Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Tag Archives: Australia

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Well the adventure has begun. We have packed our bags, all seven of them, said our good byes to the neighbours and are now sitting in a hotel at Sydney airport waiting to fly to Toronto tomorrow morning.
I walked out onto the front porch of the house, closed the door and got into the car without a single goodbye to the cats. I just couldn’t do it. They would have sensed how emotional I was feeling, that’s just not fair to them.
We have a bit of repacking to do before boarding the plane in the morning otherwise we are all prepared. It hasn’t been easy. It has been several weeks of cleaning, organising, packing, repacking, re-cleaning, contacting the appropriate people, re-organising but now we are done.
Until we get to Toronto, then we have to find a place to live so we get to start apartment hunting right away. The big problem with apartment hunting is that we don’t really know what we are doing or where to look. We want a “village” feel. Having asked a few different people for advice, we have heard a few different opinions and are no closer to knowing which area of Toronto we should be apartment hunting in. It will come to us, I am sure. And, if it doesn’t, then we will move as soon as the lease is up. After all, this is an adventure. It doesn’t really fit as an adventure if one knows how it will all play out!
Sydney, is sending us off with an amazing thunder storm. How cool is that? After weeks of beautiful weather, it’s time! Fall is on its way here in Australia. The perfect time to leave.
I was asked by a friend if Australia is now home to me. It got me thinking, where is home?
I have always felt and assumed that Quatsino was home to me. It is where I was born and raised. The boat turns into Hecate Cove, the Shipyard comes into view and I feel home. This is home.
But then again, I lived in Port McNeill for thirty years. So many friends and family on the North Island. The car stretches over the crest, the Beaver Cove turn off comes into view, the air cools and the smell of salt assaults the senses. I feel that I have arrived home. This area is so familiar and is filled with family and friends.
Then there is Nanaimo. Only four years, but many memories and good times. I always arrive via ferry into Departure Bay. As we approach the Island, I know, I am home.
Living in Australia for the last six years, we visit Canada every year. When we come back to Australia, I feel the same sense of home. Sydney airport, the train and finally Woy Woy. The waterfront is magical, our friends diverse and plentiful. Life is good at our little piece of Primrose paradise.
Where does that leave me now? Preparing to board a plane to a new adventure, a new home. Where is home? What is home?
It came to me yesterday, home is not a place, it’s a feeling. I feel at home with the memories I have collected along this path of life. The path I have chosen has taken me to different corners of the world. I won’t really find home in any of those corners. To me, home is about people. The person I am sharing my life with right now is Al. Together, we are what make a home. It is with a new sense of understanding that I can live anywhere in the world and know in my heart that if I am with Al, I am home.

This is Australia!

As we wind out way through the quiet streets of Katoomba the greenery surrounding us strikes me as odd We are in the Blue Mountains ravished only two weeks ago by bushfire. Yet, here in Katoomba we are not seeing any of the devastation. It helps that darkness is upon us, leaving me to wonder if we will see a different scene in the daylight.

Tonight it is all about finding our accommodation Lush on Lurine. We booked it on Airbnb, an online community marketplace where people list their private accommodation ranging from a room in their home to a whole home rental.  Founded in 2008, Airbnb has only been in Australia since 2012 and this is our first time using the site.

Lush on Lurine is a heritage-listed home built in 1898. We have booked a separate bedroom with en-suite and sitting room.  We are not disappointed. Jilea greets us with her beautiful Irish Wolfhound Oi, and gives us a quick tour before settling us in with a complimentary glass of wine. Lush on Lurine is…lush! Very eclectic, colourful, cozy and eccentric, I want to run home to redecorate. Even the shower has aromatherapy oil to stimulate your senses.


Waking up refreshed and relaxed (and after a wonderful breakfast and great coffee) we set out to peruse the delightful village of Leura known for its famous chocolate shop Josaphans. Okay, maybe that’s not all Leura is known for, but I have to share Josaphans with you. It is where you will find no preservatives, no additives, no artificial flavours, fresh, gluten free, beautiful orgasmic chocolates. Need I say more?


