You are here: home > archives > July 2004

July 26, 2004

shoe report

well, i wish i had my sandals.i almost brought them. or thongs. absoutely essential here. otherwise, i wear my dance shoes almost all day, and they never have the chance to dry out. so they smell really good. they're also breaking. my hiking boots also rock - they're good for tramping through the swedish countryside between classes. especially as it's rained so much here.

"shoe report" was posted by dogpossum on July 26, 2004 2:58 PM in the category

learning in herrang


this is one of the places we learn - another tent. there are two tents (savoy ballroom and roseland), where we do our classes. we also learn in the hall upstairs, and in the dance banaan, outside, which is a sort of pagoda thingy.
we also learn in the gym:


"learning in herrang" was posted by dogpossum on July 26, 2004 5:52 AM in the category herrang


here is a pretty picture of doris in herrang. that's my arm there next to her, but i looked crappy so i took me out.

"doris" was posted by dogpossum on July 26, 2004 5:39 AM in the category herrang and lindy hop and other dances and people i know and travel

eating in herrang

here we are lining up for breakfast. things are moving slow.... note the cheese. cheese is big with the swedes. we eat a lot of crackers as well. the food is bloody good.

and here we are eating in the tent.
the tents are important features on the herrang landscape. we eat in them, we learn in them, we practice in them. meals are my favourite thing - good food and lots of good company.

"eating in herrang" was posted by dogpossum on July 26, 2004 5:15 AM in the category herrang and lindy hop and other dances and travel and travel

swingers play soccer

and there's the obligatory streaker. all play ceased for an appreciative cheer.

"swingers play soccer" was posted by dogpossum on July 26, 2004 3:18 AM in the category herrang

lunch at the marina

we had lunch at the marina the other day. i don't know what day it was. i can't even begin to try to figure that out. maybe wednesday? quite a few of us trudged into the woods to look at a few of the many old mines in herrang. it was interesting. then we went looking at old buildings, then down to the marina for lunch. it was very nice, as you can see. australia, america/vietnam, sweden and england are represented in this picture.
i want to swim at some point, but i don't know if it's going to happen.

"lunch at the marina" was posted by dogpossum on July 26, 2004 3:11 AM in the category herrang

laundry report

things have gotten dire. last pair of knickers. last pair of pants. all else is in the laundry, being washed. it may or may not all come back to me. then i have to get it dried. tricky in this climate. they have these big drier thingies that look like fridges, and they're pretty good. but there'll be that moment between getting up and walking the 10minutes across town to the driers where i'll have nothing to wear. lucky herrang is 24hours a day.
i am so sweaty all the time, i go through clothes at a phenomenal rate. so does everyone.

herrang fashion: loose, comfortable trousers; tshirt, thongs or sandals by day, and the same with dance shoes at night. loose, comfy tshirts for men, smaller, tighter tshirts for women. the dress standards are definitely casual. except on the party nights. then people dress up like fools: check out these pictures.

this one is my favourite. that nursey there is a lovely german boy. and the wrestler is a lovely girl. ah, herrang.

"laundry report" was posted by dogpossum on July 26, 2004 2:52 AM in the category herrang and herrang and lindy hop and other dances

still in herrang

but now i have a cold. everyone's got it. and now i do too. poop.
didn't stop me staying up til 7am dancing. the thing that's really giving me trouble are my feet - the joints in my toes are really really hurting. i worry that i've done something nasty to myself... oh well.

the dancing is good. my dancing is now better than it has been in a million years. the dancers are also good - good company, good fun, good music, good dancing. it's like being on holiday with a couple of hundred totally excellent people who love to dance and do interesting things. ...which i guess is actually the situation. i'm still very tired, but now that i'm nocturnal, it's not so much of a problem. the sun is only down for about 6 hours at night, so it's not so hard to stay up. i'm super fit again, and have dropped so much weight i have to safety pin my pants on. last week i was doing classes, so that was 4 and a half hours of dance classes during the day, with one or two casual classes and a bit of practice as well. then hours on end of social dancing. all we do here is eat, dance, talk and muck about. and people sleep whenever and wherever they can. in the cafe between songs. in hammocks, in the gym on mattresses, on the grass between classes.
the cutest thing i've seen so far has been two swedish girls squashed into a hammock sidebyside, battling with a mosquito net. they were giggling and tired and hidden away under a tree. very sweet.

