22 June, 2004

Good morning, it is 7.10am, Canada time. This is a really quick one to let you all know that we arrived safely yesterday. I am now off to get some breakfast and then R and I are off to Hamilton to meet with the Vision 2020 coordinator. Can't really tell you much about Canada, except to say from the brief glimpse I got as we travelled on the coach to the hotel that it looks a lot like Sydney.

Well, it's almost over!!
I am in Heathrow duty free area, waiting to get my boarding call. Then it is off to Narita then home to Sydney!!
I did the bus tour around London this morning after both L & R left for Chicago. It was a good tour, but, I think it would have been better if L was with me :-(.
For £1 I get 15 mins on here, and it is a very stiff/hard keyboard to use, so I will "sign off" for now, and update in Narita!

18 June, 2004

Hi Folks,
Well I am in lovely Liverpool with my Auntie Pat. This afternoon, I was taken to the Cavern Club:- home of the Beatles!
It is quite cold here, but nice all the same.
We also went to where my dad grew up, which is where auntie Pat has recently moved out from! I was also taken to the church where we thought dad was confirmed, but after looking through the records to find his confirmation entry, we found both Pat, and also uncle Bernard (whom by chance was Bernard James Patrick! I have also taken Patrick for my confirmation as well!!!)
Well, I had better go now, I hope all is well with you Louise over at Furness Vale tonight, and will see you tomorrow afternoon!!

16 June, 2004

Hi all, It is 1.54pm in lovely Leicester. We are right on top of the technology - I am emailing from a Caffe Nero through a wireless connection whilst we have our lunch. We have visited with the Council and are grabbing a bite before we head to the Leicester Eco-House.

We have not been able to post any blogs for a couple of days as we were staying in a bed and breakfast without a phone connection. It was a really georgous place, in the heart of squirrel country (and I should mention the hare, one was in the backyard last night but not interested in the piece of bread I had). I have some funny stories to tell about it but will save them for later or when we get back. I need to be really quick as R needs some internet time too.

We are off to Stockport this afternoon. I will hopefully be able to blog more then.

Back on line again. It was amazing, a couple of days without internet/email access was really trying!!
We have spent the last couple of days in Holt's End, in a little B&B. I say that it is little because I have to duck or bump my head on the beams in the lounge room!!
After saying that my hayfever was getting (slightly) better, I hasten to say, it's WORSE! After a visit to the doctors, I have been prescribed a couple of drugs, and a Ventolin to assist with my now wheezing!! I have a constantly running nose/eyes, to the point that they are nearly red raw! OUCH!!
But, apart from that, I am still really enjoying it over here.
England lost the soccer (yeah), and it is all that is being talked about really!!
We have had a couple of really (strange for here) hot days! To the point of breaking out in a sweat!
I will be going over to see my auntie Pat tomorrow, but my brother has just given me my other auntie (Ann's) address, but I am unsure if I will be able to get over to where she is given such short notice. I will be at Pat's from Thursday night, and Friday, then getting the train back to where both L&R are, so as L and I can hope over to Nth Wales and have a look through on the Sat. On Sat night, we are going to be having dinner with R relatives, then Sunday morning, heading back to London, find a hotel for the night, before both L&R fly out early Mon morning. I have a late flight out for Japan Mon night, arriving back in Sydney around 7.30 Wednesday morning.
Well, I had better pack up my things, and look around town for some things/shops for the girls to see.
Cheers for now.

14 June, 2004


You can now comment, and we will receive an email to read!!
At the bottom of the post we make, you will see a link from the post. Click on it and leave a comment and we will get an email!!
Hello there!!
Well, we are now in Coventry, and at the moment, both L & R are in a meeting with the local council.
We had a little bit of bother finding the little B&B we are staying in, but we did eventually get there. It is a quaint little place, everything looks sort of authentic, until you either knock it or look closer at it to see that it really is a bit of a replica!!
We all boarded the same flight (a first for the whole trip) out of Aalborg, for the 35 min trip to Copenhagen. L made the comment after we landed, that there must have been a trainee pilot as there were three people in the cockpit, and it was an extremely rough landing!
I had (what was supposed to be a quick 20 min connection) but was eventually nearly 1hr 30 min delay due to technical difficulty on the plane. We eventually took off, and the seat belt light was not removed AT ALL for the entire flight. The only people that were allowed to walk the aisles were the cabin crew!! It was and very bumpy ride, and when we did land, either the brakes were squealing or the wheels had locked. You know the noise of car tyres locking up......
The weather here is much better than in Denmark, and it is absolutely football (Soccer) mad with Euro 2004 starting on the weekend. Unfortunately, it appears as though Britain lost to France, YEAH!!!
I am doing this entry from the Library. As I am a visitor, I get a 1hr FREE access, where as if you’re a resident, you have to pay for it!!!
Well, I had better go now.

