Tag Archives: fireworks

Farewell 2017!

Before we launch into 2018, thought I might ask what you were most thankful for in 2017? What was the stand out?

Personally, I am thankful that my family is still standing after some trying times and I am also thankful for our beloved dog, Bilbo, who passed away in June and for the puppies who have helped to heal our broken hearts. I’m also thankful for our three week trip to Tasmania in January. We had an amazing time.

A tribute to Bilbo.

The pups. Rosie has the white stripe on her head and Zac has the white on his nose. The tan and black puppies were fosters who’ve now gone to their forever homes.

Well, I apologize for being overly thankful. How about you?

Wishing you and yours a wonder-filled year ahead in 2018!

Love and best wishes,

Rowena

A New Year’s Coffee Share

Happy New Year to you all!

I hope you had a fabulous NYE! What did you get up to?

We stayed home and watched the Sydney fireworks on TV with the kids and the dogs. Sydney has two huge fireworks displays all focused on the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Harbour. There’s the family display at 9.00PM and of course, the huge midnight extravaganza. I understand that I’m using a lot of flashy lingo here but these fireworks were truly out of this world and even the photos I took from the television at home were breathtakingly beautiful.

You can read more about it here:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/sydney-fireworks-a-prelude-to-midnight/

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/happy-new-year-sydney/

DSC_9117

However, every rose has it’s thorns and the unfortunate downside of the fireworks is terrified and panic-stricken pets.

We had a lot of local people letting of backyard fireworks and it’s these explosions which seriously distressed our younger dog, Lady. She turned into a slobbering, shaking mess, which went on for almost 5 hours. With my glasses all fogged up and needing windscreen wipers, it was a long night…for us and the dog!

DSC_9067

A panic-stricken Lady seeking to uproot the laptop.

This is not the first New Year’s Eve we’ve been home babysitting dogs either. Once upon a time, we used to be out by the Harbour smelling the gunpowder and being part of the atmosphere instead of watching on.

Yes, once upon a time.

Indeed, Geoff and I actually met on New Year’s Eve 17 years ago at a friend’s party overlooking the fireworks. Obviously, there were fireworks of a different sort.

Have you set any New Year’s Resolutions?

Or, perhaps, you’re a bit like me and had them thrust upon you…the New Year’s Resolutions you had to have?

Here are just a few which have been thrust on me:

  1. Be on time. This includes the kids as well.
  2. Go to bed earlier.
  3. Establish a weekly routine/schedule.
  4. Reduce spending.
  5. Organise house.

I addressed the whole resolution thing here: A Magical New Year https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/a-magical-new-year/

Meanwhile, I’ve set myself the goal to get on with the Book Project, which could well be completely incompatible and at odd with all of the above points.

I’m also starting to think about the Blogging A-Z April Challenge. I am writing about Sydney but working on an angle to try to limit the scope. I also want to make it really interesting for overseas readers, which make up most of my readers. I’ll be getting started on this almost immediately so the kids and I can work on it over the holidays and get material. That will be a fun holiday project for them.

DSC_9124

It takes a hell of a lot of work for a Scout to get to Jamboree!

Meanwhile, if we were having coffee today, I’d be telling you that the reason why we haven’t gone away this January is that our son has gone away to Jamboree with Scouts for 12 days and when he gets back, he’ll be off to High School. From what we’ve been told, he’ll be doing so much at Jamboree that when he gets home, he’ll just be wanting to sleep. Not sure for how long but I’ve already arranged for his sister to be at my parents’ place when he gets back so he can have some peace. I am expecting a potentially growling bear going into hibernation.

Major reconstruction required to the room!

Major reconstruction required to the room!

While he’s away, we’re painting his room. There’ll be no surprises here as we discussed it all before he left. However, I’m sure you know how these projects work. You don’t appreciate the full horror until it’s too late to turn back. “A paint job” or face lift has now turning into reconstructive surgery.  However, there’s no anaethetist for the hapless parents doing the task while the lad is off having the time of his life. No team of TV experts either. I must also admit that I’d have to classify myself as a major liability to smooth operations and I’m more likely to break than fix anything.

Before kids, I painted all the walls. After kids, I applied a seemingly simple patch to a hole in the wall and instead of being flat, it bulged outward like a tumour.My husband is now talking to me about the ???!! instructions after removing said patch and fixing it himself.

