At long, long last! Here we have a selection of photos from the time around my wedding, including all sorts of craziness – from hamsters to camels to giant cardboard underpants! The credit for most of these pictures goes to Roo (who persuaded me to buy her a camera so large it practically needs its own passport). On the upside, this means we actually HAVE some photos, as if it was left to me we probably wouldn’t. On the downside it means I have to take all her hair products and most of her underwear in my backpack, to make room for the camera accessories in hers. Which has given me a few strange looks in Customs, I can tell you…
NOTE: If you click on an image to view it full-size, you’ll have to hit your ‘back’ button to get back to the gallery – if you close the picture, you’ll close this website too! Best way I find is to right click the picture and choose the ‘Open in New Window’ option. At Home in England
I arrived back in England separately from Roo – unfortunately, as it left her wide open to the Immigration people, who gave her a serious grilling. Luckily, she was allowed into the country (phew!) – under strict instructions NOT to get married here…
For anyone who doesn’t already know her – this is Roo!
Here’s Mum. See, I told you she was a nurse!
The sky at my parents’ place does some truly beautiful things.
When the birds migrate, they do it from directly behind my parents’ house, apparently.
Burnham-on-Sea beach – not quite Bondi, is it?
Proof positive that one CAN sell one’s body to medical science – and for quite a handsome profit, too! This is the only evidence I have… well, unless you count this strange twitch I seem to have developed…
We did other things that year, too. Roo took up metal detecting, and spent a lot of time digging up my parents’ back garden!
We got to ride on THIS! It’s a Sea Tractor, and it crosses the tidal estuary to Burgh Island in Devon.
Roo was bereft, discovering her favourite snack – Mi Goreng noodles – wasn’t available in England! So naturally, we imported them by the box-load.
For some reason they didn’t let us take photos of my penis operation. This is my dramatic reconstruction…
…and this is what they left me with. Believe me – you do not want to put this in your mouth…
Me, about to decapitate this lovely (but space-gobbeling) tree – with my machete, of course 🙂
This is the Land Of Indeterminate ownership, which my parents are trying to claim. Now without the tree, which made a nice support for this rather nice-looking table…
Releasing a hedgehog, which we had to take in after I stood on it. In bare feet… Not even as much fun as it sounds!
I… have no explanation at all for this photo. Please move along!
The search for our dream wedding venue was frustrated by insanely-high rental prices.”Oh wow! Tony, can we get married here?” “No.”
“Lots of couples get married in our Orangery.”
Well, at those prices, we aren’t going to be one of them.
We even asked about getting married in this gorgeous old building in Taunton. You’d never know it, but it has a Costa Coffee in the ground floor!
Ah, the medieval bus-stop! Not really what we were looking for…
I tried many different shirts, before eventually asking Mum to make me one from scratch! This one hung weirdly – and was black. But otherwise perfect… 🙂
“Oh Tony, it’s perfect!”
(Cost to rent: exactly double our entire wedding budget. Not including food or drink. Or licence. Or celebrant. Or musicians…)
“This place is gorgeous too…”
Figuring we could get married for free in a natural forest environment, we went hiking in search of the perfect place. We found lots of beautiful spots, but none that were suitable.
We did however find a smashed-open safe half buried in the deep woods!
We quickly discovered that along with picturesque trees, forests also have a lot of mud.
This was the best-looking tree we found on our hike. It would have been perfect – if it wasn’t an hour’s hard hike from the nearest road…
This pretty grove looked promising – until we counted how many people were walking their dogs through it. In February. On a sunny day in July, we’d be inundated!
Amongst other venues, we even considered Stonehenge, and took a trip to look at it. Sadly, they don’t allow weddings here anymore.
The grounds of Taunton Castle, which we thought would be perfect for our alternative wedding ceremony…
…until we spotted this. Castle closed for renovation?!
A week later, when we came back to check on things… this is what we found.
