Welcome to my first News from the Old Country weekly blog. I hope it will bring all you Aussies and expatriate Poms currently down Under, some snippets of news and views that you don't get on Oz TV or the Press. Knowing the Aussie's love of humour I will try to chuck in a few humorous anecdotes from time to time, probably at the expense of us Poms but let's see how it goes eh?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Britain is now the third fattest nation in Europe and it is fuelled by excessive boozing. Apparently only Malta and Turkey are fatter. Well you could have fooled me! I would have put Britain top of the tree judging by the sights you see on Britain's High Streets every day. I often wonder if there's something in the water. As a visiting mate from Canberra observed a while ago – 'the last time I saw animals this fat they had harpoons in them. I thought they'd banned whaling!' And as for Malta, to where I am a regular visitor, I cannot recall seeing a single obese person in years. That is a good ad for the Mediterranean Diet if ever there was one. Maybe the WHO should visit the George Cross Island and take notes.
There are reports circulating that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is considering upping fuel duty. Are our politicians crazy? This would add costs to almost everything as 75% of goods are transported by road. Maybe if we all had a ministerial car paid for by the tax-payer then we too would live in an opaque bubble, immune from reality. Sometimes I think our 'pollies' live on the Moon. Come to think of it I wish most of them did!
Sad news this week both relating to the deaths of two of my favourite actresses. Firstly, the 'Carry On' actress Fenella Fielding who starred in Carry On Regardless and Carry on Screaming, died aged ninety. They just don't make either Carry Ons or Fenellas these days. Less well known to the wider world the death was also announced at the age of seventy-five of Jacqueline Pearce who played the intergalactic maniac Servalan in the budget sci-fi series Blakes Seven made in the 70's. With her short jet-black hair and tight, white dresses that accentuated her every and ample curves she was a pin-up of many a red-blooded male – myself included. To my mind no female sci-fi character since has eclipsed Servalan for raw sexuality which is saying something as Blakes Seven is now over four decades ago and was made in less liberal times than today.
Our long hot summer is coming to an end and autumn is almost upon us. With prolonged periods of dryness the leaves are turning gold a little earlier than normal and soon the hottest summer on record will be but a distant memory. Our farmers have suffered but not, it must be said, as much as those of you in NSW. Dying livestock are heartbreaking for farmers wherever they are in the world. Forty-two years after our last great drought in 1976 the British Government is no further forward with a national water grid than it was then. Is the same scenario in Australia?
Lastly some good news. Heard in our village pub here in North Yorkshire last week were the clipped tones of a young Aussie bartender in his early twenties. The conversation was easy. Young Sam, who hails from Newcastle NSW, is over here on a long working holiday and getting to see the Old Country and some of the natives. Let's hope that, post Brexit, more Aussies young and not so young, find their way over here. You're all welcome – as long as you don't drink ALL our beer!
Until next time.