"still in herrang" was posted by dogpossum on July 26, 2004 2:43 AM in the category herrang and herrang and lindy hop and other dances and travel

July 24, 2004


now i am in herrang. they have wireless internet here, but i simply don't have the brain to do anythign complicated with it. it's been a wonderful week - lots of dancing, but more excellently, lots of talking and makign friends. there are quite a few hundred people here, from all over the world (mostly europe), and all of them are interesting people who like to do things.
my dancing is now kicking arse, but i'm absolutely exhausted and getting the beginning bits of the herrang cold. sore throat, congestion in the sinuses. my cough has returned. but i feel good.
i am not, of course, working terribly hard. but my hindbrain is ticking over.
people are very interested in my work, and have offered some really interesting comments.
i simply can't write any more now. i'm tooooo tired. and brain dead. 24 hour dancing takes it out of you.

"herrang" was posted by dogpossum on July 24, 2004 11:06 PM in the category herrang

July 16, 2004

it's 9:21pm

the sun has just about gone down. i'm in today. i had a walk round cricklewood (and surrounding bits) and i've decided i love it. otherwise, i stayed in and fell asleep on the couch again. i've really tired myself out this week. still feel, even though i've been to a lot of places and met a lot of people, that i've missed out on london. it's just too damn big. i do love this city. i have one full day left, then i'm off to herrang. i'm almost ready to finish off this holiday. the family stuff was very tiring. and staying with strangers is also a bit tiring. most excellent, though. i'd rather stay with people than in boring, impersonal hotels. this way you meet lots of people, get the goss on where to go, etc. but i'm still tired. i really can't be bothered doing herrang, which is a shame, as that's the point of this trip.
workwise, this trip has been useful. comparing the london and melbourne/australian scenes has really helped me figure out how the melbourne scene works in more complex ways. i can make more informed comments about things like class, demographics, etc. i am wondering if i will be able to hack the just under two weeks of herrang, and then camp savoy. someone asked me last night why i was leaving herrang early for camp savoy, and i really had to think... i do think it's the best idea. especially from a work perspective. the herrang dancing will be better, i think, but the camp savoy stuff will be interesting.
i've met so many lovely dancers since i've been here. and i've chatted with so many really nice strangers during the day. despite themselves, london is being aggressive-friendlied. soon they will all thank bus drivers as they de-bus. and smile and make eye contact...
this has been a damn good trip. even if i did take a stack on the dance floor night before last. haven't fallen over in ages. not since dave lamb tipped me on my arse at mayfields one night. but the other night david and i were dancing, and OO-pah! i was on my clack. i thought it was just a matter of overtired girl stacking it in a fast song. but david said it was all his fault: he pushed me then stuck his leg out and down i went. i was a bit surprised and i bruised and grazed my knee, but i didn't cry. he was embarassed, but i wasn't. it reminded me that it's important not to take this dancing thing seriously. luckily i've not got the whole serious thing going on these days, but it was still an important reminder. it's meant to be fun. laugh when you fall down. laugh when you stuff up. say thankyou for dances, introduce yourself, learn people's names properly and tell people when you enjoy the dance. dance with beginners whenever and as frequently as you can: they enjoy danc ing more than anyone and get the greatest pleasure from the simplest moves. these are things it's important to remember.

"it's 9:21pm" was posted by dogpossum on July 16, 2004 7:56 AM in the category england and herrang and travel and travel

Tate modern

I went to the Tate Modern, finally, yesterday. And it was as big and amazing as I remember. Just a whole heap of industrial brickage, lying there on the side of the Thames.

Ace. I wondered around inside and took a whole bunch of photos then went down the river a bit and looked at the outside of the Globe. I didn’t really feel up to going in and doing a tour. Then I walked across the Millenium Footbridge, which is very convenient – nice, slightly windy and vertiginous, and packed with pedestrians. You can walk right from the Tate to St Paul’s Cathedral. I would have gone into St Paul’s, but I did it last time, and you have to pay. Last time I went I climbed right up to the very top. Took ages, but I got there and it was really worth. I have photos, I think or no, I don’t. you weren’t allowed, I don’t think.

I almost did a lot more yesterday, but I was definitely feeling a little rough around the edges - lots of late nights, lots of exercise, lots of site-seeing during the day and then not sleeping so well - the sun is rising early and waking me up in this lovely loft. Tomorrow I am doing more touristy things. And will be rested enough to get the best from these long hours of sunlight.

