Changing tack

Posted by matthew on Jul 29, 2005 in eroleplay.net, health, research

Today was disappointing in a way, but I think it could work out for the better. I set to work to get my research project back on track after taking a well earned break and illness. I phoned the Law school to find out about the usage of DRALE this semester. They weren’t sure last time I checked. Now it appears that it is not slated for use until the Summer Semester with the JD group. That’s going to be too late for me because I want to complete my interviews in the next couple of months. On the upside, I’ve been thinking about other projects I could use for a while now and The Campaign is a good second choice. I’m now setting about reshaping my interview questions to suit. I believe my research questions should still work with only a couple of word changes (the ones that relate to Law specifically). Next I will contact the lecturer and then the supes.


New Video

Posted by matthew on Jul 29, 2005 in dance, funny

Check out this amazing new instructional video: How to dance like a white guy.


Back home

Posted by matthew on Jul 24, 2005 in life, melbourne

Well, we arrived home to a cold and rainy Melbourne yesterday evening and it’s been a lazy Sunday doing very little but recovering from the journey home. I’ll keep posting pictures from the rest of the trip in the next few days.

Unfortunately I have a lot to do. Last week the server hosting all my sites and my email was hacked badly. Slydog is moving everything over to a new host and hopefully we will have things back up and running soon, but in the meantime SwingTalk is down along with the MLX site and all the others. My email is only accessible through a web client right now and I’m not actually sure if all my mail will be there when it’s back up. Slightly scary.

Still, it’s good to be home. I didn’t actually miss much in Australia while I was away because I was having too much fun, but I did miss my cat, Mr Squiggle. He didn’t miss me at all, I’m sure. As long as he’s fed, he’s happy.



Posted by matthew on Jul 8, 2005 in holland, travel

We left Zeeland on Saturday morning and took the train to meet up with our friends Daan and Thomas at the house in Utrecht. That afternoon we drove 2 hours north to the province of Friesland, where Friesian cows, and the English language originate from. We stayed overnight at Thomas’ sister’s place in Leeuwarden. It was funny to think that we’d travelled the entire length of the country in less than a day. One thing I noticed about Leeuwarden was that the architecture was different. The churches did not have much decoration and things were in general very sombre and old fashioned.

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We headed back towards Utrecht on Sunday the 3rd of July along the Afsluitdijk, which is an amazing 30km long construction that keeps the north of Holland from being flooded and battered by the ocean. Below you can see a ship coming through one of the lochs in the dyke, and a couple of workers pushing a small rock into place to build the dyke up.

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Posted by matthew on Jul 8, 2005 in holland, travel

Skip forward a few days now to Wednesday the 29th of July — the day we arrived in Zeeland, Holland. For those who don’t know, Zeeland is where New Zealand gets its name (spelt Nieuw Zeeland in Dutch). It’s the southernmost province of Holland and is famous for its beaches. We stayed with Lotte’s mum and grandma in a very small house (het strandhuisje) right on the sand at Vlissingen. Sort of like a bathing box with mod-cons. I really like this photo of the sunset over the beach. I snapped it from the front of the strandhuisje looking up along the beach just before 10pm. The days are very long right now, with twilight lasting until after 11pm.


Here’s a shot of me right in front of the strandhuisje looking about as relaxed as I can be. I must say it probably looks a tiny bit warmer than it actually was there, but while the wind is bracing, when the sun shines it’s very pleasant. I can’t say it does much for the temperature of the water though. I went for one swim and it felt about as warm as freshly melted snow.


One of the really fun things about this beach is that it’s actually right at the end of the river that leads to the port at Antwerpe, so about every 2 minutes you see a huge ship only about 1km off the beach. So spotting ships through the binoculars is one of the main passtimes.


Our other main passtime was playing Yahtzee. Also in the picture are Lotte’s mum, dad and grandma (or in Dutch, Oma).



Hameau du Lac

Posted by matthew on Jul 8, 2005 in travel

Here we have a few shots of us nearby the house in Hameau du Lac. On Saturday we decided to head down to the stream behind the house to see if we could have a swim. It was a bit too green for me to swim but Lotte and Dory had fun on the crocodile.

