Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Monday, February 20, 2012


The flight from London was on one of those new super A380 Airbus airplanes. Not so good was the fact that they had all been grounded recently due to 2cm cracks being found in the wings - and this was first discovered on the very same plane on the very route we were about to be taking. Gulp.

The flight itself was also a tad delayed - there was a broken down truck just behind the aircraft. An auspicious start. I necked my first 5mg of diazepam and soon felt much cheerier about both the truck - and the cracks.

Fifteen and a half hours, and two rather mediocre films, later we changed planes at Singapore to a marginally smaller A380 for the second leg of our flight. As it was now daytime and having the richly blue Indian Ocean beneath us we could actually make out ships way down on the high seas. No doubt some Chinese goods on their way to Europe.

Arriving in Perth five and a half hours later we thought the worst of the trip was over. But we'd not reckoned on Aussie border control and their forensic screening for plants, fruit and animal-products. It added another hour of form filling, passport stamping, queuing and dog sniffing to what had already been a 28 hour trip. Our faces were aching from all the fake smiles at the officials.

Waiting the other side of the gate was Stuart's childhood friend Emma and her husband Paul. And they couldn't have made us more welcome. We even did a whistle-stop tour of downtown Perth on the way to their lovely spacious home just up the coast. They have a super place with oodles of room, a pool and (no surprise here) a family-sized barbie upon which Emma cooked us an epic mouth-watering steak for an early supper.

On that first afternoon we simply showered, rested, cracked open a couple tinnys and caught up with Emma's news. By 10pm, having been up for 36 hours, we were ready to hit the sack. Asleep before we hit the pillow.

On the Sunday we headed out as an extended family - Emma, Paul, their two kids Jack and Eve, Stuart and myself - to the nearby port of Fremantle. We took the ferry along the Swan River from Perth central, drank in the sight of the multi-million dollar riverside houses en route and alighted at the still vibrant working port known locally as Freo.

As with most ports worldwide there were plenty of retail opportunities and tourist friendly walks along the ocean front. We wandered through a park and ventured into an eclectic shed market. We even visited a fairy shop. Eve who is 7 years old loves the fairy shop so she made sure we didn't miss a single last corner of it's dazzling, glittering, sparkling wonderfulness. With slight glitter-blindness we then settled upon a restaurant to sample the local beers and battle our way through another mountainous steak. They eat well here!

We got the train back up the coast just at sunset but missed the last connecting bus at our station. That one leaves at the super-late time of 7pm on a Sunday. I think that officially made us dirty stop-outs.

The weather here is gloriously hot (35C) so we are keeping well covered up and bathing in plenty of sunscreen - which hasn't seemed to have prevented us getting a healthy glow even after just one day. Or maybe that glow is from the West Australian wines and beers, it's hard to remember as the jet-lag is still keeping us perpetually tired at the moment. I expect that'll soon pass though as the brilliant sunshine here leaves you in no doubt whether it's day or night here. Our body clock is being beaten into submission.

As I write this the house is just waking up. The kids are taking themselves off to school and we are off to do some wine-tasting - Aussie-style. Adding yet more confusion to cause of our 'healthy glow' no doubt!

G'day mate!

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