xx

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Clueless in Brisbane!

Dear all

Well what a week we have had. No rollercoaster could replicate what the England fans have been through in the first test over here. Despite being bowled out on day one and then our own bowlers struggling through day two they managed to turn the whole event into a record breaking fest. So now the losing streak at the Gabba has been broken after 24 years and Ali Cook has now knocked the great Don Bradman off his 70+ year record of the highest individual test score with his 235 not out. So happy days around even if the liver and the head have suffered some what  over the duration!

Off to Adelaide tomorrow to start all over again - Here's hoping