Sunday, June 28, 2009

Down at the club

Playing Aussie Rules football again has definitely been one of the best ideas I've had for a while.

The combination of the fitness provided through training and the enjoyment I get from playing the games has been further enhanced by the social aspect provided by the club. I had made some great friends from all walks of life at this club and I enjoyed going to training even on the coldest of nights.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to even receive some recognition at the club, being awarded the "Selfless Act of the Week Award" for a shepherd I put on in the dying stages of a match. I was presented this shiny training top to wear during the week.
It's great being recognised for what you do, particularly when you take into account the pain that also resulted from the act!

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Hunter Valley

I went out for dinner with Marine and her friends one night as part of what I thought was a "goodbye" since she was heading back to France. However, whilst speaking to her and her sister, I discovered that their original plans to go to go on a day trip the next day had fallen through because the person who was meant to go with them had abandoned them at the last moment. Since I was doing nothing the next day, I thought "why not?" It would give me the chance to spend a bit more time with Marine before she headed off.

Not to mention, any chance to explore some new places is always fine by me!

The next day, nice and early, we started our drive. After only a couple of hours, we were at our location.

The Hunter Valley.

This was the home to one of Australia's most famous wine producing regions. Surprisingly, I had never been here before. With my parents living only a short distance away in Newcastle, it was definitely a place I should have visited by now. I was looking forward to seeing what all the fuss was about.
I soon saw why so many people came here. The scenery was amazing.
It was postcard pretty. Everywhere you looked, there were the stereotypical "nice" things. The green hills, the vineyards, the lakes.....
While we were there, we managed to take in a few tours. It was interesting to see how they treat the grapes. With the glut of wine in day to day life, it's become very easy to forget about the physical work and labour that goes into its creation.
With the combination of cloud a some light rain, we were given some pretty amazing views of the area. Seeing some of these places, I understood why the Hunter Valley has become such a popular location for weddings.
Stunning isn't it?
This trip also gave me a chance to finally go and see Tempus Two.

I had a friend who worked as the winemaker at this winery and I was keen to see the place in action.
It was very hard not to be impressed. Tempus Two was an ultra modern and sleek operation. Apparently, the wide area in front of the winery regularly played host to some pretty famous musical acts (Elton John being one of them!).
I quite liked the whole region. Driving from location to location was easy and there was a laid back attitude to the whole place.
Later, as we sat down to lunch, our quiet was interrupted by a helicopter as it took off.
It didn't seem quite right for some reason. With the calm and gentle surrounds, the noise of the thing was just completely out of place.