I had heard a lot about Australia’s tight entry procedures and had made sure that I had carefully completed my entry card. Reason for visit? I ticked the ‘conference box’. The list of things I was bringing into the country included medicines, so another tick. I passed by people standing in line for the nothing to declare exit gate as I was courteously directed to the Arrivals gate. It might have been coincidence, but Brisbane is due to hold the G20 conference and it might have been assumed that this was the conference that I was attending, arriving early as a sort of ‘Agent 006 1/2’ security officer.
In any event, I sailed through and was met by Ruth Higgins holding up a sign with my surname, spelled correctly. Her husband John was on chauffeur’s duty in the car outside. It was still dark – or rather dark again. Tuesday 30 September became a ‘lost day’ and although I had not done anything but sit in an airplane seat, I was glad to be shown my bed and to keep up my reputation as the Martini Sleeper – Anytime, Anywhere, Any Place.
As previous pages confirm, postings in The Cactus Trip Diaries are usually about adventures in the field. They serve as my notes to prepare the annual ‘What I Saw Last Winter’ presentations with which I tour the UK during the following summer. Readers might assume that like a latter day Indiana Jones my life is one big (cactus) adventure after another. Well, that would be fine by me, but the adventures extend further than ‘just’ driving around in the sun in some exotic country taking pictures of my prickly friends.
I’ve often thought about adding an entry for each talk, or at least for the talks that are strung together into a short tour, or at least to report from the annual Europese Landen Konferentie (ELK) event in Blankenberge in Belgium.
An invitation from the organisers of Succulenticon 2014, the twenty third Conference of the Australasian Cactus & Succulent Societies, this year hosted by the Cactus & Succulent Society of Queensland Inc to speak at the event provided the excuse for my first ever visit to Australia. Great, the perfect excuse for some brief reports of what we did with some images to illustrate the stories.
Today started around 8:00 at my sister Margot’s home in Whitton, a 15 minutes taxi ride through the London rush hour traffic to Heathrow’s Terminal 2 where the beautiful hostesses of Singapore Airways were to pamper me on the 13:30 hr flight to Singapore from where are a brief break to stretch my legs, I was off again for my 7:00 hr flight to Brisbane.
London Heathrow T2