A parcel arrived from The Mothership. It took two months and $90 to come over on the boat. Among the loot – ancient issues of delicious magazine, a random handbag, moisturiser, two fleece hoodies, tiny tins of passionfruit and creamed corn.
As always, Mum had mummified the parcel with a kilometre of packing tape so we had to hack it open with a breadknife. But when I was finally in, I could almost smell home… traces of Bert the dog, Earl Grey tea and chilly Goulburn air, trapped in the fabrics and pages.
Reading the magazines was a strange mix of foreign and familiar. I gawked at a photo of a sheep for ten minutes, because I'd forgotten how beautifully beige and sturdy Aussie sheep look. And all those food brands… King Island Dairy, Devondale, Pauls. It's pathetic when a yogurt pot makes you sigh with longing.
And that Bill Granger… bloody hell, he's everywhere, isn't he? Does he ever stop smiling? They had his show on the BBC but he hasn't become the same level of culinary god as he seems to be in Oz. Maybe he's just too smiley for Britain? All that sunshine and salad; we just can't relate to that. Gareth reckons if he shot a series on a council estate and flipped the bird as he stirred the gravy, he'd be huge.
Recently I sent a parcel to Hollie and James, my wee brother and sister. It cost £30 to send about £5 worth of British sweets and crisps. But that's the grand tradition of the long distance care package – the postage is always at least five times the value of the contents. The ratio may have been higher for Mum's parcel – she sent me a bagful of loose change left over from her last visit. I could just hear her voice as I pawed through the pennies, They're no good to me now, you might as well use them! This 2p coin has had an exciting life – from Scotland to Australia and back again.