In sloth-like mode, it took me over an hour and a half to get ready. But not having anything to get ready for it didn’t really matter too much. Zapped of energy and with the afternoon getting on I forced myself out to explore more of the city. After being subjected to the routine fleecing for food and coffee I ambled through the city before stumbling upon the Royal Botanic Gardens, a tropical paradise full of natural beauty with its idyllic water features, colourful plants and trees, and bizarre but engrossing wildlife. All of this with stunning views looking out over the harbour and just a short walk from the chaos of the city. It provided a peaceful sanctuary where people could escape the rigours of work and lay about idly on the pristine grass while breathing in the warm fragrant air.

Walking along I spotted a selection of strange, long beaked birds with fat bodies, supported by long thin stalk legs. Apart from reminding me of a friend who drank too much beer, it struck me how similar in character they were to pigeons, as they meandered about at the pace of a dawdling ant while munching on the smallest crumbs that were available to them. Although the strange creatures, known as Ibis birds, appeared harmless enough I didn’t much fancy getting too close to them. Unfortunately this is the problem when you come to Australia from England; you are taught to think that every bit of wildlife is a potential killer, even when it’s about as harmful as a gerbil. Still, I was taking no chances and cautiously sidestepped a menacing group of them.

A few moments later I heard some deafeningly loud screeching. I looked over to see who was being murdered. But after raising my head I spotted a load of birds, all of different colours who were darting about like spitfires from tree to tree. They seemed incredibly pissed off about something. As I got nearer I saw a few at ground level brazenly walking up to people, demanding they be given some food. At this point I realised they were none other than parrots. It was the punk style haircut that had given it away in the end.

After being tormented for years by an aggressive family parrot that would sadistically fly across the room and eyeball me having landed on my shoulder, before proceeding to peck painfully away at my face and teeth until I pleaded to be rescued, I thought it best to give them a wide birth as well and accelerated past while avoiding absolutely all eye contact. Nonetheless, it was a reminder of the incredibly exotic wildlife that inhabited the country, as opposed to the mundane seagulls and pigeons that we have to put up with back home.

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