29 April 2005



crepes, crepes, crepes!!! if there is one thing in london that you HAVE to do, it's go to the hampstead creperie (just down from the station, near a pub) and GORGE. really. really. good. i had a mushroom and garlic cheese one, and for under £4 it was a DELICIOUS meal! they also have sweet ones - eliot had a belgian chocolate and nut one, and it was yum, too!

if you want to make it a sunday of gastronomic delight, start at camden market in the morning: coffee and whatever from a cafe for breakfast/morning tea, little nibbles from the stalls (so much food, so little stomach-space) as you wander around and get lost in the alleys and lanes, browsing through clothes, furniature, knick-knacks, shoes, soaps, disco-balls, goths, hippies, haberdashery, souvenirs (better than the vic market for shopping, but not for vegies etc) ... then head to hampstead for a 4 o'clock mystery meal. yum. yum. yum.


then to pub for drinks, and maybe even some form of football if you're lucky. otherwise, there's always snooker. (yep. televised snooker... much to my shame i have watched quite a lot of football and snooker. blame eliot.)

yum. see you later.


hello chappies! gar! where to start?!

... OK, obviously with the **really important** stuff - i.e. ROSS! aka ROCKET/ROSSAGE/MR. ROSS/RANDY FARMER... etc. yay! he like the sticker-book! he is living alone at the moment, as a couple of housemates involved in his 'soap opera' life (his words) have moved out, and the lease is up soon. annoying for him, good for us, because we got a room all to ourselves. and it had a HOT PINK WALL, which, frankly, is always good. except for when it's not. but this wasn't one of the times when it wasn't good. so it was. he is also applying for REAL JOBS (take note, all of you slackers in australia!), so hopefully he'll get something good! he doesn't really have a mancunian (sp?) accent yet... but i think he's working on it. mainly because i'm sure he wants to be just like the gang of scally (again, these strange languages, what is spelling?) girls who attacked dan and i on the street outside ross' flat. now, before you have a hyperventilating fit (mum), we should let you know that the 'gang' consisted of three girls, and the 'girls' (esther noo) ranged in age from about 8 to about 13 (maximum). so, right little twerps they were. hopefully we haven't started something that ross is going to have to live with!

we didn't spend a lot of time in manchester itself (didn't even go into the city), but wat we saw was ... interesting. it seems like a more melbourne city than london - maybe it was just the area, though... anyway, we went to a sri lankan curry house with ross and john/ny (one of dan's friends who is living up there) on the monday night, and the food was delicious. on the tuesday night went to a cute vegetarian cafe/bar right near ross' house, which felt like the sort of place the nmtod people would hang out.

what we DID do, though, was go for a trip to the country on tuesday... this was VERY VERY EXCITING for me, because we went to macclesfield and alderly - where alan garner's books 'the weirdstone of brisinamen' and 'the moon of gomrath' are set. it was SO COOL to see all the places... first we went to macclesfield library, found the books, and photocopied the maps form them. then we went to the map section and found those places in the local maps - took a photocopy from a lovely map published in the 60s. it was exciting enough to discover that the places (wizard's well, stormy point, the beacon, shining tor, shutingsloe) relly exist, but to be able to actually GO THERE was so, so great! (you have to understand, guys, that i LOVED these books when i was a kid, and had always had a picture in my mind of what england is like, based on them!)... first we drove to shining tor, which is a great big bare hill with a rocky outcrop on the side, and a trig point at the top. we didn't think we'd get very close to it, but thought we might as well just go for the drive. however, about half way up we came across some tea-rooms and thought we'd pull in and have scones and tea (!)... unfortunately they were closed, but we spied a signposted footpath just near it. the lady (who we believe was a witch, because we think she put a drowsiness spell on us) let us park the car there, and we went for a walk... and, people, i've not been overly gushing about england so far, but I LOVE THE PUBLIC FOOT WAYS!!! ross told us that the tracks are hundreds of years old and are protected by law, so farmers have to let walkers through their properties, and provide stiles etc. for crossing fences. IT IS SO COOL! anyway, we were able to walk all the way to the top of shining tor!!! WOW! through a kissing gate, over some stiles, along some old stone walls (who *made* them all??? there must be thousands of miles of them!), up to the peak. from there we could see shuttingsloe (another peak), and probably would have been able to see macclesfield or the edge except it was all misty and grey (in this instance, the weather made it even more atmospheric - spooky goblin-weather!). i know i've gone on about this, but it was a special experience for me!... we also went to llyn-dhu/the black lake/lindow common that afternoon (after an hilarious lunch at some sort of chain pub, 2 meals for £10)... i can imagine a nasty magician sleeping for hundreds of years in there!

