Stuff I see, which you might not.


Yesterday marked the beginning of Spring here, with a Sydney day that started out buried in a thick fog, and then opened up to be beautifully sunny.

Yesterday, I laughed and sang and chat-chat-chatted with my lovely nieces on our way to school.

Yesterday, I saw a guy texting as he drove: unbelievably using both hands to text, as he held his iPhone above the steering wheel.

Yesterday, I ate a frittata that I made, topped with fresh herbs from my (teeny tiny) veggie garden.

Springtime daffodil selfie. [image from Pixabay]

Springtime daffodil selfie.
[image from Pixabay]

Yesterday, we went to our lovely friend Claire’s Dad’s funeral. On a sunny day, the first of Spring.

There were laughs and tears and music and lots of people with grey hair. And little baby Emily was there, smiling away quietly. I haven’t actually been to many funerals. And I couldn’t look at Claire and her family as we walked past, because I could feel the tears trying to leap out from the well they’d formed in my eye sockets. But it felt good to give her a big hug afterwards. Because sometimes nothing says what you want to say quite like a big hug.

Yesterday, there was some sadness, some silliness, some sameness, some smiles, and some sunshine. And it was only day one of Spring, the best season of them all (if you ask me). Here’s to happy times and sad times and old friends and new beginnings and hugs. Don’t forget the hugs.

And here’s to The Ship Song, which was in my head today. The Opera House project version from a few years ago is here in case you like it too.

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View from the Bridge

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day in Sydney and I was meeting my great friend ELW and one of her (very lovely) sons in Darlinghurst, one of Sydney’s inner city suburbs where the cool crowd crosses paths with the homeless crowd & ladies-of-the-night crowd. We were having breakfast so, in true Camino training style, I thought I would walk from my home on the north side to make the most of the beautiful day. And get in an 8.5km walk before breakfast.

Here are some pics from my walk across the Harbour Bridge. The view is pretty spectacular and I committed to walking that way more often to check out our pretty city. If you’ve not done it before (or not for a while), I really recommend that you do.

Our House

Our House

Our House, as seen through the Harbour Bridge fencing

Our House, as seen through the Harbour Bridge fencing

Looking up

Looking up

It looks like a cage, but I promise it doesn't really feel like it

It looks like a cage, but I promise it doesn’t really feel like it

Looking out to the Heads

Looking out to the Heads

And there's (part of) the city

And there’s (part of) the city

It reminds me of the Dr Seuss book…DID I EVER TELL YOU HOW LUCKY YOU ARE?


Thankful Thursday – love ya, Sydney

Last night I went to the opera with my mum (Falstaff; very good) and we spent some of the twilight hours of a perfect Sydney evening sitting in front of the Opera House watching the world go by. If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend that you do. It made me think of that Dr Seuss book DID I EVER TELL YOU HOW LUCKY YOU ARE? Yesterday, we told ourselves again and again.

That sky isn't fake. Neither are those birds or the people. Or those giant shells.

That sky isn’t fake. Neither are those birds or the people. Or those giant shells. Sorry ’bout the glare.

The ship was getting ready to leave as it blocked the setting sun. What a way to start a cruising holiday!

The ship was getting ready to leave as it blocked the setting sun. What a start to a cruising holiday!

It's still a very weird looking building, but I love it.

It is a very weird looking building, but I love it.


Functional (mostly) and pretty to look at…


Rubber Duck goes to the Festival

Yesterday, my friend B and I went to check out Rubber Duck at Darling Harbour here in Sydney. Rubber Duck is pretty much what you’d imagine him to be – if you have ever imagined a giant yellow duck that is five stories high and five stories wide. He is here for the Sydney Festival and has really brightened up the place. Created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, Rubber Duck is part of a collection of larger-than-life urban sculptures, which Hofman hopes will “astonish audiences and give them a new perspective on public spaces”.

Pic taken by my friend Jane as Rubber Duck arrived in style through the open bridge at Darling Harbour on Saturday.

Pic taken by my friend Jane as Rubber Duck arrived in style (with a little help from a tug boat), swimming through the open bridge at Darling Harbour on Saturday.

Good afternoon, Rubber Duck.

Rubber Duck, at home in Sydney.

Mission accomplished with your Rubber Duck, Mr Hofman. You’ve said that his purpose is “to do no more than amaze” and while he amazes, he also puts goofy smiles on visitors’ faces as they enjoy his sunshine-bright yellowness and the memories he stirs – mostly of Ernie from Sesame Street. Rubber Duck has toured the world, but am sure he’s enjoying his current home in the very public bath tub of Darling Harbour.

Brightening up the view for some city office workers.

Brightening up the view for some city office workers.

If you like ducks, sunshine, photo opportunities or smiles, this Festival event is well worth a visit. Rubber Duck is in town until January 23 – you can read more about the Sydney Festival and Rubber Duck here.

The end.

The end.

And if you can’t make it, or even if you can, here’s an old favourite – I’m sure Ernie would be awfully fond of the giant Rubber Duck too…

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Inspiring stuff, Sydney

Hello. I’m back. Nice to be with you again. Thanks to those of you who asked OI, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOUR BLOG? I appreciated the nudge and it’s really lovely to know that you noticed my absence. In truth, I’ve been home from my travels for a week and a half now, but I hadn’t really been inspired to get back to blogging. Maybe it was the cold that I picked up during my last days in NYC; maybe it was running around catching up with family, friends and work stuff; maybe it was getting through the shows that TiVo had thoughtfully recorded while I was away; maybe it was just a bit of a slump because the holiday is over & December is bearing down with all its festive fury (don’t get me wrong – I love love love the festive season, but there’s always so much going on).

