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'Dolan's Revisited'
Australia - JUN/JUL 2003
'Delia-tastic'
Tuesday 24th June 2003 Keperra, Brisbane

Landed with a bit of a bump and 40 minutes late. I decided to go through the red channel and declare the small bag of Fijian Cava I was carrying. The customs guys said that was fine and didn't even want to check my bags. Everyone who went through the green channel had to have their bags x-rayed though. Very strange! It ended up being very easy getting into Australia they didn't even question us arriving on a one way ticket.

Found Damo waiting for us at the arrivals lounge. Even though we were late Damo had just arrived has he had been hunting around the domestic terminal for us for half an hour. It took him a while to figure out why there where no planes arriving from New Zealand. Typical Damo ;-). We where then delayed, again, trying to leave the airport has Damo lost the parking ticket immediately after paying for it. Fortunately he managed to convince the man at the barrier to let him out. Our first few minutes back in OZ had already turned into a bit of an adventure. Good old Damo its great to see him again.

Got back to Damo's new house, where Jodie showed us our room, It had a massive king sized bed in it. absolute luxury. She had also cooked up some Steak and Pork Chops for dinner, which was washed down with a few cans of XXXX Gold, Damo then tried to stuff as much chocolate down our throats as he could find, but we soon gave up and collapsed into bed.

The landing was pretty rough.... so after detaching my fingers from the armrests we had to sit there and wait for some ground staff to get on the plane and see to an elderly man who was ill. It just meant not doing the usual thing of everyone going mad to collect there hand luggage from the overhead lockers and scrambling all over each other. The crew asked us to wait in our seats for an extra 10mins whilst the bloke was being seen to, which really pissed the two American blokes off behind us. They started complaining and getting all impatient whilst the rest of us just sat and waited. We eventually got off the plane and whizzed through customs etc to be greeted by a very slim looking Damo, he has lost loads of weight! He started telling us how he had gone to the domestic Airport to wait for us only to realise 30mins later he was in the wrong airport which made us laugh. He took us out to his works van and paid for the parking ticket then we clambered into the front - it was only really for 2 people so it was a squash. He then started driving to the gate and realised he couldn't find his ticket which meant we all had to get out again and search high and low for the ticket, couldn't find the bloody thing so Damo convinced the ticket man to let us out - it was all bloody hilarious as we had only been with Damo for 10mins!!

Good to be with him again - very funny bloke

Got back to his new house which he had just bought when we left last year, Jodie, who now lives in the same house as Damo, gave us all big hugs then showed around the partially renovated house which they had both been working on. The place was lovely and they had done a fantastic job so far, it's going to look fab when they are finished.

Jodie showed us our room which had a King size bed in it, bloody fantastic. so we dumped out stuff and had a beer and a glass of wine before Jodie dished us all out a wonderful dinner which we were gasping for as we hadn't really eaten all day - polished the lot off.

Didn't stay up too late but did manage to have a bath - one of my favourite past times then fell into the fluffiest most comfortable roomy bed in the whole world.

Wednesday 25th June 2003 Keperra, Brisbane

I have been very bad and fallen a few weeks behind on my diary, So I decided to spend the day catching up, so that we could go and do some adventuring around Brisbane over the next few days. After Breakfast I helped Jodie get her computer back up and running and then sat down in front of mine. The weather was pretty miserable for most of the day but apparently the forecast for the weekend is really good.

Went to the local Irish pub in the evening to watch the second round of the 'State of Origin' rugby league tournament between New South Wales and Queensland. It was pouring with rain so Jodie decided to go out in her shower cap, obviuosly these queenslanders are not prepared for rain! Queensland got absolutely thumped meaning that NSW wins the contest after winning 2 games out of 3. The Kilkennys went down very well and we got home pretty late. Damo then forced a plate load of Beans and Toast down my throat before we all collapsed for the night.

