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Simon Benson & Alison Edwards
2015 begins; work and plans

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(Simon writes)

Our lives have become rather boring, and rather busy. We continue to work only 2 days a week - so how can they be so busy? Partly due to having two paces to live in and renovating the house next door in Castlemaine. Here, the building (after a longish period of unbuilding) is proceeding. The builders do it. We tidy the place up after them, and in between have been cleaning the pile of bricks from the demolished chimney. There are a lot of bricks in a chimney.

We've had to get on with buying things to install - the biggest of which was a kitchen, which we bought from a house near Ballarat and had to remove. This took 6 hours and there were fortunately no disasters; we'd never un-installed a kitchen before. It may make installing it easier.

However, we had a relatively quiet January, thanks to the summer holidays. This meant that my Spanish lessons were not on, and Alison's circus training wasn't either. So instead of having something on every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night in Melbourne, we had nothing! We were able to do things like go out for a walk together. Our range for walking was expanded by the announcement of a "Free Tram Zone" in central Melbourne; we can walk to the corner of Victoria Market, about 10 minutes away, and then take the tram into town. We used to just walk into town, but now we have a greatly expanded range; getting to the Botanic Gardens used to be quite a hike, now it is easy. We used it to get in to the music bowl and to this year's "White Night" - the third one, and - all in all - a bit disappointing. Perhaps we've been spoilt by the previous ones.

My brother Rob, whom I've worked with for 35 years, retired at the end of last year (though I haven't seen him at work for some years - he worked a different two days to mine). Some patients have come in to tell me that I'm retiring, but this is news to me. I have no plans or intentions of doing so. The only problem it has left me with is that, despite our physical similarity (a lot of people think we are twins) we have very different personalities. Some of his patients think that I am his clone, and they are in for a surprise.

And we've been slowly filling in the gaps on our trip for this winter. Slowly filling in the gaps - not like last time, when, crippled with my broken ankle, I had lots of time to sit at the computer and do it. This is how it goes:

Fly to Zurich. Do a little loop around Europe seeing various friends (Zug, Nuremburg, Cologne, Paris) for 2 weeks; then fly to Copenhagen and then Iceland for 3 weeks. We've rented a little camper for most of our time there. Then back to Copenhagen for 3 days, then fly to New York. Here (thanks to booking our flights before really working out what we were doing) we go straight to Washington DC for a week, then do a 3-day "Bike Virginia" bike ride. (We've been learning about American geography, and found that Virginia is right next door to Washington DC.) After that we have 3 weeks - so far "blank"- before flying home from Vancouver, (Quite an exciting sounding trip, but - as usual - it all seems quite unreal at the moment.)