While I was in Australia last week, Mary MacKillop was canonised as the country’s first saint. Melbourne even has a special Mary MacKillop Shop, at which you can purchase all sorts of Catholic kitsch, such as a Mary MacKillop fridge magnet, or a Mary MacKillop charm spoon, and similar items of damnable popish idolatry. So I picked up one such item, proceeded to the counter, and announced, “I’d like to buy a Mary MacKillop rubber.” Catholic gasps of horror ensued, before the woman behind the counter looked at what I was holding in my hand and, breathing a sigh of relief, said, “Oh, an eraser! That’ll be 95 cents, please.”
While in the thriving township of Ararat, Victoria, I had a play with the GPS to see if there was a Noah Street. Even better, there was a Noah’s Ark Road. As Ararat isn’t a very large town, I drove out to find it. (After all, I’ve read somewhere that fundamentalist Americans pay top dollar to go on Biblical Archaeology Package Tours to Ararat, in order to search for the remains of Noah’s boat.) It wasn’t much of a road – it was more of a farmer’s driveway, really, made only of red clay and about 5km long. And some jolly swagman had stolen the street-sign off the pole. The GPS told me I was there, though. I just checked, and Google managed to photograph the original street sign.