…to me. Well almost. By the time you read this I will be 1 week shy of being in Australia for 1 whole year. This is on Sunday 4th August. Granted, I have had a couple of weeks back in the UK, but the milestone has come around so fast. Plans are in place to celebrate with friends with a monster schnitty (chicken schnitzel) at one of my favourite drinking haunts, The Bavarian in Crow’s Nest.
This comes with the added bonus that I recently found out that the following Monday, 5th August, is a bank holiday! However, note the wording, “bank holiday”. This doesn’t quite mean the same here as in the UK. It means you only get the holiday if you actually work for a bank. This is true. So my friends don’t get to share the same privilege.
The last month, since we last spoke, has gone by in a blur of sporting success and free flowing beverages. (Some of them quite hoppy Chris). Although the first event almost turned in to a personal disaster for me. This was, what subsequently turned out to be the unforgettable Lions match in the Sydney Olympic Stadium, now rebranded as the ANZ Stadium. In the excitement to get on the beers, I had rushed around at home, got into the obligatory Lions jersey and got picked up. Relaxing with a cold stubby, enjoying the sunshine, and ready to head off to town, I was asked, “final check, tickets?”. Shiiiiiiiiiiit. Seriously?
I’m just glad I was asked at 1.15pm, so we had time to remedy this emergency, and not when we had got all the way out to the stadium and in a slightly more inebriated condition. I would have missed one of the greatest nights in Lions history as we tore the woeful Wallabies to pieces. Lions! Lions! Lions!
The following weekend saw me heading out west of the city, sadly not on a big yellow bus, to celebrate “Xmas in July”. I am not sure of the exact provenance of this tradition, but from what I can gather, it is for European ex pats that wanted to celebrate Xmas when it was cold and in winter. OK, I agree with the winter part. But cold? I suspect it is just another excuse to get out the mistletoe.
We had a fabulous time, with the carols playing, having a secret santa, and sat around the table having a full xmas dinner. The host had also gone to the trouble of making some rather excellent homemade mince pies. Mulled wine and marshmallows toasted around the open fire ended a great evening.
Weekend 3 in July brought the arrival of Man Utd for their Sydney leg of the pre-season tour. On the Friday night they held an open training session, selling 20,000 tickets for this at $15. At just over the price of 2 beers this was too good an opportunity to miss so off we went with the hordes to the Sydney Football Stadium to watch the new manager Moyes put the lads through their paces.
I’m not sure it was just as a result of that particular training session but the following night we crammed 83,000 fans in to the ANZ Stadium and watched Utd stay in first gear as they battered the A-League No Stars 5:1. It should have been the “A-League All Stars” but in a team bereft of Alesandro del Piero and Shinji Ono there weren’t many stars on show.
Other stand out events in a fun packed month include an Italian cooking class at Signorelli’s with the whole team from work. Around 50 of us were broken up into small teams, and after watching and learning from the head chef we had to go and make various dishes. Caprese salad, pumpkin risotto and a bit of wagyu beef completed the evening’s menu. Relaxing after with the complimentary wine (free flowing all night) we found out that our team had won. I now have a brand new cook book as a prize. Dinner anybody?
I have booked my next scooter course which, if passed, will allow me to move off my learner (L) plates and onto my provisional (P). 12 months on the Ps and I can remove altogether and will have a full licence.
Finally, in a fit of extravagance, I have now bought my first TV in Australia. And a DVD player. I am coming into the modern times. Apparently I can also get the internet on the television but that might be a step too far for me right now. Baby steps. And whilst I was at it, I have finally ordered Foxtel, the Aussie equivalent of Sky television. I have bought the sports package, obviously, that shows every English Premier League game. And despite them being on at odd times I will have Sky+ so I can record them and watch at my leisure. Life is good. Just need the season to hurry up and start now.
Well, I think just about sums up July, and year 1. If you are still reading, well done. And thank you. I promise to have a shorter blog next month. I don’t expect it to be half as eventful but things have a funny way of working out. Before we know it, I will be writing about Xmas (not the one in July) and all that brings.
But until then, stay safe, stay happy, and keep living.