A very warm welcome to Australia

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Greetings from Western Australia!

Last year I sent in two offerings from here on my annual visit to my daughter and family in Perth. It was easy then – a massive cyclone bearing down on us, bush fires so near you could smell them, plus a number of spin offs. Without wishing to tempt providence it is all very quiet this year – so far.

I left Birmingham lunchtime Wednesday – usual efficient flight with Emirates on time to Dubai and on time on arrival in Perth. I am not sure how they do it but the last seven flights I have taken with them have been nearly full – possibly the wise move of using regional airports for long haul. I stepped into the airport in damp cold and windy weather and arrived in sunshine and 34C. Daughter so pleased to see me she lost concentration and took wrong road from airport – knew we were wrong when we passed lots of sheep as she lives in an urban area. Got home and distributed Christmas presents to little people, had a swim in their pool and have, by now, got over jet lag.

Family trip to beach today – different to Skeggy – dunes with ‘beware of snakes’ warning signs and a helicopter cruising up and down looking for sharks. I normally go nowhere near the water being a devout coward but as my two young granddaughters were swimming in deep water I allowed myself to risk a paddle and got soaked.

My daughter is a senior council officer in the City of Cockburn and as she is responsible for all media and communications she has produced a calendar which goes to all ratepayers. On the cover is a pseudo family group one of which is my seven-year-old grandaughter India. She also features on the billboards all over the city and on the cover of the rate demand. I am thinking of becoming her agent!!

Prices here are strange.

Four years ago you got $2.4aus to £1 – now it is about $1.5 at best.

This means a pint of beer at $9 has gone up from £3.50 to about £6 – very expensive. Petrol though is about £1.00 per litre cheaper.

I can buy Australian wine cheaper in Corby than here.

The creatures are as rampant as ever. Sitting in the summer house last night a friend made an “oh my God” and pointed to the eve of the structure where two enormous spiders were eating a cricket. I left for bed as they attacked them with chemical warfare.

Tomorrow is Australia Day. We will go to the beach and in the evening watch fireworks. The temperatures are sweltering – getting up to 40c by the weekend – the hottest since 1967.

I trust it is not too cold in the UK !