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LKC last won the day on February 19 2017

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About LKC

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  1. The weather 😁

    Yes, our neighbour said it hasn't been this bad since 2010. Apparently, the next village along got 6 inches in an hour! It is up to our kids knees in our back garden, and they are 9 and 11, so it is pretty deep!
  2. The weather 😁

    Well, we were hammered today! Saw the forecast for snow, but realised that the fridge was bare and that I'd have to go and get some supplies. No problem, I thought, I'll go straight after I drop the kids at school and get enough shopping for the weekend. It had started snowing when I took the kids to school, and by the time I was on the way to the supermarket it was coming down quite heavily. I got to the supermarket and got a small trolley full of shopping, only to realise, once I was at the checkout, that I had taken my card out of my purse to order tiles for our new kitchen the night before, and hadn't put it back in. So, I drive the 9 miles home to get my card. The roads are starting to get pretty dicey at this point, but I got back without incident. I then drove back along to the supermarket. The roads are now completely white, and it is difficult to see too far ahead. I get to a large traffic island just before the supermarket, and manage to get myself stuck in a big frozen rut of slush. I oversteer in panic, the back of the car is snaking around, and for a second I thought I was going to have a bit of a mishap. Luckily, I remembered the advice that my driving instructor had given me, and managed to regain control and get to the supermarket without further incident. After paying for my shopping and getting back in the car, I notice that there is a text message from school, saying that they are closing at 12, and that I was to collect the children asap. No problem, I have to go through the village with the school in order to get home. I drive the few miles to school, on roads that are like ice rinks, with snow coming down thick and fast, but make it and get the kids. Our village is about two miles from the village where the school is, and it usually takes five or so minutes to get between home and school. Unfortunately, on my side of the carriageway a truck had broken down a few miles ahead causing a tailback, and on the other side of the carriageway several trucks had got stuck coming up the hill out of our village. A gritting/ploughing vehicle was getting the trucks out, but it took almost an hour to get home. We live up a tiny single-track lane, which is on a bit of a hill, so I was a bit worried that I wouldn't make it up to the house. However, my trusty Volvo performed magnificently, and we reached the drive easily. Once the kids were fed, I got my snow shovel out and cleared the drive ready for my OH, who was also on his way home from work. When I had finished that, I went to have a look down the lane, and saw that my OH's car had got stuck on the hill. So he, two neighbours (one of whom was stuck further down) and I set about clearing the lane. An hour later it was much improved, and with the help of a random stranger in a Land Rover Defender who helped tow the cars, both OH and the neighbour made it onto their respective drives. The four of us were stood at the bottom of our drive, congratulating ourselves on a hard job well done, when the local farmer drives by in his tractor, with a snow plough on the front, clearing the remainder of the snow in one easy sweep. It was perfect comedy timing! When I told people that we were moving from Australia to Scotland, they asked how we'd cope with the cold weather. It is assumed that to live in such conditions, we must spend the best part of the winter indoors. Mother Nature has thrown an absolute blinder at us today, but with the help of the local community (including the farmer who drove past with a smirk on his face), our difficulties were overcome, and we got to spend the remainder of the day building an igloo in the garden. The weather is the weather. You can't change it, you can just adapt your behaviour to it. Today has shown me that the community we have chosen to live in is the right one for us, and I am so happy that we moved back, whatever the weather throws at us. This is our igloo. Sorry about the bad photo, it was dark by the time we finished
  3. The weather 😁

    School was open, and actually the roads weren't too bad. Our road is a narrow, steep-ish lane, but I took it steady and got out onto the main road without any trouble. I have to take a kitchen sink over to our new house at some point, so I might brave it later on, although that lane is steeper. This is on the walk to school, from where I park the car.
  4. The weather 😁

    It's the same in our village. The main road has been gritted and is mostly okay, but the road where we live is going to be a tricky drive. OH had to help dig a neighbours car out yesterday evening, because he'd got stuck on the hill coming up to the houses. We collected the kids from school early yesterday, and I'm kind of hoping the school is closed today so I don't have to go out.
  5. Observations from a Brit returning to the UK

