Category Archives: Photography

Weekend Coffee Share – 5th February, 2023.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

How are you and how was your week?

Before you answer, how about you pull up a chair and I’ll wait on you hand and foot delivering up your choice of tea, coffee or Bonox. We can also get stuck into a packet of scrumptious Tim Tams. I know I’m not always the greatest host, and I’ve repeatedly nattered away without even asking how you’re going. So please make the most of the new me while it lasts.

The big development here this week is that our daughter, the inimitable Miss, went back to school on Wednesday going into Year 12, which is her final year at school. The start of the new school year is always a jolt. Holiday’s over. Time to face the music and get back to the real world. Or, at the very least, ensure she has a clean uniform and doesn’t run late on the first day. I ticked both of those boxes and much to my delight, she also agreed to have her photo taken before we took off. Could I be so lucky?!!

Returning to school, also means a return to dance.

I have to admit, I’m really looking forward to her getting her driver’s licence so I can hang up my taxi driver’s hat and stay glued on the couch.

Our son, JP, is still in holiday mode and having a trial run on a sound engineering job next Saturday night. We will be driving him to and from which means we’ll be picking him up from Wyong an hour away at 1.00am. So we’re really excited about him getting his driver’s licence too.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working flat out posting photos and accompanying stories from my three week stint house minding at Cremorne Point on Sydney Harbour. it’s taking a lot long than expected as I really jampacked a lot into some days and I’m doing multiple posts for these days. I am starting to wonder if I’ll ever get to the end. If you’d like to check out these posts, you can just scroll backwards from here.

While there are no doubt sports enthusiasts among you, I ended up watching an international ballet competition called the Prix de Lausanne through the week. Although Miss has been doing ballet for years, I’d never heard of the Prix de Lausanne, but my friend’s son was competing and I found myself rather enjoying and intrigued by the live stream. I don’t pretend to understand much about ballet, but I try. What I found interesting about this competition, is they also have classes and these are livestreamed so it allows dancers and teachers all around the world to tap into and absorb this expert advice and apply it to themselves. I was also delighted that another Australian dancer, Emily Sprout was competing and she did extremely well and was awarded a prize. Congratulations Emily! You can see her classical solo here if you’re interested.

Well that’s about it. So, now it’s over to you.

How are you?

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share, which is hosted by Natalie the Explorer.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Reflections of Sydney Harbour- The Overseas Passenger Terminal.

My goodness! I could fall down on my hands and knees and thank all the architects or whoever it was who incorporated reflective surfaces into their structures! Have you ever noticed how they can produce such intriguing and captivating combinations of images just begging to be photographed? Of course, it helps when you have such stunning fodder as Sydney’s Opera House and Harbour Bridge. If by chance you also get the weather gods supplying perfect or intriguing light, don’t bother buying yourself a lottery ticket. You’ve already cashed in all of your good luck.

A curious photographer chasing reflections in the glass.

To be honest, I don’t recall truly exploring Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal. I’ve never been on a cruise or seen someone off there, although I have seen the massive cruise ships which I guess are anchored there the largest being Ovation of the Seas. So it was something new to check out and you know me, I was only looking at it through the lens and that was keeping me busy enough. BTW as I’ve mentioned before, I tend to zoom into the details of a building and forget to photograph the whole and as annoying as it is, I took no photos of the Overseas Passenger Terminal as a whole. Of course, I wasn’t thinking about writing a post about it once I arrived home. No I was too caught up in reflections.

Anyway, I thought I’d better provide a map showing the location of the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Sydney Cove just around from Circular Quay.

Reflection Ferry Passing the Sydney Opera House

What attracted me to the Overseas Passenger Terminal was all the industrial equipment and other details. While Sydney Harbour has all it’s postcard glam, it’s also a working port and these striking industrial elements framed the Opera House well offering a fresh perspective. No doubt I’m not the first person photographing it from this angle. Indeed, there were even a few photographers lugging around tripods while I was there. However, my eye is my eye and who is to say that we’re seeing and photographing the same thing even if we were standing side-by-side?! Besides, one or both of us could screw up the shot, although at least in this digital era you can check before you leave and just keep snapping away until it works if need be.

Last but not least, photography from the Overseas Passenger Terminal isn’t just about reflections in the glass, but also some stellar up-close views of some of Sydney’s most iconic sights.

