About us

We are a family of four. Sarah, Andy, Finn & Isla and we are on the emigration path to Sydney, Australia from Somerset, England. We arrived on Tuesday 24th August 2010 and this is our story.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Bye bye, baby

I have to say goodbye to something precious to me, a large part of my life... our (my) PC :-)

The time has come in our moving process to dismantle and pack everything that's not going to come with us to Sarah's Mum's place, and that includes the beast affectionately known as 'BigPC'.  Built by my own fair hands out of components researched and sourced by me about three years ago, it's nearly never let me down.  We had a data scare a few weeks ago so now it's a fully RAIDed beast with multiple backups of everything that matters, namely our many photo albums and the iTunes library.

We've decided that although BigPC is going to be making the journey down under in the container with the rest of our kit, all our backups are coming with us on the plane as we don't want all our eggs in one 20' basket.  It's unlikely to be booted up again for at least 10 months so we can only hope it will survive the experience.

Oh, and we're moving house tomorrow so that's a big thing as well ;-)


Thursday, 28 January 2010

Two weeks but no rest for the wicked

Well, I have finished work now for 2 weeks in order to facilitate the shippers (Crown relocations) when they come in next week.  We move to my Mum's this weekend.  Andy asked me last night if I had a list of what needed moving and what we have to leave behind.  I tapped the side of my head in a knowing way and advised that it was "all up here"!  Hmmmm.  I think I know what needs doing.  Well, we will find out on Saturday depending on how the move goes.  I have to say that moving house when you have 2 toddlers is a little daunting.  This will be our first move with Finn & Isla. I am imagining that it will be a little fraught and I will spend a lot of time saying Finn put that down, Finn come here and Finn get off your sister.  Sounds a bit like a normal day actually!

I'm concentrating on firmly looking forward at the moment and not thinking about the actual house sale and the finality of it.  I'm a little sad as I am the third generation of my family to live in Iona, before me it was my Grandfather and Grandma and before that was my Grandfather's parents.  I think my Grandfather is a little sad that the home is going out of the family but he is also quite pragmatic and a very modern thinker considering his advancing years.  He realises that things change and we wish to move on.  This is, however, one of the other decisions that is causing me a little guilt.  I feel that I can almost be at peace with the decision as I feel we are doing what is best for all of us.  Although it still piques a little.

Even though next week is going to be a bit of a slog I still have a couple of nice things planned.  Drinks with a friend, Bronnie, on Wednesday night which should be the calm after the storm as Crown will have left the building.  Bronnie and I have known each other since we were 13 years old, which is quite a long time.  For modesties sake and I won't say how long!  We used to ride our ponies out together every evening and had a whale of a time messing about and galloping around the countryside.  I will be very sad to leave Bronnie behind as we are the best of friends but I hope that she will come out to Sydney for a visit at some stage as her brother lives there aswell.  We have a couple of weekends away planned over the next few months, one in Cheltenham in March visiting the 3rd Musketeer in our group Charms.  Then a weekend in June in Cornwall for some girly chats, rose and good food - just the three of us.  I'm really looking forward to that!

My 2 best girls!  Charms on the left and Bronnie on the right.

I always love Wednesdays because it means that I have finished doing my two long days at work and we can get back to a bit of normality in the house.  Things start to drop off the end a little when I'm at work.  Washing piles up a bit, the children get a little worn out and fractious, the cooking starts to become a bit more speedy and easy rather than nutritious and cooked with care!  Finn & Isla tend to punish me a bit on a Tuesday night for being away so on a Wednesday night I feel better as they will go back to being normal again.  They seem to know on a Wednesday that I am back to stay for a while and always seem happier in themselves for it.  I know Mums who work 5 days a week and I really take my hat off to them as they must be working so hard behind the scenes to make it work.  It's not just the child care it's everything else aswell involved in running a family home.  Washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning etc.  It's bloody hard work and I'm very lucky to only have to do it for two days.