We take our little bag of chocolates and go for coffee. Al proceeds to take a bite out of each of my chocolates after eating all of his. Mumbling something about me having more chocolates, he is attempting to justify his actions. That’s the silliest excuse I have ever heard. He should have bought more if he wanted more.  Everyone knows I don’t share chocolates!

We move on to shopping in Leura,then back to Katoomba to stop in at a local pub for Gluten Free pizza, an afternoon cocktail, and reminisce about an awesome time at said pub with Shannon Groenendyk when she visited us a few years back. How time flies!

A quick trip and hike to the Three Sisters and then back to Lush on Lurine to sit on the back deck drinking in the picturesque garden while sipping a well deserved glass of wine. I proceed to kick Al’s ass at crib. He may have a different story, but I don’t care, this is my story!

After another restful sleep our destination today is Jenolan Caves. We meet up with friends for lunch, a quick grocery shop and head towards our destination.

Al decides on the Bells Line of Road route. It is sobering. As far as you can see burnt eucalypt lining both sides of the road. We come across the occasional house intact, surrounded by the blackened trees and scarred land.  Amazing. Around the next bend is rubble of tin, brick and burned out cars, the remnants of someone’s life, home, and dreams all gone up in smoke.  The smell of fire and devastation hangs in the air.

We see the signs. As we wind our way along the road, they are becoming frequent, simple, and poignant. Printed on fabric and strung between the blackened tree trunks, or made of tin or metal roofing from the houses and barns that once were, they are nailed, stating the sentiments of those who were affected. They vary slightly, some simply saying “thank you”. Others articulate “RFS you’re a ripper” “Thank you Firies” “RFS & SES you rock”.  


The signs may differ slightly, but the sentiment is the same refering to the selfless work of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and State Emergency Services (SES). Both are volunteer organizations. Along side the professionals, these organizations are essential to saving countless lives of Australians every year.

The last part of the road to Jenolan Caves is one way from 11:45 -1:15 every day and is really just a goat track, a series of hairpin turns, one after another, after another. I can feel my stomach turning; it is not a Judy friendly road!

Alas, we have made it. I have been here once before, yet still enthralled as we drive through the Grand Arch and enter the site of the oldest discovered open caves in the world.


Saturday morning Al & I are up bright and early. We decide to hike  (3 km) around the lakes and river rather than do a cave tour. I have done a few of the caves here before and there are many more to explore, but friends and family will not be surprised that I prefer to stay above ground!

As we hike we are searching Blue Lake for the elusive platypus.  We know they are here because we saw a sign saying they have been seen in Blue Lake, one of the only known public places in NSW that people have the opportunity to see the platypus in the wild. We are not disappointed. Right in front of us, we see a baby platypus foraging in the clear shallow lake water. As we edge closer another platypus scrambles into the water shocked from the lakes edge. The baby takes no notice and gives us an excellent view. It surfaces and floats in front of us for a few minutes. Amazing! The platypus is extremely shy. We are lucky to be receiving this private show.  If you ask most Australian, they will not have seen a platypus in the wild.

These are odd-looking animals. When Europeans first encountered the platypus, a pelt was taken back to Great Britain, but scientists considered it a hoax thinking somebody had sewn a ducks bill onto a beaver like animal. Too funny!


Saturday evening we sit in the Grand Arch nestled in our camping chairs enjoying the Rhythm Hunters, a fusion of drumming and indigenous songs, with strong Sumatra influences, a visual and acoustic feast like no other.


Before we know it, Sunday has arrived and it’s time to head for home. 

From the Blue Mountains, delectable chocolate, Jenolan Caves, land ravished by recent bushfires, RFS recognition strung between the charred eucalypt, to the unique platypus…distinctive, exceptional, formidable, inimitable…this is Australia!

