Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Day at the Beach

Apparently, Anna and Caitlin headed off to the beach today to have a quick paddle in the sea. As they were starting from Shropshire I was a little skeptical whether they would make it, since it's quite a journey to even get to the seaside. However, by all accounts they did and even managed to fit in a quick ice-cream (but not until after 3pm). Meanwhile, negotiations are apparently underway for me to start work at a client-site later this week - it's currently looking like I'm going to be located back in the CBD, but no matter what it will be within Sydney; hoorah! Chris

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Monday, May 30, 2005

Have Some Soup!

As is traditionally the case, the first day at my new job was a combination of form-filling-in and laptop-configuring; but the people there seem very welcoming & friendly. During a chat with a couple of them, I also found out that they sponsor entries for the upcoming Sydney
marathon, half-marathon and bridge run, so I've put my name down to do the half (plus they pay for Anna to do it also if she wants). When I got home in the evening, I finally spotted my chance to go round and thank our neighbours for collecting our post for us while we were away. Through a combination of them being away and me being asleep with jet-lag, I had kept missing them until now. I had bought a bottle of Shiraz to thank them with, and on my arrival I was quickly called inside to have a chat and sample it with them. They also very generously offered me the opportunity to join them for dinner but, not wishing to impose, I made my excuses and left with a take-away container of vegetable soup. Chris

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Friday, May 27, 2005


After filling out a variety of checklists: it was time to do the rounds, shake hands and wish everyone well for the future. Yes, today was my last day working for CGI, and I'm looking forward to a new set of challenges in my next role (starting Monday). Although the work hasn't been what I originally anticipated (following a merger, the role I was hired for didn't exist in its original form), it's only fair to say thanks for:
  • sponsoring our successful permanent residency application
  • organising for me to work in Sydney for the last four months

Hopefully the new role will be a better fit for my skills and give me the opportunity to expand into additional areas of interest - whilst ensuring that I am Sydney-based.


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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Prior Preparation Prevents (P*ss) Poor Performance

I've always been an advocate of the Six-Ps theory above, so it was a relief that the time Ken and I had spent organising tonight's run paid off - his part of the trail for the run fitted nicely into mine, and he even managed to convince the curator of the local church to let him borrow a couple of tables to set up the multiple gin-and-tonics! Although the run followed a predictable format for those that had done it in previous years, there were enough new-comers who didn't realise our plans to make it fun. In the circle at the end of the run we scored nine-and-a-half out of ten, and everyone happily launched into the curry that we had organised at the local Indian diner. Chris

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005


As this is my last week working in my current job, things have been understandably slow - since there's little point in me tackling any large projects. However, this has meant it is the perfect situation whilst recovering from jet-lag! Even though I had plenty of space to stretch out on the 'plane, I've still found myself starting to feel pretty sleepy as soon as the sun sets - which is around 5pm here currently. I've heard a variety of reasons why jet-lag seems to be worse when travelling east,
this one describes the theory that I subscribe to - but I'm still not sure how to beat it! Chris

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005


I met up with my co-hare (
Ken) to organise the run this Thursday - which oddly enough is my own annual memorial run! It came about when a couple of my cohorts decided to organise a run based on an idea I had for a run which keeps on looping back around to the start point. There is a perfect location for this run in Sydney, known as Five Ways, which provides access to lots of back-streets ideal for confusing people, and allowing the run to loop back to the central location without it being obvious that this is happening. Over dinner we discussed the details - I'm setting the majority of the run, and he's organising the gin-and-tonic! Chris

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Sad Loss

During a conversation with Anna, she mentioned that her Great-Uncle George passed away following recent illness - our sympathies & best wishes go to the whole family. As Anna & Caitlin are still in the UK, hopefully they will be able to pass on our wishes in person.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

All's quiet

We headed to Heathrow airport in the morning, taking something less than the optimal route (my fault), but made it there with plenty of time to spare. After elevenses, it was time for me to say goodbye to Anna & Caitlin for a couple of weeks - as they are staying on in England for a little while longer - and head through to board my flight. Fortunately, the (Friday lunch) timing of the flight meant that it was pretty quiet, such that I had a row of three seats to myself; so I was able to stretch out after I'd watched a film. Unlike some airlines, Qantas seems to serve their special meals first, so I also got pretty good service with my vegetarian food - so, for a long-haul flight, it was pretty good. Here's hoping that the house in Balmain hasn't been over-run by insects since we left... Chris