We snuck around the back and saw this – the inside courtyard of the castle. A week after we’d decided to get married there. Guess what? Not happening…!
But then we sneaked on a little further… and found this! A small, secluded little garden, invisible from the outside! It was perfect.
Another view of the Secret Garden… the bench is where we could see the altar going.
Looking the other way across the Secret Garden, which used to be part of the old castle moat. Hard to believe, but on the other side of those trees (and a sturdy wall) is the main shopping street of Taunton!
Upstairs at the Winchester wasn’t too bad, but a little basic for our tastes. Downstairs, however, was perfect.
We took quite a gamble with the weather – if it had been raining, we would have had to get married in here!
This is where the D-based humour started – home-made wedding invites!
The finished invites! We were blown away by how good they looked. And I only lost a pint of blood in the process!
A test-run of the altar – note the lovely cast-iron legs from my parents’ bird bath…
Look what arrived! Actually… what the hell did arrive? Any guesses? Yup – them’s me boots 😉
We did a dry-run of our outfits at a medieval banquet in aid of our next-door neighbours – a badger sanctuary called Secret World
The whole family came! Although they had to rent their outfits.
It was Roo’s idea to hire a bear suit to promote my book launch… personally, I think she had an ulterior motive
“Don’t take your head off,” Roo said to Mum, “you’ll frighten the children!”
We visited the beach, briefly. All the lifeguards wanted to get into Gill’s pants…
This group of rowdy teenagers suddenly wanted to pose with the bear, once they knew there was a hot chick inside of it!
Kids LOVED the bear! Which was a shame, as my book is not exactly child-friendly.
I did my bit to help, of course. Not being inside the bear made me available to talk to passers by. Unfortunately.
The whole crew poses outside Waterstones (bookshop) – with Mum still bearing all.
Roo’s birthday present that year has gone down in history as one of my better decisions! Although it rapidly got out of hand, Roo’s hamster obsession gave her endless joy – and kept her busy while I put the finishing touches to ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’ Anyone not interested in hamsters may feel free to skip this gallery – I can’t say I’d blame you! For those poor lost souls who identify with Roo’s craze, read on – but beware! Cuteness will ensue.
Roo’s birthday pressie unboxed. But this was only the beginning…
Roo with Violet Crumble
Violet’s cage soon expanded into a double-storey, with a few optional extras…
A close-up shows how as Violet’s cage expanded, gaffer tape had to be used to reinforce the more ambitions joins…
More Rotastak arrives…
And then MORE?!?!
Roo spent quite a lot of time in the bathroom, washing every piece!
Spilling onto the floor now, Violet’s cage underwent considerable expansion. Again.
As it grew into a tri-level structure, the cage had to be reconfigured to go back onto the dresser. And a stool. And the floor…
And then it all got a little out of hand. The dresser had to go. Violet’s cage in the wedding era took up more space that our bed! And bear in mind, this luxury pad is all for one hamster…
Roo was delighted with how tame Violet became
Roo feeding Violet
Violet delighted in exploring places we never even thought to block off – in this case, the glass front of the oven door!
TWO new hamsters arrive to take up residence: Hedgehog, and tiny Licky, whose nose is just visible here!
Hedgehog! Sitting so calmly, you would never think he could bite right through the hand that feeds him. But he did. And I loved him anyway!
Licky loved to see if he could get his entire body through the hole where the water bottle attaches. Plus, he knew we’d feed him when we saw him doing this!
Hedgehog scoffing some grub. he was a voracious feeder, a snatcher and a horder. But just look at those big bulging eyes!
Hedgehog grew to be perfectly round – as illustrated by him sitting in his favourite spot, his food dish!
Now, there’s quite a lot of these! Because Jordan (the country) is amazing. If ancient history and big-assed ruined columns aren’t your thing, feel free to scroll past these! Otherwise, you might be here for a while…
The bidet in the Burj al Arab hotel proved that random buttons shouldn’t be pressed!