All that chat has made me think of a lovely piccie of the two of them taken in Wagamamas in London when we were there at the beginning of January - they were both very well behaved - I will get Crab girl and boy!

Too cute!


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

TV Chaff

Now, obviously we are watching Wanted Down Under, it goes without saying.  I am so thankful that I researched our impending relocation with care and attention before watching this chaff.  Unfortunately this program is purporting to be a real insight into Life Down Under when really it is daytime TV that falls squarely into the 'entertainment' genre.  The thing that is a bit scary is that the 'victims' in this program seem largely uninformed on the whole migration subject.  I wonder if they take a bit of a punt when applying to appear and then not really thinking about it again until the Beeb turn up at the door.

What surprises me is that on the whole people are expecting to get a small mansion when they didn't have that at home.  Australia used to be like that but as far as I'm aware it hasn't been like that for a long time, and not for a very long time in the big cities which are very popular.  I'm sure you could get a large acreage plot out in Widgeegoara or some such back water but living so far away would be quite a shock and not the perceived Australian dream.

Also I watched one where the program helpfully compared one families shopping bill from home.  So the comparison for blueberries being £2 in the UK and something like £6 in Australia caused gasps around the table!  But for the Love of God it's all relative!  If the Aussies are having to ship in refrigerated blueberries from North America then they are going to be pricey as they have further to go.  Therefore, I'm sure the choice would be to buy the local produce, like mangos and pineapples which are totally delicious, loads cheaper and are from just up the road in Queensland.

This reminds me of another little humorous anecdote.  Dear dear Marky had many many discussions with me over the price of Coke in Australia just as he was about to head over to Perth.  Quite insistently he would ask me "but if coke is £1 for a can in the UK then how much is it going to be in Australia".  Several times I had to explain to him that it is completely irrelevant as when you are earning the Aussie $ it matters not a jot how much you pay in the UK and only how it compares to how many bucks you are earning.  Also the price in the 2 countries are completely unrelated to each other!  Sigh.

The other thing about WDU that I find exceedingly trying is that they seem to insist on showing these people houses above their budget under the guise of "this is something that they can aspire too".  This, I feel sets expectations too high and will also put even more financial pressure on the family in a completely new and alien country if they proceed on this basis.  Also, no account is taken for the fact that most people rent for a good while in a new country while they get their bearings and work out where they can afford which offers them what they want.  There are 3 houses shown in one very specific area, 1 out of budget and then people have to decide.

I feel that as long as people watch it with the understanding that it is not really giving a good picture of the country then that's fine but I'm sure some people watch and base their decisions on it, which is a bit scary!

Don't even get me started on "move to the other side of the World" and "that all looks very inviting" Nicki Chapman.

Now, some seriously fantastic eye candy chasséd, onto our wall mounted plasma on Friday night in the form of the lovely Phil Spencer on a much better program Phil Down Under.  Now this was much more insightful, factual and well produced and Phil made it very enjoyable to watch, frankly by just breathing.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Indulgent reminiscing

December 2004, now that was a good time.  We married and went on honeymoon to Australia which is where this whole idea came from.  We had the most amazing holiday and it was the best vacation I have ever had.  This blog tonight is unapologetically a recipient for me to indulgently reminisce about the good times and give a little glimpse into our inspiration.  Now, I fully realise that being on holiday is nothing like living in a country but that place really is very beautiful and it gives you a really good feeling.  In my numerous forum searches and browsings I have heard the term "same shit shinier bucket" used.  Now I believe we have our expectations about Australia set just right.  I know that we aren't going to live in a mansion on the beach with an infinity pool and unending disposable income, because we don't have that here.  I do however know that we will match our lifestyle to what we can afford leaving us enough slack to enjoy the amazing country that Australia is and is demonstrated in the pictorial below!

Waiting in the super nice lounge at Heathrow for our flight to depart - this is Sunday 5th December - so exciting as we flew Premier Economy with BA.