The Southern Swan and the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney’s Most Famous Face – Luna Park.

At the time I took these photographs, I was incredibly excited, especially with the quirky reflections I’d captured, but I’m intending to head back and see what else is possible, especially exploring the timing of the light.

Have you been doing much photography lately and what have you stumbled across?

Best wishes,

Rowena

A Walk Down George Street, Tallawoladah (The Rocks), Sydney.

After catching the ferry from Cremorne Point and the Museum of Contemporary Art closed, I headed for George Street, Tallawoladah (The Rocks), which is a short walk from Circular Quay. By the way, Tallawoladah was the name the original Cadigal people gave to the area Europeans have called The Rocks and it’s original name now appears prominently on signage which is good to see. About time, you could say. It wasn’t that long ago there was hardly a sign of Aboriginal Australia in the city. This is very different to how the Maori people are honoured and acknowledged in New Zealand, by the way, and something which seriously needed to change.

Thankfully my photographs are in order so I have some capacity to retrace my footsteps along George Street. Otherwise I’d have no idea what order everything slotted into and I’d probably have you jumping all over the place to keep up with my poor directions.

Selfie on George Street, The Rocks

I didn’t get far, because just across the road from the Museum of Contemporary Art, my eager eye spotted the Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe across the road and I was in and I’ll never forget that indulgent slice of lusciously gorgeous chocolate mud cake. OMG!!!! it was superlatively good… silky smooth and so indulgent!! I sat outside and slowly imbibed it while sipping my cappuccino. I rarely drink coffee often these days so it gives you an idea just how special this moment was! There I was in Sydney, with a luscious slice of chocolate mud cake and a cappuccino after three years of serious deprivation. I might’ve been sitting down but inside I was swinging from the rafters. Yippee!! Life was superlatively good.

The Guylian Cafe is across the road from the famous Orient Hotel, which was originally built as a butcher shop in 1844. It’s been a famous pub for longer than I’ve existed. By this stage, it must’ve been around 6.00pm and it was literally buzzing with the after work crowd in full flight. Strangely perhaps, this was yet another moment I became acutely aware of the weirdness of our isolated lockdown world and my own enhanced isolation. I’ve barely been in a crowd for the last three years and there was a cacophony of voices across the road which sounded like threes full of Rainbow Lorikeets we get around here. To be very honest, it almost sounded like “blah, blah, blah!”

I kept walking.

Squidinky

Next stop was was Squidinky and much to my horror it was closed. OMG! To find something which mirrored my own personal quirkiness so precisely was like electricity to my heart and soul and for it to be closed…Oh woe is me! However, that said, I jumped on the computer when I got home and spent several hours perusing their website and there would be no doubt where I’d be heading the next morning…back to Squidinky along with the Museum of Contemporary Art.

As it turned out when I returned Max Mendez, the artist, was in. Oh be still my beating heart! My daughter would’ve been embarrassed if she’d seen me there because I’m always so effusive when I love something and I was literally salivating like a rabid dog. But as Kermit once said: “it’s not being green”, being different. Yet, at the same time, there’s such a refreshing beauty in it too which can take awhile to appreciate, especially in ourselves. After spewing out rapturous praise, Max said I lit up the room with my enthusiasm. Good to see someone appreciates me. BTW I found something very, very special at Squidinky…his Cockatutu range.

As a dance mum and well let’s just say someone who has done a few adult ballet classes even if I wasn’t star material, I absolutely loved it. Bought three plates and could’ve easily bought ten more and gave two to her ballet teachers as a thank you for Miss’s recent audition tape. I also recommend checking out Mark’s blog and seeing his lockdown project illustrating Sydney landmarks here.

By the way, I did think of getting a photo of Mark, and even of the two of us together, especially for the blog. He was so friendly that there’s no doubt he would’ve obliged but I was shy. Didn’t ask, which was very out of character, but perhaps I was too busy enjoyed the moment.

I kept walking.

After all these years of covid, lockdowns and insanity, it was good to be back at The Rocks again. I used to go to The Rocks as a child with mum and my brother and we’d go to Pancakes at The Rocks, which had the thick American style pancakes with maple syrup and whipped butter instead of our usual lemon and sugar or jam. Geoff went to The Rocks for a his sister’s pre-wedding dinner at the famous Spaghetti Factory. His mother initially was rather unimpressed. Coming from regional Tasmania, as far as she knew, spaghetti came from a tin and was hardly something special. My cousin was married at the famous Garrison Church but I didn’t make it there. It was up a hill and with my dodgy breathing, I was sticking to the flat.

