Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Want a lolly? Hop on an Aussie bus.

September 21st, 2015 Comments off


I’ve been back in the Australia homeland for a month or so, and impressed with the old place – especially the ditching of the loathsome Tony Abbott as prime minister, although his “self-made all-round genius” successor Malcolm Turnbull may not be a massive improvement.

People are generally nice – polite and considerate – more than in the dirty old Anglo-Celtic capitals of the northern hemisphere, Donald Rumsfeld’s “Old Europe”. The locals, of course, do an exercise in mouth-wrinkling and sotto voce scoffing when I offer this opinion.

On a Melbourne suburban train, when another middle-aged lady and I were the first passengers into a well-populated carriage, two teenage school students in uniform rose immediately from their seats and moved aside for us. Could have knocked me down with a feather. The only young person who ever gave up a seat for me in Dublin was a young Travelller boy, some years ago. The privileged sprogs of the south county Dublin bourgeoisie lounge around comfortably, with their schoolbags providing an insurmountable obstacle course.

In Sydney, on a crowded late-afternoon bus, an elderly gentleman asked the father of a toddler, as they settled in their seats, if it would be okay to offer the little boy lollies [sweets]. “Thank you, but no, too much sugar and he gets hyper,” the father declined with a smile. You don’t see such exchanges on the 46A in Dublin or the no 29 in London.

Getting lost in Melbourne, a couple of girls walking their dogs fished out their mobile phones and Googled my destination – not a bother.

And most remarkably of all, when I was wandering lonely as a cloud along a central Melbourne railway station, looking for the airport bus, a rail employee actually approached me and asked if I needed help!! He nearly had to pick me up off the floor. Read more…

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2015 Gallipoli evacuation was one big mess

May 12th, 2015 Comments off


AND so to Gallipoli, for the centenary of the disastrous first World War campaign, in the company of An Uachtarain Michael D Higgins of Ireland.

That’s slightly gilding the poppy, as your correspondent wasn’t in the President’s party, but on the same plane, in steerage rather than the glamour of first-class.

Turkish Airlines are a pleasant carrier, but even the president’s presence didn’t mean we got into the air on time at Dublin.

However that was a minor transport consideration compared to what lay ahead. Read more…

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Women taking care of business in Ireland

February 14th, 2012 No comments

Emma Rafferty has ‘exported’ a great Australian concept to her new home in Ireland – the meat pie.

Bonza Pies, the company Emma started with husband Colin, has just opened its second outlet in Dublin. Now the couple have their eyes on “a new branch every year, and eventually we would love to set up a franchise,” says Emma, originally from Perth.

The couple was swimming against the tide when they set up their venture just as the Irish economy was taking a disastrous tumble, over three years ago. But with persistence, patience, and, above all, faith in their product, they are succeeding.

‘We’re flat out busy from about 11am to around now, ‘ Emma says at 3pm one weekday afternoon, in the rustic-looking Bonza 2, next to Mulligan’s famous pub in Poolbeg Street. “People come in, try the pies, and then they’ll be back for more!”

But it was Emma’s Irish husband who suggested the business idea. “Colin had been living in Australia for seven years, working in construction, and having pies for lunch every day,” said Emma. “When we came back here, intending just to spend a year, Colin found there was no construction work. And he missed the pies too!”

With Emma’s support, Colin retired to the kitchen for weeks and worked on recipes for pastry and filling. Every time friends or family came round, they found themselves eating – pies. “Colin was so enthusiastic – never got sick of it, always trying new things.”

As a result they have a long menu – 11 different varieties – which surprises the not-pie-savvy Irish, who come expecting one mysterious meat filling, and are impressed with the choice.
Read more…

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