Wild, city-dwelling rabbits in Amman
Amman, seen from the vantage point of its ancient Citadel, was rather… brown.
Big columns – with Mum to scale 🙂
I couldn’t help but practise a few jumps between the Citadel’s crumbling stone blocks.
The intricacy of the 2000 year-old carving on this fallen stone lintel is incredible.
Amman Ampitheatre was absolutely vast. Hard to believe it’s over 2,000 years old and still standing in the centre of a bustling modern city.
Atmospheric shot up the steps of Amman Amphitheatre, showing how steep they are!
Apparently Moses struck the rock with his staff here, and water came forth. Along with fast-food cartons, it seems.
The place of John the Baptist’s ministry. Anyone fancy a dunking?
Even I could float in the salt-rich Dead Sea!
The opportunity to cover myself head to toe in Dead Sea mud was impossible to resist…
The best part was Roo’s reaction when I left my mark on her…
The Roman Soldier Tactical Demonstration in Jerash was actually pretty good.
The chariot race was by far the most dramatic part of the Roman Experience!
Roo prepares to be executed, in the pose I nick-named ‘the Mother-in-Law’
The chance to ride in a chariot in Jerash was well worth paying the bribe!
The circular Roman Plaza in Jerash was big enough to turn a 747 around in.
Roo poses with a huge column, trying to show a sense of its… girth!
The carving – seen here on a lintel of the Temple to Aphrodite – was incredibly detailed, and often completely intact.
Another day, another amphitheatre… this one in Jerash is smaller, but almost completely intact. We could even go into the tunnels inside it!
I never could resist the temptation to get high…
A particularly photogenic set of steps in Jerash, buckled by the passage of time and local geological activity.
Me, lounging against another column in Jerash. There were many – and I think we photographed all of them…
This enormous archway in Jerash was just one of many – in perfect condition, and mind-bogglingly enormous!
This doorway to nothing was typical of the semi-complete nature of the ruins of Jerash
This bloke (who isn’t me, sadly) was part of the renovation team at Kerak Castle
All that castle renovation obviously required a strong workforce… and a LOT of wheelbarrows!
The interior of Saladin’s anti-Crusader castle at Kerak was an epic essay in the art of stonemasonry.
We spotted this outlet set into the thick stone wall of Kerak Castle. So that’s how Saladin defeated the Crusaders!
In the hotel in Madaba I fulfilled a lifelong fantasy of discovering an elevator that actually has that hatch they climb out of in action movies!
The walkways protect the priceless mosaic floor in this Madaba church
But then the guard asked us for a bribe, and was happy to let us walk around on it.
This impressive mosaic Map of the Know World helped archeologists identify key sites in Biblical-era Jordan.
Sitting in Madaba – on a perfectly preserved stretch of Roman Road.
We never even found out if the Madaba Costume Museum was even open, but we had a look round – and Roo climbed into an empty case to pose, of course.
The vastness of Wadi Mujib would give the Grand Canyon a run for its money. Actually, it would swallow it whole.
The road through Wadi Mujib could be seen curving away below us.
The ‘Canyon of the Crescent Moon’, from indiana Jones – proper name, ‘The Siq’.
As we came to the end of the Siq, we were rewarded with a sliver of the Treasury
In one of the most dramatic reveals on the planet, the Siq then opened out, showing us a little more…
And finally, the most famous building in Petra, the magnificent Treasury, was revealed!
Petra is famous for the Treasury building, but there are HUNDREDS of other tombs cut into the solid rock.
Although the tombs in Petra were essentially empty stone chambers, some used the natural colouration of the rock to stunning effect.
A friendly-looking camel chilling out in Petra!
The Bedouin-run souvenir stalls lined almost the entirety of Petra, selling fake antiques, beads and handicrafts.
A convenient picnic niche in Petra, carved like the tombs out of the rock – albeit slightly more recently!
“Ferrari for hire…” sure-footed donkeys carried people up and down the 800 steps to the Monastery. Yikes!
