Having been living in Australia for almost two and half years the question of Australian passports has become a reality. The one thing about immigration is that you leave a mile long paper trail of submissions, applications, approvals, certificates, clearances and licences before you become eligible for citizenship. All this paper work and hard work culminates in a final test to qualify as a ‘fair dinkum aussie' to show you embrace their traditions and culture. This I finally passed with an automatic induction into the Aussie hall of fame on Friday when our touch rugby was moved to the Manly Hotel Pub due to wet and dangerous conditions. Here I become a member of Australia's elite when my raffle ticket was drawn and I won the meat tray and a six pack of beer. Traditionally all Aussie pubs have a meat tray on raffle which is normally rigged and won by a ‘battler' who is a struggling local.
This honour of ‘true blue aussie' that was bestowed on me was reinforced when I was cooking the meat on the BBQ to impress some new friends and when the gas ran out while preparing the steaks. As damage control we had to fire up the kitchen stove and my old cooking tip came to the rescue: All you need to do with any dish to make it a success is to add lots of wine and plenty of thyme. The trouble with living downunder is that most of the sporting events take place in the middle of the night. No wonder most of the living creatures in Australia are nocturnal, they must have kept their same sleeping patterns since the continents split and drifted apart. When I saw the Aussies had a commanding lead in the one day game I reluctantly accepted the fact that I would be a dozen beers poorer by sunrise and went to bed. I mysteriously woke up at midnight and checked on the score and remained riveted until well after 2am when victory was sweet. None the less I overslept and arrived at work an hour late with not a care in the world and the protea as new favourite choice of flora.
It has been a tough first term for all of us so we decided to treat ourselves and go overseas for the weekend. So we packed on Thursday night after rugby practise and I knocked off early on Friday and rushed home to pick up the troops. We only just made the ferry to Stradbroke Island which is almost an hour's trip over the sea. We met up with the Scott's and headed down Flinders beach to our favourite camping site and had the tents up and fire crackling by sunset. I retired hurt shortly after midnight leaving the rest of the world's problems for Bianca and Ian to sort out.
On Saturday another five families joined us on the beach to enjoy the swimming, cricket, canoeing and relaxing. All the children just played and played and played and played all day. I even wet a line at the end of the day which resulted in an award winning catch of a Shovel Nose Ray (Three star eating I only found out after a quick tag and release). The Aussies and Poms were quite amazed at our African cooking techniques and the good old boerewors went down a treat. I just knew there would be trouble when the cold beer ran out. I had to change to red wine and that's a bit like putting diesel in a petrol engine for me. Sunday morning was a mix of packing up and playing before buying some fresh prawns and spending the afternoon down at Brown Lake before heading home on the ferry. The treat of living in South East Queensland is that it is a millionaire's paradise, but can be enjoyed by everyone.