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Staines in Staines

As I am flying back to Sydney tomorrow, we decided to head down to visit Anna's brother, Richard, this evening - who only lives a few miles away from Heathrow. However, before we could start the drive down, I had to pack and try to find some space for some of the additions we have received for Caitlin. After some persistence I managed to squeeze the playmat into my suitcase, and I promised Anna to take care of the extra carry-on bag containing the majority of Christening gifts. Once we found the M6 Toll road, it was plain sailing down the motorways to Staines, but then we managed to get a little lost in the towns' one-way system. However, we did make it to Chez Staines a few minutes before Richard got home from work. Chris

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

School Dinner

We met up with Anna's mother, Claire, in the morning to allow her to show off her new grandchild to some fellow teachers. As Anna also went to the same school, she recognised some (but not that many) of the teachers. Later, we all went round to Great-Grandmas' for tea. This involved a lovely variety of cold fish, meat and salad dishes, followed by her special Lemon Meringue pie - I don't think anyone noticed that I demolished all the brown bread (well, not until now). At the end of the meal, Ella was a little tired with all her exertions organising the food, but it was well worth her efforts as the food had been very nice. Chris

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

British Weather

After having been delightful for the baptism, the weather returned to its normal gloomy self today, so that we had little option but to amuse ourselves indoors. However, after all that stimulation, I think it probably did Caitlin good to have a normal day. Chris

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Monday, May 16, 2005


As expected, the weekends' activities were focussed around the Baptism service on Sunday. Two of Caitlin's godparents, Graham and Rachel, arrived on Friday night and we joined them for a drink on Saturday evening; leaving the two grandmothers in charge of Caitlin. When we returned home we found her stuffed-to-the-gills with milk, so that all I had to do was put her in the cot and she was fast asleep. On Sunday, our other godparent, Amy, arrived and everyone started getting organised for the service itself. The timing of Caitlin's feeding meant that we were a little concerned that she might be a bit grizzly by the time she was having her head wet; but we needn't have worried as she seemed fascinated by all the attention, and was as quiet as a mouse for the Reverend. Following the service, and the obligatory series of photos (which I'll upload once I have them), we headed over to the village hall for some food & drinks. The weather was particularly nice, so we were also able to make use of the lovely garden at the back of the hall, and had a thoroughly pleasant afternoon. Thanks to everyone that was able to join us for the day, and also for the generous gifts that we received for Caitlin - we really weren't expecting so many! Chris

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Friday, May 13, 2005

Baptism Arrangements

After a day off, we were busy with organising the final arrangements for Caitlin's baptism today:
  • First, we took a look around Clive Village Hall, which is the venue that Anna's parents have kindly organised for the Christening party afterwards
  • Secondly, we met with Reverend Haarhoff to run through the ceremony, and make sure that we were clear on the details
In addition, the Reverend was correcting a minor mistake on our marriage certificate. After signing the change in the register, he offered to write out a new copy of the certificate for us while we took a look around the church. Judging by the comments and time it took, I'm guessing it took more than one attempt to complete it successfully! Then, we headed off into Shrewsbury for lunch at the
Bear Steps cafe, before we went on a tour to find a Christening candle for the ceremony on Sunday. Anna couldn't find exactly what she was looking for, but we found a good substitute as well as some decorations for the top tier of our wedding cake - which we had saved to use at the Christening. Chris

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Playing around

After a few days of dashing around seeing people, it was nice to have a day with nothing planned. Anna's parents had given us a gift for Caitlin, a
Lotty-the-Ladybird playmat, which she was thoroughly enjoying - so, aside for a walk in the afternoon, we just kicked back. Although the temperature hasn't been that high, the weather has been good (bright and clear) since we arrived, so we're hoping it continues for the baptism on Sunday. Chris

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Happy Birthday Great-Grandma!

