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A brief account of what we are up to when not on GHOST, when we are landlubbers. For our "sea" based blogs, check out The link below shows our most recent photos but for other photos go to:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

Well, the last week and a half is mostly certainly the hardest I’ve worked in...well a long time! We moved mum and Dad in to a new house down in Hastings which is about 65kms south of Croydon on the Mornington peninsula. It's a great place, makes you feel like you are on holiday everyday! It is close to Mum's sisters, close to many wineries, coastal walks, picnic areas and all the things that retired folk should be enjoying. It does have a few country hicks (you know the type, mullets, missing front teeth driving a rusty ol' pickup...sorry UTE!)

Any way Kat and I came down on Monday the 15th and didn’t stop (I mean 7am till 1am everyday) up until the 22nd when my sister arrived from Sydney. We started with an expectation of painting a few of the key rooms because they the previous owners had a blue colour scheme throughout...YUCK! So we kicked off at 4pm on the Monday after a 5 hour delay on handover...dang lawyers.

Like I said the plan was to paint the living room, family room, dining room, kitchen and Mum's bedroom and bathroom (walls only). This, with over-confidence turned into the guest bathroom and toilet too. But it wasn’t until we started applying the second coat late on the second day that we realised that what we thought was a “normal” white ceiling was actually a very acute pale blue!!! Bugger, we had to do the ceilings too!!! So it was another past midnight night.



Wednesday we did a couple of trips to and from Croydon carting boxes and furniture, Thursday was one last trip for the stuff that Mum and Dad (and my old stuff I left before heading to London) had in storage. Friday thru Monday is a bit of a blur. It was unpacking, fitting new bathroom fittings, digging new garden beds, a little more painting but the one thing we do remember is the lack of sleep! But it is all done now and very satisfying! Mum has a new house, we have more space and it is a thousand times more pleasant that what they had. Mission accomplished! It’s been good to come home and get a few things sorted out. Kat and I need a mission otherwise we get bored and that is what Mum gave us when we arrived, firstly she wanted a new TV and secondly, a new house!

A well earned privilege!! John deer and beer!!

On that topic Mum is making great progress on the Cancer front (touch wood). She is responding well to the trial treatment and we are hopeful that shortly she’ll only need to visit the hospital once a fortnight rather than weekly and then move on to a maintenance regime. Kat is missing her folks terribly (especially at this time of the year) and we a vowing to spend more time with them hoping to return to UK in April to have a few weeks in the UK before heading out to Turkey.

So the plan as it stands (but as a good man once taught me…the plan is always subject to change!) is to head to NZ on the 3rd of Jan for a spot of hiking, returning about the 24th. Then early to mid Feb we are planning on heading to Canberra to visit the nationals capital , see my cousin Phil and then head on to Sydney for our good friends Lee and Sal’s wedding, which will see us through towards the end of Feb. Finally a few weeks with Mum and Dad before heading back to ol’ blighty. But having said that Kat’s client might be looking to push the button on a transaction which could see her here for just a wee while longer...but we’ll have to wait and see.

Merry Xmas to all

Love B&K

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Birthday Drinks

A few pics of the Birthday drinks...enough said!


Linda, Jim (the), Emma, Brendan, and Kat

Phil, me and the beer in Gav's hand

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Life in Oz

Considering we aren't working, life back in Oz has been much like an extended holiday, but a slightly less productive. A few days to cover jet lag and the novelty of it, and we were looking for something to occupy us. Mum had a list of things she wanted help with like, we need a new TV, i need a blind on the kitchen window and i want to get my stuff out of storage (their old house was much large hence a lot of collectibles and stuff the old people hoard ended up in storage). The TV was sort quick smart, the blind took a week and then we embarked on the last request.

It became clear that the current house was only meant to be a stop gap while traveling, but since that has been put on hold due to the Myeloma, to quick became obvious that a new house was in order! With Hughie putting up a strong resistance, we resorted to steamroller tactics and brought them a new place. Its a nice four bedroom place down in Hastings, south of Melbourne near the water but more important close to mum's three sisters. We move them week commencing the 15th of December.

On a more active note we sent out mountain bikes over from the UK but due to piss poor service from EVL (never use them!) it quickly became evident that they would not be in OZ until Xmas at the very earliest and with all this time, plenty of sunshine and our good mate Brendy getting back in to biking and having Fridays off, it would be criminal not to be riding so we brought a couple of Giant hardtails to make the most of summer. We started riding the You Yangs, Listerfield, the Yarra trails and forest all of which have proved good. You Yangs is a little more gnarly with some wick downhill trails, Listerfield is for cross country and Forest is the best but a long way to go.

