Week ending 08.07.06

This is an extract from an email that I sent to a friend this week. I have taken out the items relating to them, but I thought that I would share my recent experiences with the world. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Hello World

It has been a while since I last sent a longish email to you so I thought that I would take the time to put fingers to keyboard. You did say to write about the boring stuff so here it is.

So where to begin.

It is winter here in Melbourne. It is cold but sunny, a bit like May or October in England. I am also spending a bit of time in Sydney through work and it is cold and wet there.

As usual I am trying to maintain a professional standard of dress within my working environment, which causes everyone here to think that I am eccentric. I try to inform them that I am just properly attired but it is like taking to children, peasants.

I spent last weekend trying to find a waist coat to replace the ones that I wear to work. It appears that Australians only wear waistcoats when they are getting married, and the concept of three-piece-suits is lost on them. For a start, they call a waistcoat a vest. This makes for interesting conversations such as:

OG – “Hello do you sell waistcoats?”

Sales staff – “Waistcoats? Sorry mate I do not know what that is.”

OG – “A waistcoat, you know the garment that you wear over your shirt and under your suit jacket”

Sales staff – “You mean a jumper?”

OG – “No you peasant, I mean a small, sleeveless, waist covering coat, with buttons down the front, and pockets for a fob watch and chain.”

Sales staff – “Oh you mean a vest”

OG – “No I mean a waistcoat, I can not imagine an occasion when I would wear an undergarment like a vest in full view of the public. What are you going to do next, show me your complete line in string vests ad knotted handkerchiefs?”

Sales staff – “No mate, I mean that we call them vests here in Australia”

OG – My dear fellow, first of all we have only just met so it is a little presumptuous to assume that we are going to develop a relationship in which you will ever feel comfortable enough to call me mate. Secondly, why would you take a perfectly accurate description of a garment and change the name to something different? I mean, why call it a vest? Why not change the name to underpants or socks?”

Sales staff – “Probably because we do not sell vests or waistcoats”

OG – “Well thank you, this conversation has been most enlightening.”

It is odd because the men here really make little to no effort when going out. I regularly see couples going out on the town, where she has made a considerable effort to look stunning, and the man has not bothered to change out of the jeans, trainers, and smelly t-shirt he was wearing to work earlier that day. Absolutely no sense of occasion.

Which is surprising since there appears to be a perpetual sale on in all the stores. Ever bank holiday, winter, summer, hot day, cold day, or day that ends in a ‘y’ there appears to be a sale. 25% off, 50% off. Someone should tell them that it is not a sale if it is on constantly, they are just called normal prices. There is a shop near where I live that has been having a closing down sale for the past ten years. To quote my sister-not-in-law “They are closing down…but they will be open in the morning”

Work is beginning to pick up and I am now travelling to different cities to teach. This means spending some time away from home, and adopting the ‘businessman’s hotel lifestyle’

Hotel breakfast, business lunch, restaurant dinner, late night preparation for the following day, no time for the hotel gym, spreading midriff. As a result I must make a concerted effort to exercise. During the summer I tend to cycle, but I need something that will get me in shape for summer, and time on the beach. Besides cycling alone does not keep you fit, look how many fat people you see on bikes.

I have found a couple of outdoor basketball courts and will start practicing again. Melbourne is sports mad and there as fitness freaks everywhere. I figure that I will get out onto the courts now that it is still cold and that way when the ballers come out when the hot weather returns, I should have managed to retrieve some of my game. I know that I said that I had hung up my boots a couple of years back, but the alternative is sitting in hotel rooms putting on weight. Got to stop eating, summer is coming.

My partner is fine and is enjoying a full social life. You only have to look at her website or Blog to see how much fun she is having so far, every week it is something new. She was out at a Gala ball last Thursday, I can not even imagine being in a situation of avail of such a social engagement at the moment. The most I could muster was having two people over at one in the morning to watch England verses Portugal. That is the highlight of my social calendar.

We are making the effort to get out of the house at weekends. At the moment that only seems to involve going to restaurants, but we have Porgy and Bess, a Diane Reeves Jazz concert, and something else for which to look forward.

It is funny, when I lived in London, I knew that I had it all. I resisted moving to Barbados because I know that it would be too small for me, however I did not fully appreciated was that despite Australia’s size it consists of cities with relatively small communities. In effect the same sort of community dynamic that I would have experienced in Barbados.

However I appear to be adjusting. Only the other day I found myself responding to people who where talking to me in a lift, and again not dismissing people trying to engage me at a bus stop. Am I loosing the anonymity that I enjoyed so much in London?

Anyway, enough about me, how are you?

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~ by jeditopcat on 8 November, 2008.

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