Thursday, February 15, 2007

Doonside, Rooty Hill, Next Stop Penrith

Four days ago, last I was sitting in a train in Wales watching snow covered fields flash past. Fast forward to the 12:27 from Parramatta to Lithgow in New South Wales Australia and the other side of the world.

Train travel remains the best way to travel, you can think on a train unlike a plane. Where you waste energy worrying about the fat person in front of you suddenly putting his seat back when you are halfway through your meal or that the person sitting next to the window will develop incontinence and have to climb over you every 30 minutes.

Here in Oz the trains are simple and basic the seats are green plastic that must have been bought as a job lot in the seventies. People smile as they pass you getting on and off, and they do say g’day if you give the nod.

The names of suburbs you pass are worth the trip to hear the tannoy come on with this very classical broad aussie accent saying next stop “Emu Plains” which actually used to be a prison back in the early colonial days. The car park at the station is not filled with trendy SUV’s and 4wd’s that never leave the road, Jacaranda trees flow over the platform and the only industry you see from the train is a concrete pipe factory.

We have left the sprawl of suburbia and home of the Westies, this is a part of the world where people wear Ugg boots and here that is not trendy by any fashion statement. (The saga of Ugg Boots will be the subject of another entry)

Perhaps the images that have most ingrained on me sitting on my plastic covered green seat are the kid behind me asleep with his Mp3 so loud that I can hear the beat of his heavy metal music and across the aisle is a grey haired old lady with her hair up and also with ear plugs.

I looked down expecting to see an Mp3, but to make me smile and realize that life in Australia maybe does not move that fast, she has clutched in her hands an old portable tape deck, held together with a rubber band to keep the door shut. I just wondered what she is listening too.

It is nice to be back down under the world is a lot different when you look up on the globe, just looked up and a young man looked across and gave the g’day smile


Widescreen said...

Hey, don't give us a hard time. There is a lot of good by not being in such a rat race that many larger overseas citiew now are.

Many of our towns are built on the back of soldier settlers and before that, convicts. Many names are a legacy of that and the rest are of aboriginal origin.

There is a certain romance of plastic seats and tape decks, and your ugg wearing teenagers all have ipods.

My Country
by Dorothea McKellar

a poem about Australia

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

21stCenturyMom said...


Sounds like you are having a fine time of it, too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking us with you. Photos were great. May have a hard time getting you back up to the top side it sounds. Liked that poem that a fellow reader posted as well. Enjoy your escape back to sanity.

Anonymous said...

You don't look overly happy in that photo looking out the train window!!