Dear Friends and Family,

Its been a while since I blogged. I have been very busy with my dive master training, but i want to let you all know how much I love you and miss you, especially as Christmas approaches. I know its been a long time since we were together for Christmas, we all have our lives and we are all busy, however you are all always on my mind at any time of the year but especially right now.

Townsville, Australia – our current home – is beautiful, it is right on the coast and is warm and sunny. We have amazing diving, wildlife and scenery right on our doorstep.

We are staying in a beautiful house. A Queenslander build out of wood with the living area about 8 feet off the ground, the better to avoid the floods and to catch the breeze. It’s a large house with a large garden complete with coconut trees, mango trees and a possum in the shed. We have a lovely housemate and even a dog – a gorgeous friendly super well behaved almost fully grown ridgeback-mastiff cross.

Unfortunately I have been feeling quite homesick since we arrived in Oz. I feel out of kilter with my surroundings. It’s November, only a few weeks to Christmas, and instead of the temperature plummeting and the days growing shorter it’s getting warmer and the days are getting longer.

Oz is so similar to the uk in some ways that it’s like an alternate reality where things are the same but different.

Take the money… I swear the 50 cent coins are our old 50p pieces, the 20c are our old 10p’s and the 5c are DEFINATELY the same as our 5p coins. And the driving, in oz you drive on the left but there are strange differences like the indicators being on the right. This causes the infuriating effect of the windscreen wipers being switched on every time you want to turn a corner. Near to where we are living the countryside looks almost like the fields near our house on the outskirts of Nottingham, flat, green and interspersed with trees and farms. That is until you look closely and the trees reveal themselves to be laden with mangoes.

I keep forgetting I’m abroad until someone speaks to me or I remember that palm trees line my street, I suddenly remember that it’s not July, it’s November and Christmas is just around the corner and it makes me long for the crap Argos ads on TV, the debates over who should or shouldn’t be kicked off the x factor, the secret santa we did at work.

I miss wrapping up in leggings and boots and scarf to visit crumbly old National Trust castles and houses and the hot cup of tea and slice of cake that restores and warms after exploring the frozen grounds, the unique excitement you can only get from a Christmas fair, the smell of leaves falling off the trees and the pride of making an apple and blackberry crumble with fruit scrumped from the trees on the old abandoned railway (and the greedy joy of eating it hot with ice cream). I want to be planning my Christmas presents for my friends and family and to cozy up in the conservatory under the duvet with a good book and some hot chocolate as the weather does whatever it pleases outside.

Most of all I want to be part of the events back home, to go to the Christmas parties my friends will be throwing, to the pub with my friend to keep out the cold with good conversation, baileys and hot chocolate, to the German Christmas market in Leeds with my sister, to shop for cute presents for my new nephew, to sip tea in my friends living room with one of their gorgeous purring cats on my knee.

I never thought that homesickness would be something I could feel so acutely. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to escape the UK, I thought I could travel forever. But this amazing trip has taught me things, and it’s taught me that the grass isn’t greener, it’s actually a different shade, that I am part of the place I come from – I do have roots after all and I will always long for england whenever I am away.

You, my friends and family are so very important to me. Thank you for being part of my life.