Mum and I take a well-earned break from stair climbing at a Bedouin-run tea stall.
This shows the size of the Monastery – and why those people in front of it couldn’t get inside…
The Monastery is the biggest tomb in Petra, and by far the most impressive. Most visitors never see it though, as the trek to reach it is fairly tough and lined with thousands of Bedouin trinket-sellers!
The Monastery, seen from afar, really does look like a temple half as old as time.
The Royal Tombs took the scale up another notch – less elaborately carved, but with huge arches atop huge arches, all carved from the cliff.
One of the Royal Tombs in Petra. Huge, and hidden off to one side of the main tourist strip.
Occasionally we came across a stall that seemed more genuine that the others. We bought a few ‘antiques’ from this one.
The endless desert of Wadi Rum was every bit as beautiful as it was lonely.
Sand filled my shoes most of the time in Wadi Rum. Actually, most of the time in Jordan.
Running up sand dunes is fun – and exhausting! In the background is the knackered Jeep.
Me push-starting the Jeep in Wadi Musa
No wonder the Jeep didn’t work – check out the ignition!
Me, doing a spot of scrambling/climbing in Wadi Rum
Roo and I, atop a rock bridge in Wadi Musa
Taking a break from climbing in Wadi Rum
Our ‘authentic’ Bedouin Camp was slightly more tourist-orientated!
Sunset in the desert is often spectacular
Walid, quite literally digging up dinner – which was being cooked in an underground Bedouin oven.
Dancing with Walid in the Bedouin camp was a little awkward…
…but he pulled out all his best moves!
And suddenly the desert endeth… at a town. Well, kind of.
The three of us astride our faithful steeds!
This solitary tree in the middle of Wadi Rum provided shade for a handful of free-range camels.
Roo on a Camel!
Me on a camel!
Saw this shirt for sale, and the non-politically-correct brand name amused me!
This amazing antique shop in Aquaba was crammed with countless relics.
Two weddings took place that year – well, probably thousands did, but the only ones I really cared about were mine, and my sister Gillian’s. Here are the edited highlights of Gill and Chris’s big day.
Gill’s wedding venue was incredible. And cost almost twice our entire budget just to hire!
Polhawn Fort was impressive from the outside.
Inside, the fort was equally spectacular.
The whole setting was absolutely stunning, as was the weather.
Roo helps Gill with a last-minute adjustment of her corset.
Roo in her bridesmaid disguise – looking sexy!
The band had the best seats.
Gill and Chris at the altar.
Definitely got something stuck in my eye during the ceremony.
Gill and Chris sign the wedding register.
Our side of Gill’s wedding party, including Gramp – who still wasn’t quite sure what was going on…
With both the bride and groom planning on making their life together in the snow, a pair of skiers were the icing on the cake!
Bride and bridesmaid, both looking stunning!
Gill and Roo’s friend Dot, from when they first met at Camp America, also came to the wedding.
Four-year-old Wilf struggling to comprehend that Granddad is EIGHTY YEARS older than him!
It took a LOT of effort to bring it to this point, but the final event was everything we hoped it would be. Butterflies flitted overhead, the sun shone, the harpist played… and Roo and I were joined, legally and spiritually, forever. It still makes my heart race just thinking about it!
Roo getting ready for the main event. I never got to see this part, as I was already in town, dragging half a ton of tree-trunk out of the car boot.
Roo’s sister Vicky applies the bride’s ‘something old’ – a bracelet and necklace of silver charms, inherited from her Mum.
The beautiful wedding bouquets were created on the morning of the wedding, from the finest flowers ASDA had on sale!
And here they are! As good as anything hand-assembled by a master florist!
It took about twenty minutes to get my boots on – even with Sally pushing as I pulled.
Roo looked hypnotically beautiful, as she pulled up at the registry office in the limo
The bridal party pose outside the limo. Hard to believe all those people fitted in one car!
