Hang out the flags

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I have a difficult relationship with flags and the past few weeks haven’t helped. From the loutish behaviour of a few English football supporters in Marseille, to the feverish nationalism surrounding the Brexit vote, to the trampling of flags following the exit of the England football team from Euro 2016. Flags have a lot to answer for.

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A taste of home

About a year ago, as part of a writing course, I was tasked with writing a passage about the food that most reminded me of being a little boy. I chose my mum’s rice pudding, the scent of which would fill the house for hours before it was ready. The wait was agonising.

A few weeks ago, Mini-CBRbound decided that, for his own school writing project, he would blog about his favourite foods from his childhood in Denmark. Watching him rediscover all those tastes has been a wonderful experience.

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Comparing value: Phone and internet

Last week’s mini-rant about Australia’s dominant telecommunications company, Telstra, got me thinking. Are they really ‘behind the times fleece merchants’ or am I just looking back to Europe with rose-tinted lenses?

To check if my ire was justified, I decided to compare my experiences – of cost versus quality of service – to see how Telstra stacks up against companies of a similar type in other countries.

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Getting lucky in Canberra

A few days ago, I published a post on some of the things that have made a positive impression upon us since we arrived in Canberra.

It wasn’t the kind of list to construct a tourist weekend around. Rather, it detailed all the things that make Canberra so liveable for new migrants – you know, boring but essential stuff such as bike paths, bus services, libraries and so on.
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The distance of time

My return visit to Copenhagen is at an end and, after a 24 hour stop-off in England, I’ll be on my way back home to Canberra very shortly.

Being back among familiar faces and places has been simultaneously fun, exhausting, repetitive and like I’ve never been away. But being here has also taught me something about why it’s hard to be away from our former home. Continue reading

Finding fan fever, far from home

Supporting a sports team is a lifelong commitment, one that defies logic, rises above setbacks and, once established, pulses deep in the veins. But what does that mean for a new migrant, thousands of miles from his homeland, in need of a regular fix of sporting action.

It’s a question that has nagged at me for years, ever since I gave up my Liverpool season ticket when my family moved to Denmark. But at least Denmark was close enough for the occasional pligrimage to see the boys in red play. Australia, well, that’s another matter entirely.

The Shankly Gates, Anfield.

The famous Shankly Gates at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium.

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Australia’s dominant religion: cricket

When I was growing up in England, cricket had a much greater presence in the consciousness of the general public. As I recall, football and cricket were held in relatively equal thrall and were largely confined to their seasons of summer and winter, only overlapping for a few weeks at either end. Indeed, some players even played both games – Ian Botham included.

Since then, the behemoth that is football has sucked up nearly all the media attention in England such that, outside of the Ashes and the world cup, cricket has become very much the poor relation in the nation’s sporting line-up.
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