Bali Hai

I grab my bag off security check and rush to the door; the humidity hits me in the face like a wet blanket, the sweet smell of burning incense and smoke fire fills the air with sounds of traffic and honking horns in the distance. I take a deep breath and smile, I’m ‘home’ (My 2nd home)                                                                                                                                        Haters can hate all they want, but I love the shit out of Bali.

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A short 3 hour flight and ridiculously cheap prices (I haven’t paid more than $200 return in years) makes Bali the perfect mini break and has ensured visits are a frequent occurrence. If I’m not looking forward to a trip there, Im planning a trip there or I am actually there. It is the bearded man’s and my quintessential happy place no matter where we stay or who we’re with, Bali never fails to steal my heart. And for good reason, its where we went on our first holiday as a couple, its where we said ‘I Do’ and like a pair of bogans we return every year for our anniversary. If I could financially make it viable I would be FIFO out of Denpasar not Perth – true story

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And no Im not looking through slightly rose tinted eyewear, the country is definitely not without its faults – It can be dirty, its busy, there are scams everywhere, beaches that are beautiful in October are covered in washed up rubbish in December, the Australians outnumber the Balinese at times and some tourists seem to think acting like a-holes and trashing the place is completely acceptable (don’t even get me started about school leavers in Bali)

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Add on a turbulent year with accusations of spying, executions of nationals and volcanic ash, many an Aussie is calling to ‘boycott Bali’ I’m not here to tell anyone otherwise, if that’s the way you feel it’s one less person to block my sunset view.  But for me (not to sound like an overly dramatic teenager) the thought of never touching down at Ngurah Rai again is utterly inconceivable – writing off the whole Island based on what you see in the news/ see in Kuta is like judging  in the whole of America on a bad experience in Times Square.

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Head slightly north and you have trendy (almost western) Seminyak and the black sparkly beaches of Canngu.

Head south to Uluwatu/ Bingin and you will feel like its 1970 with surfers, beachside warungs and wooden huts overlooking some of the best breaks Indonesia has to offer.

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Head inland to Ubud or Kintamanti and you’ll be surrounded by art, culture, architecture, inconceivably green rice paddy fields, jungles, waterfalls and more yoga studios and vegan juice bars than you can poke a stick at.

Head to the northern tip or farther East and you could possibly be the only westerner.

The real stars of Bali are the people, welcoming, friendly, and always smiling. Some of the best days I’ve had over there have not been sitting by a pool or shopping, it’s been getting to know the people that call Bali home.

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Even if the only interactions you have with locals is pulling up a plastic chair at one of the sunset beach bars at it will be worth it to get a glimpse into their lives. As that sun dips lower and lower, the sand that had been taken up by tourists sunning will be replaced by families splashing in the shore, kids playing soccer, school groups on excursions and household poochies wrestling in the sand. The place is magic.

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Give it a shot before you blacklist it.

Our next trip is booked already 62 days and counting…

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Wash Rinse Repeat

Mining is the perfect (or worst) environment for someone with OCD.

My level of particularness (it’s a word go with it) has varied from slightly quirky- toilet paper should come over the top of rolls To borderline nut job- having to brush each side of my hair the equal and exact number of times.

But up here I seem to have company, every day is ingrained in routine, never before have I seen a group of adults so collectively revolt against change, any and all types of change.

The scenes of outcry when the brand of bread was changed would make you think kidneys had been removed. Borderline pandemonium ensued when for one day boiled eggs weren’t available, and do not get  me started about the off weeks where chefs have the audacity of serving crumbed NOT BATTERED fish for Friday night dinner. Oh yes Friday night is Fish and Chip night, every Friday and from what I have been told every Friday on every mine site is Fish and Chip night.

Each day resembles the same as the one before and will probably be very similar to the day after, you do start to rely on the routines to get you through the week. I have been guilty of standing in the lunch room with a dull stare due to the fact there is no chicken, I put this half down to OCD and half down to not being a morning person- having the same lunch every day saves me time and voids me of making decisions

So what does a normal day look like?

4:00am – Get Up

I’m one of those people that actually give a crap if I get super fat from sitting on my ass all day so I go to the gym before work (cause aint no one has energy to work out AFTER a 12.5 hour shift)

Know you're a proper miner when even your gym clothes are high vis

Know you’re a proper miner when even your gym clothes are high vis

5:00am – Shower/ Breakfast

Food is a bit hit and miss up here. Some weeks you have absolute stellar chefs and its awesome, other nights… well protein smoothies are popular up here for a reason. Breakfast at least you know it’s the same thing every day.

