Thursday, January 31, 2008

Holiday Catch-Up

The jet-lag's finally over with, and with my head back on straight it's time to write about the last week of the trip.

Highlights included:

  • Finally getting to meet my Old Friends co-writers Marc Platt and Jonathan Clements. We'd arranged to meet in London for the launch of Rob Shearman's short story collection, Tiny Deaths, and arrived well in advance to grab some drinks before the main event. I can't speak highly enough of these two, who made writing the book a complete pleasure and who were great company over the course of the evening. Cheers, chaps!

  • Spotting Steven Moffat at the same event, and ingloriously bottling out of approaching him. Perhaps what stopped me was finding myself unable to think of anything to say that wouldn't be gushing flattery. Then again, perhaps it was the memory of meeting Michael Palin about ten years ago at an event my wife had organised for the BBC (I'd been looking forward to it for a while - my wife introduced me and I promptly fell over a chair as I went to shake hands. Scarred for life). Either way, couldn't do it.

  • Meeting up with my old mate Diane again, this time with my wife in tow, and sinking a few pints at a pub opposite St Paul's. Four weeks was just enough time to get used to the larger glasses again - then it's back here to teeny-tiny measures. Bah.

  • Spending the afternoon in Horsham with two more old friends, Katie and her husband Dave, and goggling at the eye-gouging ugliness of the town's fountain:

Add to that all the time spent with relatives I've not seen in three years, plus a day in my parents' loft sorting out boxes to ship to Australia and it was a packed trip, all up. Back to regular posts now, but I'll leave you with some of the pictures I finally managed to download, including that one with the sonic screwdrivers ...

Lauren and Sean at the House of Mouse.

And again, with Caroline.

Getting my geek on outside the entrance to Torchwood

(L to R: Me, Paul, Rach, Dan. Thanks again for the tour, chaps!)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Return to Oz

So it's back to sunny Perth we go, landing yesterday evening in 36 degree heat after a trip fraught with delays and aggravation.

Lots to catch up with here on the blog, including that last, exceedingly busy week in the UK and the various pictures I promised to download. I'll be getting to it all shortly - once I've got over the jet lag. The kids were up at five after resisting sleep for two full hours before that, and now my brain feels like mashed spuds.

New profile picture in the meantime. Hurrah!

Monday, January 14, 2008

From House of Mouse to Home of Who

Today's the first day in about a week we've stopped moving, which must mean it's time for the holiday update ...

It was off to Paris last Wednesday for the kids' trip to Disneyland, a day and a half of marshalling small people and haring from one ride to the next. Highlights included:
  • My wife having a narrow escape, being about five people from the front of the queue at the Space Mountain ride when the whole thing broke down and staff had to send in abseilers to retrieve the trapped punters. Strangely once the ride had been fixed she refused to go on it.

  • My little-kid performance on the Buzz Lightyear shoot-em-up ride, in which I went from sceptical dad to alien-blasting sharpshooter in the space of four seconds. I had to be physically removed from the area to prevent me going around again. And again.

  • Having a small lunch of a salad, a chicken burger, a lasagne and some chicken nuggets, then being slapped with a bill for 90 Euros (that's around £70 or AU$150 ...).

  • Spending the same amount the next day and getting a far larger meal and a host of Disney characters appearing at the table to interact with my delighted children. If only I'd seen that restaurant first ...
There was a lot to cram into a day and half, and everyone was exhausted by the time we reached the UK again. Even so, there's no denying it was worthwhile, if only to see my daughter get unfeasibly excited at seeing the Disney Princesses 'for real'. Got plenty of pictures, but they're for a later date (when I can get them off my phone, the magic doo-dad needed to download them currently gathering dust in Oz).

The very next day, my wife and I were off again - this time sans children - to visit my very old friend Rachel in Swindon. (That means I've known her for a long time. She's not actually 'very old'. So no emails, please Rach ...). Operating under another name in that town, she's a minor celebrity there and was extremely pleased we made it from the station to her house without seeing any buses with her face plastered over the side. Next time, darlin'. Next time ...

Spent the night catching up with her then it was away to Cardiff to meet the brilliant Paul (you may know him as Peter Pan) and his other half Dan, who took us on a walking tour of shooting locations for Doctor Who. Rach and my good lady wife were rolling their eyes as mine were widening at locations such as the shops where the Autons attacked and the spot where Kylie beamed down to Earth in this year's Christmas special. Amusingly, by the time we had got to Cardiff Bay and the site of Torchwood's Hub, they were as into it as I was. Heh heh heh.

[Incidentally, the campaign for Paul to start a Doctor Who street tour starts here - what he doesn't know ain't worth knowing.]

The visit was capped off with a drop in at the Doctor Who Up Close museum, for some mugging with the exhibits. That's something we do have pictures of ...

You'll have to wait for the phone downloads to see our heroic posing with the sonic screwdrivers, however.

And now we're home again, for a couple of days off before the next expedition. This week - London, to meet some new friends, some old friends, and some Old Friends.

Monday, January 07, 2008

People To See, Things To Do

It's been a busy first week of running about here in the UK - if you're still hoping to catch us, get in touch, because the available slots are filling up fast!

In the last seven days I've:
  • Shot up to London at short notice to finally meet Simon Guerrier, after three years of only communicating with him by email. Turns out we have similar haircuts. Also crossed paths with a couple of other Short Trips writers and experienced what could well be the worst beer I've tasted in my entire life. Set in motion plans for a meeting in a week or two with Simon and - all being well - my two Old Friends co-writers Jonathan and Marc.
  • Caught up with my old, dear friend Diane, who I genuinely thought had been seriously injured or killed after she vanished off the face of the earth for almost two years. Thankfully she's fine, and in cracking form.
  • Spent a night at the O2 after my wife had a ticket to see the Spice Girls fall into her lap. Mercifully it was just the one ticket, so I got to sample the venue's drinking holes while she danced about. We both had good nights in our own ways, although the nightmare return trip to the south coast - filled with broken-down trains, substitute buses and insane taxi rides - meant we didn't get home until gone 2am. And you can stop humming the songs now, my love ...
  • Visited and been visited by various relatives we've not seen in three years.
  • Made in-roads into clearing up some financial loose ends from way back when I lived here full-time.
  • Hit the shops for all kinds of books, clothes and toys you either pay a fortune for or can't get at all in Australia.
And on top of that the kids got to see snow for the first time. True it didn't lay, but it was worth freezing my extremities off to see them dancing about in the snowflakes.

This week's going to be just as crammed, with trips to Swindon, Cardiff and Paris, all before next Monday. I'll try to pop back later with details.