Arrived in Sydney last night. Skies were grey and overcast. Considered asking for my money back, but today has dawned bright and sunny. Not sure of the temperature but it feels like mid-high twenties, with a slight breeze, which is nice.
Am staying with the Coy family in Denistone, NSW – a suburb of Sydney. Managed to edge out the eldest son (Andrew) in a game of Fifa 06 last night, although the teams were heavily weighted in my favour. Am going to need to continue to fix a team ‘handicap’ to have any hope of competing with these young upstarts. Phil and I reminisced on the Subbuteo contests of ‘86 and how technology had moved on somewhat. I assured him that the Subbuteo flame was still lit, at least on Boxing Day between myself and Slid. Although not this year, alas, as I have another Boxing Day fixture to attend.
Discovered that my Aunt Dulcie phoned this morning to welcome me to Australia. Embarrassingly, I was still in bed. The problem was I woke up early (good old jetlag), checked the time, which was 1am. This was a little disappointing. Woke up at periodic intervals thereafter to find the time still depressingly early. Was confused by the obvious sounds of the younger Coy boys playing in the house from about 5am. Eventually checked my watch to find it was 10.30am. I had been checking the clock on my mobile phone prior to this, and only now did I realise I had left it on Singapore time (-3 hours). D’oh. My aunt rang again this evening, so mercifully I was able to explain that I wasn’t being a sluggard and how I am normally up really early with a cheery wave and friendly greeting ready for anyone in earshot.
Ok, so I have noticed some important differences between life here in Oz and the UK.
• The house numbers are painted on the kerb
• The light switches are labelled (light, heat, fan etc)
• Pedestrian crossings – when the green man comes on it makes a sound like aliens shooting ultra-laser-stun-molecular-disintegrator weapons (I imagine)
• The (sun)light is definitely different here. I fumbled my first few tennis-ball catches on the beach today before putting my shades back on
Y’know how in Scotland, on a summer’s evening after the sun has gone down, it can get a bit chilly, even though the day has been gloriously warm? Apparently that’s what happened today. My hosts starting shivering and reaching for their jumpers. I reassured them that it wasn’t cold at all, oh no.
During lunch today, one of the boys noticed a spider, fairly big by UK standards, on the ceiling. Mrs Coy calmly announced that it was only a baby tarantula. Tarantulas are not considered particularly dangerous, according to Mrs Coy. There are much more lethal spiders to worry about. This is good, as where there’s a baby tarantula there must be a mummy tarantula nearby. I was just considering this, the baby tarantula, and its larger, hairier mother, when the Coys’ pet rabbit brushed up against my leg. It was at this point that I lost forever the illusion of macho masculinity that I try so hard to convey to people who don’t know me very well.
As I write, the baby spider has not yet migrated into my room, but hey, it’s got the whole night to do that. And I’ve got the whole night to think about it.
Night night, sleep tight, don’t let the… yeah yeah