Roo climbs the steps to the registry office, with Saoirse faithfully carrying her train!
Gathered on the steps of the registry office
Linda’s daughter, and my God-daughter, Saoirse, was a flower girl. And she was absolutely adorable! Roo was very jealous of her fairy outfit.
Inside the ‘small room’ of the Taunton Registry Office, Gramp looks on as we exchange our official vows. To the strains of Duelling Banjos?!
The most photogenic part of the registry office was this grand old wooden staircase.
The altar was that big slice of log from my parents’ garden, cunningly balanced on the cast-iron legs of their bird-bath !
The chair we set aside for Roo’s Mum, Frieda. A butterfly landed on it during the ceremony!
We passed the rings around the congregation in this cute wooden box – £3 from a car boot sale (the box, not the rings!)
Roo arrived through a screen of foliage – right on time, even though we hadn’t thought of a way to give her a cue!
“Does my bum look big in this?” Roo wanted this photo to show how outrageously long her train was!
The outdoor ceremony proceeded as planned…
…at least until the maraca appeared! Neither of us could quite believe what we were seeing.
Our hands were bound together in the ‘handfasting’ part of the ceremony.
The outdoor ceremony in progress.
Our second kiss as a married couple was at the opposite end of the ‘aisle’ from the altar, under a lovely old tree.
Walking away from the ceremony together – for the first time as husband and wife!
This picture of us kissing beneath the ivy-clad tower of the Castle Hotel is both mine and Roo’s favourite shot of the wedding.
The entire wedding party!
Our first toast, with Champagne provided by Kaz on arrival outside the Winchester
A sign of things to come perhaps… posing in the ancient wooden stocks outside the Winchester.
The centrepieces on our tables at the reception were the result of some heavy-duty bargain-seeking on eBay. And they looked fantastic!
Why have one big cakes, when you can have dozens of little ones? Cheaper, more colourful and much more fun. The cupcakes were a big hit.
Gill toasting to the King and Queen.
I was fully prepared for Gill’s speech to be embarrassing. I was not prepared for Sonja’s to be worse!
Roo performing the delicate act of cutting our first cupcake.
Our first dance was a fairly stiff affair – partially because it was unplanned, and partially because I could hardly move.
After that the party livened up, and soon everyone was dancing!
After a few drinks, Roo managed to persuade Linda and Irene to part with their wings…
This is… very odd. Apparently there was this cut-out thing in the Winchester, and… well.
This is the door I kicked open in the Days Inn. We never got a bill for it, as far as I know. My foot hurt for a while though!
We even got a write up i the local paper! Sheesh. Must have been a seriously slow news week.
The multi-level delight that is Torremolinos
The view from our hotel room in Torremolinos… very romantic!
This is the only photo taken of us together on our first honeymoon in Spain. I guess we were just busy the rest of the time…
Roo on the beach
Me on the beach – wearing a crazy Dutch shirt that Roo’s relatives bought me before the wedding. As a joke… I think?
Roo was delighted with her purchase – a bright pink, gigantic suitcase! She said iIt made her feel like a lady, instead of a scummy backpacker. Until it fell apart a few weeks later.
Can you believe it? It’s Schindler’s LIFT!!!
The Grand Adventure
This is the last photo ever taken of Gramp. We were sitting in his kitchen, and I was demonstrating my new smartphone. The following morning we checked him into hospital; the day after that, he was gone.
Gramp’s tiny Nissan Micra, aka Bubble, got well and truly stuffed.
The sun-dappled road beneath a canopy of trees. England at its prettiest!
Possibly the most pointless stile I’ve ever seen.
“This is the best stone of all,” I told Roo. “Why?” she asked. “Because it is outstanding in its field…”
Roo, creating one of her legendary one pot meals. I believe this one was baked beans and macaroni cheese. Yum!
It’s views like this (of the Welsh borders) that I miss most about England.
Few signs caught our attention as much as the one that said: BOOK BARN!!!