Had the most wonderful nights sleep in the whole of sleepy kingdom....... woke up early though because of the two hour time difference. Had some b'fast with Jodie as she is not working at the mo, she is hoping to get back into teaching again. Toby started fixing their computer whilst i popped up the shops using Jodie's car and got some food - really into a health kick at the mo so it was all salad and more salad. I was so shocked when i went into the supermarket as I had forgotten how bloody fantastic all the produce is over these parts. They had a massive range of every fruit and veg that you could wish for and it was all so big! they also had a wide range of foreign fruit and veg which is something i haven't seen for a while.

I went back and did my diary then went out for walk to listen to all the wonderful birds i had so missed all the time in NZ - really looking forward to seeing all the wildlife again.

I did a huge chicken salad for Toby and myself for dinner trying to stick to the healthy eating plan. Whilst Jodie cooked a big Mexican dinner for her, Damo and Penny a little later on and,Toby also ate that aswell

Went out in the evening to watch the State of Origen rugby in a local Irish pub. Because it was raining outside Jodie put on her shower cap to stop her hair getting wet which i thought was hilareous. Jodie supports NSW as that i where she comes from so i thought i would back them aswell but we were outnumbered by all of the Queensland supporters in the pub who really didn't like us cheering everytime we scored and got quite shitty. NSW kicked there ass!! much to everyones disgust including Jodies mate, Penny who was gutted but after a few more drinks it didn't seem to matter as much.

We got back and Damo had the munchies so he cooked baked beans on toast with melted cheese which Toby also jparticepated in - thats his 3rd dinner for the evening.

 

Thursday 26th June 2003 Keperra, Brisbane

Still pretty overcast, but at least its not pouring down. Sarena and I caught the train into the city for a wander around and to sort out some more bits for our next leg of traveling. I booked an appointment with the travel doctor to get some malaria tablets for the Amazon. The bugger charged me $50 for just 5 minutes of consultation.

We then went for a walk around Albert park and we were very lucky to find a Kookaburra perched in one of the trees. He was quite a tame on so we managed to get pretty close to it before it flew off. After the park we watched Bruce Almighty in the cinema which was pretty enjoyable and then headed back to Damo's house in Keperra.

Damo got home not long after us whilst I was watching the news to find out that the Irish pub that we where in last night had just blown up with a gas leak. Damo, being a gas fitter, was pretty keen to go and check out the scene so we jumped into his van and headed down the road, only to find half the neighbourhood must have been watching the news and they where all there having a gander.

Jodie cooked us up a great Tuna and Pasta bake and we all retired pretty early.

Weather still a bit dull but by no means cold.

After b'fast we walked down the train station and caught the train into Brisbane City Centre. Went and sorted out the Malaria tablets and had a wonder around, the City is just fantastic and so pretty, i really had forgotten how cosmopolitan Brisbane is. We had some lunch then walked down to the park and sat in amongst all the wild birds and even managed to see a Kookaburra which made my day! We had a coffee in a little cafe set in the park which was lovely and then walked back to watch Bruce Almighty which i thought was really funny - best bit is the news reader, i honestly was crying.

We then went back to Damo's place and found out on the news that the Irish pub had just blown up from a gas leak which Damo then got all worried about as he was a gas fitter. So him and Toby went down to check the place out - saddo's.

Jodie did a wonderful dinner for us all before i had an early night.

Friday 27th June 2003 Keperra, Brisbane

Clear blue skies and it got pretty warm today. Sarena and I wandered around the local shopping centre for some eatey bits and traveling bits, then we spent the afternoon chilling out

Woke up to blue sky and sunshine so after b'fast we went for a walk up to the nearest shopping complex which was a 20min walk, but the weather was soooooo beautiful i could have walked for miles. Can't believe it is coming into Winter over here and it's really quite hot, just shorts and t-shirt weather really.

Went and bought some camping stuff and sent a thank you card to Dr Ring who did my eyes - he is a great bloke. Then we did some food shopping and i went into a clothes shop an and purchased a couple of tops that were only $3.99 each!!! and they are really pretty. Spent the afternoon reading my new Harry Potter book and writing the diary.

