Australia, July 2015 Feeling sheepish

Pies, beer, and wifi. This is the life.

I didn't blog on Friday because very little of consequence happened, certainly not enough to warrant a full write-up. After falling asleep in the hotel bar on Thursday I decided the room was a better bet and slept right through, waking up before the kids. Up, washed, packed and out before 9am, a long stop in the pissing rain of Canberra for a cracking breakfast and then we hit the road.

It was a long, boring drive. The scenery is no better northbound, and besides, I could barely see anything because of the torrential rain. There is exactly the same stuff between Canberra and Sydney as there is between Sydney and Canberra, except this time I couldn't even see Lake George. Probably for the best. Stupid non-lake.

We went for a toilet break at Goulburn which just happens to be the home of the world's biggest concrete sheep.

Who doesn't love a a giant concrete sheep? This was moved from its original location because too few people were visiting it.

We climbed up inside, taking a look out of both eyes towards a shopping mall and a roundabout. Half way up, the girls threw coins to make a wish.

And they have accurately modelled the nutsack.

Parents were lining up to take pictures of their kids posing in the pissing rain next to a giant concrete sheep's nutsack. I'll say that again, in fact I'm so ridiculously amused by it I'll quote myself. Narcissism++.

Parents were lining up to take pictures of their kids posing in the pissing rain next to a giant concrete sheep's nutsack.
Check. Check. Check. Check.

No idea what else Goulburn has to offer. The Big Merino is next to McDs and Subway, in turn right next to the freeway. We drove for another long while and grabbed some fruity lunch in Mittagong, then went back to Seaforth. The kids were crazily excited to be home and tell their mum all about the snow and Questacon and everything. We spent about half an hour watching about 90 seconds total footage of them tobogganing.

We cracked open the beer, and pizza came and went. After seeing the girls to bed us adults watched The Kingsman, which was a pretty decent movie, and then I made them watch Kung Fury. I thought Kevin was going to literally die laughing for most of the first 10 minutes. Then the Hoff song, before, oh, hello, The Ashes is on terrestrial TV.

I'd kept up with the score - we'd skittled the Aussies out early doors and now it was lunch. Which meant time to start on the Australian gin. Things get sort of hazy - I drink loads of gin, the bread pudding is polished off, we watch England pile on a few runs, Kevin goes to bed and the next thing I know he wakes me up on the sofa at 0320. Oops.

Two glasses of water and a third for my room stave off the worst of the hangover. I am already awake when Harriette shouts "but we have to wake Uncle Darren!" directly outside my room, thankfully. Up and straight out: Saturday morning means football.

There are hundreds of kids in tens of teams playing all kinds of games. Alex is in the 4-a-side U6 team for the Seaforth Tigers and after breakfast rolls are devoured her game starts. HELL YEAH 2 GOALS HELL YEAH PLAYER OF THE WEEK TROPHY. They win 3-2. Go Tigers and go Alex! Her second goal is a beauty: a teammate slides the ball down the line into her path, she cuts inside and finishes with the side of her boot into an empty net.

Football over, we drive into Manly for waffles. I fear the chocolate will kill me.

The local rag warns of horrific winter weather on the way.

So, we go to the beach in the lovely warm sunshine.

After a fair while building sandcastles and stuff we leave the beach and stop to listen to the band of 12yo kids busking on the pedestrianised drag. They are disgustingly talented. Then it's back to the house for a load of trampolining before - hey, Uncle Darren, here's the globe you bought us - show us where you live!

Sydney and Canberra are marked on the globe, so I impress upon them just how bloody far away I've come from and am returning to. They find Nepal too, and then decide the globe is much more fun when used as a ball so return to the trampoline. We spend ages throwing the ball in and out and then... this holiday is over, isn't it?

It is. After presenting me with a slip of paper imploring me to not eat chips, so that I won't have such a big belly next time, Alex decides against coming to the airport after all, for inexplcably devastating reasons. Thus once I'm packed there is a festival of hugging and photography. Harry is still coming to see me off, but falls asleep in the car and shows only vague interest when we stir her at the terminal.

Sydney domestic T3 is almost deserted and most of the kiosks aren't working. I'd checked in online but had no boarding pass. Once I get a machine I change seat on my Perth to Doha flight because it looks like I might not have a seat mate in row 5. Then the machine says, you've got international connections, take this slip and go to a manned desk. For fucks sake.

The woman at the desk is not overly friendly but prints out 3 boarding passes, also demanding proof that I will be leaving Copenhagen. Whatever. She hands me an immigration card I have 7 hours to fill out, and an express path card for use in Perth if the queues are long. Then I am through security and oh, hello, Qantas business lounge. Hello, free pies, free beer, and wifi. Let's get this show in the sky.

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