Glenelg Beach, Adelaide


February 1992

We then went down to Glenelg Beach, where I had my first swim in the sea, since I had been away. Absolute bliss!

The water was so warm, it felt like a tepid bath.

To our astonishment somebody we hadn’t known, had just walked up to us and had instructed us to take care of his eski which had been full of ice creams.

It is worth noting that humans are not the only creatures who enjoy warm water. Stick to patrolled beaches. I have actually been on a beach on one occasion, when they have cleared the water due to a shark sighting.

shark fin

Bull sharks can even find their way into inland waterways.

Shark attacks are relatively rare. However they do happen.

It is also worth noting that much as beaches(both in Australia and worldwide) might look inviting, it really is better to stick to patrolled beaches as riptides can also be a real issue.

Source: Beachsafe

Further information can be obtained below:

Surf Life Saving Factsheets-South Australia


Glenelg Beach.png




It’s Not All Fun-Australia, February 1992

Reading back through my travel diaries, I was reminded how innocent we were.

I often wonder at how busy my guardian angel has been over the years and I am so grateful to God for his protection. I was generally guided by my instincts and fortunately they had seemed to serve me pretty well. However we had not known it at the time, but we had not picked a particularly good time to be travelling around Australia.  Unbenownst to us Ivan Milat, (one of Australia’s most notorious ever serial killers) was in the middle of  an horrendous killing spree, at the time.

We had met a young German girl in a hostel in Adelaide, who had been keen to hitch-hike from Adelaide to Sidney on her own, as she could not afford the fare, which was some sixty dollars.We had tried desperately to dissuade her. Fortunately we had eventually succeeded. Instead she had undertaken a little job to raise the money. I go cold thinking about it now, pondering the fate that might have awaited any or all of us, had we decided to hitch-hike.

When we returned to England the faces of the two British girls Caroline Clark and Joanne Walters, who had gone missing while touring Australia, had been all over the news.

The Backpacker Murders

When we had all finally discovered the horrendous truth, my blood had run cold.

Moral of this story: Do Not Hitchhike.

Treacle Tarts, Pork Pies and Bathroom Locks

To talk of many things: Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax– Of cabbages–and kings

Lewis Caroll

Yesterday’s post  about queues grew out of a conversation I had with one of my youngsters. It is interesting how often we are influenced by a past, of which we have we have little or no personal knowledge. I have therefore decided to share a little more about my experiences settling into another culture.

Australian Hospitality

On my first trip to Australia. I had the touching experience of being welcomed by relatives, to whom I was a total stranger. I had been met with great hospitality. Back in England, I came to understand that Australians are also generally very open to visiting people they don’t know. Out of the blue, we would be contacted by a friend of a friend of a friend, who had wanted to stay with us in the UK. An Australian friend has since explained that this willingnesss to visit strangers and to accept strangers into their homes, had stemmed from the era when getting anywhere could take weeks. People would readily open their abodes to people, who were travelling around this vast (much of it is still sparsely populated) country.

Australians in common with many from warmer climes tend to flee the UK in droves once the leaves start turning brown. In truth many people struggle with a UK Winter. On the flip side, Australians have often stared at me in disbelief, when I recount that on my first visit here, I had willingly traversed The Outback in the Summer heat. AS A GENERAL RULE, DON’T DO IT!!

The Inbetweeners in The Outback

Caution as they use a bit of salty language.


Australians visiting the UK

While still living in the UK, I had begun learning to adapt to Australian culture. I would listen as Australians who had stayed with us, had tried to wrap their head around the things which had puzzled or confused them. Things like why do we put plastic bowls in our sinks?  I really don’t know the answer but I still do it. I have had to try to explain things to my offspring- things like why we sing at football matches. I might not like football in general (don’t get me started about my struggles to understand Aussie Rules football.)  but I have nonetheless attended one UK football match and one Australian Rules football match. During my solitary football/soccer experience watching Portsmouth(Pompey) go up the first division, I had witnessed people climbing poles and a pitch invasion.  I  also still remember Millwall (warning contains some strong language).(It is probably different now-no apparently not!  I just checked You Tube.) Australian Rules football games are usually very family frendly.