Holy Paleo hell Batman - eggs and tom with almonds err-day

Holy Paleo hell Batman – eggs and tom with almonds err-day

5:30am – Bus

Sometimes so quiet you can hear a pin drop; no one is the best version of themselves this early in the morning. I try not to fall asleep during this trip, 20mins is not long enough for a proper rest, and I usually jump awake bleery eyed wondering what year it is if I do. For the past 12months I have been listening to Indonesian Lessons, learning a new language on company time- why not!

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sneaky early morning snap, trying not to look like some weirdo pap

6:00am- Prestart

Pre-work meeting where we are told what that day will bring, where all the dig units are, who’s in trouble for speeding the day before (yeah they monitor that) any information we may need to know, finished off with pre-work stretches. It’s quite the spectacle seeing 30 over weight men try and touch their toes; one ambitious Supervisor got us all to do a sun salutation- a delightful sight

6:15am- The Trucking Begins  

Being the ultra-clean freak I am, the first 3 mins usually involves me re-cleaning and disinfecting every surface in the cab, some operators have questionable person hygiene I don’t want to receive any of through a steering wheel. Then its log on and off we go. I have quite the swag to pass my day and keep the brain from turning to mush, books, mags, crosswords, wool – I have taught myself to crochet (sometimes feel like I am an 80 year old woman) and most importantly an IPod, we’re in the middle of nowhere radio reception cannot be guaranteed and you have some odd conversations with yourself when you have to sit in silence for 12 hours.

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9:00-10:00am –Morning Smoko

12:00 – 1:30 – Lunchtime

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What happens when you sleep in and dont get time to pack your lunch –  you have to grab a pre-made pack. Mincey smoosh with ricey smoosh ….

2:00pm – Afternoon Smoko

Nothing really to explain here it’s a break it involves food, stretching and emptying your bladder as much as you can.

4:30pm – Afternoon Pee Break

I drink a tonne of water and I try to keep it monitored but 6 liters over 12 hours with a tiny lady bladder don’t mix too well. I need more than 2 loo breaks a day. Wish I could say this time differs but it doesn’t, 4:30 on the dot every day….

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Heaven in a box when you have drunk 6 litres of water

6:10pm-Swap Out

Nothing is sweeter than looking at your Modular (computer screen in the cab of your truck that tells you where to go) and seeing that it’s sending you to a park up. Shift is officially over. Part of our pay is ‘handover allowance’ it’s for the time it takes you to let the person getting onto your truck know anything important – faults/ changes in the pit etc. In reality handover usually involves walking towards them pointing at the truck saying ‘all good, have a good night’ and continuing to walk. To be fair though, it usually is all good.

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6:30pm- Bus Home/ Pack Lunch

The bus leaves when we’re all on, cue feverish headcounts, double checking if someone has got on and cursing the other team for not swapping out quick enough. Any delays eats into the few precious hours we have to ourselves each day. Ensuring I have one less thing to worry about in the mornings I always pack my lunch at night, same thing every day. Chicken salad lunch, salad sticks, boiled egg and almonds for snacks. Treat myself to Caesar Salad when it’s up on offer (yeah that’s right I get crazy with the food)

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7:00pm-Dinner

Again hit and miss, only this week we have had an amazing Asian night (wonton soup yo – delish) which was then followed by an evening where my salad was practically liquid and the silverside and bits that were fluoro

9:00pm- Lights Out

Setting your alarm for 4am again and groaning that its only 7hours away – Night!

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Day in Day Out……

‘Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel’ – DUSTY SPRINGFIELD

Family Holiday

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

I trust that you made the most of your time off in the same manner I did, mainlining wine and eating your body weight in processed carbs – high five to January detoxes, keeping the gym industry afloat!!!

The bearded man and I got the holy grail of annual leave – Christmas week off!! This sought after leave is usually two years in the making, and we managed to get the last available spots on the 25th Dec, 2014. This year was our ‘half way’ of working Christmas Day and now only have another 3 years before we are actually home for one (come on 2019)

 

After having ‘faux-Christmas’ with the fellas family we jumped on a plane and headed to Sydney to spend the  actual day with mine – what’s the saying??

