Monday, August 30, 2010


Made it to London, where it is a balmy 15 degrees and a Bank Holiday Monday. The trip was extremely smooth: I don’t know if I should admit it – having claimed to be setting out to live ‘la vie boheme’ – but I did travel First Class. I used Frequent Flyer points, but still. ‘Twas nice. I met Adrian Collette, the CEO of Opera Australia, in the lounge in Bangkok, also travelling in the pointy end (though he was careful to tell me that he had scored an upgrade – wouldn’t want me thinking that OA pays for First).

                He was on his way to Edinburgh, where the whole company is presently rehearsing for their Edinburgh Festival performances of the divine new Australian opera ‘Bliss’. As a card-carrying ‘Bliss’ groupie, I too will be there. Kyle and I are planning to take the train oop north next weekend, in the first of one of those wonderful travel opportunities that come from living in Europe – of which I hope there will be many. The opera has been receiving lots of interested press – see for example: which includes a helpful glossary of 1980s Australian slang, just in case that is too esoteric for Edinburgh Festival goers. ‘Bliss’ reports will follow. 

I whiled the long flights away reading and sleeping. If this is to be a self-respecting blog, I should report on what I am currently reading: ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ by Amos Oz (2003). It is a memoir by an erudite Israeli writer about growing up in Jerusalem in the 1940s. The insights into what it was like for Russian/Ukrainian/Polish/Lithuanian Jews who left Europe for the Levant even before the Land of Israel officially existed is fascinating. I’m reading a translation from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange – I think Nicholas should rate a mention, because translating this couldn’t have been easy. The book was sent to me by my good friend Larry from Del Mar, California (thanks Lazza!) who is himself a descendant of Russian Jews who immigrated to the USA.  I could comment a lot more about the book, except that I have lots more things to tell you about my own immigration. But here’s a little snippet:
                ‘In general, I think there are far more colours and smells than there are words [for them].’

                So here I am in Earlsfield, cosily ensconced in the house of my friends Kyle and Andrew, both of whom are away at the moment. Andrew is in Darwin doing a practical stint for his nursing degree; and Kyle is on his way home from there. He arrives tomorrow. At some point, the two dogs will also come home, I assume. Meanwhile, it is quiet here. In my new camp, my priorities were to nest and forage – that is, unpack and find the Tesco’s. Both of these I have accomplished. The Tesco’s visit produced cheese, bread and some fresh fruit. Bizarrely to an Australian, I bought lemons and apples from South Africa, grapes from Greece, strawberries from the USA and blueberries from Poland.

                I have bought and perused the local press. I chose ‘The Guardian’ today – what should become my daily news, I wonder? The headlines include cheating at cricket (this takes four pages to discuss, horrific as it is); an article about ‘Travellers’ who are apparently people who live in caravans instead of houses (it seems that there are 300,000 Travellers and Gypsies in the UK who prefer this lifestyle); and a squabble over market stalls in Borough Market (a very interesting district – I stayed there last November).

                It was very nice to turn on the iPhone when I was off the plane and catch up with my tribe back in Sydney. There’s no doubt that the communication options these days make an adventure like this far less daunting. Keep those FB posts, emails and SMSs coming!

                Excuse me, I will go and take some pictures of my new temporary home to post for you.

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