13 June, 2004

It has been a busy couple of days, yesterday was the last day of the presentations for the conference and finished with technical visits. R and I did a bit of a swap which meant that I went on a sailing boat on the fjord, viewing some of the Aalborg urban renewal projects. It was very pleasant and I was able to catch up with Michael from Moreland City Council in Victoria and Belinda from Aberdeen, who are new contacts we have made. I also met a women from a South African university who was quite interesting.

We only got half of the boat trip as the police would not approve the bridge being raised to allow the boat through. This meant about half of the tour was them done on foot.

We had dinner back at the Kunst and Spaghetti, and met up with Michael, and his wife and daughter just as we were finishing, so walked into town for a drink at the pub. It actually got quite chilly (and rained on and off)so we didn't stay for long. We could have gone inside but it was very smokey. We also had an early start with the nature tours today.

I think we could have all done with a day off today. However, the nature visit was really worthwhile. It meant we got to go out and drive through the countryside and villages. We did a bit of 'bushwalking' through the Rold Forest, and were given a guided tour by the Forest Ranger. Part of the tour included the troll forest, unfortunately no trolls were found, I guess we were too noisy. My favourite part of the day though, was the Blue Spring. It was a very gentle walk to get to it, mainly because most of the path was over peat, which made it kind of springy. The Spring itself was crystal clear and didn't look as deep as it's 4m. The Blue luminesence was created by the chalk base of the spring. B will probably provide a few photos.

Well it is time for a bit of a rest before we walk down the road to meet up with Belinda (from Aberdeen) to have dinner together.

Tomorrow we are travelling again. So next entry will be from Northern England.

11 June, 2004

Good morning (or evening back home)!
Well, my hayfever is (slightly) better this morning!
Yesterday, I spent some of the morning, trying to find a company that will rent out a motor bike so as I could ride around town a see some of the country side. But, after going to the local Polite (Police) Station, he looked in the phone book and found a company in Lindholm, which was a short train trip North. When I got there, all it was, was a service station which rented out "Motorcycle Trailers"!!!!
So, I walked back to the station, and jumped on a bus to get back to Aalborg. On this bus, after talking with the driver and asking him about renting a bike, he let me stay on the bus all the way up to Gitstrup, which was about 45-60 mins out of Aalborg. We went through the University, and gave me a "Private Guided Tour" all for 15DKK!!! This was supposed to have been a zone 3 ticket, but, he let me do it on my zone 1 at no extra cost, and we spoke about me being a greenkeeper, and his love for golf!
He also told me about the abundance of windfarms around town. They produce around 40% of energy for the City (and surrounds), which is a pretty good result!! And, when talking about land prices, he mentioned that for 1000m2 block in the 'Rich' area, (after converting to AUD) would cost around $60k! WOW!! He nearly had heart failure when I told him that a 450m2 block in Sydney could cost around the $300k mark!!
After I got back, I came back to the "Hotel Hvide Hus" (The White House Hotel) and had a sleep, whilst L & R were at the dinner as part of the conference.
Well, I had better go, as I am hoping to find where the harbor cruise goes from, for a trip around the harbor!!
It is 11.42pm, Denmark time. R and I have not long returned to the hotel from the conference dinner. We had a great time, we met up with the Leicester people, and a gentleman from Germany, with whom we shared a table.

Towards the end of the evening we also met up with Moreland City Council, from Victoria, Australia. We have agreed to find Yarra Ranges (also Victoria, Australia)tomorrow and get together for lunch.