Clearly, it was good to be back. Now that we’ve reached the Overseas Passenger Terminal, we’re going to hit pause and I’ll be back soon.

Have you been to Tallawoladah (The Rocks) and do you have any stories to share?

I look forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

Rowena

Visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Being only a hop, step and a jump away from Circular Quay, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) was an obvious destination.

A fake front door with no opening as the museum was shut.

However, I was having a lot of trouble trying to navigate my way around the door display at the entrance and try though I may, I couldn’t work out how to get in and felt like an idiot. Well, you could only imagine how I was feeling when I found out it was already 5.30pm and the MCA was shut. Thank goodness they didn’t think I was trying to break in and called the police! Mind you, daylight Savings does that to you, giving you a false sense that everything’s still open and swinging from the rafters because it still looks like midday until about an hour before sunset at 8.00pm.

Anyway, I returned the next day and had a bit of a fossick around through the free sections.

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As soon as you walk in, Vincent Namatjira’s larger than life mural P.P.F (Past-Present-Future) slaps you straight in the face. Vincent Namatjira OAM is an Aboriginal Australian artist living in Indulkana, in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara in South Australia. He has won many art awards, and after being nominated for Australia’s famed Archibald Prize several times, he became the first Aboriginal person to win it in 2020 In P.P.F. (Past-Present-Future), he has assembled seven figures significant to his life and practice in a large-scale ‘heroes narrative’. The work is semi-autobiographical – the artist states that each of the men represented on the wall have inspired him, and remind him of who he is. Read more here.

A panel from Julia Gutman’s work: Isn’t it all just a long conversation?

Personally, I was particularly encouraged by textilist, Julia Gutman, whose work: Isn’t it all just a long conversation? appeared in the Primavera Young Artist Exhibition 2022. Julia Gutman. I always seem to think of art as painting and trying to get things out in paint and getting them to look how I’d like is tough, but this work was a reminder that there are other ways to make a picture. Moreover, I’ve always loved collage and this is collage using fabric. The only downside is potentially having to wrestle with the sewing machine. Being mechanical and me having no mechanical empathy, the sewing machine and I have clashed in the past. Then again, there’s always hand-stitching and I’ve had a bit of practice on that front sewing ballet pointe shoes.

While the art is naturally why you visit the MCA, the building itself is very impressive and I wish I’d taken a photo of its entirety to share with you. However in my typical fashion, I have zoomed in and focused on aspects of the building and once again omitted the whole.

View of Circular Quay through the front glass doors of the MCA .

Of course, I managed to get a few door shots for Thursday Doors and these folks don’t care if the rest of the building is missing. It’s all about priorities.

Have you been to the Museum of Contemporary Art? Any thoughts? Perhaps, you might like to comment on the doors.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Catching the Ferry: Cremorne Point to Circular Quay.

Forgive me ferries! It’s been years since my last ferry ride, but trust me! I’m seriously about to make up for lost time. Circular Quay here I come now I’m covid free and out of isolation!

Not being an early bird and being on the mend, I didn’t get to the wharf until halfway through the afternoon. At least, I got moving before sunset!

Covid free, I couldn’t wait to catch a ferry and started out with a trip from Cremorne Point to Circular Quay (ferry central) and walked around to The Rocks.

Ferries are fantastic! I love just watching ferries, let alone actually being on board with my hair flying in the wind and just taking in all the incredible sights of Sydney Harbour. I felt like a little kid again almost bursting with joy. Do you know what I mean?

Carnival Cruise’s Spendor dwarfs the Southern Swan (left) and Sydney ferry , Sirius. Indeed, Geoff pointed out that the Splendor’s passenger capacity of 3012 is double the population of his town growing up. Then, there’s also 1150 crew on board.

Moreover, there are also surprises and the unexpected on Sydney Harbour. Today, I was intrigued to pot a tall ship out there. The identity of this ship generated a bit of debate. Initially Mr thought it had to be the Young Endeavour, which had sailed on almost a year ago as a “youthie”. However, the Young Endeavour had two masts and this ship had three. The next suggestion was the James Craig, but it’s a bigger ship. This all took us off the the great know-it-all of the modern age, Google, and it turned out to be the Southern Swan. I kept spotting the Southern Swan as I jaunted around the harbour, my new best friend.

