Thursday, March 31, 2005

Back to life...

Still on a high from my two weeks in Ireland, I am thrown back into reality today by going straight back into a work assignment. I am in the same place as before, with the same client. I heard myself yesterday agree to be here for 3 weeks - right up to my next adventure!! I am only thinking about the money!

Will be drying out for the 3 weeks, that's for sure!! I could have drawn the outline of my liver this morning - so 3 weeks of work here will probably be best!! Suprisingly I haven't been having the hug-the-porcelaine hangovers I am used to, lately, which might mean I have finally grown out of them!! Wouldn't that be awesome!! ( don't really believe this!)

I ended up dragging Charles and Michael, a new resident at 57B, for my final couple of pints before this work placement, last night. Of course, catching up on our respective trips was a must!

I read one of the best books I have read in a long time over my time away - A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey. Was brilliant! A true recount of a 23 year old who wakes up in a plane in a complete mess, not knowing where he was or where he is going. He is addicted to crack and all sorts of things, plus alcohol in hideous volumes, and he is being sent home to his parents after getting himself in some more trouble. They talk about getting into a Program, and thus, the book is about James' time in the Treatment Clinic trying to deal with his addictions. It's powerful, raw, and so real. Not for the faint-hearted. Brilliant.

So, still hyper from my time away - even after a days work!! Hee hee! Had such a brilliant time in Ireland! That should definately keep me going for the next week or so!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Black Easter

I am waiting at Dublin airport now for my flight back to London, after a very fun, week and a half in Ireland. Thanks a million to Paddy for getting up this morning and dropping me at the bus - after a heavy night out and all! The Irish are lovely!!

Liz's mum took us down to see Glendaloch after my last post, which is the sight of one of the first churches in Ireland. Really pretty area, with the upper and lower lakes, and St Kevin's ruins.

Nothing to do in Ireland on Good Friday except a house party apparently, so that's what we did for the evening. Most things were closed, although it wasn't a public (ie paid) day off - which is strange.

The next day we were off down to Wexford for Easter, to meet up with Cathal and his family. He is one of 6 children, of which 5 were in Wexford for Easter, and their families. Made for a huge couple of days drinking Guinness at the local, all in the name of Easter!!

We did managed to wander around the grounds of Johnstown Castle, which was really beautiful, between drinking sessions, and also had a look at the Quays area too. Oh! And saw some thatched houses too!

I have loved my time here in Ireland with Liz and Cathal, and the gang. All such lovely people! The Lonely Planet Ireland had actually said about Ireland that...

its people seem put on earth expressly to restore faith in humanity
and they are spot on! I could certainly do with a regular boost of that!!

Thanks Liz and Cathal, again, for a great 2 weeks!!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Irish accents, and the sights

After another day in town yesterday, I feel like I have seen the rest of the top sights in Dublin. According to the guidebooks, anyway! And drizzle and fog has dissuaded me from going in again. After my last post, I did a little window shopping and looking in Stephen's Green shopping centre, and Grafton Street.

I then legged it all the way to Kilmainham Gaol, for a touch of Irish history. Yer man with a thick Irish accent - which was very distracting from the talk content! - was the tour guide, telling stories of uprisings and executions. No adverse prison reactions for me - I have been know to feel faint and break out in cold sweats and feel ill in jails such as Fremantle and Port Arthur and Pentridge (my convict blood, I think!!) - which was grand, cos I still think I want to be a forensic psych when I grow up! The prison was interesting to wander through, and the history told was fascinating, and shamefully new to me.

(more photos)

I bussed back into the city centre, and walked around the pubs and funky shops in Temple Bar. I then wandered up O'Connell Street to take in the hussle and bustle of it all. All the lovely old buildings and monuments - but what's with the giant needle sticking out of the street!? I guess every place has an eyesore monument that someone had thought was a great idea!!

Dublin feels quite little, especially since I have walked the length of it, and yet it is so cute. Very managable and liveable.

Has been fun just hanging out with Liz and Cathal, and Claire and Paddy during the week. Chatting about all sorts of things, escpecially their time in Australia. Got a look at Liz and Cathal's photos from their Trans-Siberian trip, and Moscow and China - looks so amazing!! I am hanging to go and experience that now! Need someone to come with me though - are you keen?? Seriously?? Anyone?

