January 26th was Australia Day, which according to Wikipedia.com is the official national day of Australia (really? Gosh I would never have guessed!). Tom and I embraced this holiday whole-heartedly, not because we were well versed in it’s historical meaning, but because we got a much needed day off work. At bit of Googling now has told me that it commemorates the proclamation of British sovereignty over the Eastern Seaboard of Australia, which really makes me think that it should be a public holiday in Britain too! Either way, we celebrated in true Australian style by (1) eating lamb and (2) going to the beach. We even combined the two by eating lamb on the beach, and flew some Australian flags for good measure. It was a beautiful sunny day and we joined our Canadian friends Rich and Tamara for the occasion. Tamara brought temporary tattoos of the Australian flag which we all displayed with pride – I think Tom’s has only just worn off!
Also at the end of January was the Australian Open tennis championship – and Melbourne was buzzing with excitement for the event. Tom and I were both keen to experience a grand slam other than Wimbledon, and the Australian Open didn’t disappoint. Really it was just a blue version of what we know and love in the UK, perhaps with a slightly more rowdy crowd - I lost count of the times I said, “This would never be allowed at Wimbledon!”. We had tickets to an evening session at Rod Laver Arena (the Centre Court equivalent) but arrived early to soak up the atmosphere on the outside courts. After meeting Richard and Tamara to watch a doubles match featuring a very attractive Russian lady (something tells me the boys collaborated on that decision) we went to find our very expensive seats in the Rod Laver. It turns out however that ALL of the seats are expensive and ours were in the back row! Unfortunately we didn’t get to watch Andy Murray play, but we did follow him closely throughout the tournament and were very sad to see him lose in the final.
We’ve just started a photography course for our Digital SLR camera, so hopefully the quality of the photographs featured here will improve over the next 6 weeks - I’ll let you be the judge of that. We are hoping to meet some new people as well as learn more about our camera, and given that Tom hasn’t done his homework yet for this week the former may well be a more achievable objective! We have lots planned in the near future also – a long weekend on the Mornington Peninsula, a wine tasting course and Easter in Brisbane with distant-relative Merryl (if anyone can define the relationship please let me know – Merryl is Tom’s Dad’s cousin).
We are very excited to be coming back to the UK for the first two weeks of June 2010, which is timed for Tush and Andy’s wedding (yay!) but also designed as an opportunity to catch up with friends and family. We hope to see as many of you as possible if you are free when we are in your area – we will be whizzing around the country making stops to shake hands and kiss babies. All good practise in case either of us decide on a late career change to politics!
Here are a few more photos to close: