Jim & Audrey Back from Oz

Jim & Audrey Back from Oz

Jim and Audrey moved to Cleveleys from Rochdale a few  years ago, and have really settled into life at the coast.


They’re one of the nicest couples that you could ever wish to meet. Jim is the resident community comedian, always ready with a joke and a smile, and they’re a kind hearted and generous couple – if only everyone were like them!


Jim’s favourite saying is ‘it’s like living in Shangrila’ because they so like the old fashioned sense of community spirit that still exists in Cleveleys.


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They’ve been on a three month adventure to visit family in Australia. It was a long winter without them, but they’ve Skyped and kept in touch with regular bulletins about what they are up to.


Home Sweet Home – 25.2.13


I remember quite vividly the last and final two weeks of our trip to Australia
I had a feeling of dread, yes I did! It was horrible. Simply put, it was because we had become very close to our grand children, our Mark and his wife Jackie. And the thought of coming back to this horrible cold weather knocked me completely off course for a short time.


Then reality set in and I thought of all our good friends and neighbours, also Audrey’s sister had moved into the flat next door to us at home, also the afternoon at the Tower was coming up fast. That truly would have been a disaster to miss.


The day before we came home we paid a final visit to one of our local beaches,
there was a lovely warm wind blowing quite briskly, and we both sat on a local
seat just looking out to sea, it was a memorable event, one that I will treasure.


Anyway back to the move, I do digress. The last day in particular was very hot, we said our goodbyes to my nephew and his family. It didn’t help that his mother was visiting from the UK, she returns home in April. Saying goodbye to the family was hard, in fact, Jessica who is 11 yrs old came to give me a hug and I sang “we’ll meet again don’t know where don’t know when” I was close to her ear and she broke down sobbing in my arms. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my vocals that set her off.


Mark, accompanied by Charlotte and Olivia, drove us to the airport which is about 30 miles from their home. We didn’t have much time with them at the airport because for some unknown reason the airline decided to load early. That was another emotional departure.


Our flight was scheduled for 10.45pm which at the time I thought was good. In theory, my thinking was bed time at 11pm, sleep all through until we arrived in Doha. Not so, too much noise, although I did manage much later to snatch a couple of hours sleep.


Later on in the flight I suffered one of the most embarrassing moments of the entire trip. What happened was the stewardess was on her rounds of serving meals, and she leaned across Audrey to speak to me. Consequently she spoke so softly I couldn’t make out what was said. So I said to Audrey, “what did she say?” Audrey took one long hard look at me, then turned to the stewardess and said, quite loudly, “he’s deaf.” Well I must say I didn’t know where to look.


The Stewardess looked really upset, because she came and knelt down in front of me, her face really up close to mine,held my hand, and very slowly she said, “would you like cheekin” or some other dish I couldn’t make out by her actions. She thought I was deaf and dumb,so I mimed back slowly and very pronounced “Chicken please” I finished up getting King Prawns and rice, but boy, I wasn’t complaining – she gave me extra special service. It just didn’t feel right miming to her all through the 10hr trip.


We changed aircrafts at Doha and that final leg of the journey proved quite
uneventful, thank goodness. At this point I would Iike to compliment Qatar airline for their excellent service and attention to detail.


Audrey’s niece was waiting for us in Manchester, and so was the cold, but we were home safely, and that was a blessing. We always suffer from jetlag, and this time it was no different – we are free of it now and would say back to normal.


Roll on summer
Bye for now – Jim and Audrey 


Australia Day – 31.1.13


G’day mates, we hope everyone back home is keeping well, as we are. It sure has been a trifle hot recently, but I suppose it’s better than all the snow and ice you have endured these past weeks. It certainly limits what you can do in this heat, one example is walking, only to be recommended early mornings or early evenings. The sea breezes here are fantastically delicious and we catch those on our evening walks.


Last Saturday was Australia Day in Perth it was a wonderful day out, we
all set off from home at approx 10am to Perth by bus then the train. I would say the transport system is super. The bus drops you off directly at the station
the trains were every 7 minutes, the train then takes you right into the centre of town, perfect. We all had a lovely day it was busy but not over crowded, and
lots to see, and the weather was glorious with a lovely breeze blowing. We tried out some exotic ice creams (I didn’t ask the price) the ice cream was scrumptious, so I’m glad I didn’t. (It could have soured it).