Footy's back this weekend...Dixon as full forward and Holland in at centre-half back - does this Clarkson bloke know what he's doing?? I am so in two minds about the footy this year. I ache for a good Hawthorn year - and yet I am not there, and so they can really do as poorly as we expect them to; then my absence from the outer won't hurt as much... No Thommo still breaks my heart, but new blood and ideas - and signs of actual discipline (!!) - gets the heart racing. Go Hawks!!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Dublin meanderings

Liz and I toured Dublin sights on Monday, and took in the city. It's so cute! The cobbled streets, cute buildings...and of course, the pubs!

We jumped off the bus from Greystones (it's only about 50 minutes out of the city - Liz talks about it like it's the end of the earth!!) at St Stephen's Green, which I made her walk me around. Poor Liz!! She did get her own back though, by walking me all over the city for the rest of the day!

Walking through Trinity College, and near (not actually inside to see the real thing, but got the general idea) the Book of Kells. The front of Trinity seemed vaguely familiar - it seems this is where we waiting for a long time for the taxi after a big Paddy's Day!! (the Brawl and the Drunkest Man in Ireland, and all! Hee hee!)

After lunch in a pub in Temple Bar, we visited and took in a tour of Dublin Castle, with all the grand reception rooms and State Apartments, and the famous people stories, and the medival remains of the walls and towers. (more photos)

Amid the rain, and getting slightly drowned, we managed to walk along the Liffey River and the Quays (so many beautiful buildings along the river), up to the Guinness Storehouse and a pint of the divine black stuff above the city in the Gravity Bar.

Guinness Storehouse
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Craic for Paddy's Day

Another plane ride, another stamp in my passport, and different money again to figure out - but here I am in Ireland. I am catching up with Liz and Cathal, which is so great.

Came over on Wednesday, just in time for a massive weekend. Liz come in to meet me at the airport, and then to take me out to Greystones, where they live (and where Liz grew up).

The group donned the green attire (as Cathal and Ruth point out here), and headed into Dublin town for St Patrick's Day. We wandered in to see the parade, although it was very busy and festive, and I am afraid the crowd around the parade was about 5 deep. Nevertheless, we saw all the tall floats and costumes, and it looked like there was some major effort put in. Footage on the TV later let us know that we did see all the main floats - as well at the top of the brass for the bands marching past!

Our view hampered, and all feeling thirsty, we headed for the pub. And had a great day/night! Was a massive day - everyone all decked out in green, and having a great time. Met Liz's group of friends, who are all lovely, and had a ball.

St Paddy's Day
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The next day, after significant recovery, and a walk along the beach in Greystones (and a recovery pint), we got ready for another big night for Claire's birthday. Cocktail preparations, and house decorations, the house was full before we knew it. And we all had another massive night. Was so much fun - headed out for a dance as well.

Claire's birthday
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Saturday saw more recovery drinks to overcome the hangover (I am sold on this philosophy of Claire's - it's brilliant!!), at the pub for the lads to watch the rugby. We then wandered down to The Beach House (another pub) for some Irish music, and more merriment.

The weather has been brilliant - very unusual they say - and sunny! Yesterday a group of us headed to Lough Dan for a walk amoung the greenery and the mountains. A bit of exercise and a beer-free day!

Everything is grand! and gorgeous! and I am loving it! So great to see Liz and Cathal, and hang out. Copious drinking in Ireland - exactly what I was expecting!!

Happy Birthday to Evie for Friday gone, and I hope Jess and Andrew had a great time for their big day - was thinking of you.

Off now to see the sights in the rain today...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Renee in London!

I had such a fun day yesterday! Kept busy all weekend, really, after my hungover Friday! And I have managed to catch up with Renee!! Very exciting! I think we had worked out that it had been about 5 years or something, since we had last seen each other.

On Saturday I was dying to get out of the house, so I caught the tube to Notting Hill Gate and wandered around the Portobello Road Markets. Strolling along with all the Beautiful People, down the long street filled with stalls for food, clothes, and all sorts. There were also some little galleries along the way, which were actually the highlight. After having a panic attack about money just last week, I can hardly go shopping for real!

Saturday night I went along to the much talked about Walkabout, in Shepherd's Bush - the hangout most Aussie refer to. Met up with Abi there, and a few of her mates. Unfortunately I arrived with no alcohol in my system, and saw it for what it was. Very bad move. Feel too old for this scene! Maybe a couple of years ago.... Although, that said - I have come to the conclusion that all the good looking Aussie boys are actually over here, not back in Melbourne anymore, where there are slim pickings left indeed.

Sunday I headed off for Leicester Square to meet Renee (for those of you who don't know Renee, she is a fellow Loreto girl - not that we actually admit that outloud!). She looks great (as usual) - but she has a pommy accent! Very strange - although she has been here for years.

