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and suddenly we have a new Prime Minister. You can’t take your eye off this country for a minute, I tell you. Well congrats to Julia and good luck my dear. I am thrilled to have a woman for PM at last, but I worry for her sanity, her health, and her soul. Politics is even more ruthless to women than it is to men. Keep your eye on the ball, Julia, and may you find the strength to keep your integrity.

So, Paris. And how was it you ask? A bit like this:

Paris fulfilled all the clichés.

It smelled like jasmine, cigarettes and piss. The wonky old buildings with their chalky colours shone in the soft Northern sunshine. (I didn’t even need sunglasses; in Australia I would have been blinded).

The patisseries and boulangaries were every bit as good as their reputation. The coffee was bad. Parisians talk constantly, incessantly, through coffee, through lunch, through a glass of wine in the afternoon and through dinner and the French language is indeed beguiling to the ear. The Parisians are a serious and self important people, but they were also very polite and treated us very well. No rude waiters, though we struck one incompetent one.

The romantic cliché is true, too. It did feel a bit like a honeymoon, which we never had, incidentally, so better 22 years late than never!

I ate macarons, drank rosé and walked my poor feet all over the city. The first afternoon we were there, as we walked past a café, I saw a dapper young man sitting by himself at a little table with a glass of champagne. Not something you see in Melbourne, much; that’s the spirit of Paris, for me.

We had a fabulous, gorgeous time. But after two weeks, I missed home.

Coming back, we had, after many gruelling hours of travelling, finally reached the point where the plane began crossing the Australian land mass; I looked out of the window and saw a big night sky filled with stars and the Southern Cross right before me. Staying in a big city means not seeing the stars once in two weeks. I was so happy to see them again, I could have cried. I felt like Dorothy- “there’s no place like home”. And there really isn’t.

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