Monday, 18 August 2008

Sun 17 Aug: Watson's Bay weekend

After a fairly routine week of working, cooking, cleaning, shopping, going to the gym, watching the Olympics and generally just doing the things that need to be done, Friday night rolled around and with it came the “Friday night feeling”. Friday nights are one of my favourite times of the week, with the whole weekend stretching out ahead of me and a solid week’s work in the bag. It was one of the things I missed when I was doing freelance work in London – it doesn’t come as easily when you’re working from home and you don’t physically ‘leave the office’ for the weekend. I tried my best to mimic it by wearing work clothes 9-5 and clearing all my papers away for the weekend – and of course, keeping up the Friday night post-work drinks routine!

Anyway, I digress…on Friday we stayed local and went up to Crown St in Surry Hills. We headed to one of the bars where we knew we could get food later on and were happily ensconced in the last two seats in the place by about 6.30pm. I’ve decided to try to educate my wine palette while we’re here – seems a shame not to try to appreciate the Australian industry! – so I sampled several of the white wines on offer. My education isn’t going too well – I can’t really tell anything from anything, apart from chardonnay. Must keep practising!

We ended up eating in the pub – battered barramundi for me and lasagne for K – and after possibly one glass of wine too many (never!), headed home and collapsed into bed some time after midnight.

Saturday was an early start for me as I’d signed up to do a fitness assessment and program set-up at the gym we’ve joined. Thankfully I’d remembered to have a few glasses of water before I went to bed so didn’t feel too horrific as I got up in time for my 8am appointment. The fitness assessment involved doing a few minutes on a bike, a flexibility test and lots of poking and prodding and measuring to ascertain just how flabby I really am! The results were noted (but not discussed!) and will be compared with a new set every time I have a review – watch this space!

K was still asleep by the time I got back (no surprise there) but was soon up and about following an injection of coffee and the lure of brunch. Brunch was at a pavement cafĂ© at the top of our street called Room Nine. We both had the “Cold Away” – orange juice, ginger, lemon and other nutritious stuff, I had a toasted egg and bacon sandwich and K had scrambled eggs with toast and a side of bacon. Yum!

Fully charged for the day, we set off on our mission for the day – to explore Watson’s Bay, which had been recommended to me by one of my colleagues. We walked from our apartment down to the ferry wharves at Circular Quay, just next to the Opera House (about 40 min walk) and caught the ferry around 2pm, getting us into Watson’s Bay less than half an hour later.

Watson’s Bay was glorious. Photos will appear eventually I promise but in the meantime, you’ll just have to take my word for it. It’s an area to the north and east of Sydney harbour and sits round the relatively narrow entrance to the main harbour. There are impressive cliffs known as The Gap which, in the days before lighthouses, used to lure sailors onto the rocks below because they thought they’d reached Sydney Harbour, but were in fact too soon – oops! These days there are also beautiful views back across the water towards the Sydney city skyline and Harbour Bridge. We walked along the coastal path and through a small national park which took us past a beautiful, secluded swimming beach at Camp Cove and then, further on, a rocky nudist beach – some brave souls were enjoying the sun (not sure it was that warm!). We saw sea kayakers, a few swimmers (also brave), a few more people paddling and a smattering of yachts and cruisers out on the water. After a couple of hours walking about, we headed back to the ferry terminal in eager anticipation of the famous fish and chips to be found at Doyle’s. Sadly disappointing (no vinegar or sauce!) but perhaps too difficult to please a couple of Scottish East Coasters when it comes to our home nation’s national dish! However, the lack of good food was compensated for by the accompanying view of the sun setting over the water.

Back to the apartment for a Saturday evening of Olympics-watching. My early start came home to roost and I was crashed out asleep by 11.30 – rock and roll!

The next day, after we eventually emerged from a long lie-in, we ventured back into the city and this time, went for the cultural option by way of a visit to the Sydney Biennale, a contemporary arts festival that takes place, well, bi-annually. It really wasn’t worth it. Thankfully it was free entry but even so, it was pretty awful. I’m no contemporary art aficionado and to be honest, find a lot of it pretentious and pointless. So I was there under sufferance in the first place, this one being K’s choice – but even he couldn’t find anything positive to say about it. There was one thing that was mildly thought-provoking and interesting, which was a photographic illustration of Sydney’s communist history. But that was it, out of three levels of so-called art. One of the exhibits was a framed cheque from the latest fundraiser for the 2010 Biennale, which was meant to represent who-knows-what. If it was my cheque, I’d have cancelled it!

Anyway, at least it gave me an excuse to have some cake, which is the only condition on which I agree to go to these kind of things. We found a nice harbourside place and enjoyed a slice of carrot and walnut cake (me) and cheesecake (K), washed down with a Victoria Bitter (me) and a Hahn Super (him). The waterfront lifestyle really is quite lovely apart from the killer seagulls that pounce on poor unsuspecting people who happen to be eating chips (and you all know how much I love seagulls, hmmm!).

Then it was back to the apartment for an evening of domestic drudgery for me while K reclined on the couch – he’s hurt his back and can’t bend down at the moment so I’m being nice and looking after him. Cooking, cleaning, ironing – Sunday evenings are the same whichever side of the world you’re on!

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