Saturday 28th June 2003 Keperra, Brisbane

Spent the morning tidying the house and watching Damo run around. Jodie had some friends turn up mid morning, and they all went out to the local shopping centre for the afternoon. Damo took us to the Woolshed down the road, which is basically an animal farm. The woolshed is pretty small but has some Koalas, Kangaroos, Cockatiels, Crocs and Sheep, which is all you need for a visit to an Aussie animal farm. Sarena spent her time playing with the massive cockatiel and we where very tempted to get a photo of us holding a Koala, but at nearly 30 bucks we thought better of it.

We got back an hour before Jodie and her friends returned. They soon shot off back down to the Gold Coast where they are staying on holiday and we all started preparing for a big ole BBQ in the evening. Sarena and Jodie seemed to of taken something in the afternoon and where quit mad. They spent ages cooking and pretending to make a cookery program for the video camera. Damo and I hid out in the back garden, Robyn and Declan then turned up and soon joined us out the back.

In typical BBQ style there was loads of food cooked, just as well as some old friends that we had met a year ago joined us. Ray, Grant and Janine and we soon munched our way through all the food.

Got up early to the sound of Kookaburras so just got up and read my book in the quiet of the kitchen whilst the others were still asleep. Jodie friends turned up later on and they went out for the day whilst Toby and I and Damo went to the Sheep shearing farm, basically it was a park that had some animals and other attractions - sheep sheering and sheep rounding. The weather was really very hot which was such a nice change and felt really good on our backs. We paid to just see the animals so walked around for a while cooing at the koalas and talking to the Cockatiel who i took a fancy to. We then had coffee and i ordered a mud cake which i had a mouth full then gave to Toby to eat because i felt so guilty. Later on when we got back Jodie and I went shopping for some food for the BBQ that evening. We had a lovely time and laughed for the whole outing the laughed for the rest of the day and evening, videoing ourselves doing a cookery programme - absolutely hysterical. Robin, Declan, Grant, Ray, Janine came over later and witnessed our hysterical ranting's which were bloody funny. Will be watching that when we get back to the UK and need a fix.

We both got a bit tipsy and didn't stop laughing till we went to bed

Sunday 29th June 2003 Deception Bay

Gave Damo a hand tidying up and cleaning out the back of his Ute. Then we all drove north to Deception Bay to visit Robyn and Declan and have some fish and chips. Declan also had another friend and his family turn up so. it ended up being quite a social lunch. Declan got called out by the fire brigade but was soon back in time for the fish and chips and a walk across the mud flats to the sea. In fact only Damo, Chris,Declan friends two young daughters and I, made it out across the mud. The rest where too chicken!

Jodie, Damo and I then escaped the house and went for a drive around the area to take a nose at some of the houses. It was all pretty pleasant but not an area I would live in.

That evening we said goodbye to Damo and Jodie as we are staying with Declan And Robyn for a few days and then watched 'Catch Me If You Can' before crashing.

We all went over to Robyn and Declan's house and chilled out for the day, they also had another couple over who they had met though the fire service so it was a lovely afternoon eating and drinking - they all had fish and chips whilst i had some left over pasta and salad - gosh i'm good. We then went for a quick walk on the beach which was opposite the house. The tide was out so it was just all mud which Jodie and I thought was horrible to walk in whilst Toby, Damo and Chris ( Robyn's son) and Dharma ( the dog) all went for a walk out in the mud to paddle in the sea.

We later took out a video - Catch me if you can. Jodie and Damo went home and Robyn and Declan went to bed early because he has to get up early - he is a postie

Toby and I watched the film which i thought was really good!!

Monday 30th June 2003 Deception Bay

Declan was gone by 5 to do his job as a postie, I didn't emerge until about 8 though. We then went to a shopping mall to find a present for Jodie's birthday on Friday. We then spent the afternoon walking along the beach in Deception Bay and reading. Robyn has a huge atlas which I can't get my nose out of. It has all the major roads in South America so I could plan a rough route around the various countries that we could do.

