That’s what my sister calls me – the reverse vampire! Retiring at sundown and rising just before sun up, she can’t believe the hours I keep and delights in making jokes at my expense!
However, there is much to be said for rising before the sun. You get to see some things that are really, very special – mainly nocturnal native Australian fauna, of both the four-legged and two-legged varieties. Not to mention those with wings and beaks!
My personal favourite is catching a glimpse of the Tawny Frogmouth. Incredibly rare, these beauties love to sit atop the telegraph poles and watch the world go by – so magnificent, a little sinister looking and slightly imposing.
Then there are the Ring-Tailed Possums performing daring, high wire balancing act, traversing busy Condamine Street, well above the conscious minds of the drivers below – well, except for my conscious mind!
Last Monday morning I was delighted to see a young two-legged example of Manly Vale fauna. Swaying ever so slightly (under the influence of alcohol I presumed) one leg jutting out onto the road ever so cockily – he sticks out his thumb.
Once he realised that in fact I was not slowing down to give him a lift (yeah – as if!) he then flipped me off and said something about truckin’! Rude little piggy.
On arrival at the kitchen, there is a process I go through in the first twenty minutes, to ensure that I can then dive into baking and creating with minimum effort. Well, that’s my story – but it’s really about distracting myself until the coffee machine warms up!
Then I make a coffee and depending on the time, I step outside the door and bear witness to the commencement of the day. This is the time to breathe, to reflect on what the day holds and I make a mental note to have a good day.
Brookvale is gorgeous at this time of the day. Her sharp angles, overbearing reflective surfaces, dusty streets and machinery are somewhat softened in the pink and orange rays of the sunrise.
And it is blessedly quiet! Sometimes it is so quiet I can hear the cross-walk signal sound up on Pittwater Road (about 175 metres away).
Anyway, this – combined with the Australia Day celebrations, got me thinking about the little island we call home.
Australians all, let us rejoice, for we are young and free…YES! Yes – rejoice.
All the time – because we are young AND free. There are no armoured trucks barreling down Pitt Street. There are no automatic-rifle carrying police officers standing guard at the train stations. We can vote to choose our government. We can work. We can be outspoken and irreverent.
With golden soil and wealth for toil, our home is girt by sea…Our land abounds in nature’s gifts, of beauty rich and rare…I believe when Peter Dodds McCormick wrote the lyrics, he was referring to our landscape, our fauna and flora.
But I like to believe that it means all that AND the amazing breadth and depth of the talent of our population! I mean, come on…we are one talented populous! Medicine, engineering, science, architecture, marine, environmental, finance, opera, ballet, art, fashion, food, wine, cheese making….the list goes on and on!
The part of the anthem, the part that always gets missed is the best part…in my humble opinion.
Beneath our radiant Southern Cross, we’ll toil with hearts and hands, to make this Commonwealth of ours, renowned of all the lands. I think the youth of our nation’s settlement by the Brits precludes us from being too renowned just yet…perhaps give us another 200-odd years? But we are getting there. If referring to our indigenous culture – then spot on!
Seriously though, think about it. How far have we come in such a short space of time? If I think about my own mother – would there have been the opportunities given to her that I have had (and somewhat taken for granted)? Or my grandmother for that matter?
And that’s just three generations. My heart fills with such hope when I think about my nieces and what their futures potentially hold – WOW! The skies the limit!
Without getting on my feminist soap box – education, employment, business ownership, the single life without judgment (or relatively without judgment)…now we just need to get equal pay for equal work and we are almost there!
For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share. With courage let us all combine to advance Australia fair!
Indulge me while I repeat that last bit….with courage let us all combine to advance Australia fair. We will be renowned of all the lands if we all combine our efforts.
One of the best ways to do this is to buy Australian made products. I am not just saying that because my yum-yums are Australian made and WHENEVER possible I always use Australian ingredients – I am saying it because it is the only way our farmers, our local businesses can survive and prosper. The only way we, as a nation can grow and prosper! Together.
I was mortified recently when looking for Australian flags to put up at the shop – not one of them was made in Australia. Not one! Now I have absolutely nothing against China, some of my very good friends are Chinese. But can you see that it’s no good having an Aussie flag for Australia Day that is made in China?
Check your labels peeps! Buy Australian made. Keep the cash here. Tell Woolworth’s and Coles you only want your fresh fruit and veggies in season, locally grown! They may be the fresh food people and keeping their prices down – but we want local or we’ll go to IGA!
Seriously though (and no, I’m not running for politics) please give some thought to where your goodies come from. The more local the better – for more reasons than just buying Australian. It cuts down on transport costs. It cuts down on refrigeration and storage costs. It cuts down the carbon footprint (via transport and storage) AND it is healthier for you to eat local, in season produce. And wouldn’t we all like to be healthier at the same time as advancing Australia?