By the time I'd left Blighty, I'd picked up more commendations for my 'bravery' than the average World War I Tommy. And it was true that I'd given up quite a lot and was getting very little in return. Four weeks in, and the expenses were increasing, it was still cold, and away from the sea, everywhere resembled a run-down Midland town, albeit with trees lined with an incongrous combination of fir and palm trees. Our luggage wouldn't arrive for weeks, and I was also getting rather perturbed at having to recycle the same suitcase of clothes. When in London I could always tell an Italian or Frenchman from their attire. Now that I was abroad I could kid myself that even though I only had 4 suits and one pair of work shoes, I was the most stylish guy in town.
At least the kids were settling in. Having overcome all of their protestations about a severely curtailed summer holiday, we had started them at school. One of the great things about children is that they are so adaptable. We had banked on two things with the school. First of all, it would be great and so un-London to have them all under the same roof. Next, their Englishness would guarantee them instant popularity. And I was right on both counts - just. When the teacher asked his class how many Golds Australia had won at the Olympics, my eldest, A, aglow in the gilded light of the Brits' recent success, duly raised his hand and said 'Two'. But even such setbacks couldn't deter their inexorable rise to the top. Not only were they all very happy, but they all looked very smart. In fact, as smart as Pom office worker in his new-found Paradise.