All along the the the harbour frontage people were camped out with their tents, tables some had even brought their own arm chairs from home. It was a sight to see, a real happy friendly atmosphere. They had set themselves up on the prime sites in preparation of the firework display at 8 pm. What I found
surprising was the amount of British people there are here. Strolling through the crowds you could have been anywhere in the UK except Rochdale, Burnley, Bradford,and Barnsley.


Oh! before I forget, must tell you this. They had portable toilets on site, usually
not recommended, but these were by far the best I’ve seen anywhere.
Spotless, lovely and clean, I’ve even took a photo of a chap topping them up with toilet rolls.How about that then?


It was a long day, but the firework display at the end was fantastic. I managed to get a few shots which I will pass on. The journey home was a bit of an ordeal, it was shoulder to shoulder with the crowds making our way back to the station, it seemed that everyone had come by train. In fact on certain parts of the walk back, I could have sworn my feet were not touching the ground. But on the whole it was a very satisfying and enjoyable day.


As I write this we are both inside it is well in the nineties, the children are in the pool, I can’t make my mind up wether to jump in and join them. Maybe not.


I’ve been reading Chrissies blogs and I think they are very good. The one where you save fancy bags from quality stores to re-use, we hold our hands up Andalusia – plead guilty, but to use a Tesco bag in M&S well that took a lot of nerve. Also, it’s a pity there wasn’t a camera handy when she fell in the freezer; published on You Tube that would have gone viral.


I have been watching the news over here concerning the floods in Brisbane and they have had it rough, there was one part where they were showing an incident of excessive sea foam, just like we have at Cleveleys but this was about seven to eight foot deep. Cars were completely covered by it.


Oh! Let me tell you this, at the day out there was one stand doing burgers and sausages and I strolled over to have a look (as you do) and this guy behind the
stall said to me, “G’day mate,would you like a snag?” when he realised I hadn’t a clue what he meant he quickly said, “A sausage mate, didn’t you know that?
I replied, “No,never heard of that, but I’ll have a “tater” (potato) it was his turn to be confused. I was sorry afterwards because I’m sure he upped the price on the hot dog I had.Can’t complain the snag was really good.


The 1st of Feb tomorrow we are now on countdown, the children are back at school on Monday, oh how time just zips along.
I will close for now with the sincere hope that everyone is well.


All our love and best wishes Jim and Audrey xx


It’s Hot out Here – 9.1.12


Hello Jane, I seem to have been in a coma this last couple of weeks,it’s got to have been the heat. There have been strict limitations on what we could do because of it, Sunday was a difficult day it was very humid and the air conditioning was playing up. And to top it all Audrey’s brother and his wife, with friends the ex Mayor and Mayoress of Rochdale called in to see us, but as always we coped. They are in Perth because their daughter got married in Perth last Friday. Robert and his wife Ann being life long friends were invited.


On two occasions I have been out and about and forgotten to take my camera
Yes! I couldn’t believe it either. There are a few pics I can send you, attached.


We have not had the chance yet to take up the offer of a cup of tea and a chat with our neighbours from Barnsley. Their name is Smith (honest, I kid you not) Terry and Ruth. Terry’s brother is a retired Pastor at our local church and he is married to Ruth’s sister. No I haven’t made that up. I will investigate further. Imust say though they are first class friendly people.


We are finding our way about quite easily now, the public transport is cheap, safe and efficient. The trains are very much like our new Blackpool trams.
My nephew Darren has gone back to the UK with his family, and he brought his car around to our house, he said we could borrow it while he was away.
Guess what! Our Mark went and reversed his car into it, I’m just glad it wasn’t me that did it. Anyway Darren wasn’t too concerned when I told him the bad news, he did say that they lent it to someone last year and they bumped it, so it did cross their mind it would happen again. The damage is not too bad just a new bumper should do it.


I have to smile when it was said it’s the hottest December for sixty years, and now this warm front is moving in which will make it very muggy and humid,
it’s never been known to happen at this time of the year. It reminds me of when we moved to Cleveleys when we had the great storm and the shipwreck, people said then that they had never known it to be so bad, and I remember thinking at the time “Trust me to move at a time like this”.


Oh! before I forget, I thought this might interest you Jane, the rubbish collection here is done with one man driving a truck fitted with a robotic arm -he never gets out of his cab, and get this, you never see any spillage. Do you think I should video it and show it to the powers that be at Wyre council? Just think of the money saved long term. No, maybe not, it would put a lot of people out of work. Still! It’s brilliant to watch.


Audrey is out for the count with this weather she’s fast asleep and it’s only
9pm, but she is up every morning between 5.30am and 6am.
I’ll close for now Audrey did say she had wrote to you, and I didn’t want to send a duplicate just in case you thought we had both gone senile.


