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We managed to squeeze in a round of trivia at the Kirk last night. Unfortunately we didn't have time to round up the full crew of Badgers so it was just me, Paddy and Andrew. Our team name: The Badgers' not so Triumphant Return. Even though it was just the three of us we still did quite well. At the end of two rounds of trivia, our team was in first place.

But, it wasn't to be! At this trivia, the very last question was a "gamble your points" question. We were told what the category of the question was going to be, then asked to bet between 1 and 20 points on the question. If you got the answer right, you were awarded the points. However, if you got the answer wrong, the points were taken off your current total.

Our category was "Cartoons". We figured the other teams were risk takers, so we decided we would have to chance it all. We bet 20 points on the last question. It seemed to be the theme, with 3 other teams betting 20 points. One wussy team bet only 5 points.

The final question: "What is the maiden name of Betty Rubble from the Flintstones."

Unfortunately, our confidence was misplaced. None of our team knew the answer to the question. Luckily, none of the other teams knew the answer either. The wussy team was actually the wise team, walking away with first prize. We ended the night with second prize. The Badgers' not so triumphant return, slightly triumphant after all.

Some other questions from the evening:
  • What is the name of the mountain range in Afghanistan?
  • Darren Hayes recently got married. Who did he get married to?
  • What does IBM stand for?
  • What is the name of the cafe that Fraiser and Niles visit in the TV show Fraiser?

jess - 16th Aug 2007, 11:11 tags: trivia badgers

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We only have 4 weeks at home (three now! wah!) so we're busily trying to catch up with everyone and spend as much time with the people we love.

Last week we had dinner with the Veitch family. When we see how much Hannah, Sarah and Ellie have grown over the last year, it really hits home that we have been away for more than a few weeks. Hannah and Sarah are so tall now. Ellie, who was just crawling when we left is now walking and talking.

We were treated to a clown show by the girls which included some tumbling, knock-knock jokes and lots of giggling. Andrew showed them his own clown trick, a bit of juggling. The girls were extremely impressed. It was great to see you Veitch clan!

Sarah and Hannahserious Sarah and HannahHeather, Ellie, Sarah and HannahAndrew shows the girls where we've travelledEllie finds a better use for the globe

jess - 14th Aug 2007, 11:11 tags: hsev kids

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the essentials the essentials the essentials

Look, it's an update! Is anyone still actually checking Fushmush?

We arrived home on Sunday and we're very happy to be home. We had fantastic four weeks of travelling. We had a week seeing the highlights of Russia and three wonderful weeks exploring South America. We can really recommend visiting these interesting and incredible places.

Yesterday, we headed to Marrickville Metro to complete an important task. We picked up the essentials that we miss so very much in London. Hopefully I now have enough minty blue gel toothpaste to last me for the next year. When it runs out we're coming home for good!

Stayed tuned for more updates! It's been far too quiet around here.

jess - 7th Aug 2007, 11:11 tags: sydney

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Last weekend was our last weekend in London for quite a while. We spent half the weekend packing up the house and the other half catching up with friends who won't be seeing for a couple of months.

We had lunch in The Windsor Castle in Notting Hill. It was a great day to be in a pub! On July 1st legislation banning smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces came into effect. Finally we can spend the evening in a pub and not come out smelling like we smoked a few hundred cigarettes.

There has been lots of whinging about the new legislation in the media. Bar owners complaining that they will lose lots of business because of the smoking ban. We thought we'd show our support for the new law by spending at least some of July 1 in a pub.

The Windsor Castle is a pub with lots of character. It has lots of mismatched furniture and tiny nooks and crannies. The pub also has a snug bar. The snug is a part of the pub which is separated from the rest of the pub and has its own bar access. In the past it was room reserved for unaccompanied women to drink in. They were not allowed to associate and drink with the men. The snug in Windsor Castle has a tiny doorway, which even I had to stoop to walk through.

After a few jugs of Pimms we headed to nearby Holland Park for a few rounds of Frickets (thanks Leah for bringing the equipment!). The wind added an extra level of difficulty to the game; it was really blustery. This didn't stop our two newbies, Grant and Natalie, from picking up the game very quickly. They don't even play ultimate in real life so it was extra hard for them.

Snaps to Natalie for being the only person to catch up a cup on the day, snaps to Grant for getting through to the finals of Holland Park Open Frickets Singles Championships and snaps to me for winning the Holland Park Open Frickets Singles championships.

Smoke free England!tim tams!Pimms!Nanimo bars

Thanks guys (Leah, Juzzy, Natalie, Grant, Lara) for coming out; it was great to see you all!

jess - 5th Jul 2007, 11:11 tags: ultimate london frickets dubs

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It's struggling to top 14 degrees this week in London, which means I'm really missing Sardinia. We spent four idyllic days on the east coast of Sardinia. We spent our holiday lying on the beach in the sunshine, hanging out on hammock hill, playing cards and other assorted games. The weather was perfect! We had tropical days and balmy nights. I was so pleased to be wearing shorts, singlet tops and my birkies again.

