We’ve been in Australia three and a half years now, but apparently I still haven’t shaken off all my northern hemisphere-based assumptions about life and its ways. This becomes particularly evident as high summer approaches, with its glorious Australian sun piercing through the thin ozone layer above Canberra turning everything technicolour and iron hot. As … More Summer frights
In a year where everything felt either too serious or too trivial to write about, I now realise we’ve entered a whole new bushfire-cum-hail season, almost a year since I last wrote complaining about hair smelling of ash and windscreens smashed by boulders of ice. There’s still nothing worth saying, other than that we’re so … More Christmas 2020
Australian weather broke records in recent weeks, and like some sort of cosmic ripple effect, it caused DD to break a record too: namely, how quickly after collecting your newly repaired car from the mechanics can you get it damaged again. He had just picked up his car, finally free of the dent made by … More Power shower
When the kids woke us up at dawn on New Year’s Day, the sun was a sore, distant red. Our baby daughter’s hair smelt of the ash that had been swirling around in her room during the night despite our efforts to seal up the windows and crank up the air purifier. Our 4-year-old son’s … More Smoky days
Two and a half years ago, we bowed out of our posting in Beijing as early as we could to escape the horrific smog that was threatening our little boy’s health and trapping us indoors; when we moved to Canberra for our current posting we drank in the clean air and hailed the blue sky, … More How not to be Greta
Unlike when we moved to Beijing, we haven’t had to deal with a language barrier here in Canberra, other than chuckling at the fact that Australians, like Americans, refer to the UK as ‘England’, making it sound like the quaint chocolate box fairy land that I presume they think it is. There are, however, a … More Not so easy
Canberra is a young city, designed and built over the past century on an abundance of land and still growing, which is perhaps why it’s decidedly friendlier to cars than pedestrians. Apart from a small city centre, it’s mostly a sprawled out collection of sprawled out suburbs, 120-odd in total, each with a small group … More Jared Leto and rice paper rolls
With the arrival of our second child we’ve yet again mired ourselves in the tedious administrative circus of registering the birth and applying for a passport. We learned the first time round that living abroad makes everything that bit more stressful as you need to send original birth and marriage certificates back and forth between … More Going postal
Sleep deprivation is, in my experience, the most joy-sucking part of parenting, and three years of it have given me a neurotic obsession with routine and a shameless disinterest in makeup and hair straighteners. But what brings a touch of mirth to those moments when I’m waking up in pre-dawn darkness, brain whirling through the … More OK munchkin, TV time!
An amusing problem of living in eastern Australia, I’ve discovered, is the silly time difference with almost anywhere in the world: two hours with Tokyo, 11 hours with London and 16 hours with Washington DC. Being ahead of virtually everyone means that it’s already tomorrow by the time we find out what Trump’s thumbs have … More What time is that?