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...

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...