I have very few photos of London. As these photos show, the little dig isn’t as excellent for taking long distance photos oh well.

Here are some poor efforts.

From the second floor, looking down into the huge turnbine room entrance, with the entry underneath me. note the giant spider thingy.

and then the spider, closer, from the same side...

the spider again, from the opposite angle...

and then the tate mod as i walked across the bridge.

and looking towards london bridge (east? who can say... i spent most of that day travelling underground. except the bits where i was wondering around soho).

"Tate modern" was posted by dogpossum on July 16, 2004 7:03 AM in the category england

Brit Hop

They were flogging these tshirts for next year’s London Lindy Exchange (LLX2005) and I had to have one. I’m not sure if it’s a play on Brit Pop or Hip Hop, but I like it. 100% lindy nerd. The words are in silver capitals. Could this be more perfect?

"Brit Hop" was posted by dogpossum on July 16, 2004 6:52 AM in the category

July 15, 2004


i'm sorry there hasn't been that many photos lately. it's just that it's too dark to take photos at dance stuff, most of the outside daytime things i want to photograph are too far away (so would look crap in the little dig), and i'm too busy touristing with big round eyes to actually take photos. i will soon, though. i promise.

i did see a really nice bag for momo mumo? you know that camera - in the photographers' gallery. very nice texture. very groovy. not as expensive as you'd think. i was very tempted. but then i reminded myself that Big Pants with Big pockets were much more useful than yet another rinkydink bag.

will try to take more photos of london. will start soon. i think i'm going to go take photos of eva's kids' toys: lots of wonderful colours and shapes just lying around on the purple carpet, or clutched to pink velvet chests.

"photos" was posted by dogpossum on July 15, 2004 10:51 PM in the category


i've just had a look at some other sites, plus all that gallery-ing here in london, and decided that i need to revamp this dogpossum site. it's time to get creative. i mean, i like the white background - makes my pictures look good - but it's a trifle dull. time to get jiggy with boarders and padding and things i think. i am staying with an artist here in london, whose house is filled with lovely, colourful things and is painted all sorts of wonderful colours (ikea has a fairly high saturation point in london, so i've noticed), so i'm feeling a bit inspired... hmmm.... will think carefully and Make Plans.

"revamp" was posted by dogpossum on July 15, 2004 10:48 PM in the category

still in london

i'm still in london, but paying for an excess of dancing. i have danced every night so far: sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday. and touristed all day. now i am very very tired. the damn cough has pretty much gone, but revisits at times like this when i'm a bit overtired and my lungs are a bit stuffed.
dancing in london has been fun: i've met some truly excellent people. the scene is generally older, and most people have real jobs, in large part due to the expense of living in london. only people with real jobs can afford to live here and dance regularly. i suspect that also accounts for the smaller number of higher level dancers. despite that, london dancers, overall, have better technique than melbourne dancers, and there is a wonderful lack of the Yank, from which melbourne's leads could learn.

my favourite dance nights have been those run by martin (sunday at brooks, tuesday in fulham, and he does a thursday too, which isn't on this week). he picks wonderful venues, djs nice stuff, and attracts a really friendly, excellent crowd. the other two things i've done (100 club and the marble arch thing last night) tend to attract an older crowd, be much much less friendly, and have a higher proportion of jive dancers. last night in a room of over 50 dancers, there was no one who could do a swing out. the follows are, as per usual, on the whole much better dancers than the leads, despite the (again, as per usual for swingers) leads' oft unwarranted egos. last night there was such a massive gender imbalance i ended up leading far more than i followed. which turned out to be a most excellent move: hoorah for middle aged women. they follow, they dance well, they laugh and really, really enjoy the chance to get up and dance. it's a total win-win situation.

there is one more dance thing on this friday (tomorrow), but i fly out at 7:30 the next morning, having to get to heathrow by 6:30, so having to leave london by 5am. i don't think i'll be going dancing tomorrow night. a shame, as this is a one-off run by some friendly dancers called robert and claire, and is something people here have been looking forward to...
i am absolutely exhausted, and really needing a good night in. early to bed tonight, i think, and possibly a day of very easy pottering around the house.