Darwin Bound (July 2012)

People can be very interesting, especially when traveling. My flight left Sydney a half hr late because it was a full flight and could not be loaded quickly due to all the people trying to stow their carry on luggage. I saw people with 3 or 4 bags each. Why Qantas lets these people have so much carry on, I will never know. But, who am I to question how Qantas runs their airline!
It just doesn’t matter, because boarding a flight means I am travelling. And, I am very happy when I am travelling especially to somewhere I haven’t been before.
This time, I am on my way to Darwin in the Northern Territory in Australia. I haven’t been to Darwin before, nor anywhere else in the Northern Territory. Exciting enough to be going somewhere new, but more exciting because Darwin is warm. Average temperature during dry season (which is now) is 20 degree lows and 30 -32 degree days. Lovely!
Darwin only actually has two seasons, the wet season from October to May and the dry season from May to November. Either way, the temperature doesn’t change much! The dry season means no rain for 5 months. Imagine!
I arrive in Darwin via a four hour stop over in Alice Springs. I have no plans to leave the airport because I have work to do, but want to come back another time to see Alice and Uluru. Will have to leave that for another adventure.
Flying into Alice gives one a sense of amazement of just how vast and ever changing Australia is. As we near Alice you can see the landscape change to desert like conditions although it is officially not a desert. The ribbons of sand dunes cover the land as far as the eye can see. There are specks of white, which I believe are salt marshes. Occasionally you will see specks of darkness where there are actual trees.
What a difference from the landscape I saw when leaving Sydney. Vast white sandy beaches, inviting blue ocean and breathtaking views of the Blue Mountains which really do have a blue hue.
Another element of traveling that I absolutely love is meeting people. I am probably considered a pain in the ass because I just about always get talking to whomever is sitting next to me on my flight.
The trip to Alice is no exception. I meet this lovely couple from Nepal. They have been five years in Sydney and are now moving to Tennent Creek via a sponsorship. He will work in Tennent Creek for two years and then they will be eligible to stay in Australia. To say they are excited is an understatement. They have no idea what Tennent Creek is like and they don’t care. She has learned that you can not swim in any water there due to crocodiles. She is not concerned because they are going to have their own house. Their excitement is contagious. By the time we reach Alice, I am excited for them and spend some minutes dreaming of their life to come!
My time passes quickly in Alice airport. There is free Internet and I have managed to get quite a bit of work done. I am more than ready to move on to Darwin. Warm weather here I come!
Al is at the airport waiting for me. What a Honey he is! He has already picked up the car rental, settled us in to Sky City Casino and Resort, and is now back at the airport to pick me up. My immediate thoughts on Darwin? Warm! Love it.
It’s dark and I don’t get to see much, but that’s okay. We have a lovely dinner and settle in for the night lulled to sleep with the sound of waves lapping on the beach.
Tuesday and Al has to work all day, so do I! I settle myself in for the day and work by the pool. I even had the pool boy (not Al) deliver my lunch. This is the way working life should be!

My Office

My Office

In the evening, we amble over to Mitchell St known for it’s bars and backpackers. Low and behold an ad for Canadian Club. They seem to be doing some heavy advertising in Australia lately. Go CC!
Canadian Club

Canadian Club

Wednesday is our day off. We take the opportunity to look around Darwin, walk the waterfront (don’t want to swim as there are crocs) and then Al decides we must drive some of the Stewart Highway looking for a road train. We didn’t have to go far. As we sat at the intersection waiting to turn onto the highway, two road trains went by. These pics are for Jason and Kallen. Not sure who will enjoy them more!Road Train



One would be remiss if they didn’t mention the sunsets in Darwin. They are spectacular, no wait, beyond spectacular. The sunsets alone are worth the trip to Darwin.






Here it is Thursday already and we are sitting in the Qantas Lounge waiting for our flight home. My thoughts on the Northern Territory, I want to see more. My thoughts on Darwin…I could live here!




Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!

Imagine my disgust as a person who strives to be unique and walk to the beat of my own drum, I find myself with the most common phobia known to man…the fear of spiders. Worse yet, it’s not my only fear. There is also the fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of dirt… Wow, that list is long.

I can’t say I have conquered many of my fears, but what I have done is learn to face them. My fear of heights used to be so extreme that I couldn’t stand on a chair. The problem with having this fear is it gets in the way of having fun, if you let it.

