Thursday, 21 December 2006

Our day out with Mike Atherton

A Chinese, hairless crested puppy. And me.

We hunt for food these days

Nick 'Danger' Horton

A small fairground in St Kilda

There was a sign that said no photography on the rides but, being the renegades we are, we took a cheeky photo anyway. We laugh in the face of the law.


Well it wasn't quite a day out but he did ask us for directions. If you don't know who Mike Atherton is he used to be England's cricket team captain when they were rubbish and no-one paid any attention. Surely he's been to Melbourne, losing at cricket, more than we have? And why was he looking for the free train, the cheapskate? So many questions, so few answers...
Well, Nick's relatives were great hosts, they fed us, let us play with the dogs AND gave us an archery lesson. I was surprised how often I hit the target, while Nick on the other hand caught the inside of his arm a couple of times with the bowstring, resulting in his arm looking like that of a heroine addict for a few days. It's like Trainspotting down under.
Brilliantly, the area they live in is sort of set up by the council for it to be really easy to get animal breeding permits and kennel building permits etc. All the council members breed animals and so create a community that serves their best interests. It's a cross between Crufts and the mafia, but with considerably fewer mobsters with names like Jimmy Four Fingers wandering about threatening to make you 'sleep with the fishes'.
On Wednesday we went all arty and went to go see an exhibition of the work of Osamu Tezuka, the man generally considered the godfather of Manga. It was stunning, they reckon he created about 150'000 pages of manga during his lifetime. I have an urge to ramble on about him some more but it is something I would probably gloss over if someone else wrote it so I'll spare you.
The picture of Nick holding on to a zip wire type of thing is from an amazing adventure playground for kids that we had a look at/ran around excitedly the other day. It was set up partly by the council and partly by some hippies for the children of the community and I've never seen a playground so good. Back home you would probably be charged entry and even then it would have been vandalised. Which is the case with several aspects of life over here. For example, in a lot of places there are gas bbq's provided by the local council for public use whenever you like, for free. They are usually next to some picnic benches in a scenic area. Can you seriously imagine something like that lasting more than a few days in England without it getting destroyed or a small child being cooked on it? I'm not trying to paint a rose-tinted picture, Australia has it's problems too, but there are some noticeable differences here and there.
Last night, we were in the hostel bar next door playing pool. A guy we're chatting to says he recognises me from somewhere. His name is Craig Proudley. Turns out he's from Southampton. Nothing unusual there. Went to Tauntons College and knew Tom Farmer, quite a big coincidence but Farmer is an international playboy these days. But that didn't explain why he knew me. Anyway, turns out he went to Fryern Infants school and junior school with me and Nick, was in our class quite a few years and once we figured that out we both remembered him straight away. His mum is going to email him some old school photos so we can see that we're probably sat next to each other when we were 8 years old. Bizarre.

Have a good Christmas and a fun new year although it's not allowed to be more fun that ours in Sydney. We're not going all this way to be upstaged by any of you back home, no way.

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