The Universe Is Expanding


That’s the only way to account for it. Not least because at 37,000 feet over the Andaman Sea I had just finished watching the truly excellent The Theory of Everything, the story of Professor Stephen Hawking. Whatever the reason, the journey to Australia really does seem to be getting longer. Endless, in fact.

It began to hit home sitting in the lounge at Heathrow this last Monday evening. There is only one British Airways plane a day to Sydney, always at the same time. Mike looked up from his screen just long enough to inform me that the previous evening’s flight hadn’t even touched down yet. Jesus. Over 24 hours still to go then.

Mike is a bit of a plane buff, I won’t say spotter, but he does have an app on his phone that enables him to see where any plane is at any given time and where it’s going. (My attempts to read thusly interrupted every one and a half minutes by unofficial announcements on the destination of each and every aircraft accelerating down the runway.)

The concept of time is such a confusing thing, even to theoretical physicists never mind the likes of me. Thanks to the difference in time zones one arrives in Australia two days after leaving England and yet you’ll still manage to lose a day along the way. British Airways, and I assume all other airlines, maintain for as long as possible the pretence that we never left the time zone of the recently departed country. Thus they serve dinner after take off and breakfast eight hours later after a period during which the traveller is encouraged to get some sleep. One lands at Changi, Singapore, shortly after breakfast is cleared away.. just in time for sunset. At teatime in other words, local time.



Sunset over Singapore. Excuse the less than perfect iPad photo.


There’s a one hour refuelling stop and we’re on our way again. Usefully, the pilot has also found the time to spin round the hands on the clock. On re-embarkation dinner is served promptly. So promptly in fact that the breakfast croissants have barely had the opportunity to digest. Is it any wonder that long haul travel is so very exhausting.



Journey’s end. For a few days at least.

Far North Queensland, Australia


I’d toyed with the idea of a blogging break. But how about, instead, a postcard just occasionally? I don’t know how long I can keep it up. Much will depend on WiFi/mobile availability which from memory can be patchy in the more remote places. On the spot reporting. That means even I don’t know what will happen next..


2018-11-22T11:41:35+00:00November 22nd, 2018|Tags: |


  1. janesmudgeegarden November 22, 2018 at 11:58 am - Reply

    The word that best describes that flight for me Is gruelling, and when I’ve done it, I’ve said to MrMG, ‘next time I suggest a trip, just remind me how truly terrible this flight is’. Somehow we seem to make the mistake of doing it again. Ah well, first world problems, as they say. I’m lucky to be able to travel every now and then. Did you do this post on your iPad? I have been unable to work out how to do it. I hope your trip is wonderful, and I look forward to seeing the postcards.

    • Jessica November 22, 2018 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      I did use the iPad. I don’t use any apps, just log on to WP as I normally would. But I wouldn’t say it’s straightforward. A few workarounds are needed. And my complex theme doesn’t exactly assist me either. Happy to help if you have a specific problem. If I CAN help that is..
      Did you get caught up in the dust storm? We left Sydney just one day ahead! I hear flights were delayed today.

      • janesmudgeegarden November 22, 2018 at 9:52 pm - Reply

        It was dusty here, but not too bad. Nothing like the red dust that enveloped us in 2009. It’s rather cold though with a southerly gale, not at all what we expect at this time of the year. Thanks for the offer of help with the iPad, I don’t have a specific problem, and I use a laptop to post. The iPad would be useful when travelling, though.

        • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 8:11 pm - Reply

          I’m watching the Melbourne temperature with some trepidation for the next leg of our journey. At the moment it looks like we will drop 20C! I did pack some warmer clothing but there is no room left in the case. Last resort is buy more layers and then post them back to Blighty when we’re done!

  2. Mary November 22, 2018 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    Having made similar type journeys from the US to the Far East (30 hours door to door), I can definitely commiserate with you on the long haul flying experience. The older one gets, the harder it gets. Hope you have a grand time away from tile and bath work. Looking forward to your ‘postcards’ from Australia.

    • Jessica November 22, 2018 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      You’re so right, it does get harder. The jet lag seems much worse this time. But on the plus side we did get to see the 05.30 sunrise!

  3. Charles November 22, 2018 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Do you know I have not been on a plane since I left work 3 years ago. The furthest I go now is Scotland and I have to say that I love it. My two passports gather dust, my myriad air miles extinguished through indifference. Australia is a very long way to go, I have been twice and can think of no reason to return, mind you I was visiting Perth….

