A few weeks back I read a post over on 4 Kids, 20 Suitcases and a Beagle, Arrivals or Departureswhere Australian serial expat Kirsty shared her love of the Arrivals Hall. 

It struck a chord. The anticipation of seeing loved ones, the joy and the relief (particularly if you meet anyone coming off a flight from Oz) of even the most seasoned traveller in arriving at last. The excitement of embarking on new adventures, renewing old acquaintances and reinforcing the deepest connections of the heart. That moment when time and distance disappears and suddenly you can see, hear, touch each other for real.

No matter what the advances modern technology provides – and the advent of Skype is a wonderful thing, if I could only get them all the way down there on it – nothing beats that moment.

And my moment will come later today. Just before 9pm tonight, Egypt Air flight 9230 will touch down at Heathrow Airport and deliver my lovely Mum to me. To hear, see, touch for real. For a whole 10 days.

I’m excited.

Your 2012 Five A Day – February

Here we are in February, the month when that Mother o’ mine will visit Gidday HQ and  I am fervently hoping for a little of the white stuff to fall, or the box of thermals and winter footwear I highly recommended she send across (rather than traipse around with them in Egypt for two weeks) will go to waste.

Recently I posted about getting back out on the dating scene and with all of that frisson and angst to look forward to, this month’s Violent Veg musings could not be more apt…

Here’s to a frisky February!


Five A Day Back Catalogue

A Rusty Old Ute And 8 Mighty Roos…

Gidday peeps! Hope you’ve all had a fab Christmas (or however you celebrate). I’ve been lounging around, drinking champers and out and about swotting up on a bit of history (but not all at once you understand).

With Christmas done but still a week left on holiday, I’ve got quite a list of things ‘to do’ but decided to open up my emails this morning to see what the world at large had been up to.

Amongst the post Christmas/Boxing Day and End of Year sales (with even more discounts), there were a couple of missives from Mum. And in response to my last post, she had received an Aussie rendition of Twas the Night Before Christmas so before we say our final farewells to the little dude’s official birthday celebrations, here’s one more post Chrissy post script for you to enjoy Oz style.

It’s a bewdy!

‘Twas the night before Christmas; there wasn’t a sound.
Not a possum was stirring; no-one was around.
We’d left on the table some tucker and beer,
Hoping that Santa Claus soon would be here;

We children were snuggled up safe in our beds,
While dreams of pavlova danced ’round in our heads;
And Mum in her nightie, and Dad in his shorts,
Had just settled down to watch TV sports.
When outside the house a mad ruckus arose;
Loud squeaking and banging woke us from our doze.
We ran to the screen door, peeked cautiously out,
snuck onto the deck, then let out a shout.

Guess what had woken us up from our snooze,
But a rusty old Utepulled by eight mighty ‘roos.
The cheerful man driving was giggling with glee,
And we both knew at once who this plump bloke must be.

Now, I’m telling the truth it’s all dinki-di,
Those eight kangaroos fairly soared through the sky.
Santa leaned out the window to pull at the reins,
And encouraged the ‘roos, by calling their names.
‘Now, Kylie! Now, Kirsty! Now, Shazza and Shane!
On Kipper! On, Skipper! On, Bazza and Wayne!
Park up on that water tank. Grab a quick drink,
I’ll scoot down the gum tree. Be back in a wink!’

So up to the tank those eight kangaroos flew,
With the Ute full of toys, and Santa Claus too.
He slid down the gum tree and jumped to the ground,
Then in through the window he sprang with a bound.

He had bright sunburned cheeks and a milky white beard.
A jolly old joker was how he appeared.
He wore red stubby shorts and old thongs on his feet,
And a hat of deep crimson as shade from the heat.
His eyes – bright as opals – Oh! How they twinkled!
And, like a goanna, his skin was quite wrinkled!
His shirt was stretched over a round bulging belly
Which shook when he moved, like a plate full of jelly.

A fat stack of prezzies he flung from his back,
And he looked like a swaggie unfastening his pack.
He spoke not a word, but bent down on one knee,
To position our goodies beneath the yule tree.

Surfboard and footy-ball shapes for us two.
And for Dad, tongs to use on the new barbeque.
A mysterious package he left for our Mum,
Then he turned and he winked and he held up his thumb;

He strolled out on deck and his ‘roos came on cue;
Flung his sack in the back and prepared to shoot through.
He bellowed out loud as they swooped past the gates-
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all, and goodonya, MATES!’

Two For The Price Of One…

Today is Mother’s Day…again!  With the UK already celebrating Mothering Sunday in March, it always leaves me wondering whether I should be wishing Mum a Happy Mother’s Day then (as I am in the UK) or today – but I guess that two for the price of one is a pretty good deal and anyway, who am I to begrudge sending a little more Mother’s Day love out into the ether?