    Can I add a few, being a recently returned Brit? We're on the southern edge of the Scottish Highlands, a new place for us since we lived in Suffolk before we moved to Sydney. M&S food. Oh. Emm. Gee! Ordered our Christmas dinner from them (since our rental kitchen is tiny and couldn't be bothered to faff), and it was beautiful. Also love their ready meals if we're being disorganised. Packing my own bags in the supermarkets. It took a while to get used to this, but now I have a routine. Remembering to take bags to the supermarkets. I kept forgetting them for the first few weeks, and as a consequence I have a lifetime supply! All the fruit and veg in the supermarket seems to be wrapped in plastic in some way. I don't like this. Buying wine in the supermarket The firewood we've bought so far isn't as good as the ironbark we got in Sydney. However, we've been buying little bags at the garage since we're moving in a few weeks. Maybe I can find better in a bulk delivery when we move. I have been ill and unable to drive for a few days, so OH has been dropping the kids at school and coming home early to pick them up. Today one of the kids needed to come home in the middle of the day with a migraine, so the headmistress brought her for me. The school has been outstanding Eldest has Asperger's, and we've already had meetings with the SEN teacher at her school (to see what they can do to help her now), the SEN head at the high school she will be attending from August (to see what they can do to help her transition to high school), and she has been referred to an OT, with the appointment coming through quickly. Central heating and double glazing. No more needs to be said! Glorious frosty mornings. Although I did manage to slip on some black ice and bugger up my hip, hence the no driving. Really friendly postman, who would greet me with a "Ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas" when delivering things I'd bought for the kids for Christmas. Friendly people. Everyone says some version of "good morning" on the walk to school. I have been included by the school mums. I also went to the pub with some of them at Christmas and ended up signed up to the PTA Gorgeous sunshine. Seeing the kids in the snow. Faster internet than we had in Sydney (although to be fair we were in a bit of a blackspot). People speeding through the village we live in. It is a 30, but people don't slow down, even when I'm walking the kids to school. People don't always stop for the school crossing. People seem in more of a rush here somehow. Amazon! I love Amazon and have ordered loads on there since we moved back. Sometimes even things we don't need! I miss the birds, they're not as obvious here, although it is winter. I also miss the sea and the warm sand. Although we do have loads of lovely countryside, lochs and hills to make up for that. We've all been sick on and off since we got back, but I put that down to getting used to new germs. I've not had any coffee shop coffee since we got back at the beginning of September, so I obviously don't miss that!
  6. Early Childhood Teacher help

    I think the point that Quoll and VS were trying to make, is that it is all good and well training for a job that is currently acceptable for a visa, but you have to bear in mind that that particular profession could be taken from the list at any time, and you could find yourself left in the UK doing a job that you don't enjoy. As an example, my OH's occupation was taken off the list one month after we were granted our visa. Any delays and we'd never have got PR and citizenship. However, it is a job he loves, and he is happy to do it in either country. As it happens, he did it in Australia for a few years, and then we returned to the UK and he is happy in work here too. I would be careful with the primary/early years teacher route. As far as I am aware, there is a surplus of teachers in Australia, in all but the most remote locations. There is always the chance it will be taken off the list at the next review.
  7. Dilemma whether to stay or go

    I agree with most of this. We loved our time in Sydney, and there are things we miss, but found that as time went on, and the cons started to outweigh the pros, the feeling of wanting to return just got stronger and stronger until the point that we decided it was time. Like you, we left the UK because we had the opportunity for an adventure, and whilst we loved Sydney, we love the UK too. We didn't leave because we didn't like the UK, and we didn't return because we didn't like Sydney. They are both fantastic countries, and we are lucky to be able to live in either. For what it's worth, we moved here when the kids were 1 and 2, and moved back when they were 9 and 11, and they settled well on both occasions.
  8. UK couple moved to Sydney

    We're back in the UK now, and we have kids so not really in the same boat as you, but have a look to see if there are any local Facebook groups you could join. We were members of a local group when we were there, and there were always people arranging drinks and evenings out and things. Also fitness groups (also arranged via Facebook local groups) might be worthwhile joining.
  9. Thinking of moving back after 9 years