Well. I’m only covering the trip to Circular Quay as I have further adventures to share and the trip home after dark deserves a post of its own.

Above: Ferry parking lot, Circular Quay.

Please stay tuned as we head over to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in my next post.

Best wishes,

Rowena

A Photographer’s Dream

I was so excited to spot this panorama of reflections, and felt it deserved it’s own post. Even an amateur, intermittent photographer like me always has to keep their eyes peeled and their camera at hand. You never know what you’re going to see and as much as it might be about capturing what you see, you also need the vision to peer beyond the surface and skill to do it well. I’m still not convinced that you can do al of this with your phone but our daughter has the latest iPhone and it does a great job and is so much better than lugging my bulky Nikon SLR around.

Have you taken any remarkable photos lately. Please feel encouraged to leave a link in the comments.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Photographing the Sunset Sydney Harbour

Continuing my explorations of Sydney while house minding in Cremorne Point, I drove down to Cremorne Point Wharf the night I was cleared from Covid isolation, and could barely contain my joy. The approaching sunset was out of the world and ever so photogenic. While the harbour was dotted with sunset watchers who might’ve been sharing a bottle of wine of picnic, I was far from relaxed…a photographer on a mission for that elusive perfect shot. I was on the hunt.

Centre stage, of course, was the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I might be Sydney born and bred, but I never get bored of the bridge. It is beyond magnificent and it has this omnipresence in Sydney. Almost anywhere you go, you catch a glimpse or a oblique perspective of it somewhere although possibly not from a postcard perspective. Indeed, it makes a perfect exercise in how something can appear remarkably different from alternative perspectives.

Selfie with Harbour Bridge fragment

Photographing sunsets seems easy and such a gift to any photographer. How could you go wrong? With diminishing light, the chances of blur increase and ideally you would have a tripod, which I didn’t because I operate on spontaneity and lugging tripods around really weighs you down. So there I was awestruck by such awesome splendour and yet having to hold my breath and hold the camera dead still to prevent that nasty of nasties camera shake.

Yet, I’m pleased with the results and I really did enjoy the sunset spectacular and gaining a deeper appreciation of the Sydney skyline, which has changed quite a lot since I was doing more of the sunset cityscapes about 20 years ago (pre marriage and kids).

Ferry Charlotte departing Cremorne Point Wharf

I hope seeing these photos gives you a sense of being there in person yourself. Despite my agitation to create impeccably beautiful photographs, I managed to appreciate the serenity and unwind.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Driving to Balmoral Beach, Sydney.

After arriving at Cremorne Point the night before, I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to explore my new universe. With all of Sydney at my feet, where would I begin?

A good question and I decided to start out in familiar territory and head off to Balmoral Beach a few minutes drive away. Proximity wasn’t my only consideration. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was also very close by and I had no intention of driving across that on my first day Sydney or risk ending up there by mistake which is easily done in these parts.

I haven’t driven in Sydney for three years. So, there was a part of me who was rather intimidated and wanted to keep the car in the garage, but the other half was fortunately much more of an intrepid “never-say-never” adventurer. These two conflicting halves were arguing most of the way to Balmoral, especially when we didn’t quite get there by the intended route but both were happy in the end.

Of course, at this stage, I couldn’t even remember how I’d found my way to Cremorne Point, let alone how to find my way out and off to Balmoral. Any normal person who is directionally deficient like me would have satnav to guide their path. However, I’ve resisted all of that because I didn’t want to lose the meagre navigational skills I do have and become dependent on a device. After all, as we all know….use it or lose it!

Dramatic clouds threaten rain at The Spit.

However, I’m not opposed to using maps, and am very grateful for having Apple maps on my phone. Moreover, by the end of my stay in Cremorne Point, I’d changed my mind about getting navigational assistance and have now become a mad raving fan of Siri and rather than limiting my scope, she’s actually expanded my horizons and boosted my confidence. I can get there now.

Meanwhile, I still need to get to Balmoral and in my typical fashion, I ended up taking the road less travelled.

Now, to put you in the picture.

