By Peg Prendeville

News from down under

Good Day from Darwin, where it is 34 degrees with a fresh breeze. We are 8.5 hours ahead of Irish time. When we landed in Darwin on Sunday afternoon after 24 hours flying it was like putting ones head in an oven! Luckily all houses are air conditioned. On first impressions this seems a lovely city, much more modern than I had expected. The city had been destroyed during WW2 and has been built up since. It was destroyed once again in the 70’s by a huge cyclone so a lot of it was rebuilt again. It is very spacious with wide roads and lots of greenery.

We are holidaying with our son Sean and fiancée Bernie. It is a marvelous experience and we are lucky to be healthy enough to be able to do this trip without any hassle. They say that travel broadens the mind so I am using this as a learning experience in lots of way. We are getting knacky at travelling through airports at quick speed to connect flights, scanning passports, changing monies and getting used to many foreign accents both on the planes and on the ground.

We went to Mass in Darwin Cathedral at 7pm on Sunday. All the doors, and there were many, were left open. Two huge fans hung from the ceiling to keep the air cool but it was still so warm inside. A scattered crowd of various nationalities including many families attended. There was a lot of lay involvement and singing. But the priest went on too long and I feel he lost the attention of the congregation very quickly. He was speaking about vocations to the priesthood but I felt he was a bit too “preachy”. He would not go down well at home anyway.

On waking in the mornings it is strange but lovely to hear the different bird songs outside the window. The house is situated on the outskirts of the city with lots of trees around. As it is winter season here all the leaves have fallen and are like dried crisps around the footpaths. I can’t imagine how hot the summer gets. Sean tells me there are two seasons, one wet and one dry. The wet season is just over and it was the third wettest wet season on record. Even though it is winter we are now in the dry season and do not expect rain for a long time. Not while we are here anyway. It is such a delight to be able to eat outside at 7 pm, having had a dip in the pool beforehand and find it is still nice and warm. I wonder how any of our young people would ever want to leave and go back to Ireland. I am not sure I want to go back myself!

By the way, for those of you at home, please try and go to see Pauline Sharp’s Art exhibition in Newcastlewest library at the moment. It is worth the visit.