After living out of suitcases since starting to redecorate  in August and leaving at the beginning of November I end the month happy in my new home (see pix) ( NB 2 spare rooms for visitors), driving a new car, with proper bank and tax numbers and a great job. Not bad. Also realised after a lifetime of winter birthdays I could have a barbie in Jan, even if I could feed the people I know with one pack of sausages. Cheap do then.

Some cultural notes: Australia is not 10 years behind UK as I was warned; more like a parallel universe where thatcherism and the EU never happened, so you’ve got flat screens and ubiquitous mobiles, but the ice cream colours are still fluorescent and out of date food is sold in supermarkets (I mean months, not hours out); the bankers are all charming and personal and must know the names of customers’ kids -and not barricaded behind bullet proof plexiglass – but of course they all close mid afternoon and take full weekends off. Some of this reminds me of moving from London to having Kendal as my nearest town – I was enchanted by the cute shops and cafes, until they all shut down at five; as someone pointed out I am getting to know Australia entirely through rural NSW, like seeing someone without their makeup. The Sydney experience awaits. Other retail experiences: when I noticed a discrepancy between kilometres on the sales docket and the actual odometer, I was gaily told ‘one of the girls probably made a mistake’; but there’s a big white goods store on the edge of town where you can haggle, ‘pay less for cash’. Realise how much the EU safety and consumer protection stuff has become my ‘norm’. Hard to find low fat or low sugar stuff in supermarkets, but I’m still getting my eye in, haven’t learned the brands yet (though I have been initiated into Tim Tams –  a reference for expat Aussies). Not sure yet what’s swings, what roundabouts but anywhere that serves liquorice ice cream is OK by me (shan’t ask about E numbers).

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