We were out to lunch to farewell her cousin Andrew, who has been staying in London for a litle bit. He had supposedly spotted a restaurant that he was dying to go to - and it took awhile for him to locate again. After a pint to rejuvenate our search, we did find and enjoy the much talked about Mediterranean Buffet.

After reacquainting myself with red wine (why have I avoided for so long? Is it drinking with the boys? More likely a messy night of it several years ago... Perfect for drinking with the girls though!), and stuffing ourselves with the 'all you can enjoy' spirit, we headed off in seach of icecream in the Square (you always have room for dessert!).

The St Patrick's Day parade and festivities were going on around us as we wandered about, headed for Covent Garden. Food stalls, cute little shops, people dressed up, buskers, dancing, music...

Our interest captured by the spontaneous oprea singer in the hall below, we went down for drinks and to listen to her sing. She was really wonderful! After, there were a string quartet playing, who was surprisingly accompanied at one point by a man who appeared to ride in on his bike. Very cute, very enchanting. (More photos from the day).

Was a prefect day, and a brilliant way to lift my brief 'what am I doing here?', 'maybe I am too old for this' fog. Was so great to see Renee after all this time, and catch up. I find it amazing that there are some people that you have been friends with, but don't see for a long time, where the bonds from before pick straight up. I love that!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Camden Crawl

Feeling a little seedy this morning, after going along with Charles to the Camden Crawl, in yep, you guessed it, Camden! A music festival pub crawl!

After settling into one pub, based on Charles' music selection, we got a great vantage point. And got stuck into the pints.

Now, I pride myself in being able to drink with the boys - but I really think the pint is going to do me in! About double a pot, meaning not as many trips to the bar, but also means less on the count, and thus, I have been inadvertently been drinking more. (Shock, horror! Just bigger hangovers, really!!)

Was a great night out on the other side of the city, and I got to sample some live bands, and some new pubs. (more photos)

I am on standby for work today. It would be just my luck to be called out on an emergency assignment in this state!

Can't imagine been up for much today, although I am sure I could be convinced to go to the pub tonight...back on the horse!

A big happy birthday to Jessica today. I am sure she appreciated the drunken phone call home from her big sister!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Back to London, Football, and Art

I am back to sharing floor space in Charles' room, at number 57B, in Fulham. Despite a small mishap with my boots from Beautiful Shoes (see here), all is well, and it's really a great spot to base oneself. And I am not the only freeloader here, so I feel much better about it all! It's not quite the London-sharehouse-with-15-other-people story, and despite not rating in Charles' "I just don't have any of my close mates here" diatribe, we are getting along fine! And I think I am his date for a big gig tomorrow night...

I am actually pretty buggered after my first assignment, and am glad to have the time to take it easy. Have muscle soreness is places I clearly haven't used for quite some time - having not had to move a person around for many years in the care kind of manner!

Soccer is everywhere here, and really unavoidable. Especially for a sports fans such as myself. Despite whinging and moaning in Cambodia with the lads, and then with the Irish lads a year later, I can actually sit through a game, and I am figuring out what's going on. Last night there was a big Championship League game on, and I have watched the team that plays within a crowd's roar of this house - Chelsea, win. I have been convinced that this should now be my team, and apparently it's an excellent time to jump on the bandwagon! Well, I am sure I can do that!!

No hotties in the side that I could see, and I have seen some in the Spanish sides (what is it about Spanish men!!??? Can't wait to get to Spain!! Hee hee), so lets hope they can at least play to sustain my attention!! (yes, boys, when my team is playing badly, I at least need them to look good!!) Blue and White - who can imagine me cheering a team with those colours on!!

Today I wandered around The National Gallery for some "kul-cha"! Actually, strolling around the rooms of art was quite lovely. Van Gogh's Sunflowers a highlight, along with Monet and Rembrandt. I quite like Vinny's stuff. The Europeans seems to paint an awful lots of bible pieces, though, don't they?

Play in London for another few days, although I will be on standby for work from Friday till Wednesday - so I could be called out on assignment at anytime! Very rare, they tell me. But I get paid to be available!!

Happy Birthday to Charmas for Monday, and Ash on Tuesday!
Poor Angelo - when he was hot he was damn hot! Let's hope he recovers fully.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Hearing British

The subtle language differences between us Aussies and the POMs are both amusing and frustrating at the same time. This is meant to be the mother country, and thus, surely things would be called and phrased the same! No!! Of course not!

