Pom de Terre II

Posted: June 18, 2013 in Pom de Terre, Stuff
Tags: , , ,
Link to previous: Pom De Terre I

Pom de Terre II

We’ve been in Western Australia for a couple of months now, and we’re still very much enamoured both with the place and the people. The beautiful weather seems to instil a smile that fronts a relaxed and easy attitude in most of its citizens – though I’m left wondering if such attitudes will survive the recent onset of winter here, or, like in the UK, move its populace into the sunless misery of Seasonally Acquired Depression. A pallid nation of sixty million smack-heads, desperate for the methadone of spring?

I hope not.

Regardless, as we have edged into the cold season my daily walks along the Indian Ocean with our Border Collie, Molly, have shifted into the appropriate mode for such an inclement time of the year. Gone is the ‘Factor 30’, relegated to deep hibernation at the rear of the bathroom cupboard, replaced in its stead by something altogether more appropriate for these wintry climes – it’s called ‘Factor 29.9’, and it works a treat.

Winter, eh. Don’t you just love it? I’ve also swapped the Speedo’s for Bermuda shorts – just to retain a bit of heat.

We’ve been in forced isolation for nearly six weeks now. Inoculated from the ills and misfortunes of the world. No phone, no mobile, no internet this side of the local library. Not even a radio or TV. Mind, it’s surprising how easy one adjusts to the absence of the constant bombardment of data, and, let’s be honest, it’s hardly a tribulation being incognito on a sunlit tropical beach, waves lapping gently at your feet.  More ‘Enterprise Hologram Suite’ than ‘Sensory Deprivation Tank’.

All that, though, has (somewhat sadly?) come to an end.

From the shores of our (admittedly rather large) desert island we spied a ship on the horizon. On its deck was our shipping container from the UK – in our excitement we waved and jumped up and down and built fires to try and get their attention. It worked. Our belongings finally arrived in Perth ten days ago. We are now officially ‘Cardboard Rich’. We’ve got a phone line, too, and an internet connection. The computers, TV’s, and Dab radio’s are out of their packing crates and the last lead has been plugged into the final socket… Ah, it’s good to be back in the loop.

Expect some sparks to be flying off the keyboard anytime soon. For the moment though, I’m immersed, submerged, drowning in wonderful, glorious data; TV’s of various dimensions are on in two separate rooms, radios blah loudly all around whilst Microsoft Office downloads its own container full of emails with an almost imperceptible movement of its progress bar.

I’m trying to make sense of it all but can’t yet quite focus, happy to be hit by the zeros & ones whilst staring blindly, unsure, drunk with it all – a picture reminiscent of the bar scene in ‘Ice Cold in Alex’.

An hour later I’ve settled somewhat and begin filtering information that’s relevant – to me at least; The G8 beginning in Northern Ireland; Chaos at Knowlsley Safari Park in the English North West; Syria continues to burn, and Luis Suarez’s teeth are still offside, allegedly.

Here, on the Far Side of the World, apparently all is not quite as rosy as I’ve been painting it, either – though there is still that slight glitch in the matrix:

The W.A. Terrorism Alert Status was increased two whole levels this week, jumping from ‘No Worries’ to ‘Bit of a Furby, Mate’, before dropping back to ‘No Drama’s’ following an incident with an alleged non-halal kebab in the Fremantle area.

All joking aside, the Perth regional crime-wave gathers apace according to last night’s TV News, with a Hit & Run in Subiaco, a man entering a curry-house in Collingwood with an axe, and the confiscation of a home-made sub-machine gun – replete with three rounds, in the Mandurah area… the Police narrowly avoiding a very rapid shoot-out, there.

All in all, this is rather more than half a world away from Liverpool, or Manchester, or London, were the Rice Krispies are now more likely to go ‘Crack, Smack, & Bang’ than ‘Snap, Crackle, & Pop’, and where Pensioners Hearing-Aids have long been attuned to the difference between an M16 and an AK47:

“The ‘Akky’  ‘avin’ a distinctive clackin’ sound ‘cos of its slow rate of fire, d’yer know worra’ mean, Son, innit, sorted, wicked… like. I remember when this was all trees an’ yer could leave yer doors open… Eh, was that a fuckin’Baboon? Eh, don’t go, d’yer wanna’ buy some Blow?”

It might be my age, but I’m appreciating much more than just the weather in W.A. D’yer know worra’ mean… like?