Perth - so very lovely and so very hot!  We entered the hotel lobby on our 1st day around lunchtime and although it was hot it felt OK and we discussed that we could cope with that!  The automatic doors opened and we stepped out from what turned out to be the air conditioned lobby into the sunshine and it was like entering an oven with a hair dryer on to create a stifling hot breeze.  We did acclimatise but my goodness it was hot!

Andy with the Indian Ocean in the background north of Perth.  We both went in the water on this day and it was lovely.  The beaches were all pretty quiet also.

This is Jacqui and her ex.  Jacqui is Andy's cousin and she emigrated to Perth from Scotland 6 years ago.  Jacqui recently visited us here and she was very excited about our impending move to Sydney and provided lots of useful tips.  We will see her and her fiancée when they marry in Perth in October.

This is where I spent the 1st Year of my life in 1978 in Perth.  We visited and I swear I could remember the back of the house.  We didn't see it but I described my recollection to Mum and she confirmed my memories.

Really hot here in Uluru!  So hot that we went for dinner that evening and on the way back to our room stripped to t-shirts and jumped in the pool which was such fun!

Uluru in the Red Dessert.  Wow.  Just Wow.

We didn't climb it as a) the Aborigines don't like people clambering all over their sacred monument and b) it is so damn hot that it makes it pretty dangerous to exert yourself that much hauling your sorry sweaty butt over this monstrous natural phenomenon.

My true outback Aussie guy or my little IT geek.....?

What a vision.  We watched the sun set over this beautiful red rock while eating traditional Australian fare with silver service.  Lovely, we were really falling in love with the country now!


  We are in Cairns here on the Karunda train, so humid my hair just frizzed beyond the capability of any styling product for the whole 3 days we were there.

This is in the Raw Prawn which was a lovely restaurant where we enjoyed a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne (as we did in every Australian City) and where the affectionately termed "prawn brain incident" occurred.  So, Andy has garlic prawns which he has to shell.  This, he as done many times before.  Unfortunately this time his prawn meat extraction was, shall we say a little enthusiastic and he managed to slurp up some prawn brain.  The recollection of this story even now after 5 years still makes me shudder.  The trauma all over his face was horrendous as the hideousness of the flavour became apparent and it has made him very cautious with crustaceans ever since!

This was also the night we witnessed "Crab Girl", we were at the time childless but we held this little girl as an example of how children should behave in a restaurant.  Crab Girl was Chinese and about 3 years old, sitting at the table the whole time, no messing around, using chopsticks and eating crab, lobster etc.  This is what we aspired to for our future progeny.  We are working on it still!

This is Mission Beach just below Cairns.  This epitomises what I love about Australian beaches, expansive, dramatic, largely empty and simply stunning.

 I'm sure the novelty of these guys will pass eventually but they are crawling around all over the place!  I even shared a shower with one on a camp-site once.

 A local.  This was at Steve Irwin's zoo near Brisbane.  I plan to go and visit these guys in their natural environment up near Cairns at some point in the future.

 Lots of these too!

Christmas 2004 - our 1st hot one.  The next one will be Christmas this year.


 This is one of my favourite places on earth.  The Hunter Valley.  What's not to love.

We stayed in the Susie Wong suite here in the Hunter Valley.  It was just breathtaking walking across the vineyard for dinner in the restaurant.

Now, this is why we want to live in Sydney, Australia.  Really, how beautiful is that, all that green in the sweeping bay is the Botanical Gardens where the fruit bats hang out (literally) and it is just stunning.  This is the view from the AMP revolving tower where we had dinner and watched the sun set over the whole of Sydney.  When Finn and Isla can match up to the standards of Crab Girl then I will take them there.

Iconic.  We will be lucky to live here!

Oh, the debate.  Which picture to end with.  I decided that this one gives another last glimpse of a beautiful place that is firm in our hearts.

Friday, 22 January 2010

It's a bit like being pregnant....