The word duvet (pronounced doo-vey) is driving me bananas! It's a bloody doona!! I think I may well resort to the Aussie British language, like we sometime used in Cambodia (our Aussie Khmer) when things were a bit much. I'll give you your dove-et! Hee hee hee.

I have spent DAYS looking all over the house for the little cup you put water into the iron with...and I was looking for the kind of cup I have always seen with irons... Turns out the little thing with a spout and funny handle that I have been moving out of the way in the kitchen all week was the very thing I was looking for!

I am sure there are loads (another!!) of others, but those have been the things that have stood out this week. It's a bit tricky when working in this sort of role, where communication is everything, and a little misunderstanding can lead to all sorts of trouble. And "English" is supposedly my first language...

Anyway, I am shattered (tired - this is the context they use this! I was astounded when I first heard it. I thought, gee, it can't be that bad!) so I am off to bed. Finish this assignment tomorrow too, so I am off back to London. Should be on standby for work for the week and a half before Ireland...

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Mind Numb

This routine deal is driving me bananas! Same thing everyday (except every second for poo), in the same order. Plus I am only really in touch with one other person, of whom I am doing everything for - so my head it a little spinny! You'll have to excuse my ramblings tonight.

Usually it would be TGIF, but it will be Monday for me this week, cos I am out of assignment then. Not counting down per se, but need a change.

Just have to remember that all this maximum work for minimum pay is so that I can play...

One thing that I am loving is people who are late! I am forever in trouble for being late - but I can't understand what all the fuss is about. If another carer here is late - sweet!! I have an extra 10 minutes or whatever to sit still, or read, or just not do anything! I don't know why people get so wound up about tardiness.

It's funny what can get you through things, though, isn't it! Ironing, which I loathe and never do for myself, is almost bearable with Ben Harper in my ear singing Sexual Healing!! God damn!

Tested out the English roads today, just briefly. My client has a ginormous van though, which fits her chair in the back, so I felt like I had driven a truck into a lego-sized street! The car was huge - and the roads here are tiny! Of course, it's not going to be the driving that's the problem, but just the different intersections and those mad 5 round-a-bout thingys that could cause the trouble. Running up the street was pretty easy. Phew!

It's been snowing quite a bit here in the mornings. About 9am I look out the windows and bit white flakes are falling from the sky. And a lot of the time it results in a blanket of white over everything. Still exciting!

I see the poor Corby girl is doomed - Downer is paying her a visit. Is there anything he has not stuffed up? Feel sorry for her cos it sounds like such a set up, which could happen to any of us as we travel by ourselves. And the bloody over-the-top security at the airport has done nothing for her - can't even tell what the weight of her check bag was to start with. Good one. And good ol' Alex is going to her "rescue" - seriously, if I am EVER in serious trouble anywhere, make sure they don't send Downer. My one wish.

Happy Birthdays to Jane for yesterday and Andrea for tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Poo Free Day!

Today has been a poo free day here at work! I am so pleased! Although tomorrow morning I may well be up to my wrist in shit - so it will all balance out. Lucky me.

Plus poo day is an earlier start, which make it all the more fun.

I am getting into the routine, and being driven bananas at the same time!! I am not sure being in a situation like this, this intense with one person, is quite the way to develop a liking for the POMs. Hmmm. But this is quite extraordinary - the one on one, 24/7 deal.

I am fluctating constantly from being annoyed to destraction, to being totally understanding. Although my patience reserves are pushed to the limit daily.

I do understand the need for order, and have always respected the whole put-things-back-where-you-found them. But not if we are using them again in half an hour!!! And this place is labelled to within an inch of it's life!! One previous PA has gone to town in the PA bedroom, and there are labels letting us know which is the clock, the mirror, etc. So tempting! Very amusing.

On the other hand, I find it unimaginable to consider not being able to move anything from my neck down, and being TOTALLY dependent on other people. Both people you know, and complete strangers. I mean, if I ever need full assistance to take a shit.... But then, these client's lead very full and amazing lives. It's all doing my head in.

The real thing though is that I am gagging for a beer. Hanging. Not allowed to drink at all on assignment, so I can see some major binge drinking happening on my off weeks for the next 6 months - fellow Londoners beware! Bring it on, I say! Ireland here I come!

Spoke to Dom today, after failing to meet up before she returns home, with my early work placement. But she swears she'll be back, which is awesome.

Happy Birthday today to Kristen and Slavka. And a big kiss to Kaiyn, who was 5 yesterday (can you believe that??!!).
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