on the wednesday dan and i left ross (happy to have seen him, sad to be leaving) and went back to alderly edge to walk along the edge itself and find all the landmarks. it was sunny, though still cold, and the sunlight filtering through the delicate spring leaves onto the brown-carpeted ground was just magical. we saw several squirrels, and an abundance of birds - bluetits and robins and (dum dum DAAA) ravens (read the books, you'll know what i mean!), the wizard's well (which was filthy, so we didn't drink from it!), holy well (cleaner, but still!), stormy point and the old quarry and mines (definately goblins down there), goldenstone (not gold, but very sparkly)... all in all a higly successful adventure!

yesterday (as if we haven't had enough) dan and i went to aldbury (about an hour and a half drive from here) to do a walk from margot and aaron's AA book of selected walks... published in 1975, but still good! it was pretty fantastic - i am officially addicted to the public footpaths. my new aim in life (after becoming a doctor) is to make enough money so i can spend months just wandering these trails, and sleeping in the little B&Bs and lodges and inns that pop up EVERYWHERE. it is so, SO wonderful. the village of aldbury has a number of REALLY old cottages, with the wood frames (all wonky!) and one with a thatched (i think) roof. also the stocks!!! still standing, although not used for quite a while! on the walk we saw some historical buildings (yeah, yeah) and FURRY COWS (i kid you not!) foxes, rabbits, squirrels and A HERD OF DEER!!! yep! proper little deer, not like the enormous ones around orbost, but daintly little things... they ran through the wood less than 100 metres away, and there were SO MANY! even DAN was excited (i think he was more excited than me! although i think i was more excited about the furry cows...) ... ah, england!

last night we went on the london eye, and out for a meal as it was aaron's birthday. the eye is pretty cool, and i do recommend it... so long as you don't mind HEIGHTS (dad, i know you'll understand that!). the view of london was good (not spectacular, as it was a bit cloudy), but the most impressive thing is the eye itself - a very, very cool construction!

anyway, i've blabbed for long enough! i'll update again before we leave for spain on tuesday, and hopefully dan will upload some more pics of our adventures for your viewing pleasure.

did i mention that people here do 2 kisses when they meet? it's very confusing, and i always forget the second kiss, so the other person is left with their head sticking out like an idiot waiting for a kiss on the other cheek...

hope you're all well, and thanks for writing to us... we do read your comments, and are able to decipher who you are, even with your strange titles! you should ALL come and visit us!

24 April 2005


yep, so it's been a little while guys... sorry (hahahaha... yeah, so SORRY that we've been out and about doing things that aren't work, being on holidays etc.)... thanks for emails and notes on blog. furryhat people ARE called beefeaters, hilariously... i have also seen a store/factory/warehouse near brent cross shopping centre which has a giant blow-up furryhat on the roof. i think this means that (a) they manufacture the furryhats there, and ship them off in cartons to the palace and to the tower of london or (b) there is a high demand for inflatable furryhats, due to some english fetish... however, given the size of the inflatable furryhat on the roof, i think that this fetish only occurs in GIANTS, of which i've seen none.

last week we went to greenwich, to stand on the prime median. given that this is such a geeky thing to do, i didn't expect to see so many people there. SO MANY. admittedly, this also included a few hundred groups of russian schoolkids (actually, i think they may have been german, or danish, or... not russian), nevertheless, who would have thought that longitude 0 would be so popular? The line itself is very linear, and is next to about 4 other lines which have been used through the centuries as the prime median. i think this one was only agreed upon a couple of hundred years ago... the museum is pretty cool, with lots of sextants and quadrants and other paraphernalia. big. shiny. things... the HIGHLIGHT of the trip, however, came after we'd done that stuff, and went for a wander around the grounds. walking down a semi-secluded path, we found ourselves surrounded by SQUIRRELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i'd never seen squirrels before and OH MY GOD! they're SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! they are TINY! and these ones were so friendly that thy ate out of our hands and climbed on my lap when i kneeled down! i thought they'd be ring-tail possum sized, but they're SO SMALL! about the size of a rat with a ginormous furry tail. there are a couple of photos on the photo site, so go and have a look!