We had a few days down at Barwon Heads, with Mum and Dad which was nice, a chance to get out of town, sea some ocean. Kat and I did a coast walk one day and tracked up to Forest for mountain biking another day. We dropped in to Sydney a couple of times for Sam, our nephew naming ceremony and again for his Birthday. Also managed a week up at Hamilton Island in the apartment that I brought a few years back but had never seen. Now we are hooked on Hamilton and looking for another property up there.

That was all back in November. December has been a little slower, mostly preparing for the house move, playing Xbox (yep brought one of those quick smart!) and a bit of Xmas shopping. Once we get the folks moved in we'll have a fairly large family Christmas. Suzy and Michael and the two boys will be down, and the new house has room for all, and will have all my mum's sisters and some cousin too! Once that is out of the way we'll be heading over to Queenstown in New Zealand on the 3rd of Jan for a few weeks to do a bit of hiking and biking!

Thats it for now


Friday, December 12, 2008

To get you up to speed

We left Ghost in Turkey back in late September. After a long couple of days getting her ready for winter we finished our Mediterranean summer with a swim, a nice dinner in the marina restaurant and a midnight taxi run to Dalaman airport for our 0130 charter flight to London Gatwick. However with the ensuing economic crisis, and the hardship being felt by airlines, not to mention it was cheap and nasty Thomas Cook we had a battle on our hands to get our 65kgs of checked in and carry on luggage on to the plane. At a charge rate of 8 quid per kg it was worth doing anything for! We played dumb, looked distressed, and argued but they wouldn't budge. Only one thing left...flirt! Kat was told to wander off with the ridiculous amount of carry on we had and 10 mins later I had the excess luggage bill down to just 5kgs (�40) and walked away with the check-in girls name, address and phone number!!!! Must be the beard as I've never had such luck - Kat couldn't complain as it was for a good cause.

65kgs... you might ask, what the hell are you carrying? Well with our loose plan for the next 8 months, a plan that is always subject to change (that one's for you Stu!!), involving a summer in Melbourne, mountain biking wherever we can, potentially some exploration of outback Australia, hiking in NZ followed by a couple of months boarding in Whistler we have a suite of camping and hiking kit, motor bike helmets, winter kit, summer clothes, and about 10kgs of electrical stuff including laptops, iPods, hard drives, cameras (SLR, Video and happy snap) and of course all the wires and cabling that goes with a modern dependence on IT infrastructure. Not to mention the snow boards and mountain bikes that we picked up in London!!
So we landed at Gatwick, after a 4hour delay sleeping on the floor at Dalaman, we were welcomed by an overcast and chilly UK morning, a shock to our recent life style considering we hadn't seen rain since Spain (when I lost my razor!) nor had we seen more than a handful of clouds in the past 4 months. We then spent 2 weeks rushing around London spending time with family and friends before flying out to Oz on the 29th.

So now it's life in Oz. Being home is weird, it was nearly 10 years ago I left Melbourne with not more than a backpack and $1000AUD, and even though this trip isn't intended to be our final stop we are both adjusting to being stationary in more ways than one. Not only are we looking at the same scenery every day, but there is no longer the perpetual motion of GHOST and we miss it terribly already.

Everyone asks what it's like to be back and the risk is we fall into the repetitive; we miss the sun and we miss the afternoon swims. But on a more positive note I thought it more interesting to highlight what we don't miss about sailing and the positives to being landlubbers - so here it goes!

We don't miss Sicily, they rip off sailors (I think I harped on this one before!), and we don't miss fending off sunsail skippers that can't park a boat to save their lives! We don't miss having to bear away from German charter boats on a port tack to windward that either have no knowledge of the international collision regs or perhaps just ignore them (we guess the latter!!).

BUT, we're loving being able to but paper in the toilet (that took a day to get used to, can you imagine the shock at Kat's folks place when the bins started to fill up!), we're loving spending time with family and friends. We're loving, the chance to have another summer, we're loving the prospect of embarking on some other adventures, reacquainting ourselves with our beloved mountain bikes and spending just a little bit of time away from the med. As they say absence makes the heart grow fonder and realise now more than ever how lucky we've been and can't wait to return next year (GHOST is due to touch the water again on the 12th of May) with a new drive and enthusiasm that will see us cross a couple of oceans and sail thru Sydney Heads and into the Harbour sometime late 2010, if all goes to plan... but as we know the plan is always subject to change!!!

What's all this about??

Well this is the makings of our land based blog! Many of you may have been reading our sailing blog as we sailed yacht ghost from the Hamble, UK to Marmaris, Turkey.

We decided to put the sailing trip on hold to come back to Melbourne, Australia to spend more time with my Mum who is dealing with blood cancer. We decided to maintain the sailing blog as just that, a blog purely about sailing, so here we are an account of our activities when we are landlocked, earthbound, high and dry...when we are landlubbers!