Spelunking…I found myself in the situation where I was attached to a rope (or whatever they call it) and was asked to lean over the hole backwards until I was horizontal and then start walking down the side into a 100ft deep hole. I did it and I am damn proud of it.

I have been to mountain tops via the chairlift. Sure I have to concentrate on my breathing, but who would want to miss that view, it’s spectacular! I have ridden in the highest gondola in the world that stretches the longest span. I didn’t look down, but at least I went in it. So much for my fear of heights! I may not stand on the edge of an open cliff, that’s okay, common sense says one should not stand to close to the edge without a safety harness anyway!

My fear of flying most certainly comes from my Mother, as most of my fears probably do. And, I have had some horrible trips in planes, but at least I get on the planes, I didn’t used to. In high school I missed out on trips to Morocco and Paris because I refused to fly so far. As I matured something strange happened, my curiosity to see the world and find out what’s around the next corner got the better of the fear! I didn’t want to miss out on other opportunities to see the world, so I refused to let the fear overcome.

I have flown quite a bit in my lifetime and have learned to practice little things to help me with my anxiety. I must look out the window on takeoff and landing and have the ability to look out the window at any time during the flight. I concentrate on my breathing or else I will forget to breathe and start to feel dizzy. The important thing is, I just do it. Amazingly, I find myself with family in Canada while I live in Australia which necessitates a yearly trip across the ocean. Such is life, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

My fear of dirt definitely comes from my Mother. I was in my 20’s when I learned that most people do not mop their floors three times a day. It was at that time I decided to try to handle small amounts of dirt in my life and not be so concerned with having my house spotless. Unfortunately, it took me many years to learn how to control this phobia. Consequently, I have missed out on many picnics because I couldn’t eat outside where there is dirt and I spent more time cleaning my house than spending quality time playing with my kids. But I am getting better. I now only clean the house once a week, although I still like order, except in closets and drawers where it has become a free for all!

So, why is it that those pesky little spiders still send me in to a panic attack?  The other day Al and I went off to the store. Al was driving. Suddenly a huntsman spider crossed on the outside of our windshield. We had the windows down so Al immediately hit the button to put the windows up. I, in my panic hit the button on top of his finger and pushed harder. I know it doesn’t make the window go up faster, but logic does not come into it when one is dealing with a phobia. The spider decided to go down into the vent on the hood. Our vehicle is fairly new, so it has screens on the vents to filter out air pollution. That fact didn’t’ help me as I struggled to close all the vents inside, pulled my legs up and hyperventilate all at the same time.

Al pulled over as soon as he could. I was out of the vehicle in a shot. Pacing up and down the sidewalk, crying and trying to breathe! It was horrible.

Worse, I now had a choice to make…get back in the car and go home or walk home which was an option because I was not that far from home. I stood for a minute and told myself, “this is an irrational fear, that spider can not harm you” and I got back in the car.

I got back in the car because I understand that irrational fear is a state of mind. It’s okay to be scared, but I can not let that fear rule my life. If I did I wouldn’t be living with the most wonderful man in the world because I had to get on a plane to get here and move to Australia…known for it’s spiders, killer spiders! And, I live in the area where some of those killer spiders live, the feared funnel web.

We made it home without the spider showing itself again. Al, being the honey that he is, got a hose and flushed the huntsman out of the vehicle.

The thing is I know I have to get on top of this fear, after all, what if I had of been driving? I can not cause an accident because of a spider, so I am just going to have to learn.

I have been making baby steps. I went through the spider building at the wildlife park. I never would have done that five years ago. Yes, I have had my house sprayed several times and it’s due for another spray as spiders are showing up in the yard. I try not to let it affect me, but I notice myself choosing to sit inside more often rather than out in our beautiful yard. I will get the yard sprayed again, but I also will continue to work on controlling the strongest emotion of mankind…fear.

It’s okay to be scared as long as one has the courage to not let the fear run their life. For this reason and this reason alone, I am not and will not get on a plane, leave the man I love, the life I have built here, to go home to where spiders are way smaller and much less formidable of an opponent! That would be giving in and that’s just not the way my drum beats…no, it beats my way!

