Great Southern Land…

So today is Australia Day. The day we down under celebrate the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788, some 18 years after its discovery by Captain James Cook laying the claim of British Sovereignty at the threshold of a vast and unknown territory.

So what to blog about today, I thought? Could it be a potted history of our last 224 years? Or perhaps a little wander through the idiosyncracies and peccadillos of my fellow countrymen?
But then I knew – it just had to be the music. And more particularly, the music of my youth. So by clicking on all of the links below, you can take a little tour through the teenage years of a little Aussie sheila. Think BBQs, festivals, concerts, camping and much anthem-like, arms-raised, crowd-singing as you listen.

There was Australian Rock charting its course through hearts and minds with Cold Chisel, Icehouse, Little River BandAustralian Crawl, The AngelsMen At Work and personal fave, Noiseworks.

And let’s not forget those upper echelons of Aussie Pop with Kylie, Savage Garden, Kate Ceberano, Bachelor Girl and Jo Camilleri (and his Black Sorrows).

But the song that always sums up that great big land down under for me is a song by little known Gangajang – listen to the words and you’ll hear what I mean…

Have a bonza ‘Straya’ Day, peeps!

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of…

I was happily ensconsed at a local cafe this afternoon, sipping my coffee and picking at a slice of quite sublime lemon and ginger cake, when I came across an interview in The Times with some of the Brisbane-ites who were affected by Australia’s shocking floods 100 days ago (yes I thought, ‘only 100 days’ too).

Right in the middle of the first column was a paragraph that really made me stop and think – it went something like this:

Someone said to me ‘You should be thankful you’re alive.  What you’ve lost is just stuff’, she said.  ‘But your ‘stuff’ is what validates you.  Now we feel invaild and invisible.’

When I arrived in the UK over seven years ago, I had planned to be living with the one person I knew and had arranged for the contents of my flat in Melbourne to be professionally packed up and shipped here.  Long story short – he freaked at the ‘responsibility’ for me coming over here and I moved out after six weeks into a share-house with someone I didn’t know. As one does in London…you know the adage ‘When in Rome…’

So my ‘stuff’ (and my dreams) sat in storage.

I moved into my current flat a year later and I cannot even describe the joy of unwrapping MY couch, unpacking MY books, MY music, MY photos and pictures and basically surrounding myself with MY stuff.  It made me feel whole again, reminiscing over things that had been by-the-by in Melbourne but that had suddenly taken on a comforting and joyful nostalgia.  I remember unpacking my stereo, unearthing an adaptor from somewhere and, in the midst of the mountain of bubble wrap and paper wadding, listening to one CD after another: Kylie, Aussie Crawl, Bachelor Girl, Savage Garden, Noiseworks (just in case the neighbours did not realise that there was an Aussie ‘in da house’) as well as some vintage Madonna, Elton John and Neil Diamond.

And in that one afternoon, it became MY place.  A haven to recover from the knocks I had never expected, and the ones I suspected were still to come.  To catch my breath and take stock of who I was and to assess what I had always thought I wanted.  And to realise that in this ‘stuff’ lay not only the life I’d had so far but also the building blocks for the new chapter I’d started to write.

Six years later, I am sitting in my front window, the late afternoon sun is streaming through the dappled leaves and it’s lovely and warm on my face.  I’ve written many more chapters since – the good, the bad and the heart-breaking – mostly ones I never expected I would write. 
And I remain resolutely and inordinately attached to my stuff…and dream of the chapters that are still to come.

Lazy Saturday…

It’s a been quiet Saturday so far, gratefully received after a ‘big one’ last weekend and a mid-week, impromptu ‘red, red wine(s)’ session which took me a good sleep on Thursday night to recover from but was hugely enlightening from a getting-to-know-my-workmates-more point of view.

My first on-line grocery shop arrived promptly and without any horrendous substitution errors. (Someone at work told me they ordered wine and got baguettes???  Now THAT would be disappointing!)  Sainsbury’s Online may just become my new BFF.

So I’m tapping away here with some Kylie tunes in the background before I head out into the chilliness (yes, people, the snow coat is out!) to be reunited with my phone (it’s been a looooong 3 weeks) and buy the Saturday edition of The Times. 

I love a lazy Saturday…

ps…only 28 days to go peeps…that’s 4 weeks ’til we all talk turkey and dis’ the fat man…the widget thingy never lies!

Happy Summer Sundays….

I just watched Germany beat England 4-1 in the World Cup…happily! Whilst England did not cover themselves at all in glory, to my un-soccer-fied eye, I thought the Germans played well, great accuracy in passing and really tight plays up and down the pitch…and my money is on Germany to win in the World Cup sweep at work so even though they trounced Australia in the first match (and my heart bled a little at this), at least my hard-earned £5 is still at work.  You never know, someone might topple the mighty Brazil or Argentina…maybe???

It’s just over 30C here today and between yesterday and today, I have indulged in a frenzy of washing all of the bedding, towels and blankets I could get my hands on (oh the luxury of having them all dry outside in a day!), windows (this glorious sunshine shows up the dirt magnificently, thus the urgency to deal with this today after a week of procrastination) and am now ensconced in my blogging chair at the window enjoying some Kylie tunes (inspired by seeing her interviewed on Jonathan Ross on Friday night – the woman is a class act!), checking sporadically on my latest Facebook obsession – CafeWorld…and studiously avoiding eye-contact with the gi-normous bag of summer-time ironing sitting on my bed in the other room – when I finally iron this stuff, it will be like having a whole new wardrobe…which has just produced a tiny surge of motivation so I’m off.
Happy Summer Sunday everyone!
ps…Alfie is enjoying the sun and says hi…
pps…did you realise that that last para was all one sentence?  You are allowed to breathe at the … and the – !
ppps…yes this is more avoidance of the ironing bag…I’m really off now!