Sunday, 27 February 2011


Hi Guys,
Been busy and quiet since OZ (serious post holiday blues! - Will explain more soon!) I'm off to Suffolk tomorrow with some friends so I won't be able to check my blog/messages until next weekend.

BUT next Saturday I'm involved in World Book Night. WBN is a celebration of books and reading and on March 5th 20,000 volunteers will be giving out special editions of 25 selected titles to anyone they wish to encourage reading on a huge scale!

I'm one of the 20,000 givers and I have 48 books at my disposal to give away. I chose a book called Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes - simply because I love all of her novels.

So I'm interested to see who's reading this!! I'm giving away 5 copies of the book to readers on here 2 international and 3 in the UK. There's no catch all you have to go is e-mail me at with your name and address and I will pick at random those who'll receive a copy of Rachel's Holiday.

Speak in a week.
L x

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Mount Coot-tha

Sunday – our last full day in OZ! As much as I love my family and friends, this was the final day; I really had to old back a genuine sadness. Still wanting to make the most of it here, we caught a bus up Mount Coot-tha, a mountain second as a district of Brisbane about 287 metres above sea level.

Although there isn’t a huge amount to do at the top of the mountain the views were stunning, looking back at the city that we had only left 25 minutes earlier only compounded how massive and diverse the terrain in Australia is!
View from Mount Coot-tha!
There are two eateries on Mount Coot-tha a small family cafe and a rather posh restaurant aptly called the Summit. We had a drink at the former before heading back down the mountain to the Botanical Gardens and Planetarium. Today seemed like the hottest day since we had arrived and even I was slightly stifled by the humidity, but the clouds threatened a welcome storm that we hoped would cool everything down.

And so it did! Whilst we were wandering amongst Bonsai tree’s and 6 foot Cacti the heavens opened We were drenched; drowned rats were an understatement! Again still not wanting the waste the day we carried on, me with a puddle forming in my wheelchair seat, Mike with shoes and socks off wandering through the gardens paths - which now resembled mini rivers.

Within two hours everything (apart from my chair seat and butt!) had dried, in fact we had started to burn again! Poor old Mike was a brave man taking me around those gardens, on a mountain, in that heat. I swear he must have lost half a stone!

The planetarium was closed so we headed home; back down straight to the pool to cool off and timed just right we watched the sun go down – perfect.

In the apartment we made up any leftovers so as not to waste and throw it all away the next morning. We had just contemplated the task of packing when the phone rang. It was Jenna and Brian asking if we wanted to go up Mount Coot-tha, although having just returned from there 3 hours previous we still said yes, delaying packing and squeezing one last exclusion out of the trip.

Mount Coot-tha was just as stunning at night, there was a clear sky and the stars bid us farewell as did Jen and Brian who are due to move into their lovely new home in a weeks’ time – Good Luck guys and thanks!

Monday Morning we were up at 6am to pack and clean the apartment, both done whilst dragging my feet, the only consolation was that it was raining, “ha!” I thought “I had all the good weather now I’m off!” – Bitter much!

We spent most of the day in Mike’s office, our haven since we had to check out by 10am. We had lunch with Mike’s boss (pizza place that only makes square – and very delicious pizzas) we were in the airport by 6 and had 5hrs to kill until our flight, I have the most annoying habit of saying things like “this is the last meal in OZ, this is the last time I need the loo in Oz” – much to Mike’s annoyance!

Our flights home were without any trouble or incident until London, when we had a minor glitch, and our 6 hours in Singapore were mainly used up sleeping and seeing the butterflies again.

We landed in Heathrow at 7pm and that was the slap back to reality when the airport couldn’t find my wheelchair! Turns out it had been wandered round on the upper deck for half an hour – doh!

L x


Thankfully waking with minimal side effects from our night at the Jazz night, on Saturday Mike and I decided to go into the CBD’s shopping district which is also home to the cities very own botanical gardens too. It had dawned on me how close to home time was, I vowed to make the most of the weekend.

The gardens had been flooded in January like the rest of Brisbane, so some areas where taped off, but what we did see was beautiful! Huge tree’s that were so big the branches had grown “legs” down into the ground to support them, there were lots of little pathways and nooks lined with the occasional picnic area and gazebos.

One thing I have noticed since being on OZ is that everyone’s so healthy! We were constantly in the path of runners and cyclists, their new year’s resolutions are sticking it seems lol! We also bumped into a training class for Seeing Eye dogs for the blind a dozen or so puppy Golden Retrievers had me pining for Pyro (my Jack Russell who we had to re-home last summer).

