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Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Australia day...

...was fantastic fun and whilst the hangover is still a little in evidence this morning has been one of those mornings that makes you glad to be alive.

I've been sat at Coogee beach watching someone's border collie jumping at the water from the showers. There are the usual hard-core of ocean swimmers ploughing their way accross the bay who won't be out of the water for an hour yet, not even the shark alarm phases them. I've finished a much needed bacon and egg roll and am trying to drink the coffee that my addiction craves but that is simply too hot for such a sunny morning. The bus I wanted home has just left behind me, I've decided to walk anyway.

As I'm scrawling this in my notebook it's 7:30am and the sun is already so powerful that I'm squinting with my sunglasses on. Without exagerating, the light has a unique colour that makes the world appear as if drenched in golden syrup.The pacific, for once living up to its' name, is glittering and the beach squeeking under my bare feet is already warm and unusually deserted.

One of the things you are never told about Australia is the smell. The eucalypts give the country a uniquely distictive odour. In the moments before a rainstorm they have the rank reek of a tomcat's favourite alley, territorially marked. After the downpour they give off a a sinus clearing mentholated perfume that makes you take enourmous lungfulls of crisp morning air. After a big storm the scent can last for days.

A lot of the hard edges to Australia, whilst they remain on many of the people, have come off the country itself. Bushfires still wipe out huge areas of the country and drought threatens the livelihood of everyone inland but as a whole Australia is in a boom time. The greatest resources here being the country itself - more or less a licence to print tourist dollars - and the people. The reason that Australia punches so far above its' weight in so many different ways is because the people here will back themselves to take on anything or anyone and will honestly give it their best shot.

Whilst walking back accross the clifftops, beaches and the rocks, scaring crabs back into their pools, getting indignant looks from skinks and seabirds alike, I realise something that has probably been very clear to everyone else; I'm going to be staying here for a while.

My Country is the poem probably most quoted on Australia day.