If anyone has lost a duck

Mothershipism of the Day: “I really need to read that book, Let’s Talk About Lionel.

I’ve just returned from a brief trip to Australia and I’m nutty with jetlag, so this is your Warning: Excess Emotion Ahead!

Because of the time constraints this visit was about small country towns and family. I have a bad habit of “freezing” everyone in their 2003 state, but things have changed. There were just a few wrinkles when we left, but now with illnesses and all the things that come with getting older, there was an urgent need to get my butt over there.

It was strange being back without Gareth exclaiming over the wildlife and making terrible attempts at an Aussie accent. I couldn’t hide behind him as the rellies cooed over his Scottish tones. But I reckon this ended up being for the best. That physical and mental distance from your everyday life helps you appreciate it so vividly. I love a bit of long distance longing.

Random thoughts…

  • The Mothership still drives like a maniac. I’d forgotten about her rally driver U-turns and the comedy sound effects she makes when executing them.
The Big Merino, with winter scarf
The Big Merino with winter scarf, Goulburn. How can a sky be that blue!?
  • It’s startling to see the difference four years can make with your loved ones. One was saying how much they love the Queen Mum. Realising they thought she was still alive and kicking was quite a jolt.
  • The first few days I felt like a hapless foreigner. None of the money made sense; the slippery notes and hefty 50 cent pieces. A shopkeeper asked if I had change and I stared at the shapes in my wallet and said “no”. Took a day to to remember that chubby little fella is $2!
I hope the duck was claimed
I hope the duck was claimed
  • The Australian sun is pure evil. I was coated in sunscreen but somehow my face got baked on a twenty minute car journey. My feet had sandal stripes. I’ve always burned easily but my skin has become a total and utter wussbag after a decade in Britain.
  • Aussie mozzies now leave giant red lumps on my skin, like the Scottish midges do. Double wussbag!
Counter lunch at pub
Counter lunch at the pub. The rissoles were ace!
  • Despite the climate wanting me dead, after 48 hours it felt like home again and I wondered why the hell I’d ever live anywhere else.
  • Especially now that I drink coffee. Oh lordy!
Australia! Your cake and coffee cannae be beaten!
Australia! Your cake and coffee cannae be beaten!
  • Looking at the whopping Queensland Blues lounging in Mum’s sun-riddled garden, I realised I’m never ever going to grow a decent pumpkin in Scotland.
Tasty Queensland Blue
Tasty Queensland Blue
  • Mum’s husband Ray (a.k.a. Jeffery Garten) is the bee’s knees. I heard him refer to himself as our stepfather while chatting to my grandmother. I grinned like a dope realising, So he is!  I’m so chuffed that Mum has someone who loves her for who she really is.
  • He also arranges the goods very neatly when he BBQs, which I greatly admire.
Ray's tidy BBQ
Ray’s tidy BBQ. So nice to sit outside to eat!
  • My grandmother gave me her engagement ring. She ordered me to, “enjoy it while [she’s] still alive”. I really wanted to say, Dude, you are 77 and far too young for that kind of talk. But instead we had a very teary hug and I told her how cool it was to have this little object to forever remind me of her and Poppy and how much they loved each other.
Love this pic of my grandfather
We found this pic of my grandfather. What a dude.
  • I don’t ever want to wait so long to visit Oz again. The trip was far too short and I desperately want to get back soon with extra time for friends. Australia is like a big sun-drenched magnet, deliciously dragging me towards it. A big sun-drenched magnet that’s determined to prematurely age the complexion, but I love it all the same.


About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for October 2021.

38 thoughts on “If anyone has lost a duck

  1. It must be weird coming home. It was weird enough for me after one year.

    And I hear you on the money… I just went to NZ and had so many issues. Their $2 coins are bigger than the $1 – crazy huh! It’s so much better being in a country where you obviously look like a tourist than just looking like a dumb.

      1. I know.

        Btw, those chairs Ray has sitting next to the barbie… saw some in a “vintage” furniture shop in Melbourne the other day for $170 – he’s sitting (probably literally) on a gold mine.

  2. It seems like you could not have chosen two homes with more different climates — but somehow both seem deliciously wacky. Maybe that’s just you?

    That is one heckuva sheep!

    1. I think bonkers is a prereq for me! But scratch the surface of most places and there is looniness to be found 🙂

  3. Thank you for linking to the post where Gareth tries to speak Australian. Too funny! Veggies on the pizza!

  4. Love the sheep with scarf. When I stop there for petrol on the way to Sydney, I gaze up at it and ponder why. Hurry back, and come and see us next time xx

  5. What a lovely post, I wish your visit could have been longer just so we could have come along for a wee bit of a longer ride! (Speaking of rides, I used to drive like your mother, with sound effects, but it’s kind of hard to do mad U-turns on one-lane roads.) Hope you get to go back soon.

