Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Thinking aloud

I've been having a downtime week after the busy pace at which I toured Ireland. I think that the 5+ weeks we had on the road was the longest such spell that Bondi & I have done since exploring Tasmania in May 2004. While we've been away from Sydney for 59 weeks, our B&B-hopping jaunts are usually kept at 2-3 weeks.

The remainder of this post is fairly random, reminders to myself mostly, now that I've shifted my short-term memory onto this blog's weary shoulders.

Chris and I went to see the new Dreamworks animated film Over the Hedge on Saturday. It was OK, but really didn't pick up steam until the final 10 minutes. Conversely John McWhorter's book Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music in America and Why We Should, Like, Care has been a pleasure to read from the beginning.

Some briefer, free entertainments are Chris' new blog What I didn't do before, the talking dogs video on BoreMe's Top 10 Animal list, and various downloadable or streamable programs from BBC Radio 4 and others.

Bondi's not really enjoying the current heatwave, but he got some relief on Monday when I walked him through Harmondsworth Heath, close to BA's Waterside headquarters. It's always a surprise to find pleasant pockets like this, tucked between the M4 & M25 motorways and the Heathrow sprawl. [below]

Chris and I played tennis for a couple of hours on Sunday - no formal games - just belting balls back and forth across the net (with some of his friends) almost without stop. It was my first time wielding a racquet since a short trip to Dublin in 1997, and I was a mess of molested muscles by Monday morning.

I've had some email from a distant Australian relative with whom I share some Irish ancestry on my mother's side. Looking at the family-tree files shared with me, I must be related to half of the population of the Tamworth & Walcha townships in the Northern Slopes area of NSW. Tamworth, Australia's country music capital, was also the location for much filming of the recent Superman Returns movie, and has an amusingly modified Wikipedia entry here.
What's coming up...

Further to all of this day to day activity, I'm trying to plot out my time over the next few months, working around some visits from Australia. It's very likely that I'll go back to Sydney before the end of November so that I can apply for a UK working visa, or at least an extended visitor visa and get an extension on my travel insurance. I guess I'll be there for 4-5 weeks while that visa is processed. Dates TBD as I will have to find somewhere to board Bondi over that time.

I was contemplating travelling through Scandinavia later this summer, and looping back to London via the Baltic republics, Prague and Paris, but I don't want to run the risk of being prevented from entering the UK on the grounds that they don't want self-supporting, insured visitors who know how to use an ATM.

So instead I'm looking at travelling in the far north of England, in particular walking along Hadrian's Wall on the coast to coast crossing between Carlisle and Newcastle.

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