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Hello

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. 

Can't do, won't do christmas in summer

Can't do, won't do christmas in summer

Australia takes pride in it's big things placed along the highways – bananas, strawberries, apples, oranges, avos, lobsters, prawns, penguins, cows, etc etc. Similarly, at christmas, it loves big blow-up christmassy stuff – Father Christmases, snowmen, reindeer, sleighfuls, and so on. I think they look naff. I would no more place a blow-up Father Christmas on my balcony than jump from it. The shops have been full of big artificial christmas trees – real ones don't grow here – and big brash glittery decorations for months. Well, big yawn to all that. Big Bah Humbug.

Here it's just too hot-summery; too tropical; too seafood salady; and in the wrong clothes. Christmas muzak in airconditioned department stores and carolling choirs standing in 30+ degrees of heat in a shopping mall – well, it's just all wrong. Christmas weather is all about pulling woollen scarves up around your ears; hot food to warm the cockles; and bleak northern temperate disappointment because it's grey and cold but not snowing.

The first year I was here I looked forward to the new experience of christmas on a beach in the warmth. That's a novel, fun idea, I thought. Oh the disappointment – well, I was in Victoria, not Queensland – when it was cloudy, not-even-T-shirt weather.

The first time I went into a bakery and asked for two mince pies, they wrapped Cornish-pasty-type meat pies for me. Luckily I checked the bag before I left. Now I can speak Australian, I understand perfectly. They're fruit mince pies, stupid. Incidentally, the Aussies might do good meat pies, roast beef and Yorkshire pud, and fish 'n' chips, but their (fruit) mincemeat is too gloopy.

So, in six days I'm going home for christmas, as Chris Rea would sing. Well, he drove home for christmas, but I've got to fly, obviously. I'll just be driving the bit from London Heathrow to the Surrey hills. Which may well be snowy, if the weather forecast I heard yesterday is to be believed. I think it's going to be far too cold for my liking, actually. I have acclimatised to Queensland; I shiver in anything lower than 20C; I don't have a big coat. Still, you don't want a whingeing Pom sticking around for christmas, do you?

The Australian's deplorable headline

The Australian's deplorable headline

The hottest day

The hottest day