    I completely agree with Snifter. Your children are still very young, so even if you decide that you would like to return to Sydney/elsewhere in Australia, there is plenty of time in which to do so. Our girls were 1 and 2 when we moved to Sydney, and it was a relatively painless process in terms of how they settled. They didn't really know the difference, they were still with mum and dad, and life went on pretty much as normal. We've just moved back to a different part of the UK to where we came from after 9 years in Sydney, and whilst things have been slightly more complicated in that they are both at school, they have settled pretty well. One of our main reasons for returning when we did, was that our eldest would have been due to start high school this month, so we decided that we wanted to make the move back before she started high school. As it happens, we've moved to Scotland which has a different birthday cut off to England, so she's actually gone back slightly and will have done her final year of primary again, which is great for helping her settle before she starts high school in August. If we'd left it much longer and she'd got on the high school/university road, it would have been a much more complicated business. We loved Sydney, and I feel hugely privileged to have had the opportunity to live there. Having said that, like for you, there were a number of things that added up to making the move back more appealing, and I am so incredibly pleased that we have. It is early days, but so far things are going well. I always remember though, that nothing has to be permanent. If things don't feel right, change them. Good luck with your decision.
  10. Starting school

    We made a few payments at the beginning of the year. From memory, there were things like band fees (both my kids were in the school band), there was also a 'voluntary' contribution to the school building fund, which wasn't really voluntary. Also, payments for larger excursions/camps etc. I didn't mind paying those things though, as they went to an absolutely outstanding state primary. This is in NSW, by the way. I'm guessing there are differences state to state, but also school to school.
  11. Starting school

    We always had to supply pens, rulers and other bits like that, plus things like tissues, hand soap, kitchen towel, glue sticks, whiteboard markers etc. Every so often one of the kids would come home and say the classroom was getting a bit short of something and ask if they could take it in. We also had to provide things like exercise books and had to purchase a book pack through school. The school used to publish the lists of requirements for each year level in the last newsletter of the year, so that parents could be ready for the new year, so you could check there if you can't find a list on the school website.
  12. Suburbs NSW

    Sutherland Shire might just fit the bill. It isn't run down at all, and is massively family oriented. There is also lots of building work going on at the moment, so your husband probably wouldn't find too much trouble picking up work, providing he has the right licenses etc. It is a real up and coming area in that regard. There is a hospital at Sutherland and another in St Georges, plus I think there are some private maternity hospitals around that area. I'm a bit out of touch in terms of what rentals are going for these days (we're back in the UK), but as a general rule the more expensive suburbs are over by the beaches (Cronulla, Caringbah etc.) and by the rivers (Gymea Bay, Yowie Bay etc.), where the cheaper suburbs are more inland (Loftus, Engadine, Menai, Bangor, Barden Ridge etc). Those suburbs are all still lovely, but are cheaper because they are away from the water. That said, in the Engadine area we were still only a 20-25 minute drive from the beach, 10-15 minutes from Miranda, a few minutes to the Royal National Park, and an hour away from the most beautiful white sandy beaches. Engadine itself (and surrounding suburbs) is a lovely little community, lots of families, good schools, a small town centre with supermarkets, post office, coffee shops, greengrocers etc which is handy if you don't want the bother of going shopping in Miranda, lots of parks and play areas, a leisure centre etc.
  13. Suburbs NSW

    Do you know where you will be working and what your budget for rentals is likely to be? People will be able to give you more specific information with that information. Having said that, you could try Sutherland Shire, or maybe a little bit further out towards Helensburgh. Most of the Sutherland Shire suburbs are family friendly, the schools are great, there are beaches, a great shopping/restaurant/cinema complex in Miranda, and it is relatively easy to commute to Sydney CBD via car or train (approximately 1 hour by train from Cronulla, less than that from the other suburbs). We used to live in the Engadine area, which is very nice and a bit cheaper than some of the other suburbs. There is plenty to do in the area, lots of walking, great leisure centres, all kinds of groups and clubs for your kids to join. There is a sticky post on Sutherland Shire up at the top of the NSW section that might give you more of an idea of what it is like.
  14. Someone more knowledgeable might be along in a minute, but as far as I know, when a new visa is issued it overrides the old visa. Therefore, when the visitor visa is issued, the 457 would become invalid and your partner will have to stop work at that point (because you can't work on a visitor visa). I think the eVisitors are issued fairly quickly, so you should be okay to do it once she has finished work.
  15. Advice for moving back to England

    They don't even need to be up to date, providing you have another valid passport to travel on. We used our Australian passports to travel on, but entered the UK on our expired British passports. They didn't even want to look at our Aussie ones. The man just looked at our British passports, made a joke about the kids not looking like their passport photos (youngest was six months old in her photo, and 9 years old when we returned!), and said 'welcome home'.