welcome to emmas housethought


No posts since 30 September? I think it was around that time I stupidly thought we would move into the house before going to Oz for 3 weeks in November. Ha ha. October was a month of bedlam: frantic house building like the umpteenth coat of interior render, intense fiddling with the windows, watching the painfully slow progress of the plumbers, cars breaking down, friends I haven’t seen for 15 years visiting… My random lists of to do things ran roughshod over genuine priorities with the delusions of a stressed out mess head: finish first window, change banks, vacuum sofa, make door frames, fix washing machine, cut doors, get cat food, clean mattress, buy tracksuit, paint bath ceiling, die.


Thus somehow we arrived at Coimbra train station with 60 kilos of luggage and The One desperate for a pee. Train arrives, train departs, husband returns from men’s room. We buy new tickets for the next train which might get us to the check-in in the nick of time, with the kind cooperation of a taxi driver on speed. Once this feat was accomplished, Emma discovers she has no passport. Of the hundreds and hundreds of flights I have caught in my little life and it has to be this one: a great gorgeously generous gift from my sister-in-law to surprise my brother on his 50th birthday. This flight could not be missed. This could not be happening.

I’ll spare you the next half hour of head exploding panic in its gruesome detail. The passport was located, a new seat found for me on the next flight (lucky, lucky) and husband sent forward to Frankfurt on the existing ticket. Good friends, who will drive your passport to you two and a half hours away, are the most important thing in the world. And yes, I am your slave for life. Anyway, a couple of valium and several hundred kilometres later and The One and I were boarding our Qantas flight for Sydney only to discover we’d been downgraded.


Two more valium later and we arrived in Old Sydney Town and to husband’s delight we were picked up in a caramel butter-coloured Maserati. Even I had to restrain myself from licking the upholstery. It set the tone really for what would be three weeks of luxy decadent bliss, oh except for the sanding painting cleaning & repairing part. Let’s skip that story for now and start with the champagne-museum-of-contemporary-art-party-overlooking-sydneyharbourbridge-and-opera-house… in full jetlag, it was quite surreal.

The first thing The One did on his holiday was get a new girlfriend. Every time I turned my back they were in bed together. It got a bit embarrassing when our dear hostess would wonder where the hell her cat was and would search all the usual hiding places like sock drawers, lumps of washing and inside the hi-fi speakers, only to find that the guest was bed-hogging her, like, again. The thing with the Burmese is they have a supersonic sense of who is most likely to get horizontal regularly, and The One smells like an immanent lie-down.


So then we spent a week of surveying the damage to my other property asset abroad. Tenants, mate. Can’t pay mortgage without them, can’t kill ’em. Broken leg on coffee table, sofa, and dining table, filth smeared from aft to fore, damage to this and that and a charming hole punched into a wardrobe door. So we filled sanded painted repaired and cleaned in sensational 37º heat, when we should have been at the beach, hanging out with friends, visiting mom, or lying around with the cat. Sorry darling. Nice holiday. Not.

Fortunately our hosts (oh let’s be frank. You remember tinyartdirector? Well she’s my sister and we are staying with her) had some sense and whisked us away for an enviable long weekend which looked like this:


Some whales dropped by for our appreciation. And hung around for three days smashing their tails on the water and mucking about. Priceless. I know it sounds coy but whales really are something special. They are so damn big and out of our league, you can’t help but gobblesmacked by them. We certainly were. Better than tele.


The One insisted on seeing kangaroos in the wild. We got dressed, packed our hats and sunscreen and even locked the door of the timber shack holiday house such was the anticipation of the hunt. An extremely short drive later, there were half a dozen roos posing for our photos, racing the Volvo and just staring us out as if to say yeah, take the pictures and bugger off, would ya?

There’s no doubt about it, kangaroos are funny animals. Firstly they look funny. And like camels, they have attitude. A sort of, what do you want, yeah come as close as you want I couldn’t give a toss and now I’m bored of you, type attitude. They are one of those rare animals who is firmly in control of the situation. Piss me off and I’ll kick your arse. They are cool.


So. Whales, tick. Kangaroos, tick. Savage sunburn on pommy skin, tick. Prawns on the barbie, naturally.


But then as some people have to work, we returned to Sydney and yet another week of culinary sensations. Thai, Japanese, quality beef, real lamb, Pacific Ocean fish and even bacon and eggs on damper breakfast at 3pm. My superfluous sister-in-law had also remembered our wedding anniversary (who is this woman and why can’t we all marry her) and sent us off to The Best Restaurant in The World, Tetsuyas. Extraordinary. Unforgettable. Quite difficult to find the words for its awesomeness, other than, say, perfect.


Somewhat staggered by everyone’s generosity towards us we loaded up our trunks and headed, sadly, for the airport. We did not want to come home, not one little bit. Not to winter, not to house building, not to the pressing need to make a living out of an oily rag.

And we wouldn’t be flying if they wasn’t some sort of industrial action impeding our trip. Qantas on the way over (CEO of which is a dipshit) and now a Portuguese general strike on the return trip. I am a card carrying socialist but I reckon the strike cost me way more than it cost Paulo Passos Coelho. Not to mention my sister-in-law. I’m sure the general strike in Portugal really changed her mind on a few policies.

