One of these days, I need to consolidate all these odd news items I post about Australia from time to time under its very own tag. It would take me half a second but I think I suspect that each odd tale would be my last. Then there is another like this one:
Beer has become what Innisfail publican Andrew Ghietti terms ''the emotional currency'' of north Queensland. Laconic Queenslanders surveying the devastation, tinnie in hand, are among the lasting images of cyclone Yasi. Takeaway sales at pubs in the cyclone-affected area are up 25 per cent since Yasi hit, as locals swap stories, commiserate and show their gratitude to mates for help over a quiet beer or two at the end of the day. ''All the pubs have been doing good trade post the cyclone,'' said Mr Ghietti, who runs the Imperial Tavern. ''After the event you've got to have a beer to help unwind and debrief … There's a sense of relieving hardship. It's a reward after a gruelling day to sit down with your neighbours and have a beer.''
We Canadians are cousins to those down under and it is a bit like a case of twins separated by birth. Every time I see a Hunter Valley wine I think of chilly Hunter River in eastern Canada's province of PEI where the forefathers of the wine growers or their cousins stopped off briefly on their way to make a better go. Yet there is such a difference in attitude. Not that they would would like a beer any more than a Canuck. But I don't think that we would turn a story about a 48% surcharge on freight into a disaster struck area into a ode to canned beer, manliness and hardship. It's quite extraordinary.
OK, I made the category.