Wednesday, January 29, 2003

This just about brings us up to the present. A few gaps need filling before I post this mother. I got a promotion and a whopping £4,000 pay rise around October last year. Yay me! Ian keeps getting spectacular marks the closer he gets to qualifying [April .. phew]! I am doing my GCSE in Spanish. Wonder of wonders.

We are heading to Melbourne in the next few months and it is supposed to snow tomorrow.

Aside from all that life in Manchester is fine and dandy.

c x

On January 3 we headed off to Malta for a week in the sun for our second wedding anniversary.

I’ll pause while that just sinks in.

It was a great week and we did a whole lot of nothing. Well, Ian read all 3 Lord of the Rings books and I read The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring and half of The Two Towers. This is getting a little alarming. We managed a tan, a ferry ride to Gozo [the island of my father] , a visit to the house my mum was born in and some fabby food! It was just what we needed. Sun, sea and a deck chair by the pool on the hotel roof.

New Year’s Eve

Not wanting to spend another NYE wondering why I didn’t organise something or do something I managed to rope in eight mates who had nothing better to do. The gathering was at the Parsonage and much fun was had – and muchos champagne was drunk. Around five to twelve the sky around our house lit up like a Christmas tree on speed and all ten of us sat gawping out of the bay window at the sky until someone had the sense to grab their coat and run outside. Eventually we all ended up in the street suitably coated up [although I forgot my shoes ... very silly as it was very cold] and enjoyed a blissfully pretty fireworks display that lasted an age. Ian tried to convince everyone that we had worded up our neighbours to set the crackers off for the sole benefit of amusing our friends but nobody bought it. I wonder why. Still, a very nice touch to a warm and cosy and friend-full NYE.

I have developed a Champagne addiction. I can't take the blame for it entirely of course. I blame my colleague. As you do. You see, when Australian played England in the Ashes late last year, my [hopeful] colleague insisted on making a bet. Not being the hard core betting type we wagered a bottle of champagne. Let’s just say I landed a very nice bottle of Moët which Ian and I guzzled to celebrate his topping his class in his final exam and I reacquired my champagne palate. By the time the silly season swung around I was ready for more, and more, and more … Happily I woke up on New Year’s Day without a hangover, managed to feed Mark, Jammy and Ian French toast and coffee before we all retired to the sofas to watch Lord of the Rings … again. Sorry.

Another year starts with a bang. Bing?


Now, the mad lead into the silly season left me full of franticness and stress. Why? No idea. I think they pipe it though the PA systems in every shop, bar and restaurant in the world for the days leading to Christmas Day. The one thing however that kept the stress levels to a manageable level were copious amounts of mulled wine. In two of the squares in Manchester town centre countless German market stalls sprout up at around the 2nd week of December. They emit delicious aromas the likes of which you never smell [collectively anyway] any other time of the year. There is mulled wine by the bucket load, bratwurst sausages [Ahhh!], stollen, ginger biscuits, waffles, crepes and many other edible items that you really don't need thrust at you before Christmas Day. Having said all that - the atmosphere this all creates is quite magical and I love it. It gives Christmas a context for me and a way of experiencing all the 'cold' Christmases I missed in years gone by. I can happily announce that in the face of this mass temptation I only really indulged on a handful of occasions and still managed to keep off the 5kgs I lost in September-November. I will however be introducing mulled wine - or Gluhwein as it is traditionally called in Germany - to my next Australian Christmas experience.

Ian and I both had Christmas Do's on the 19th at our respective work places. I gave in to the pressure and lashed out to purchase the first pair of heels I've owned in nearly five years. Do I have to say that they killed my feet and if it was not for the endless champagne that I drank, I would have been in excruciating pain? I glammed up for the night and danced my toes off [literally] and had such a good time. After two years at KPMG I now have a good group of ‘work’ mates [some who fall into ‘outside’ work mates which is nice] who make me feel so much a part of life here.

Around midnight I felt as though I could stay the night with my 4 bloke work mates and neck champagne out of the bottle [very sophisticated] but as I hit the cold air I was very glad that I had a lift home and was tucked up in bed by 1am. An apology here to my sister [and father] who I allegedly called from my mobile to her mobile disturbing their shopping. I really don't remember doing that. Honest.

Christmas Eve / Christmas Day

A quiet time at the Parsonage as we three [Edith, Ian’s mum] ate, watched an obscene amount of telly and my new Lord of the Rings DVD at least twice. [Finding it hard to leave Middle Earth actually – more on that another blog…]

Thursday, January 23, 2003

I have utterly, utterly failed to maintain this in any sort of consistent way. What can I say? I suck at this frankly.

So, it was October 19 when I last posted and it seems like a very long time ago. How about a brief cram of what we've been up to in between times and then I'll try and do this again. Try being the operative word.


We spent 8 days in Barcelona which was blissful. We ate, walked, ate, drank, invented new cocktails [OK, I did but we did both drank them] and sat mesmerised as a tall, black, blue lipsticked drag queen sang I Will Survive in Spanish at our favourite bar Marguerita Blue. It is always great to wander around a new city and find somewhere else to eat and Barca is just the place for this kind of discovery. We actually took a couple of day trips out of the city which was nice - Gerona was the first place we trained it to and it was worth it. Such a lovely, quiet town divided by a river into old and new. I particularly loved the way the sandy, rust coloured houses hung precariously over the river in the old town and the windy streets that we climbed that lead us up to the city walls. Finally bought a pair of long sought after leather boots that I found in a gorgeous little shoe shop there. Yes, I have turned shoe shopping into an obsession. So much so Ian now subconsciously takes my hand and gently steers me to the other side of the street should we come precariously close to a shoe and/or bag shop. Bugger.

I saw Underworld at the Manchester Apollo Theatre which was simply mind-blowing. I love them and I guess I need say no more. The highlight had to be waiting in the bar area near the front of the stage for Gary and his friend to get back from the toilet and bar queue respectively. We grouped, divided up the pints of lager when suddenly the main arena erupted with applause and shouting. We looked at each other, baffled thinking Is this the support act? We dashed out to the floor and as we got closer to the door leading into the arena we simultaneously recognised Dark Train and ran to join the thronging crowd on the now writhing dance floor. Priceless.

We also saw Groove Armada at the Manchester Academy with 2 other couples and even though it was a brilliant gig on all accounts it was nowhere near as special as seeing Underworld the week before. I mean I loved the gig, we all did - but Gary and I kept looking at each other saying [but not saying] Nowhere near as good ...

So much for brief. We had a bit of a gig glut in November but bear with me. We also saw Doves at the Academy and like the first time we saw them they were bloody brilliant. Nothing more to add really.