Late again, and again no photographs, but I have to post tonight as it is my last night in Australia. This time tomorrow I shall be in Singapore. By Tuesday I shall have travelled back to the northern hemisphere and be heading home.
I struggle to believe I am on the opposite side of the globe to London. There have been so many similarities between here and home. It's the differences that catch you. Or at least they catch me. Growing up in a post imperial world, the idea of empire meant little to me. Sometimes there were references, usually ironic, to when the maps were red showing the extent of British Rule. It all seemed a very long time ago.
Here I have learned that in the sixties children in schools had to sing the national anthem and pledge allegiance and loyalty to queen and flag. We didn't do that at home. It seems the loyalty of the dominions was enforced much more strictly.
I thought this might be my first and last visit to Australia, now I am already thinkng of future visits. You can travel a long way and find a feeling of home.
The vastness of the world and its smallness collide when buying something at a craft market, you find your fellow customer lives in Stoke Newington; when you use an app to make a telephone call to a friend from London who is visiting Melbourne; when you meet family members, resume conversations, and feel proud to be related to them; when you know the moon you see above you is the same moon seen by everyone.
It's awe inspiring and comforting at the same time to understand that despite the immensity of the world, connections, extended families, friendships are stronger than distance; that about the globe you will meet people who remind you of our common humanity, our shared values; that at a time in our history where the politics of division are being played out in so terrifyingly in so many arenas, we have, as Jo Cox said, more in common than divides us.