The dinner was a lot of fun, amazing amounts of food, I think about 4/5 types of wine to accompany the various stages of the dinner, lots of speeches, some of which I am sure were impromptu, it would seem that people were having so much fun they felt the need to go onto the stage and up to the microphone to say a few words, sing a song, say a poem.... and propose a toast. A band came on before it was our turn ("Australia's") to sing Waltzing Matilda or something similar. The band was excellent and did a fantastic rendition of Crowded House's, Weather With You, which made me feel right at home.

The conference itself continues to be very worthwhile, and we are learning heaps and making lots of contacts.

They have used some interesting concepts to get everyone thinking. I particularly liked this mornings gentle start to the day which consisted of a meeting in the Aalborghallen to share in locally grown strawberries whilst images relating to food and sustainability were shown on large screens, and a gentleman played the piano beautifully. It was such a gentle and peaceful start to the day, and very evocative. This session I believe was sponsored by the World Health Organisation.

Well time to go, it is late and I have still got a stiff neck, which has resulted in me affectionately being referred to by B as "the pain in the neck", B's payback for such rudeness is that he is suffering with hayfever. What a pair.

10 June, 2004

It is Wednesday, 7.30pm Denmark time.

I have just returned to the hotel following the first day of the conference. It is amazing the number of people attending, at least 1000. There are even a few other Australian and one New Zealand Council. I only have a few minutes as I need to get back to the conference centre for the reception.

Yesterday was a mixture of good and bad. I woke with a REALLY BAD neck and shoulder, which lasted all day, with residual pain continuing to now. I think it was because the bed is way too soft and the pillows also being soft,and square, I slept funny. It wasn't funny at all though - thank goodness Bern was here as I couldn't move, my neck and shoulder were tightly locked. This all took place in broad daylight at 4am in the morning. We still managed to get out and have a look around town. R and B were very patient with me and my crooked neck. We had dinner at Kunst and Spaghetti, this was entirely a new experience, with the menu in Danish (requiring translation). It was fantastic food though, I lashed out and had the Fisketallerken whilst R and B played it safe with lasagne.

I believe we might be going back there for dinner tonight, as the people were so lovely.

Sorry, I must get going. It is great to hear from so many of you and that you are keeping up with our travels through this site. Congratulations AK on giving up the ciggarettes, I can see why you were unable to do it whilst you were in London over Christmas. Everyone here seems to smoke, and everywhere (restaurants, hotels, hire cars, taxis, etc). It is also the case in Denmark. This seems really weird as there is such an emphasis on other health issues such as mobility, obesity, eating organic products, even meat pies have been targetted due to cholesterol.

09 June, 2004

When the sun is up around 4:30am, and does not set till around midnight, it makes for a very long day!! Thank goodness the hotel here has heavy curtains!!
It is really lovely here, some nice (old) buildings, lots of little lanes with shops down them, and lots of parks!
I have taken 2 panoramic pics (and loaded them to the 'Briefcase' to show you the views.
I have tried to find some of the memorial coins from Freddrick and Mary's wedding, but they had to be pre ordered. But I am on the trail for them thanks to the lovely people in the visitor centre.
Yesterday, we went to the top of the Aalborg Tower here, it was worth the look!!
Both L & R are at the conference now, and I am about to go and look through town, so see you later.

08 June, 2004

It is 8.30pm Denmark time. R and I have just arrived in Aalborg. We are in fact still at the airport, at the free web station, waiting for the bus to arrive. We must have been on the smallest plane in the British Airways fleet from Oslo to Aalborg. It seated 18 passengers. It was a bit claustrophobic for my liking.

I am pleased that we are almost finished for the day. We have been traveling all day if you include the hair raising taxi trip to Heathrow with Darius the taxi driver who was definitely trying to hit on R. I kept thinking just keep your eyes on the road, stop using the mobile, and writing his phone number out for R.