A son is a son till he takes a wife; a daughter’s a daughter the rest of her life

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After a disappointingly soggy 3 days in Sydney, we headed north my families ‘happy place’ South West Rocks, a little tourist town on the Central north coast.

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Obligatory Tourist Shot

The idea of one beach house, 11 family members for 7nights did fill me with slight trepidation, we are by no means a quiet family – or a small family as (apart from me) most people are 6ft. However it was unnecessary worry, for the most part the trip was pretty harmonious! It always amazes me with family (and good friends) you can be separated for years and by 1000’s of kilometers but as soon as your all back together again its immediately like old times.

We are by no means locals to the area now, however my family has a long history with this place, my great grandparents lived here, my grandparents got married here, my Mum was born here and someone in the fam visits every year. Every trip discussions turn to which house we will buy when one of us inevitably wins lotto – mine was this one.

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It’s one of those magical places where days blend into each other and basically involve:

– Up – Breakfast – Beach – Lunch – Beach – Pub – Dinner – Sleep – Repeat

And that is pretty much all we did.

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Turkish towel and kindle in hand, I spent 7 glorious days doing…. Well as little as possible.

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Apart from the occasional dip in the ocean to cool down and make the most of our $20 bogey board, my week involved burning through 3 books, working on my tan and deciding what I was going to eat next.

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Every afternoon, with salty hair and sandy feet we padded across the road to the local pub. The Seabreeze Hotel, home to the BIGGEST seafood platter I had ever seen, where I was introduced to Black Shandys and got very good at waiting over an hour for food (pretty sure most staff working in the town over the holiday had never worked in hospitality)

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The only deviation from this schedule was a trip to the Trial Bay Gaol, a heritage listed relic standing on the headland overlooking the bays. Built in the 1800’s it was to house inmates who were getting to the end of their sentences and help build a groin to make South West Rocks a ‘safe harbour’ for trade ships (see educational AND enjoyable) This sadly all fell to shit when the groin continued to get washed away and a few poor fellas were eaten by sharks (welcome to Australia) the gaol was closed.

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Whats left now is a photographers dream, all geometric shapes and casting shadows.

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The days blissfully blended into one another, my feet got the permanent flip flop tan (the ultimate sign of a beach holiday) the bank account started looking a bit and before we knew it, it was time to head back west. And then before I knew it I was back here at work blaming the clothes dryer for shrinking my pants and digging into my gut.

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Time to start saving for the next trip!

Getting to Know You… Getting to Know All About YOOOOUUU…..

I’ve never written a list like this before and never really thought to, until stumbling upon a blog and in 500 short words discovering I had found my soulmate…. Sadly she does not seem to be blogging anymore but go have a look what is there is great reading!

www.pendletonplace.com

So in no particular order…. 25 Random Facts about me:

  1. I’m currently writing this at work (in the office) and have become a master at looking busy and important when really I am neither
  2. I have an unnatural obsession with sloths and anything sloth related. I one day dream of going to Costa Rica and volunteering at the Sloth rehabilitation center, just so I can hold a sloth…. Sloths
  3. I’ve been to university twice, but am yet to actually finish a degree (Molecular Genetics and Art/ Fashion)
  4. If I was an animal I would be a baby goat or Shetland pony – small, sorta cute, bit annoying with short legs pretty much sums me up.
  5. This year I completed my first half marathon, and still maintain it was physically the hardest thing I have ever done (I may or may not have cried when I saw the finish line)
  6. My love of a holiday destination is largely based on the quality of food the country has
  7. As such the best place I have ever traveled is Vietnam (40% because of the food, 30% scenery, 20% how lovely the people were and 10% how stupidly affordable it was)
  8. I’m allergic to cinnamon, not ‘have to carry and epipen, might die’ allergic, more ‘covered in a rash, scratchy throat, closed over eye’ allergic which is good cause I will destroy a plate of churros with chocolate sauce given the chance
  9. My wardrobe consists of an unusually large amount of striped clothing
  10. I really wanted to visit 30 countries by 30 and was gutted when I feel one short (Clearly still pretty happy/ grateful being able to do as many as I did 29 is a solid effort!)
  11. In 2010 my New Year’s Resolution was to learn Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ dance – nailed it
  12. If my IPod was ever stolen, the thief would be forgiven thinking that I’m a 70year old woman due to the number of show tunes and old school jazz on it.
  13. The shortest time spent in a job was 6hours – Was advertised as a PR/ Marketing position in London. Turned out to be selling steak knives door to door.
  14. If you tell me you don’t like puppies I will probably think you don’t have a soul
  15. Mustard Yellow is the best colour- EVER
  16. I pretend to like certain foods to look fancy and sophisticated but really I don’t get the obsession *cough* natural oysters *cough* smoked salmon
  17. I am the best air hockey player you will ever meet.
  18. I’ve taken Italian, French, Spanish and (currently) Indonesian classes. My conversational skills however are limited to hello/ goodbye and ordering food. ‘sandwich jambon-fromage s’il vous plait’
  19. Brunch is my favourite time of day early enough to still have breakfast food, late enough that drinking mimosas is socially acceptable.
  20. I hate weddings – there I said it. Eloping was the best thing ever
  21. I LOVE home renovation shows and really wanted to audition for The Block. Until I moved into my new house, realised that it’s WAY harder than it looks and never want to renovate anything again.
  22. The ocean is my happy place. Feel like the best version of myself after a day at the beach.
  23. I swear way too much and around people I shouldn’t. Eg. Calling a co-worker an ‘effing wanker’ in front of a Supervisor
  24. Balloons and putting mail in a post box freak me out, I’m always scared the balloon will pop in my face and that I’ll accidentally drop something into the post box – I am aware how weird and irrational this is
  25. The perfect day would be in Bali, with the fella, involving sunshine, surf, cold beers and a ruby sunset
My Favourite T-Shirt and the BEST Christmas present ever- SLOTHS!!!

