At Edmonds Towers we’ve been following the Australian Open tennis. The sun is so intense in Melbourne that ball boys have to wear Legionnaire-style head gear.
But are we envious? Not me.
I’m reminded of going to live Down Under umpteen years ago. It was late summer in Sydney and a tropical storm lashed down all day.
That was my welcome, along with being sprayed in pesticide before disembarking.
Then my airport taxi followed a private saloon into the city. On the car’s rear window was a poster declaring: ‘Grow your own dope –plant a Pom’. Charming!
But, as I used to say to Aussie colleagues, what sort of culture is it that can only boast of creating Vegemite? Even that’s a poor relation to Marmite, while their outrageous claim to inventing meat pies doesn’t warrant comment.
Coincidentally, I did enjoy Milo – their alternative to malty drinks like cocoa, Horlicks and Ovaltine.
Up in Queensland I revelled in sunshine and surf. However, after months of blue skies I longed for a change of season, like sharp spring and winter days or misty autumn ones when it’s cosy staying inside.
Near Surfers Paradise even our “postie” (Aussies abbreviate everything, then speak in rising tones like questions) would join us for a “cold one” in the yard on his morning rounds.
What else was there to do? Every kitchen had a beer fridge, as well as a food one, plus fly-screen outer door because flying insects were like a plague in high summer. It was far too hot to exercise. We drove to the beach for a “barbie” – and more beers – then sat watching for sharks.
As for Melbourne (inset), back then the trams and town centre reminded me of Manchester – except for that infernal heat. No thanks!
Better to stretch out in front of our fire, then watch them sweat – Down Under.
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