Whatevs, I’m back now. And I owe the inspiration to Sydney. Yesterday was such a perfectly sunny summer’s day and as I wandered around the harbour, I was struck as I sometimes am by this pretty city, so thought I’d take some snaps and share the sunshine with you here.

No, I really do not miss catching a bus to work.

No, I really do not miss catching a bus to work.

Just for the calcium, I swear.

Just for the calcium, I swear.

As far as a view from public transport goes, it's not too bad.

As far as a view from public transport goes, it’s not too bad.

The bus stop. So to speak.

The bus stop. So to speak.

It is a pretty city.

It is a pretty city.

Best seat in town.

Best seat in town.


And sometimes you even catch Cinderella just hangin' out, eating an apple.

And sometimes you even catch Cinderella just hangin’ out, eating an apple.


Back on the run

You might recall that I suffered a bit of an overuse injury when running in Dublin recently. As a result, I have been laying low and doing very little (aside from walking slowly and painfully like an arthritic granny) for about six weeks now. It’s really disappointing, as I had been getting into a regular running pattern and was definitely seeing improvements in my ability to run further and longer. Not even close to marathon fit, by any means, but pleased with my progress. Anyways, then my bursar got bursitis and thought it would be funny to maintain a constant vigil of pain in my left leg, from my hip to my knee. Good times, bursar, good times. That led me to the horrors of the physio and his torture chamber, which left me bruised and battered. And better, it would seem. I’ve been doing my stretches (not in public, as most of them are quite strange looking) and thought that today would be a good day to get back on the run.

It’s a beautiful summery day in Sydney today, so I went to my old stomping ground – which also happens to be a welcome flat course – around Canada Bay. It’s a lovely spot to walk and run – between the water and the trees, you can kinda forget that part of it is next to one of Sydney’s busiest roads.

Not bad, eh? NB, this was taken on one of my many walking breaks.

So I walked most of the course, with three five-minute running intervals. Which felt like the physio was right beside me, punching me in the thigh as I ran along. Luckily, vanity prevailed, and the fear of being out-run by the elderly kept me going.

Discrimination in our community. KEEP TO YOUR SIDE, BIKES!

As often happens, there was a chick keeping almost the same pace as me (although probably not leaning to one side as much as me), so we traded places as one or the other started to run for a bit. I took this photo when she was ahead, as I thought it wouldn’t have been very sporting to turn around and take one as she dropped behind me. She was wearing a top like a zebra – when she was behind me, I wondered where “stripey lady” was at; and then when she repeatedly ran ahead and stopped just metres in front of me as if to taunt me, my mind said, “Oh, there you are, stripey face cow”. I’m not proud of myself, but that’s what I thought.

Run along, stripey.

Nice day for it.

Did I mention the trees? Such a pretty vista from the path, any way you look.

And as it approached midday, I was feeling pretty hot (not as in smokin’, but as in sweaty) and there, towards the end of the run was this classic Aussie mirage, looking so inviting.

They really need a slide from the bridge directly to the pool for walkers/runners – so near and yet so far…

And now? After stretching and applying anti-inflammatory gel and taking anti-inflammatory tablets, I’ve got a pack of frozen corn nestled next to me, trying to get rid of the pain that has crept back. But hopefully this is the beginning of my comeback and my bursar will return to life as before – when I didn’t even know it existed.


Five thousand words

No, not really, but five pictures instead. Here are some snapshots from my day in Dublin.

Just doing my bit for Dublin tourism / PR – another beautiful sunny day. Well, the morning was, anyway…

A parking spot specifically for a family, outside a supermarket. Well, it’s either a family, or an image from the movie ET.

An ad for a nursery – the baby on the right appears to be thinking WHO ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU SO CLOSE? (And is it just me, or does he look a bit like Mr Bean?)

Latte art by Dublin’s own Ruslan, Irish Latte Art Champion 2012, at the Art of Coffee.

And one of my favourites – my lovely friends found this on the street near some fairly rough apartments here in Dublin (not today, but I couldn’t resist including it in this post). As you can see, it’s a comprehensive list of some kid’s enemies…hopefully he or she isn’t lost without it…


Here’s looking at you, Syd

Today is just one of those amazing days when you look around the harbour city and think, where else would you want to be?  After weeks – months – of unseasonal weather (cooler, wetter and much sadder than summer should be), today is just perfect.  Strong blue skies (not that wishy washy blue of nanna’s cardi, but the deep blue of – say – Jake Gyllenhall’s dreamy peepers) and warm sunshine, like Mother Nature is saying TGIF.  Weather like this makes everyone happier – as I waited for a mid-afternoon ferry, a group of Korean women in their 70s started line dancing at the wharf, sort of like a bizarro elderly Asian Billy Ray Cyrus flash mob.  Unfortunately, I was in shock at this unexpected sight and wasn’t quick enough to catch them with my camera (or my stick).    Crazy politicians, public transport iss-ews and world beating housing costs aside, so lucky to live in such a beautiful town.  Especially on a $10 postcard-pic day like today.

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