After driving up to Wem yesterday evening, we arranged the details for Great-Grandma's 93rd birthday, which included:
Ella was, as always, keen to show off her sprightly physique as she dashed around the lake. All the fresh air must have been good for Caitlin also, as she slept through the entire meal that evening. Chris

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Mixed Hash?

Yesterday, we headed to Bristol to meet up with some of our
old hash colleagues for the Monday evening run. At the end, as normal, everyone adjourned into the pub but, like a throw-back to a bygone era: The reason being that only the lounge had a non-smoking section suitable for Caitlin. We were also joined by Sandra and her young daughter, Grace. With the oestrogen levels peaking, all the male hashers did come round to say hello, but soon retreated to the bar! Chris

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Monday, May 09, 2005


We were met by Anna's parents at Heathrow airport, who couldn't wait to see their first grandchild, and had a quick cup of tea with Uncle Richard before making our way to the M4; and eventually to my Mum's in
Abergavenny. Sunday, we headed out to Ty Croeso for Sunday lunch with my Mum, brother Paul and nephew Aaron. Caitlin was wearing the blue suit that we bought for her recently, so most of the other guests were (understandably) confused into thinking she was a boy: By about 5pm, we had Caitlin settled in her cot, and feeling a little weary ourselves we went for a lie down; only to find that we slept for the next 5-to-6 hours. However, we were still able to sleep that night, and the extra sleep seemed to set us up well for getting over our jet-lag. Chris

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Friday, May 06, 2005

Yes, we're on your flight!

After a short day at work, it was back home to load up the car for the trip to the airport. We just about squeezed everything in and headed off to perform an early check-in; even though I had been advised earlier in the day that we had been confirmed as having a seat by one of the baby basinettes. Once I had dropped Anna & Caitlin at the terminal, and returned after parking the car, we tried to check-in but were informed that we were too early - so we went to grab a bite to eat. When we returned, check-in was open but the queue was pretty big - however, as a Qantas frequent flyer, I get to check-in at the business class counters (even though we weren't flying business class). This helped greatly as I could organise the check-in while Anna fed Caitlin. I'm not sure why but, once we went through to the gate, Caitlin then started to cry pretty much continuously for the next two hours - needless to say, we received a few worried looks from the other passengers! However, once we boarded the plane, everything went much more smoothly, and she slept for much of the flight. Chris

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Baptism thumbs-up

We've been double-checking the details for the baptism with Rob Haarhoff over the last couple of days and, after some initial confusion, everything is now confirmed for the baptism service as originally planned:

As is common for baptisms, Caitlin won't be the only person getting baptised during the service, so hopefully we'll all fit into the church!

By the time people are reading this we'll probably be on the 'plane so, hopefully, if you're in the UK we'll be seeing you soon.


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Wednesday, May 04, 2005


With our permanent residency now complete, Anna & I have been busy filling in a variety of forms, now that we qualify as bona-fide Australian residents. Of course, only time will tell whether we'll be eligible for the various grants that we would have received if we were permanent residents when:
  • We bought our house
  • Anna gave birth to Caitlin

The other thing that changes is that Anna & I are no longer subject to any employment restrictions:

So, now that's not in the way any more, I'm off to pastures new and will shortly be joining another company, Oxygen. I'm pretty excited about the new job, as it has lots of potential to expand my knowledge, whilst also leveraging my experience to-date.


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Tuesday, May 03, 2005


We now have all of our passports back with their shiny new permanent residency labels affixed, so we're all ready-to-go as far as paperwork for our trip to the UK (and back). Over the past month or so we've had something of a Fijian summer (the southern hemisphere equivalent of an Indian summer), with the temperature still regularly in the mid-20s; but in the last couple of days the temperature has dropped to the high-teens. Anna has noticed the change and, despite the fact that it's still warmer here than in the UK, has bemoaned the temperature as being
A Touch of Frost. I suspect she's going to be in for a shock when we get back to the UK! Chris

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Monday, May 02, 2005

A wail of a weekend

Another sunny weekend saw:
On both days, Caitlin had a somewhat-worse-than-normal unsettled period which we're hoping she's getting out of the way now, before we get on the 'plane for the 24 hour flight back to the UK - fingers crossed! Chris

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