First though, Latest had to interview Andy Flower. I couldn’t resist a squeeze with another of my favourite men – the gentle giant Glenn McGrath. Gosh, haven’t they sung their hearts out today? Well, that’s how I was – packing for my 2 month trip at 0329 after a series of events ( lost prescriptions/ lost dogs/Christmas present deliveries) derailed my planned packing procedures. A spot of shopping was also on the cards – I can scarcely believe I’m admitting this but I actually bought tea towels, oven gloves and serviettes – all pink of course to go with the Aga. Yes, I know I’ve got several, but I’ve worn them already on this trip, and if us Divas want a new frock, we’ll jolly well have one! I won’t spoil the story, but if you want to know how it went, you can read it here. I’m only on page 32 of the book so far, but it is exceptionally funny and I do know how extras are scored and the difference between a bye and a leg bye. A late lunch at a packed and trendy beach cafe dismissed by Latest as “too loud” (he can be such a fuddy duddy) then back to our hotel. Wired up to Paddy with small earpieces, we were regaled with  great stories of the history and ecological environs of Perth. I’m not wishing to complain about the heat, but I did feel that an air conditioned shop or two might just be the answer; after all, I had opened the wardrobe this morning and declared myself bored of all my clothes – after all 2 months is a long time to be away from home. Latest always claims that James was his “fag” at school, and had to warm his toilet seat for him on winter’s mornings. After a morning of sightseeing, what better way to while away a couple of hours than a spot of lunch on the buzzing Southgate area of the city. As we steamed into Williamstown there was a lovely marina with some weekend cruisers that I would look a darling on! The plan was that the two men would get their licences, hire a plane, and fly the two wives to Le Touquet for lunch. So when we bumped into former fast bowler Brett Lee and his immaculately attired wife, in what has become our usual breakfast haunt, I suddenly felt the need to disown him. Tomorrow will be Christmas Eve for us. FYI I tried tiramisu; Anne went for creme brûlée and errant son scoffed mint and butterscotch. If I was at home in The Vale, it would consist of last minute present buying, wrapping (am I the only one to run out of Sellotape and tags?) On the plus side, he has left himself logged into his own Amazon account, so I intend to make a few swift purchases. Anyway, the liner was there when I woke up, and it is still there this evening. Ireland may be out of the World Cup but, my word, the other countries could learn a thing or two from them. Well today they are red and angry and very, very itchy, and my legs are definitely NOT fit to be out on parade, despite entreaties from Sire Geoffrey! It’s all in the detail you know! When in Australia, that just has to be done (note: they are considerably cheaper over here). So, interview completed and filed to London, we took a fast car on a very slow trip to the airport. Finally the splendid Michael collected us in his bus, and deposited the broken bike back to the city centre. 28&29) Biggest surprise of the tour: not killing Latest after 60 days trapped in hotel living. HE on the other hand will just chuck everything wildly into his case…clean shirts jumbled up with stinking gym gear… and head to the fabulous bar in our hotel and order a large Chardonnay. Don’t worry: I do know how very lucky I am. There were old friends and new to meet as the play ebbed and flowed across the day, including Mrs Bob “The cat” Bevan (aka Laura the kitten) –  now there’ s a woman who loves wearing pink almost as much as me! I really want to see Luke battle his dad in a one-on-one map reading challenge. The sight of 200 or so gregarious youngsters playing in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall must be quite something and I’m only sorry that we were a bit early in the season to see it. This afternoon  I reverted to my natural habitat..the shops! On Heirisson Island is a statue to commemorate Yagan, a courageous Nyoongar tribal leader, and, in Forrest Place, a popular artwork depicts two snakes fighting. If you think it’s glamorous being on tour with the BBC’s cricket correspondent, think on. Adelaide. The good news is that it means an extra two days at leisure with Latest – if that can be viewed as good news! for which he was fined £1000. Also queuing was Stuart Broad’s stepfather Nick. When Latest staggers in at around 7pm, he’s usually hot, tired, grumpy and all talked out. 41) My biggest failure in 60 days is to fully understand the LBW rule. The good news was that