I remember when I first found out that I was pregnant with Finn the absolute fear that one day some 8 1/2 months later a substantial mass would have to exit my body in a completely uncontrolled and painful fashion.  It took a while to accept and embrace this fact.  I found that as time went on I was bombarded with facts, figures and information about the multitude of choices I had available to me for when 'Delivery day' arrived.  My feeling is that the more informed you are the fewer things there are to be afraid of.  Without even realising, as the pregnancy progressed my thought process and emotions changed and evolved into almost beginning to relish the impending immovable deadline.  The months turned to weeks and in the last 6-8 weeks I felt at peace with what was to happen and faced it head on.  The feeling is quite liberating - to face a new challenge having journeyed through so many emotions for something you really want and have dreamed for. 

I have found the emigration journey somewhat similar.  It only occurred to me today that the path I am on at the moment is a little similar in how it is making me feel.  When we first discussed moving to Australia I was filled with fear, questions, feelings of being uninformed and that feeling of butterflies that you just can't shift.  The sort of butterflies that make your tummy lurch and not in a nice 'falling in love' way.  This decision was made over 2 years ago and even though it was a real long term plan it still made me feel that way.  We then started our master plan of putting us all in the best position possible to make a real success of our move - to give us the best chance that we could.  We talked about our move as we ticked off our goals and I found out more and more information about finding houses, education, health care, lifestyle....the list goes on.  A visit to Brisbane in April 2008 really drove us on and inspired us.

Time passed and then in October this year we felt ready to put the house on the market, that was another big hurdle.  I can liken this to the feeling in the NCT class at around 28 weeks of pregnancy when you 'have that talk' about the conventional exit of a small person out of your body in 12 weeks time!  It's like being on the top of a roller coaster (I have only ever done the Corkscrew at Alton Towers - chicken that I am), you are committed and it's pretty scary but really exciting and lovely to embrace the feeling.

Now I feel I am in the accepting stage and I am just letting the whole thing wash over me, which is a nice place to be.  I'm very much focusing on the immediate future now as we step through the numerous stages that are essential and obligatory on our journey.  I'm now finding that I am calm as we move on from one task to another and it's like I have adopted a 'bring it on' kind of attitude that I felt when I got to around 34 weeks pregnancy.  It's coming, it's going to happen, it's all good and it's going to change our life.

I think this is one of the benefits to taking our time, moving out and living with Mum for 6 months.  I feel that I am giving us all time to come to terms with the decisions that we are making and accept them.  I'm very much looking forward to the summer months.  I have plans to go to:

  1. The Bath & West Show
  2. London
  3. Badminton Horse Trials
  4. Yeovilton Air Day
  5. Run to the Sun in Newquay
  6. Edinburgh Tattoo
To name just a few!

I did think today it's such a shame we can't do more of the above sorts of things all year round.  I feel that we hibernate in our house from October to April and I live for the summer months to go to days like above.  It's also not helped that the last 3 summers have been rubbish and we have had children for all of them and have suffered because of the unpredictable weather.

So to summarise.  I'm in a good place at the moment as I feel like I'm taking things head on and embracing the experience.  Of course Finn came out of the sun roof with an emergency c-section so all that initial worry was pointless!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

End of an era... nearly

We've now told everyone at work our plans... bosses first and then the unwashed masses!

I'm not sure what I expected, exactly.  I've only handed my notice in once before and that was for a job I was only at for two months.  Other than that I've been made redundant or moved around internally so it's a new experience for me :-)

So anyway, it's done now.  It seemed to go OK - no shouting or tears from either party.  I've still got 14½ weeks of work left so it's still business as usual for now.  I expect in the near future there will be discussions with the higher-ups re handovers and whatnot but for now it's still the daily drudge.  Sarah wants me to go out in a blaze of glory, I'm not sure how likely that is!  I moved into management in July but after seven months I already know that my forté is back in the land of the IT engineer so that's what I'll be reverting to in Sydney if all goes to plan - Jobserve and Seek configured as appropriate :-)

Message ends


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The wheels are in motion

It's actually all happening now.  We have exchanged contracts on the house and we are good to go!  Very nail biting at the end as the buyers of our house were stiffed for a full tank of oil by their buyers due to them being mightily hacked off with them; and decided to pass this cost onto us.  To the tune of £260.  Hurumph.  I really think a gentlemens word should be enough and most indignant that they think this is OK.  They agreed to pay us the money and therefore they should stand by it regardless of what happens to them.  So, their morals are only of any standing as long as they don't get done along the way.  Nice.