My Favourite T-Shirt and the BEST Christmas present ever- SLOTHS!!!

wanderlusting

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What a dangerous combination… but here I am day 3 into an 8 day swing with an audit evidence folder in front of me due in 48hrs while I’m googling maps of the Philippines and Cambodia planning dream trips that I can neither afford or have the time to take at the moment…..

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Ahh Asia you temptress, you have stolen my heart. Lured in with cheap flights, beautiful countries, wonderful people and some of the best damn food known to man (and this is coming from a girl that ate her way through Europe for nearly two years)

I miss it, (almost) all of it made worse by the fact that there is no adventure scheduled in the near future.

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I miss the excitement of packing the backpack, trying to master the art of rolling clothes v folding to maximize space. Trawling over travel blogs, websites and guides to see what is recommended and by who – I am incapable of arriving to a destination and totally winging it, but refuse to rely solely on my Lonely Planet. My rucksack is looking so sad sitting on top of the wardrobe collecting dust.

The anticipation of the unknown, guessing what will be your favourite place, or if it will all live up to the hype. Wondering how easy/ hard the trip will be or even will you make it to your next destination due to manic bus drivers through Vietnamese mountains, or wondering if your mouth will ever stop burning from eating a whole chilli (again) as it was mistaken for red capsicum

I miss the humid heat and heavy air, fragranced with street food, pineapple and frangipanis (don’t question that is what I always smell!) which hits you every time you walk out a door. The balmy evenings and constant slight sweatiness that seems to stay for the duration of the trip

Pulling up a plastic chair in a stall that would send you running in the Western world ordering the most delicious bowl of noodles/ soup/ stir fry/ kebabs for a quarter of the price of a glass of wine in Perth, washed down with a 5c beer watching the world go by. Constant traffic, honking and hawkers in the cities to carts, cool breezes and farmland in rural areas

Witnessing locals defy physics, gravity and road safety rules by loading up scooters with everything from the whole family to a small fridge (true story), or monks Buddhists, priests, locals giving thanks at temples and leaving offerings.

Being blown away by unimaginable landscapes, losing your shit over local wildlife and marveling at everything from mountains to sunsets, the quiet moments and the busy moments- I miss it all…..

Where is everyone else going? Let me live vicariously through you!

Come Fly With Me

Sometimes my current co-workers make me sad, sometimes they make me angry, sometimes I wonder how they have even made it this far in life without being killed off, as simple life decisions and generally being an adult seems so far out of reach for some of them, I’m literally lost for words.

However there are some things miners do a hell of a lot better than the regular public  – flying is one of them (clearly when I say flying I mean travelling by air, I barely trust some of them to ride a bicycle let alone pilot the plane I’m on)

Below is the TOP 5 things the general public should take ‘on board’ *pun absolutely intended* to make travel more efficient, enjoyable and less stressful for all involved.