    Enjoy the trip, your part of Australia looks more interesting but I suspect that all that lushness comes with a mozzie quota? Hopefully it is malaria free, I cannot recall if that is an issue in that part of the world. The odd postcard would be fun. Can you link them to horticulture or building?

    We have now slipped into Winter so I expect nothing will happen now until Spring. I was so bored I took the floor boards up from the greenhouse, cleaned the glass inside and out, washed the inside down with Jeyes fluid and then put the boards back. In proper gardening news the cuttings I took in September from my step sons old roses have taken, much to my amazement. Last year it took about 40 lavender cuttings to produce 4 plants, that is my usual hit rate.

    • Jessica November 22, 2018 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      I think if I’d done as much travel as you did for work my passport would now be gathering dust as well. No malaria. Just crocs and deadly jellyfish. And power cuts, as we’ve discovered this evening. Do we open the fridge for the wine and risk losing today’s grocery shop.. or leave it and have the wine go warm? A no brainer methinks. Cheers.

  4. grammapenny November 22, 2018 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Splendid!.. I don’t think I could take those long flights, but I would love to see that part of the world. So “postcards” would be terrific

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 11:27 am - Reply

      The long flights are hard. I wish I could emerge looking fresh as a daisy as some people manage to do. Sadly I do not.

  5. pollymacleod November 22, 2018 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Oh yes please Jessica, lots of postcards. My Aussie daughter has just moved from Fremantle to Brisbane so my next trip will be the really long haul. I like flying though, I watch films, read and sleep. Your bathroom is looking lovely. I had to smile at the timing of the pee light!

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 11:30 am - Reply

      It’s always the last leg of the flight that gets me the hardest. We tend to allow a decent gap between international flights (which so often get delayed) and the domestic connection. Four hours at Sydney this time. It felt interminable.

  6. Linda from Each LIttle World November 22, 2018 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    I believe I can top Charles; I have not been on a plane for ten years. Pretty much a stay-at-home gal. After 20 years of creating the perfect interior/exterior landscape I never want to leave home anymore. Did spent two days driving out east to visit all my siblings and their children last summer. I remember the incredible imagse of your last trip so I will let you fly and I will just enjoy it all vicariously .

    • Jayne Hill November 22, 2018 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      Good for you Linda, I last flew in May 2005 and I do not ever intend to again. Until I win enough Lottery money to facilitate private jets . . . until then absolutely nothing I see or hear about modern air travel will persuade me to take to the skies again 🙂

      • Charles November 22, 2018 at 5:46 pm - Reply

        I did find a very nice client who used to hire jets to fly around Africa. It is the way to go, just make sure you have a driver at the other end. Unfortunately I once started my trip on a private jet and then had to do Joburg to London in economy. Economy is bad enough but juxtaposed with luxury it was hell. This is definitely a first world problem though!

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 11:45 am - Reply

      I’d struggle to travel in summer these days, even for a weekend. It drives Mike mad but the garden is too vulnerable given all the new planting I do each year. This summer was so untypically warm and dry, I was even watering established shrubs. It would frazzle left to its own devices.

  7. smallsunnygarden November 22, 2018 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    It’s exciting to see you are back in Australia – I so enjoyed reading about your last trip and definitely look forward to the postcards! 🙂

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 11:46 am - Reply

      Thanks Amy. Hope you’re well?

  8. Jayne Hill November 22, 2018 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Postcards would be lovely, but you must not, repeat must not, let the idea of blogging get in the way of relaxing and enjoying your holiday. Especially enjoying the fact that (probably) all the bathrooms you encounter along the way will be finished . . .

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 11:55 am - Reply

      It was a factor I considered. I shall do it while I’m enjoying it and everyone else is getting something from it. Too true about the bathrooms. I’d quite forgotten what it is like not to have to bend double to clean your teeth, as we were still having to do in the ‘temporary’ bathroom.

  9. Alison November 22, 2018 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    You’re in Australia, how exciting! I’d love to travel, but I just don’t have the nerves for it. I’ll live vicariously through you for a bit. for the time being perhaps we should call you lucky duck.

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      I do feel very lucky to be here. I fell in love with Australia when we were here two years ago and it’s lovely to be back. A mix of the familiar and the new this time around.