After our trek, we headed into the town for some souvenir shopping; there are many Australia themed shops ready for sentimental and somewhat tacky fools like myself. We sat and listened to various buskers who coincidently sound better than half the finalists from any TV talent shows, in fact we ended buying one of their CD’s – a duo called the The Firetree – think Adele crossed with James Morrison.

We got home just after 4 and headed for the apartments pool and spa, Mike then attempted to get a tan since he only had what he called a farmers one, but he can’t sit still for long and gave up after half an hour. I have loved the heat in OZ, I’ve had to take around half of the medication I was at home and because of the lowered pain I’ve been in, I'm sleeping so much better without rude spasms disturbing my beauty sleep! I wonder what the cold UK will do to me.

L x

Monday, 7 February 2011

Jazz baby!

Wednesday and Thursday were quiet and chilled in the apartment, we cooked dinner and watched season three of How I met your Mother – legend… wait for it…. dary!

I had started to notice a significant reduction in well… fat on my butt and cellulite and an increase in tan! There will be no picture’s to prove any of this, but I’m definitely going to have to either earn a bucket load and buy and new house with pool, move to Australia or join a local water aerobics class…. The latter I feel would be most appropriate at this moment in time… I feel living out here in a serviced apartment has given me a sense of unfounded grandeur lol!

Friday evening was so much fun. I was quite nervous as we were going out with Mike’s work mates, the other half of them that I hadn’t met on my first day here.

We met in a bar/restaurant called Freestyle in Fortitude Valley, we’d had dinner before we arrived so why the other noshed on mezze platters and tapas I enjoyed an Apple Mojito, only one mind, the aforementioned lack of gall bladder and my hurling capacity had already been tested I wasn’t about to embarrass myself in front of a collective I.Q of a million… (probably!). The inevitable geological chat came up (really should take a short course or read a Dummies guide so I know what Mike does!) but I wasn’t made to feel stupid or boring. I always apologies for not having a job, regardless if I have a valid reason or not…. Self confidence issues I feel!

After cocktails we went to the Australian Legions club for a jazz evening. We were seeing the Caxton Street Jazz band. They usually play on the South bank… i.e. flooded!

The Caxton’s are a 7 piece band formed in 1977 (Karen – they know of Digby and Tony!). Mike not being a jazz fan at all (his only experience of live jazz was on a ferry from France – enough said!) I was worried he would suffer and bleed from his ears. I on the other had had googled and youtubed the band and couldn’t wait – right up my street. My granddad and Nan (Dad’s) where both jazz fans I have listened to Louis, Billie and Miles since I was young through their influence.

The band where fantastic! Even Mike enjoyed it! I was chilled beyond belief by the end. There was a moment of clarity when I realized I was in Oz, listening to jazz, beer in hand surrounded by Geologists and thought it was one of my more random evenings!

The gig finished and I went to meet the band and mention the Piano Pavilion and my Jazz related contacts at home, I bought one of their CD’s and refrained from asking them to sign it, I’m always such a groupie without the sex!

Thinking we would all go home at this point, Mike followed the group (and I not having the faintest idea which direction home was!) and we were again outside Freestyle, this time for desert! Huge ice creams and baked goods laidened the table I had to stop myself from passing round my camera so that they could all take photos of these sugared artworks.

We made it home around midnight – not drunk, food still inside my stomach and for once only three pictures taken… I think I was just happy keeping this random night to myself!

L x

Oh the shame!

I didn't think I’d have much to report this week. Again I have been proven wrong! Monday I was recovering from the day trips to the Sunshine and Gold Coasts.  When Mike got home from work he suggested we went to have a mosey around the city and see some of the sights.

This started at the river and Story Bridge, took some very “artistic” photo’s of the night time skyline and some of the damage caused by the floods. We walked in the center of town to attempt to find a Mexican restaurant that Mike had been to on his last trip here. This turned into a 2 hour marathon, as Mike hates not finding places and values his inner map or pigeon’s instinct as we call it. In the end my ratty mood indicated that I couldn’t care less about the Mexican and just wanted food – damn it!
Story Bridge
In the end we found a Mexican take away, where I had the best Tacos I’d ever eaten, sod the fancy restaurant when I could have steak, beauties for $7!

To this day… a week on from then we still haven’t found that restaurant!

Tuesday Mike’s University friends that I mentioned on Aussie Day took us to Kangaroo Point where barbeques line the streets as casually as the tree’s do at home! We’d funny enough bought Kangaroo to try amongst chicken and steaks. Skippy meat is a richer version of beef steaks, I recommend only eating very small amounts at a time! We tried to have it for dinner a few days later only to feel very sick!