As for how the hole ended up in the wall, I need more than a coffee to deal with that!

With all of this going on, I dropped my prednisone used to treat my auto-immune disease down half a mg today to 7.5mg per day and really felt it. Have spent much of the day in bed. Will take a few days to adjust and I’m going to stay at this level while we get through first term.

So, here I am sitting at my computer having coffee with you while Geoff is at work. Mister is at Scout Jamboree and our daughter is living it up at her grandparents.

Humph! After writing all this, I realise that yet again, I’m procrastinating. That I’m talking and writing instead of doing but just give me another coffee and I’ll be ready for work!

 

Coffee french

So, now that we’ve survived the hangover, it’s time to get on with another year!

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster and please check us out at the linky: http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=595142

Love & Best Wishes,

Rowena

PS For any of you in the North who might be experiencing the January Blues, I strongly recommend that if you can’t hop on a plane and join us Down Under that you pop over to Suzie and read this brilliant post. I’ve printed it out because it doesn’t have to be Winter to have a bad day!http://suzie81speaks.com/2016/01/02/how-to-beat-the-january-blues/

Happy New Year…Sydney!

Sydney wishes you a Happy New Year!

On the count of midnight,  Sydney became an exploding supernova as a firework extravaganza illuminated the night sky and the deep, still waters of Sydney Harbour showering such colour.

To read about our incredibly exciting NYE, check back to my previous post: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/sydney-fireworks-a-prelude-to-midnight/

DSC_9121.JPG

Midnight was pretty low key here. With 15 minutes to go, we woke up the kids to join us for the countdown. The countdown being as much for the midnight fireworks as the New Year.

As you could imagine, even sitting watching the fireworks at home, I couldn’t resist getting out my camera and photographing the fireworks like a photographer on assignment.

I wasn’t disappointed. Indeed, I was amazed. Not bad!

DSC_9097.JPG

The incredible beauty of fireworks… peering right inside the flares.

Just in case you’ve never seen Sydney’s NYE fireworks, the finale usually involves a cascade of “melted cheese” over the edge of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Even though we’ve seen it all before, we hang on for that incredibly intense, stunning moment when the entire Bridge erupts. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and so full of superlatives that words can’t do it justice. You simply need to feast with your eyes and feel yourself come to life.

 

With all the excitement of the fireworks and just being at home with the kids and of course the dogs (Lady still panting heavily with renewed terror as more fireworks went off at midnight), we forgot all about singing Auld Lang Syne…an Australian NYE tradition harking back to the UK.

DSC_9117.JPG

So perhaps we could sing it together. It’s also better singing it with the words in front of us. I usually mutter and mumble my way through:

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ lang syne!

Chorus:
For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

Robert Burns

 

DSC_9116.JPG

Just as we forgot Auld Lang Syne, New Year’s resolutions also passed us by. I think the list is looking so long that it it could simply be summed up by four simple letters…HELP!

I suspect no fairy Godmother is going to tap me three times on the head while I’m asleep tonight and give me a clean slate. Then again, I must’ve learned something about life so far and do I really want to start again from scratch? I don’t think so.

Maybe, I just need to have a bit of faith!

DSC_9070

The Kids Watching the Fireworks.

So, we wish you a very Happy New Year and if this time of year is difficult, you’re in my prayers and I’ll keep you close. All that exuberant joy, can either give you a lift or more than likely, amplify your grief. Take care!

Meanwhile on a global level, I pray for peace. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me”. Not giving to terrorism or violence but through somehow reaching a global acceptance of our humanity and all that unites us. In the words of Lennon: “You might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one!”

I also pray for our planet. That humanity will wake up to the warning signs of global warming and general exploitation of our beautiful blue planet. You can’t keep taking and taking before she starts to fall apart.

Anyway, while I’m getting all deep, I’m having a glass of Moscato, a Scotty Dog shortbread biscuit and a Lindt chocolate while sort of watching a real 80s throw back: “You Can’t Stop the Music”, featuring the Village People. It is so retro. I even saw a cassette tape.

Meanwhile, I’m not sure where Lady is hiding. She finally calmed down from the fireworks but after being in my face all night, she’s conspicuously absent and I suspect she’s snuck her way in somewhere. Lady is definitely looking like a liability…

So, wishing you and yours a Happy New Year and I look forward to reading about NYE around the world.