Here’s the recommended route to Balmoral from Cremorne Point:

Meanwhile, this is the route I took via The Spit, which took me halfway to Manly:

Mind you, this time I wasn’t lost. Rather, I was propelled ever onward down the hill by a series of pesky No Right Turn Signs eventually arriving at Middle Harbour Sailing Club on The Spit and needing to turn around.

I wasn’t disappointed.

The Spit, Middle Harbour

Being a sailing family, it was interesting to check out and photograph the fleet.

To exit, I had to make another detour and turn left into Parriwi Road where my friend used to have a flat back in the day, but I can’t remember going there, or ever seeing the breathtaking views over Middle Harbour. Indeed, sometimes I wonder if I’ve been living in a broom cupboard all my life. Where have I been? Why haven’t I been here before? Sydney is my city and I barely know her at all! Gee, I’ve got to get out of my own bubble and see my own world, even if I can’t get further afield.

View from Parriwi Road

By the way, I was driving the little red car, an Alfa Romeo 147. She’s nice and compact for driving and parking in a relatively cramped urban environment i.e. around Cremorne Point. She was my partner in crime and facilitator of adventure (along with the ferries, of course) on this trip.

Another perspective along Parriwi Road, Mosman. Would love to spend a week or two onboard that yacht..Bliss!

After stopping repeatedly along Parriwi Road to absorb and photograph the view, I finally made it to Balmoral.

Unfortunately, the weather was overcast and the light was flat and not casting it’s much desired magic. This wasn’t going to be the day for cracking good photographs, but it was still good to get out for a walk. Do some exercise, you know that thing I struggle to get around to unless photography’s involved.

Outlook from Edward’s Beach including a piece of Rocky Point Island.

Even on an overcast day. Balmoral is still beautiful. Technically, what I’m calling “Balmoral” also includes Edwards Beach which is separated from Balmoral by Rocky Point Island.

Balmoral is famous for it’s imposing Bathers’ Pavilion. Designed in a grand Spanish mission style and intended to put Balmoral on the map, it was opened in 1929. These days it’s home to a restaurant and is a popular wedding reception venue.

Self-Portrait Bather’s Pavilion

While I was peering through the front window, I had a bit of photography fun and I spotted a window on the back wall and managed to capture my reflection rather well. It was like peering into another world and finding myself there…intriguing!

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Balmoral’s band rotunda is another stand out. I’ve seen Shakespeare by the Sea performed years ago AKA “back in the day”. I also love the profusion of Moreton Bay Fig trees which provide much needed shade during our roasting Sydney summers.

While these are the more beautiful aspects of Balmoral, there’s also a visible shark net. While shark nets are environmentally controversial, my father witnessed a teenager being taken by a shark off Balmoral beach as a ten year old boy and sharks are still lurking in Sydney Harbour even if they do only make their presence felt intermittently.

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Lastly, being a dog lover and seeing so many dogs around the place, I had to mention Billy, a statue of a much loved local dog. In my usual fashion, I had to find out more about Billy because the plaque didn’t seem to do him justice and this account from the Mosman Collective is worth a read: Billy

I could write a lot more about Balmoral, but with so many adventures during my time in Sydney, I only have time for a quick sketch and someone else can explore every nook and cranny.

Have you been to Balmoral and do you have any stories to share? I’d love to hear from you!

Best wishes,

Rowena

Sydney in the Rain…Cremorne Point.

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. “

Langston Hughes

Inevitably, when anyone pictures Sydney Harbour with its magnificent arching bridge and the towering sails of the Sydney Opera House, the weather is postcard perfect with bright blue skies. Moreover, as the sun casts its magic spell over the ancient ocean, it sparkles like a brilliant sapphire carpet and comes to life. It couldn’t get any better. I’ve experienced days like this on the harbour myself with ferries zipping around and crowds of colourful but faceless hundreds and thousands drifting around Circular Quay. Talk about paradise!

However, when I arrived in Sydney to begin three weeks of house minding at Cremorne Point, it was bucketing with rain, even before we left home. Indeed, the drive down was treacherous, and I was driving down the freeway grateful for the taillights in front to guide my path. All of this was particularly hair raising for an anxious driver like myself. Yet I persevered like an epic hero, albeit with a much humbler objective. I was no Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia. I’d simply got out of bed, onto the freeway and was driving my car. Yet, I was incredibly motivated. Thrills and adventures awaited me at the other end of the rainbow along with my friend’s dog, two cats, and two Guinea pigs. I was also simply overjoyed to get out of the house and be in Sydney again after two years of covid, lockdowns and isolation, especially on top of the horrific bushfires of the Summer of 2019-2020.