Therefore we now have to siphone off around 450L of kerosene and find a more worthy home for it! I can think of at least 2 better places than the tank it is currently in.  I don't think it has occured to the buyers that this is what we will do.  Fools.

I do feel pretty sick at the moment due to nerves but I really hope this passes soon and I can go back to being excited. 

Short but sweet tonight as off to bed!



Monday, 18 January 2010

Another visitor, another wedding!

Now we have 2 weddings to go to in Australia in September/October!  Jaqueline and Mark visited us on Saturday and it was lovely to meet Mark and catch up with Jacqui.  They are also getting hitched and have invited us over to celebrate and stay with them.  We are staying with Marky for a week so will hopefully make our Perth trip into a 2 week holiday and stay with Jacqui and Mark too.  They couldn't have been more positive about us emigrating to Sydney and think it is the best thing for us as a family.  It's always nice to hear positive things as it gives us both confidence.

While planning to emigrate I have gone through a plethora of emotions:

  • Guilt
  • Self doubt
  • Euphoria
  • Financial worry
  • Stress
  • Excitement
  • Fear of the unknown & change
  • Excitement about the adventure of the unknown & change
  • Hopeful
  • Concern over becoming uncontrollably homesick
  • Worry about one of us loving it and one of us hating it
  • Worry that we get there, the children start school and then we want to come back and upset them all over again
  • Worrying about selling our lovely house that we are in now and regretting it
  • Planning and looking forward to all the things we are going to do in Sydney
    • Outdoor cinema in the park
    • Buying and enjoying a boat
    • Barbies
    • Playing in the sun
    • Teaching the children to swim
    • Teaching me to swim properly
    • Showing the children the Great Barrier Reef and the other numerous wildlife and vistas
    • Making some new friends (hopefully!)
    • Enjoying a pool in the garden at some point in the future
    • Exploring the beaches & rockpools
    • Travelling in, around and all over Australia
    • Being outside more
    • Taking the children skiing in New Zealand or the Snowy Mountains each year
    • New Years Eve 2010 on the waterside watching the 9pm fireworks
    • The many free family friendly events that the City puts on
    • Learning some new skills - photography & floristry I hope
    • Being a 1 car, 1 motorbike family
    • Doing some off roading on the numerous dirt/non bitumen roads
So, lots and lots of things are going through my mind but most of all, now, I am excited.


Friday, 15 January 2010

Exciting plans!

We are not even in Australia yet and still we have a social calendar to arrange as my very dear friend Marky announced his engagement and pending marriage in Perth later this year.  I am disproportionately excited about this upcoming event and am looking forward to going to a wedding with the children as they have not been to one before.  What is also very exciting is that Marky and his wife to be (!) Kat have asked for Finn & Isla to be page boy and flower girl and for Andy to be an Usher.  I am so pleased for Marky as he is a lovely person and he has met someone equally lovely.  Kat is a confident and entertaining person who is very personable; Marky is a lucky chap!  Finn took a shine to Kat straight away which is good sign.

It is rather nice to start planning things we are going to do this year in Australia.  This edding will mean a trip over to Perth for a week, it looks like flights are pretty cheap at around $200 pp which will mean we can pop over to Perth for a visit quite often.  Andy has a cousin in Perth also who we visited on our honeymoon in 2004 (who is over to visit us this weekend) so we can visit her aswell.  The Wedding is going to have large Vietnamese influence as that is the brides heritage which will be a lovely theme under the Perth sun.

Marky and Kat visited this afternoon for the last time while they are in the UK but when they left I felt happy.  Last time Marky left and I felt a bit lost for a while and obviously I missed him.  This time when he left it's much easier as I'm going to see him soon, where we can kick back and enjoy a beer together in the sun.