Love & best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

 

NYE Sydney: The Night I Met My Husband.

New Year’s Eve has a very special place in my heart.

While the rest of the world might be celebrating the demise of the old year and relishing the chance to wake up with a clean slate on Jan 1st, New Year’s Eve, Geoff and I met on New Year’s Eve sixteen years ago. It’s our anniversary. That means  I can honestly say that when we met, there really were literally fireworks!

Much younger versions of our current selves met at a mutual friend’s New Year’s Eve Party held in Wollstonecraft on Sydney’s North Shore. The apartment was perched on the edge of one of the hills overlooking the Harbour and of course, we were all there to watch the spectacular fireworks from our privileged bird’s-eye view. This was special.After all, Sydney’s NYE fireworks are up there on the world stage: Sydney, London, Paris, Time Square…only we beat them all to it!!

However,I do have a small confession about the view. We might have had front-row seats but we had what you’d describe as a “back-end view” of the Bridge and we were actually looking at the main fireworks display from behind. There was also a block of units somewhat in the way as well, which the inconsiderate sods didn’t relocate for the night. That said, we did have a very expansive view of the Sydney right out towards Parramatta and we could see all sorts of other locations “going off”. It wasn’t quite as good as being in the chopper but we had it exceptionally good

That said, we wouldn’t have knocked back tickets to the Lord Mayor’s VIP bash  right there on the Harbour and actually facing the Bridge. Who would?!!

Being a young 20 something, there was definitely no way we’d ever stay home and watch the fireworks on TV. That was the sort of social suicide reserved for the likes of “Nigel No-Friends” and we weren’t going to be one of them. No way!

However, another option for viewing the fireworks was joining the  mosh pit of bodies under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. At this point, I’ll remind you that it’s now summer in Sydney. It can get very, very hot in Sydney on NYE. No snow. Definitely no snow but lot’s of sweat.

Personally, I’ve never been game to go under the Bridge.

At the close of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, a group of us ended up in the city looking for a vantage point to see those fireworks. There were hordes of people choking up the streets all desperate for some kind, any kind of vantage point. I still remember our sense of desperation. Where could we go? What was left? Of course, the well-planned amongst us had been camping out for days and we were last minute optimists, cuckoos out to land in someone’s nest. Fortunately, I’d photographed the Wharf Theatre and had a lateral moment and we found a largely unpopulated vantage point down there only metres away from where fireworks were being let off. In our usual style, we were seeing the back-end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge but otherwise had a great, uncluttered spot. That was our moment photographing the fireworks with our legs dangling off the wharf indulging in cheese and champagne. It was incredible! A moment we’ll never forget.

Geoff and I walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge during  the Sydney 2000 Olympics

Geoff and I walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the Sydney 2000 Olympics

Life has taken many twists and turns since then.

Anyway, those hordes haven’t encouraged me to try our luck under the Bridge.

Perhaps, everybody is just charmingly friendly as they crush each others’ feet in the general stompage but we all know what it’s like when some stranger  dares stand on someone else’s rug. That’s right. Their precious square of turf which they’ve been viciously defending like a magpie for days, camping out under a very harsh, unforgiving sun knowing they’ll be straight off to the skin cancer clinic straight afterwards.  Somehow, in the cruel aftermath, it’s all considered worth it but you’ve got to wonder!

Shame about the broken bones and it wasn’t good news for the altitudinally-challenged either,  spending NYE with their nose shoved in some stinky stranger’s armpit. Humph…Happy New Year!

I’m sure those moshers under the Bridge would’ve done anything to have our back-end view.

Yes! We knew we had it good!

Of course, I had no idea I was about to meet my future husband when I knocked on the same door I’d knocked on many times before. That couldn’t have been further from my mind, which I must admit was rather exceptional. You see, up until that freakish moment in time, I’d had a “proactive” approach towards looking out for Mr Right. I actually had a huge, fine-tuned antenna stuck on the top of my head. Moreover, I was also known as a notorious (but quite successful) matchmaker. Indeed, I could have stuck a plaque outside my place and I would have done a roaring trade…especially if I’d known a few more girls. I had a lot of male friends who kept turning up to parties doused in optimistic aftershave only to be let down once again by a severe gender imbalance.

