It is now coming up to 48 hours since we started the journey back from Sydney, around 8.00 am Saturday morning their time and 8.00 pm Friday evening UK time, and the day is starting to dissolve into a bit of blur before we make our way to bed and try to get some sleep before going back to work tomorrow.
If the journey back could have a highlight it was the five or so hours we spent half asleep in Singapore Airport. It was one of those twilight times when we were starting to loose track of where we were and if we had been asleep.
So we started off with beer and cocktails under a pair of old leather trousers that apparently had once been worn by Noel Redding before drifting through the expensive shops and wondering at the things we couldn’t buy.
We finished up eating from a series of stands that had been erected within the airport so as to create a sort of faux Singapore street scene. It actually worked and I was able to watch a man at his wok, cooking sir fried rice over an intense blue flame in a couple of minutes and then cleaning out the pan with a couple of ladles of water that boiled off almost as soon as it went in and was scoured out with a bamboo brush. We ate noodles and stir fried rice and felt ourselves well fed.
(By way of an aside I could add that on arriving home I putting out a suggestion that we eat noodles I got by way of response a resounding “No!!” A combination of 21 days in Australia and Singapore Airlines has obviously done its job well.)
At the end of those 21 days and somewhere along the way I managed to resist the temptation to throw my passport and mobile phone over the side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and whilst it is nice to be back in our home there is something old and tired about the UK.
In one of the airport bookshops I passed through over the course of the last few weeks I came across a book about Australia called The Lucky Country. I should probably have read the back cover to see what it was about but looking back at it now in my slightly dazed state there was something lucky, and optimistic about the place; creating a city like Sydney out of the scrub and dust that was there before, the sheer diversity in the people standing on the platforms of Central Station waiting to take a train home, the ability to make a life out of the heat of a place like Queensland. All that of course is tangled up with the wreckage and waste that has been left behind.
All that of course means that I am tired and bothered but then I cast my mind back to the walk around Wendy’s Secret Garden. It was under the shadow of the Harbour Bridge and within an arms length of a railway line and trains that made an awful noise as they slowed and the brakes ached in the sun. But for a few minutes it was possible to walk amongst a thicket of green leaves, and flowers and it didn’t take too much to be back in a rainforest or how it might have been two hundred years ago and then you came across hard against a railway bridge that could be seen through the leaves and graffiti that said…