  1. EMBARKING/ DIEMBARKING ETIQUETTE: Nothing shits me more flying commercial than having Joe Assclown in seat 29C pushing and shoving his way down the aisle trying and be first off the plane –  Mate if you wanted to be first out you should have checked in earlier/ pre booked a seat/ been more prepared. It’s disorganised and messy and leads to disembarking taking longer for everyone, as the aisle starts resembling a scrum. There is an unspoken yet strictly upheld system with FIFO planes (and buses) that we disembark in an orderly fashion, like a zipper – row 1 first, then row 2, etc. and everyone holds back until it’s your turn, if you’re up the back you can just remain seated until its almost your row. It’s so simple, and plainly obvious that it’s the best way to get everyone off I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for the general public to work out?
  1. HAND LUGGAGE ONLY:                                                                                                                                 This has been a total game changer in my regular life – I have perfected the art of packing light and embraced hand luggage only travel. Yes I understand it’s not the biggest deal in the world if flying is a once a year occurrence but when you are flying upwards of 50-100 times annually you literally save HOURS by removing any need for check ins and waiting for luggage – not to mention $$. I have travel size everything, now realise that I don’t need 7 different pairs of shoes per trip and will usually be out of the airport and on my way home by the time the first suitcases are getting lifted off the carousel. Out of respect for fellow travelers if the bag fits under the seat put it under the seat, don’t be that guy that takes up a whole overhead locker- no one likes that guy.
All I needed for a 10 day trip overseas.

All I needed for a 10 day trip overseas.

  1. STAND BACK                                                                                                                                                           Ever notice the line that surrounds a baggage carousel? Ever wondered what it was there for? If a recent commercial flight is anything to go by not many people do. I blame myself for breaking my ‘hand luggage only’ rule and splashing out on 20kg checked. It’s to stand behind- if we all stood a step back from the carousel there would be enough room for everyone to see their bags and I wouldn’t nearly knock over a small child and a group of Asian tourist to get to my suitcase

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  1. BE PREPARED                                                                                                                                                             This applies to every step involved at the airport.                                                                                Approaching the security check – get yo shit out of your pocket BEFORE you reach the front and hold every one up.                                                                                                                                       About to board – have you ticket out and ready to present                                                              About your turn to get off the plane – have your bag in your hand ready to go, or at the very least make sure you have shut your computer down                                                                                   Have a bladder the size of a pea – don’t pick the window seat                                                             And if you chose not to follow any of these don’t be surprised and then abuse the 3 people that jump ahead to push their bags through security/ walk off the plane, while you’re taking an age to undo your belt/ take your shoes off etc. I would love to film Terminal 2 on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning just to show people the seamless well-oiled machine that is fly out day.

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  1. USE YOUR TIME WISELY                                                                                                                             There’s no two ways about, having to sit on a bus/ plane/ waiting room every week is a pain in the ass. Since starting in mining I have spent the equivalent of an entire month in departure lounges/ on planes (not including delays breakdowns reschedules etc.) It’s a lot of your life to waste, might as well do something useful with it. I’m not going to lie, I’m not penning a novel or learning a new language I spend most of it topping up the sleep bank in preparation for the week to come. Being 5’4 helps getting comfy in the seat, valium and a glass of wine (for non-work flights) works even better.

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Weekday Brunchings

There is something utterly indulgent about brunching/ lunching on a week day.  Being ale to take your time perusing the menu, ordering drinks, taking it all in knowing that you have nowhere else to be is utter bliss.

Watching people run in scoff their lunch and dash out again fills me with a new wave of appreciation that I’m no longer a 9-5er, that appreciation has been replaced with bewilderment (and slight concerns about a possible drinking problem)  a few hours later when the same people walk back in for their after work drinks only then realising that the entire afternoon has disappeared. It’s the closest thing to feeling like you are on a holiday without actually being on a holiday. Add good weather and great company and you have perfection.

So needless to say when friends suggested trying out one of their favourite wineries for lunch, I didn’t need much convincing. With the bearded man in tow and google maps on hand off we road tripped to Kalamunda.

Perth thankfully turned on the weather, one of those uncharacteristically warm winters’ days of open blue skies that beg to have your car windows left open, and let you know that the seasons are a changing.

