Retirement – Well, Maybe.

Today was my last day at work. I am officially retired. At least that is how I feel. Not exactly that ecstatic lottery winning moment. Nor like it might feel to score the World Cup winning goal. Nevertheless, it feels good.

As for the move to the southern hemisphere: It’s all becoming very real. While a happy go lucky six-year-old can be oblivious to it, his old dad must get real…

Where the F*#k will we live?

The pre-trip plans are taking a back seat now. Yes, of course there will be some things I forget to do or forget to pack but those are now almost unimportant. My focus is now turning to a basic question. “What the f*#k will we do when we get there?”

This is not panic, even anxiety, or anything like that. The main thing on my mind is; where are we going to live? I have been in Sydney once before but only for a short time. And that was years ago. Back then I wouldn’t have paid any attention to the suburbs.

I have been emailing real estate agents so at least I now have some contacts on the ground before we get there. This is always one of the biggest (if not the biggest) hurdle to settling into any new location. Even a few miles (or kilometres) down the road, never mind the other side of the world.

We have a month in one of those ‘aparthotels’ so not much time to find a suitable residence. Especially when all I have heard and read suggests that good properties in good areas are rented out fast. And what exactly is a “good” area in a new country/city that you do not know?

As always, the only answer to this type of question is that you have to get there and suss it out. Do the leg-work.

Location Location Location?

The area will depend on how easy (or not) it is for Dani’s mum to get to work. For a sprawling city like Sydney there are surprisingly few train lines and no underground rail system. Such details limit the availability of “good” places to live even more. It also leads to the inevitable congestion of road traffic.

It’s that work-life balance thing again. When isn’t it? Maybe more of a non-work life balance in my case but we will get to that later.

When my boy is old enough to read all this blog nonsense I wonder how much he will remember about how he was feeling at this time?

T Minus 10 Days…

T Minus10 Days and counting

We fly to Australia in 10 days. It is all starting to get very real. At least for Dani’s parents. He doesn’t seem to care. Why should he? He is only 6. He his more concerned over the watching the next episode of Ninjago on Netflix. Or playing that bloody dreadful Brawl Stars game on the iPad.

Not sure if Dani is excited or not. He is back in school in Madrid but only for a few more days. He just doesn’t seem to want to talk about it. Is that a bad sign I wonder? Hmm… We will know in just over a week.

Personally I have not been looking forward to it. Just the thought of that long flight is enough for me. Not a fan of flying anyway but a 24 hour journey, not getting hardly any sleep (if at all) followed by the jet lag on arrival? Nah. What is there to look forward to? Then all of a sudden Dani’s mum produces business class seats. Don’t even ask why her company hadn’t already bought business class flights. That’s for another post once we have settled in down-under. The point now is that I can now look forward dot the flights rather than dread them. With all the good food and wine on offer plus lots of movies it seems the lack of sleep thing could still be an issue. It seems that all of those flights down-under over the past year or so produced a lot of airmiles for Dani’s mum. Now they are used up.

More TV Garbage…

Oh noooooo….. Meanwhile another TV programme talking about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The young royal couple who have been turned into pseudo celebrities since they got married in 2018.

I am sick of hearing about them. I am not a monarchist, but neither am I anti-monarchy. But these two really get on my nerves. It seems that they want to be part of the royal family but be left alone to live their own lives they way they want it.

Yes, they want their cake and eat it. Well, let them eat cake, I say. Oh, hang on a minute. That didn’t end well for another royal family did it?

Aghhh! Whatever. I can’t stand this crap on TV. Go away!.Going to bed.

Three Kings – yet again

Three Kings – Donut Blackface?

Here is a quick reminder of the three kings and how they are widely depicted. Melchor, white hair and beard. Gaspar, chestnut/red hair and beard. Finally, Baltasar, dark skinned and black beard.

With all the fuss the media makes when a white person puts on dark make-up this one made me laugh. They refer to it as “blackface” now. When I was young it was called “blacking up”. I am sure it is still called that when done in say the army for night-time operations and the like. Anyway, if you are not in the army it is simply just not done these days.