the new bridge leading from our hotel to the Oval was – if not exactly finished – open for business . To be continued. Glenn McGrath, of course. How wrong we were. Well done everyone – MND is a wicked disease and claimed the life of my first husband. Today, I was reminded Easter is just three weeks away as the. Some have been at Alice Springs and they said the locals gave them a tremendous welcome but the three hour plane delay on the way out nearly finished them off. Firstly, a hideously early alarm call so we could head off for a cricketing breakfast with the University of Queensland Cricket Club and we staggered, blinking into the early sunlight of a beautiful clear morning. What a life! Today is my last day on the World Cup 2015 Tour. A day return ticket for the 30 minute or so journey. You could have been forgiven it was the first day of the Old Trafford Test rather than the Adelaide test; it was drizzling, grey and positively chilly here this morning. I’m rather liking Brisbane – or Brisvegas as it’s known locally. How lovely to see this friendly and attractive city really buzzing. I’ve enjoyed Melbourne; I think the man who told me that it was easier to understand the city when you lived there rather than as a visitor made a fair point. Anyway, back to reality and I’m in the hotel waiting for Latest to return; his text reads: ” Get your blog done. Caves - yes! He loved it and was even allowed to ring the bell to get the bus to stop because he behaved so well (although he had to fight a small child for the honour). The bridge pretty much reflected the stadium; it’ll be lovely when it’s finished! And that’s when my holiday really starts. So here’s my take on yesterdays massacre (quote the BBC cricket correspondent). Forty nine hours on a train…eight hours off for good behaviour (sightseeing), 3000 kilometres, too much excellent food and wine and no rows to report. The clarity and colour of the water is unbelievable and photos just don’t do it justice. I’m never sure whether he genuinely thinks it’s a term of endearment, or whether he just can’t remember my name. We had a great night out with another branch of our adopted “Aussie” family yesterday. The walk takes about an hour at our pace, and it just sets you up for the day with that: “It’s great to be alive,” kind of feeling. With that, I retreated to my favoured habitat; the shops. The news of Nelson Mandela’s death spread like wildfire round the breakfast room, And it was great that the entire Oval fell silent at the start of the days play. 33) And low point? Of course 99.9% of the time it’s a wonderful privilege to stay in nice hotels in some of the greatest cities in the world. We had a hire car to collect on arrival and made our way out into wine country, there was a bit of a “moment” when the GPS stopped working and we found ourselves heading confidently in the wrong direction. Carols are sung and mince pies are eaten in the pub; last year Latest kicked off the village sing-song on the piano with his unique rendition of “Once in Royal David’s City”. While we were chatting away, an official appeared with a signed England shirt. The Nortons are one such family. They then returned the favor and took one of Brett and me. Latest isn’t completely out of luck though – I did pop into David Jones (a bit like Harrods) and bought him a little treat from the food hall. And for once, Latest wasn’t even in trouble. He does deserve something for having to watch the England games, doesn’t he? One of the nice things about travelling and making return trips to the same cities, is that you get the chance to make new friends and maintain those relationships over the years. We will almost certainly nip next door for one at our local pub, So this is it: my final full day in this amazing, addictive country. Latest hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory with our evening arrangements, so I decided to take matters into my own hands, do some research, and book a nice casual. Not to be outdone, Latest and I had to join them. We also stopped in Ship Cove, where Captain Cook moored up a number of times to replenish his water supplies and tend to his sailors during his circumnavigation. Optimistic wagers were placed on England regaining the Ashes in 2015 back in England. It looks like you are enjoying your life time moments fully haha. After the emotional roller coaster of today’s performances on the field, I was hoping to let off a little steam tonight. I was utterly appalled to find the view from my table obscured by a hideous cruise liner (!) It was lovely to catch up with a young supporter called Harry and his family. There are no facilities like sun beds and umbrellas to hire, but we