So last night we headed for the Sun Theatre in Yarraville to see Mark Watson reading some passages from his new book, parts of which happen to be set in Melbourne. One of the many things he spoke about was his affection for this city and his plans one day to move over here. In answer to some further probing on the specifics of his migration plans during the audience Q&A (I think he was expecting questions about his book, but he seemed happy to answer it anyway…) he revealed that apparently there is a branch of the highly skilled migrant visa program through which comedians can get in to the country (and also that he knows all the words to Waltzing Matilda and has already picked an AFL team, which will probably do). I wonder if he’ll ever make it here permanently and whether it will live up to his high expectations when he does.

I took another big step in my own conversion this morning when I went to my appointment at VicRoads to swap that funny pink UK driving licence I have for the Aussie equivalent. The slightly inconsistent rules here state that you can drive for as long as you like on your overseas licence if you’re a temporary resident, but as soon as you become a permanent resident you have six months to swap your licence for the local equivalent. With that deadline about to expire at the end of this month it was time to take the plunge.

Luckily the UK sits on a short list of countries exempt from licence tests so the swap was nothing more than a bit of paperwork and identity verification. It took me long enough to pass my test in the UK in the first place, I couldn’t even begin to imagine the horror of having to do it all again (especially after two years of living here driving around in an automatic / forgetting how to drive a proper car / picking up all sorts of bad habits…)

Perhaps the only negative part of the whole process would be the fact that there is now a photo of me somewhere in the VicRoads computer system, which I have not yet seen but I will be carrying around with me for the next ten years. I don’t even want to think about how old I will be when this licence expires, so let’s hope it’s a good ‘un.

Still, add that to permanent residency and cross it off the list. Next stop citizenship. 2012.