Friday, 19 October 2018

Sunburnt Pom's News from the Old Country 05

This week's news is a little late and a little rushed. I have just been on a short trip to Belgium, our little friend across the North Sea. It is just a nice overnight voyage from the Port of Hull and you arrive in the Port of Zeebrugge just after your on-board full English breakfast or your croissants and coffee if you have already switched to a continental mindset. I always opt for the latter to leave room for lots of 'frittess & mayo' not to mention the moules for which the area is famous. And of course you need to sample the local brews – and I'm not talking PG tips here you understand. Do not confuse the Province of Flanders with the rest of Belgium and the EU. I have many friends in Bruges who would like to see wealthy Flanders leave Belgium and the awful European Union. The return to Hull two days later was marked by strong winds and high tides, delaying our arrival somewhat. It is a reminder that the UK, like Australia, is an island and this gives its peoples a wider outlook on the world.

My cousin Pam in Hervey Bay, QLD is dead envious that we can make such a trip almost at the drop of a hat – something you just can't do in Oz. Overseas hols for Aussies involve planning and thousands of miles of travel but I nearly always manage to chat to Aussies in Bruges. Just across the border in the Dutch town of Sluys there is even an 'Oz ice-cream shop!'

Well the UK is leaving the EU in five months time and two and a half years after the people voted to leave the British Government still hasn't negotiated the terms of departure. Just what are these 'pollies' paid to do? It makes you weep. And why does the UK have to buy a departure ticket anyway? The reason, of course, is that without the UK's money, the EU will almost certainly go bust.

The beluga whale spotted in the Thames estuary seems to have departed for its more favoured colder climes but it gave a lot of pleasure to 'whale watchers' during its short visit. In the meantime most of us Poms are thumbing through winter sun brochures. Malta is my favourite 'warm' destination but as soon as time and money allow I will be trying out the new non-stop Qantas flight from London to Perth. What an incredible achievement that is and what would the early pioneers like Charles Kingsford Smith be thinking.

Until next time.

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