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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.