Declan got home about 1 but was soon called out by the Fire Brigade again. He then took me for a tour of his fire station and cooked us up some steak and lamb chops on the BBQ for dinner.

Slept like a log! Robin very kindly took us to Chermside to the shopping centre so that we could get a pressie for Jodie who's birthday is on Friday. Also managed to get some wonderful popcorn, they have huge popcorn stands that sell every flavour of sweet and savoury popcorn you can imagine - UK really need that.

Didn't do much in the afternoon apart from read my book then went for a short walk up the beach opposite then watched TV and i had my salad for dinner whilst Toby had steak ....... snot fair..

Tuesday 1st July 2003 Deception Bay

Robyn very kindly lent us her car in the morning so we took a short drive up the coast and onto Bribie Island. The weather was actually pretty overcast and chilly so we didn't spend much time on the beach but instead took a look around some of the massive new houses that are being built on the island.

Stopped in the supper market on the way back from Bribie and I got stuck back into reading my Atlas. Sarena is getting near the end of the new Harry Potter book so no one saw her at all in the afternoon as she hid in the bedroom to finish it off. We also got in touch with Kathy and Adam whom we had me the first time we where in Brisbane. Kathy is free tomorrow afternoon so we have arranged to visit her for a cup of tea.

Busy old Declan was in for a few minutes after a busy post round and then was out on fire drill practice. He returned at 8 and we had a massive serving of corned beef and veges for dinner. He just jumped into bed and was called out on another fire, this time it was a car set alight in a forest.

Bit of a cloudy and cold day for a change so didn't do a lot really, just mooched around for a couple of hours in the morning then Robin let us take her car out which was very kind of her. So we drove over to Bribie Island about 30mins away and had a look about the area and a quick run onto the beach but it wasn't very warm so went back to the car. We then drove back to Deception Bay and to a shopping mall to get some bits and pieces - salad for my dinner as usual, whilst Toby kept his options open and wait to see what Robyn was cooking for dinner.

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and finishing my Harry Potter book - fantastic.

Declan went out for the evening to do some Fire Drill Training whilst the rest of us watched Big Brother. I phoned up Julia and made arrangements to catch up with her on Friday (she is the Welsh girl i i met in Queenstown) i also phoned up Kathy and Adam whom we met up with last time we were in OZ with Beau and Clare, and arranged to meet up with them Wednesday afternoon and stay the night.

Declan came home at 8.30pm and Robin cooked a wonderful dinner of corned beef and veggies whist i had my salad - Toby's plan of eating the same stuff as me didn't last long.....as he had the same as them, lucky sod.

Wednesday 2nd July 2003 Oxley, Brisbane

Took a walk along the beach to the shops in the morning. It had been raining all night but the clouds where clearing and it was beautiful and sunny. The trees where packed with cockatiels and it was very noisy with all there squawking. I caught up with my Diary and then Robyn gave us a lift to the train station as we caught the train to Oxely to meet up with Kathy and Adam.

Kathy and Adam had also moved house since we last saw them. They now live just around the corner from their old house but up a very peaceful gladey lane. We where greated straight away by their boxer Belle and we sat down on their new porch that Adam had built and chatted to Kathy and some other friends that where visiting.

Adam got home from work at about 5:30 and soon after his Sister Jess arrived, Kathy cooked us up some pumpkin soup and Adam did Spag Bol. We spent the rest of the evening chatting out on the back porch and managed to get through 3 bottles of wine and a whole bottle of port.

 

Toby and I walked down to the shops to get some milk and came across a whole gaggle of cockatiels sitting in the trees and on the telephone wire making an apsolute racket - now this is what i missed, all the wonderful birds..

after lunch Robyn gave us a lift down to the train station which was kind of her then waited for our train to Oxley to go and meet up with Kathy. The journey took about an hour and was really very nice, we then walked to Kathy and Adams new house and had a very warm welcome from Kathy and Belle (the dog). We spent the afternoon sitting out on the verander relaxing and enjoying the sunshine then we went to get some wine for dinner.

