On the Friday we had lunch with the wedding couple - it was lovely to meet them in more relaxed circumstances, and the lunch ran on a bit longer partly because the weather turned to heavy rain. We went out that night anyway - not far, just to a place that had caught Jen's eye called Hercules Morse, the name of a dog from a kid's book she used to love. It was a lovely restaurant, and we'd dressed up a bit as this was the last proper night out. Food and drink and cocktails were all excellent, and it's left a lovely memory.
I'd been feeling a little unwell over some of the holiday - the familiar pain in my left side that suggests that I've been overeating and my liver is paying the price. I'd tried not to overindulge, but it kept nagging.
We were staying in a lovely Airbnb for this last part, a converted warehouse with underfloor heating. There was an occasional ant but generally it was lovely.
Which both lead to Saturday, when the first thing we noticed on waking was a long line of ants from the bathroom across the wooden floor to a locked cupboard (or rather two lines, as there was traffic in both directions). We got the owner who cleared them out and pointed out that their source and destination wasn't as important as the fact that they were attracted to two small pools of red near the sink.
Which is the point that I realised that the lovely dilute drink that I'd been keeping myself hydrated with wasn't, as all of them are in the UK, sugar-free. Which explains both problems.
Anyway, we stayed in that evening and canoodled in front of Clash of the Titans (the newer, terrible one with Mads Mikkelsen as Rio Ferdinand) and then it was up and back to England, where someone had turned the sun down in our absence.
Cultural differences of Terra Australis:
- Top sheets - these were a thing when I was growing up in Ireland, but I've entirely done away with them since coming over here, and it was nice to be back in their genteel embrace. In the UK they seem to be not just not a thing, but not any kind of thing - in conversation with ultraruby yesterday she seemed confused about what one was (okay, I didn't help by just calling it a sheet) until she remembered that they happened in a bed herself and Iain had seen on the US roadtrip. There's an article in GQ making the case for them, I won't press it, I'll just quote "Not only do top sheets separate us from our duvets, they separate us from the animals."
- Shiny money - I know the UK has recently got on board, but Australia had it, with it's see-through panel, when I was there first at the turn of the millennium - and it still looks sharp.
- Swearing on the radio - specifically on Triple J, which is basically BBC Radio 1 with a commitment to play a lot of Australian artists (which does tend towards the 90s indie rawk, it must be said) and no language constraints of the sort that the commercial radio stations still apparently labour under: Jen noticed it on a rap track that was definitely not the radio version, I didn't cop on until "So here's Sherri, and you build shitty robots is that right? Sure do!"
- No tipping - I am still not convinced that being told this wasn't just the wedding couple trying to get us lynched on our last few days in the country. But we were the best tourists ever for 12 days then!
* We were admittedly one of only two tables there, but the other featured, between 8 people, two denim jackets and one appalling mustache.
** The theming was mostly just cocktail names and being able to get them in a 'syringe' or a beaker - we had regular martini glasses and thought that was the end of it - until Jen went to the loo and reported on her return that there was a hospital bed chained up Silent Hill-still next to the cubicles.