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Somerset, Singapore & Sydney – how many s’s in that?

4 May 12 - 12:00AM  | General

Not S for sunshine – that’s for sure.

Great to be back home for Easter and yes nice to experience some cooler weather! I missed all the spring sunshine but enjoyed a great day at Wincanton Racecourse http://www.wincantonracecourse.co.uk/ and popped into Uncle Toms Cider House in Wincanton afterwards. Wow what a change – was a complete dump frequented by ruddy faced two headed spooks, now spruced up and run by a couple of great guys – will become my regular drinking hole when home.

The new and fun Uncle Toms I reckon with the chill out area and pool table upstairs will become the pub of choice for the young (and me)

Really missed country walks in Singapore so great fun to get our in the wind and rain and enjoy the Somerset countryside

Mel, Scrumpy & Choccy enjoy the Somerset countryside

Managed to watch the blues beat Benfica 3-0 – with a constant reminder of where I am temporarily living just to my right

Home from home at Stamford Bridge

Then back to Singapore and just in time for Sunday Brunch – an event  I ave described before. Back to the Hyatt (in our view the best) where they gave us our own room! Either we were special or they were worried!

Our own room for brunch at the Hyatt

Brunch was great as always and made special by the attendance of George Hamilton (it’s not a good photo but he is the older looking one) George and I grew up together (oops makes me the older one as well). After a great lunch we just has space for what I can only call nuclear meringue. Something to do with meringue made with dry ice – makes it look like you are on fire or smoking

Preparing nuclear meringue

No, we are not on fire

No we are not smoking - liquid nitrogen makes it's exit

That evening powered by liquid nitrogen I headed off for Sydney and what a nice welcome

Welcome to Sydney

Day break over Sydney Harbour - look out for those clouds

Ok I’m sorry. It get’s dark early and rains a lot. everything seems very expensive – especially to foreigners – no I’m not talking about London – this is Sydney! And I’m sorry to all those UK candidates we talk to about moving here and always sell the weather and lifestyle. They have had a rainy summer and well it rained my entire stay.

Before I get pelted with beer cans by my ICUR Sydney colleagues I ought to explain that I am only here for 4 days and it just happened to coincide with some ‘unseasonal’ weather. As for the expense, well the Aussie dollar is very strong as a result of China digging up and taking away most of the country – rich in minerals the Australian economy is a little 2 speed. Manufacturers are struggling for exports due to the high Aus$ and everyday living seems expensive which means consumers are not as confident as you might expect. From a media/marcoms perspective it is nearing the end of the financial year and like Europe there is a lot of short term buying which can dent confidence.

But in case you think I am underselling Australia – Europe would love to swap balance sheets. The Aussies have just been asked by the IMF to contribute to the bail out!

Anyway back to the weather

Umbrellas in Sydney, thought summer was over

Anyway a great few days with the ICUR team (ICUR is Aspire Global Network’s Australian business) – as always

ICUR office - did someone turns the lights out?

Then a simple journey home. Singapore Airlines SQ222 Airbus A380 -  I arrived early for 1515 flight looking forward to getting back to Singapore in the evening. 25 minutes before take off we are informed of a delay with revised departure at 2200. I won’t bore you with the details but I have come to expect everything Singapore to work rather well. In Sydney it was a joke. Total chaos. Made British Rail look competent at their most incompetent.

Flight SQ222, takes off better under own engines I heard

At 2230 we were Boarding being told Sydney airport has a 2300 curfew. Well you try boarding 400+ passengers, women, children, elderly and fat businessmen and take off in 30 minutes – was never going to happen. So after boarding we had to disembark, go back through customs (there were about 30 customs staff as we arrived but 26 vanished upon seeing us leaving 2 desks open and 2 support staff for 400+ happy passengers

A queue for customs to get back into a country you were trying to leave

And get a rather unique passport stamp

Not without trying!

And guess what?

When heading the wrong way at midnight - not what you want to see

By now we had become experts at queuing – so when 16 of us were despatched to a hotel of Singapore Airline’s choice (smoking rooms only) it seemed sensible to queue for another hour to check in (they weren’t ready for us)

We just love queuing - spot the yoga session

And back to the sanity of Singapore with walking illuminated billboards

Illuminated advertising - Morrisey - miserable singer, miserable lyrics - perfect for flight SQ222

Relaxed pedicab driver

Relaxing before evening shift

and after a hard days work

and after a hard days work, lie down and chill out - doesn't matter where

And finally my best friend an I went to Harry’s Bar with Singapore Chelsea Supporters Clubto watch the blues thrash Arsenal 0-0

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