It’s been a tough week for me. I feel drained tonight. :-< On Wednesday evening I went to the the dentist, the first time I've been since 1992. I was absolutely terrified and have hardly slept since Sara sprung the appointment on me by surprise last week. I should've gone 10 years ago, when I broke a front tooth whilst scuba diving in Mexico, but I figured they would only extract it and it wasn't causing me any pain so I didn't bother. I've chipped a couple of others and lost a filling too over the years too, so I knew there'd be a lot of work needed one day but I just haven't been brave enough to see a dentist. :-ss Dental treatment in Australia can be ridiculously expensive - it can cost literally tens of thousands of dollars for treatment that might cost a couple of hundred pounds over here, so I decided I'd better get sorted out before we emigrate (although in truth I probably would have ducked out at the last minute if Sara hadn't booked my appointment by surprise). $-) I went to a dentist on Union Street - very high-tech compared with what I remember them being, i.e. The Marathon Man – and it I’m pleased to say it wasn’t half the ordeal I’d expected. It turns out that my broken front tooth can easily be repaired (doh!) and, except for the things that I already knew about, I don’t actually need any other treatment at all. I can even book myself in for a single appointment to get everything sorted out in one sitting, which suits me down to the ground. Although no treatment has been done yet, it’s a huge weight off my mind knowing that there’s nothing much wrong. #:-s

Yesterday I was asked to sit on an interview panel. It would be wrong to go into any details here, but I’ll just say I wasn’t comfortable with the situation at all. I’m glad to be leaving soon. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Speaking of leaving… I formally handed in my resignation this morning. <:-p I still have to work 3 months notice, so my last day in work will be Friday June 30th. Obviously I want to leave things in good shape for my eventual successor, so there's an awful lot of work to be done, but my mind hasn't been on the job today. @-)

Expats Meeting

Yesterday afternoon we went to a meeting of soon-to-be expats who, like us, are in the process of emigrating to Australia.

Oddly enough, there seems to be loads of people from Oldham on the Expat forums. Since several of the people live in Moorside, they had arranged for the event to take place at the King’s Arms, which suited me and Sara nicely. :d

About 30 people turned up and it was really good to chat with other people who are in the same boat as us, sharing our experiences and exchanging tips and advice. We had a beer or three and stayed well beyond the scheduled 6:30 finish.

I can’t remember everyones’ names but we ended up talking to Mish & Al (Moorside -> Perth), Emma & John (Shaw -> Brisbane) and Dave (Shaw -> Perth). We left at about 10:30 I think.

I have a cracking hangover today so I’m going to skip going to the United game and watch it on Sky instead. I’ve tried everyone I know who might want to use the tickets, but presumably with it being Mother’s Day nobody wants them so they’re going to waste. :-??

At least there’ll be a seat for the young lad who normally jibs in and sits on the concrete steps next to us.

Sara’s Birthday

It was Sara’s Birthday yesterday. <:-p To celebrate the occasion, we went out for a meal with Louise and Ian. We went to the Old Bill in Oldham. It’s a nice, busy little restaurant but I can’t say the food was all that great. We enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.

Before going to the restaurant Sara and I popped in to the CAMRA Oldham Beer Festival, which is taking place in the Queen Elizabeth Hall this weekend. 75 different real ales from 27 breweries were on offer, along with ciders, perries, foreign bottled beers and fruit wines. It’s a shame we didn’t have more time, but I managed a few halves before we had to go to the restaurant, including:

  • Bateman’s “Salem Porter” (ABV 4.7%) A ruby black porter with a liquorice aroma and a subtle hint of dandelion and burdock in the finish.
  • Greenfield’s “Hopped and Stoned” (ABV 4.6%) Brand new beer. Light and straw coloured with a Cascade hop aftertaste.
  • Orkney’s “Dragonhead Stout” (ABV 4.0%) Strong, dark malt aroma, taste and aftertaste, blending with chocolate to develop a strong, dry finish. Hard to find.
  • Pictish’s “El Diablo” (ABV 4.5%) A new stout. Black and hoppy.
  • Spectrum’s “Old Stoatwobbler” (ABV 6.0%) Complex brew, with dark chocolate, morello cherry, raisin and banana vying for dominance alongside hops and malt.

I’ll miss these sort of things when we move to Australia. :((

Edit: Yay! There’s a similar event held in Melbourne every year. #:-s

My last evening shift at work

Tonight is my last scheduled evening slot on the Duty Principal rota at work. ๐Ÿ™‚

By volunteering to swap evening sessions with other managers earlier in the year – when I needed to work on systems anyway – I have managed to finish all my allocated slots three months early. o:-)

I’ve actually quite enjoyed being on duty in the evenings, it’s always quiet and you get a chance to get a lot of work done without interruption. It’s nice to wander around the site and see what’s going on in the various departments, have a word with staff who you don’t usually see during the day and just make sure everything is ticking over.