Competition is knocking at your door Australia!

In the news today, Australia’s big retailers are calling for GST to be charged to online shoppers.Their reason is to create a “level playing field”. But, GST will not create a level playing field. When you can buy an item online for $300 instead of paying $800 in an Australian store, GST is off no consequence. I did just that last year when buying a watch for Christmas.

As a savy shopper, I researched before purchasing. I was mildly surprised to find the watch price range from $600 – $800 in retail outlets around Sydney. It didn’t seem to matter whether it was a big retailer or small, and none of these prices were a “sale price”. In fact I found the watch at a lower regular price in a jewellery store, than on sale at Myers! There is no excuse for such an excessive difference in price, someone is gouging!

What drove me to shop online? Not just the gouging, but the attitude of the retailers! I would ask if the watch was coming on sale and get rude comments back such as “these watches never go on sale”, only to find the watch on sale at the same retailer just days later!
Several times I walked out of a store because I couldn’t find anyone willing to help me!

Disturbed with the lack of customer service, but not to be dissuaded, I decided to research the watch online. I was not just pleasantly surprised, but shocked at the price difference. At $300, I was sold! I already have a paypal account, so it took me minutes to purchase the watch through ebay. It arrived at my doorstep within 3 days, well packaged and intact!

Welcome to the world of competition Australia.

My suggestion to the retailers of Australia, online shopping is a trend that cannot be bucked. It is here to stay. Either jump on the bandwagon and become an online presence or get left behind. Shopping online has hit Australia. It is only good business sense to listen to what your customers are asking for, they want online shopping and if they are visiting your store, they want the experience to be pleasant. That means increasing your level of customer service.

Competition is knocking at your door Australia, not just online shopping, but also large well known retailers are moving into Oz, such as Gap and they bring a superior level of customer service with them. It is time for Australian retailers to step up and compete or watch your sales plummet as these “foreign” retailers take hold of the market by offering a pleasant shopping experience. Good customer service is not difficult, just be authentic, know your product and show you care. The attitude of “that’s not my department” just doesn’t cut it anymore.

For whatever reason, retailers seem to have forgotten that it’s not all about you, it’s about what your customers want. The sooner you acknowledge and move towards filling their needs, the faster you will move forward!
It’s a sign of the times!

I Hear That Train a Comin!

Australia has an amazing system of public transport, trains! Which means, for the first time in my life I have been reliant on trains, therfore I have had to learn how to read train schedules, as well as bus schedules (go ahead, call me a small town girl), that connect with the correct trains. It has been a steep learning curve, but fun.

Just finding out which exit will suit you best when at Central Station is difficult, but trying to find the next train is even more difficult, especially when you are not sure if it’s the Eastern Suburbs, a city circle or maybe even a country train. I have learned to go to the big electronic boards, look for my destination, figure out which train system it’s on and then stress about where the platform might be as Central has three levels of platforms!

Speaking of trains, did you know that here in Australia there is a carriage called the guards carriage? This is where you will find the guard in case you have problems or it is late at night and you don’t feel comfortable traveling on the train alone.

How do you know which one is the guards carriage? There is a blue light on the exterior of the carriage. Apparently everyone knows this means there is a guard in that carriage. I wonder if tourists know that, because I sure didn’t?

Speaking of which, I always wonder how the tourists know where to buy their tickets, which tickets to buy and the most important thing…hang onto the ticket because you are going to need it to exit the train station on the other end! Maybe it’s just me, but this is all stuff I have had to learn being a “newbie” at train travel.

I have grown to enjoy train travel as long as I get a seat. If I have to stand, I of course, don’t enjoy that. I actually don’t mind so much as long as people are not taking up seats with luggage, purses or other paraphernalia that they think will keep the seat free for their use. I feel that when city rail personnel come through the train to check tickets, they should charge people that are using more than one seat if they don’t have an extra ticket for the extra seat. This would quickly stop the rude people that take up more than one seat!

