Sydney

We finally arrived in Sydney. My goodness it is built up and has building work going on. Still, I’ve parked the car and we are using the brilliant public transportation system.

Bought an Opal travel card, which covers you for trains and buses. This is a successful way of travelling around the city. You obtain the card in the newsagents, pay to put credit on ($35) and off you go. Wish we had this option at home, as it is much better than struggling with money as you embark on a journey. Ok, I know you have Oyster cards in London, but not where I live.

We arrived in the city and decided to do a walk, as mentioned in the free official Sidney Guide. Starting at the harbour we stopped to admire the bridge, which is huge, then walked towards the Opera House. Felt quite emotional when I first spotted the Opera House. It is so iconic and it’s something I’ve known about since I was tiny, and never thought I’d see it in real life.

Yes, of course copeous photography was undertaken. Wouldn’t you? I recently watched a documentary about the construction of the Opera House and it was designed by Jorn Utzon in 1957 but not completed until 1973. He won an international design competition and the work was authorised in 1958. Unfortunately, the design proved challenging with costs and scheduling overrunning and Utzon resigned from the project.

However, eventually Utzon received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2003 in recognition for his masterpiece and being one of the most iconic buildings of the 20th century. As I viewed the building and looked at the ‘shells’ which house multiple performance venues, I couldn’t help but realise, this prize was richly deserved.

Eventually, we walked to the alluring Botanic Gardens. Love wandering around these enticing parks, this part of the world enjoys, and immersing oneself in the astounding gardens. The array of colour and curious plants and trees are fascinating and disparate. Quite extraordinary to observe and admire.

Continuing on to Mrs Macuarie’s Chair, we took more photos of the harbour and continued. Rather embarrassed to admit to taking some ‘selfies’ here! Even I’ve succumbed but the views are quintessential and I couldn’t resist.

Onwards to the Art Gallery of NSW. Love going around these places and enjoyed some work by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Bacon argued the only way to portray fact or truth, is through a form of distortion.

Freud is interested about not who but how the person is. How they sprawl, sag, stare and so on. This painting seems to convey reality and soul. Personally, I like the weird, abstract and surreal stuff but it has to be artistic and not frames with a splash of paint. Paintings that contain the reality of a situation, their passion, exhaustion, happiness or distress, etc. It definitely should convey imagery and not be like a photo either. What do you like to see?

We walked past the historic Library, Parliament House, Mint and Hyde Park Barracks and walked into St Mary’s Cathedral. The cathedral looks like one you’d see in England and reminded me of home. Inside the place has an ethereal, peaceful atmosphere.

Finally, we arrived at the Hyde Park & Anzac War Memorial. The public space of the J.F. Archibald Memorial Fountain is moving and impressive.

During the evening we frequented a couple of super pubs. The first one was called Taprooms and I enjoyed a glass of Endeavour Pale Ale (4.5%).

Also, enjoyed the oldest pub in Sydney, Lord Nelson Brewery which had some English style ales available! Hubby was rather pleased.

Jolly splendid end to our day of walking and seeing lots of amazing sights.

Gardening, BBQs, beer and a funny story…

Can’t believe I’m revealing this, but think the gardening thing is coming back to me, a bit. During my younger days, the garden would be an escape. Hubby came home from work and enjoyed bathing and reading the children a bedtime story.

I used to sow seeds in the greenhouse and then plant them out in May and continue to tend the flowers, weed, prune and so on. During their teen years, I succumbed to study, because of my love of all thing literature and I guess that took over. Now they descend on us for Sunday roasts and summer bbqs and we have a fabulous time, putting the world to rights and enjoying a glass 🥃 of something…or two.

This year, I was dreading the gardening season (don’t succumb to soil activities in the winter) because it looked so overgrown. However, it has now been weeded and I somehow found the strength to mow the annoyingly long grass.

In the UK, the weather has suddenly improved. The everlasting grey clouds have been replaced by some white clouds and sun. It won’t last, but it is lovely while here. This has motivated me into a flurry of cleaning and gardening. What is surprising, is this year, I’m actually embracing the glorious weather and garden. We’ve even been to the garden centre to buy a supply of gardening acrutriments and plants. This includes copious amounts of gardening gloves, for our precious hands, garden forks and bbq tools, so the hubster doesn’t burn himself whilst turning the flaming meat over. Yes, we have a new bbq, bought by the kiddies. The previous one was disintegrating before our eyes.

Everybody visited on Sunday, for a bbq: “The weather is looking good for the weekend, so shall we try out the new bbq?” Son asks, with a cheeky smirk on his face.
I agreed, because I’m determined to enjoy, or endure, more bbqs this summer. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it rained. Luckily, we changed the time and cooked and entertained at lunch time, eat inside and then chilled out in my summerhouse. Beer was involved. Well you need to keep warm somehow, don’t you? We watched the rain pour down, but being typically British stayed huddled in the summer house.

My son-in-law, arrived during this time and after some painful deliberation, my hubby, bravely ventured out into the pouring rain, to unlock the garden gate. He arrived at the summerhouse, for some reason, declaring “You are all mad!” The summerhouse is not large. We huddled some more, I was introduced to a beer called ‘Elvis Juice’ and a funny tale (more later), the chaps then escaped and lit the chimnea. Then we huddled around that instead.

What a splendid day.

Oh, the strange tale… Apparently, the Elvis Estate, in their wisdom, decided to object to BrewDog naming the beer Elvis Juice. So, the BrewDog owners/brewers, in their wisdom, apparently, changed their names to Elvis! Well, two of the brewers (owners) did. They won their case and it is still called ELVIS JUICE and is the third best selling beer in the UK!

https://www.brewdog.com/lowdown/blog/elvis-juice-here-to-stay

The garden declutter and procrastination….

Ok, so been to California for a few weeks and had a social media break.

Spent today gardening because of the copious amount of weeds and dead flowers everywhere.  It was unbelievably hard work but quite gratifying when I finished.  Why do we procrastinate and end up with a backlog of jobs to do?

This seems to have been a problem lately, so in order to rectify this, will write a journal and plan more than I usually do.  Also, I’ve decided to ‘declutter’ my garden and not plant so much and spend more time outdoors.  Everything was being jumbled up and now I’ve cleared it all, it does look a lot better.

Yesterday, I took about 200 books to Oxfam and donated 2 guitars, a sax and amplifier to a local school.  They were delighted and I’m thrilled to have more space.  Fantastic all round.

(Saturday, 9 July)