Alive and Well... The Ugly Australian

Alive and Well... The Ugly Australian

August 20, 2010 Bloggies by Steve Martin Edit

It started at the bottom of a wheelchair access ramp in the Colosseum. I had both children in the stroller and was waiting for a family to finish coming down the ramp when a tour group pushed in front of me. I think the tour leader was Italian but at that point I didn’t know the make-up of the group. The ramp led to the lift for wheelchairs, strollers and people with “mobility issues”.

When the family came down off the ramp I started to go up, but members of the tour group barged their way past. They were so determined that I had to stop for fear of crashing into them. One overweight woman in particular seemed to think it was a race between her and us. She forced her way past, almost pushing James off. She clearly had no regard for anyone other than herself and her desire to avoid the stairs.

 

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The Exploding Toilet and Other Caravan Tales

The Exploding Toilet and Other Caravan Tales

August 15, 2010 Bloggies by Steve Martin Edit

The toilet exploded with a fair bit of ferocity. So much so it blew James fresh wee straight up onto my face. I think the air in the otherwise empty toilet had warmed up while we traveled. When I opened the waste gate to let the wee let fall into the toilet the rush of escaping hot air sprayed it back up and all over me.

So, here I am, somewhere in Germany on the side of the road, covered in my son’s fresh urine. What's more I had no water to clean myself. Thankfully there was just a bit of water left in the hot water system to rinse myself before I climbed back into the car.

 

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the Big Fight

the Big Fight

August 03, 2010 Bloggies by Steve Martin Edit

How do you explain to a three year old about a world war almost a century ago? My best effort was to tell James, as we walked through the Australian War Memorial at Villers Bretenoux, that “long ago, before I was a little boy, there was a big fight, and lots of people got hurt and lots died”. I should have seen his response coming. “Why Daddy”?

As I made my way through the headstones James simple question kept coming back to me. “Why indeed”?

 

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Paris; Colours, Urine and Tourists

Paris; Colours, Urine and Tourists

July 23, 2010 Paris by Steve Martin Edit

Colours:

Paris is grey & I don’t mean the sky. I mean the city itself. Standing on the top of the steps in the early morning light at Sacre Coeur the view of the city is clear and crisp. The stone used to build many of the old buildings is a creamy grey and when viewed from the top of the hill, with the intense density of four and five story buildings sitting higher than the street trees, you can see almost un-interrupted grey

This is not a criticism. Grey is just the colour of the place. London for example has more trees poking through and a mixture of stone and brick. Edinburgh is a deep grey thanks to the local stone. Paris is light creamy grey with a chocolate pink tower as the centre piece.

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Cricket is on the radio

Cricket is on the radio

July 22, 2010 Paris by Steve Martin Edit

It happened almost without me noticing. We’d been driving back to the cottage at La Lande D’Airou chatting away and paying little attention to the car radio. When we pulled up at the gate to our driveway I realised the Cricket was on, so I started listening for the score. With every word I got a little more confused because it all sounded so horribly familiar.

Here am I, sitting in a car at the gate to our house sit in Normandy in France on a bright summers day knowing it’s an Australian match because I’m listening to Jim Maxwell from the ABC. He is sharing his thoughts on what turns out to be the Pakistan team as they host Australia at their temporary English home ground.

It all sounded so ..... normal. So much like the other hundreds of test match broadcasts I’ve heard before. I could have been pulling in to any Australian driveway in any part of Australia during a typical summer day. But I am on the opposite side of the world with the family in the car, having a very different summer.

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