For the most part, I am liking the train. It is inexpensive, a great place to people watch, enjoy the scenery or immerse yourself in what can end up being a very quirky conversation with fellow train travellers!

That’s a First

How many times in your life have you uttered the words “that’s a first?” When one thinks back, there are so many firsts in our life that are a given, first steps, first day of school, first date, first love… The list goes on and on.

Some firsts are not much fun, first time falling, first car accident, first broken heart, first experience with a loved one dying, many firsts are ones that we would prefer to forget. But, the exciting firsts more than make up for it. Perhaps it is just a little first, or sometimes a big one such as first time married or first baby, what is stimulating is the knowledge that as you are experiencing this first, you are growing as a person.

The problem is that as we age, the firsts in our lives start are few and far between. I have the answer.

Move to another country, experience another culture no matter how subtle the difference. It has sure worked for me. I can’t believe how many “firsts” I have experienced since moving from Canada to Australia. This came to mind just today as I walked into a mall and was hit by the air conditioning. Being from British Columbia, I have never really specifically sought out air conditioning. Here in Australia it is summer right now. It is not necessarily hot. In fact many locals will tell you it is the worst summer in years because we haven’t had any prolonged heat waves. But it is humid!

For the first time in my life, I have had a really hard time sleeping for well over a week. A couple of weeks ago (on a Friday night), the temperature never dipped below 28 degrees celsius. Try sleeping in that! Impossible!

This humidity has driven me to seek air-conditioned places. In fact even Al was happy to spend the day in a shopping centre with me a week or so ago. It was just too hot to be outside! The shopping centre was packed with like-minded people. This was a first for me. I have never spent a whole day shopping just to get some relief from the heat!

Living in another country has afforded me many firsts in a very short period of time. I know moving to another country isn’t for everybody, but if any of you  have the urge to expand your life by embracing firsts, you don’t have to move to do it.

Try flying in a large plane for the first time which will allow you to visit another country (yes, Jackie this is aimed directly at you) or maybe it is something as simple as serving scrambled eggs for dinner instead of breakfast which is more likely a first Jackie will try!

What I am getting at is that when you are experiencing a first you are expanding your personal world. When you are expanding your personal world, you are learning. When you are learning, you are growing. Learning and growing is a life long process.

Don’t be afraid! Unless of course you are on the roads of Central Coast Australia. That is where you will find me driving a car on the right hand side of the road. It’s a first for me, and sometimes scary. It can also be funny. When you are in a right-handed car, everything is opposite including the windshield wipers and blinkers. This means that when I go to turn, I turn on the windshield wipers instead of the blinkers. leads to a very clean windshield! I get the last laugh though because our new car is a North American make (Jeep wrangler), which means it may be right hand drive, but the blinkers are on the correct side for me. This allows me to laugh at Ozzies who drive my car. They wash the windshield with the turn of every corner.

Experiencing “firsts” doesn’t have to be stressful. Embrace the change and have fun. It is worth it!

Water babies!

Summer in Australia produces a blend of beauty and terror in and around our beaches. Killer sharks, lethal jellyfish and the dangers of an environment that is now inhospitable to humans – perhaps we should never have left the sea in the first place.

Australian summer is a cocktail of a hot climate, beautiful beaches and warm, clear ocean waters. When the mercury climbs on a balmy antipodean summers day, there can only be one thought, “to the beach!” Well, and a cooling beverage, the occasional frothy, sparkling brown wine.

My lovely partner, Kitty, and I love the water. We both grew up with it. For Kitty, she would be in the water as often as possible. In the chilly waters of Canada, this was not always possible so she had to be content with holiday swims. However, she grew up in a place only accessible by water; being on and around the water was part of her daily life. I grew up south of Sydney, I was on and in the water constantly.

When Kitty moved to Australia, her one thought was to spend as much time in the water as possible. Despite her love of water, the risks of things that will kill you in Australia made her a little concerned. She read Bill Bryson‘s “A Sunburned Country” on the way over. Bryson’s famous quote “Australia harbors more things that can kill you in extremely nasty ways than anywhere else” seemed to have an impact on her, as you would expect. I’m sure the first time I took her swimming in the ocean she was seeing the shadows of lethal mammals all around us.