were armed with towels, bottles of water, and listened to the cricket as England’s batting crumbled. We finally arrived in Adelaide, following a long, tiresome travelling day. ‘Ah, but bet he rustles up a great meal’, I hear you say. Today the SCG was a vision in pink as spectators, encouraged to don something pink on Jane McGrath Day, came out in support of breast cancer. Susie will be looking after us for the next 50 hours; she was a £10 Pom, and has worked for Great Southern Rail since the Adelaide-Darwin line was finally finished in 2004. Dinner this evening was on Circular Quay – this is the main harbour area in Sydney, sandwiched between the Opera House and the Bridge. Such a relaxing way to travel, don’t you think? I felt that ‘chewing-a-lemon’ expression crossing my face. So there was only one thing for it: walk off the malaise. Listen, I can shop anywhere! So, in 13 hours time Latest, Michael Vaughan and I will be up with the larks and off to The Gabba for an official breakfast with Queensland Cricket, then he will be on air with Test Match Special (0930 Brisbane time 2330 GMT with those of you under the duvet back in the UK). Just as Latest was returning from doing a final interview with Andy Flower, a taxi driver crashed into the side of him. or whatever that album is called. And I wouldn’t put my mortage on it getting there untouched! That clearly passes for entertainment in Alice Springs. I was utterly appalled to find the view from my table obscured by a hideous cruise liner (!) 6) Best luxury trip: travelling in style on the Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide. Wish me luck! The lovely Gemma Broad (team analyst) celebrates a special birthday today. When last here during the Ashes tour, it was pre-Christmas and there was a huge number of inflatable Santas and snowmen adorning Rundle Mall. And I don’t do helicopters. I couldn’t decide which bikini to wear this morning, so I rashly decided to change every time a wicket fell. And so, just a year after the 2 months of Ashes cricket Down Under, I find myself heading to the Antipodes once again. Perhaps I should buy a boxed set to watch if the rain predicted for later in the week actually arrives. Latest went It was nip and tuck whether she’d get here for Christmas; her plane was diverted to Delhi because a fellow passenger had a heart attack and she nearly missed her onward connection. This morning I agreed to indulge my husband; after all, we have had nearly 6 weeks of (almost entirely) marital bliss and it seemed churlish not to go along with his rather “boyish” desires to take a Segway tour. I guess it’s the New Zealand equivalent of a roadside cafe with a view. Feeling pretty chipper, I waved Latest off to work for the England Sri Lanka game. It’s always great fun reading the local paper when abroad: in Brisbane it’s the Courier Mail. Back at our hotel to begin packing, and Latest spotted John Cleese in reception. You can get on at all the major City centre attractions, such as Parliament House, Flinders St. Station and the Docklands – or you can just stay on as it trundles slowly round the loop (about an hour in total) which is exactly what I did. Work done, it was time for the festivities to begin. This morning we were up with the larks, preparing for our flight to Perth. And the Cottesloe Beach Club for sundowners. for which he was fined £1000. POST Newspaper for 30th of January, 2016 - Free download as PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free. Now it’s easy to become a bit confused with all the wines you’re sampling during a long dinner…but I think I loved the Riesling and Chardonnay…..disliked the Semillon (described by Stephen as a “complex” wine, which probably explains it) and simply adored the world famous Hill of Grace Shiraz. This is when one curses hotel living. Our swimming pool was transformed into an Hawaiian party, complete with palms, coconut wearing hula hula girls and a huge number of cocktails with umbrellas in them. In our case, it was Bondi. There are so many experts – both official and unofficial – chewing over the cricket performances; all I can say to those of us lucky enough to be escaping the weather back home is that it could be worse. I also know exactly what I’d like for Christmas. 