A bit late I know, but here’s some of the things we got up to in September:

It was our fourth wedding anniversary in September, and the traditional presents are flowers or fruit. We decided to buy each other some fruit trees, so now we have a dwarf orange tree and a dwarf lime tree on the balcony, complete with matching coloured pots.

Lime and Orange Tree

Lime and Orange Tree

 Some of our friends from Surrey Uni Climbing Club, Karen and Kirsty are currently both living in Sydney. We met up and tried out Govindas all you can eat vegetarian buffet which I’d heard a lot about, and had some gelato at Messina after. The dessert bar now only has pre-made options though, you can’t create your own any more which is a shame. At least it makes the choice about going there or going for traditional gelato easier though!

Silent Disco

Silent Disco

A couple of weeks later we met up again for the Chippendale light festival, and had much fun rocking out at my first ever Silent Disco. There were three different channels to choose from, so there was always something OK playing, and it was fun looking at all the people dancing differently to different tunes at the same time.

Echidna

Echidna

On our actual wedding anniversary we went with our friends Andrew and Susie on a long walk in the Grose Valley in the Blue Mountains, to Acacia Flats. It was a two day walk. Day one was about 10km of mainly downhill into the valley and we saw an echidna on the path. That night we camped by the river, and drank whiskey too quickly around a nice fire. It was nice and fairly quiet in the valley.

Acacia Flats, just before the uphill

Acacia Flats, just before the uphill

The next day the walk was 10km of mainly up, and around the rims of the escarpments. The views were fantastic.

Top of the hill!

Top of the hill!

I managed to carry my bag without my back hurting tooo much, although my knees didn’t like all the down. I got a trusty wizard stick to help me out, which survived until it snapped about 1km from the end of the walk. Unfortunately my big toes got bruised and went purple from all the downhill, and they’re still like it now 6 weeks later! They don’t hurt though and don’t seem to look like they’re going to fall off.

One of the lookouts

One of the lookouts

Also for our anniversary we went for a slightly belated meal at Sixpenny restaurant in Stanmore. Here they have a chefs hat system of rating restaurants. Our first year here we went to a no hat but awesome view restaurant; last year we went to a one hat restaurant (Oscillate Wildly), so this year we went for two hats. I want to go to a three next year, but Matt says we need to try more two’s. Three is the most you can get, so there’s not many and they are not cheap! At Sixpeny we had the full on eight course detestation menu and a very tasty bottle of Bordeaux. The wine was in an amazing decanter which looked like a teapot, and the service was excellent. The food was super tasty, and I thought I was going to explode by the end.

I’m the Social Secretary in the climbing club, and organised a Flying Trapeze session for a small group of us. It was super fun. The session started with a quick warm up, and learning how to do a ‘knee hang’ on a static trapeze.  This basically involved hanging upside down from the trapeze bar by your knees, and letting go with your arms. After mastering the right technique on the ground, it was time to climb the giant wobbly ladder and have a go whilst flying through the air. It was a lot of fun, and luckily the Rockies avoided embarrassment by being better at it than the 12 year old girls who were also at the session!

Flying trapeze

Flying trapeze

After nailing the swinging knee hang, and dropping onto the giant net, the next ‘trick’ was to turn the knee hang into a back flip! Each person got a few goes at this, with varying levels of success. Then it was time for the grand finale. The final trick was to do a swinging knee hang, and then get caught in the air by one of the trapeze instructors, who was swinging from another trapeze.  Everyone managed the grab successfully, which was a great way to finish off the session.  The lesson was excellent fun, and nobody had to use the stretcher board and neck brace we spotted in the corner of the room!

After the trapeze catch

After the trapeze catch

In other news for September we have been:

Watching: Stargate Universe

Playing: Our new game is Kahuna, where you have to capture more islands than your opponent. Simple but fun.

Reading: I’ve been going back to the classics with One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest, which I’ve never actually read before.

