After flying over India for what seemed like an eternity, we did finally arrive in Australia dear readers. Pandaa’s home-made passport was duly scrutinised along with those belonging to the humans of the family, and he was pleased to have been allowed in without fuss or fanfare.
We were collected at the airport in the warm, balmy evening by Mr S, who had known my husband since they were both sixteen. He and his lovely wife were old friends of ours. They had offered to share their Australian home of nearly two years with us so that we could explore the area for the first few days, before we moved to the City apartment that my husband’s new employer had paid for us to stay in for a couple of weeks.
We accepted this kind offer and to this day remain eternally grateful to them for all their unwavering support since then. It was so reassuring to see a familiar face as Mr S waved at us in the arrivals lounge, and it may seem tragic to say it, but it was even more so to hear a calm, fellow Yorkshire accent greet us with the words “All right? Welcome to Australia.”
We drove in our hire car behind Mr S, whose own was loaded up with our luggage. When we eventually pulled up on his driveway, we realised that Mrs S was already waiting for us. She rushed to hug us all tightly in turn, asking how we were and what the flight had been like. And then of course there was only one thing for it – the kettle went on!
It was getting very late by now, so Mr and Mrs S soon showed us to the rooms that would be our home for the next few days. And in what seemed like no time at all, it was light outside and a new day had begun.
I woke with a start to sunlight streaming through the window (in February – yippee!) and the weirdest native bird noise I have ever heard. Well, two bird noises actually.
One sounded very much like R2-D2 from the Star Wars films, babbling away happily in an electro-type frenzy. We later discovered that these were magpies.
The other noise… well it sounded kind of like a cross between a child’s squeaky toy and the Home for the Clinically Profane. I kid you not. The high-pitched shriek that this bird made sounded like this: “F***ing Hell! F***ing Hell! F***ing Hell!”
We have NOT since discovered this bird’s real name, and it remains (in our house, at least) The F***ing Hell Bird. (These days, I rise at 5AM to go to work, so I can even be found joining in with that particular refrain whenever those birds begin their morning wake-up call).
These noises were amazing, unusual, hilarious! It was clearly time to go and explore outside……