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The tide changes

December 11, 2012

The last day in Sydney took the form of a long lunch whilst sheltering from the unmitigating cloudy and dull weather. It is as if the gods have begun preparing us for the horror of what we are about to experience back in the UK, where I hear you have all been basking of temperatures a high as minus 2. Australia is a wonderful country, but so expensive, and I think my picture today sums up the financial experience we have endured as tourists with almost worthless sterling in our wallets. I hear that America and Europe are awash with Australians, tourists and speculators, gleefully buying up everything and anything they can get their hands on. It is a bit like when we first found Greece about 30 years ago. Everything was so cheap.

strong rip

Beware strong rip off indeed

As soon as we get back to the UK on Wednesday, then it will be straight next door to the White Hart in Arundel for some proper beer in big glasses. They call it a pint here but it is not, it is 10 fluid ounces which I make about 3/4 of a pint. It also has too much fizz in it and is generally too cold. I am looking forward to a nice room-temperature pint of Harvey’s Best. Also, I can just about guarantee that James “Desperate Dan” the landlord will not be asking me if I want my beer served in a schooner (as they call a small measure over here) . I shall of course want it on dry land.

I am also looking forward to getting into the Christmas spirit. Don’t ge me wrong, the Australians are gearing up for Xmas as well, with loads of parties and decorations everywhere, but it is summer here and it is all wrong. It does not work. Can you imagine throwing a few prawns on the barbie in your shorts on Christmas Day in Arundel? No, it is all wrong.

On the way back we have a 4 hour stopover at Dubai airport where, as far as I am concerned, the entirety of my Christmas shopping will be completed before we set off for Heathrow. This is a neat way of getting this irksome task out of the way early, and allowing Christmas in England to wash over me (not drown me, I hope). I have a string of presents I need, and think I deserve them, as I have worked tirelessly through the year for Currencies Direct, even collecting up a couple of new clients whilst down under. A portion of the cost of the trip will clearly be tax deductible and I look forward to the usual vigorous discussions with my accountants as to what can be claimed.

We said goodbye last night to Larry “rock ukulele” Smith and the lovely but scary Marita. They joined us for early evening drinks at the Australian Hotel en route to a ukulele dinner. He told me that he was learning to play some rock classics on the uke, and was determined that I should listen to some Led Zeppelin classics for the ukulele and it was at the point when he got animated about his version of “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf, that I glazed over and formed the impression that he has been in Australia for too long. They  then kindly invited me to this dinner in Double Bay where the event was to be staged but, do you know, I suddenly remembered a long-standing engagement that I had only just thought off and managed to avoid such a debacle.

Au revoir Australia, next stop Dubai.

Chris France


2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2012 10:10 am

    Bon voyage, merry Christmas, all the best for the new year and see you in France soon.


  2. Rev. Jeff permalink
    December 11, 2012 4:55 pm

    Have enjoyed your tales from ‘Down Under’. Reminds me of our visit there 25 years ago and tree football in Christine’s garden. Remember ? Sounds like the cost of living has risen a bit since then though ! If future missives refer to Rachael Surtees without her newly acquired soubriquet are we to assume that your curiosity has been satisfied ?!


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