More later, the bus is due in less than 10 minutes.
Well, here I am in Aalborg, Denmark. After a hot, humid day yesterday, it is cold, wet and miserable here!!! But, I am not complaining, it is just a bit of a shock to the system!!
I have just had a call from L to say that they were in Oslo late, and may be late here in Aalborg, but I am fine with watching a few (very small airport) planes come and go.
I have just had a 'snack' whilst waiting, and it was a bowl of 'fries'! I say it like this as they were fried to within an inch of there lives, and in some cases, they were!!!
The hotel here looks quite good. I have only been in it for probably less than an hour, as I wanted to get to know the transport system. I located the bus that goes to and from the 'Lufthaven' from the city centre.
I have not had a chance to get all of the pics loaded up yet, sorry, but I will do it over the next couple of days, hopefully tomorrow!
Oh well, I had better go now.

07 June, 2004

It's 11.35pm. We have just packed our bags. Oh my, where has all this stuff come from? and yesterday we posted a 10kg box back to work.

We have had a good weekend. Yesterday we all went to Camden Town Markets, which took us through to early afternoon. B and I got new shoes. I really needed some walkers, the paths here are all uneven with cobblestones just about everywhere, and the shoes I brought with me were just not good enough. I have real London walkers, they are called Fly London. I gave them a workout today, at Kew Gardens.

Yesterday, B and I also took the ferry down the Thames to Greenwich. Greenwich looked great but by this stage we were both quite tired. We should have stayed on the Ferry for the return journey as it was the last one for the day. Instead we caught the light rail, messed up with the train lines and after what seemed like half a dozen trains later ended up at Bayswater where we needed to get off for the walk back to the hotel.

The day at Kew was good. I don't know what we were thinking though - the plan was to do Kew in the morning and the Crown Jewels in the afternoon. We never got to the Crown Jewels though. Kew is a fantastic Botanic Gardens, in particular the tree top walk.

Tomorrow we leave for the conference in Aalborg. So it is time to pack up the computer and get a good night sleep.

04 June, 2004

It is now 11.15pm so this is going to be a quick one. It is taking a bit of getting used to the fact that it doesn't start getting dark till really late. I mean really late, you think it is about 7pm and it is actually 10pm.

Wednesday we had a really good meeting with South Gloucestershire, it is really amazing the size of some of these councils. Again this Council has 70 Councillors! and I think it was 9000 employees. The range of their functions though is more than local government in Australia, including schools amongst other things.

We tried our first 'cream tea', which is a devonshire tea in our language. It was recommended to us by the Officers at South Gloucestershire, I thought it was actually going to be a cup of tea with clotted cream instead of milk, it didn't sound at all appetising for someone who doesn't even like milk in their tea. R and B seemed to know exactly what it was, silly me.

We traveled back to London today via a fly by visit of Bath. I could have easily spent a week in Bath. This has been my favourite spot so far - I am already planning a holiday just to Bath. It is such a fascinating place, the streets and buildings, the Roman Baths, and the shopping.

We got back to London and have returned to the hotel we first stayed in, in Kensington Gardens. We have been given rooms under the street level. They are a bit bigger, which has made it a bit easier to sort out our paperwork for the next Council visits. We grabbed dinner from the local Marks and Spencers - I am really getting into this prepackaged but fresh meal concept. Tonight was steamed green thai chicken, and raspberry and chardonnay dessert. It enabled us to get through our work and still eat at a reasonable hour.

Anyway gotta go. We have an early start to get to Ealing tomorrow and a visit with the Chair of the Ealing Local Agenda 21 Pollution and Public Health Project Group.
Well, after leaving Bristol this morning, we headed for Bath. It only took about 30-45 mins to get too, and was FANTASTIC!
Bath was full of old world charm and the buildings were great. We went to the Roman Baths, (I will post the pics tomorrow as it is 11pm here and we are tired)! I am sure that Lou will also want to make an entry about Bath, so I will leave it for her!
Today was also a bad day for the air system. There was a computer system upgrade overnight, and when they rebooted it after it's install, it did not work! The follow-on effect was that ALL airports in the UK could only land, NO take-offs at all, until mid morning, but had problems all day! I hope that we do not have that sort of problem on Monday for the flight to Denmark.
We have had a bit of rain tonight, I hope it is raining at home!

