Leaping Lizards Its a Leap Year!

[29 Feb 2004]

Today is the only day that women can ask men to marry them. Did anyone get the big question asked? It has been a widely publicised thing over here, maybe the marketing machine is trying to get another day, like Valentines day, or Mothers Day this will be “Proposal Day”, although only every four years, probably won’t catch on.

The weekend has been busy for Narelle, a long shift on Saturday (7:30am-8:00pm) in an intensive care unit has taken a bit out of her. We have also completed the transaction for our new set of wheels, wait for it, a Vauxhall Astra 1.6! I’m moving up in the world ;-) The insurance over here is amazingly expensive, I was warned by a few people about this but it doesn’t sink in until you actually have to pay for the insurance, which is about 40% of the cars value! The cost of living I guess.

Tomorrow is our move into the flat, pay three months in advance, buy bed and buy general kitchen stuff day. Hopefully this will go without too many problems, our first big problem is getting a bed delivered to our door in a single day! We have seen some places around that do this kind of delivery, will see if they can live up to their advertising.

The landline number that some of you may have will no longer be in service as of Tomorrow 12pm, that’s 8pm in Australia. Our mobiles are still working fine, so this is the best number to get hold of us on.

Oh yes and one last thing, The SAINTS are in the semi finals! They beat Richmond by about 50 points! Look out you lads from the west, its going to be a great year. Carn’ the mighty Saints!

Dave & Narelle

Happy Birthday

[26 Feb 2004]

Whose a jolly good fellow….blah blah blah…Yes it is my birthday, yes I am getting closer to thirty, but there is still one year to go ;-) Wow, out of my twenties and into the thirties, time is flying…

I would like to say a VERY SPECIAL THANKS to all the people that sent me birthday wishes today, thank you very much for your cards (all the way from OZ), emails and SMS messages, it is very much appreciated, thank you. I am sorry if I did not respond to your wishes, it has been a busy day, I will respond next week.

The day started out great, the sun was shining, in my infinite wisdom, I looked out side, predicted that the cloud was too high, too sparse to think about raining, so we headed out to go flat hunting (again) without the umbrella or wet weather gear. Well by 12pm that afternoon, the heavens opened and it…snowed! Bucket loads of the stuff, a short meeting later and the roads were covered. The traffic had come to a stand still. Amazing, and all for My birthday, well that’s I keep telling my self

My birthday was celebrated with the signing of a Flat! After much agony, blonde bimbo’s telling us that we were too high a risk and that we would have to pay six months in advance! The added stress of, do we move in by our selves or in with friends. Lack of sleep added to the stress, so we decided to go it on our own. Only to find out two days later that we could have moved in with friends at a slightly cheaper rate with the added bonus of additional room and maybe better location! Oh well this flat is only for six months and we will assess where we are up to at that stage.

If you need our new address please drop us a line and we will be happy to give it out.

A job prospect has improved its probability by a little as it has passed through H.R. I have been told (by a very reliable source) that this is a good thing, and that I will find out sometime next week as to the status, possibly an interview, fingers crossed.

We pick up our car this weekend, have to organise insurance and the cash to pay for it. All is hard at the moment as our bank account has still not been opened so we are still dealing with Australian banks and times, our savings have taken some serious hits, the dollar does not go very far even at the great rate of £0.42 per $1.00 Aus dollar.

Busy weekend ahead, need to Organise a bed, and basic furniture for our new flat, will be fun. Our flat has a large double bed room, study and huge lounge, so if anybody wishes to stay with us, the lounge will be your bed room. It is closed off from the main house so it should be fine. It is also in a very quiet part of Bristol, yet close enough to the main drag to keep us entertained.

Dave & Narelle

Bristol here we come!

[10 Feb 2004 - 25-Feb-2004]

We purchased £6 per person tickets online for one of the local bus companies. This is a one way ticket from London to Bristol. Again use the internet for purchasing tickets, most sites now offer secure services and the savings are fantastic.

Before our bus, we had organised to catch up with Nik & Ev from Perth. They had been over also doing some touring and skiing. We had crossed paths a few times, missing each other by a matter of days. But we did finally organise a time and a place where we could meet. Coffee in the Paddington train station. It was really good to catch up guys, hope all is well back in hot, sunny, Perth.

We arrived at the bus terminal with five minutes to spare, enough time for a toilet break and to buy our lunch. The bus trip takes about two and a half hours from London, not as fast as the train, but at a fraction of the cost, it was a nice journey.