Possibly the cutest house I’ve ever seen, it started life as a medieval toll-booth.
I was not allowed to climb this viaduct. At all.
The Somerset Monument. It is not in Somerset.
Massive slabs of stone formed the ‘long barrows’ in Nympsfield, Gloucestershire
The Iron Bridge in Iron Bridge. Ridiculous invention!
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. There – I said it. Now go wash that spit off your forehead.
The Tow path atop the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Narrow, exposed, and only about 100ft up. I DARE you to pronounce it.
Kind of ironic, really
Aha! There it is!
Control room inside the Secret Bunker… no, I don’t know what a Bikini Alert is either. Maybe I should have read the information plaques…
Amusing sign inside the Secret Bunker canteen
Best time to visit a theme park…
…when it’s raining, mid-week, in school term-time!
Even the traffic lights at Alton Towers looked happy!
The cliff lift, or funicular, in Bridgnorth
A view up from the bottom of the Bridgnorth Cliff Lift
Not much is left of Bridgnorth Castle – and what bit there is completely defies gravity
Roo tries to prop up the leftovers…
The historic town centre of Bridgnorth
We both love old buildings, and at 1580, this place was one of the oldest.
Our first experience of a camping barn was this gorgeous little stone cottage near Buxton.
The Devil’s Arse (showcave) is entered through a wide crack…
They even have a carol concert in there. Or something.
On a clifftop above Morecambe Bay are these eerie carved graves. They are unique in the UK – possibly the world – but are most famous for appearing on a Black Sabbeth Album Cover.
The same graveyard also contained this rather amusing tombstone…
We found the start of Hadrian’s Wall
The first day’s hike was mostly down this incredibly long, boring road. It gave us both shinsplints.
A bit of humour to relieve the monotony, courtesy of the roadside litter.
Our first indication that there had once been a rather large Wall around here…
Nice barn… that stonework almost looks TOO nice. For a barn.
Hm. Wonder what happened to this section of Hadrian’s Wall?
If you look close… REAL close… you might just see a small pile of shit. It might even have come out of an otter. I decided not to investigate.
Following a muck spreader was NOT the highlight of that day’s walk.
This was the world’s least successful ‘Honesty Box’
Our first bit of Wall! After two whole days of walking.
After a while, we started to get the feeling that this Wall went on forever.
Roo was very excited when we finally found this carved Roman cock. I’m not sure it was worth the hours we spent looking for it.
‘Mechanised Hiking’ as we named it, allowed us to visit some sights that weren’t on the Wall proper. It also allowed us to climb on them 😉
The Wall followed the lie of the land exactly, regardless of obstacles. Like hills and mountains!
This stretch of Wall (and this tree) featured prominently in the movie Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
This toilet was not to be used for number two. For a variety of reasons.
Cooking after dark
The Wall climbed some crazy slopes, almost as though to prove a point.
The remains of a Roman mile-castle, with the Wall snaking off into the distance… up a nice steep hill!
Tewkesbury Abbey is massive and magnificent. And free to go into!
A photogenic stretch of York’s historic City Walls.
Another view of the thousand-year old Walls
This picturesque canal ran through York. Whichever way you took it, York was just beautiful.
With the Grand Adventure over, we had less than two weeks to pack our stuff and say our good-byes to England. We had an amazing honeymoon in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which Roo’s family had treated us to, before arriving in Australia. Surprisingly, I wasn’t stopped at the border, and we passed a pleasant, if uneventful year in Perth. Roo worked hard as a cleaner, supporting me while I worked on my second book, ‘Don’t Need The Whole Dog!’ People who have since read the book tell me I probably shouldn’t have bothered…
The Sunway Resort Hotel, seen from the waterpark. Absolutely massive!
Our private villa in Sunway Resort – the staff really pulled out all the stops!
Nothing says luxury like your own private plunge pool!