Adam arrived home about 5ish followed by his younger sister, Jess who was staying with them and we were treated to homemade pumkin soup made by Kathy and Spag bol made by Adam - apsolutely delicieous and i was really good cause i only had a little bit but did drink alot of wine!!

Stayed up till quite late chatting and having a laugh then collapsed into bed.

Thursday 3rd July 2003 Keperra, Brisbane

Had an early morning as Belle was insistent that I should get up and play with her. After a brief game of chase the ball, Sarena and I walked to the shops for some much needed coffee. We then spent the morning lazing around Kathy's and bathing in the gorgeous sun, whilst Kath 'Miss Popular' Elliot visit several friends for several morning teas.

In the afternoon Kathy gave us a lift back to Damo's house as her Auntie lives just up the road from him. Damo actually got home from work early, we hadn't seen him for a few days and he was still procrastinating over Jodie's birthday which was tomorrow. I popped down the shops with him to help him sort out a card etc and then we got ready to go out for a curry to celebrate Jodie's Birthday.

There was about 10 of us at the Indian restaurant. Sarena and Jodie seem to bounce off each other and those two where having a whale of a time down the far end of the table. It was great food and we where all pretty stuffed, drunk and tired by the end of the meal.

I got up at 6.30am thanks to Belle - she is bloody beautiful. So i sat around for a bit until Toby got up then we walked to the shop to get some coffee. Kathy was up when we got back suffering from a slight hangover and cooked her and Toby a big pile of scrambled egg with bacon and toast whilst i had munched on rice cakes earlier........ He seems to be eating so much more since i started eating a lot less - he is not helping much.

Kathy gave us a lift back to Damo's house in the afternoon, Damo got back not long after still running around and sorting out Jodie's birthday...... he is naughty

Toby went off down the shops with him to get a pressie for her then when Jodie got back from her day out we all got ready to go out to an Indian restaurant for dinner as an early b'day get together as Damo has to play football on the Friday night.

Ended up with about 10 of us and we all had just the bestist time - didn't stop laughing once again with Jodie

Friday 4th July 2003 Keperra, Brisbane

Happy Birthday Jodie. Damo was up pretty early so we got up as well and all jumped onto Jodie's bed to wish her happy birthday and give her some cards and presents. We had bought her a gift voucher for a facial, while Damo had got her some Candles, wine and a ticket for a show on the gold coast.

After breakfast Sarena and I took Damo's Ute and went to visit Sarena's friend Julia in the northern suburb of Brighton. Brighton and Sandgate is a really nice area, The sun was blazing all day so the 3 of us took a walk along the promenade, and spotted loads of fish and sting rays swimming right to the edge of the path. Only in Oz!

Sarena and I got home by 4, Jodie was no where to be seen, so we sorted out some tea and got ready for a night on the town with Jodie's friends. We didn't end up getting into town until 10. Damien gave us a lift as he had to work in the morning. We went to PJ O'briens which served Cafferys, something that I couldn't find at all in NZ. It didn't taste quite right though so in the end I stuck to Kilkenny. At first there was only 3 of us but we soon grew into a fair sized posse. The pub had a band playing so it didn't take too long before I was showing off all my dance moves. We ended up grooving until about 3:30 and getting back home by 4.

We were up at 6.30 and piling into Jodie's room to give her gifts and cards HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Toby and i bought her a gift voucher to have a facial done at a beauty salon and Damo has arranged to take her to a show called 'storm' and some lovely candles, Robyn and Declan got her a new mobile phone which she was ecstatic about.

Damo went to work and Jodie went out for the day and had coffee with Robyn whilst Toby and I took Damo's Ute and drove over to Sandgate to catch up with Julia my friend whom i first met in Queenstown a year ago. She is 7months pregnant and looking wonderful, she showed us all her wedding photo's then we went and had a stroll down on the water front chatting all the while and having a lovely time. We saw about 5 sting rays wallowing around in the shallow water, looked amazing. We all went and had some lunch at a little cafe then dropped Julia into town for a doctors appointment then had to say goodbye and wish her well.

