Sunday, 15 December 2013

Fact for December : Is that a Chinese Restaurant or Asian Cafe?

Something that can take a while to adjust to are the differences between eating out in Australia and the UK.  For one places close a lot earlier here.  Two, the concept of a restaurant allowing you to Bring Your Own (BYO) alcohol or having no licence at all. 

The fact I found hardest to accept was the decor.  With many restaurants brightly lit, poorly furnished and generally looking like they had seen better days. What I needed to learn, is that most of these places are actually closer to Asian cafes - without the full english breakfasts and builders teas - than fine dining establishments.

Don't get me wrong, high cuisine does exist it's just unlikely to be found on the side streets in quite suburbs.  If you leave the house with that expectation, you're unlikely to be disappointed.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Fact #5 - State run utilities are just as expensive

In the UK there is a lot of grumbling around whether or not the formally state owned utilities should have ever been privatised.  "Run for people, not profits" is the familiar battle cry.

Well, Australia still has some state owned utilities - NSW electricity for example.  From the what I read in the news, they are just as badly managed and the states are addicted to the revenue that they generate.  To the point where double digit price hikes are common - to the extent where Julia Gillard has threatened to use the "big stick of regulation" if the states don't reduce electricty prices.

It seems that in either system the consumer gets screwed.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Fact #4 - Medicare and NHS are not equal

The cost of being unwell in Australia can be quite a shock.  Unless you are lucky enough to find a Doctor who bulk-bills a visit to the Quack will cost you money.  Typically $30 and up will need to come from your pocket to top-up the payment towards your consultation that Medicare will make to the Doctor.

If your Doctor suggests you go for radiology or other treatments, there will be other 'gaps' that you will be expected to make up the the shortfall for.  For example a brain MRI scan is around $320, of with Medicare does not cover a cent.

It isn't any better if you have private healthcare, even the highest cover is unlikely to offer outpatient radiology cover - unless of course you are referred from a specialist.  Where guess what?  There will likely be a gap to pay for the specialists time to.

With no standard prescription costs, you pay whatever the chemist wants to charge you for your medication.  So it pays to shop around for the cheapest chemist to fulfill your prescription.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Fact #3

If you see a car with a 'For Sale' sign in the window, don't expect to see the price that the owner is hoping for.  I find it unfathomable that I'm expected to phone up and ask.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Fact #2

It comes as a surprise to me each time it happens - but in Canberra people leave the office for home whenever there is a big rain storm.  Strange but true.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Clothes Pegs

Ok, so this place has gone a little stale.  Life has settled in Australia, we bought a house and still love being here.  As things plod on there is less and less for me to write about - that would be of interest to anyone.  So, rather than close the blog I'm going to try adding a series of short updates around Facts, Myths and Maybe's about Australia.  Starting with:

Fact #1 - Plastic clothes pegs do not last as long in Australia.  It must be the sunshine, because after a few short months the plastic becomes brittle and they shatter when you come to use them.

Just as a foot note: Australian clothes pegs may not be up to much, but the washing lines are something else.  No plastic lines that stretch and break.  Here heavy guage steel wire seems to be the minimum spec.

So now you know....

Monday, 2 January 2012

More wildlife.

Meet the possum who lives in my garage roller door; posing in the apple tree that hangs over our decking. 

We hear he/she each night after sunset, as it noisely bounds across the metal parts of the roof and onto the decking.

Sometimes we are treated to a possum chorus, as all the possums in the area shout to each other, which sounds like (to my ears) a moped being kickstarted.

But his (or her) nickname 'Pooey' comes from the amount of droppings left across every surface at the back of the house.  For a small animal you would never believe the amount of poo it produces.

I have visions of having a Caddyshack style war with them.  But I am in rental and am well aware I'd loose.  Besides, it is apparently illegal kill, or even to move a possum far enough from your house that it couldn't find its way back. 

I must confess feeding them the occasional apple from my hands doesn't help my situation.  Can't help it - for all the mess, they seem so cute!.