that day also included a trip to london city (which was slightly disappointing to me on that day - much greyer and dirtier and generally uglier than i expected), where we met one of dan's uni friends who is now a cop. unfortunately he was not in a hatty uniform, but (how excitement) he HAS a hat, and he said he would GIVE IT TO ME!!! EEP!... we had a few pints in a couple of nice little places - bradley's spanish bar in soho (i think) is recommended. the downstairs part is about the size of a toilet, and has a great jukebox.

on friday, we went into the city again. we started at trafalgar square, which was SO MUCH NICER than picadilly circus etc. they have these HUGE lions at the base of nelson's column, which are probably not for climbing on. so we climbed on them. it was a nice sunny day (yep, your eyes have served you correctly) so that probably helped make the place more inviting. the national gallery is on the square, so we went there as well. wow. it's like walking into a book. so much art. so many famous pictures. i've discovered that an hour is my ideal art-watching time block, because after that i go a little stir-crazy... gorged on art (uccello, snail man, rembrandt, van eyck... lots of old stuff, because we didn't get past the rennaissance), then headed to the east end, to brick lane.

now, brick lane comes recommended in lonely planet as THE PLACE for bagels, and i'm glad we went in search of bagels, because it forced us to walk up the ENTIRE street to the bakery (because shoreditch station only runs in peak hours)... however, if you do want to go, arrive with a completely empty stomach, and then buy bits and pieces from the curry houses and cafes that catch your eye. this place is PACKED with bengali restaurants... i really liked it. it's the closest equivalent to brunswick/fitzroy that i've been to in london - vibrant, familiar, VERY dirty (london in general is a dirty city compared to melbourne)... the bagels weren't that great. LP recommends brick lane beigel bake... don't bother. go to the one next door, which claims to be the original and the best, and is... well, it's better and has more options. but still, not as good as glicks in st kilda east!!!

other interesting things i've noticed about london... no power lines. it's all underground. this is GREAT - unlike in, say, canberra where it's scary and sterile... also, they have weird toilets. they all have levers for a flush, they don't have half-flush, and they generally don't work very well... bees! heehee!!! so big and bumbly. almost as if they should be called bumble bees!... bins. very random to comment on these, but there are SO MANY TYPES OF BIN!!! the best looking bins i've ever seen live in east finchley, while central london just DOESN'T HAVE them - i think because people put bombs in them. very annoying, though, when you have some rubbish to put in one. no wonder there's so much litter on the streets.

now i have to go and book hostels in spain, which has been proving stressful and crappo. let's hope we actually have somewhere to sleep in barcelona! NMToD people, how are you all coping? has the band taken off yet? esther noo, say hi to kane with his fluffy dices, etc... we all knew that orbost was the underground queer hotspot of australia, didn't we?!? S-J, potter pals is great... but still not as good as the christmas special. how cute is ron at the end of it? esther j, i am a toaster. what are you? mum and dad, HI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we are getting your texts, but are trying to conserve credit just a bit. erin and julia, was the home hostel in barcelona worth the train ride? we will probably stay there, but we're just wondering. rachel b, i met dan't long lost 3rd cousin or something, who liked the yami/yugi badge i was wearing. we have been wearing them everywhere.

ok, guys, spak to you soon. GOING TO MANCHESTER TO VISIT ROSS!!! TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!! very excited, as i am missing all my friends! adios!

19 April 2005

N3 3AX

that's a postcode. hilarious. it has letters. it has numbers. it's all good... well, me mam called this morning, and told us to get our sweet behinds into gear and update... i know you are all wanting us to do so as well... you know it, beeyatches. wow, seems like melbourne people get all the luck with the celebs. have not managed to score with any of the people/characters/coats/pubs mentioned by anyone, but have driven past the street where the Spaced house is/was... and also past Slough - where The Office is set (Eliot has kindly allowed [forced?] us to watch the first 6 episodes... will start on the next set today or tomorrow)... also yesterday did a few things for the FIRST TIME. in fact, i think i'll write a THINGS I HAVE DONE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE I'VE BEEN IN ENGLAND list for your perusal.