Here is a picture of Marky at our wedding, sometime in September/October I will post some pictures of him, Kat and us at his wedding!

Marky is the smart guy on the right!

I have a confession.  I am a lurker.  I have been a lurker for several years now.  I am trying to be a better participator of the information highway now and this blog is how I am starting.  I hope, as I become a better blogger that I will provide useful information on our emigration path as well as charting our life as we go.

Amen and goodnight.


Thursday, 14 January 2010

Coughs and colds

I think I've picked something up from Finn - I've had a cold and a nasty cough for a couple of weeks and now I've started to lose my voice. That's the problem when your children start going to nursery, they pick up all sorts!

I don't think a generally cold and moderately damp climate agree with me any more. For as long as I can remember I've always had some kind of congestion in my nose... apart from both times we were in Australia, so perhaps I'll be able to kiss that affliction goodbye soon!

Oh, and we'll probably have exchanged contracts on our house by the end of the week (touch wood) so it looks like we'll be letting work know about our plans very soon... :-)


Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Visitor from Australia

My dear friend who I have known for all of his life, Marky, is visiting from Perth.  He has been over for a couple of weeks now and his lovely girlfriend Kat joined him in early January.  We all went out for a curry last night at our local Indian restaurant.  I have heard that Indian food in Oz is very different so Marky was very much looking forward to getting a 'good' curry under his belt!  They didn't disappoint, we had some great food and what made it all the more lovely was that the company was amazing.  This is one of the hard things about emigration, that you have to leave the things familiar to you and the people you love to spend time with.  I have missed him so much since he left in March 09.  It is great to catch up and he has been telling me about what a great time he has been having.  We have slipped back into how we have always been together and it's been great! 

We achieved lots over the weekend in the form of packing/de-cluttering but I am so done with the whole sorting the house out rigmarole.  I would love to spend some time as the 4 of us doing something carefree and frivolous though.  I will feel so much better when this hurdle has passed.

I was very pleased to see Finn & Isla tonight as is always the case when I have been at work all day.  I read The Gruffalo's Child to Isla which she appreciated and talked to me the whole time I read to her!  How very sweet.  Snow is forecast again tonight so it may be a snow and working from home day tomorrow.

I had a phone call and lots of information from a TorFX guy today who provides a service of transferring money from sterling to AU$.  So now I have a whole new set of things to think about to add to our list.  When is the best time, in light of the strength of the $ to £ to transfer money to Australia?  Answers on a postcard.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

So much to do and time is ticking away

We heard today that our house exchange is going to be Monday or Tuesday next week.  When we first accepted an offer on the house the buyers were really pushing for an exchange before Christmas.  In one way I really want us to exchange as soon as possible as we then know it's definitely going to happen but on the other hand it means that we really start this journey (aside from the huge amount of money already spent on a visa for Andy!) and are committed to changing our lives.  I mean, I am already committed in my heart and mind but this means legally things will happen to us!

We have a rather dull but practical weekend ahead of us as we drastically de-clutter our belongings, as what is the point of shipping lots of bits and bobs that we haven't used for 12 months (read 4 years since we moved into our current home!).  We have the joys of clearing out the attic, which thankfully we have already made a good start on.   Then we have the challenge of having a good clear out in our study.   Hmmmm, Andy likes to game.  This means that we have large amounts of PC game boxes which may or may not have the actual CD in them.  It is fair to say that Andy is not good at putting the CD's back in the boxes - why for the Love of God, Why?  Anyway, we have some serious clearing out to do.  All this with a 2 1/2 year old "helping" and a 14 month old wanting to be carried!  Should be interesting, what should take 2 hours I imagine will take 6.  I have decided that to delay the trauma in the morning a little we will go and have hot chocolate and croissants for breakfast in our local Costas.  Finn is excited about this!

I am beginning to get fed up with the snow now as it is seriously impinging on my socialising during the day.  We cope as a country with snow as well as well as a one legged man does in a butt kicking contest.  It really does debilitate an otherwise developed and modern country!  It has been so cold here but we are starting to get back into the routine of life now as Finn went to nursery this morning (which was lovely for him, me and Isla!) but I did get the car stuck in the snow on the drive on my return.