Anyway, Jenna and Brian had bought their friend Jono. Since I had now met the Jen and Brian a couple of times before I was beginning to relaxed around them, chatting, eating, watching the bats stretch their wings over the river, when laughing became my down fall.

Having cleared up, finishing our drinks, Mike started impersonating a limp sounding police siren… I being the ever cool, proceeded to comically spray my drink over him, started to choke on what had made it down my windpipe and throw up leaning over the side of my wheelchair – oh the shame! It may not have the best impression but I made one never the less!

When we hadn’t heard from them till a lot later in the week, I was beginning to suspected I had offend them with my uncouth act, when Mike reminded me that he had seen them and visa versa in states a million times worse at Uni!

L  x

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Australia Zoo!!

6am on Sunday and I positively leap (ok so more limped) out of bed! Why? Because we were visiting Australia Zoo, Home of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin until his tragic death in 2006. Today the zoo is ran by his wife Terri, their children Bindi, Robert and their 600 strong staff! I was a fan of Steve’s work during his TV career; you could help but be enthralled but his enthusiasm and genuine love for wildlife.

I could not wait to get (both!) cameras out and flex my photography muscles! Trouble was my digital point and click hadn’t charged and my SRL camera suddenly needed a “scan and fix” and would only take 200 snaps! To the average traveller that should be enough but my nickname Tamagotchi – The Japanese Tourist, just shows this is an usually small amount of frames for me! I had no choice but to take pictures then cull leaving the best ones behind – hate this because even the worst of pictures can be brilliant.

Anyway, the Brisbane trains where working perfectly, I kind of missed my V.I.P bus from the day before (see The Surfers Pardise post). When we got to Beerwah Station, Australia Zoo’s own fleet of complementary coaches took us from station to park. These weren’t accessible coaches though.

Camera, map, water and credit card (it’s not the cheapest day out!) in hand we set about planning our route to see all the shows and feeds along the way. We soon gathered that geckos and various other lizards are the English equivalent pigeons, they’re everywhere, and I found myself even a day later checking the floor as I didn’t want to run any reptiles over!

First show was the Otter feed, three cute females begged for their breakfast like puppies, I thought how cuddly they looked only to find out they’re mean little biters! Next on the agenda was feeding Elephants, grin permanently fixed in the queue I fed the bloody huge Sabu. I will never get over seeing these (and ones I’ve seen before) such gentle and yet staggeringly massive animals that always look endearingly sad.

Me and Sabu
Sufficiently slobbered on we moved on to the giant tortoise enclosure, they aren’t kidding with the giant; I didn’t think they were real at first and contrary to belief they can move quite fast! The two we saw had the most ingenious names – Goliath and Igloo two Aldabran Tortoise’s.

We made our way through the lizard section, bird enclosures and the petting zoo fairly quickly, not that I don’t appreciate these equally as wonderful animals; I was here for the big boys and the Aussie animals!

In the main stadium of the zoo we settled to watch the bird, snake and crocodile show, despite the fact you know these are highly trained people you can’t help but flinch when a 1320lb croc called Agro snaps at his trainers arm and foot! I always think that if these were the smaller of the dinosaurs, we were in trouble with the others, walking through the crocs secure enclosure made me nervous enough!
Rather him than me!
We had lunch at the Zoo but I wouldn’t recommend it, their salads were limp and their sandwiches were soggy, I kept to drinking tons of water all day instead.

After lunch we must have spent a good hour flitting between the Koala bear and Kangaroo’s! This is what Australia Zoo was about! The Kangaroo’s roam around a massive pen that you freely walk around in (with strict guide lines that you’d expect i.e. no touching their pouches) there’s a Roo vending machine so that you can sit amongst them all feeding the red and greys. They’re so gentle and my second highlight of the day.

Coming first has to be my holding a Koala Bear called Kramer, we had our picture taken with him and Mike later on stroked and chatted to one called Coco. We went to the Koala show mid afternoon and I was horrified to find out that if these creatures aren’t looked after in the wild they will be extinct within two years – can you believe it? I’ve fallen in love with them, I can’t imagine coming back to OZ and them not being here or now showing any of my future children these beautiful darlings.
Just chillin'

The rest of the day we wander round seeing Dingo’s, Wombats, red panda’s, tigers, Tasmanian devils amongst others although ironically for their stature we managed to miss and couldn’t find the giraffes!