  10. ginaferrari November 22, 2018 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    Have a wonderful trip and I look forward to the occasional postcard!

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gina!

  11. Kris P November 22, 2018 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    I’m glad you had a chance to escape your renovation challenges for awhile! A blogging break is fine, as are postcards, but please take LOTS of photos and publish another travelogue on your trip. That may be the closest I ever get to actually visiting Australia as my husband’s issue with severe vertigo due to an inner ear disorder has sidelined our travel plans for the foreseeable future. BTW, we have an architect at work on our kitchen plan now, while we’re still awaiting clearance from the city. I’m terrified.

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 7:54 pm - Reply

      Mike has had a couple of bouts of severe vertigo so my sincere commiserations to your husband. It is a horrible thing to have. I’m already finding that photo processing is taking a lot longer on the iPad and I need to develop a system. We’ll see how it goes. But either here or back at home I’ll publish something. It’s too fascinating a country not to share.

  12. Chloris November 22, 2018 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    How exciting, have a wonderful time. Look forward to seeing the photos

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 7:58 pm - Reply

      Thanks Chloris, it’s good to be back. Quite a shock in terms of temperature change. 38C forecast over the next couple of days. I already have a huge pile of washing!

  13. germac4 November 22, 2018 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Welcome to Australia Jessica! Enjoy one of my favourite places… Far North Queensland. Look forward to some pics and stories… when you can. (WiFi is not the best in some of the more remote areas up that way) I know what you mean about long flights & losing a day along the way… crazy!

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gerrie. I love it up here. In an ideal world it would have been a lovely relaxing place to finish up the trip (crocs excepted!) but the showers are here already, rainy season is fast approaching!
      We found the most incredible wild beach scene yesterday up the Bloomfield track (Cowie Beach) which we had to ourselves apart from literally hundreds of thousands of marching soldier crabs. That memory will stay with me for a very long time.

  14. Caro November 22, 2018 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    This adventure puts a new spin on the term ‘bathroom break’. Looking forward to the postcards from sunny and warm climes. You don’t say how long your holiday is, I hope you don’t come home to snow and frost! Have a great time.

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      I have forgotten the bathroom already. It’s most therapeutic! I would dearly love to be out here all winter but sadly not. There will be plenty of frost and snow left to ‘enjoy’.

  15. Susan November 23, 2018 at 8:58 am - Reply

    Nice that you have braved that interminable journey to come back again — still quite a few air hours from Tasmania (the best bit of Australia) though, and I imagine the deep north is heating up a bit at this time of the year

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 8:17 pm - Reply

      The forecast is for a heatwave up here over the next few days (38C) but it’s plenty hot enough already.
      Watch this space though..

  16. bittster November 23, 2018 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    That last photo makes it all seem worthwhile, have an excellent trip!
    I love postcards 🙂

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks Frank. If only I could stay here all winter!

  17. snowbird November 23, 2018 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    Oh, how I loathe long-haul flights! But what a wonderful place to be! Have a lovely time, looking forward to

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      The long haul flights are dreadful, but they are worth it in the end. The flight coming home is far, far worse!

  18. aberdeen gardening November 23, 2018 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    It does sound grueling, but how very exciting. Have a fantastic time.

    • Jessica November 23, 2018 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      Thanks Alastair. It’s just like gardening.. no gain without pain!

  19. Sue C. November 23, 2018 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    Have a brilliant trip and enjoy the sunshine. I look forward to the occasional postcard blog

    • Jessica November 24, 2018 at 9:08 am - Reply

      Thanks Sue.

  20. hb November 25, 2018 at 1:29 am - Reply

    Have an absolutely wonderful time, (and please share the beauties of Australia with us through your photos)!

    • Jessica November 25, 2018 at 3:40 am - Reply

      I’ll do my best! Thanks Hoov.

  21. wherethejourneytakesme November 25, 2018 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Have a lovely holiday Jessica – look forward to your photos again – it was your last visit that has inspired me to go to Australia…one day.

    • Jessica November 25, 2018 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      It’s a wonderful country. We’ll be going to some different places this time, which will be interesting, as well as revisiting some old haunts. I’d happily live here if only they’d let me in!

  22. Peter Herpst December 6, 2018 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Oh my, that’s a long flight. Hope you enjoy your holiday!

    • Jessica December 8, 2018 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks Peter. It’s a means to an end. I can’t say I enjoy the flight.

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