Moving to Oz? Six things you need to know about Australian supermarkets

Coles - one of the big two supermarket chainsI love supermarkets. Well, ethically, I’m not so keen on their dominance of the marketplace and their ability to put small traders out of business in a flash, but from a sociological point of view, I find them fascinating.

On trips abroad I love wandering round the local hypermarché or supermercado to get an idea of how the natives like to live. And had I known that when I arrived in Perth almost five years ago, the big supermarkets were forced by law to shut at 6pm (a situation thankfully now changed) I might never have got on the plane. It proved to be a very accurate indicator of what living in Perth would be like.

I thought Australian supermarkets would be much the same as British ones, and they are. But as a new migrant, there are still a few things you need to know about shopping at Woolworths or Coles. Continue reading

The thrill of the old

We lived in a brand new house once.

The purchase made sense at the time. The Silver Fox was working in Manchester, more than an hour away in peak-hour traffic, and had no time or energy to tackle another ‘project’. Jaded by the efforts that had gone into our first home, a turn-of-the-century terrace, with lath and plaster ceilings and worn walls that after our input were 70 per cent Polyfilla, we decided that new was the way to go.

So we picked our corner plot on a new housing estate, paid our deposit and entered the scary world of the home builder. Bathroom tiles and kitchen cabinets were chosen. Plans were laid to turn the patch of mud at the rear of the house – so compacted by the weight of construction vehicles driving over it that it might as well have been concrete –  into a garden. Continue reading

My heart belongs to Melbourne

My beloved Melbourne at nightNearly two years ago, the Silver Fox and I handed the keys to our Perth apartment to a letting agency and flew to the UK. The last remnants of our life there were stuffed into suitcases and holdalls and stored at a friend’s house, ready for us to collect on the return trip. After three weeks in Europe we returned to this hemisphere and, following a quick stopover in Perth to pick up the stored bags, I landed in my new home city. Continue reading

Here we go again

So here we go again. A new blog to mark a new phase of my life.

Why ‘a life on the flipside’? Well, I’m going to be writing about my life here in Melbourne, Australia, which is on the other side of the planet from where I grew up.

When I first moved down under, I lived in Perth, Western Australia – and I moved to the other side of the country.

So ‘a life on the other side’ might be more appropriate – but it sounded a bit too supernatural for my rational mind. Flipside, on the other hand, makes me think of records and that makes this once wannabe music journo smile, even although all my vinyl is warped and scratched after years of being dragged around the world.

But it’s not just about geography. Continue reading