More than two years since Kitty first visited downunder, she is now a devotee of the surf, swimming and now, since Santa gave her snorkeling gear, taking a look under the water. This too brings a renewal of concern of scary Aussies, other than those hanging outside the pub. Last week we went snorkelling at The Haven in Terrigal. We went right our along a rock reef and saw lots of things. One special moment was when a black stingray about one meter across gracefully flapped along the sandy bottom right below me.

Kitty is such a water person and I love our water adventures. I am so impressed with the way she has taken to our deadly seas. She shoots waves like a veteran, occasionally ending up staggering out of the water with her bikini top wrapped around her face. She goes snorkeling confidently, despite wallowing like a beached seal with flippers in the air (not quite like the woman in “Along came Polly“). Taking life by the horns and giving it a solid shake!

From hardy Canuck growing up in a remote and beautiful coastal settlement to Aussie beach babe and big city shopper! Thats my girl!

Never Assume When You’re Down Under!

Imagine my surprise when Sept 1st came around and people starting commenting that it was the first day of spring! I guess it never crossed my mind that spring would be on a different day here in Australia than fall is in the Northern Hemisphere. I always thought it had something to do with the day the sun passes over the equator, which should be around March 21st for the first day of spring and Sept 20/21st for the first day of fall. Summer begins June 21st  and winter begins Dec 21st. Logic dictates that Australia would be the opposite.

A fellow toastmaster mentioned it had something to do with  the penal colony changing their uniforms on that day. I couldn’t find any information to confirm that story.

But it turns out that Australia and New Zealand actually follow the meteorogical seasons rather than the vernal equinox. It’s as simple as that.  Meteorogical seasons are determined by weather rather than the length of day.

It turns out that it doesn’t matter because it is spring. The flowers are blooming, the trees are in bud, the wattle is in bloom. The Waratah is also in bloom. This flower is a spectacular sight and is the state flower for NSW. It is also a protected plant!

I “googled” the question, “Why is spring on Sept 1st in Australia? The only reply I found was “Because the last day of winter is on August 31st”. Silly me for asking!

I’m Outta Here!

I was ready to pack up and go home! It was the worst day of my life and it got me thinking “maybe living in Australia is not for me!” What happened? Pretty much the worst that can happen to me occured, there was a really big (Al’s words, not mine) huntsman spider on my deck. My words to describe the spider would have been more like horrible, humungous, terrifying, not big! The worst thing is I have sat out on the deck to eat. I have sat out on that deck to drink. I have sat out on that deck in the sun with my eyes closed. I have sat out on that deck without looking under the table or chairs first. That trust is now gone. In the past, I viewed it as a “safe zone”, but from now on I will be on guard on my own deck.

I was told that the spider would have been looking to get out of the rain. If that is what it was looking for, it didn’t do very well because it ended up being flushed down the toilet! I had thought I was safe living on the 3rd floor. We haven’t had anything more than a few little house spiders show up in the past.

Huntsman Spider

Huntsman Spider

I thought I had been doing well to eat outside with big (my words now) cockroaches running up and down the side of the house while we ate. In fact it is the standing joke now because I shoo them away like they are cats or dogs. I clap my hands and chase them away. They react quite well to this and I hardly ever have to get my spider catcher (it’s a joke for catching spiders, the handle is about 10 feet to short) and scoop the ‘cocky’ up to throw over the balcony! Funny thing is they usually don’t fly when you do this, they land on the roof below with a thud. Maybe underneath all this niceness (my words again), I am truly a sick twisted person because it doesn’t bother me at all when I throw an insect over the ledge. Bombs away!

Australian Cockroach

Australian Cockroach

Apparently having a humungous $%#% (my words) huntsman spider on my deck is not enough to warrant leaving the man I love behind to move back to a country with normal (still very scary though) sized spiders. Fine! I will stay, but I think I should get to know the exterminator better, much better!