I slipped into Australia dreaming this afternoon and fantasised about what we will make of our life when we get there.  I'm hoping that we can get a small boat quite early on to just potter around the estuaries and waterways - nothing too flashy but it must have some sort of roof to protect us from the midday sun.  When we went to Brisbane in April 2008 with Finn we spent some time in Noosa which was amazing and we hired a boat to explore the water.   I can truly say that was an amazing way to spend time as a family.

I aspire to spend days like that in the near future with Andy, Finn & Isla.  I can think of nothing better than getting up nice and early to be met by the Australian sun beaming, loading up our car with an eskie full of snags, drinks and salad, heading off for a day on the water with the boat on the back.  Cooking our lunch on the copious amount of barbies in the numerous parks, slathering on the sun tan lotion and splashing around in the water.  I can't wait.

Friday, 8 January 2010

The final snow?

I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and talk at length about our recent snowfall here in the UK!

As I think most of the developed world knows, the UK isn't really set up to deal with any kind of 'extreme' weather.  UK weather is normally pretty average:  average rain, average sun, average temperatures.  We've just been hit by a serious cold front; temperatures have dropped to negative double figures and snow lies thickly upon the ground.  We live out in the sticks and need to negotiate an untreated steep hill to get on to the main roads so the last two days for me have been spent working from home - fortunately the broadband still works and I can connect to work OK.

-10 degrees c at 0645 this morning
-10 degrees c at 0645 this morning
It's nice to look at for a while and Finn was certainly keen to get out in it (for twenty minutes at least), but after a while of course cabin fever sets in and you yearn for freedom.  The bread and milk starts to run low and you wonder how long you can work from home before the higher-ups decide you're taking the michael.

More icy than it looks
More icy than it looks
Assuming nothing radical happens tonight, I'm going to get up and leave early tomorrow morning and at least try to get in to work.  I managed to get the car out onto the road this evening and went for a slow trip round the block to see how things were and here's the thing - everything is fine as long as you're going along gently and don't have to slow down, speed up or steer too much, but as soon as you try to do any of these things the ABS comes on, the wheels start to spin or you drift off at a strange angle for a fair distance.  Meeting someone else coming the other way could become problematic, to say the least - hence my plan to get out v. early.  If it all goes to rats at least I can slink back without having to phone my insurance company.

But, and to finally get to the title of this post, it's likely that this is going to be the last major-ish snow we come in to contact with for years to come.  As we're planning to move to Sydney there's not much chance that heavy snow will be making its presence felt.  We'll have to make our way to the Snowies (which will be about 7 hours away) to be fairly sure of snow in the winter.  I don't know if we're going to miss it at all, it might be the sort of thing you only miss when it's gone - like so many other things...


Wednesday, 6 January 2010

White stuff

So, we are forecast between 10 - 20 cm of snow tonight which I find myself ridiculously excited about, rather disturbingly I feel I may wake early to take a peek out of the velux to check.  I feel at 31 this is rather unnecessary, however I can't fight it!  We rarely get snow where we live and having 2 little ones to help us appreciate it adds to the excitement.  Fingers crossed we will get enough to make our ungritted road impassable and force an impromptu day off with the littlies making snow angels.

So, today has been the day to decide on a shipping company to move our treasures to the other side of the world.  It looks like Crown Relocation are going to be the winners.  The sales guy really made me feel like they would care for our things and ensure our container arrived safe and sound.  We are thinking they will come and pack us up in the last week of January.  It's a bit of a shame that our belongings are going into storage before they are shipped as it means that we won't have a huge sea freight container outside of our house as boxes are loaded in.  I will be glad to commit to a shipper and not have to talk about it any more as to be frank I find the whole subject a little tedious after meeting 4 guys now and talking technicalities and insurance etc!