1. Landed in Heathrow airport... OK, that's just silly.
2. Went on the London Underground for the first time yesterday... the trains are very cute and wormy and clean. And the system is great! It makes sense! It goes all over the place. The tube shits all over Melbourne and Sydney trains. But as yet nothing comes close to the trams.
2. Tate Modern. Also a product of yesterday's travels. Only got to look at one floor's worth of stuff, but it was great. The setout of the gallery is actually logical (Who'd have thunk that would work? Obviously not the NGV or Feddo or the NGA in Canberra)... the art was arty. We will return, possibly tomorrow.
3. The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. HA! This was so cool (actually, freezing is a more appropriate adjective)... basically, the person who was locking up the tower one night in the 1600s or something got bashed by a bunch of yobs, and so he refused to do the lock-up without guards. So they devised a cunning plan, whereby a bunch of the (HILARIOUS) soldiers with funny hats would march around with him while he locked up. They yell some stuff at each other, such as "WHO COMES HERE?" "the keys" "WHOSE KEYS?" "queen elizabeth's keys" "SHE WANTS THEM BACK" etc... and bugle the Last Post, and that's about it. As I said, cunning. Foolproof. Dan's grandmother Lorna organised it, and Margot was very impressed by the soldiers' bottoms. Mums are the same the world over, obviously.
4. English wedding. OK, so I don't know if there was anything typically English about the wedding, but it was a wedding, and it was - surprisingly enough - in England. It was quite fun; smallish, a good mix of olds and youngs, cute girl in a hot pink dress... good conversation about cricket, nice food (I am SO HAPPY that we have arrived in time for asparagus season!)... nice couple... nice trip home with Mike and Uly... I should explain that it was in the 'countryside', just out of Reading, and that we got lost on the way back to London. Pretty much as soon as we left the car park. Hilarious! From this I have learned that is IS actually possible to get lost in England (though it is very small), but that it is impossible to stay lost for long, because pretty much every intersection is signposted, and eventually you WILL get to a sign that points to London (much to Uly's delight).
5. Football in the pub. Oh yes, my dearies, I have been fully initiated into the ways of the Brits! Notice I'm calling it "football", not soccer! Watched the Arsenal-Blackburn game at The Royal Oak... Arsenal winning (is that news?) 3-0. Eliot and Adam happy, as they are Arsenal supporters. Me delighted, because I was able to combine this first with my first pint of Guinness in the UK. Tastes better, somehow... maybe the closer you get to the source the better it tastes... Also, football: hilarious! More on this another time.

did i mention yet that there are about 7 episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! available to watch EVERY DAY?!?!?!?!? yeah, weep with envy, guys!... esther von j, hope interflora is treating you well - we saw an interflora florist just over the street from the Phoenix Cinema (from Black Books). esther noo, how is the garden? you would love the parks and heaths and suchlike over here - so many flowers! and GIANT holly trees!!! and while i'm on esthers, esther autograph, how are the teaching rounds? are they brats? have you disposed of any yet? and everyone else... i promise to personalise a message to you sometime in the future! thinking of you, your weather (which even if it's cold is surely not as cold as here!), sending our love!

that's it for now, but i'll write more in another few days... or when people get impatient and call us up insisting that we update. xxx.

16 April 2005


Thanks to all those strangely-named people who have been writing to our blog. You sound like you are lovely and well balanced, and we wish you all the best in your future careers.

GUYS! WE ARE IN LONDON! Hilarious! It's all upside down... or the right way up, depending on who and where you are. The weather (of course that's the first thing you want to hear about!) is even behaving itself, in that it is cold (considering we've come from 30 degree days) and grey (in contrast to both Australia and the sky above the clouds in the plane) and rather damp (although there's been no thunderstorm yet).

Now, I (Rachel) am going to rant a little bit, then Dan will have a go.

