Adventures of Matt and Pippa

Matt and Pippa Perkins DO London!!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Aussie Adventure

Back from down under, after travelling around the world, spending most of our 28 days off in Australia,via USA and home via Bangkok!!! God was SO kind as ever, in every detail of our travel and the special, quality time we had together and with our very close Christian friends abroad, who were so formative in walking with us on the journey with Jesus, and encouraging us on, in our time in Hull. What a reunion!!!

SO many things to write of, what God has used this trip for... largely to get us to rest in His grace, enjoy Him and His good gifts in creation, of basking in love and friendship, and no hint of pressure, requirement or performance. It really has bandaged or patched us up to carry on. Been a balm if you like.
Lots to learn from about how to live and serve God in our own context much more effectively and fully and prioritising prayer, proclamation, people and persevering!!! I always love a bit of alliteration!
And we had so much fun and saw so many cool things! And we went to Australia!! Can you believe it - always a dream, one we never really believed could happen!

Week one - July 12 2008
Flew to USA, to Orlando Florida to stay with our dear friends the Alexander family. Got met at the airport and driven home by Megan who can now drive - scary but she's actually very very good! We had a week of great fun, games, swimming in the pool, lazing around in chairs reading and doing bible studies, going out to cool restaurants and shopping and driving the golf cart to the beach most days! It was super humid though! We rested well and had really great, deep, honest chats with Lisa and got to know her parents and brother well too, which was a real blessing.

We saw an alligator out the back of their place, in the lake! And many lizards - very weird, and heard that noise of outside USA you hear on TV shows, of crickets is it, chirping away in the outdoors heat? What struck me was the friendliness, good service and care of people in shops and restaurants, being in real life America, with mail boxes at the end of the drive and an American flag flying next to it. Also the massive patriotism, that there is such a joy, appreciation and pride in being American, which was only slightly less so in Oz and is so eroded and denied and not celebrated at all in Britain! If i raved on like the Americans do about how proud i was to be British i would deffo be regarded as racist or part of the BNP, it's just to different!

And so with sadness, not knowing when we might see Stan, Lisa, Scott, Megan and Morgan again, we left for the airport and flew to L.A for a brief stopover, on an American Airlines flight which was fun. We had a few hours to kill so jumped in a taxi and headed for one of the nearest places to LAX, Manhattan Beach! Palm trees, gorgeous long stretches of sandy beach, a promenade to walk, cycle, roller blade down, a rustic looking pier to stroll along, volleyball nets everywhere, people having fun in the sun! Awesome!
Lots of funky houses and surf shops and cool smoothie bars. It had touches of the familiarity of somewhere like Brighton, uber cool people, glossy, tanned, fitness, outdoors lifestyle.
I wanted to stay there, as was feeling pretty nervous about the long flight to Sydney!
So Friday 18th July we got on a plane, lost the whole of saturday and arrived safely in Sydney sunday 20th at 6am, completely unaware of bomb scares and problems with other Quantas planes going on around us! Good job, or i wouldn't have gone!

The plane ride was pretty ok! A great entertainment system, we got hooked on Summer Heights High and saw a few films, though the food was pretty much just plain wrong!! As we came into Oz and vefore they let us off they sprayed the plane with disinfectant!!! Very funny. And we had to declare any fruit/cereal/seed/food item we might have - i had dandelion teabags and dried apricots to declare and good job i did, as man are they tight on their border security!!! So protective of their country, understandably for ecological reasons, but very very funny to the Brit whose borders are a breeze!
We'd told our friends Lee and Cathra not to meet us off the flight as it was so early in the morning and they live at Cronulla, outside the main city centre and have a 3 month old baby! We said we'd find our own way on the train to Paul Dale's flat, our home for wk 1, in North Sydney, near Milsons point. Paul is a minister at Church by the Bridge at Milsons Point and used to work at our church in Hampstead and SOOOOO kindly said we could stay with Him and then while he was on holiday that week.
Luggage collected promptly, ready for adventure, we came out of the gate only to see in the crowds in front of us, Lee and Cathra and baby Joshua waiting for us! Imagine many pippa screams of glee and hugs mid airport! What an amazing suprise!!! What an overwhelming joy it was to be with them again and meet their baba, who is just dream baby!
They kept us two shattered travellers on the go, seeing the sights of Sydney, walking round, having great coffee and keeping awake. They were amazing! We went to the early morning service at the cathedral and heard Philip Jensen preach ( he's a hero of mine) and i had a brief chat with Him at the start of church about mutual Christians we knew. Brilliant.
Staying at Pauls was a God send, he was so relaxed and said to use anything and everything, including his car while he was away! It was right near the business part of Sydney, train stations, and a funky street that had heaps of cafes and boutiques and led you down to McMahons point, basically a park right next to the Bridge and with excellent views of the oepra house! The weather that week was stunning, apparently one of the coldest aussie winters for years - yeah right, people are walking round wrappe dup in coats and scarves and gloves and hats, while we're sitting outside coffee shops basking in the winter sun! It's so bright there and every morning the sun beamed and most days was about 17 degrees. Long sleeved tops/a jumper but no coat necessary!!!