.... i do feel that i'm missing out on london, though. did the tate mod yesterday: love that thing. and the photographers' gallery in soho/leicester square, which i remembered from my last visit. love that place too. also wandered around that part of london, just checking stuff out. soho is much tamer than i remember, and has been markedly gentrified. i still like it, though.
crickelwood, where i'm staying now, is really nice: very multicultural (like most of london), with a good dollop of middle eastern, african and caribbean people. i like it a lot. and i've managed to make friends with a fair few of the local shopkeepers. i am continuing with my shamefully friendly approach: london is responding positively.

it has been quite warm the last few days. yesterday was incredibly humid, and i got reeeeaaaally sweaty. the tube utterly SUCKS in this warm weather.

have i mentioned how much i love the tube? it's really an excellent way to get around. and so easy to use. i am queen of the tube, and with my day travel cards, i am unstoppable.
am also perpetrating many bus scams. seems bus drivers either a) don't really give a shit, or b) are very kind. i have played the dumb australian tourist card at least a dozen times, and have scored many free trips as a consequence. not deliberately, mind you. accidentally. and i've tried to pay every time. seems that friendliness thing is paying off.

"still in london" was posted by dogpossum on July 15, 2004 10:31 PM in the category england

July 14, 2004

Toilet paper and showers

Two key cultural differences between England and Australia:

1) a lot of people use this moistened, scented toilet tissue (sort of like Wet Ones, but friendlier) instead of toilet paper (or as well as – I haven’t really figured it out yet); and

2) people seem quite happy to not have or use showers. They bathe. Once a lovely novelty, this is becoming something of an Issue, especially after dancing.

"Toilet paper and showers" was posted by dogpossum on July 14, 2004 3:24 AM in the category england

Luggage report:

I do love backpacking, but I wish I could dump at least half my stuff. I am sick of carrying shoes and books, mostly. All I’ve actually brought with me are clothes, shoes (2 pair dance, 1 pair the ones I wore over, 1 stupid pair of wedding shoes, 1 pair useful slip-ons), including my new hiking boots and work stuff. I would like to ditch some of the books I’ve accumulated, but it seems a shame when I bought them so cheaply. Books are cheaper here than in Australia, especially second hand. And I like these books! Hoorah for Iain M. Banks. And Damn him for his verbosity.

I am carrying the heavy, 65 litre back pack, which rocks (esp as it has a little day pack attached), and my old backpack, which is most excellent. The big one was borrowed, and really isn’t up to my exacting standards. I am considering buying a new, good quality one when I get home. I also seem to cart around a shopping bag with either dirty laundry or grocery bits in it. I did buy some awesome teas in Wiltshire, but I left them at Anne’s. There are some good herbal teas here, especially the DR T whatsit brand. I will hunt them down and import them ASAP.

It has been annoying to have to carry stuff that’s so single purpose: wedding clothes and shoes; day clothes; dance clothes. I wish they could all be one. Hurrump. Maybe next time. But while wide legged trousers are delish to dance in, they’re not so good for walking around a large city in. Not enough pockets, too much fabric.

"Luggage report:" was posted by dogpossum on July 14, 2004 3:23 AM in the category england

Laundry report:

Washing machines are good. But tricky. I have managed to run the colour from some cheap socks they gave us on the plane (which are great for protecting my patent leather shoes) on to my pirate shirt, making it blue and black striped, rather than white and black.
Tumble driers are a fixed feature here, but they’re a bit scary when it comes to synthetic clothes. Some of my little dance shirts well, most of my dance shirts are synthetic, and while great for being not-gross to touch when I’m really sweaty, they go weirdo in the drier. Damn.
All this dancing is producing far too much laundry. Far too much one-wear-only, grotty, stinky laundry.

"Laundry report:" was posted by dogpossum on July 14, 2004 3:21 AM in the category england


check back over my blog for entries i've backdated. you may not have read all the entries for the past month (june or july). i know it's annoying... but i want to be chronologically consistent. i'm writing articles on the laptop regularly, but only occasionally get a chance to upload them.:)

"please" was posted by dogpossum on July 14, 2004 3:18 AM in the category

July 11, 2004

i am in london now

and i'm staying with a lovely dancer. i saw a fun show with swingers in last night, and i'm off for my first bit of london lindy hop tonight. will i survive? go lungs, go.