Our first taste of Bristol was the bus terminal, not the most attractive building, but the people were nice enough. A hotel near the bus terminal was full, but they gave us a map and directed us to the Walkabout pub. “You are Australian” the woman behind the desk said. “You should go to the Walkabout”. Dave being a keen adventurer decided to heed the advice and go. Narelle had visions of rat-infested dorms, drunken Aussies, shared shower conditions that required the use of “flip flops”, remember there is a double meaning for a “thong”. As it turns out the Walkabout has a full hotel at the back of the pub, three star accommodation, it wasn’t the cheapest, but we had not organised anything, we were there, we had seen a room, no sign of those rats, we’ll take it.

We spent two nights in the Walkabout, before we found some Serviced Apartments that would take us for a month or more, it was slightly cheaper than the walkabout and had its own kitchen and a single reception. The term Reception is used for a general purpose room that can serve as a lounge, dinning, study or what ever you like. A lot of the places have two bed one reception which basically means shared lounge and dinning room.

The Serviced Apartments are cleaned (serviced) once per week, it is located right in the centre of town, very handy to the internet cafe (the only one in Bristol) and the centre shops. We even have a TV, which we didn’t want, but are getting used to so it will be interesting to see how long we last without one.

The job situation has been slow, it seems to be the black hole of CV’s. Dave keeps sending them in, and nothing comes out, every so often there is an echo of the submission, but then that soon disappears and nothing is ever heard of again. There have been some interesting prospects, but may take a little while to organise. Will keep you all posted.

Narelle has also found agency nursing very frustrating due to change of agency nurse rules by the local nursing body, and also the end of financial year (6 April) is approaching and all hospitals are watching and pulling in the purse strings. Hospitals are crying for nurses, yet it is almost impossible to get employment directly or through the agency. This is taking its toll, however we are finding our feet, and I am sure it will all become easier once we get settled.

We have met some great people, one of which works in the local internet cafe, Neil. Sorry mate have to give you another plug. We would like to thank Neil for taking us car hunting, flat hunting, helping out with job searching and being an honest friend. I would also like to thank Nick for selling us his car, and don’t worry about the business and pleasure thing, we bought a car, that’s all, it is now our responsibility, and cars are a bucket with a massive hole in it anyway.

It is almost time to move out of the Service Apartments, we are finding the daily rate too expensive, and it is time to settle down and become a “Bristilian” a word Dave made up which represents the locals, or maybe it should be “Bristolian”.

Dave & Narelle

London here we…are!

[07 Feb 2004]

Our flight leaves at 1:30pm, we had heaps of time to get to the Airport, find the terminal, check our bags in and relax before our flight. Andrew & Jennifer decided to show us the way and get us to the airport, from Zurich Central it is a short train trip. We packed our packs, which are now 6Kg heavier than when we had first started, not sure why though as we have kept our purchases to the minimum, only a few chocolates. Well all right maybe 1kg of chocolate, but that doesn’t explain the other 5!

As we approached the train, it was about to leave, Andrew & Jennifer walked up to the train, stepped aside, let us board, and then waved good bye! Oops, miss communication, we thought they were coming all the way, and they thought we knew that they were only coming as far as the main train station. Sorry guys we really did not know you were not coming, so next time we will have to get our stories straight so that we can do the proper good bye. We did have a great time in Zurich and thank you for your generosity and friendship.

Our plane left a little late, due to the direction of the wind, they had to change the flight take off pattern which meant that not as many planes could take off as in the normal pattern, apparently, not sure why we were told that, but I guess they have to find excuses. Its like being back at school, making up excuses for not doing your home work. So far we have not had a plane leave on time. But I guess it can either be On time or late, they cannot have a plane leave 15min early or else we would all be complaining. So it is a lose-lose situation for the airlines.

Our flight was quick and easy; before we knew it we were in London, Heathrow. Through immigration, showed our visas, answered questions about the visa, what we can and cannot do. Then through customs, nothing to declare, so straight through. Very quick process indeed.

We managed to find the bus that takes us almost to the door of our hotel in Hyde Park, we managed to get this place for £49 a night, usually £79, the power of the internet is amazing, we would recommend planning a holiday like this, one or two days notice is all you need, and the savings are amazing, nice three star hotels for one star prices. The hotel that we stayed in was the London Guards, a clean hotel, that is not great and not bad, for the price we were happy. Breakfast could be a little better.

The hotel also has a Russian restaurant in the basement, very good food, and is normally fully booked. We had to eat at the bar as there were no tables, the service is excellent, and the food is fantastic, but be prepared to pay a little for it, although the prices are not too bad considering the rest of London.

In our couple of days in London, we toured a little; we saw Madam Tuesauds and the wax figures, Trafalgar Square, London Tower (outside only) and a few other land marks. We decided that we would come back once we were settled in Bristol and had some £ to spend.

We leave for Bristol on the 10th Feb.

Dave & Narelle