While we were walking to Dani’s abuelo’s house I noticed this poster in the Dunkin’ Donuts shop window. It made me laugh anyway…

Dunkin’ Reyes (kings). “Blackface” donut? What do you think? I am sure there may be some out there who find this “offensive”. Personally, I couldn’t care less.

Los Reyes Magos – Local Parade

At the weekend we went to see a local three king’s parade. Just as we have done since Dani could walk. A short walk from his abuelo’s house to the main road to wait for the passing show. It was due to start at 17.30. We were still walking up to the main road that the police had closed off to traffic (as they do) to allow the parade to run smoothly at 17.35. We missed it. It actually started on time. Is this a new policy in Spain for 2020?

At about 17.35 and only 20 metres or so to go we should have realised. All the adults with kids were walking back in the opposite direction. We had to improvise. The parade could be seen in the distance. So we decided to go through the gears. Dani and Susana running along with me. Meanwhile little Roberto – completely oblivious to it all was being pushed at speed in his pushchair.

We did manage to catch up with the parade and the kids got to see all three kings on their respective trucks (or whatever they call them). Not the most exciting of activities but it has become an annual event. Mainly as it is followed by a visit to a café or bar to partake in some hot chocolate and churros. Very Spanish.

Dani has grown

But not much. I measured him the other day and he has grown 5 centimetres in about 6 months. I remarked that it was not a lot (as he is still small amongst his school-mates). His mum retorted “how much have you grown in that time?”. I thought about it for a moment and replied: “About the same. Only around my waist.”

Will the sea air cause a growth spurt when we move down-under? Or will the smoke from the bushfires stunt his growth? Haaa…We shall see. Que será será, what will be will be. And as for those fires…. Do not believe everything you see and hear in the media.

Three King’s Day

This is the first Reyes Magos day I have missed and hopefully it will be the last. This rush to sort things out before moving to the other side of the planet means I needed to get back to work today – to work my notice period. This is not a national holiday in the UK (nor most places outside of the Spanish speaking world). No doubt I will be seeing all the new presents he has received in good time. One good thing about today. He was excited enough to want to talk to me – if only to show/tell me what los Reyes have brought him. He definitely takes after his dad for not wanting to spend time on the phone.

Now with the festivities over for another year it is time to get back to planning for the big move…

Australia – Getting Closer

Yesterday, exactly 4 years ago to the day, I resigned from my job. Yesterday I did the same thing with my current job.

Different Reasons
Back in 2016 the main reason was to take a sabbatical year with my then 2 year old son. This was closely followed by the start of this blog. This time it is in preparation for a move to the other side of the world.
Sad though it is to admit, I am at that stage in life where there hardly needs to be a reason for leaving a job. Often the jobs themselves can be enough of a reason. These two big resignations however were both centred around my son.

English
Anyone who has read the “About” page on this blog (and other blog posts) will know one of the main priorities during that sabbatical was to ensure that Dani improved his command of English. Somewhere close to his mastery of the Spanish language – which he was constantly immersed in. Well that plan more or less worked but Spanish was always going to be his first language.
This latest move however will put him in a totally English speaking environment. This time it is his mum who will have to take extra time to keep him up to speed with her native tongue. At last something made easier for dad! Only joking of course…

New Year Food Binge
Less than a week after eating myself to a stand-still on two consecutive days, I did the same thing. New Year’s Eve night we ate a huge meal at Dani’s Auntie’s house where we welcomed in the new decade. There was so much left over that we did the exact same thing about 18 hours later. I now intend to take it easy on the food. Maybe even try to get up to a relatively high level of fitness before we depart for Oz. “Relatively” being the operative word of course…

Happy New Year
Apologies. I forgot to do this in the previous post so:
Here’s wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New Year…


The kids toast in the new year. With water of course…


With a magician after the New Year’s magic show.

And here is a taste of things to come. The New Year fireworks on the Sydney waterfront. Courtesy of my friend Chris who has lived there for years…