Archive for July, 2007

When your suburb becomes a slum

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

This is the scene in our street for four weeks every year:

Junk in street

Do I live in a slum? No! This is how you get rid of your junk here in Australia!

In the UK, the councils have a sensible system whereby you ring them up and arrange a day for them to collect all your junk. You put the junk outside your house the night before, and the next morning, it’s gone. Easy, simple, and low-impact.

In Australia, they have a rather different approach: The junk of everyone in the street gets collected on the same day. Twice a year.

This causes two problems:

  1. Your street looks like a council rubbish tip for two weeks before each collection.
  2. Some morons always take the piss and start putting their junk out two months early. Or, even, whenever they feel like it throughout the year. Of course, they can get away with it by saying, “mate I thought it was the council clean-up next week!” (Unsurprisingly, this ruse doesn’t work in the UK.)

It’s insane. Sort it out, Aussie councils!

(Actually, there is one good side-effect of the Aussie way of junk collection: it gives other folks a chance to grab other people’s junk before it gets taken away. It’s an efficient way to recycle your stuff, I guess…)

Wind and dust

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

Wind and dustOne thing I will say about Sydney – it’s windy, and it’s dusty. OK, that’s two things.

There’s this wind that kicks in around mid-afternoon every other day, which is quite nice when it’s 40 degrees C, but not so pleasant in the middle of winter. We also get a lot of gale-force storms here (partly because we live on the coast, I think). Trees blow over a lot; the power goes off quite a bit.

Then there’s the dust. We noticed this when we first moved to Australia and lived in Pyrmont. Everything gets a coating of greyish dust within a couple of weeks. It’s not the legendary red dust of the Outback referred to in The Thorn Birds; just this kind of dull, grey dust. We get it here on the Northern Beaches too. Maybe it’s down to the prodigious amount of construction work going on all around us – who knows.

Mmm… just had a proper Sunday lunch and a nice glass (or two) of red. I’m off for a snooze.

Sydney public transport is great!

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

Public transport logosThis may surprise many people who live in Sydney, but your public transport system is actually really good. Compared to the UK, that is.

I’ve often heard Sydneysiders moan about packed buses, delayed trains, price increases, and so on. You know nothing. Try living in England for a year, then let’s see if you still want to moan about Sydney.

Let the train take the strain

A one-way train ticket from Sydney to the Blue Mountains – a 2-hour journey of nearly 100km – costs $11.60. A one-way train ticket from London Paddington to Reading – a 25-minute journey (assuming the train doesn’t break down) of around 40km – costs GBP 12.90, or around $32.00. (That’s the cheapest possible fare – if you travel during peak time, it’s GBP 15.60, or $39.00.) So you can stop complaining about high Sydney ticket prices.

You think Sydney trains are unreliable? Commuting to London, it would be unusual if the train wasn’t seriously delayed at least once in any given week. I’ve sat in stationary English trains for two hours, waiting for them to get moving again. (more…)