Well, when you’ve got a private pool, you’ve got to swim in it! What’s that you say? Why, of course I’m naked! What did you expect?
Roo couldn’t resist testing out the gigantic sunken bath.
The finger-food on offer was like something from an episode of MasterChef – and as far as I could tell, it was all for us!
Dinner in the Pavilion wasn’t half bad, considering.
There is some crazy stuff in Asia. Good example – this entire theme park – complete with full-size rollercoaster – is INSIDE A SHOPPING MALL! It’s 5 stories high and about the size of a decent city block. Epic.
The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge,
apparently. It wobbled A LOT.
From atop the bridge, you could see right through its wooden planks to the ground below.
The zoo part of the resort was awful, with tiny, cramped cages of bare concrete. These Red Pandas seemed to have nothing to do but shag…
The sign says it all: Asia’s BS Attraction 🙂
Our ‘Roman Bath Massage’ caused a fair deal of trepidation… but this is what we found when we finally dared venture in to the bathroom!
When we rented a room in Perth, our front door had a high-tech thumbprint scanner! Which was great – until it ran out of batteries…
The house also had a big-assed flatscreen TV – 50″ at least! I was in heaven.
Nothing says you mean business like shopping for booze with a trolley!
Christmas as it should always be celebrated – on the beach!
Christmas breakfast in the Reynen household!
Message board in Roo’s Dad’s house. We’d spotted a hand-sized wolf spider in the hallway the night before…
Roo and I had our first Christmas tree together that year! Decorated with tape we stole from an illegal dump, naturally 😉
The Boxing Day Sales in Perth are deadly. This was taken an hour before the shops even opened…
Roo bought this bedspread, and I hated it. What do you think?
Of course, it wouldn’t be Oz without an assortment of weird bugs. This one was just chilling on our car windscreen one day.
Speaking of cars, here’s the one we bought – and Roo subsequently crashed! Not into this tree of course, that’s just a lucky coincidence of photography!
The crash only wrecked the air-con – which was a pain in summer! It also made the numberplate illegible, so Roo drew it back on with a felt-tip pen 😉
My first ever royalty cheque from Amazon! Hurrah!
Poor Roo worked hard that year, while I played at being a writer. She was a great cleaner – see the difference? But scrubbing bathroom floors is hardly a dream job. I’ll never forget her sacrifice!
I had a job for three months – sweeping up rice! It was an art installation called ‘All The People In All The World’.
Roo was busy with other things too – inventing her world-famous Monster Pants!
My work on ‘Don’t Need The Whole Dog’ proceeded apace – complete with extensive editing.
Another landmark in my publishing career was the arrival of the first-ever paperback copies of ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’
We spent a lot of time at the gym, which led to some inevitable wash-day issues…
For my birthday that year I was given Vince, the Inflatable Velociraptor. I love him, but he scares me a bit.
We picked all the fruit from Roo’s Dad’s orange tree. And then we… well, you would, wouldn’t you?!
I was thrilled to meet Paul Carter, author of the AMAZING ‘Don’t Tell Mum I Worked On The Rigs’. If you haven’t read it, go buy it NOW!
I, um… well, what can I say? I did mention it was a boring year…
This was the Year of the Rainbow. I learnt how to dye Roo’s hair, which frequently meant I ended up partially dyed too…
The process involved wrapping Roo’s head in tinfoil and cling-film, which she slept in overnight. Condom-Head was born!
The result, however, was definitely worth the effort!
Another view of Roo’s amazing rainbow hair.
By the end of the year I was thrilled to be receiving regular cheques from Amazon. I was a real author! Well, kind of.
I… have no idea what this photo is about. Talk amongst yourselves…
We finished 2012 in adventurous style, with a trip to Cairns in tropical North Queensland. It’s about as different from perth as it’s possible to get, whilst still remaining in Australia – but then, that’s the beauty of the place. The relaxed, laid-back city, the stunning countryside and the lush Daintree rainforest gave us plenty of variety. It was only a two-week holiday, with Gill and her husband Chris flying in from New Zealand, and Mum and Aunty Margaret flying in from the UK. It was a joyful reunion in a fantastic part of the world – I think it’s safe to say we all loved Cairns.