"i am in london now" was posted by dogpossum on July 11, 2004 10:33 PM in the category england

marlborough jazz festival

i discovered the festival was on last week on about tuesday. so i mosied on into marlborough on friday night at about 6pm. paid £17 for a night of packed in jazz. the whole town was filled with music. all the pubs and cafes and most of the other shops and businesses had bands playing in their grounds, and my pass gave me entry into all of them. it was really great. i met nice people and saw some great bands. saw some shitty ones, too, but there you go.
the bestest band were the hot club of cowtown. western swing, but in an earlier, 30s vein. tres fab. i watched them for 2 hours, utterly spellbound, and could have gone home happy then. absolutely fantastical.
then i mosied over the road and happened to run into some dancers. i didn't dance: the music didnt' catch me. but then i wandered over to the town hall, where there was a little big band playing (sticky wickett's little big band, to be precise). there were dancers there, so i hooked up with them and had a fair bit of a dance.
the band weren't bad at all. but i was bloody wrecked: too unfit! my stupid cough is still with me (yes, it is my stupid cough now), and i'm so unfit. but i did have fun.

i caught a country cab home at 1am and had a nice lie-in before i caught the coach up to london.

"marlborough jazz festival" was posted by dogpossum on July 11, 2004 10:31 PM in the category england

shoe reportshoe report

a topic close to every dancer (and traveller)'s heart.

new hiking shoes: love them. only one rubbed heel the first day i wore them. otherwise, they rock. only problem: not at all, in any way, possible to dance in them. sigh.

dance shoes: think i wrecked the suede at the dance in marlborough on friday. stupid drinkers spilling on the dance floor.

i'd like to ditch at least one pair of shoes. my backpack is overstuffed.

"shoe reportshoe report" was posted by dogpossum on July 11, 2004 10:22 PM in the category england

i am actually still alive

i didn't die in wales.

i'm in london now: i'm done with rural england, and into some big city action. i do have entries written for england, but i'll have to upload them some time later... and many animal photos... sorry everyone.

"i am actually still alive" was posted by dogpossum on July 11, 2004 10:18 PM in the category england

July 9, 2004

Expanding girth

Ok, so British food is pretty scary, most of the time: heavy on the dairy and white bread, low on the fresh veggies, but I seem to be doing quite a good job of stuffing it down my neck. At first I thought I’d stuffed up with the clothes dryer and shrunk a pair of pants. But it wasn’t possible for me to have shrunk the trousers I hadn’t worn yet.
Seems all that time sitting on my clack while I was ill, plus two weeks of high-fat, low-impact holidaying have taken their toll. So much for all that gym time. I mean, it’s not like I’m sitting in front of the telly all day: I’m out every day, on and off buses, wandering around interesting towns, in and out of old buildings, through fields, over bridges and in and out of tea rooms.
At home I’m pretty damn active: lots of bike riding, a bit of dancing, off to the gym twice a week, etc etc. But here, I’m eating far more, i'm far more sedentary, spending more time on my date on buses, and certainly not riding any bikes or dancing (so far anyway). All the nostalgia food hasn’t helped: hula hoops, jaffa cakes, chocolate buttons. Lucky I’ve gotten over them, now. I can move on. Perhaps.

Shee-it. Well, there’s London next week. I’ll be doing some dancing there, I hope. I’m sure.
I’ve only so many pairs of pants with me: I can’t afford to get any bigger.

"Expanding girth" was posted by dogpossum on July 9, 2004 3:20 AM in the category

July 8, 2004

London is

London is loud and busy and fast. People walk really quickly, avoid eye contact and don’t say thank you to bus drivers. I walk slowly, smile at strangers and say both hello and thank you to everyone. No doubt I will soon be taught A Lesson, and will cease and desist promptly. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen any time soon, huh? I’m ridiculously cheerful as well: hence the smiling and friendliness.

I’ve just spent three nights with David in Battersea, sleeping on a futon on the floor of his small flat’s lounge room, packing everything away when I get up in the morning. It was only yesterday that I realised he didn’t own a television. A good sign on my part, I feel. David is a swinger too, and a friend of Heidi, a Londoner who now lives in Melbourne.

I went dancing the last two nights, at Brooks in Hammersmith and then at the 100 Club at 100 (of course) Oxford Street. Brooks was very fun: a smaller, friendlier venue, where the music was all DJed and all swinging jazz. The dancers were friendly, and I scored many excellent dancers with no knock-backs, including some totally excellent ones with a lovely French bloke called Francois. I am reminded of Lotte’s comments that Tooolooos boys are wooonderful dancers.