1. It looks just like one of those miniture villages, where they have a train that goes round and round, and funny little hedges, and stuff like that.
2. The streets don't really make sense. Melbourne is so easy to understand. Bring on the grids, I say.
3. THE HOUSES ARE WEIRD! THEY DON'T HAVE VERANDAHS!!! I only figured out this morning why they looked strange. Also, they are ALL three storeys high. What is with that? What's wrong with a normal two-storey terrace house, I ask you?
4. The flowers in spring are BEAUTIFUL! They are everywhere being tulipy and daffodilly and bluebelly and snowdroppy and PRETTY-y. I keep having moments where I see a 'glade' of flowers in a 'wood' (hilarious - bits of forest in the city!) and I have to SQUEE and tell Dan how English it all is!
5. MILK! It comes in bottles! At the doorstep! With a milkman! I'M SO EXCITED!!! I have taken a picture of the cute little milk-basket at the front door of Dan's parent's place, and we'll put it up so you can see for yourselves the quaintness of it all!
6. (And this is maybe interesting to me and people who work in a post office) They weigh ALL outgoing international letters... even if it's just in a normal business-sized envelope. And, yes, that means that we have sent a letter... not telling to who yet. You'll all get your turn.
7. Dan's family and friends are ALL LOVELY! Just like I knew they would be... except that Mike... gosh!!!

Anyway, I haven't seen much of London - none of the city centre - just Finchley and East Finchley and Golders Green and some place that is called Guinea Pig Garden Suburbs... sort of. So there'll be more later.

OK, my (Dan's) turn now.
Howdy all. It's been a very strange experience for me - being back here after all this time, to find that so much has changed, but at the same time, stayed exactly the same.

Last night, we had a gathering of freinds, some of whom I hadn't seen for nearly 3 years. It seems that they're all getting married (well, one is) and buying houses (well, 4 are) and finishing their PhDs (again, only one). But seeing them all again it was like nothing had changed, and that it had been 3 days, instead of years, since I had last seen them.

Oh, and Rachel Bowen - I hope you don't mind, but we had a screening last night of, amongst other films, The Cleaver. You'll be pleased to hear that it went down a treat.

I've taken Rachel to see all the major London landmarks that matter. Today we saw the Phoenix - the cinema in which Bernard goes to see Armapocalypse, in Black Books.

Jetlag hasn't been too much of a problem (I heartily recommend an overnight stopover if you're planning on making the journey up north), but I have been getting tired around mid afternoon, so I might rest my eyelids a bit soon, to stop the computer screen from doing the throbby thing it's doing.

So that's it from us for now. Take care of yourselves.

Watch this space...

13 April 2005


well, guys... we thought we would write to you froļ½ narita airport. we have stayed overnight in hotel nikko narita - compliments of japan airlines. the flight yesterday was long. today's will be longer... we are in yahoo cafe, where we get FREE internet access! it is very spring here... it is cold and misty and there is lots of sakura... it is also very japan. it is also very airport - there have been queues long enough to make an englishman happy... at least they moved quickly.

here are some more tips: make sure that you confirm that you have ordered vegetarian meals when you confirm your flight, otherwise the not-quite-polite qantas staff will be annoyed with you... also, when you eat your free buffet breakfast at hotel nikko narita, the miso soup is GREAT, but the same can't be said for the scrambled/omletted/boiled eggs. the watermelon was also nice.

now we've got to go and board our plane, so we'll write again from england!!!

9 April 2005


... but not for much longer! Welcome to our last post before we leave the country! Here are some things we know about packing up your house:
1. No matter how much you get packed beforehand, there will always be more to pack at the last minute.
2. Parents are fantastic. They clean and drive cars and all manner of useful things.
3. You will find some form of sweet orange marmalade that you had at your last house, which has been spiked with vodka. OK, so you might not, but I'm sure you'll find a pair of skimpy stretchy orange-check shorts.
4. You will need lots of boxes - but not all of them should be big, or else you won't be able to carry them.
5. Your house is much bigger than it used to be. Also much dirtier.

So, you won't hear from us again before we leave Australia. We are both looking forward to the 24 hour flight - we have Duel Monsters (the YuGiOh card game) and Snatch (courtesy of S-J and Esther) and Uno to play... also a number of books... and Rachel is highly excited by the prospect of airline food! Squee!!! Lots of little packets of stuff!

Thanks to everyone for your well-wishes and cards and gifts and drinks and company and good times and great classic hits. Keep in contact with us by checking this site, leaving comments (they are NOT private comments), or emailing us at our gmail address.

Looking forward to seeing all the UKish people in about 5 days (their time) or 4 days (our time)!

6 April 2005


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Hi people! Here is a picture of some of youse guys at our farewell thingie. Sorry we don't have pics of all of you - we forgot to get the camera out until near the end! All very exciting with the packing etc. 6 days. Counting. This time next week we'll be... in the middle of a long, boring flight... yay (maybe).