Singing at football

‘You’ll never walk alone’ can still reduce me to tears.

To this day, if I see somebody stick their arm out at a bus stop, I think “Ah British.” This is another one of my British foibles. As I explain to people, if you don’t stick your arm out in the UK, the bus will just sail by, as we have something called request stops.(see video) Mindblowingly buses would not infrequently speed by, even if your arm was stuck out resolutely. I remember the story of this wonderful bus driver, who had decided to skip stopping to pick up passengers completely, in his determination to keep to his schedule.

Great Advice About London Buses

It is so interesting to learn how other nations perceive us.  I once went to a talk given by a very famous Australian woman, who had mentioned her frustration with our British love of meetings, whereas she had wanted to just to get on and do things.  Australians also bemoan our whinging (complaining), although I have to say I listened to a fair amount of whinging from Aussies, who had struggled with some of our British customs, while they were visiting the UK. For my part I have always been mystified by the general lack of overflows on Australian sinks and locks on toilet and bathroom doors. My parents had found this particularly challenging when they had come for a visit. My father said he had felt he needed to adopt the habit of singing while he was in the bathroom. We did eventually install locks ourselves in later years.

singing in the shower One of my youngsters loves Harry Potter. Suddenly I had been asked about treacle tart. I said I felt I had failed as a mother. Had I really never introduced my children, to the rare delicacy, that is treacle tart? Pork pies (a very British indulgence) are one of my guilty pleasures. You can easily buy pork pies here, if you know where to look. Every now and again, I suddenly get a desperate longing for a pork pie. It (the pork pie) often doesn’t even make it home, as it is usually an urge I have to satisfy right there and then. My children had also found UK driving really fast. I don’t know whether that’s British or just my family. I have always tried to explain my cultural differences (or as they consider them “idiosyncracies”) I think that is how we teach people to be more open and accepting of each other. There are some brilliant videos on You Tube, which we will sit and watch together occasionally, to help demonstrate some of my more British issues. (There is often a bit of negotiation involved, although I sometimes feel I get a raw deal, frequently having to watch a full half hour of videos in exchange for one of my five minute “gems”.(Please see below). I’ll watch your videos, if you watch mine.



Some Very British Problems

Honestly I think I have experienced all of these issues at one point or another.





No Worries-Tip for Travellers to Australia

你好 (knee-how)  I hope that I just said Hello in Mandarin.

謝謝 (sounds something like shear shear)That is meant to say Thank You in Mandarin according to Google Translate.

I knew Hello (nĭ hăo (how to say it not how to write it) and that was about all I knew but I said it a lot in China and smiled and it had seemed to be ok.

Nobody had spoken any English whatsoever between Moscow and Lake Baikal on the Trans-Siberian. I had managed to communicate with the Russian lady on the train using my reasonable German.  (German had seemed to be the second language of many Russians we had encountered). I had eventually mastered Dasvidanya (Translation Hello). Still the word vodka seems to be universally understood.

In Japan if you have even a rudimentary knowledge of Origami you might not need to say anything. Origami had certainly broken the ice with the lovely Japanese student who  had stayed with us. Once I had spotted her Origami papers which she had brought with her (my Japanese travel journal is full of paper cranes from my own travels), we were away.

Lonely Planet-Japan Dos and Don’ts

If you are coming to Australia and English is not your first language, I recommend mastering the phrase, “No Worries”.

I had been chatting happily to a local Chinese shopkeeper for several months before I had realised, he had only ever responded with “No Worries” and to be honest, it covers you for just about everything,

“Thanks for the present.”

“No worries.”

“Could you tell me what the time is?”

“No worries.”

We might actually stand there for ten minutes waiting for you to tell us the time, but we will probably just assume you forgot or were too busy to give us an answer.

Whatever anybody says to you, if you can manage to smile and say,

“No worries.”

You will go far.

(I fervently hope I have not just had my Sheldon Cooper Moment.)


If I have just inadvertantly sworn at you either now or in the past or written something otherwise offensive. I apologise in advance.

Also if you are wondering about my sudden burst of creativity, it is 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) at the moment, so I am confined to the house with the cooling blasting away and a fan trained on me. Until it drops at least another twenty degrees, typing is about all I can manage.