That week we did loads of exploring, walking and drinking good coffee. We went to the Rocks, the Opera house, Saw our good friend Emily and her boyfriend, visited Lee and Cathra in Cronulla beach resort, went to bible study with them, caught the ferry to Manly beach resort and cabbage tree bay walk, went to the Botanic gardens, took lots of photos of flamin gollahs and cockatoos and parrots, you know, just regular birds.
Christina's sister Mel and friend Georgina took us to an AFL aussie rules footie game on the saturday night! It was so much fun - a really fast exciting fun game, combining elements of footie and rugga and was a cheap but great night out, though sadly the Sydney Swans lost to Adelaide!
Christina, generous girlie that she is, had paid for us to go on a 'Bridge Climb' of the Harbour Bridge, something i was dreading and was thinking really wasn't for me! But bravely, we did it!! And it was incredible, absolutely exhilirating!!!! I wanna go again!!! Amazing views over Sydney and a very well done tour and history given over a headset and such care by those who work there. We got some great photos at the top and so had to buy them of course!!! Just brilliant!
Thank God we didn't suffer really at all with jet lag that much going out there and have had none coming back!

Week 2 in Oz - On the sunday we moved base to Cronulla, to a lovely B&B called Seabreeze, run by a VERY friendly couple, Richard and Marie. They sat down to chat with us and give us travel tips every morning at breakfast!! Very chatty but very sweet and the place was overlooking the beach and was truly beautiful. We'd walk down the esplanade to Lee and Cathra's unit nearby, or to Grind ( AKA Grinders), a very funky coffee shop frequented by Lee and Cathra and their friends. Cronulla is a surfers paradise, without the heavy tourism of Bondi, just a lovely seaside town with stunning views and friendly people. It was so great to see their everday life and how naturally they've taken to Parenthood. To just chill out with them and pray together and enjoy baby Joshua was such fun.
And then off we all went to Tasmania for a long wkend ( thurs 31st july - sun 3rd aug). It was so great to be reunited with Dave and Elsa and Ali and Graham, and to see how they are serving Jesus and loving Him and growing in their trust in Him in Taz. It was so great to also hear what God has been doing in their lives, the hard times, the valleys, the easy and fun seasons. Taz is beautiful, stunning mountains views and beaches, rugged and yet resort like bright blue sea and sandy beaches, but deserted! We climbed mount Wellington where we had a snowball fight at the top, walked to peppermint bay, hung out at Dave and Elsa's rural 'farm', made a beach bonfire, the boys went to catch fish in a boat in the bay and then we cooked and ate it! Matt killed a red back spider, without realising it was one! My hero!

Week 3 in Oz
We checked into our five star hotel, that we'd found fairly cheaply on last, and spent the week in luxury, at the Rocks, right by the wharf and opera house. We enjoyed the gym, pool, spa and sauna and the mahoossive bed and dumbed down aussie tv shows like Bondi Rescue and Border Security (!) and got ahead on neighbours and Home and Away!!
We walked down to Darlingshurst and Paddington, did the art gallery in the Botanic gardens, strolled around the opera house to then snuggle on a bench and watch the sunset, went with Emily to Newtown to check out the coolness and say we'd been to Moore College - a red brick building which didn't live up to the exterior i had imagined! Lee and Cathra took us to the National Park where we saw beautiful waterfalls and the most stunning beach i have ever seen. And more rainbows, but not much rain at all!!! Just bright sunny cool days! I'll take sydney winter over british summer any day!

The trip of a truly was!