The 100 Club was less excellent, though I did dance like a nut til way too late. There was a band who didn’t really swing, but who were fun, and some DJed music between the sets. There was a more mixed crowd: jazz nicks and non-dancers as well as lindy hoppers and jivers. Jive is very popular here, and has much in common with rock n roll. I think I offended one (rather strange) bloke when I declared my absolute nuh-don’t-do-it when he said ‘Do you do jive? Surely you do west coast?’ All for the best I think. I’m not having no truck with that sort of goings-on.

The 100 Club dancers were less friendly than the Brooks, even though some of them were the same. There was a larger contingent of hardcore vintage people, and not the friendly, big drinking vintage types I’m familiar with. These were hardcore, and way over on the wanky side, with one being of the opinion that Big Pants were an embarrassment to lindy hop and shouldn’t be allowed. The same bloke also believed that white savoy dancers were trying to be something they couldn’t ever be, and that all lindy hop should be danced to 1930s swinging jazz whilst wearing vintage clothing. He did make some exception for reproduction vintage wear, but only on concession.
I wasn’t having any of that rubbish, and despite my 1) hanging merciless shit on his ideas and saying ‘oh, aren’t you a bitch!’; 2) stating that I completely disagreed with him and that I personally would much rather people just danced, no matter what they were wearing; 3) that I, personally couldn’t be arsed wearing vintage all the time, and really rather preferred the Big Pants approach to lindy; 4) and that really, we’d just have to agree to disagree, he still stalked me around the dance floor, demanding dances, holding me far too close and declaring that I was ‘really not a bad a dancer’ and that he liked dancing with me. All this and he was quite proud of the fact that he’d never done any classes, and that his was an ‘original’ and unique style. Pft. I fled, dancing with the fun chick he’d refused dance invitations from on multiple occasions because she was ‘a crap dancer’. I’d have liked to have pointed out that he was also a crap dancer, but that I was quite wil ling to dance with him, just because 1) it’s polite; and 2) dancing is fun. But I felt that it was best to just let it go.

I am half considering dancing again tonight, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’m quite tired, and traveling home across London on public transport so late at night is a bit intimidating. Even for this brave Queen of the Tube.

Now I’m staying with another lovely friend of Heidi’s, another dancer (lapsed), who lives in Crickelwood, in a very lovely, large house with two children, her partner and a very nice cat whose name I don’t know. I am back on the antihistamines. There is also an au paire called Christiane, who is also nice, and Lithuanian. I am bound to trip over Lithuanians wherever I am, I think. Eva is Hungarian, and speaks Hungarian with her children. I am collecting European dance people: Estonia, Nederlands, Lithuania, Germany, France, etc.

Tomorrow I am determined to make it in to the Tate Modern and the Globe Theater. Last two days I’ve been rising late, and then wandering around Battersea, or in to Covent Garden to lust over all the nice Things. I am bound for a few art galleries, now. There’s an exhibition of some French photographer at a gallery on the south bank, an exhibition of art from ‘Tolstoy’s era’ somewhere else and much else for me to chase. This will be an Arty trip to London, I think.
It seems a shame to come to such a fascinating city only to dance. And really, dancing is the same everywhere, I think. Same culture, same traditions and models of behaviour. I am enjoying the exercise, but really, I’m almost Done. Having said that, there is social dancing on tonight, Wednesday and Friday nights. Friday is a special dance run by a Hollywood couple. Can I manage a dance and then up at 5am? We shall see.

I am staying with Eva til Friday at least. I will consult the travel options and if it’s easier and quicker to get from David’s to Heathrow I’ll stay there Friday night. If not, I’ll stay with Eva again. Decisions, decisions.

I fly out on Saturday from Heathrow at 7:30am. So I need to be there at 6:30am. That means sorting transport and leaving by 5:30 at least.

I have taken no photos: it is too dark in dance venues, and I’ve just not thought of it outside. I will try to do better over the next few days.

"London is" was posted by dogpossum on July 8, 2004 3:22 AM in the category england

Tea rooms + public transport = nannas and me

Thursday 8 July 2004

Yesterday I was sitting in a tea room in Salisbury, enjoying a nice lunch and chat with a nanna I’d just met and who’d invited me to share her table with her, when I realised that I was the youngest person in the room by about forty years. And then I had a think about my previous declarations that I am a nanna-magnet. It really shouldn’t have surprised me so much: I’ve spent a great deal of time this trip in tea rooms or on public transport. And the over 70s are overrepresented in these two spaces. I’ve had nice lunches in tea rooms in Brecon, Bristol, Salisbury, Swindon, Marlborough and Cardiff, and will no doubt add a few more to my list before I’m done.

