Good weekend, made it to the Farmers’ market before everything closed. Same sort of stuff you get at Leeds market, though more goat and kangaroo meat probably. Loved the table of home made jams (see pic). A nice man (born in Halifax, left at 6, never been back) makes lemon myrtle hand cream and insect repellent – how could I resist?

Followed by a trip to the recycling centre right on the edge (over the edge, really) of town – a warehouse of old settees and the ubiquitous, redundant video tapes. Found a little 3 drawer chest for my tax papers and other horrible documents best locked in drawers (doing my return just keep slipping down my to do list before I went – so I brought out carrier bags of old receipts and bank statements. Still better than missing the plane). Doing the market and the dump on a Saturday morning I think makes me a member of the community.

Then lovely party at Jane Mills’ place way out of town, surrounded by gum trees and wildness – cockatoos and parrots (sorry, rosellas) flying around just ..outdoors..not in a zoo or anything (proof in pics). The academic community here is really welcoming and social, perhaps a reflection on the need to make your own culture here – anyway, people are both interesting and very engaging – it’s not like being at an endless conference, people talk about their kids, home, personal stuff as well as ideas. I have been invited to various houses and hope to visit Bondi beach this week on my way into Sydney for Xmas (more on that to follow).

My skype phone finally arrived this morning – nearly 3 weeks from order, so I now have internet, skype and a landline – putting all my new contact details on rather than splurge on FB. Also have new bundle with loads of TV channels, though the best is ABC1 which is really a version of the BBC – watched the Hour again last night, followed by Silent Witness, both produced by a friend. Thick of It on Weds, Outnumbered etc. Other channels show wall to wall On the Buses, Yes Minister, My Family,Antiques Roadshow, all the relocation/makeover/cooking shows that pollute UK airwaves, so plenty of dross to bodyswerve. Harder trying to find original Oz TV, so downloading The Slap, which is excellent – I recognise the settings now, tho it’s Melbourne not NSW, but the size, shape and interior of houses is v similar to round here.

Fave radio = ABC news which turns into world service in the night, blissfully comforting in all its appalling news from terrible conflicts. The Australian news is good, clear, but again BBC/Guardian sources dominate – an item on the fight for Xmas No 1 (Devon choir vs X factor, I think) made it this am. One thing I love is the traffic reports for the WHOLE country – a hold up outside the Perth co -op, spillage on the Adelaide bypass. Imagine a traffic report for Europe (smaller) or USA! Makes me realise that while local ID is v v strong, there is a clear sense of Australia (albeit white Australia, more to be said about that another time) as the framing nation. The news seems less city-centric than US, for example, where San Francisco papers rarely carry news about LA. Sydney Morning Herald is an exemplary paper in its depth and scope – the weekend edition reminds me of how good the Observer used to be before it started adopting tabloid tactics – it can take me days to read the Sat/Sun ed, just like old Sundays.

Suspect I’m still in UK-comfort zone of media, looking for the familiar rather than the strange – but there’s enough of that about anyway. Had to remove 3 beetles from my bed last night – no big deal, but reminds me I’m not in Kansas anymore.