While our friends back home are most likely celebrating Australia Day on the beach, soaking up the sun and celebrating everything good about the land Down Under (with sizzling barbeques and backyard swimming), on the other side of the globe there’s a bunch of Aussies flying the flag in cold and bleak London.
And not to put a damper on things, what with the city’s tall and grey buildings, miserable winter weather and sometimes equally miserable inhabitants, there really is no place like celebrating our home, at home.
But it’s not all bad. Celebrating our national day when we’re far from Oz injects a ray of Australian sunlight into an otherwise dreary city.
Arguably the greatest day on the calendar for an Aussie in London, it’s the one day throughout the year where it’s easy to get that much needed Australian pick-me-up. And not that we need an excuse but Australia Day in London wills us to get amongst a big home crowd in pubs and at parties around the city, eat meat pies to our hearts content and tuck into endless packets of Twisties and Tim Tams, all in the name of being Australian.
This day brings together all Australian expats in London where we can feel a sense of belonging, to be in the same room as strangers yet feel united with them, and most importantly, will chase away the ‘far from home’ blues.
Australia Day in London turns up Aussie slang to the max, a day where we will feel the need to yell ‘you flamin’ galah’ or ‘I’m just gunna nip down to the servo for a pie and slush puppy’ so much more than other days.
There will be more flashes of green and gold before our eyes than a Usain Bolt race; Aussie flags will be slung around shoulders as capes, and people will be wearing thongs, boardies and singlets even though the city is in the midst of winter (got to love our brute Aussie strength).
There will be Australian flag tattoos, real and fake, covering every inch of available bare skin and there will be the inflatable Aussie icons — kangaroos and crocs — out in force. We will spend the day singing and dancing to classic Aussie ballads by great Aussie artists no matter how uncool it is if you were to listen to the likes of Men At Work, John Williamson, Little River Band and Lee Kernaghan at home.
We will leave the pubs and parties later feeling on top of the world with a renewed energy to continue surviving in the UK in all its glory, including its packed public transport, impatience and lousy customer service.
It’s our great patriotic duty to demonstrate our pride by making Australia Day all it can be for everyone living so far from home. But most importantly, celebrating Australia Day when we’re miles from home is going to remind us to appreciate every little thing that much more when we eventually return back to the greatest country on Earth.