Sunday, 30 August 2009

Notting Hill Carnival Special Post

This is for those who can't be here today. A collection of videos, photos, and whatever I find so you can sit there eating roast lamb, watching the footy and still feel like you're here!

I'll start with some tunes to put you in the mood:

Then give you one of the very few photos I can find:

If you look carefully over Rob's left shoulder you can see Dave Pethick and Lucan messing around- and possibly Graham in front trying to look non-mischeivous in front of the police horses!

I should make this post educational:

To remind you of the shit fight that is Notting Hill Carnival, you can send yourself back to Sancho Panza:

And then prepare for a riot:

Found another photo:

But I'll leave you with one last tune- just to leave Lucan wanting more...

Check my twitter periodically if you want to live vicariously!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Extreme Lawn Bowls and the Benefits of Perry Como

It only took us 7 months to get around to it, but we finally held our engagement party on Saturday. It wasn't as though there was a lot of planning, it was more like we couldn't be bothered organising it. Too much emphasis on the weather, making sure everybody was free, and then there's the added pressure of making sure people talk about it for years to come.

So we picked a date, and then left it as late as possible before saying we REALLY need to plan this. Despite only 2 weeks notice, Deneil and I were both amazed and humbled to have 43 people rock up on the day. I like to put that down to the fact that we are awesome people but in reality I think it's because everybody wanted to have a stab at lawn bowls.

Amanda showing how it's done.

Thanks to Deneil, Clare and Renee who cooked all night on Friday, we were able to set up a picnic in the park, just outside the bowls club and people took turns working through about 22 bottles of champagne and bowling. I'm not sure if alcohol assisted bowling ability, but I do know that without the right hat, you're nothing.

Jay rocking the latest fashions.

Team Extreme:
Scott, Kelly, Deneil, Me, Dave.

Renee and Abby working it for the cover of Bowls Monthly Magazine.

If Scalens made 'footy' cards but for bowlers, this would be the shot.

"Jack High, Ruth!"

I can feel the power already: Deneil launching a missile.


The distance from the Jack. Nothing about Tommy...

Spider showing what he learned after all those years at the St Kilda RSL.

Brett working his magic.

Call of the day had to come from Clare who said "I can't wait til I'm 70; finally a sport I'm good at".

After bowling we moved down to the pub (because 22 bottles of champagne is never enough).

...where there was a bit of this:

...a bit of this:

...too much of this:

...and then a lot more of this:

Thank you so much to Ravenscourt Bowls Club. If you haven't been to lawn bowls before, psych yourself up with some Perry Como, grab some friends, and head down there.

Thanks Renee, Clare, and Deneil for cooking awesome food. Thanks Dave for coming up from Torquay especially for this, and I know there were a lot of people who postponed/ blew off other engagements so they could attend/ bowl/ drink free champagne. Thanks for all the presents, too- you all rock.

I'll leave you with something to get you in the mood for some extreme lawn bowls this weekend.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Random Photos (as sort of promised...)

Would you believe this is in England?

Or this?

(Insert your own caption here...)

Neilly gambling her life (2p) away.

I can't work out how to embed this video, so check out the MEGAWOOSH!

I'm riding tomorrow morning and climbing tomorrow night so it's time to sleep. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Isle of Purbeck

Funny name, serious stuff.

Deneil and I managed to get away for the weekend to the Isle of Purbeck, just past Bournemouth on the English south coast. We stayed in Swanage- right at the end of it.

View Larger Map

It was a late decision to go- all previous plans to get up to York were too hard so I made a late call on Friday night and luckily scored a great hotel. If you head down there, check out The Castleton. Fantastic hotel. Best breakfast I've ever had, not aimed too much at the over 95's (ie. no flying ducks or spoon collections on the wall) and friendly but most importantly interesting owners.

Upon recommendation of the owner, we made a reservation for the closest restaurant. Suited me- it was right on the beach and only 100m roll downhill. The Ocean Bay restaurant had great food and was surprisingly not very expensive. What WAS surprising, was the view from the balcony.

Clear water, white sand, a beautiful bay... I kept forgetting I was in England! Apparently Saturday night was the end of the week long Swanage Festival, so we also watched fireworks as we ate dinner.

As we were just on the edge of town, we decided to go exploring after dinner. I'd like to write an elaborate, witty story about what we found but I'm tired and the fact is that we stopped at the amusement parlour and gambled away all of Deneil's 2p coins. (Anyone who has seen her wallet will know that's an awful lot!)

Anyway, after being kicked out of the amusement parlour for banging the machine when it stole our 6p, we questioned the accuracy of the name 'amusement' parlour and stumbled home to bed.