43) And that Australia is the best place to get bitten by a venomous snake because their fangs are small and the medical treatment is good. The humiliation. I’m not sure he was in any particular hurry to return home. Not to be outdone, Latest and I had to join them. Guess who won. They say these things come in threes, and I’m afraid I threw my first tantrum of the tour. of the city is, yep, a building site as they develop a new hospital and medical research centre. And talking of my home county, it was a bit of a Leicester reunion in hospitality today. I still can’t get my head round seeing Santas and snowmen in 30 degrees of heat. If we are doing badly, then equally it’s important to move around swapping companions and hopefully bring about a change of energy and luck. I’ll spare all the fli... February 19, 2019       Brett and I made it to Melbourne! This year I happen to be celebrating a significant birthday. The great news is that if you’re going to be bitten by a snake, make sure it’s in Australia. Anyway, I’m a bikini and a sundress heavier than when we checked in for our last flight, but I reckon that’s offset against the toiletries I’ll use before our NEXT flight. We fully expected central Adelaide to be shut; it was a Sunday night, after all. Captain Jason had some wonderfully laconic stories to tell during the cruise, and was also a mine of information; for instance, that small area represents 20% of New Zealand’s total coastline. We are nearly half way to Adelaide – and that is our last scheduled stop. Poor old Valeria is spending her first weeks of married life with her husband at work commentating. It’s much quieter in the hotel today; many of the supporters have flown home for Christmas and others, who are here for the final two Tests over Christmas and New Year, haven’t yet arrived. Kerry always accused him of “batting above his average” when he married me. This year we thought we would do something different: we are off to the Opera House. It is amazing how communication has changed over the years; in the early days of touring, Jonathan was allowed to make one call a week. A flurry of paperwork/pictures being taken and heated words ensued then, in a supportive wifely move, I left him to it. That meant only one thing. It was a day packed with emotion; time to say goodbye to Latest’s fellow broadcaster on the ABC, Kerry O’Keeffe. If I was at home in The Vale, it would consist of last minute present buying, wrapping (am I the only one to run out of Sellotape and tags?) And so it’s goodbye to Adelaide. I spent a lovely couple of hours mooching round the shops…saw the first signs of Christmas with a Santa’s grotto, carols and a stunning Christmas tree adorned with Swarovski crystals. Returning back to the hotel, I found Latest’s humour pretty low, so I managed to play down my delightful exploits and fortunately the effects of the champers had worn off. It turned out that the eagle eyed lifeguards who patrol all the main beaches very diligently, had noticed a change in the currents, and there were two very strong “rips” just off the beach. I think I’m correct in saying we have been in Perth longer than any of the other cities on this tour, and I’ve become very fond of it. We have been invited to stay with friends at an old homestead out near Gawler. He was also a mine of information about Adelaide and clearly loves the city he now calls home. His are #1 Adelaide #2 Perth. Most of those live in the city of Perth, which is also the sunniest city in the world, leaving a huge amount of space with not many people living there! I bought them a local beer then saw them off the premises! Yesterday we were educated about “the Growler” ( I prefer to think of it as a vessel for carrying beer as opposed to the urban dictionary definition) and today it was the infamous “Nin’s Bin”. Oh yes, it’s luxury travel all the way – NOT! It’s official; the best way to experience the Ashes this winter is in the Melbourne sunshine, next to a delightful rooftop swimming pool – but listening on the radio so you can turn it off/call for more wine/ move into the air conditioning when it all gets too much. Adelaide. Actually, he’s so tall I basically just managed to get my arms round his waist, but I think he appreciated the sentiment. It’s a shame that our view was directly opposite the huge empty unfinished stand, giving the impression of the ground being half empty; in fact, the rest of the Oval was pretty much packed to the rafters with plenty of Brits to join in singing the National Anthem. Not for myself, you understand, but I have got to take presents home for the friend looking after my precious cocker spaniel Tino and my daughter had put an order in for a pair of Ugg boots. We just dumped our suitcases and got out amongst it. But that Latest has even made it to the microphone at all this morning is something of a miracle. What a truly amazing adventurer he was, and there’s a terrific part of the museum dedicated to him, including an absorbing documentary about his life. I spent a good deal of window shopping for said pearls yesterday and now understand what to look for in terms of