Thing is, tea rooms are one of the few places you can rely on decent sandwiches, bottomless tea pots and a clean bathroom.

You can also rely on the fact that most of the other people in the room with you at 2pm on a weekday will be over 70.

"Tea rooms + public transport = nannas and me" was posted by dogpossum on July 8, 2004 3:19 AM in the category

owen and tom

Owen was the cousin getting married last Saturday. He’s the one on the left. Tom is his younger brother. He was a grooms’ man. They are both really tall, but Tom is huge. He plays rugby, but his new job and a troublesome knee (which my brother and I also have) are pushing him out of serious football and into playing ‘for fun’. Owen is into soccer. I amn’t much interested in either, but I live in the land of AFL, which is more like gaelic football. The grandfather is Irish. My dad played rugby, then touch footy. My brother also played rugby. Then basketball, til his knees discouraged him. I dance, but I’m tougher than them, so I’m working on my posture and the way I use the muscles in my legs so my knees won’t hurt or get injured.
Tom is the sillier of the two, usually, so this series of photos is a nice contrast.

"owen and tom" was posted by dogpossum on July 8, 2004 3:10 AM in the category

All your bws are belong to us

I’ve been in the UK for 13 days now, traveled on at least 24 individual buses, with six different bus companies in two countries.

Thursday 8 july 2004
I’ve traveled on tiny 31-seaters up into the welsh mountains, and top-heavy double deckers through narrow English country roads. I’ve caught flash coaches with on-board toilets, and been ignored by the every-two-hour bus at the station at least twice. My tickets have ranged from 90p to 10 pounds. I have a National Express student travel card that gets me 10% off my travel (for longer, inter-city journeys), but figured getting discount cards for all the other lines was a waste of time and money.

Buses are my preferred form of public transport in Australia, and abroad: you have a driver who’ll answer questions, make sure you get off at the right stop, and quite often quiz you not only on your country-of-residence, but also your reasons for being in the UK, your family’s history and the football code of preference.

I have had most of my conversations with strangers at bus stations or on buses, most of whom have been over 70 or under 15.

I have become obsessive about carrying loose change, and have managed to produce the exact faire 99% of the time. Caerdyff Bws has taught me well.

I am well versed in the superior value of a day explorer, which can be used with either Wilts and Dorset or Stagecoach buses. I have learnt that a return ticket, while ostensibly a marked saving, is only really worth anything if you catch buses home with the same company which carried you in to town.

‘Town’ is a mutable term, and may apply to Cardiff, Swindon, Salisbury, Marlborough, Bath, Bristol, Swansea or Brecon, but never Chiseldon or Pontrebane. It is always best to specify.

The most valuable quality in public transporting round Britain’s privatised bus services is patience, and the most useful item is an umbrella.

"All your bws are belong to us" was posted by dogpossum on July 8, 2004 2:57 AM in the category

July 7, 2004

i am now in england

i did have some other photos from england, but i've had enough of this. perhaps another day.

my aunt and uncle here in england have many animals, including colin, a vietnamese potbellied pig. he is very friendly, much slimmer than when i last saw him, and fairly ugly. i adore him.
i have made a tiny film of him, which i'll try to upload some time soon.
otherwise, i'm off to find a bus home.


"i am now in england" was posted by dogpossum on July 7, 2004 2:57 AM in the category

July 3, 2004


here are some of the decent photos of family i took. not all of them, but some of the best.

that's catrina, my uncle tim's wife. i was jealous of her hat all day. isn't that a lovely smile?

this next one's tim. he's not actually as much of a sadsack as this photo suggests. but i love the photo. he's the youngest of my dad's siblings.

and this is Mia, my giant cousin tom's partner. she's gorgeous, and really seems to epitomise the welsh to me - no bullshit, but friendly and fun, gorgeous, most excellent.

and this is vicky. i hadn't seen her since i was about 4. we have the same body. this big smile is a perfect image of her: as tim described her, 'vicky's always good for a laugh'.

there are 8 of us cousins on that side. dad had 3 siblings (2 boys and one girl). his sister tish's eldest son owen was getting married to lucy. becky and claire are tim and catrina's daughters (they're also the youngest cousins). i'm the eldest cousin (and dad is the eldest of the siblings). my brother and parents didn't go to the wedding, nor did vicky's brother gareth. otherwise, we were all there, except for nanna, whom we all miss her. check the march 8 entry for a pic of her and grandad.

grandpa told me at the wedding that she was a keen dancer and into jitterbug. which i'd never known. how ironic, huh?

