Thursday, June 22, 2006

Midnight Rambler... The World Cup, and England

Well, it's not midnight in Melbourne, but it is in the UK , so... in the absence of any inspiration for a pithy, witty heading, the above will have to do.

Lots of talk here about Lazy [sorry, Harry - I still keep remembering his first few years in English football] Kewell's tirade at the ref at the end of the Brazil game, and much relief that he didn't end up getting suspended as a result. Everything else seems to have faded into insignificance Down Under. It's amazing that this was the major news item on all but one of the TV channels here. The Aussies do really seem to have taken the game to their hearts after all, although should they fail against Croatia in 20 hours time, I think the World Cup will again slip away from the Aussie psyche and news schedule. They love winners here, but if you're not, weeeell...

Talking of which... another frustrating display by England.
And you should really try watching that at 5 in the morning, and without the aid of a fizzy beverage or 6. But, it's Ecuador next, and we can only do better, surely? I thought it was a fine first half against Sweden, but oh so disastrously bad in the second half. Anyway, thank goodness we're not playing one of the World powers in the Last 16, and if we get through this next one, who knows? We can beat [or lose to...] just about anyone in a one-off game, I reckon. I live in hope...

I've been trying to keep up with things by listening to Simon Mayo's daily World Cup podcast ["The Daily Mayo"]... aaah, a sweet taste of home! Nice to hear that the England fans are behaving themselves too. Just as long as we don't lose...

Segueing nicely from talking about England and of England, to our current plans. We have contacted a number of you out there to say that we were coming back briefly in September for Paul & Kathleen's wedding. Well, sadly, we've had to change our plans and won't be returning just yet, after all.

Claud's job remains temporary, which means she's not accruing holidays, although I'm slowly doing so [very slowly, it seems], so any time we take off means less than halving our income for that time period. Add to that the limited amount of time we can take off at this point anyway, and the fact that we are absolutely knackered and in need of a holiday, England wouldn't be the ideal thing to do just now.

We know from past visits to Oz that the mad dash around to visit friends and family "back home" wasn't very relaxing at all, and we always came back exhausted and hanging out for another break. Usually, we ended up booking another holiday within a week of returning home, just so we'd have something to look forward to! And the next break never would come soon enough, believe me...

As I've wittered on both here and in emails to some of you, it's been a bloody stressful transition since we seriously started planning to up sticks n' move in September last year [nine months ago - as they say here, croiiikey! OK, as some of them... well, OK, as one of them says]. The organisation involved in leaving, along with the emotional aspect of the process [for both of us, remember - Claud had 6 years of relationships and her new life in England to deal with] was prolonged agony.

Then we arrived here, sunny and optimistic [yes, even me], struggling with the heat and bugs, but happy to have touched down at last. Then there was the small matter of finding jobs, overcoming homesickness [repeat ad nauseum], finding somewhere to live, furnishing the house, saving to buy our own place etc. Most of all, there was the pressing situation of finding ourselves and our sense of place here in Melbourne.

And I think that that is the main reason we've decided to put the return on hold for now. We hadn't planned to come back for 12 months plus in order to give us a chance to settle into our new lives here, but the fact that 2 lots of friends [hello too, Jammy and Clare!] suddenly declared that they'd to tie their respective knots, and soon, threw us into a bit of a spin. Not that we didn't see it coming, but just didn't think it was going to happen quite so quickly, and within such a short period of each other! Those crazy reckless kids!

So, we felt to some extent obliged; but also felt that it would be lovely to go home again for a bit [largely a consequence of the dreaded homesickness], to catch up with our UK loved ones again. Actually, it was a bit of a rose-coloured specs moment in hindsight, but we went ahead with the idea. Until we started making firmer plans... We both independently came to the decision over this last week that we couldn't do it, not just now. It was too much too soon. We'd already told people, got their hopes up, and our brains wrestled some more with the decision. But thankfully, those we've told have understood, and eased our angst. Thanks, guys!

So there we have it. Staying for the time being. We will return sooner or later to see you all, but not just yet. In the meantime, we're talking about a cheap weekend break somewhere in Victoria [down the coast somewhere - Claud's plans always involve the sea, of course!] next month, just to get away. After that, probably late August, we'll head north somewhere - Claud will no doubt provide some links to places we're considering, making you most likely green with envy.

For me, just now, just about anywhere to kick back, chill and relax will do very nicely. I feel like I've been running a marathon for 9 months and still can't see the end clearly, nor know quite where I am in the race - have I gone one mile or 25? Metaphorically out of breath, oh so tired, but just plodding along regardless, taking whatever sustenance I can whenever I can... Listen, throw some water over me, will you?

Ahhhhh, now, that's better.


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