Friday, November 18, 2005

Multifarious bilge

As I wait for my speedy dialup connection to upload these pics from Londoninium, I will put finger to keyboard and write spew forth some bilge.

I'll start with London, seeing as that was a while ago already. It was another lightning early week trip to see Luce and the gang, meaning that I left on Monday afternoon at 3-ish, got the Eurostar to Waterloo, tube to Angel, walked to the pub where I met Luce, Pete, and Caz, with Mandy following suit at the Indian restaurant a while later. There were some drinks consumed but no olive pip throwing. Mandy was a bit knackered after starting rehearsals on a Mozart piece that was two hours and forty minutes long...and that was the shortened version! Too many notes.

Tuesday dawned cool and grey but Luce and I were somewhat more organised than last time (and she has a new bike) so we cycled along the Thames to the Tate Modern. Check it. Therein, we saw the new installation, which is a bloody great construction of plastic blocks blocks blocks taking up a fair chunk of the Tate's big hall, which is very big. Then we saw some more art (not bad at all) and had a coffee on the top floor.

Tuesday night was dinner at Cousin Polly's place, complete with baby Eva and cats. My memory for animal names is not so good, but it was a good dinner and great to finally catch up with Polly again after about seven years of living within about 3 hours of her. This is the first year I've managed to get enough time off during the season to go and visit though - one day is not sufficient.

That was a very potted summary of another fun time in London, but it'll have to do. Pics are here:

Setting out from Sabine Road
© Jeff Jones

A glorious day in London, complete with Millenium Bridge
© Jeff Jones

Lucy on her new steed that actually fits
© Jeff Jones

The large Tate Modern
© Jeff Jones

The installation of plastic boxes. Cool, innit?
© Jeff Jones

Chinatown in London is pretty small
© Jeff Jones

Bustling Chinatown
© Jeff Jones

Cousin Polly in Balham, Gateway to the South. Note pic of Battersea power station.
© Jeff Jones

Me and Cousin Polly
© Jeff Jones

The Oz report

Since last I updated, things have been busy, as usual. I'm on holidays for a couple more weeks (yay) and am making the best use of my time. House buying is coming along, but I need to get the cash together before making an offer on somewhere. The inner city/inner west is reasonably affordable with Lucy and I pooling our resources, so that will be good. By the end of next week, I hope things will be somewhat further advanced.

Last Saturday I semi-cleaned up at Heffron, netting a massive payout of $65 for coming second. That's not bad for a club race - about the same as fourth in the Zwijnaarde kermis last year. The reason was that Il Presidente decided to run the race as a three grade handicap, and there were about 40 C graders, 20 B graders and just 6 A graders. It was 16 laps (for A) and we had to catch and then lap C grade. Tricky, but with Josh Marden, Spurge and I driving the groupette, we managed to get C grade the first time after less than four laps. A couple of laps later, the other three A graders had diminished off the back and I made the executive decision to continue with just Josh and Spurge.

It turned out OK as we caught B grade with four to go and C grade a lap later. There was some confusion for a lap or so as everyone was yelling 'hold your line', including a B grader who tried to pass me on the inside of the corner after the start/finish. There wasn't room, but I let him through and then attacked fairly hard. Josh and Spurge caught me with two to go and brought another five with them. Josh asked Spurge 'Is this it?' and Spurge replied in the affirmative, however Josh interpreted it to mean that this was the last lap, instead of 'yes, we have caught everyone'. So on the straight coming up to the bell lap, Josh wound it up and I was wondering what the hell he was doing as I was trying to close the 10m gap off the back. He crossed the line and then was downcast when they rang the bell.

I was a bit stuffed but I went again, fairly ineffectually, but it split the group up a bit more. Then the only remaining C grader countered and Spurge chased him down with me on his wheel. We caught him at 1 km to go and I went again, with Spurge easily taking my wheel. I was resigned to second place (didn't even try to sprint) but there is no shame in that. And we did split the money anyway.

Moving along...

The rest of Saturday and a bit of Sunday was spent going to Sculpture by the Sea at Tamarama/Bondi. It's a pretty fine exhibition and extremely popular. There were over 80 sculptures there, some of which were very big, including one by one of our garden landscapers Mick Purdy. It was four faces made out of sandstone and was easily one of the best there. I think he sold it for $27,000. Dad's going to enter in it next year, he reckons...

Monday was dinner at Cousin Sophie's place, complete with Husband Nik, Toddler Nina, Cousin Anty and Soph's three month-old pregnancy (yay). Again, it was most excellent to catch up with them all and we had some fine wine and even a roast dinner!

Although Nina is not even three, she remembers me making faces at here through the window at Wyong earlier this year, which shows she has a much better memory than moi. She is also on the way to becoming a very clean and tidy person, unlike the majority of the family. Anty is working for the public service in NSW regional water management (correct me if I'm wrong, Ant) as an interim occupation before going to study law at Oxford. He reckons he's going to float himself on the futures market to fund his degree, which we thought was a sound idea. You never know when you will need to have a stake in a high court judge.

On Tuesday, the weather was somewhat inclement: a massive southerly change brought in quite a bit of rain and I was the only one fool enough to turn up to Heffron. I knew there wouldn't be racing on, but I wanted to go there to reclaim my mobile phone, which I'd left there on Saturday. No dice. Got it back on Thursday. I did a few laps and didn't get blown off.

The weather was similar on Wednesday so I went through the Royal (via Artillery Hill for the first time in ages) and then did the Otford Wall. The latter is one seriously steep hill - it's nearly 2 km long - and I needed the 39x25 just to grind up it at 10 km/h in bits. Coming home was fun with that tailwind though.

Wednesday and Thursday evening consisted of pub meetings and one sausage sandwich for dinner (spread over two nights) along with much beer. Caught up with Josh (Saunders, not Marden) last night over a number of Hoegaardens and that was good. We discussed Fort Street's 20 year reunion (in 2008) and a 'where are they now', among other things. Where am I now? Am I the only one of our extremely successful year to end up as a journo? Maybe I'll find out in 2008.

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