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Thursday, May 25, 2006

At the end of Rainbow Street


The Lord Nelson
Last night I almost felt mildly homesick for the first time. It was the coldest day for 8 months, raining hard, there were Australians behind the bar, only poms ordering drinks, I may as well have been in London. I stood at the fireplace sipping an excellent porter exchanging pleasantries with my fellow countrymen. The kind of night you only get at The Lord Nelson in winter. The fact that it is nearly June didn't really cross my mind...

As of Sunday I have been in Australia 1 year. I haven't really even thought about going home in a serious way. I haven't even really settled in properly yet. There have been a few recent events that have made home feel a very long way away. Not making it to Paul and Molly's Wedding was a real disappointment. I had the return leg of a ticket to Oz use but no way to get back here after I'd used it.

The death of a favourite pet is never a good thing either, although this remarkeable cat made it 20. Trodden on by the biggest horse in a 50 mile radius he endured a smashed pelvis well before he reached full size. A few years later he was run over by a car and lost a front leg. He also survived a trip to the Netherlands for a year and the subsequent quarantine on his return. For a while it looked like he might even have found a way to sleep through old age without being disturbed.

There are also other things I won't go into on here, but they aren't good either.


One for the road dear?
Doom and gloom aside I've had a pretty good year in Oz. However it seems long overdue that I take the piss out of Emily for events on the night of my arrival in Australia, even though her colleagues have made a decent effort in this direction.

After 5 months apart, after leaving behind my friends my family and my job I might have expected a warm welcome at Kingsford Sith airport. Not a bit of it. I was furnished with an address and told that: "Taxis leave from...er...well you'll find it."

Having come directly from London I had high expectations of taxi drivers. Lesson ther first: Sydney is not London. Taxi drivers don't have to know where they're going. They don't necessarily seem to have to speak too much English or be able to drive in a way that ensures their passenger's safety. Luckily mine could do all three, though he did need a little prompting and did so with a degree of reluctance.

My driver's most obvious shortcoming, apart from the fact that he refused to take Sterling, was one all too familiar to me; a total inability to read a map. He threw the road atlas to me with a blasé: "You know where you going, you find". My response, after a full day of aeroplane travel was a bit more than robust. If memory serves it went something along the lines of:
"You picked me up from international arrivals, I cleared customs and walked straight into the taxi queue. I have lived in this country for approximately twelve minutes and all I have is an address and that it is somewhere at the end of Rainbow street."

"We at end of Rainbow street, road stop here!"
Eventually we find the place that is to be my home for the next six months. The door is open and I'm not positive that I'm in the right place. I push open the door and am releived beyond belief to see Emily standing there.
"Hello. How are you? I've opened some crisps and some wine, but I'm afraid I was a bit nervous and got bored waiting so there's not much left...."
Okay, I see, that's to be the way of things is it?

Events above are mildly fictionalised and whilst broadly accurate they should not be taken as fact.

Emily was very excited to show me the fantastic falt she'd found and comlpletely forgot that I was turning up penniless, without a clue where I was going and that it would be dark when I arrived so I wouldn't be able to see the stunning sea view...

3 comments:

  1. Funny that...taxi drivers in Manhattan have a similar condition. It's not like the place is that difficult to navigate, what with most of it being in a grid...in Blighty however, you can nominate the most backwater, up-a-stick, surrounded by a moat filled with alligators address in Christendom & still expect to get there with minimal fuss.

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  2. Ah yes, the inconvenience of distance - but you get used to it in the end (even though, in your case, you've rather taken it to extremes).

    Are you sure the pub in your picture isn't in London? It looks as though it is; looking at it's even made ME a little homesick, and that doesn't happen often these days.

    When you're next in there, raise a glass to the late, great Reilly for me, will you?

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  3. Chris - Manhatten has loads of weird one way streets with most of the avenues going up or downtown. The island only has one diagonal street to my memory (Broadway). This means that navigation can be a bit of a problem, in extreme cases you have to spiral in towards your destination!

    Dad - The Nelson is very like a London pub. It has a working micro-brewery in it which you can see through a glass wall. Most of the beers they sell they make on site so their slightly expensive but extremely good beers are about 50% profit margin.

    Reilly has been suitably commemorated with several pints of Old Admiral and a few tries at going meeeooowrrrp at people to see if they'd answer (it's 6.7% that stuff you know)

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