Fortunately I’ve never been called upon to attend a serious incident whilst I’ve been on Duty Principal duty. b-(

So, barring any major I.T. failures, I won’t have to work late here again. b-)

Booked it, packed it, fu…

The removals firm came today to pack our belongings up and ship them to Australia.

Having measured all our furniture and calculated how many cubic feet we would need, we were shocked to find how much it was likely to cost. It was difficult to decide whether we would be better off selling everything we own and then replacing it when we arrive in Melbourne.

Fortunately the quote from White & Company was only about ร‚ยฃ900, which is considerably less than we were led to believe, so we opted to ship everything that was half decent.

They arrived with a large Luton van at about 9:45 and worked tirelessly until about 1:45. Everything was carefully bubble-wrapped and packed in heavy-duty boxes. It doesn’t seem much, but our entire life fitted into just 29 carefully numbered boxes. 8-|

We’re now sat watching a tiny portable telly perched on top of an empty cardboard box in the living room. With no wardrobes or drawers, all our remaining clothes are piled into suitcases in the spare room. The matress on the floor is surprisingly comfortable though. The strangest thing is that our voices seem to echo whenever we speak in the half-empty rooms. :-$

All being well, our stuff will be delivered to Andy’s house in about 8 weeks time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Shipping our stuff

On Monday morning the removals company will arrive to pack up our belongings and ship them to Melbourne. b-)

It’s quite tough having to decide what to take and what to leave behind, bearing in mind we still have to live here for another 3 months before we are reunited with our stuff. :-\

We’ll have to manage with the bare minimum of furniture until we leave: a matress but no bed, a portable telly, no washer/dryer or dishwasher etc. I’m blogging this on a laptop borrowed from work. Fortunately some things, like our settee and fridge/freezer, are quite old and not worth shipping over, so we won’t be living completely like tramps. :-w

It’s surprising how much junk we’ve accumulated since we moved in here eleven years ago. I’ve made numerous trips to the tip already and we’ve got about a dozen boxes of stuff to sell at car boot sales or on eBay. Every penny counts now. $-)

Manchester United 2 – 0 Newcastle United

It was -4ร‚ยบC and there was a good six inches of snow on the roads when I set off for the game yesterday. It was still snowing heavily and there was no sign of any gritters; I wondered whether or not I’d be able to get back home. :-\

After picking Pete up, it took half an hour to get to the bottom of Ripponden Road, so we arrived too late for a space on our usual car park and had to pay a fiver. It was far too cold for a beer on the street and we couldn’t be bothered queuing in the pub, so we went straight down to the ground. That’s the first time I’ve been to a football game without having a beer, it felt… wrong. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

United started with van Nistelrooy on the bench again – could he be on his way out of Old Trafford? Saha and Rooney started and were lively throughout. Giggs and O’Pie were paired in central midfield with Ronaldo and Park on the flanks. The back four of Silvestre, Ferdinand, Brown and Neville were hardly troubled, I think Newcastle only managed a single shot on target in the whole 90 minutes. ๐Ÿ˜•

It was one of those games where you say “United should have been 10-nil up at half time” and that’s no exaggeration. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring after just 8 minutes, taking advantage of a shocking backpass and chipping Shay Given from the edge of the box. He added his second less than five minutes later, finishing off a great move down the middle by Saha and O’Pie.

Rooney had numerous chances to complete his hat-trick but, despite hitting the post and going close several times, just couldn’t find the net again. Saha had half a dozen good chances but somehow botched them all, causing the fans to start chanting for Ruud – a little unfair, probably. Ronaldo also ballooned a couple of decent chances.

Evra replaced Silvestre at half time and had a decent game; van Nistelrooy came on for Ronaldo near the end and had a couple of chances but couldn’t take them. According to Sky, we had 28 shots on goal today – more than I can remember for a long time. It’s incredible that we only managed to put two of them away.

The atmosphere was great though, it always is when we play Newcastle. I’ll actually be sorry to see the back of Shearer when he retires at the end of the season, I always enjoy the abuse he gets for turning United down all those years ago. I can’t say I’ll miss the unintelligible Geordie chants or the row of bare-chested supporters that they usually bring along (it’s snowing FFS!). =d>

Thankfully the gritters had been out and we made it back to Oldham without any trouble.

Flight booked

We have set a date for leaving: Thursday 6th July. :d

Our flights are booked. Like last time, we’re going via Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Airlines. We’re not bothering with a stopover so we’ll be in Melbourne on Saturday 8th July.

I now just need to hand in my notice at work, ship our belongings and prepare the house for renting. There’s a heck of a lot to do in the next 14 weeks. #:-s

Leaving do’s will also need organising. \:d/ :((