Welcome to this blog, the story of a great big Australian adventure. It documents my travels, life in Australia, and a subject close to my heart – environmental conservation. 

I'm amazed...

...that I have lived in Brisbane for a year already;

…that I've managed to live without my cats (Eric and Millie, above);

…that there is so much cloud and rain in Queensland and that the weather is so unpredictable;

…that I chose to come and live in Australia at the start of the third wettest year on record;

…how big Queensland is;

…that I have become such an avid bird-watcher;

…how inconsiderate and unsafe many Australian drivers are;

…how intimidating the Queensland police are;

…that, despite due care and attention, it is easy to commit a driving offence here;

…that I miss the light long summer evenings of temperate zones as much as I do;

…that so many aspects of Australian life are so English – from pies to Parliament to post offices;

…that there are so many Brits in Brisbane;

…that the Aussies are so resilient in the face of such harsh weather/landscape;

…that the beaches are even more beautiful than I remember from previous visits (below, Main Beach, North Stradbroke island, January 2011);

…that the cost of living in Australia is so high;

…that wine can be so pricey in such a big wine-producing country;

…how complicated the healthcare system is here;

…how excited some Australians are about a royal wedding on the other side of the planet;

…how difficult it is to kill a locust;

…that locust innards are the colour they are (lurid mustard yellow);

…that locust swarms are so immense;

…that geckos are such fun to have around the house;

…that hoovering up insect remains from corners is a daily task;

…that Australians appear unaware of how irritatingly noisy their garden gadgets are;

…that Australia isn't more worried about sustainability*;

…that more Australians don't use solar power**;

…how consistently good the Aussies are at 'doing' national parks (marked trails, information panels and offices; recreational facilities);

…how early in the day Australians start barbecuing;

…that I even have to keep chewing gum in the fridge;

…that a fruit salad (made every morning by my friend) can be as good as this;

…how easy it has been not to pick up an Aussie accent;

…that I still haven't worked out how to spell phonetically the Australian long 'A', as in Shark Park;

…that in this secular, multicultural society, the Federal Parliament kicks off each day with the lord's prayer;

…how tokenist the Indigenous 'acknowledgement of country' statement*** often sounds;

…how hugely enjoyable exploring this country has been so far (below, You Yangs, Victoria, Christmas 2010).

* Of 152 countries ranked in order of their destruction of the world's natural resources, Australia ranks 8th, according to the biennial Living Planet Report, produced by the WWF in conjunction with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network. Australia's unsustainability is reflected in the fact that, if every one of the world's people lived like the average Australian, 3.8 planets would be required to support them.

** Australia has the highest average solar radiation of any continent in the world. Only 8.67% of Australia's energy came from all renewable sources in 2010, and only 2.1% of that was from solar PV (photovoltaic) installations. Australia has no large-scale solar power stations. (Source: Clean Energy Australia 2010 produced by the Clean Energy Council)

*** An 'acknowledgement of country' can be said or written by anyone, Indigenous or non-Indigenous, at the start of proceedings or writings or the presentation of information, to pay respect to the fact that you are on Aboriginal land.

Quiet, please

Empty nest syndrome