The next day we had a proper look through the town and decided the weekend isn't long enough and we'd like to go back...

I was going to add more photos but my camera just died. Tomorrow...

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Allez le Bleu Part Deux

As promised, here is a picture of the mega motorhome we watched the end of the Ventoux stage outside. The little black square next to the door is a 19" flat screen tv with booming sound and the door toward the back is their 'motorbike garage'...

In the last episode we left our three intrepid... oh, who am I kidding? When we got back to Lyon, we had dinner, a couple of drinks and wandered down to the pub we finished in the night before. Chatting to the bar staff we had met, we asked where was good to go and set off with our list in hand. At the next pub we got talking with the owner of the previous pub. He was young, down to earth, had great English and was happy to talk. He taught us a bit about Lyon and I was really seeing the attraction to the city. I would like to go back and do it properly (the theme that seems to be running throughout the whole of France...)

We moved onto the next venue; a long, thin bar with many tables out the front in the mall. After a few drinks we got talking to a bar tender. He guessed we were Australian and we got talking about melbourne. When he asked, and I quote: "Do you know Lucan?" my first thought was 'ha, there are, like 4 million people in melbourne- what a dickhead...' but then I suddenly realised that, yes, I knew Lucan- I've known Lucan for about 16 years. He is one of my closest friends and here I am on the other side of the world and some dude thinks that because I lived in melbourne, I must know Lucan. It was both surreal and hilarious! Despite his confidence in my knowing Lucan, he didn't believe me. I promptly phoned Lucan (thanks Orange Fr- no thanks to O2) and handed the phone over to Clement, and disbelief turned to laughter, which turned to "shit, I'm paying for this"...

The responsibility of the weekend had ended; we had done the driving and navigating, it was time to go mental. Lyon on Saturday night was the start. Despite starting Monday morning early enough, it seems the breadstick, jam and yoghurt breakfast took longer than we expected and we were soon pushing shit uphill when it came to getting the train to Paris on time. We needed to drop the car off, pick up tickets and jump on the train by 11am. Being within 2kms of the entrance to the car depot, yet not knowing where we were and running the clock down to 9 minutes was mildly concerning. Yet; never fear. Australian males know how to make something out of nothing. 11:56am. Matt: drop the car off. Nathan: pick up the tix. Brett: get beer and find our platform. 11:59: QUICK, JUMP! Doors close. Us: 'hahaha, pissed it in.'

I love European trains. So smooth, so comfortable. 4 beers in I decided to build an SNCF 4 seater- complete with table and lamp- into my home bar on the estate. Now sober, I realise that was a dumb idea. ...besides, which estate would I choose?

We arrived in Paris (far too soon. The only downfall of European trains is the speed) and took longer to get out of Gare du Nord than to get from Lyon to Paris. From there it was straight to Le Louvre to find the greatest planter box in inner Paris- the box that Lucan, Dave and I stood on to watch the 2006 final stage of le Tour. Eventually we settled on a barrier next to a park, next to the course, next to le Louvre, as far away from the pack of embarrassing Aussies as we could get.

Not that we didn't make our own party...

I have about a thousand pics like this:

So I'll put up something unique:

...a cheating cyclist!

No, my opinion of cyclists threw a full 180 when I read Robbie McEwen's twitter on Friday night after Astarloza, a Euskadi rider got busted on EPO:
"Astarloza, you're a wanker. While I'm at it, Ricco - stay gone, we don't want you back amongst us. Go ride with Kohl."
I previously thought that to do what they do, you must be on something but the outrage that came from big names after what I think was the 'cleanest' tour in years was huge and made me reconsider. Either that, or they are getting great at bluffing. But I wan't to think they're clean. Partly for the love of sport, and because it presents an opportunity for Brett and Kerry Packer's spirit to create the 'super league of cycling, athletics and weight lifting'- where everyone is on something. Think of the opportunities.

So we left Paris seeing my favourite elements of Paris life:

The wannabe rock stars:

The hot girls dancing (non-moulin rouge):

The ridiculously fit black dudes:

...and the ongoing question of why I don't live here.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Is It Wrong? blow off our own engagement party for this?

Rewind Festival

There's nothing wrong with Deneil and my relationship- it's going great (well, until I meet Belinda Carlisle...) but it would be fun to tell everyone the engagement party is off, not give a reason and then run away to an 80's festival together.

It was a tough choice as to what to leave you with; this is just one of the many corker possibilities:

(Le Tour de France part deux will be up tomorrow. Guaranteed.)