Cairns! (photo by ‘Frances76’)
The Esplanade runs along the coast – right over the road from the city centre! (photo by Photnart)
At the end of the Esplanade, right opposite the main part of town, is the ‘lagoon’ – this amazing free swimming pool! (photo by Photnart)
These amazing moss-and-ivy-covered trees abounded in Cairns city centre, revealing the city’s roots (sorry!) as a swamp.
Roo, mucking about as usual…
These ‘art’ sculptures of giant jelly babies in Cairns city centre were a little too smug…
Of course, I had an answer. As always! And people say I’m maturing… 🙂
Eating Ice cream was one of our favourite pass-times in Cairns.
Amongst the products I spotted for sale in a Cairns health-food shop was this appetising supplement…
… oh, and this one. There were discussions as to exactly what constituted ‘essence’. No prize for guessing what I thought…
Taking a ride on the Kuranda Scenic Train.
And a scenic journey it was too, over gorges, through tunnels, up mountains and into the rainforest!
Margaret was delighted with the chance to hold a Koala at Kuranda Wildlife Park.
Cairns from above, as seen from the Skyrail rainforest cable cars.
The oldest continually-growing rainforest in the world – the Daintree.
One of our first activities was drifting down the river on inflatable tubes. Bliss!
There were a few hairy moments nevertheless!
A fantastic resort in the Daintree had these gorgeous bungalows to rent. Sadly, they were closing – I think we were their last paying guests!
We experienced the Daintree in the best way possible – by zip-lining through it!
Mum, having a great time on the jungle zip-line.
Gill, enjoying an ‘inverted zip-line experience’
If you thought the roses in your garden were spiky, come to Australia!
on one of our night-time jungle walks, we spotted this dude having a snooze in a tree.
Check out this juicy kangaroo steak…
Look closer and you can see it’s garnished with… Lime Ants!
The Cathedral Strangler Fig is impossible to capture in one photograph. This one is at least 50 years old.
Gill and Chris inside the Strangler Fig
I couldn’t resist trying to climb the tendrils of the gigantic strangler fig
This crazy giant stick insect shows just how weird Aussie beasties can be!
The beautiful Mossman Gorge in the Daintree, north of Cairns
Yes, this is Mum on a gigantic ATV. Be afraid – be very afraid…
A rare glimpse of dawn on Mission Beach.
You know you’re in paradise when you’re staying in a swim-up hotel room!
This stunning catamaran took us to the Great Barrier Reef for a spot of snorkelling.
Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef – well, one of the gorgeous tiny islands en-route.
Roo is modelling the ‘Stinger Suit’, worn by swimmers and snorkellers to fend off swarms of tiny stinging jellyfish!
Breakfast with the Birds was an amazing experience at Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat. It was… exactly what it sounds like!
At ‘Breakfast with the Birds’, we got to meet all kinds of rare and endangered parrots.
I’ve been telling people not to do this for years, but no-one seems to listen…
Also at Port Douglas’s ‘Breakfast with the Birds’ experience, I got to hand feed a… a… well, damned if I know what it is!
Chris feeding the joeys (young kangaroos) in Port Douglas.
Blue tongued-lizard – they really DO have blue tongues!
This wallaby certainly wasn’t shy!
A couple of crocs, chilling in Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat.
Crocodile, as it’s meant to be – mashed! 🙂
Having crossed this bridge, what did we expect to find, but The Other Side?!
The elusive platypus… not very popular with the females of the species!
Spotted this sign whilst on our hunt for the elusive platypus. Apparently they’re easily offended?
If anyone still needs a reason to visit this part of Australia, here it is!
And anyone who is looking for a reason NOT to go… well, here’s one of those. 😉