Thus a day or two were endured in the most boring city on Earth, Frankfurt. And jetlag and minus 1º centigrade do not agree with me. Christmas Markets still do not charm me. The German language does not charm me. Sausages and Gluhwein make me puke. Just get me home, oh god, where there are some little fur-people waiting for me.




  1. Julie Dawn Fox December 13, 2011 10:13 am Reply

    I have a recurring nightmare about trying against all odds to catch a flight that I’ve already missed – sounds like your trip to the airport. Glad you made it!

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  2. Pedro December 13, 2011 1:35 pm Reply

    The drought on blogosphere is over! I swear one more day and we wouldn’t make it. Welcome back.

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  3. Emma Ruiz December 13, 2011 4:11 pm Reply

    All very beautiful pictures. Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Properous New Year!

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  4. Emma December 13, 2011 8:38 pm Reply

    Em, I for one are glad you’re home! xx

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  5. eliane December 14, 2011 1:44 am Reply

    having lived not far from frankfurt i can imagine your frustration. i also prefer 1 degree here at the irish coast than those christkindl markets with chinese decoration and toys for sale. thank your for sharing your adventures.

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    Emma   Reply: December 27th, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    I wouldn’t mind a bit of 1 degree irish coast either, sounds good! Munich is pretty dull too, and Hamburg… Geneva is very boring but at least there’s chocolate. My favourite stop overs are Singapore, Abu Dhabi (just to see the airport, wow) and Narita in Japan.

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  6. Melanie December 14, 2011 3:51 am Reply

    Wonderful story…but the passport part stressed me out even though it was not me!!!

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    Emma   Reply: December 27th, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Yeah, really my worst nightmare coming true… I still feel sick when I think about it….

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  7. michelle December 14, 2011 7:26 am Reply

    love your writing Emma.The trip sounds wonderful and now back to reality…plenty more fodder to write about I should think.xx

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    Emma   Reply: December 27th, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    thanks michelle!

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  8. Bessa December 15, 2011 1:22 pm Reply

    Hi, I’m an usual reader, but I never posted a comment before. Since no one noticed till now, I just want to point out that the portuguese prime-minister’s name is PEDRO Passos Coelho (Mr. “Peter Rabbit” like the one from Beatrix Potter), not Paulo (Paulo is the foreign minister’s name). Anyway, wellcome to the portuguese mild autumn (the winter is yet to come).

    Greetings from a portuguese reader

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    Emma   Reply: December 27th, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Oh no! That’s an embarrassing mistake! Of course I know he’s Pedro… thanks for the correction!!!!!

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    Bessa   Reply: January 1st, 2012 at 4:02 am

    @Emma, Your wellcome. I just thought it would be nice to remember our “beloved Pime-Rabbit’s” name since he is so “luxuriously efficient” at his work. Specially since he’s making me work 30 minutes more each day to pay my college fees next year.
    Happy New Year by the way…

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  9. Isabel December 18, 2011 3:01 am Reply

    What’s wrong with lying down in Frankfurt? Lack of a cat?

    Welcome home. Sorry.

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    Emma   Reply: December 27th, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Yeah, why wasnt I just lying down? I lay down in the steam room for a while… I suppose it was jetlag, you get so sick of trying to sleep and being inert… lovely to hear from you

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  10. Dee Hawa December 18, 2011 5:15 am Reply

    So glad you are back and the drought is over.
    Missed you Emma.
    What a nightmare start… but what a trip it
    turned out to be.
    The beautiful food looked awesome!
    Back to the grind now yay!
    All the best for christmas and the New Year

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    Emma   Reply: December 27th, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Hi Dee, nice to hear from you and merry christmas to you too.

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  11. Arthur E Grice January 17, 2012 4:27 pm Reply

    Hi Emma.

    Just wondering what part of New Zealand you real lamb came from, what part of Vietnam the prawns came from and how you could afford to eat steak with sirloin at nearly $30 a kilo now..
    The quality of food here is as overrated as the the promises of the present government, 🙂

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    Emma   Reply: January 19th, 2012 at 12:34 am

    We ate on the good graces of our hosts. The prawns were local, the lamb too. I don’t agree about the food, but yes it certainly comes at a price, of course.

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  12. za za January 18, 2012 2:22 am Reply

    I am admiring your writing skills.. great!

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  13. Valerie Da-Silva Curtiss November 2, 2012 8:22 am Reply

    I went through that horrible Frankfurt airport, and that is where my online boarding passes quit, as I left the Montana in the US more than 24 hours prior to landing in Frankfurt. Then with minutes to spare, having been a wheelchair flyer, I managed to get my boarding pass, (the nasty german informed me as we were rushing to the boarding area – after I asked her to run! That we do NOT run!) and to get on the plane with seconds to spare! I shudder at the thought of having to stay in Germany one minute longer than I did! Without the assistance of the wheelchair option I would have missed my flight!

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