We send you all our love and best wishes, and we’ll be seeing you all soon.
Jim and Audrey xx


Photos from the Beach – 6.12.12


Well they’ve arrived and got their sea legs and done a Skype call, and seem to be settling in to their temporary life in Oz. Jim looks as fit as a butcher’s dog with his suntan which he attributes to the wind – a veritable home from home then!


The house where their son Mark lives is set on a hill so they have some sea views, and are not far from the beach at all, so I’m sure that they’ll be happy about that as they love living here at Cleveleys by the sea.


The photos that they’ve sent show huge, beautiful blue waters and it certainly looks a very delightful place – but it’s not a throw away comment about the sharks because of course there is all kinds of wildlife in Australia that make our odd few jellyfish on the Fylde Coast look really pathetic!


The Australian Venture – 30.11.12


Well would you believe it two weeks have nearly passed, it does seem to go faster the older you get – or is it just me?


Talking about storms and torrential rain, last night was just reminiscent of the night the “Riverdance”went down at Cleveleys, and iit was quite cold. People
have been saying it’s never happened before and it’s very unusual, Audrey and I just looked at one another – enough said. Today is quite warm but it’s got that Cleveleys sea front wind and there’s a chill in it.


Today was rubbish collection day, what a revelation – one man and a wagon emptied all the bins (which are identical to ours at home) without even getting out of his cab. It was all done with an arm grab on the vehicle, and he didn’t spill any rubbiish on the roads.


Audrey and I set off on a coastal walk on Monday lunch time, we did about a mile and half and turned back and made our way back home. We both felt it was getting too warm and our decision was correct because it turned out to be a scorcher.


My nephew Darren and his family emigrated to Perth four years ago and they only live about half a mile away. Well we spent a day with them on Tuesday and they are taking us to Fremantle on Friday so that should be interesting.


One thing for sure it’s very expensive living here and there are times when it’s eye watering. Someone said to me,”when you are here you think in
dollars, because that’s what we are paid in”. What do you think of this? Fish & Chips 25$ – converted it is 17 English pounds. Yes! I thought that as well, what’s more I have never seen wine as expensive as it is here, not that it’s a concern because I don’t drink wine, but because Australia is one of the main players in the wine industry and I haven’t seen any at ASDA prices, even though it’s produced here.


On Thursday evening we went to watch our Olivia at her school. She’s 14 years old and she was in a concert playing the flute – I never cease to be amazed how much talent is out there. It was a lovely evening, and the school was packed. Oliviva also plays the piano, one thing for sure she doesn’t take after me. Music was my worst subject at school and I never knew the difference between a crochet and a quaver, in fact, me and another lad used to jostle for bottom position in the music class. Also when ever the teacher had us in the school hall for singing practice, I would always mime, I had to, because I couldn’t sing in tune.


Friday it is now, 10.15am, and we are about to set off for the coastal walk (2nd attempt). The Fremantle trip has been cancelled until next week.


Sppeak to you all soon, all our love Jim & Audrey xx


Tales from the Journey – and the first day here – 22.11.12


Monday, the big day. Up early with a feeling of excitement and a touch apprehension for the long journey ahead. Everything was packed and double checked but still marginally overweight on both cases – 3kg and 2kg. Finally we gave up and decided to take our chances. What brightened our day was Jane turning out to wish us well, even with her rollers in, and also her dad with a wave from his balcony.


The drive to the airport was smooth and uneventful, we arrived early and even the check in desk hadn’t opened. Susan, Audrey’s sister, came to the airport with us and she was a great help at the check in. All our fears were put to rest when they checked our bags, and yes they were overweight, but they allow up to 3 kg excess (they don’t tell you that beforehand) phew! That was a big relief. Once the bags are checked in you can relax and unwind.


The flight to Doha was excellent, couldn’t fault it, the flight crew were very attentive to your needs, and the food was a little spicy but acceptable. Audrey and I would certainly fly with them again. At Doha we had to change flights which wasn’t a big deal, when you disembark you get straight on to a bus which ferried us across the airport to another flight.


On this flight, which was for 10 hours, we had a chap who was sat directly behind us and he had a terrible hacking cough, and he coughed all the way to Perth. It was a worrying time, Audrey offered him a cough losenge, but he refused it because he claimed to be getting treatment from his GP. Never did tell if it was infectious, anyway we seemed to have survived it.