And temperatures high enough to convince you sandals are a good option
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As we ascended higher and higher up the hill, the view became more and more impressing, the smells of city were replaces by scents of eucalyptus, wattle flowers and just a hint of summer. Alternating between popping our ears and selecting which house we would buy – its something that has become quite the tradition every time the CBD is left. Conversations (at  great length) how buying an acreage surrounded by bush is EXACTLY what we should be doing. Being born and bred in Perth, I’m ashamed to say that I had never ventured up the Kalamunda Hills, being completely unaware there was anything up there. Far from a buzzing metropolis Kalamunda has that country town feel and only 40mins from the city.

Around a couple more bends and we came to our destination. So innocuous you would miss it if you weren’t looking – Brookfield Winery, home to a pretty good SB and the best damn lunch deal you will find.

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Our friends had got their only seconds before with their baby that makes my ovaries tingle every time I see her *cluck cluck*

Taking our seats alfresco because we could and settled in under the trees. Only a murmur of conversations and sounds of the creek for soundtrack.

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THE FOOD, 3 courses $45AUS with a glass of wine- SUPERB. I have a rule that when dining out at all times order something that I would never cook at home.                                                                                                                                 Entree – Panko crusted prawns, cooked perfectly.                                                       MAIN-Twice cooked crispy duck                                                                                           DESSERT-Creme Brulee (my personal favourite)

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Too wrapped in the taste to take pictures, we spent time between courses stretched on the grass in the sun  like a pack of well fed lions, another round of wine was ordered                             ‘wine not eh’                                 

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And before we knew it the afternoon was slipping away, small children needed sleep, grown ups felt like naps, the sun started dipping behind the trees and it was time to head home

Wandering inside to settle the bill I was greeted with one of the best restaurant settings I have ever seen. Cafe x Cellar Door x Farm Shed, a literal kitsch mismatched delight. Right up my alley

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And back down the hill we headed, looking up Kalamunda properties and musing of possible ‘rural-esque’ sea changes all the way back to the burbs

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Finals Fever

During the obligatory small talk over my recent Remedial Massage I was asked who I support in the football (and football in Western Australia is AFL) the very brief conversation went like this

ME: “Freo Dockers all the way”

BEN: “Oh, who’s your 2nd favourite team?”

ME: “There’s no such thing as a 2nd favourite team”

BEN: “Good answer, I go for the Eagles”

And just like that Ben the man with the magic hands, saviour who has freed me from headaches and looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame unveiled himself as a sworn enemy. As in this fair city there are two teams, if you support one you loathe the other – I am yet to meet a fence sitter.

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One to the North, one to the South, like Capulets and Montagues, Sharks and Jets, Tom and Jerry if you will, for a long time it was the haves and the have nots.  The West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers….

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Before 1994, I didn’t really give a shit about football only that I ‘hated’ the Eagles – in the way that all good sports mad fathers brainwash their young the best reason I could give was ‘cause Dad said’ (I wasn’t even in double digits yet and oh so impressionable) So when it was announced that Fremantle was getting a football team, being born and bred from the port city there was no question this was who we now supported.

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The name was announced, the uniform unveiled (PURPLE!!), the song released. Thrilled about it all a – scarf was bought, a flag was purchased and I signed up to be part of the supporter squad – still have the Purple Hark Yakka overalls to prove it. But sadly the good days didn’t last, because as the Eagles steamed ahead to multiple premierships, Fremantle barely got a win, teenagers teased, purple was apparently ‘gay’ and the Dockers were ‘crap’ (they were crap) The bi-annual derbies where the two Perth teams met were demolitions which saw Fremantle shellacked from anything from a couple goals to 117 points (true story) Their wins were so achingly few and far between it seemed like the anchor was not so much a tip of the hat to their maritime past but a symbol of how low on the ladder they could sink. If nothing else it bred loyal people, for no matter how shit they got I still supported them.

But the tide has changed, the uniform updated, a new coach appointed, and we have started to win nay started to get good –really good, for the first time in 20years you can loudly admit who you support without jeers and pity. We even made the grand final in 2013, although sadly falling short in the last quarter (I would say that I remember the game well, but riddled with nerves I started my day with an espresso martini over breakfast and I think you can fill in the blanks yourself)

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2015 has been no exception, starting the year with 9 straight wins and game play so uncharacteristically good for a team we’re used to seeing hit the brakes after half time, finishing top of the ladder with the Eagles only one spot behind has stirred Perth into a pandemonium of ‘Beetles’ proportions. With both teams playing this weekend for a spot in the Grand Final, the looming possibility of a Western Derby Grand Final is so achingly close you can almost taste it. Stroke inducing nerves border lining catatonic would best describe the reaction if we get a win this Friday, the boys (yes ‘the boys’) can beat anyone when they play their best and they need to. Pav, Fyfe, Ballas, Sonny, Hill, Ross….. Pull together fellas and give us something to cheer about. EEEEK!!