size, shape, lustre, inclusions etc etc. I tuned into the radio commentary to ensure I was gently lulled into an afternoon nap but was rudely awoken by the arrival of the Pakistan team who proceeded to have a fitness workout in the swimming pool. We had a great night out with another branch of our adopted “Aussie” family yesterday. But one thing is for certain, you’ll be hearing all about it during the Adelaide Test Match – that’s unless you hear there’s been a murder on the Great Southern Railway! The answer was no! Nothing short of a miracle! There’s no such thing as a Sunday morning lie-in when you’re on tour. This is like the London sightseeing hop on, hop off red buses, only you don’t have to pay. It was lovely to catch up with a young supporter called Harry and his family. We dined tonight on the Viaduct Harbour. Meanwhile, latest and I are off out with our fellow Howzat travellers tonight – it will be lovely to meet up with Melton Mowbray locals Ian and Leanne Kerr and meet their baby daughter for the first time. But, the spirit of blitz was evident, and – as the majority of the travellers seemed to be British – we patiently queued out of the terminal building. And there we bumped into hundreds of Santas warming up for the annual charity fun run, although I did note that very few had beards! In the meantime, I’m off to brush up on that LBW law, and run through my Barmy Army songbook. I headed off into the Adelaide Hills with my official tour guide for the day, old friend Godfrey. Today when I woke up the sun was shining and I decided to abandon the cricket and head for the beach. In reality it’s $6 for the card then $7 top up. And it’s not 40. Back to work again today for Latest; the final preview day of this tour. I simply don’t believe it. Sadly, not during England’s earlier press conference, where I trotted along, complete with sodden feet, to see Jonathan interview Steve Finn. It was a boiling day at the SCG as we fought our way through the builders and the underground rabbit warren to emerge onto the hallowed pitch to wait for Captain Cook. I felt like the festival ... February 6, 2019 I arrived in Auckland, New Zealand this morning at 9am and goodness was it a whirlwind of a day! We knew that when we heard some hideous band playing outside our bedroom window at 0630 this morning, heralding the official opening. It’s been fun; splendid food and wine, catching up with old friends, naughty days and nights with girlfriends, Today has been the best of days; one of those days when you laugh so hard and so much your stomach hurts! Wow!I love the pictures and all the details about your trip. After all the trials and tribulations of the past couple of days, we considered that the best form of therapy was the beach. Yes, after dinner (and despite the fact we were the only guests remaining) he removed his jacket. 36) And being able to speak to my precious cocker spaniel, Tino, on FaceTime. 49) The best view of Australia is from the left hand window seat flying into Sydney; if the wind direction is right, you get a stonking view of the Harbour. And for once, Latest wasn’t even in trouble. It’s been fun; splendid food and wine, catching up with old friends, naughty days and nights with girlfriends, shopping. Funnily enough, David and I had enough time to slurp back a bottle of Australia’s finest rose, while the professionals, who had to work later gave us disapproving tuts! I’ve met him on a number of occasions and he has always been unfailingly polite. As I’m a fellow journalist, he often asks my professional opinion when he has to handle a potentially controversial or difficult interviewee. Today was a good day to be studying such things and I felt exhausted just watching them, but what a practical life skill to learn. Last night was a riot in the hotel bar. I put my best sulky face on and demanded to travel by tram whatever the cost. The tram service in Melbourne is very efficient, but you can no longer buy tickets on board. Oh dear oh dear – it felt as though nothing had changed from Australia a year ago. Thanks to our splendid little wireless gizmo, we were able to keep up with the cricket during this most eventful of days. Once we were up and out ( and ascertained the alarm had actually been set off by the restaurant next door) we decided we might as well head for our breakfast walk. The Son had pityingly dismissed the suggestion on the grounds that we would all look daft wearing a helmet and a fluorescent jacket – he wasn’t wrong – but I was in the mood to humour Latest. I was extremely cautious (I ride a jet ski as though I’m on a mobility scooter) but I soon found my confidence and we were off! My roguish son is currently at 39 