Family ties apart, it was almost refreshing to be climbing aboard the big bird for Oz. When you're travelling constantly you tend to miss out on the UK news, or at least grab it in snatches. But when you're in the UK for five months consecutively it just serves to confirm, without doubt, that the loonies really are taking over the asylum.
When you've read about the 10th case of someone being awarded thousands because he's been called 'a Nancy Boy' at work, or the pensioner threatened with jail because he's had the temerity to barrow back onto the beach the sand blown into his garden, you really do start looking forward to heading somewhere more sensible.
But guess what? The Aussies are catching on. A burglar in New South Wales broke in through a garage adjoining a large house only to have the door close behind him and the roller mechanism jam. Finding there was no door into the house, he was trapped. He was there 20 days until the owner and his family returned from an extended holiday. And get this, he succeeded with a compensatory action for the suffering of undue stress and malnutrition! You'd swear you were still in Blighty...
The Albert Park circuit in Melbourne © LAT
Albert Park has its political issues too. It wouldn't be the Australian Grand Prix if you could arrive in Victoria without people chaining themselves to fences to save the saplings, or the lesser-spotted bullfrog that might get squashed if it hops out of the park lake at an inopportune moment.