03 June, 2004

Hi Folks!
Well, it is 8:10pm and it is still broad daylight!!! After trying to get adjusted with the daylight till almost 10pm, Louise has gone to bed totally, and physically exhausted!!
Last night, we had dinner with Ginnie Parker, who is the 'Sustainable City Policy Manager' for Bristol Council. We had 'Bangers 'n' Mash' which were organic pork and garlic. We also had onion gravy!! Dinner was great, thanx Ginnie!
Both Louise and Ruth had a long day of meetings with Bristol Council, whislt I did the Big Bus Tour around Bristol. It was great seeing the River Avon which has a tide of around 13 metres! Bristol is fantastic in it's history and culture. Very easy going.
Dinner tonight whilst Ruth visited friends, was from 'Marks and Spencer'. They have a HUGE range of meals. Louise had (for a starter) Crispy Mushrooms with Garlic Mayo and then Sicilian Orange Chicken with Pecorino Roast Potatoes. Where as I had boring old Southern Fried Chicken & Fries!!!
I have updated the pics yesterday, and I am about to add in the pics so far from Bristol, so do go and have a look!!
Today, the girls had a meeting up at Sth Gloucestershire. The Council chambers were in a little country town named Thornbury. Quite quaint really, and they had at the entrance to town, a little 'Community Garden' project. When I went to the visitor centre to ask about it, the lady there told me that they are the 'Allotments'! Also in town, they have a Sensory Garden, and some of the trees in ther are good old aussie Eucalyptus!!! And, whats more, in one there was even a Black Bird's nest. See the pics!
Oh well then, I had better go and up-load the pics.
Take care.

02 June, 2004

"Dull and damp, becoming brighter" was the weather report for today.

It is 5.45pm, Tuesday, 2 June, and we are not long back at the unit. We had a really great day with Bristol Council today. We met with half a dozen council officers and it was all really interesting stuff. I could easily spend the rest of the week here learning from these people. They have a great setup, situated within the CREATE centre, which is a remodeled warehouse with exhibition space, meeting rooms and their offices. Attached to the centre is also a demonstration eco-home operated by volunteers.

We got so much information today we are quite exhausted. Thank goodness we don't have to think about dinner as have been invited to dinner at Ginnie, the Managers tonight, how friendly is that.

We did manage to see some of the sights from the harbour, when we caught a ferry back from the Council. Unfortunately, my camera battery went flat before we caught the ferry so I cannot share the views.

B did some sightseeing and sorted the leak from the apartment above, which didn't look like much when R and I left this morning but really began to flow mid morning. This place is a bit dodgy in some areas - wait till you see a photo of the ironing board when it gets posted.

Anyway gotta go - bangers and mash awaits.

01 June, 2004

Hi folks,
Well it's now 10:25am June first and what am I doing??
I am doing the washing on a cold and damp Bristol morning. Have just come back from breakfast, where I saw both Louise and Ruth off to work, and sat down (after trying to work out how the washing machine/dryer combo works) to update the pics in the yahoo briefcase. I was sitting here and suddenly I could hear this dripping sound.... DAMN, the unit above us has got a water leak into our dining room (where I am sitting) and it is running down the wall, into a POWER POINT!!
I have been down to the management desk, and there is a plumber on the way!
It seems to be my (un)luck, because when I arrived the day before Lou and Ruth at the hotel in Kensington Gardens, I was upgraded to the 'Executive Suite' as the room I was allocated to was un-made, and with dirty laundry from the bathroom still there!!! I was glad with the up-grade though!!
Once the dryer has finished, I am off to hop on the Big Red Bus tour of Bristol. 7.50 (GBP) will get me a 24 hour commentary trip around all of Bristol. Then, I will take the girls along the same route and tell them what I was told, (we are on a budget here and they are working after all)!!!
Well, I had better go now and get ready. Machine just about finished, and there is a lot to see (I hope).
It is now 10pm, Monday, 1 June.

We are in Bristol and it is wet. Today was pretty much a travel day, we hired a car to get to Bristol, which I am very grateful for. I don't think I could have handled lugging bags on and off trains, and up and down stairs. As it was bank holiday here and nothing much was open, it was a good day to travel and get organised for the weeks meetings.

Photos will be loaded up for viewing tomorrow.