My favourite quote recently is from the host of Gardening Australia. Yeah, I’m watching a few more housey programs since we got back. Anyway, this guy, Peter Cundall, is in his late seventies, and a bit of a comedian as TV gardeners go. He said: “If you cut a worm in two with a shovel, you don’t get two worms, you get one dead one. And they don’t forgive you.”

So use a garden fork, and don’t risk the wrath of the worms.

Yesterday we bought whitegoods: a new fridge and an older Volvo station wagon. We didn’t want a boring or ugly car or fridge, and I’m pleased to announce that neither is either. The fridge is big, cheap, looks good and is made in Queensland. And the car: if you’re looking for a not-too-old station wagon, the Volvo is a hell of a lot less boring and more comfortable than the Camrys and Subarus we looked at first. And the stereo rocks. Today we’ll be taking it down the coast, playing Flaming Lips, Scissor Sisters and Tricky very loudly.

So laugh long and hard: we aim to change the world’s view of Volvo drivers. That won’t happen, so at least we now have an excuse for any driving quality lapses.

Swings and roundabouts.

So we’re back and finding our feet. Almost three weeks back in the country and we have a new (to us) scooter, a deposit on a new (to us) car and we get to move into our house in six weeks or so.

I’m now going to be teaching at a Brisbane university for a short time, which is exciting. Great new campus, fun things happening, and the potential for a career in academia, probably what I’ve been gravitating back towards after these several years in the cruel, dull, real world.

Life here at my mother’s place is settling down, though you never really want to move back in with your parents, do you? Normally, this event would be an admission of defeat, a mark of failure, but I promise you we have not; this is simple convenience. Plus it saves on rent and moving twice.

Brisbane is still the lovely place I remember, no rose-tinted glasses required. The weather is stunning every day, the traffic not an issue, the trees everywhere and the people relaxed and friendly. Some things are more expensive than we remember, but not many. These days, there’s more of an air of sophistication as the town becomes a city.

Air is clean. Cats and kids have space to play. Fruit and veg still taste like food and cost (more or less) what they should. Haven’t found any decent French bread yet, but will continue the search. Across town on a weekend morning, crap is sold from garages instead of car boots.

Friends are found at parties on verandahs, at their houses up hills, or not at all if they sleep right through the plan. Family is close, or close-ish. But they’re nearer than they have been, just a quick drive and a long chat away. That’s a valuable thing. Apologies to our other friends and relations to whom we are no longer near; hope to talk to you soon.