Yes, indeed! I was a lucky duck!

Just to put you in the picture, I am from Sydney. I spent my first few years living in a flat in Rose Bay with my parents and then we moved to the North Shore where they bought a house with that all important backyard and soon after that, my brother arrived. I went to Sydney University and moved into student digs nearby. After graduating, I mainly lived in terrace houses around Glebe, although I frequently went to Whale Beach on the Northern Beaches where my parents had a weekender. So aside from my early days in Rose Bay, I’ve never lived close to the harbour or near Cremorne Point and I was looking forward to embracing this opportunity 200% and carpe dieming every single minute of every day. I didn’t want to waste even a fraction of a moment. Perhaps, that explains how I found myself down at Cremorne Point Wharf on my first night not only in the dark, but also the rain.

At the same time, I did question whether photographing in the rain was a good idea. After all, my Nikon SLR is a valuable piece of ELECTRONIC equipment and it isn’t waterproof. Secondly, I could hear my grandmother calling out: “You’ll catch your death of cold.” This wasn’t such a random idea either considering Geoff and our son were both back home with covid and after spending the day in the car with them returning from Surfers’ Paradise, I was clearly at high risk of catching it myself. Could drenching myself to the skin be just the thing to push me over the edge into being covid positive? I briefly considered the science and didn’t think being wet could aid germ transmission yet I couldn’t switch off my grandmother’s warnings completely.

As you can see from the photographs, I got absolutely drenched and as much as I tried to protect the camera, it did as well. Yet it didn’t fizzle out and neither did I. We forged on.

Although this grey and muted perspective of Sydney Harbour wasn’t cliched perfection, it had a different kind of beauty which was strangely serene. Moreover, I’d never seen anything like it. This was mine. All mine. Yet not in a possessive capitalist sense, but in more of a profoundly spiritual, and deeply personal way. I felt like I’d almost merged into the landscape.

Have you experienced that sense of riveting and almost all-consuming awe being outdoors and absorbing an aspect of our wonderful world?

I have, especially looking through my camera lens where some kind of mystical fusion occurs, which is not that different to falling in love.

Anyway, this was just the beginning of three weeks in wonderful Sydney. So stay tuned.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Weekend Coffee Share – 29th January, 2023.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share & a Belated Happy New Year!

My apologies for not being active lately. However, we went away to Byron Bay and the Gold Coast just after Christmas. We spent New Year’s Eve taking in the New Year’s Eve fireworks at famous Surfers’ Paradise. To be perfectly honest, we were sorely disappointed. The fireworks suddenly stopped without a finale as though someone had poured a bucket of cold water on proceedings. There were a few fights around us, loads of drunks but the beach was a sea of joyful revellers and it was mind-blowing to see so many people there. We caught a tram from Geoff’s sister’s place in Southport into Surfers which was very convenient, but the crowds coming home were phenomenal and sardine tin doesn’t come close to describing how packed it was.

Not unsurprisingly, Geoff caught covid NYE and two days later tested positive on a RAT. I was in disbelief. As you may recall, I’ve been continuing to isolate to avoid covid due to my lung condition and being immuno-suppressed. However, I get sick of being a wet blanket and just wanted our family to have fun. Geoff and I met on NYE 1998 watching the Sydney fireworks at a mutual friend’s place and I’ve always wanted to watch the fireworks together in person as a family and this was our big chance. The “kids” are about to turn 19 and 17 and are starting to forge their own paths. We don’t have forever to be doing things as a family.

A rainy night for our arrival in Sydney.

Following Geoff’s diagnosis, we came home early to avoid passing it onto his other sister and husband and hoped we might be able to beat the odds and get me home without getting infected. I was booked in to mind my friend’s house in Sydney the day after our early return so we hoped our quarantine would work. It didn’t. The night we arrived home, our son tested positive. The next day our daughter and I had a pcr test and that was negative. However, the next day I was overcome by the most mind-blowing fatigue. I sank like a stone. That probably sounds familiar. By this stage it was Sunday and I did the dreaded RAT test and much to my horror, was positive. Have any of you noticed how doing these rats is like taking a pregnancy test? Fortunately, I was much more excited about the results of the pregnancy test all those years ago. By this stage, covid had struck my sinuses and was nasty but thank goodness, stayed away from my lungs which are my Achilles Heel. Next day, I got onto the antivirals which seemed to give me a bit of pep. No doubt they made a difference. Meanwhile, Geoff had a chest infection and was on antibiotics. Our daughter felt symptomatic but didn’t test. So, that was the end of our status as “novids” and so far so good.

