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Sunday, December 10, 2006 


I'm finding it much more difficult to get into the Ashes this year, most likely for two reasons:

1. They are being held in Australia this year, with the time difference making it impossible to both watch Ashes and keep job. Last year they were held in England, so we could listen to the radio in the lab, watch on our laptops in the office, and catch highlights at home. In fact, I think if I recall correctly, Channel Four was showing whole days of cricket on weekends. Anyway, with this series the matches start at around 11 pm and run until the morning. You can always tell the hard core fans, because they come in to work very bleary-eyed and really ticked off because....

2. England is horrible this year. In fact, they've already effectively lost the Ashes, and now we're stuck with three more tests of embarrassment because they have to play out the whole thing. A shame really.

But at least I can say I saw England win an Ashes in England and it was awesome.

I am also bringing all this up to announce that
I am going to Australia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, you will not believe this but I have been invited to speak at a conference in Wollongong at the end of March. (My work is turning out to be very controversial, and as such, interesting, and so this invitation is huge!!) Regular readers know that the farthest I've ever been from home is Athens, so this is quite a big deal for me.

I think I will go to the conference, then spend a week or so in Sydney (being completely out of money with only part of the trip paid for, and not much time for a proper holiday to go see everything in Australia I want to see) and then maybe a layover on the way back in Singapore. So if you have any Australia traveling advice please please please comment/email me!!!

Wollongong has a nice, efficient power station... Sydney has an Opera house, a bridge, a harbour, amazing beaches, a GREAT zoo and looks stunning, stunning, stunning in the sunshine (March will be perfect).

People will warn you about Kings Cross in Syndey, it's an experience on it's own if you're staying out there - I'd recommend it!

And take Australian Dollars.... (my no.1 tip)

Great news on the presentation -- congrats. My $.02 is to forget about Sydney and head to New Zealand, specifically Christchurch or Queenstown.

Sydney is a beautiful metropolis that I found sadly lacking any true spirit or character.

If you don't think you'll be returning to Australasia anytime soon, go and see New Zealand before it becomes too popular. And feel free to apply the frequency of visits logic to rationalize why it's okay to go further into debt for this trip.

Yes that was the original plan, to take a month off and do NZ as well, but that was before I lost my PhD funding. So unfortunately this will have to be the first of two trips down under.

As a Canadian looking to move to London this Spring - your blog is great!

Just been reading some of your earlier entries. I was just wondering if any of your loyal band of jolly readers have made the obvious connection between Cornwall and hatred of the French, having deciphered the enigma that is 'scuppered'? A friend of mine once told me that due to its historical autonomy Cornwall is technically still at war with France. Oh joy for Cornwallians to get there before Bush gets the chance.

Re Cornwall being still at war with the French, I suppose it depends on how far back you go - in the dark ages parts of Brittany were known as Less or Lesser Britain and assuming the Cornish to be a remnant of the pre-saxon Greater Britain, then perhaps at least France is part of Greater Kernow! I believe the last remaining native Cornish speaker died early last century (though perhaps I'm wrong)...has the language started to reattract adherents?

Re the cricket, there's no need to chase it to Australia now is there?...you might instead visit somewhere the current MCC (England) team COULD beat instead....er...er...hmm... Cornwall?

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