thousand feet on his way out here – if you seen a tall, skinny lad on crutches in Singapore then give him a poke – but the latest (thirsty) members of the Leicestershire mafia, Trevor and Gordon, arrived in our hotel today. Got to love a hotel that has a pillow menu – and in-room massage and beauty treatments with the warning:  NON SEXUAL SERVICE ONLY. Shame about the cricket, but you can’t have everything I suppose. He was born and bought up in Kaikoura so totally understands the shifting weather patterns. Puts a whole new spin on the phrase “talking on the great while telephone”. But it is absolutely beautiful, and it’s like stepping onto the set of Poirot. What an amazing way to see daybreak. He wouldn’t know where the vacuum is even kept in our home back in The Vale, much less be able to turn it on. Tonight we are meeting up with an old friend, Godfrey. The rest, of course, is sporting history, and so the hallowed turf of the SCG had to witness him performing his moves. There was a group of 3 girls who wanted their picture taken. What started off as a few words to keep in touch with family back at home has turned into a lot of fun. It was a night with the hardcore Barmies; that is, those who are travelling with the Barmy Army for the full 5 Tests. I just stalked ahead of him and pretended I didn’t know him (you get picture) although my cover was somewhat blown by a number of people asking if I’d recovered from my traumatic bike ride to Henley the other day. It also means I get the chance to visit some amazing parts of the world. And anyway, they were cheap compared to the haircut that Latest had; the ratio of dollar to hair made it the most expensive thing we’ve paid for on this trip! Talk about a busman’s holiday! Say what you will about the man though – and I hear what you say about his self-publicity – but you’ve got to admire someone who is prepared to face Brett Lee’s balls, even if Latest tells me the result was very painful. Dan circled the helicopter round and round, just 500 feet above the water. A brisk stroll round the vines (why are some netted and others not?) Glasses were raised for the forthcoming marriage of ABC commentator Jim Maxwell and his wife to be, Jen. Being the perfect wife (for two months only, remember!) To my enormous surprise and pleasure, youngest daughter had got engaged – boyfriend (clearly mad, drunk or both) had got down on one knee in front of his family and popped the question. ), and our pal Pam Nash (@Pam_nAshes) will be filing some words and pictures into my blog tomorrow to give a contrasting view of the day. And then we were off again – to possibly the most iconic city in the world; Sydney. to treat myself to an iPad mini where the biggest decision was, of course, the colour of the case. Especially with the water right next to it. It has a grass airstrip right in the city centre; Langley Park. So this year, Christmas Eve won’t be quite the same. So, it was with a certain amount of horror that I saw the word “treehouse” as we turned off the road into Hapuku. It’ll be my first trip to the SCG tomorrow – I’m going to drive, negotiating Sydney traffic. There were a couple of nasty moments; firstly as we bumped through the clouds into Auckland and then as we walked to the terminal in a cloudburst. Nothing short of a miracle! 35) Best bit about being married to a techno geek is being able to watch the Downton Abbey Christmas Special beamed in direct to Oz from our bedroom in The Vale. Now I’m sure you’ve been losing sleep over the state of my 44+ mozzie bites? But he looked surprisingly sprightly when he arrived at our hotel this morning; well, as sprightly as someone can who hobbles in on crutches. What an absolutely perfect day it’s been today. We have seats at literally the best venue in the world. It could be our first row, too. For the first time since 2001 there’s an all woman team competing in a pink – or magenta as they prefer to call it – boat. As a complete beginner, I found the experience absolutely exhilarating, particularly as the wind picked. Time for a quick change and we were off again, this time to meet the new sponsors of the England cricket team (a well known supermarket, others are available of course) Latest and I spent a most agreeable evening with old friends Sir Michael and Lady Mary Parkinson. You could have been forgiven it was the first day of the Old Trafford Test rather than the Adelaide test; it was drizzling, grey and positively chilly here this morning. 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Western grey kangaroos that live there in reception are routinely taught life saving and water skills! The premises day of the competition is that, I sent Latest for first!