The Flying Wombat

My first trip to Australia was as a very excited fresh-faced 19 year old, arriving in Geelong to spend six months studying at Deakin University as part of my degree. I’d been obsessed with surfing, beaches and Neighbours for most of my life, so it made sense for me to experience Australia first-hand as soon as I possibly could.

19 year old Cazza is surprised to discover that wombats don’t have wings

Deakin University were fantastic at looking after the international and exchange students and settling us all in and within the first few days of our arrival to Australia, they packed us all onto a minibus and sent us all on a weekend camping trip to see the wonders and wildlife along the Great Ocean Road. It was so much fun, we saw koalas and kangaroos, and then on the last day, the driver stopped the bus and told us if we got off and walked for about five minutes, we would probably see some wombats. And so I walked along, staring avidly up at the sky to see if I could see any wombats. Because back then, I didn’t actually know what a wombat was, but being partway through a degree that scrutinizes language and word structure, it made complete sense to me that a wombat should be a winged creature soaring high above me and not a short legged marsupial on the ground. It came as a huge shock to discover that the heavy looking ball of fluff  shuffling through the bush away from us as fast as his short legs could carry him was a wombat.

I was kind enough to tell this story to my new Australian flatmates and they didn’t let me forget it, when it was time for me to go back to England six months later, one of them even created a CD with all my favourite songs on it entitled “music for wombats to fly to”.

During my summer of searching for the perfect blog name, I remembered this story decided that my blog should definitely be called theflyingwombat.com It was quirky, it related to Australia but could still be relevant when I came back to England, and it had a personal story to go with it. That night I went home and Googled “the flying wombat” desperately hoping that my search results would come up as empty so that I could claim it as my own.

No such luck. Firstly, a flying wombat is the nickname given to a car from 1938, but more recently and more worrying, the flying wombat is also a sexual position (go on, Google it!) And whilst I haven’t yet met anyone who has heard of, or admitted to doing the flying wombat, I thought it would be a bit dodgy to give my blog the same name as a sexual position.

I was briefly excited to discover that the collective noun for a group of wombats is a “wisdom” – pleasingly alliterative and also thought-provoking, because who knows how wise a wombat really is? But then I discovered there’s a German theatre group called wisdomofwombats and so it was back to the drawing board.

If I couldn’t be a flying wombat and I couldn’t be a wise wombat, what other sort of wombat could I be? A Cartwheeling Wombat? After all most 36 year olds probably don’t do a cartwheel every time they go to the beach, so that is a quirk that is fairly unique to me. In the end I eradicated the wombats in favour of finding something alliterative and so along came Cartwheels in Cazmania. Whilst on Twitter it’s CazzaCartwheels because you can’t have a name longer than 15 characters.

After all it’s probably much healthier and wholesome to be doing a cartwheel every time I go to the beach rather than a flying wombat!

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