Thursday, June 30, 2011

'Home is the Hunter' - of Percy Pigs that is

It’s almost 6a.m. in Sydney and I am in that jetlagged induced haze where lashings of toast and an ancient copy of an Agatha Christie seem the only viable alternatives to lying in bed thinking about being wide awake when everyone else is asleep.

I have just had ten days in the UK with Drama Queen No.2, on a quick visit to catch up with family. Much to my disappointment the flight safety videos contained no surprises on the naked flight attendant front, and none of the crew broke into any kind of dance routine.
(If you looked at the Air New Zealand body paint video I mentioned in my last post, you might also enjoy their equally compelling disco dancing jive your way to safety take on the flight safety video front

In fact the only disco dancing moves performed en route to London were my attempts to clamber back into row 73 of the plane – for those of you who have never strayed far from the pointy end of the plane on a 747– I should put Row 73 into context – basically if you’ve ever watched movies of parachutists jumping out of the backs of planes, Row 73 is at the pull ripcord, point of no return, moment.

In the interests of travelling light I had decided that there was no point packing raincoats for Drama Queen No.2 and myself and thus pulled down the curse of the British Summer upon our heads. I have lived in my jeans and sweaters aside from the one day when the weather put on a stellar display of what an English summer day should be in what was termed the English Heat Wave. Based on the ‘blink and you missed it’ nature of the good weather I feel more inclined to term it the Mexican Heat Wave as it rippled through the country before we were plunged back into our wellies. The notion of breaking out my shorts resulted in a bitter and incredulous laughter. As for my swimsuit – I’m not quite sure what kind of parallel world I was living in when I packed it – aside from its uses as an extra layer of clothing in extremis it is difficult to imagine the circumstances is which I might have worn it over the last ten days. To be fair I think the weather was actually good in parts of the country but I seemed to be on one of those bring the clouds with you type trips as I shot between Edinburgh, Southampton, Devon and London - staggering into Barclays Bankin Balham dripping wet and wearing my hostess's wellies will remain the defining memory of the trip.

Tyler Brule who is one of my favourite columnists in the FT Weekend, ranks the world’s most liveable cities in his publication Monocle, and this year Sydney made it to a much deserved number 7 spot. He made the point that sometimes what makes a city fabulous to live in is not always the obvious, for example he rates decent water pressure in order to ensure a shower superior to the London dribble as one of his essentials. Reading his essentials made me consider about what I love about Sydney and I came up with following key points;

1. Proximity to the sea – the sanity of dipping one’s toes into the water and walking bare foot along the sand at the end of the day is hard to beat – (NB I am not talking about a North Sea blue to the bone type of seaside exposure at this point.)
2. Ability to get a decent cup of coffee, with the option of drinking it sitting in the sunshine watching a parade of street life wander by.
3. A village feel, Sydney is very much a series of neighbourhoods characterised by small independent shops and I love having a local butcher, baker and if not a candlestick maker certainly a fantastic cookware shop that could rustle up a variety of romantic lighting in the flame line.

However before I rabbit on too much about the joys of small shops, I have to admit I am a UK supermarket groupie – they are just fabulous and completely world beating. Merely entering a Waitrose is enough to have me sniffing the air in an ecstasy of gourmet greed. If I had to define it, the key difference between supermarket shopping in Australia and the UK is that I very rarely wander round our perfectly good supermarket in Australia going “yum must have that’ if you discount the confectionary section, whereas in Waitrose I am having to restrain myself from loading the trolley with everything in sight as it all looks so delicious and tempting. On that note might have to pop back to bed, particularly if I can find the bar of Galaxy I brought back from the UK – highlight of Australian customs experience on reaching Sydney was disclosing the 16 packets of Percy Pigs D Q No 2 had purchased, that had the effect of reducing the Customs Officer to giggles particularly when I added in my Tuck Shop sized grab bag of chocolate.

1 comment:

  1. Actually although I am not a sugar person I do have a soft spot for Percy Pig... I'm convinced there is a design led irony there somewhere...Totally with you on Waitrose, every section though even the odd table decoration bit, just can't help myself. xx