In any case, those of you who read Gidday From The UK on a regular basis may remember that I have already posted in honour of Mother’s Day Part One so I figured it was time to roast honour Mum in a different way – this time by regaling you all with the trials and tribulations of my childhood dressed as ‘Two For The Price Of One’.  The story goes like this:

My Mum sewed.  A lot.  Before I came along, she made big stuffed toys like this gi-normous panda. 

Yes that’s me with the panda!

She also made amazing ‘pyjama dogs’ that had a zip on the underside that you could pop your ‘jarmies’ in ’til next time.  Mine was orange. No, I do not have a picture.

Deciding that toys were not enough, she then moved on to outfits. It started innocently enough with individual ensembles…

(Lil Chicky was eye-ing off the Christening Cake)

And then she got thrifty…

Look at those ringlets – Mum’s a talented woman!
We do love a birthday in the Hamer clan!
Actually I think our Oma might have knitted these vests – Mum got everyone in on the act!
And still matching hairdos!

…as not only could Mum get a better deal on the material, it meant that Lil Chicky could continue to wear my hand-me-downs for years to come.  (Boy, she REALLY loved that!)

Anyway, this continued on until we rebelled (it was a little uncool once we got to school and had friends who came over to play!), only to slide right back into it in our teens…

I’m (17) on your left, Lil Chicky (13) is on your right

…although we were being Mum’s bridesmaids and she didn’t make the dresses herself and they are different colours – but enough said.  A picture paints a thousand words.

So a it’s couple of decades (and a bit) later and I figure Lil Chicky and I have managed to weather the storm and emerge relatively unscathed. (‘Oh thank goodness’, I hear you whisper.  No it’s ok – don’t apologise. I understand.)  But little did I realise that my departure from Oz had left such a gap…

Mum (L) and Lil Chicky (R)

Ladies, it’s time to let go! 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mothers…People To Make Leaning Unnecessary

Here we are at Mother’s Day Number One for 2011 and while for me (and probably lots of other Aussie and Yankee expats) the REAL Mother’s Day will be in May, honouring my fabulous Mum twice is certainly no chore!

American writer Dorothy Canfield Fisher wrote:

A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary.

and this sums up my Mum for me.  In fact so much so that now I’m all grown up, I’ve had to be reminded quite recently that a little leaning on my part is actually quite a restorative thing and good for the soul – by none other than Mum herself (still so wise, right?)
So I wanted to honour this feeling and after some digging around, found this perfect quote (courtesy of a sentimental yet anonymous soul):

When you’re a child she walks before you,
To set an example.

When you’re a teenager she walks behind you
To be there should you need her.

When you’re an adult she walks beside you
So that as two friends you can enjoy life together.

Happy Mother’s Day…

2 Sleeps To Go…A Very Lucky Girl…

I’ve begun my birthday treat-to-self 4-day-weekend today. I went down the road for breakfast at A’s early-ish (before she and her Mum jetted of to Rome) and have been doing a few odd admin chores, watching Loose Women and generally pottering about with the aim of getting ‘stuff’ done so that I can indulge myself whole-heartedly in the next 3 days.  

So I sat down to do another favourite thing of mine (blogging ah yes, how do I love thee! counting the ways shall burst forth another time…) and I felt like a bit of an empty vessel, having no idea what to write.

Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. I looked up from my keyboard and out of the window – and there was a woman standing there with these…

…and I smiled and cried all at the same time. 
It made me think of all the cards and birthday wishes (including the glittery Happy Birthday sprinkles that threatened to fall out of one envelope) and the pretty-to-look-at and completely scrumptious birthday cake that accompanied yesterday’s singing in the office.
It’s not my birthday yet (only two sleeps to go…where did the time go?) and already I feel a very lucky girl.
Thanks Mum (and Alan)…the flowers arrived just when I needed them.

Mum’s the Word…

It’s another gloriously day here in SW London, my front garden is dappled with sunshine and the light is streaming in through my front window (and actually making me notice that the windows need a clean).  I’ve just come back from town with the top down on my car with the spring air on my cheeks and I’m mildly excited by the mere thought that I might be able to put my wet-laundry-bound clothes horse outside.  Such simple pleasures!
But there’s another reason that today is special and that is because it is Mothering Sunday in the UK.  (Yes, 2 whole months prior to the Australian one, giving me plenty of time to shop for a card before they all disappear and post it to Australia.)  I don’t normally celebrate this early version but this year it seems important for three very important reasons…

…my friend A celebrates her very first Mother’s Day today…

…we missed celebrating with J’s Mum last year (she passed away just 4 days prior)…

…my Mum – who I will see for the first time in 3 years in May – is worth more than just one paltry day and in any case,should not have to wait until May.

So to all the Mums and Mums-of-Mums and Mums-of-Mums-of-Mums, and especially to my very own superstar Mum…here’s to you, to all the roles you play, all the things you are to every one of us and all the things you do.

Happy Mother’s Day x