By Hannah Silverman
There’s something familiarly Australian about a bloke pushing his mate in a trolley down the middle of the road. Funnily enough, on this occasion it was a popular high street and the red double decker buses they carelessly crashed into were less than impressed, if not surprisingly patient.
Then again, this was Australia Day in the UK.
Hoards of Aussies poured in and out of The Elk, a festively decorated pub in Fulham framed by a festive excess of green and yellow balloons. They were of various stages of inebriation, obviously.
As for the larakins fooling around on the street, well they were scantily clad and wearing little more than a permanent texta signed t-shirt and a pair of beer-stained jeans. If it wasn’t for the freezing temperatures and the 6pm darkness, you’d think they were on the Gold Coast. I’d say our trolley mates, who also impersonated boxing kangaroos down a non-existent median strip, were probably among the less sober. Maybe.
Meanwhile inside The Elk, Triple J’s Hottest 100 blared over loud speakers and 2.95 pound mojitos enticed the primarily Australian passport-holding crowd to drink up. (Like Aussies need an excuse).
Most publicans dressed in superhero capes bearing the Aussie flag, while others stamped their faces with temporary tattoos. One woman apparently lost a bet and had smeared vegemite across her cheeks. Everyone was in high spirits, or on high spirits, or both, but in any case, there was some obvious fun being had.
A BBQ sizzles outside as a homely smell of charred meat wafts through the back of the bar and the rain falls gently in the beer garden. Of course inside is lovely and warm with coats splashed across pleather booths, but it’s almost easy to momentarily forget where we are.
Aussie Day in London was a chance for a group of expats and tourists to come together and celebrate the brazen culture of their beloved sun burnt country. Perhaps for many it was a way to scrape off any festering home sickness or for the more settled among us, a chance to celebrate a connection to home. Tomorrow we’d be back on the Pimms, but today it was all about Fosters and mojitos. And for most, shots. Lots. Of. Shots.
It’s an interesting change to celebrate a holiday in the UK that Australians would typically enjoy in a singlet under the scorching sun. But above all it’s a new experience for many and a reminder that, yes, we’re definitely not in ‘Stralya anymore, no matter how many shrimps are on the barbie.