I'm back in Melbourne today after being more or less stolen and forced to have a week long holiday, very much contrary to my original intentions.

Stew's instructions for packing were: you'll need to wear very warm clothes but take your bathers because it will be hot.

For a control freak like me, that's about as infuriating as packing instructions get.

Anyway, so in the past week I've been to the top of Mount Wellington in Tasmania (wear warm clothes), Manly beach (take your bathers), the Sydney (Art) Biennale (take your black skivvy) and Newcastle (take a camera).

And the answer is yes, I am definitely pretentious enough to tell everyone that I went to the Sydney Writers' Festival, the Melbourne Film Festival, the Sydney Biennale and the Melbourne Writers' Festival, all in a row. I suspect there was a craft festival somewhere in Tasmania or a cheese forum in Newcastle that I can take credit for as well. I really am culturally enriched, if a little pasty around the gills.

The biennale was a bit hit and miss actually. "Zones of Contact" not really the most inspiring theme, however ambitious. Having said that, some of it was excellent. The curator's tour, though, which we had planned our whole day around, was cancelled due to the fact that "he decided it wasn't worth coming". Inspiring words.

By the way, I've cheated on Crime and Punishment. I just couldn't cope with it anymore. Instead, I read the following while on my mystery birthday holiday:

- The History Boys, by Alan Bennett, one of my favourite playwrights.

- An Article in The New Yorker about Wikipedia (it's fascinating and it's here for any fellow nerds who might be interested)

- The start of The Sea, by John Banville.

Excellent holiday. Only one verdict really. Stew's hired.