About a dozen years ago I left Brisvegas for the lights of London and lived there for 7 years. Oh I know it was only meant to be for a quick look and a bit of a lark but things change don’t they and one thing lead to another and another lead to Steve and so London was home for a long time.
When we decided that OZ was calling we settled at the Goldie and even now we are not really sure why. Neither of us knew the place at all, we knew no-one and maybe that was the common ground. We both ploughed head first into the unknown.
When I go back to London I feel like I am going home. I get off the plane at Heathrow and feel comfortable and at home and familiar. The same shops greet me and the smell and the chill welcome me back. The streets are the same the traffic is nuts and whilst there is sometimes a little new construction, really the place is the same as I left it. It’s like that well worn coat in the back of the cupboard, comfortable and reliable and just a little frayed around the edges.
But Brisbane is not like that. Coming home to the town I spent most of my life in is not really coming home anymore. It doesn’t instantly envelope me with that familiar, all knowing welcome. Instead I feel quite like the tourist, which means I get extra bang for my buck, but it is also more than a little disturbing.
There are new buildings and the road directions seem to change daily. I know roughly where I am going but am never absolutely sure how to get there. Derelict areas have become bright spanking new and flash areas a little jaded. Nightclubs which grabbed my cash in my 30s are now swanky restaurants and bars and a bottle of wine is no longer a just few bucks.
I drove Zig passed my old house last week so he could see where his mum grew up, and even that is hardly recognisable. It’s some strange beige colour instead of the wonderful green I had painted it and there is a flash car port out the front. The front garden has been tarted up and from the back it looks like they have built on a huge verandah. I suppose they have put in a new kitchen and bathroom too. Oddly though what hasn’t changed is the walloping trees I planted in the front garden. There is the 50 foot Gum tree and the Frangipani tree I grew from a cutting and the big old Poinciana still shades the footpath. I reckon with the summer storms which ARE a constant I might have gotten rid of a couple of those trees before they take out the roof.
Brisbane is such a young girl, so I suppose it is right that she is developing and stretching and pushing boundaries. London is like a grandma, reliable and soft and welcoming.