After the debacle that was my last contract, it was time for some necessary time out to recuperate.
So, I took another lost weekend on the weekend just gone - which turned out to be one of the better things I could have done for myself.
Getting away was crucial. A change of scenery was needed - so I booked a ticket to Sydney on frequent flyer points. I could have just booked a room in Melbourne, but I had the need to really get away. Also, there was a couple of things at the Art Gallery I wanted to see - but mainly I wanted out of Melbourne. I also booked a cheap room at a favourite hotel - where the bed and bath were big and inviting, the hallways quiet and it's nice and close to transport. Done.
The airport trip was uneventful. The wait for the plane nothing out of the ordinary. I did my normal trick of sitting in the seat behind the one I was supposed to be in. After two minutes I relocated to my allocated seat.
"Aye, what are you doing here?" came the question from the aisle as I was finally settling.
Jayden - Pump Instructor extraordinaire and Qantas Trolly Dolly, oops, cabin crew was standing over me. I love bumping into him on flights - especially as this is what my tray table looks like after the seatbelt sign goes off.
So the day got off to a good start.
Arriving in Sydney, I made my way to my hotel. Contraband gin in my back pack, no agenda to speak of. I checked in, dumped my bag, went up Pitt Street to find some lunch, then went to the Art Gallery to check out the Bill Henson display, interested in his photography when he's not skirting the borders of paedophilia. (Clouds - excellent)
It was starting to rain after a while, so I made my way back to the hotel, picking up some snacks and a bottle of tonic on the way. And then I settled in for the night.
There's something very decadent about spending some time with yourself in a strange city - and something very healing.
The rooms at the Westin are brilliant. I love that there is a glass wall between the bathroom and the bedroom, so you can sit in the bath and watch television. Or read a book. Or just lay back and listen to music.
The overnight stay did the trick. I woke the next morning feeling the most refreshed I've felt in weeks.
Allegedly it rained over night. I wasn't aware of this - but it did look a bit murky outside when I took a peek out into the atrium the next morning.
The next morning, after yet another bubble bath (the bath tub was abused a bit during my stay) I got up and checked out by 10 am as I was meant to be catching up with a friend. Alas, that didn't happen, my friend was waylaid, so I went off to the airport and hung out in the Qantas Lounge for an hour or so, using a pass that Millie suggested I always keep on myself. Have to say, it's a very civilised way to spend an hour at the airport. Free coffee, a light lunch, a bit of peace and quiet - you can't ask for much more.
A non-event of a flight home, stopped in at Blarney and Barney's on the way home and got fed dinner (along with a cuddle from the Maow Maow) and I was home.
The rest and relaxation continued into Monday. Without a job to go to, I knew that a real day off was required. As Jonella is also between jobs at the moment, starting a new role later in the week, we decided to go up to the Dandenongs for lunch.
A grand idea - especially as the Dandenongs are only an hours drive away. I was looking to go to the Peninsula Hot Springs, but Jonella's Mum, who also came with us, wanted to be back for her grand daughter's ballet concert.
I'll go to the hot springs in a few day time.
Lunch was taken at Miss Marples Tea Rooms in Sassafras. A lovely meal of a pasty and salad (the pasty still inferior to the ones you get in Adelaide, but still a good effort). It's the perfect place to go for lunch on a week day - it's near on impossible to get in on the weekend.
Jonella and I visited the teapot shop next door after lunch. Jonella is a bit of a tea freak. Me, I just loved being shoved in a shop where I could use all my senses.
It took all of my strength not to walk out with most of the shop - instead, I just came out with a coffee mug with my name on it.
After a good browse, we joined Jonella's mum, Chrissy, at the local toy shop - another place you should never send me as I never want to leave.
As Chrissy and Jonella sourced presents for Chrissy's grandkids, I was given a marionette to play with - an amazing likeness of Eleanor of Aquitaine. I'll never make a puppeteer, but I appreciated the workmanship in this amazing creature - and even got her shaking hands, walking and nodding in approval.
After a while, once the purchases were made, we made our way to Kallista to the tea rooms there for the required coffee and cake to sustain us for the ride home. Having been so cold lately, sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce and ice cream really hit the spot.
The views from the windows didn't disappoint either. We got to watch the locals as our coffee and cake went down.
(I take anybody who's visiting to the Kallista Tea Rooms - the birds that hang out in the tree outside are astounding)
We got home at the required time - Chrissy made her grand daughter's recital and I got back in time to go see Slap.
The best thing is, I'm beginning to feel rested and restored after two months of stress.
I'm ready to start the next steps in my journey.
Taking a few days off is all a part of the plan.
(Photo credits - all from my trusty iPhone)