Anyway, as I said, I wasn’t looking to meet anybody that night. As incredulous as that might sound, I’d just been unceremoniously dumped and I was in rough shape. Guttered and yet, at the same time…a survivor. I went off to this party with one New Year’s resolution and one resolution only: “No Nick 1999!”.

That’s probably the only NY resolution I’ve ever pulled off.

Well, chatting away with Geoff watching the fireworks that night, he gave me some excellent advice: “Just be friends. Take time to get to know someone.” That was the general gist of it all but it all sounded rather profound at the time and I really took it to heart. I went off to another party later that announced that great advice. Well, you know how it is. Love and romance can creep up on even the most unsuspecting of characters. We met up at a few social things with our mutual friend and somehow that led to email which then resulted in some comment about: “You know you can pop over” and an invitation to join him and his niece to visit Taronga Zoo. All I can really remember about that is feeding carrots to the giraffes and by this stage that finely tuned antenna of mine was working overtime. I must admit that I was now concerned about his so-called “good advice”. How on earth we were ever going to shift gears out of friendship into something else  but  I guess that’s where Cupid steps in.

Geoff and I not long after we'd met photographed in his Austin Healy Sprite...not as romantic as it looks!

Geoff and I not long after we’d met photographed in his Austin Healey Sprite…not so romantic when it rains!

In retrospect, meeting Geoff was one of life’s serendipitous, “meant to be” moments where God and fate intervened and a whole heap of incidentals all lined up and for just once in a lifetime, didn’t conspire against us. I almost didn’t end up going to that party after being dumped that afternoon. However, my friend had only invited a select few to watch the fireworks and I didn’t want to let her down. Besides, she knows how to throw a party and was renowned for her vodka jellies and chocolate mouse. We are turning back the clock to another, very different lifetime but I do have photos of a friend dancing with a bunch of flowers after partaking of these legendary vodka jellies.

However, this party seemed relatively quiet and I do remember standing out on the balcony photographing the fireworks, albeit from our quirky backend perspective and talking about photography with Geoff. He was interested in photography…tick. He also drove a green sportscar and that sounded very romantic even though he warned me straight away that she was 30 something English and temperamental. There was something about water and leaks in the conversation that I only really came to appreciate drive up to Byron Bay during particularly heavy rain while we were both wearing raincoats. That is, inside the car!! Yes, we were still wet.

Watching NYE on TV with my broken foot. Not quite what it used to be but at least I've found love.

Watching NYE on TV with my broken foot. Not quite what it used to be but at least I’ve found love.

Fast forwarding right along to 2014, New Year’s Eve doesn’t quite have the same air of possibility or wild excitement that it used to. No Vodka jellies or chocolate mouse although we managed to organise going over to a friend’s place with all the kids to watch the fireworks on TV and I’d made pavlova. That is what an exciting New Year’s Eve entails these days. To be honest, that’s even been an improvement on having to babysit two anxious dogs freaking out from the loud nasty banging fireworks or having babies to attend to.

Sadly, we’re quite used to watching the fireworks on TV these days although there is still that spark. That memory of… once upon a time.

The family together on New Year's Eve.

The family together on New Year’s Eve.

So there we all were watching the fireworks on TV and I couldn’t resist. I had to take some photos. That’s right I was being incredibly daggy and photographing the fireworks on TV. Old habits die hard. Of course, they weren’t award winners and there was that sense of crazed desperation, which could also be called determination. An all conquering spirit which says never says die. I am who I am.

There is still a photographer and a party animal buried somewhere deep within my soul,  which has somehow overcome the descent into middle-age, mortgage, kids, muscle-disease and lives on.

I will not be beaten.

Hence, I’m already making plans for next NYE. Somehow, I’d like our family to get down to Sydney. This is more of a wish than a resolution…along with getting to the Easter Show. Not always easy but we’ll at least try to find a way.

Perhaps, I should give the Sydney Lord Mayor a call…or maybe just friend her on Facebook. I wonder if that would be enough?!!

Happy New Year to you all!

Love and Blessings,

Rowena, Geoff, Mister,Miss, Bilbo & Lady xxoo

PS Bilbo and Lady report they were not impressed at being left home alone  to fend for themselves against all those nasty loud banging noises. Lady ended up burying herself in the garage and once the humans were home bounced on mum’s lap. Many dogs end up “doing the Harold Holt” and get lost on NYE. Like a good Martini, though, we were shaken but not stirred.