Today is Tuesday which means I have been to work.  That in itself is fine although my welcome home from Finn & Isla leaves a little to be desired.  They seem to punish me for being gone all day.  I don't see them in the morning as I start at 07:00 and I'm not home until 18:00 so just as they are going upstairs for a bath.  So, when I get home their frustration at my absence comes to the fore front.  They are generally a little irritable, quick to cry and Isla tends to be clingier than usual, but it makes me feel rotten.  I try to appease my guilt by reminding myself that it's only for another 6 months and then I will be off with them all of the time.  The plan is that I will stop work and Andy will be the sole breadwinner in Australia.  We want this for Finn and Isla.  I never thought that I would want to stay off from work and do the school run, after school clubs etc, but I do.  I really do.  I want to do it for them.

When they are both at school I will feel able to pursue other activities for some self development with the hope of doing some work to fit around when they need me.  I quite fancy doing a photography course and I have been looking at what the colleges in Sydney would have to offer for this pursuit.  I think that would offer me flexibility in the future and would help me to do something for me.

I've just looked out of the window.  It's still not snowing.  Grr.


Tuesday, 5 January 2010

So, this is us.

To put some faces to the names here we are, the girls:

Sarah & Isla

.....and the boys:

Andy & Finn

So, this whole process leaves me wondering how long we will manage to keep up this blogging malarky.  We talked about it for a few weeks before deciding that we would start 2010 with a blog for our family and friends as we embarked on this journey.  I know with mobiles, e-mail, Skype etc etc that communication across timezones and the equator should be easy and seamless.  However, some members of my closest family (namily my Mum) will find it nice and easy to log on each day and see what we are up to before choosing to Skype me at no cost.  You get the irony.

The other reason we wanted to start this is to keep a record of this huge change in our life.  I think it will be nice in the years to come to look back over the record of our blog to see what was happening to us all and how we felt about it.  I would love it if in 15 years Finn & Isla can look back on the record of this adventure we are to embark on and appreciate what we were trying to achieve for our family of 4.

We are currently on the cusp of exchanging on our house sale, which I have to say, is quite stressfull in itself as I now consider with some trepidation how we are going to feel packing our life into a 20ft container and then living with my Mum for 6 months as we consolodate our affairs. 

I have lived independently since I was 18 and I am approaching the impending deadline of enforced co-habitation with interest.  On the one hand I am so excited to have 6 months of "quality time" with the old dragon, attending such events as the Edinburgh Tattoo and Les Miserables.  However I am keen to ensure that we don't get under each others skin.  On the plus side we have the kind of relationship that means we can say it how it is which should make things a little easier if not a bit highly charged - poor Andy!  The funny thing is we are now planning to do more things together in the next 6 months before we migrate than we have before.  We are even planning her 1st visit over and what we will all see and do in Sydney.

So, Andy and I have managed to both blog on the same day and probably not very cohesively but we have to start somewhere!


Small beginnings, mighty acorns, etc!

So it's time to start this, our first blog... perhaps a bit of background first.  My name is Andy, I live in Somerset, England with my wife Sarah and two children, Finn and Isla.  Sarah was born in Australia which of course is probably why we're here - about 8 months away from emigrating to Sydney, NSW!

We've talked about moving down under off and on for some years and now we have Finn and Isla we've decided to go for it.  Everything is now moving into place - my visa on the way (hopefully), house on the market, moving companies contacted, CV being updated, and a million other things to be considered.

I work in the IT industry so we're hoping I should be able to transfer my skills and experience down to Sydney without too many problems.  To aid in that I've started down the certification path - once on that journey you never stop!  I currently hold VCP3, VCP4, MCSE 2003 and MCSE 2003:Messaging certifications and am now starting on the MCITP:2008 Server and Enterprise Administrator set.  Virtualisation and Enterprise design and admin are my forte, so if you know of any openings in Sydney feel free to drop me a line!

That's probably enough for a first post, tune in for further updates as we make this giant leap southwards, find somewhere to live, find a job, make new friends and live the Australian dream - well, that's the plan anway ;-)