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Sunday was a funny day that sort of started with a minor disaster but finished in style. Just as Bil was taking our rental car around a tight corner he snagged some sharp bricks beside the road and popped a tyre. We had a brief pitstop before heading on to the beach.


That night we had, I think, one of the best meals of the whole trip at a restaurant just near Sigean that was recommended to us by Lotte’s aunt Anna called the Hotel St. Anne. They did a special 3 course menu for us that included the beautiful fish dish below, all for 17 Euros each. We were the only customers in the place that night and I have no idea why because it was truly gourmet stuff. I believe it starts to get a lot busier in July and August though.




Posted by matthew on Jul 6, 2005 in travel

After Castelnou we headed out for a drive to a lake. The plan was to have a swim, but about 5 minutes into our journey we were in the middle of a deluge that turned into a hailstorm. It was very dramatic. We waited by the side of the road until it cleared and then headed on our way. By the time we got to where we were going it was dry and we swam anyway (well, I didn’t, but I wasn’t feeling like it). Oh yeah, and we ate icecreams.


On our way back, we found a tiny tiny village on a hilltop called Eus. You pronounce that “UH”. We laughed about that for hours. What would you say if someone asks where you live? “Uh… UH”. Anyway it was beautiful.

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Posted by matthew on Jul 6, 2005 in travel

These shots are of a beautiful village & chateau called Castelnou, which is about an hour’s drive from Sigean. I highly recommend going there. There’s a cafe and winery, of course, but the highlights are the views and the buildings dating back to 989AD. The town is now inhabited mostly by artisans who sell to the many visitors. We spent a couple of hours there just taking everything in.

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Just when we started thinking that we were the only non-French tourists there, we ran into this Dutch couple with their dog. Lotte introduced herself and started talking to them before she realised they were Dutch. We all introduced ourselves as “Geoff from Canada, Matt from Australia”, etc. until Lotte said “and me and my sister and her boyfriend are from Holland”. The Dutch guy smiled and said “We are also from Holland but we are from the REAL Holland!” Then Lotte started to speak to him in Dutch and he realised that she was actually from the real Holland too, so we all laughed.


And here are some more from Castelnou. The sign was outside a small art/craft marketplace that was deserted. Looks like it belongs in an episode of ‘Allo ‘Allo.

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The House & Bill at Port La Nouvelle

Posted by matthew on Jul 6, 2005 in travel

Here are a couple of shots taken of Doris at the house at Hameau du Lac. The town’s name means “hamlet on the lake” and that’s exactly what it is. The house was actually quite a bit bigger than I had imagined from the photos, with three floors and an outside balcony and a living area at the back with a very high ceiling. Dory slept in a loft in the living area. The first photo shows Dory and Lotte in the kitchen getting ready for dinner on Thursday night. The second is Dory posing with a beautiful portrait that Justin painted of her using Nutella on a crepe on Friday morning. Crepes are sold in packages everywhere there.

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This last one is very special because it comes with a story. Later on Thursday night we went to Port la Nouvelle, which is the local resort village on the beach. We were standing on the square watching a musical comedy duo play fishing songs and polkas when Bilby grabbed Lotte for a dance and impressed the locals. Immediately after completing one dance a man in his 60s looked over at Bill and suggested gleefully that he take his wife for a spin. Bill manfully accepted the task and the lady looked like her face was about to explode with excitement as they danced around in circles. The moment captured below is when she was completely overcome and decided she should jump onto Bill and wrap her legs around him. The look on Bilby’s face says it all.




Posted by matthew on Jul 5, 2005 in travel

Later on Thursday we went to check out Narbonne, a much larger city than Sigean with a beautiful square, a market, canals, and a small loch. In the middle of the city is a cathedral. Of course, I have photos of all those things but there’s too much to upload so you’ll have to make do with this cheesy selection of us walking around the city. Narbonne was definitely my favourite of the bigger cities close to where we were staying. The couple with us in the pics are Justin and Sara (Lotte’s sister). We just found out that Sara will be coming to visit us in Australia soon after we get back!

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