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Tickets go onsale in an hour – wish me luck!

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My Heart Still Hurts for London

This week marks the 10 year anniversary of my first solo trip abroad. At 22 I sold most of my possessions, quit my job, gave notice at my rental and with $1200AUS and a credit card moved to London knowing nothing and no one

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It was hardly wandering off the beaten track (European Contiki and UK working visa) Closer resembling a well-trodden slightly eroded track through a sand dune. Regardless I still consider it the best, scariest, foolish, wonderful, gutsy thing I have ever done and possibly will ever do.

Travel for me was never an ‘if’ it was always a ‘when’, breaking up with my high school boyfriend was the kick up the ass I needed to get my head down bum up and save like crazy to make it happen so within 8 months I was boarding an Emirates flight to the UK.

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And 10years on (8years since I got home) I still miss it, I am by no means looking through rose coloured glasses some days that city kicked my ass, I spent most of 2005/2006 totally broke, with a maxed out credit card and working two jobs, barely sleeping to keep myself afloat, at times running back to the warm security of home and a hug from Mum seemed like a tempting option. Its busy, its dirty (look at your feet after riding the tube in flip flops), the weather most of the time is rubbish and the people can be quite rude- the moment I knew it was time to go home was when I tripped on Oxford Street during rush hour, had the guy behind me grunt his disapproval for being stopped, stepped over me while I was still on the ground and kept walking… despite that I’m oh so glad that I stuck it out. The city is magical

It’s naive to believe travel/ living abroad won’t change you, I just wasn’t prepared with how much it changes you- that 2 years in most part defined what type of adult I would become (or still becoming, I’m not entirely convinced that I am a proper grown up yet) The me that I had always been just a little bit braver, a little bit freer, a little bit wilder, slightly more curious, much more open minded with a pinch of gypsy added in. I foolishly thought if I saw all the European countries I set out to Id have my fill of travelling and come home, get a good job and settle down like all normal people. What actually happened was a fire was lit within, a desire to see as much of the world for as long as possibly, and thanks to my current employment situation it’s only gotten more achievable, with no desire to slow down anytime soon. Initial plans to return in 2012 (with a few million other people) didn’t eventuate, but could 2016 be the year I see the town on the Thames again?

Top 10 Things I Miss About London

  1. Getting Lost in the Streets – I would spend my days off just wandering up alleys, down laneways, along the Thames finding little cafes, small bars and other hidden treasures. I knew the central part of that city like the back of my hand.

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  1. Sunday Nights at my share house – 5 permanent rent payers in a 4 bedroom townhouse in Willesden Green, more often than not there was someone dossing in our lounge (that person was me for a few months over summer 06) and more than a couple times I opened the door to find someone I didn’t know sitting at the kitchen table. We travelled together, socialised together and fought like crazy at times, but every Sunday night we’d all mooch down to the local Chinese restaurant nursing more than likely another hangover, order take out (Beef Black Bean, steamed rice thank you) and watch Lost (it was 2005 after all)

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  1. How the City would come alive when the sun shone – And no this didn’t happen often. You get very used to grey skies very quickly, it dawned on all in our house how much we took the ocean for granted back home, the salty breeze and fresh air seemed like memories from a dream, border lining a sort of mild depression longing for the warmth on your skin and the sight of a clear blue sky. And for a few precious days in summer in happens, awaking the city from a type of hibernation. Everything is better, the city almost sparkles, people are nicer and lunches are spent spread out on the grass in one of the many parks, dipping your feet in the fountains. Aint no one loves a bit of public sun baking like a Brit.

