Category Archives: Getting Away

Travelling With Steamed Pudding

My son made a brown Betty, a type of steamed pudding, for dinner before I left Australia for England.

These desserts were a staple of my childhood. They make one feel comfortable and comforted; the trials of life are, however briefly, soothed by the warmth and calm of such food. There is no ‘trying’ in the presence of a steamed pudding.

They bake in a covered bowl on a rack in a pot of boiling water. When the pot lid is removed, steam issues forth. When the cover of the pudding bowl is removed, steam rises. When the pudding is cut and laid in slices on a plate, steam wafts. This brown Betty of my son’s seemed to have soaked up some of the moisture. Rather than sitting pertly in fluffy slices, it slumped on the plate, moist and done in.

steamed pudding

That’s how I felt when I exited the terminal at Singapore. I was the brown Betty in the steam of Singapore. Continue reading


We Are All Undertakers

Moving house and country is outside the normal sphere of events and requires a certain constellation of people to effect a departure.

The final weeks are stuffed with gatherings of friends and family which in turn are stuffed with photos and presents and special meals and trying to make the most of every moment while dealing with matters from that other space one occupies – the tiny intersection between life in one country and life in another. I feel like I’m in a Diana Wynne-Jones novel where the worlds have overlapped for a brief period and I’m briefly occupying that transparent sliver before the worlds move apart again and I find that I have slid off with the new one.

And then there’s something else entirely. Continue reading

In A Dark, Dark Wood There Was a Dark, Dark House…

You know the children’s story.

Similarly, the hot, hot land, house and room. We zoom in to the hot, hot desk at which sits a woman with a sheen of fine sweat. Metres away is a cold room where sits her husband. It would be an easy matter to join him, even easier to open the door and allow the cool to waft out. Why doesn’t she? Continue reading

What Are We Leaving?

“Why are we leaving?”

The BB’s question was, this time, spurred by a conversation about the logistics of getting our goods moved from Australia to England.

As any mover will know, the timing of such a project is fraught. If your household effects go too early, you have to sleep on the floor of your empty house like a cave person; or acquire, then dispose of, sleeping apparatus; or commute to work from distant friends or family; or find a hotel. Going before your goods, is bravery or foolishness as you entrust the removal and everything else to others.

beer, Old Speckled Hen, English ale

When confronted with the what-are-we-doing question, I have a variety of responses. Continue reading

Something Else That Happened on the Plane


The sun at take-off is piercingly bright, richly gold and, seemingly, liquid. Goodbye Australia, I think as I try not to stare into it. Then I actually feel my heart flutter.

I should say that, occasionally, for no particular reason, my heart misses a beat. A doctor recently advised that this was within the bounds of normalcy, we have no heart trouble in the family  and I have a good relationship with my heart, so I am content to simply enjoy the weird sensation that arises when it opts out momentarily. There’s a slight plummeting feeling in my body, much as one gets a fraction beyond the peak of a swing or the apex of a rollercoaster. This is not the same beat pattern I feel on the plane. Continue reading

Some Things Just Don’t Travel

As the aeroplane taxis, I think of my children – my brood, my trio of liquorice allsorts (obviously out of the same familial packet but with their own quirks). How will it be without them?

Some things just don’t travel: The “Hey Mum, check this out” moment; the late night phone call to mull over career options; the quick shoulder massage in passing. These things are lost…for the time being; stored as memories and looked forward to upon return. Continue reading

Getting Away – A Hole of Variable Size

A number of years ago I was asked to imagine my life five, ten and twenty years ahead and jot down some notes on what I envisaged. In one of those time categories I wrote, ‘Own a house overseas’.

It just popped out and, from that moment, the idea existed, in the manner of something that would simply come to pass. I lightly and briefly wondered how it would happen but did not badger it with questions nor attempt to create this future. Perhaps it was an offering from my unconscious to lift my spirits at the time. Whatever, I felt a frisson of excitement as I noted the unexpected addition to my life.

And now that future has become the present. The Big Bloke (my husband) and I have an apartment awaiting us in Zurich. We don’t own it but we’re going to live there for a while. Continue reading