"family" was posted by dogpossum on July 3, 2004 2:43 AM in the category

and the antidote to all that bridal stuff...

it was a clear, sunny, and windy day.

"and the antidote to all that bridal stuff..." was posted by dogpossum on July 3, 2004 2:38 AM in the category

the obligatory bride shot...


"the obligatory bride shot..." was posted by dogpossum on July 3, 2004 2:35 AM in the category

and here they are:

here are the australian cousins, becky and claire (the short one is becky). they looked absolutely gorgeous, and while there was much huffing and puffing (literally, for the most part) over the effects of welsh cuisine on inactive holidaying torsoes, their dresses (though snug) looked delish.

i know this photo is giant: i'll try to fix it later. i'm running out of time.

"and here they are:" was posted by dogpossum on July 3, 2004 2:27 AM in the category

and today was the wedding

i took very few photos of the bridal party: i figured there'd be heaps of those by better photographers than me. so i focussed on family. here we are:

that's me in the middle in the red dress. doing my best to stick my belly in. it's only one of two with me in. the other has only the bottom part of me, which, while an interesting study of shared genetic features in the carroll family, isn't actually all that excellent. but i've got lots more of my family...

"and today was the wedding" was posted by dogpossum on July 3, 2004 2:23 AM in the category

July 2, 2004


until the 4th i'll be here in wales. then i'm down to england to visit english family.
then i go to london on the 11th, where i'll hassle london swingers.
then i'm out to herrang on the 17th.
back to england on the 29th for camp savoy, then i fly out on the 3rd of august, to arrive on the 4th.
all done.

"itineray" was posted by dogpossum on July 2, 2004 2:54 AM in the category travel and wales

i have new shoes

and that's important, as i'd meant to get some before i left, but ran out of time (and inclincation). cardiff is much like hobart in its facination with outdoorsy/camping shops, so i totally scored in one opposite cardiff castle. no doubt a total tourist trap, but the brand was good, and the price was comparable to australia. and waaa-llah! new shoes. i am now tres chic. and will be tres sorted for much hiking through english village next week.

"i have new shoes" was posted by dogpossum on July 2, 2004 2:49 AM in the category

i do as the bridal party instructs

the wedding's on saturday (my cousin owen and his wuzza lucy), and there's a massively full household here in cardiff. there's some low-level wedding jitters in action: how to fit champagne, favours for guests and bouquets in the fridge? how to do bridesmaids' hair without any bands or bobby pins? most important (to my mind, anyway), is how to fit all these loud welshies/australians in one little welshy house. answer? some go elsewhere. it'll still be 8 adults in a small 3 bedroom house. 3 beds. 8 adults. mmm-mm. luckily this adult (who's thankfully an inessential part of this endeavour) has been relocated to another relative's tiny studio apartment just around the corner. i will take the laptop and my freshly repacked backpack and set up house round there. i've been instructed that i must return for all meals and outings, though. hokay. i do as the bridal party instructs.

"i do as the bridal party instructs" was posted by dogpossum on July 2, 2004 2:47 AM in the category


In which i get to Brecon, but not up the Brecon Beacons.

the brecon beacons were one of the highlights of my last trip to the uk: sweeping expanses of glacial plane. the odd sheep, the odd mountain pony.
this trip i was determined to go walking up there as well. but alas, alack, no joy. the whole national park thing, combined with treacherous weather, travelling alone and dependence on public transport conspired to make it impossible for me to get up there. goddamn it. it's absolutely amazing countryside:

it's a damn shame. but at least i got up to the village brecon itself (as pictured above). it's a really pretty little village, though the bus times are a bit scary: last one home was 3pm, and i caught the 11am out. oh well... sundays have a more comprehensive bus (only one a day, though) that you can take up into the park itself, but the wedding (for which i'm here) is on saturday, running late into the night. so i'm not sure i'll get into cardiff town for a 9am bus. crap. maybe i can...

and i have new hiking boots. eeeeexcellent.

"brecon" was posted by dogpossum on July 2, 2004 2:36 AM in the category


nicer than you'd think

"welshcakes" was posted by dogpossum on July 2, 2004 2:18 AM in the category wales