Friday, May 31, 2013

Thursday 30 May – JC, the man, the legend

Current location: Ettalong Beach, Australia
11.11pm, Blogging. I don't really know how to introduce this blog post, so I'm just going to write. 
Jacob Cockle was a freaking legend, and was a lot of things to a lot of people: brother, son, uncle, friend.

To me, he was my first 'proper' boyfriend. We were together at the age of 16, which I thought was a pretty mega time for a relationship. At 16, relationships are confusing, scary, amazing and all-encompassing. At a time when you're still figuring out your own personality, you're also getting to know someone else's. At some point, we stopped being a couple and started just being friends. And, although we didn't see each other much, our friendship lasted years – but it is those first few years of knowing each other that I treasure the most. At a time when we were taking our first wobbly steps into a 'serious relationship', Jacob taught me a huge amount about fun, laughter and respect.

In whatever Jake did, he was bubbling, effervescent and always ready to go, whether it was watching a bodyboarding video, listening to punk music or appreciating the beauty of a cliff walk. He was a super talented photographer, with skills unlike anyone I've seen. His photography was just like his spirit: beautiful, exhilarating and one of a kind. You'll be missed, and it's so unfair you got taken too soon, but your spirit will live on in the pictures you took, the enthusiasm and lust for life that you inspired, and the people who loved you. 

Thursday 30 May – Seaside activities

Current location: Ettalong Beach, Australia
11.11am, Sea kayaking! The house we're staying in has a beach at the end of the road, and we are taking full advantage! Not too far from the shore is an island, so we tried to kayak over to it. However, the current was pretty strong and my arms were pretty weak so when we made it halfway, we turned around and came back to the beach. Once my weak little arms had recovered, we went to a different beach five minutes up the coast and went for another little surf. I am definitely not improving yet (the person surfing well in the pictures is obviously Andy, not me). So much fun though!

Wednesday 29 May – Working and walking the city

Current location: Sydney
11.11am, Sitting in the park, listening to a busker and being amazed at the heat. It was 23 degrees in the city, and it's supposed to be winter. Good work Sydney! I came into the city today to have a few meetings with a few men about a few jobs. The 'commute' was pretty incredible. Although it involves a 1hr 20min train journey, the scenery is just amazing (the bottom four pictures were all taken from the train)! After each meeting, I had a bit of time to wander around the city, sit in a park, and meet my friend Phil for lunch. It was ace wandering around; I love walking in cities, it's the best way to get to know somewhere I think. And the meetings went well; some freelance work and some other potential exciting opportunities, so let's see what happens.

After the meetings, I went to Sha's house (who was working from home) for a cup of tea and a quick chat before going to meet Kara, Phil and Bree at The Soda Factory for dinner and drinks. The venue was awesome and my burger was good, but I don't think the hotdogs were amaaazeballs. Somewhere to go for drinks, probably, rather than for a nice dinner. It's fun being in the same city as these guys again!

Tuesday 28 May – Great day down under

Current location: Ettalong Beach
11.11pm, Sleeping. I was shattered! I definitely blogged too early about today, because the day just kept getting better and better. Andy and I decided to go to this lovely coffee shop not too far away and, as the sun was shining (still), I thought it would be nice to borrow David and Val's bikes. But as we went to the bike shed, Andy gave me a present: a beautiful new bike! It really is so beautiful!! It's baby blue, so easy to ride and has a cute little basket. Perfect! I am going to be very happy on my little bicycle, Blue Nun.

After riding to the coffee shop and hiding out and reading some magazines while it rained outside (silly Australia, it can't decide whether to be sunny or rainy), we decided to go to the beach and try and go for a surf. I haven't been since last time I was in Australia! But it was so fun and we just messed around, caught a few waves and enjoyed being in the sea again. It was super warm in there as well; warmer than Cornish seas in winter, anyway!

Once home and warmed up, we curled up on the giant sofas, ate dinner and watched Celebrity Apprentice. Dream day!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday 28 May – Blogging!