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  1. Not needing to have a car – The irony that I took a job driving a truck for a living is that I hate driving, I despise it. I’m a terrible passenger also, like a small child the bearded man has to bribe and lie about distances to get me in a car for long trips. Most of my adult life I have been lucky to live relatively close to transport/ shops/ pubs/ cafes so driving is something I only have to do in short bursts. In London I was thrilled to meet co-workers my age that shared my disinterest in driving to the point where some of them didn’t even have a licence as there was simply no need. Not only is the public transport so comprehensive, it only takes a couple weeks to realise that you can walk from A to B in central London quicker than catching a train/ bus cab. Why disappear underground when you can leave Big Ben to walk via Leicester Square on your way to Covent Garden? I managed to go the whole time without EVER having to get behind the wheel- gold.
  1. There is always something to do – Always. Something as simple as a couple of after work drinks could (and did) lead to a dance party at a club with a Saturday Night Disco floor. The endless galleries, shops and sights you could take in, picnics and day trips to parks near and far. Endless concerts, movie openings, previews, shops, bars, cafes and festivals, something is always new, always opening begging to be tried. Not to mention weekends away and day trips both out of town and abroad (for someone who lives in the most isolated capital in the world this was amazing) Catering to every budget your time can be spent as cheap (free) or as expensive as you like.
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The weekend we went to the art gallery… to ride slides

  1. Was actually cheaper than Perth – I am basing this on 2006 prices and seeing how much more expensive Perth has gotten I could assume that it’s all pretty relative still. Back then the exchange rate was rubbish and I did earn a pittance (pulling pints and waiting tables is hardly high skilled work) but eating out, drinks and travel were all cheaper than back home which really surprised me you had to be savvy a pint of beer could cost 2pounds in one place and 4 in the next (clearly I didn’t frequent many upper end establishments) chippers on every high street offered dirt cheap (nutritionally empty) meals, flights abroad could cost as low as 8 pounds if you got in quick and early, I even managed to do a weeks’ worth of grocery shopping for 6quid – there was veggies involved but also a lot of 30p tins of soup. I personally found living cheaply in Europe was much easier than Australia

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  1. The history– As a self-confessed history nerd, coming from a country where a building older than 100 years is classed as ‘heritage’ to working in a building that is 400 years is a massive eye opener, travelling to countries to see relics from 1000’s years is mind blowing and puts in perspective just how ‘young’ my homeland is (meaning young for western civilization I am aware that Indigenous Australians are one if not the oldest continual culture on earth)

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  1. Pre-Packaged Sandwiches – Slightly odd yes, but you know you have been in London a while when you don’t even hesitate to buy a pre-packages sandwich for lunch. In Australia, desperation would almost be the only time you would buy one and more times than not be met with stale or soggy bread, brown lettuce and questionable meat. In London they were basically a food group, everywhere from Sainsburys to Pret a Manger pre made wraps and sandwiches were an easy and relatively affordable lunch option, and delicious – I’m looking at your bacon and egg brown bread Sainsburys sambo (why I gained 22kgs during my stay is starting to become more obvious)
  1. Waiting for the Tube – There was something about standing on the platform underground waiting for the train, hearing the oncoming rumble then the spray of warm air in your face as it pulls into the station. I don’t know why I loved it, the dusty smell mixed with fuel and oil always reminded me where I was and emit a small smile or appreciation
  1. Being anonymous – When the town you went to high school in is 2 degrees of separation it’s oh so refreshing to live in a city of 10 million and know that on any given day there is literally no chance of bumping into anyone you know. I know I wasn’t a very good friend/ family member when I was there, basically falling off the grid (this was before the days of Facebook) but it did feel good to just disappear down the rabbit hole and be a bit selfish for a while. I knew it wasn’t forever so made the most of it while I could.

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Thats the Tooth

This will not be long winded or particularly witty, just a note about the #1 thing that astounds/ confuses me about my current co-workers.

Why- when you are on a 6 figure salary and your employer subsides health insurance are you missing teeth??
How does anyone not prioritise having a full set??

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I’m not even talking about the snaggle ones that live at the back of your mouth and no one really sees, I’m talking your front teeth…
Do they regard falsies only being needed on ‘special occasions’??
Do they like the whistling sound you make when talking due to the gap??
Are they not concerned about not looking out of place chewing hay and rocking on a chair with a shot gun whilst wearing overalls… (bit of a generalisation I know but I’m on a roll..)

There are more people that I care to count that I have difficulties looking at due to their oral health, were they bottle feed coke from a small age??
How does it happen??
Why don’t you feel the need to fix it??
Do you have trouble eating??

The questions that I have been dying to ask for the past 4 years…..