To say I jump at any chance to return to my Aussie Roots would be putting it mildly. So when my dear Aunt Shirl (Mum’s sister) told us she would indeed be having a small celebration for her 80th, she didn’t have to ask me twice!
Often when I tell people that I’m half Australian, they rather cheekily ask “Which half?”. Well, if my heart is considered half of my whole, then that’s the half it would be. I’ve always had a great love for Australia – Perth, Western Australia in particular, where my Mum is from. Yes, I’m well aware of the “shade” often thrown Perth’s way … “retirement home”, “boring”, someone even called it a “dump” to my face once. To these naysayers … it’s no skin off our nose not having you here taking up space. It leaves more room for the rest of us to kick back and bask in the fresh air, bright blue skies, spectacular coastline, beautiful scenery, fab beaches, amazing natural wonders, delectable food & wines and all manner of wind-in-your-hair, road tripping adventures across this vast land. Sounds positively dreadful, doesn’t it?
Needless to say, I adore it for all the above and more, especially time with my Mum’s family who I’m exceptionally close to, even though I might only see them once a year. As a child visiting, we used to stay with my Grandparents in their Applecross home which always smelt like it had a delicious roast cooking or Minties lollies – my Grandmother was mad for Minties and used to hand them out as treats. While I always politely took one, truth be told, I don’t actually like Minties. So for a real treat, I used to hop over to the Deli across the road to indulge in my favourite Allen’s Freckles chocolate and Peter’s Giant Ice Cream Sandwiches. Those were the days of family get-togethers over Fish & Chips, Bush BBQs, Drive-in Theatre movie nights with us kids crammed into the back of a station wagon, legs poking out in all directions and summers spent mucking about at Cottesloe beach with my cousins, wondering why I was so short in comparison and when I was going to catch up … I’m still waiting.
Then came my boarding school years at Presbyterian Ladies College (PLC) which I took to like a duck to water and really thrived. While I’ve heard nightmare boarding stories from my own brothers and even Poss, thankfully, I generally got along well with the boarders in my year, even spending long weekends at some of their farms where I tried my hand at everything from driving a Ute to having a dirt bike fly off from under me haha – yep, it wasn’t quite as funny at the time. Between having the best looking uniforms and doing subjects I actually liked, to school dances, ski trips and Leavers parties in Dunsborough and Rottnest, it’s safe to say that I quite enjoyed my time at school.
But the real fun began when I started University. I finally got my first car, Genie – a 2nd hand, 2 door, manual, red Ford Laser which didn’t even have air-conditioning, let alone an alarm, but I came up with an ingenious idea to fix the latter. At the time, my brother owned a video shop and ET had just been released, so I took the battery operated red blinking light from the tip of ET’s finger on the standee film poster, attached it to my dashboard and voilá … I had an alarm. Why I thought I even needed a pretend alarm is beyond me – it’s not like there was a demand for old Ford Lasers with no air-conditioning! I did however have a very nice Kenwood stereo that I had splurged on which never, ever got stolen, so thanks ET!
It was during my Uni days at Curtin, studying Film & TV, that I met one of my best friends and lived with another in the riverfront home that we still own. Together with our madcap group of friends, we filled our days with road trips, weekends in Freo, game nights, house parties where we concocted some rather dastardly cocktails, midnight runs to the We Never Sleep Deli in Vic Park for a Corn Jack & Chiko Roll, Chilli Mussels at Uncle Vinnie’s in Northbridge, followed by a night of partying at our Club of choice, Exit, where we used to down B52s and nick the shot glasses 😁 It was a blast!
Such good times and so many fab memories – perhaps that’s why I’m a “little” protective of Perth. While I initially had the intention of staying on for a few years after Uni, Film & TV jobs were far and few between at the time, so with a tearful farewell to the family and all my mates, I went home and sold my soul to Advertising. I did come close to moving back once, but a certain “Possum” barged into my life and crashed that party.
Alas for now, I just try to get back once or twice a year to catch-up with everyone and tick off my Perth “must-do” list of things to eat, see, do etc .. that has now become somewhat of a ritual. Whether it’s reliving bits of my past or enjoying new found hidden gems, no visit is complete without it.
So if you’re ever headed Perth’s way and would like to see what I get up to during my visits, click the link to My Favourite Things. I hope you’ll find it useful and enjoy everything as much as I do – that goes for the naysayers too 😉