It has its downsides, of course. Real downsides that’ll drive you mad. I’ve already mentioned that mobile phone coverage is abysmal, and the internet was – until we instantly upgraded to the cutting edge that is ‘ADSL’ (remember that?), equally pathetic. Also, pseudoscience is everywhere, with Chiropractors, Homeopaths, Naturopaths and Acupuncturists on every street corner alongside other peddlers of nonsense. My local Sunday morning market regularly has stalls selling a cream or ointment that claims to cure baldness, teenage spots, lower back pain, and cancer – as well as a proven and effective aid to stopping smoking.

Yes, you heard me right… a proven and effective aid to stopping smoking!

Nonsense of course, but now I’m back in the news loop I’m thinking of getting Julia Gillard to send a crate of this shit to the G8 Conference in Northern Ireland, as even a placebo effect may be useful when the ‘Big Hitters’ get round to discussing Syria in the morning.

They’re all big puffers, too, and the last people we want experiencing nicotine withdrawal at this crucial moment in time.

Obama’s been caught more than once having a sly fag at the back of the Oval Office, and whilst Merkel is supposed to have given up, she’s in a bit of a state, isn’t she? Just look at the kip of her nails, and she’s obviously been hitting the fridge.

Thankfully Hollande is there instead of Sarkozy, who always stank of Gaulois whilst denying he ever smoked at all, and then there’s Putin, of course, who wouldn’t be a real Russian male without ploughing through his full quota of Duty Free fags – lung cancer being a sign of masculinity and heterosexuality in the former Soviet state.

Cameron, who doesn’t count (he’s only allowed there as the UK is paying for the food and accommodation), probably had a fag at Eton, but it’s the cigarette variety we’re talking about, here, and his family probably had working class folk to smoke their cigarettes for them, anyway.

Hold on, more data coming through? Wow, look at the state of the British economy? Surely Mindless Austerity was going to work, wasn’t it? And look what’s happening in Greece?  Oh, no, even here in Paradise there’s this fool called Cory Bernardi who thinks he’s proved that legalising same sex marriage will lead to bestiality… hold on, he may be right? Look, more data from the UK: ‘Man Shags Baboon’? No, sorry, I heard that wrong, it should say ‘Man Shoots Baboon’. Ah, well, Cory, another imbecilic theory bites the dust. Shit! Look… there’s a new Pope!



Phew, sorry… I’ve had it up to here with data. I’m switching everything off and taking the dog for a winters walk along the beach. This zeros & ones thing is so stressful? I may have to visit a Naturopath on the way back – maybe stop off at the market, buy some cream.

No. It’s good to be back.


Anvil Springstien.


Link to next: Pom De Terre III
  1. Tom Willis says:

    Hi Anvil –

    Really great to hear you’re enjoying Oz. Has Cammy (as we call him here in Jockland) brought deportation back in along with the Bedroom Tax?

    Slàinte, Tom

    • Hi Tom. It’s actually cloudy here right now, Doh! Still, going to look at a sailing boat at the weekend – that should make up for having to put up with a slightly dull day?
      Slàinte agad-sa, Anvil.

      • Tom Willis says:

        Anvil – Very impressed with your knowledge of the Gaelic. If you even immigrate back you could always get a job at BBC Alba commentating on the shinty. Sunny here at the moment.

        Le deagh dhùrachd, Tom

  2. Wow. Only you could jump from pteradactyls to terrorism between two blog posts! Have nothing nearly so interesting to report as spend half my life in the Robinson Library (commonly known as ‘Mrs Robinson, even though the love of books and pursuit of knowledge wasn’t exactly high on her agenda). I’m wading through loads of stuff connected to my dissertation topic.. interactive digital tabletop technology to support language acquisition in education. Whilst some get to take a scantily-clad stroll along tropical beaches, others get to sit in a bunker reading Association of Computing Machinery articles. There is no justice in the world. I did escape for a few days’ walking and running in Northumberland with John, dressed in copious layers of thermal clothing. Enjoyed a trip to the Farne Islands, even though it was very noisy for something called a sanctuary! Puffins look so ridiculous in flight, like something that should only be seen in a cartoon, but they manage to get to Norway so maybe I should show them more respect. We climbed up Longstone Lighthouse for great views. Interesting that Grace Darling received most of the credit for her bravery that night when she and her father saved lives from the wreck of the Forfarshire – usually it’s women who get relegated in history, not men. Today in Newcastle upon Silvery Tyne we’ve had high temperatures of 19C and I wore a pair of shorts for 10 long minutes! Take care pet. Love Gill x

    • Good to hear from you, Gill. And good to be reminded of the beautiful home we left behind. Glad you’re working hard on that thesis. Grace was the first Darling I came across after moving to the North East. Considering the position of women in the region back then, she was a surprising icon? Then the wonderful Julia. I still have some of her writing? It’ll be in a box, no doubt? She had a daughter, Scarlet. What a great name, Scarlet Darling. x

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