We arrived in Perth about 5pm and Mark was waiting for us with Jessica, he
srove us home to rapturous greetings. My nephew came over to see us with his family, all in all it was a lovely welcome.


Thursday (today) we had walk down to the beach – fabulous it was definitely a first for me, walking on white sand, and the water was emerald green. What I did have trouble with was seeing people swimming 25 yards out from the shore. Mark was telling me that in the short time he has lived here six people have been killed by sharks. It didn’t put me off though, I still went for paddle just up to my ankles, but I still kept my eyes open for the predators.


Audrey and I are very impressed with where they live. The schools are within walking distance, so are the shops, all no more than half a mile away. They have a very efficient public transport system, and best of all it’s very cheap. This weekend we should be clear of the dreaded jet lag. We are both well, and the hot sunshine is wonderful .I haven’t forgot the photo’s, I have taken some but I can’t get them on the iPad.
Speak to you soon, Love Audrey & Jim x


Safe Landing – 21.11.12


We’ve had an email from a very tired Jimmy to say that they have arrived and have a ‘touch of jet lag’. Jim adds “I woke up this morning to sunshine steaming through the bedroom blinds. At 8am Audrey and I where sat on the shaded porch having a cup of tea, it was in the eighties, lovely”.


Bon Voyage! 19.11.12


It all began about 18 months ago, Mark my youngest son rang us to ask how we felt about him moving to Australia. It wasn’t just him it was all his family, including our five grand children, and I do know he would have thought long and hard about the job offer before he made a decision. What surprised me and Audrey was his wife Jackie agreeing to go, because her mum and dad were totally against it.


I do remember about two years ago Mark did tell me that when they have any problems or major decisions they sit down together and hold hands and pray for guidance.


Audrey and I are very proud of our two boys, so I told our Mark that if he felt it was right for their future then he should go for it, as the saying goes, “Nothing ventured nothing gained.” I did make a promise that if he did emigrate that his mum and I would spend his first Christmas with us all together and that simply is the reason we are going, to be with them all at such a very special time – we can’t wait!


As I sit here now I’m thinking about the last few weeks. Everything is virtually done, flights booked, insurance organised, currency sorted suitcases packed (well! nearly).


But you cannot get rid of that nagging doubt that I have overlooked something, and it will manifest itself when we are 30,000 feet up in the air.


Friday today. We’re setting off to see our friends Ray and Jean in Rochdale, we will be staying overnight and return home on Saturday. Jean hasn‘t been very well this last 6 months. She’s been diagnosed with breast cancer and also Spondalitis, and it’s certainly took its toll on her. So it was one of our priorities to call on them before we set off.


Saturday evening. Discovered one of the large suitcases is 2kg over weight-I’ve been at it now for two hours and I think I’ve cracked it. Well! I’m hoping so.


Our Wayne arrives on Sunday he’s been to Munich on business. He should have come on his mum’s birthday but the hurricane Sandy rearranged that for him. It‘s worked out OK for us because he will be taking us to the airport on Monday.


We’ll send you regular snippets of our adventure with some photos of the beaches in Perth so you’ll know we are not writing to you from Southport.


Bye for now Jim and Audrey
Ps We will be thinking of you all at Christmas-God Bless


Where did you get that hat?


I’d bought an Australian bush hat to take with us on our travels. So I had this great idea to send our son Mark a photo of us both with the said hat in place.


Jim in hatAudrey in hat


My concern was that in a busy airport we could easily be missed on arrival, but wearing the bush hat we would stand out – and what was Mark’s response; “Dad if you and Mum arrive wearing those hats you can get a taxi”. I will admit Audrey looks a tad alarmed but I think they look ok and I have also been putting in a lot of practice with the Aussie lingo, like “g’day mate!”


I get the feeling our Mark is not at all impressed, so I’ve promised to take him half a pound of Uncle Joe’s Mintballs, I know that will cheer him up.


 

Australia Day
Australia Day


 Australia Day
Australia Day


Australia Day
Australia Day


Jim & Audrey Australian Adventure


Jim & Audrey Australian Adventure


Jim & Audrey Australian Adventure
Robotic Dustbins!


Jim on the beach
Jim says ‘don’t forget these are shark infested waters!’


By the beach


Around the pool
You couldn’t do this in Cleveleys in December! (or often in July!)


Jim off to Australia


Jim and Audrey setting off
Susan (left) Audrey’s sister, Wayne (son), Audrey and Jim on Monday 19 November as they set off to Oz


Jim and Audrey from Rochdale

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