Consuming: Messina! We also had a trip to the Cow and Moon Gelato place in Enmore, which won the world gelato championships last year. It was pretty tasty, and they had some very yummy looking cakes on display too.

Buying: Fruit plants and pots for them which are surprisingly expensive!

Looking forward to: In October we have a long weekend and the annual Rockies sheep roast planned, as well as a visit from my Uni friend Ellie.

Me and my Wizard Stick

Me and my Wizard Stick

So now the blog is back, here’s a quick run down on the good stuff I got up to between the end of May and the end of August. That’s pretty much three months of things, so this is a bumper post!

Working in Winchester: At the end of May and start of June I went back to the UK for work for three weeks for a special project, based in Winchester. I was going back for a holiday anyway, so the trip timing right beforehand worked out quite well. I had weekends and evenings free, so managed to fit in some good socialising while I was over. Highlights included a whole lobster at Loch Fyne with Kim, Tom, Rhiannon and Phil from the canoe club on my birthday and dinner with Southampton Uni friends at Rick Steins fish restaurant. I also went for work at night time to some road works nio the A303 at Popham. I got to wear full high vis and a hard hat – glamorous!

Birthday lobster

Birthday lobster

Rhiannons Hen Party: As I was back in the UK early for work, I got to start my holiday early and made it along to Rhaiannon’s hen party. It was great seeing everyone, especially as I didn’t think I would make it.  We did an aerial yoga session which was really fun! We got to do lots of crazy poses, with lots of hanging upside down and a fair bit of screeching and giggling! (OK that was mainly me!)

Aerial Yoga!

Aerial Yoga!

London: Matt arrived at this point for our actual UK holiday, and we went for a day trip up to the big smoke. We went around the Tower of London like tourists which i’d not done before, went on a Beefeater tour and saw the Crown Jewels. Later on we met my dad and Flick for a trip to the art gallery and a yummy crispy duck in Chinatown, before walking back to the station past Buckingham Palace.

Tower of London

Tower of London

Stourhead: We went for a walk around Stourhead gardens, which were beautiful. I don’t think I’ve been there before, which is surprising becasue its so close to where I grew up The views and landscaping were really nice.

Stourhead Gardens

Stourhead Gardens

Brighton: We went with the Shorts down to Brighton seaside. We played on old school amusements, went on the pier, the big wheel, the Voilks electric railway, went around the lanes, had fish and chips and I even got a cream tea! Happy days.

Amusements in Brighton

Amusements in Brighton

 

Southampton: We met my Uni friends for an epic and very tasty picnic at the park down in Southampton and then went for dinner in the evening. It was lovely catching up with everyone, and pretty scary seeing how all the children had got so much bigger!

Southampton Picnic

Southampton Picnic

Gruffalo: After a night in Bath with my nan, we went around Westonbirt arboretum, and met a Gruffalo hiding in the woods!

Me, dad and the Gruffalo!

Me, dad and the Gruffalo!

Royal Ascot: A bunch of 8 lovely ladies went along to Royal Ascot for ladies day. The weather was glorious. We had another epic picnic, along with plenty of fizzy wine. This is the only kind of alcohol you’re allowed to take in yourself – tragic! It was great fun getting all dressed up and hanging out in the sunshine. I even had a couple of wins, including a fairly good one and ended the day about £65 up! Woo.

Lovely ladies at Ascot

Lovely ladies at Ascot

Leith Hill Geocaching: Around Horsham we went for a geocaching adventure up Leith HIll, and helped Kate find her first one (I think). We also found bacon and maple syrup flavoured popcorn – nice!

Leith Hill Tower

Leith Hill Tower

Porter wedding: The key event in the 2015 visit was of course Phil and Rhainnons wedding. It was a really lovely day, and we were their witnesses. It was great to see them so happy and catch up with a lot of our friends who we hadn’t seen for a long time.

