Hello all

It has been a week of firsts for me. Being on holiday has led to a number of new experiences, all of which have been hugely positive. What an incredible few days! So, here we go: this week I have been...

driving for the first time

  1. in Australia
  2. in an automatic
  3. in a 4WD
  4. in nine months! 

Loved the automatic gearbox once I got the hang of it (couple of unfortunate 'brake and accelerator at the same time' moments in the first ten minutes). I can also now see why people buy 4x4s - there is a definite joy to be had from that elevated driving position. That said, I still like the idea of a Fiat 500 or scooter one day - size isn't everything. The hire car was used for

 

visiting vineyards, despite me never drinking wine ever. It was still a very cool experience (top tip for visitors to the Hunter Valley: go to the cellar door at Piggs Peake winery. It's huge fun even if, like me, all you do is snaffle one of the Belgian chocolate buttons). You don't need to be a drinker to enjoy the Hunter, especially if you stay in a place where you can spend your time

 

watching kangaroos. Wow, kangaroos! They are better than I could ever have imagined. Roaming free around the grounds of the vineyard we stayed at, they were close enough to induce mild apprehension but too awe-inspiring to move away from. I did take some photographs

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but had more fun simply watching them. These are Eastern Greys and the joeys are extremely cute and bouncy, scrambling in and out of their pouches and bounding around. It's a wonder I even got as far as 

 

reading six year old copies of Australian Women's Health and Fitness magazine. The place we stayed (Blackwattle Luxury Retreats: highly recommended, plus you get kangaroos outside your window) had a decent range of reading material but I always make a beeline for fitness/running magazines. I skipped the fashion bits as I didn't want to fall in love with a pair of running shorts only to find they were from the 2008 collection. As far as the news of the time, I think kettlebells were being touted as the next big thing and Lance Armstrong lauded as the ultimate sporting example. During my downtime in the lodge, I also managed a bit of 

 

crocheting, naturally. I only brought one project with me and three balls of yarn, to minimise the chance of wasting the whole holiday indoors. This was an excellent strategy (crochet really does become almost addictive - it's weird). Anyway, my cushion cover is now almost finished - just needs the sides joining and a few ends sewing in - so I'll probably be able to show you that next week. In the meantime, I made a basket.

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This was just last night and it was very easy to knock up, thanks to a wonderfully clear pattern by Liz from Crochet in Color. She has some gorgeous patterns and I am planning to make her Stripey Spring Rug next (or perhaps another basket, this time in colour). 

 

Any other business:

  • found (and drank copious amounts of) the most exquisite tea I have ever tasted. It is English Breakfast by T2 and it tastes so clean! I love it and will have to restock very soon as I feel going back to my 'old' tea will be a serious disappointment. A magnificent blend.
  • baked bread and butter pudding. Three of them, in fact. Served with a caramel, burnt fig and honeycomb ice cream. They did not last long (top tip: eat straight from fridge the following day - may sound revolting but it tastes divine and is really just a spin on French toast for breakfast, non?).

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  • had a quick run this morning: 6km to make sure I still know how to do it (I have taken the idea of holidaying to its extreme and not managed any dedicated exercise in the last week, just a lot of walking around. Race day is imminent, however, so planning three runs this week. Ho ho ho).
  • created a Facebook page for this blog: do pop along to athousandtimestooshort's new hangout and 'like' away. If you want.
  • Oh, I did some show-off hula-hooping at the park, too. How did I get to the end of the post without mentioning that? Next time...