We stayed with a group called Amfibie Treks. It was a school camp kind of holiday. Our accommodation was a two-person tent (just a mattress on the ground in the tent. Don't turn it over or you'll be overwhelmed by the mold!). Meals were all included in the Amfibie package. We ate breakfast and dinner at long communal tables. Lunch was consumed on the beach. The meals were quite basic. Breakfast was cereal, bread rolls, cold meats and cheese. The same cold meats, cheese and bread rolls made an appearance at lunch. Dinner was a bit more complex with three courses. First up was a pasta entree then meat dish accompanied by a salad, followed by dessert. Every evening we ran a pool to try and guess what dessert was (day 1 - apple cake, day 2 - fruit salad, day 3 - tiramisu).

The school camp atmosphere was definitely amplified by the group of 150 Italian high school kids also staying at the campsite. I'm now fully versed on current fashion trends (teeny-tiny shorts, teeny-tiny bikinis and very short frilly skirts are currently in fashion. I saw an awful lot of Italian flesh on the weekend. *sigh* I'm just jealous... )

Our activities for the weekend can be divided into two categories: Daytime entertainment and Nighttime entertainment.

Daytime entertainment
  • Windsurfing - I didn't take part in this strenuous activity so I'll leave it to Andrew to describe:

    With only two minutes of instruction, John and I were sent out into the Mediterranean with our selected sailboards (well only about 200m max from shore). John, who had done it before had no troubles. I, on the other hand, was a complete novice (except for one day about 20 year ago - man that makes me feel old).

    We spent about an hour a day for three days boarding, and Leah joined us on the third day.

    The first day I figured out how to get started, but was trying to balance on the board using my body weight. The result was much falling off.The second day I figured out that using the wind to balance was much easier. Adjusting the sail instead of my body position made all the difference. I felt I was really getting the hang of things. On the third day we went out a bit earlier, and there was less wind, so I chose a larger sail. Then the wind picked up, and became gusty. It was a typical case of third-day-ambition which resulted in me falling off lots and getting blown down the beach. It was heaps of fun, and I'm keen to get more windsurfing done at some stage, or possibly some land sailing.

Nighttime entertainment
  • Limbo - Each evening, Amfibie would have some sort of night time activity. On our first day, they ran a Limbo competition. Now you'd think a group of oldies would have no chance against a bunch of teenagers. Not so! Leah, John and Andrew all took part in Limbo and performed quite well. They all made it through the first round. Andrew made it through a couple more. John made it to the third last round before going down. It was a valiant effort but unfortunately John was not as bendy as a sixteen year old Italian girl. We awarded John the Masters Limbo title. (I pleaded injury and cheered from the sideline. Go thigh power!)

  • Pub games heptathlon - At the beach, when the boys weren't windsurfing they were playing Pentago or Backgammon. Back at camp, they enjoyed using the camp's games amenities, playing several rounds of darts and table tennis. On the day three, the boys came up with Pub games heptathlon. The heptathlon involved a competition of seven different pubs games (pentago, backgammon, darts, pool, table tennis, foosball and cribbage). This idea could only come from the brain of a male. Andrew was declared the winner of the inaugural Pub games heptathlon winning the first 4 rounds (pentago, cribbage, darts and pool). Poor John, better luck next time!

  • Diminishing Whist - we continue to teach the world Diminishing Whist. This time, we taught Andy to play DW (Andy is a British guy the boys met while windsurfing). He claimed to have no prior knowledge of games that involved tricks or trumps but went on to win his debut match. We played four rounds of DW on our trip and the winners were Andy, Leah, John and Jess. Poor Andrew, lucky he won the heptathlon otherwise he might feel a bit sad.

    (Mum / Dad, we're looking forward to your visit next year so we can play a real game of DW / Get Janis with John and Leah. I feel the current incarnation of DW aka Get Jess is an inferior game.)
So, I was only joking when I wrote about our mini-break in Sardinia as preparation for our next grand adventure. But, now that I think about it, it was perfect. On July 7 we leave for a 4-week jaunt through Russia and South America (because they are so close!). Can't imagine we'll fit in much rest time in the midst of all our sightseeing. It was great to get in some heavy duty relaxing before the crazy travelling begins.

Amfibie Treks Windsurfing Windsurfing Windsurfing
Windsurfing Windsurfing Windsurfing Jess asleep in a hammock
yay! birkies! dessert Nuraghic Royal Palace Pretty tiles and yellow building
How low can you go? How low can you go? How low can you go? Proof of limbo
John, Leah, Andy and Jess at dinner

Thanks for organising John and Leah. We had a great time!

jess - 2nd Jul 2007, 11:11 tags: travel whist sardinia italy dubs

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