Phil & Rhiannon's Wedding

Phil & Rhiannon’s Wedding

Germany: I spent 5 nights in Germany, visiting my brother and Lucia, and meeting my new niece, Ella for the first time. She is super cute and very well behaved. I didn’t drop her and she wasn’t sick on me, so overall very successful! I took her a play mat which my friend Bex made which we had fun playing on. I found a sausage vending machine (yes!) and mistakenly ordered the normal (not small) size schnitzel one evening, which turned out to be TWO schnitzels!

Owen and I at German Garden Show

Owen and I at German Garden Show

Peak District long weekend: We had an amazing weekend in a giant cottage up in the Peak District. We arranged to get a bunch of people together from Horsham friends, climbers and canoe club. A lot of them didn’t know each other before, but it was a great weekend. We have a common love of board games, so played a LOT of those, as well as doing some geocaching walks with great scenery and having a massive BBQ – the British way, with charcoal. I managed to squeeze in an extra cream tea too.

Peak District Shennanigans

Peak District Shennanigans

Bristol: After the Peak District it was the end of our holiday, so Matt flew back to Australia. I stayed on and spent some time in Bristol with my mum in hospital, and got to stay with the Cornishes. John introduced me to the Navy game Uckers, which I promptly lost my first game of in spectacular style after a rookie error! I did later go on to beat him. We also went on an adventure to fund some Shaun the Sheeps which was exciting, and I bought a Union Jack Gromit souvenir.

Me and Ice Cream Shaun the Sheep

Me and Ice Cream Shaun the Sheep

Blue Mountains Snow: I got back to Australia  in late July, and it was cold! We went up to the Blue Mountains with some new friends to stay in a cottage for the weekend and go climbing. On the Thursday before we left it snowed up there, and there was still snow left when we got there on Friday which was pretty exciting! Unfortunately on Saturday there were a lot of road closures, which meant we couldn’t go climbing, so we went for a nice walk instead. Although chilly it was nice and sunny. In the evening we drank mulled wine, had a nice meal and unexpectedly played a game of Munchkin!

Snowman in July!

Snowman in July!

Fort Dennison: Matt took me on a surprise trip to Fort Dennison, for a tour and then lunch in their fancy restaurant. Fort Dennison is a small island in the middle of the Harbour, which you get to on the ferry. It was used for defense and sending convicts into isolation. We went on a tour around and up the tower, and the views back to the city were amazing.

Fort Dennison View

Fort Dennison View

Top Gear Festival: We had tickets to the Top Gear festival earlier in the year, but it got posponed after the Jeremy Clarkson issues. They re-badged it as ‘Clarkson Hammond and May Live’ and we went along. They did the ‘Cr-Ashes’, a series of car based games with the Top Gear guys against an Australian Team. England ended up losing quite badly, but it was good fun. The three wheeler football at the end was especially entertaining, as they kept flipping over.

Cr-ashes at the 'Top Gear' show

Cr-ashes at the ‘Top Gear’ show

UK again: The next weekend was the one my mum died, so I went back tot he UK unexpectedly to sort things out. It was a very sad and stressful time, but it was also nice to see family again. I went on a nice scoping trip with my brother to Glastonbury, somewhere my mum really liked and where we used to go quite a lot when I was little. It has a good hippy atmosphere and lots of nice shops and cafes. We walked up Glastonbury Tor which i’d not done before, and went back there to scatter mum’s ashes after the funeral. We took my niece Ella to meet my nan, her great-grandmother in Bath which was nice.

Owen, Martin and I at Glastonbury Tor

Owen, Martin and I at Glastonbury Tor

Once I got back at the end of August we went for a climbing trip in the mountains one day, and I even did a climb as well as reading two books! We also  went for pie at the famous Harrys Cafe de Wheels, before seeing the show Les Mis. We watched the move on DVD the week before as I’d not actually seen it. It was a good musical, although didn’t quite make it into my Top 4 (Wicked on Broadway, Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and Avenue Q).

Next time i’ll do a shorter post on September.

Pie Palace

Pie Palace