Our house minding gig was a wonderful opportunity. We were staying at Cremorne Point on the magnificent Sydney Harbour. We were a short drive up the hill from the wharf with harbour glimpses, a balcony looking out across the street where I could ponder who was living in the flats across the road and also watch the lightening display one stormy night. However, we weren’t really house minding. We were pet sitting. We were minding a dog, two cats and two guinea pigs. This is never a matter of just filling up their hungry bellies and topping up the water bowl. We loved their pets like our own. Indeed, our daughter was particularly excited to have cats and Guinea pigs as we’re a dog only family.

Sydney Opera House framed by the Sydney Harbour Bridge

While others probably would’ve planned out every second of their holiday time, we had no plans and getting covid only fueled the uncertainty. Three weeks sounded like a long time, but it disappeared in a flash and while a caught up with a few friends, I barely caught up with anyone. However, I caught loads of ferries and have become what you might call a “Ferry Hopper”. I caught the ferry to Circular Quay a couple of times initially but then I went further afield to Manly.

My fine self at Manly Beach about to blow away

Catching the Manly ferry is such a Sydney thing to do and I was reminded of trips in days gone by as a child but also as a teenager with my friends where we used to buy a plate of “chew and spew” Chinese for $10.00 and head to the beach. Manly is on the Northern head of Sydney Harbour.

Not the best beach day in Manly. The beach was closed once the lifesavers finished for the day. Everyone was ordered out of the water.

Watson’s Bay

We also caught the ferry over to Watson’s Bay, near the Southern Headland. Watson’s Bay used to be a fishing village and despite the influx of luxury homes, many of the historic cottages still remain and have been preserved under the National Trust.

Miss & Geoff at Watson’s Bay

While on the subject of bays, I also caught the ferry to Rose Bay. My parents were living in a flat on Old South Head Road there when I was born. They moved to Wahroonga when I was about two (in around 1972) when my brother was on the way.

In addition to my ferry hopping, we also visited Taronga Zoo. Not only does it have the wildlife, the harbour views from Taronga are incredible.

also went to the Art Gallery of NSW and it’s new offshoot, Sydney Modern. I think it’s been three years since I’ve been to the art gallery and sometimes I’d go a couple of times a year. Just another casualty of covid and covid lockdowns. The new gallery was great but I couldn’t help thinking they could’ve squeezed more paintings into that vast space. However, these gallery people seem to be great believers in conserving white space and less is more. I know it makes sense but what about all those paintings consigned to the dungeon that we could also be seeing? Well, clearly no one asked for my opinion.

Lastly, I went to Cockatoo Island , a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove River in Sydney Harbour. Cockatoo Island is the largest of several islands that were originally heavily timbered sandstone knolls. Cockatoo Island became a penal establishment in 1839 and convict-built buildings remain today. Exploring Cockatoo Island through my camera lens was a lot of fun.

Indeed, I’ve taken a swag of photos while I was in Sydney. Our son estimated I’d taken 3000 photos, but I’m not sure. Moreover, I had a lot of trouble with the auto-focus on my Nikon and too often I’d have to take at least two photos just to get one in focus. It would be fair to say my Nikon SLR is an endangered species.

However, all too soon we were packing up to come home. Arriving home with two packed cars to a packed house, although at least the Christmas decorations could disappear back to the roof. Geoff has also had to resurrect his working from home facilities and did a massive clean up yesterday. Still a long way to go.

Lastly, I’ll just mention that we still have Christmas pudding, brandy butter, Stollen, Christmas cake and even a spare Turducken (turkey, chicken and duck) in the fridge/freezer. My parents didn’t make it up here on Christmas Day and we weren’t terribly hungry. Hopefully, we might manage to have Christmas in February along with birthday celebrations.

How are you going? I’m looking forward to catching up.

This has been another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Natalie the Explorer

Best wishes,

Rowena