Just before we left we wanted to see the onsite hospital where there is an antenatal ward, as well as two open operating theatres that you can see the procedures taking place in, my weak stomach was thankful that there was no such animal in need at that time although I was bewildered to see a long necked turtle being examined, I’ve never seen or heard of one of these, must have sounded like a complete div asking what the hell it was!

On the way home 200 photos happier, I struggled to stay awake yet again, Mike said I looked like a happy child blearily looking out of the train window on the way home, all I needed was a face covered in ice cream and the picture would have been complete and funny enough it was the only day so far I’ve not had any!

L x

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


Go here and read a piece I've written on depression for my collumn @ and let me know what you think?

Ta x

Surfers Paradise

After my Uncle had left Mike and I decided that hadn’t eaten enough in the last week lol!! Of course I am kidding; I had thought I might lose weight feasting on fresh salads and barbequing lean treats, but so far despite my gym visits and pool laps I believe I may have gained a few pounds amongst the ice cream and my new love of Cherry Ripe (think of a Bounty only cherry flavoured). Do tans have a slimming effect? We decided to head out.

As Mike and I have both been lazy enough never to learn and pass our driving tests before now, we strolled through the CBD to the train station, having bought our tickets and made our way to the platform we heard an announcement that there were replacement buses as 5 stations tracks were being repaired. My heart sank! This, in the UK is when I get told to sort out my own taxis as the buses can’t have wheelchairs on them and asked if I can try to walk or offered to be carried around. This is reminiscent of a time we travelled from Southend to Hastings for Mike’s Nan’s Birthday dinner. Our rail service was so unorganised and unsympathetic to disabled travel that it took us 7hrs to do a 3hour train journey (or 1 1/2hr car ride – must get my license very soon!!).

We were approached by a lovely Aussie customer service advisor who said she’d seen us, called ahead and if there were no accessible buses they would call a taxi for us for no charge. To be honest I thought I’d still be asked to get up at some point (I can, but it hurts and why should I if that’s the case!). The Aussie trains are great there are space for 6 wheelchairs and enough seating for carers to be sat next to each one, plus there is a platform attendant for every 2 platforms ready to help you with a ramp and inform the conductor where you’re going!

We arrived at the midway point and went to the car park where we were asked to sit under a gazebo whilst they sorted out the crowds first. We watched in amazement as a couple of hundred people were directed, helped and seated on to 4 fully air conditioned coaches within 3 minutes! Something I’ve seen London Underground fail miserably at after 30+ minutes!

Next our turn... we were left rather smug and eating our words all at the same time when a 40 seated bus rocked up for Mike and I, yup for no one else just us! The ramp flopped out on to the pavement and on we got still looking for the other people that should have been filling these seats! Absolutely amazing; our transport services have so much to learn! The whole thing was repeated with ease on the way back.

Where's Wal.... Lynsey....  our V.I.P bus!
Back to our food quest; we headed for the Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise and Australia’s only Hard Rock Cafe’. Mike being the man of the world that he is, had been to many of the other HR cafe’s before, this was only my second to London. The food (and cocktails) were immense in size and taste! We shared Nachos with all the trimmings, Mike had the Aussie Burger – huge amounts of beef and a fried egg I had their beef brisket on toast with BBQ beans – I’m salivating just typing this! The staff at the Hard Rock are so effortlessly cool, tattooed and pierced! I have a few friends who would fit in very well there! (Mr and Mrs Bootz!)
Even their branded ketchup it totally awesome!
After eating we had a chat with a HR merchandise seller called Cherry, she told us to head to the Q1 building, a 78 story skyscraper two blocks away, where you could pay to go to the viewing deck on the 77th floor and so we did! It was fantastic! The views of the Pacific Ocean, the coast line and city were amazing, when I get too excited I giggle and clap (if I didn’t look “special” enough already!) and there was a lot of that going on! Apart from flying this was the highest I’ve ever been about ground and your ears actually pop on the way up, which subsequently only takes 43 seconds from 1st to 77th floor! My camera got a real work out!
The Q1
After heading back to Earth we made our way to the beach we had being admiring from above, the tide was coming in so we couldn’t stay long, the beaches were white and stunning, and the sky couldn’t have been bluer - lots more photos taken!

The View from Q1
We were obviously still starving after our Dunch (like brunch only between dinner and lunch!) I spotted a Baskin and Robin ice cream shop... have you noticed a cold creamy pattern here? Where we enjoyed ice creams as big as my head!... almost!

Again I came home exhausted and legs so swollen the skin had actually stretched! But it was so worth it all, and we were going on another adventure the next day!....

L xxx