Weeks! #47: more planes, more cities, more work, more derby

2014-11-17 05.21.55Waking up ridiculously early in Ipswich to this hotel window view in order to catch my 7.30am flight back to Canberra and an afternoon of back-to-back meetings.

2014-11-17 09.48.48I managed to scrub up all right despite the early start, and the crazy nature of the last week. Hooray for lipstick.

2014-11-17 10.59.00Being allowed to keep our phones on on planes now means lots of chances for in-flight photos. Here we are taking off out of Sydney.

2014-11-18 08.52.14In excellent timing, Jude’s end of year concert was before school on Tuesday morning. He played the Game of Thrones theme music which is has been practicing (somewhat) diligently most of the year.

2014-11-18 10.47.52-1Then it was a brief meeting in the office, before heading back to the airport and onto another plane, off to Adelaide.

2014-11-18 12.54.42Here’s my set up at the Business Lounge in Melbourne between planes. I thought back to those first times when I travelled for work – no phone, no ability to log on to email. Perhaps we actually got to relax while travelling then. Although I also do remember once having to fax things from a Qantas Club back to the office and hope that they arrived safely.

2014-11-18 14.18.54Wide brown land between Melbourne and Adelaide.

2014-11-19 09.19.37

We were in Adelaide for the Training Awards and I was spending all day Wednesday judging the Australian Apprentice of the Year award. One of my staff saved me from myself with a gigantic can of fizzy caffeinated beverage.

2014-11-19 18.13.49-1I felt pretty wrecked at the end of a full day of judging with all the tireds and a scratchy throat. But it is wonderful listening to the stories of the finalists and seeing what they have achieved. And there is something particularly wonderful about seeing the results of the system I have spent eight years working to improve. Vocational training, like other forms of education, does open doors and help people achieve some quite amazing things.

2014-11-19 16.58.21The view from my 18th floor room window at the Intercontinental was pretty impressive.

The walk along the Torrens at night is equally lovely. We had dinner at Jolley’s so got to admire it as we walked back to the hotel. It was funny spending so much time in this locale with it all redone and made lovely. I had spent so much time in the area over the course of my life – I worked from time to time at Adelaide Oval when I was still at school, and then spent four years at uni just along the way while also working at the Adelaide Casino. The footbridge would have made it a lot easier to get from my sometime sneaky parking spot near Adelaide Oval to the Casino, and it was certainly never so beautiful to look at around there at night.

2014-11-20 14.09.12Had a meeting at SA TAFE in Light Square on Thursday after I had had a lovely lunch with the parentals. Some student art work.

2014-11-20 15.53.28I was super excited to find this in the bottle shop. My favourite RTD to date.

2014-11-20 19.30.44We went across the road to Parlamento for dinner. Part of my role for the week was hosting dinners for the judges while my team was off managing all the finalists. A pleasant duty!

Friday was spent across the road at the Playford for a meeting with other state officials. I loved the art deco grandeur of the hotel.

2014-11-21 18.07.53Then it was time to frock up for the big night – the Australian Training Awards.

2014-11-21 18.17.36These were last year’s individual student winners who had been with us during the week as judges – they sit on the panel for the award they won. They were good value with great stories. Patrick was on the Apprentice of the Year award panel with me – he’s 23 and now owns the business where he did his boiler-making apprenticeship. Joel was one of the young students we sent to China for the APEC Skills Camp and Markeeta went to Sri Lanka with me earlier in the year. Kate and Ashlee also have great stories. This is just before they were ready to hand over their titles to the new winners.

The Awards night went well – I did all my duties and then all the networking and then just could have a few drinks. And time to catch up with Melinda and take some selfies.

2014-11-22 00.03.53Saturday morning there was time to breakfast with Lucy, Rowan, Sam, Tracey and of course the small girls. Lovely to have a chance to catch up. I’m not sure Emilie was as convinced – apparently she was disappointed I didn’t have the boys with me.

Then it was back on a plane and off to my sixth city in the fortnight.

Made it in time to see Sebastian (SeaBash) and Jude (Beathoven) play against each other.

The boys had a great time and acquitted themselves well.

James was reffing so we stuck around to watch the Blue Mountains be narrowly defeated in the very final jams by the Empire, S2D2’s B team.

2014-11-22 19.15.18-1Next day we had a bit of time to hang out in Sydney.

2014-11-23 10.38.30First it was breakfast in Redfern where the boys bonded with the wait staff over Star Wars and roller derby. They also got special breakfast mocktails.

2014-11-23 11.07.07As it was going to be 39 degrees or so, we decided some time at the Powerhouse was an excellent idea. I was a bit disturbed when Sebastian had no idea what a Walkman was.

When then headed over the other Sydney bridge…

2014-11-23 14.31.11…to Luna Park.

The boys engaged in challenging each other to go on the scary rides. In the end, Sebastian dragged Jude onto the vertical drop ride of doom so as not to be outdone by Zac and then they held hands in fear while it dropped. Zac went on the Wild Mouse (for SAers, Mad Mouse) eight times while I recovered from my one time experience (I am clearly too old for Wild Mouses).  Much fun was had. Jude got a temporary tattoo.

2014-11-23 16.37.02Then it was time to head inside the Big Top and watch some derby.

2014-11-23 17.39.35It was great to see the DHRs beat the Brawling Barbelles and then to watch some great derby in the SRDL grand final.

And then it was time to drive home. Goodbye Luna Park, hello long road back to Canberra. But at least I was going home to sleep in my own bed.

2014-11-23 21.05.33

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