Go and have a look at some more piccies by clicking on the Click for PICS! link on the right.

You can leave comments on this blog by clicking on the comments thingie just under this post.

4 April 2005


Some things you need to know about travelling.
1. It costs a lot.
2. However much you think it will cost, it may cost more.
3. Most of the costs are unavoidable.

Some things you will need to pay for before you leave.
1. Tickets. Australia to Europe is in the vicinity of $2000 including taxes. The prices quoted and advertised DO NOT INCLUDE TAXES in Australia, so always add a couple of hundred dollars to the price you see on the window of Student Flights or wherever.
2. Travel Insurance. You will hear everyone say it, but IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD TRAVEL INSURANCE, YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO TRAVEL. I have heard of people who have had to cancel their entire holiday after complications on the trip over, and also had to foot the medical bill - including hospitalisation, flight home, and nursing staff for the flight home. As a very rough guide, this will cost you a bit over $100 per month (if you go for 6 months.) The longer you go, the less you pay per day.
3. Rail Pass. OK, so you aren't all going to Europe, and you aren't all going to be Eurail slappers like us, but you will have to do internal travelling. My Eurail Youth Flexipass (I think?!) cost about $650 for 10 days travel in 2 months. A day starts at 7pm the night before if you want to do overnight trains (I will write about our experiences when and if we have them!)
4. Internal Flights. Check well in advance. Book in advance. Companies like Ryanair do CHEAPO flights, such as the 1.99 pound flight we are talking from UK to spain. HOwever, when you include departure tax, etc, it ends up being around 25-30 pounds. Keep that in mind.
5. Storage. Lucky you if you have parents, or some other place to store your stuff, otherwise you will be paying upwards of $100 for every month (including insurance) for a decent house-load of stuff. It's still cheaper than renting a room in a functioning house for the junk, though!
6. Leaving drinks and a taxi to the airport. Remember to budget this a couple of weeks in advance, otherwise you will be inconvenienced. Otherwise, get other ppl to buy your drinks, and scab a lift with someone to he plane (OK if you have to be there at a reasonable hour - not 6am like us!)
7. Should have put it earlier - PASSPORT AND VISAS. Australian Passport is something like $150, and you need to get happy snaps too. Visas vary. Get them ASAP in person if you can, otherwise, factor in the price of registered mail to the embassy/consulate.

Things you can do to make this money:
1. Casual Job, Full-Time hours... works a charm.
2. Cash in hand to rort the system (ummm, I'm not on Youth Allowance or New Start, but YOU might be).
3. HAVE A GARAGE SALE. If you have a washing machine, fridge or lounge suite to sell, you will be able to get a PRETTY GOOD PRICE so don't undersell yourself. These were the items we were most asked if we had. Unfortunately we didn't, but we made enough anyway.
4. Sell your soul to the spirit of jazz...
5. Eat less. Drink less. Smoke less (if you smoke...). JUST DON'T BUY ANYTHING. Eat that pasta you find in the back of your cupboard - it'll still be FINE, even if it was there before you moved in... no really... ... no, don't sue me, please...

Will let you know if I think of more.

3 April 2005


Hi everyone! We would just like to say thanks to everyone who came along to our farewell thing at Crooners last night. It was great to see you all! We are a bit sad that we couldn't spend more time with each of you (damn us, having so many friends!), but we really appreciate you making the effort to see us. Thanks also to the people who have made it (or have promised to come) to our garage sale. If you come along today (Sunday) you can be assured of many SUPER SPECIALS, because we're trying to get rid of it ALL!!!


Further to my list of things to take, I must add that plastic zip-lock bags are the way of the future! Very handy and excellent for keeping documents dry, storing dirty laundry, carrrying lunch, snacks and scroggin... I should also add to that list that I'm taking a copy of my thesis (because I am a HUGE NERD) and a recorder. You might not need to take a musical instrument, but there's probably SOMETHING that you'd go crazy without... Maybe a walkman, maybe a pack of playing cards... Anyway, I think that you should make the space to take these things, because I'd rather be one singlet down than without a musical instrument. Lalala. The pope died. Hope they get a nicer, more progressive one this time. Here endeth my blah.