Last week I asked if there were any good words starting with 'F' because I wanted to change the name of my Friday posts from 'Flaunt It Friday' to something more appropriate. Well, the overwhelming silence on your part has meant I've had to go and get down my own Dictionary and check it out myself. Thank you for that! There are lots of good words starting with 'F' as it turns out. So from now on my Friday posts will be tagged with the label 'Friday' and each one will have its own excellent 'F' word as a descriptive, starting today with:
Do you know Simon? Simon first attracted my attention with his blog title Paper Curious ~ I love it! I makes me giggle every time. He blogs about bookbinding and paper making and if you are curious, he makes some really interesting stuff, including little bank note books and shredded bank not paper. So clever! I know how clever he is because he generously sent me a little book and some paper. That's the good news.
The bad news is that my parcel was opened by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and three of the pieces of paper Simon sent were 'ordered into quarantine' (ie confiscated) for having plant material in them. When my parcel arrived it contained a letter from the AQIS, some forms and a brochure. It seems I have 3 possible courses of action a) pay $42.50 to have the papers irradiated (there is a warning that this may cause damage), b) pay $42.50 to have the pages returned to Simon and c) pay nothing and they will be destroyed after 30 days.
All this has brought our uniquely Australian 'problem' into my mind again, so I thought I'd remind you too. We need to think about this more now that our community is ever more global every day and the handmade revolution has us buying and sending goodies all over the place.
What can't be mailed to Australia? is the title of the brochure they sent and inside it has a long list including: meat and meat products, dairy, eggs and egg products, fruit and vegetables, plants and soil, seeds and nuts, plant material, live animals and animal products and laboratory material. It is the plant material section that got my paper 'removed'. It states you can't send these things to Australia: tea containing seeds, fruit skin and fruit pieces, remedies and medicines containing herbs, seeds, bark, fungi and dried plant material, dried flower arrangements and potpourri, dried herbs or leaves, handicrafts -including wreaths and Christmas decorations- containing seeds, raw nuts, corn, pine cones, grapevines, bark, moss, straw or other plant material, wooden items with bark or signs of insects present. I've looked longingly at many items on Etsy that would have been confiscated on arrival if I had bought them. It is something we need to think of before we buy.
But we also need to be careful when we buy things that do comply with the AQIS because how they are packed can also lead to problems. The brochure advises people mailing items to Australia to:
- Fill out the declaration label clearly and correctly. Make sure you itemise everything inside the package, including any packaging materials you've used.
- Do not pack items in egg cartons, wooden boxes or cardboard boxes that have been used to hold fruit, vegetables or meat/smallgoods
- Do not pack with straw or dried plant material. Use newspaper or foam to wrap fragile goods.
- New Year - ornaments made with straw, seeds and conifer sprigs
- Valentines Day - fresh and dried flowers
- St Patricks Day - shamrock plants and seeds
- Easter - hardboiled eggs, painted eggshells and straw or hay
- Chinese Moon festival - mooncakes containing egg yolks or meat
- Spring - seeds and bulbs (northern and southern hemisphere)
- Sukkot - etrog, branches of palm, myrtle or willow
- Halloween - pumpkins, corn husk dolls
- Christmas - decorations containing pine cones, vine wreaths, spruce; hampers containing prohibited foods
Simon has taken the fate of his handmade paper well. I explained to him that because Australia is an island nation there are many pests and diseases common elsewhere that haven't reached our shores and we are determined (obviously) to keep it that way. His response was gold!
That's a shame. Something I'll have to bear in mind in the future. Don't worry, they're certainly not worth 43 bucks. Let them destroy them. Quite funny in a way, me producing items that could potentially bring down a whole continent!!!!
And if that wasn't enough the whole issue brings me to worry about the Community Sketchbook book I made Something of Value which I only just finished and blogged about last week. I'm kicking myself now because I did something I don't usually do and included some handmade paper in it that does contain plant matter. I know it is not a problem as I can send that to the US which is its next stop, but it probably means the book can not return to Australia (because how can they tell that it originated here?) and what if it comes up against the quarantine laws of other similar countries on its journey? I think I have only one option and that is to pull it apart, remove the offending paper and rebind it again. Now that is a shame too.