  6. ‘Let’s Talk about Lionel’ – ha! Reminds me of my Mum talking about Daniel Fettucine! Apart from that all I can think about when reading this is SUN – I need to see the sun so badly this year. We talked, briefly, about a holiday in Cornwall but the idea of staying here and it raining the entire time… let’s just say I think we’re going to Greece instead!

    1. Daniel Fettucine! That is solid GOLD 🙂

      You can’t go wrong with Greece! Guaranteed sunshine, THE FETA…

  7. Glad you had a good trip to OZ. I think I lost a lot of skin pigment when I lived in Scotland – I remember being told how pale I looked when I went home to visit family. Am sure you looked healthy when you got home to Scotland. Love the scarf on the big merino – is that the yarn bombers in action? And your grandfather was a dude – shows where you got your get-up-and-go from.

    BTW I just did a bit of browsing and found a little late that you had retired your diet girl blog. Seems that I am getting alerts for this blog more than the dietgirl one – am happy about that

  8. After ten very happy and content years in NZ I started to feel that pull, as you say like the drag of an magnetic. My sense of missing my family grew to be a yearning not be away from them. So we came home to Scotland. It’s the right place for us for now – weaving our daily lives with parents and siblings. Who knows what we might decide in another decade …

    1. A yearning! Yes! I’m glad you feel like you’re in the right place now 🙂 I never expected the feeling; the last two visits I was scurrying back here ASAP!

  9. I didn’t realised you’d gone back to OZ for a fleeting visit.
    Its been far too long since I was back.
    I remeber last time landing in Sydney, and I kept turning around everytime someone spoke with an Australian accent… Until I laughed at myself an remembered I was in Australia and duh that’s how they speak!!
    The good thing about plastic money, is if it goes through the wash… you can still use it! 🙂

    Glad you had a fantastic time

  10. so happy to hear your mum finally found mr right! she so deserves it.
    wish i could have gone with hollie and james to visit you and rhiannon, maybe next time.
    did you get any pics with them?
    glad to know you got home safely xo

  11. I fricking love this post’s guts off.
    Especially love the bit about yo mamma finding luff.
    Do come visit moi next time, though, ‘Kay?
    Ps new blog- link provided

  12. Eesh, sunburn, you poor love. How lovely to enjoy time with your rellies though.

    Don’t feel bad about the money – I can’t tell the difference between $2 and 10c half the time and I’ve never left. Bloody stupid coins.

  13. I love that pic of your grandfather! My grandma and grandpa (maternal) were both so gorgeous! They both looked like movie stars! More importantly, they were both crazy in love– absolutely smitten–til the very end, just like it sounds your grandparents were.

  14. Thanks to your post, I’m getting a tad nostalgic for my own country….and I’m sitting in Melbourne right now. Evidently, I’m losing the plot somewhat! 😛
    Really sweet! 🙂

  15. LOVE your photos – it’s like Rural NSW the Photo Tribute. The Big Merino looks so proud of himself!

  16. Hey Shauna, this brought a nostalgic tear to the eye…and I live here. Yep, Australia’s coffee cannot be beaten and you need sustained warmth for pumpkin growing. And the sky really is that blue.

  17. I enjoyed this post and the pictures. There’s no place like home!

    P.S. I’m a HUGE fan of Ina and Jeffrey. Since reading your Ina piece, I chuckle and think of you whenever she uses one of her standard tips (“one teaspoon of high quality vanilla” …. “i always add instant coffee to chocolate–i find it really brings out the flavor of the chocolate”). Ina’s Roasted Salmon With Green Herbs and Salted Caramel Brownies are amazing.

    1. Oh my goodness she really DOES like to say that about the coffee in the chocolate at every opportunity! I must check out these brownies you mention… ooh la!

  18. I’m SO glad you got to go home. Heaven.

    I feel EXACTLY the same way re: the sun when I’m in a desert-y, southwestern-y, or outside-in-the-summer-being-a-field-biologist kinda way: “This sun is trying to kill me.” Yes, I’m from Calif., but my ANCESTORS are from cold, dreary, northern Europe, where white skin works REALLY well to the odd 40 minutes of sun per year. Thankfully my husband is the same, so told me he’d never apply to work in a desert park (an NPS-er, still). Thank heaven.

    Anyhow, just deLIGHTed you got home, and I LOVE your mom. =)

    When test driving cars w/my husband (next to me) and the car salesman (back seat), I kept forgetting that guy was in the back seat and making “ERRRRT!” noises whenever I braked or turned a corner. Embarrassing. =) Love me, love my sound effects.

  19. That is a particularly neat BBQ. Does he also count card and claim to be a very good driver?

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