G'day, cobbers warm and moist greetings from down under. I'm in Australia, if you hadn't guessed, and there are two reasons for the huge gloat on my face.

First, we walloped the Wallabies in the cricket and with a wonderfully upside down logic that the convicts would appreciate, it was the batting of the tail order (arise Sir Monty Panesar) wot won it. And second, I'm supping on Tazzie's finest seafood and downing Jacob's Creek Sour Grapes 2009 courtesy of the taxpayer, ie you, gentle reader.

What am I doing here, you ask? Good question. You may think of Australia as a distant, arid scrubland whose only culture grows in the armpits of a population so chippy they smell of salt and vinegar but actually it's far worse than that. While New Zealand at least has inbreeding and Hobbits, the whole purpose of Australia seems to be as a sump for the criminal minds of former Asda execs and other retail mafiosi.

So I feel quite at home, really, or at least I did until I woke up face-down in a Hobart billabong after a night on the XXXX and remembered I was here on a fact-finding tour with a bunch of pommy retail dags. And, as El Tel was quick to point out as he gently roused me with a kick in the guts from his winkle-pickers, the fact we are here to find is: "should Tesco buy Australia (well, the retail part at least)?"

So it was out with the Leahyan tape-measure and off to Coles Supermarket, where Richard Goyder, the 'nondescript' boss, awaited us with evident pleasure and equally evident avarice. Sadly for him, not even a Scouser could be impressed by an Australian supermarket. Think of an Asda hyper, double it in size and remove the ambience and charm. Not a bad description of most Aussie cities, actually.

So it was back to the airport and it's back to the office next week for some real work. At least there's a layover in Bangkok on the way home.