We got home for about 3pm and Jodie came in not long after so we started to get ready early and do some girly pampering whilst drinking vino and nibbling popcorn. Toby was invited to join in but didn't seem to be getting into the swing of it? Jodie ended up wearing some new outfit and looked a squillion pounds - sex on a stick actually!! i actually put some of her eye makeup on and borrowed some clothes and ended up looking like a lady for a change.

Damien got home after playing football and said he didn't want to come so in the end he dropped me, Toby and Jodie into town for 10pm, we had been waiting for Penny and Jo to come over but said they would meet us in town. It was now getting late and we weren't really in the mood - but that all changed when we got into the pub and had a few drinks!!!! Ended up having a fantastic evening and got quite merry on Bacardi and Tequilla. Toby was a little quiet to start with but soon became a wild diva on the dance floor who didn't stop until e left at 4ish the next morning........ Penny, Jo, Grant and Janine turned up and added to our growing crowd and we all just had a ball. When we did finally get home we ate tons then fell into bed.

Saturday 5th July 2003 Keperra, Brisbane

Got up at 9 had a Bacon and Egg McMuffin®™, a glass of water and some panadol and went back to bed. Didn't emerge until nearly 1 pm. So spent the afternoon updating my diary before going out to watch Damien's football team in the grand final.

Damien's team, O'malleys, ended up losing the final 3 -1 ut that didn't stop them wanting to celebrate. O'malleys is an Irish bar and they supplied free beer all night, So my intention to get and early night went down the pan and I ended up staying out until about 3 again. The highlight was one bar that had an All girl rock band dressed in pink cat suits and playing AC DC Songs. Now you can't get much better than that.

Got up at 9am, Jodie went and got her and Toby a bacon and egg muffin whilst i had some cardboard and milk then they collapsed back to bed whilst i had a bath and went out shopping. Ended up getting some darker sunglasses and all the bits and pieces we need for out next leg of our travels then Damo and Toby went off to footy and Jodie and I went and got a couple of videos for the evening (girly night) and some food, i found some fab shoes which i wanted to buy and send home but realised Toby would kill me so overcame the over powering need to purchase

i was now rapidly going down hill though and was feeling rough - all for a good cause.

Myself and Jodie got a couple of videos whilst the men went out to play, i made my way through yet another big bag of popcorn. In the end i had to get Jodie to take it off me as i was feeling really sick - all i kept saying was 'save me' 'save me' the films were pretty poor so Jodie went to bed about 10.30pm whilst i stayed up to 1.30 for the boys. They didn't stumble in till 2.40am quite pissed and very loud which kept us up till 4am until Jodie stormed into the lounge shutting off all the lights and telling Damo to get to bed! good gal.

 

Sunday 6th July 2003 Keperra, Brisbane

Felt very muzzy when I got up. But only had two hours to pack and get on our way to the airport. It was all very rushed as I also wanted to get the web site downloaded. Hopefully I can sleep on the plane.

Jodie and Damo took us to the airport to wave us goodbye.

Felt very tired thanks to the boys........ but after a hearty b'fast of more popcorn Damo and Jodie drove us to the airport and we had a coffee. I said goodbye to Robyn and Declan over the phone then we said goodbye to our lovely hosts. It was a long wait to get through the passport control which was a bit annoying, we then bought some alcohol for the island and waited for the plane.

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DEC 2001 - JAN 2002 - FEB 2002 - MAR 2002 - APR 2002 - MAY 2002 - JUN 2002 - JUL 2002 - JUN & JUL 2003
ENGLAND - RUSSIA - MONGOLIA - CHINA - NEPAL/TIBET - INDIA - SINGAPORE - AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - FIJI - FRENCH POLYNESIA - EASTER ISLAND - CHILE - ARGENTINA - URUGUAY - BRAZIL - PERU - ECUADOR - U.S.A - SPAIN - ENGLAND
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