Sunday, 26 January 2014

Hey, Australia! Happy birthday to us

I can’t remember meeting an Australian I didn’t like. Fine people and a joy to know. 

Not that I like facing them on a sports field. I can’t imagine that any fellow Englishman does. In a bar, however, on a beach, in a dining room – all the ones I’ve had the pleasure to spend some time with have been excellent company.

They’re open, warm-hearted, cheerful, generous, amusing. I’ve been out there on a couple of occasions, at a time when I was living in France. The banter I encountered in Sydney was so like what I was used to in England that it felt like a homecoming. But with more heat and sunshine.

In fact, ever since that experience, I’ve found that an excellent opening gambit to a conversation with an Australian is to tell him that his country is ‘just England with better weather.’ I always find it gets things off on just the right note.

England with better weather
But that’s not the reason I want to pay tribute to the Australians today.

It’s because the entire nation has had the goodness of heart to celebrate my birthday. I appreciate it deeply and thank all those fine people warmly. It strikes me as great generosity on their part to hold Australia Day on the 26th of January.

Now some might think that my daughter-in-law has a better deal than I do: born on the 14th of July, she has the whole of France celebrating her birthday with her. There are nearly three times as many people in France as in Australia. But I say it again, I like the Australians, and I’m more than satisfied that is they who’ve chosen to celebrate with me.

I’m off out shortly to mark the event. I’ll raise a glass to you, Australia. Many happy returns to us both.


Anonymous said...

Since the whole of Australia is celebrating with you, I hope you did not miss not getting my birthday wishes.


David Beeson said...

Barely closed an eye all night. Didn't recover my equanimity untilI woke in the morning and saw your comment.