Current location: Ettalong Beach, NSW
11.11am, Updating this blog. Since it began in 2010, I have gone through periods of doing it more often, less often and contemplating stopping it completely, but now that I am off on another adventure in Australia, I thought it would be a good way to let family/friends know what I'm up to. Which so far today has been updating this blog, researching local mixed netball teams, drinking a carrot, celery, ginger and apple smoothie (an Andy special) and sitting in the sunshine! Looks like my wishes are coming true!

(Picture taken from Kriszti on Weheartit)

Monday 27 May – My first day down under

Current location: Ettalong Beach, New South Wales
11.11am, Sitting on the verandah, reading my book. I'm in Australia!! I arrived last night and managed a full night's sleep before starting my first day in Oz at 6am. I woke to the sound of galahs and cockatoos (a nicer noise than it sounds!) and it was a bit rainy (Whaaaat?? I didn't sign up for that!) but the sun soon came out. After a slow-ish start to the day, I started to get a bit organised and now have a bank account, a working phone, and three potential work-related meetings set up. We took Dana (David and Val's dog, who we are dog-sitting) for a walk on the beach, which just happens to be at the end of the road, and had a little explore of the area. It's a gorgeous, pretty little town, perfect for a bit of acclimatising and relaxing! 

The evening brought more rain, which was actually quite cool because you can sit on the verandah and watch it come down, and we ate stuffed aubergine eggplant (have to use Aussie words now!) and watched a film. A lovely, relaxed, productive first day down under!

Sunday 26 May – I live in Australia now!

Current location: Sydney, Australia!!!

11.11pm, One the way to our new home! I arrived into Sydney airport tonight after two pretty good flights; well, one excellent one, and one average one. The excellent one was from London to Kuala Lumpur (12 hours) and entailed me getting an upgrade and sitting on the upper deck (swanky) in a massive chair that came with its own cupboard, among other things. I made a lovely plane friend called Jojo (a Filipino male children's nurse) and watched some good films (and some rubbish films) before a 20-minute stopover and getting my second flight to Sydney. This one was normal: cramped, tiring and boring, but I mainly slept. The plane flew in over Sydney at night so the city was lit up and as we went over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, I felt quite overwhelmed! 

Andy, Nick and Bree (Andy's bro and his girlfriend) were there to meet me with flowers and a 'G'day Higlet' sign, it was lovely. Andy had also sorted out a phone for me and contacted all my Aussie friends and got them to send me welcome messages so I had lots of love to read through when I got here! Lucky girl! We then went to Nick and Bree's house, where four more of our friends were, so we had a glass of wine with them, then Andy and I headed up to Ettalong Beach. David and Val's house is lovely, and there is a beach at the end of the road, so I'm happy!

Friday 24 May – Going out with a bang

Current location: Covent Garden
11.11am, In Salvador & Amanda, with my girls. It was my last night in London (my last night in England!) before flying to Australia tomorrow and I spent it with my best friends from uni. We have known each other almost 10 years now and they are such hugely important people in my life. The six of us are all quite different and I have massive amounts of love and respect for each of them. They're such good people! We met at a cocktail bar called Bohemia in Shoreditch for some pretty amazing and crazy cocktails (think worms, dry ice, pasta and lots of other things that shouldn't work in a cocktail but somehow do). Although we meet, in combinations, really regularly, It's so rare that all six of us get to see each other together so we were all really excited and chatty and happy. When we got to Salvador & Amanda, a gorgeous little fun tapas place in Covent Garden, the girls gave me a St Christopher's pendant (the patron saint of travel) with 'Australia 2013' engraved on it. So thoughtful and beautiful, I love it! 

We had a huge dinner then (I never think tapas is going to fill me up but I always feel stuffed afterwards!) and lots of giggles and games and silliness, before hitting the dancefloor. Although I am going to miss these girls like crazy, the fact our friendships are so strong and have gone through so much already meant I wasn't too sad saying goodbye. Plus I'm hoping for a few visitors down under (Catdog, that means you!) so I'm excited! Fabulous last night in England, and now I'm ready to go…