Dealing with disaster when you’re not at home

What a week it has been. This time last Monday, Toowoomba was about to be swamped by a freak inland tsunami (ironically sad, being that the Queensland city is just coming out of horrendous drought), and Brisbane, Ipswich, even my little home in the town of Withcott (just a few minutes outside Toowoomba) were about to be flooded to disaster proportions. To see it all unfolding on the news in the UK was distressing and upsetting. Our home, literally, in turmoil.

Dealing with disaster when you’re not at home

Through it all I discovered Twitter’s amazing communicative power, sourcing all my news and updates quickly and easily from #QLDfloods, even updating my mum in Brisbane city on power supply details. Sad though to see death updates streaming through.

Still, to be looking in, the Aussie spirit was (and is) alive and well. So much positivity and ‘mateship’, and everyone working together, from the Red Cross to the RSPCA. We will recover, and are lucky to have the resources to do so. A very sad week all the same.

Making the best of it: recent UK exploration 

By Holly HayesOnto our recent discoveries here: Last weekend prior to all this flood upset, we finally got to the British Museum. I don’t think I’ve been anywhere like it! So huge, filled with simply amazing historical relics, documents and artifacts from places like Egypt, Japan, China, South America, Africa, Europe and even Fiji, PNG and Australia. Like most museums here, it was free to enter and is definitely worth checking out. Oh, and the hot dogs being sold outside ARE as good as the smell!

In our 2011 mission to see something new each weekend, this past couple of days we headed over to the peaceful and beautiful residential precinct of Canada Water (offers a distinct Canadian feel, and is located by quaint streams and near The Thames); next stop up is the bustling, modern Canary Wharf– very yuppy (we kinda liked it).

My mate Nicola also suggested ‘the best kept secret in London’ – a lovely little precinct down under Tower Bridge, next to Tower of London and on the Thames, St Katharine’s Docks (pictured above, image by Holly Hayes). Quaint boats are docked here, and there are several coffee shops, restaurants and the delightful Dickens Inn pub – friendly helpful staff, nice food, three levels, free WiFi and beautiful setting. Seek it out for yourselves… (closest tube is Tower Hill).

 

Ticking off the ‘bucket list’ – Stonehenge

I wasn’t sure how this year would pan out regarding New Year festivities. We didn’t have anything planned, and usually because of this disorganisation, New Year’s Eve ends up being a little uneventful. Also, this time last year we were on a holiday in the UK and went to a fantastic concert to celebrate. It was like being in my world in 1997, but better…

Back to the present though: we woke up on Friday morning and didn’t even realise it was New Year’s Eve. For some reason we had it in our minds that Saturday was ‘party day’, so in our wisdom booked a day trip outside of London for Friday. You would think the date ’31st’ would ring bells, but no… As we were getting ready for our early morning start though, we did notice all the NYE news stories on television and it hit us – THIS was it! The last day of the year. How time flies. This time ten years earlier I had been celebrating with my mate Lauren at Disneyland in California, my first overseas adventure.

Feeling somewhat silly about our lack of preparation, we headed off for our trip. I was particularly excited to finally be seeing Stonehenge, and as it turns out, ticking an item off your Bucket List is a pretty memorable way to see in a brand new year. Those less enthused refer to it as ‘a pile of rocks’, but I’m far more respectful. This is an ancient monument, brimming with legend and history dating back to mythical King Arthur times, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to see. In fact, we were walking around marvellous Stonehenge at the moment our family and friends in Australia were celebrating their midnight hugs and kisses, and it was somewhat surreal to be Tweeting, texting and Facebooking them all simultaneously.

We also explored Salisbury and beautiful Bath during this tour – our second on Golden Tours which offer a range of terrific travelling options in and around London. The reason we chose a tour was because it actually turned out to be more economical (and convenient) than jumping on a train to Bath, or hiring a car and driving. If you’re travelling within the region, check all your options first.

Tired on our return home, but still keen to do something for New Year, we ended up venturing out into the cold to catch up with some Aussie and Kiwi friends who were enjoying celebrations at Bumpkin Restaurant and Bar in Notting Hill. From there, the night turned into one of those impromptu fun parties that ran until the wee hours. Still recovering, but thank God for the Bank Holiday tomorrow!

Cheers to an awesome 2011! S x

Stonehenge Sarah Blinco

 

 

 

Happy 2011!

“Yooo hooo. Is anyone out there? Sarah? Cooper? Did you forget us? We haven’t heard from you for over a month!”

… I know, I know. Regardless of daily reprimands at each other to update this blog, ‘boring’ life and work simply got in the way. Instead of updating here with memoirs of our adventures we have been slouched on the couch at wee hours following big days on the job, sipping on a late night glass of red, before slinking, tired, into bed, and doing it all again the next day. It doesn’t matter how you try, real life creeps back in no matter where in the world you try to hide!

Finally some holidays are here and between when we last updated, and now, there has been a lot of snow, a flood in our building of flats, some loud disagreements in the hall outside during the night, another tube strike (or maybe two), festive parties, London Christmas lights, the patting of many a random cute dog in the park/street, and a trip to Brighton, Buckingham Palace and Windsor. Oh, and quite a bit of eating haha.

My lovely mate Julie gave me a call for Christmas while Cooper and I were enjoying a pint at a pub in Chelsea, and she shamed me into writing some more here, after all, what use is a blog if it is not updated? So, am sitting here at M+V Hairdressers typing up a BlackBerry storm while simultaneously waiting for my gross two-month-old re-growth to be prettied up in time for NYE.

No plans yet for the big day, but to be fair I don’t expect much. Nothing could top Darren Hayes last year (when ironically, we were also in London, but for a holiday). I’m sure we’ll come up with a fun option to see in this new year though. Christmas ended up being quiet due to work and weather issues, but we are now planning to do a big travel trip mid year. It’s also an opportunity to explore London, which we don’t get to do during working weeks.

On our free days this Christmas we have Googled ‘day trips from London’ in order to cherry pick some nice little tourist options. Over the next couple of days we’ll finally get to see Bath and Stonehenge, yay!

Life in London is quite expensive when it comes down to it, and the city is nice, but not ‘home’. Still, as I read the current copy of Psychologies Magazine, I am reminded to be positive for the year ahead. Dr. Robert Holden has written, “I mean choosing to be grateful about what you have rather than complain about what you don’t; choosing to forgive rather than hold grudges…”. A nice, timely message.

And while my cute little Italian hairdresser raves about how excited she is to go home for the weekend to Sicily, she unknowingly reminds me yet again to appreciate my family and friends. I would skype mum right now if it wasn’t 4am at home… At least I can turn the webcam back on, now that my hair isn’t hideous.

Happy New Year all xx