Epic morning of de-hedging around the shed today, with the help of two friends. The weather was kind with an overcast sky and some light rain. The chooks over the back were clucking. There was one rather large toad which startled us a bit.
And then…just when we could see the fence through the massive bougainvillaea, we noticed Gucci. All tucked up and sleeping peacefully, right where one friend had been snipping branches. None of our sawing, clipping or heaving had disturbed his slumber…until his cover was nearly all gone of course. Then he started moving. And so did we!
The Refugee Council of Australia has produced election guides outlining the refugee and asylum policies of the major parties as well as the minor party candidates for the Senate. Summaries of the policy platforms for the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal-National Coalition and The Australian Greens and a summary of the minor party candidates for the Senate can be accessed from their website.
There’s something a little disconcerting when the line at Bunnings warehouse is longer for a $2 sausage sizzle than it is to buy a badge or a wristband from our boys in uniform. The fact the armed services need to raise money to support the health and wellbeing of returned soldiers is insulting enough.
I had a lovely little wildlife encounter today when I went outside to water the plants this afternoon. An adolescent magpie hunting around the backyard came running up to me with a couple of grasshoppers in his beak. He came right up close enough to pat. I think the previous owners must have fed him some mince… Very nice having him follow me round the yard though. I might have to restart the tradition.
Aussies aren’t the only country that bbq meat for an easier meal – but we hang our hat on the practice. We hold dear our outdoor lifestyle so fervently that we give ourselves a special day to use it.
En masse, we throw some snags, onion slices and steak on the grill, rustle up some salads and slap it all between the sides of a hamburger roll liberally smothered in tomato sauce (NB: not ketchup). We play some games in the backyard – usually scratch cricket – so that everyone, no matter the age or ability, can have a hit, run, catch or bowl. If you’re very lucky, you have a dog on your side as a ring-in fielder.
Some Aussies have a pool to cool off in, some are near the ocean, but we play, we eat, we play some more and we cool down however we can. The point is we do it together. We stop all the running around, the “have to do’s” that get in the way and we make the effort to spend the day together, talking, laughing, eating and drinking.
The Australia Day public holiday has such a different feeling to it than the Christmas holiday. Less emphasis on presents and the need to give everyone something meaningful or “good”. Less tradition to adhere to on what to eat, how to eat, how to spend the day. Australia Day is easy-going. It’s the day we spend being how we think we are. Relaxed. Connecting. Having a laugh. Enjoying the moment. No worries.
I know that this day holds historical echoes that are unpleasant and that some find upsetting because it feels unresolved and unacknowledged. Regardless of the day you get to do it, joining your loved ones together with a no fuss, no baggage, no bullshit event – just to catch up and relax – is a gift I hope you receive too.