Friday, 26 December 2008


It’s 9pm on Boxing Day but apart from the fact that there’s yet another James Bond film on TV and I’ve got slightly restless legs from lack of doing much over the last few days, it really doesn’t feel like Boxing Day! It’s been in the late 20s, if not higher, for most of today and although there’s a cool wind building up outside, it’s still pretty sticky and, well, summery,

Yesterday we were adopted by a friend and made very welcome as part of their extended family gathering for Christmas lunch. It seemed to be a fairly typical Aussie family Christmas with a cold meat & salad spread at lunchtime, followed by Christmas pudding and mince pies, plus plenty of wine and beer to wash it all down. There was some swimming in their pool but no beach as they live out in the suburbs a bit. And, of course, the obligatory number of small children getting very excited about bits of wrapping paper while ignoring the actual presents contained within!

Lovely as it was to be included and to avoid the alternative of K and I sitting about wondering what to eat on Christmas day, it really didn’t feel like Christmas – it’s just not the same in the sun! And other people’s families aren’t nearly as entertaining as your own! So maybe next year we’ll just go on holiday or something – my favourite Christmas memory in recent years remains being out off mobile phone contact, on a dive boat in the middle of the Andaman sea off the Thai coast! Doing two dives before most people have even put the turkey in the oven was pretty special!

Anyway, today was good fun as it was the annual Sydney – Hobart yacht race which, for the winners, takes a couple of days, and for the stragglers can take several days! Watching the start is a big thing to do on Boxing Day, so along with thousands of other Sydneysiders, we headed to one of the ‘heads’ around the Harbour (big jutting out bits of land with high viewing points) and managed to find ourselves a nice spot in the shade to watch the start. I’ll put pictures up in a few days as it’s hard to describe – basically a couple of hundred big yachts (like, twenty people in the crew), with two lines of ‘spectator vessels’ lined up either side of them – everything from big ferries commissioned for the day to private yachts to little power boats to canoeists!! As the racing yachts start and get into jostling for position, the spectator armada follows them a-pace – it’s quite a sight!

Once that was done, we headed back into the city and decided to go for lunch at one of our old haunts in Surry Hills. I miss Surry Hills and its so-called ‘edginess’ (i.e. not everyone is white and middle class) but today it was a changed place – it was completely deserted so I guess most people must be out of town. We just missed lunch hours at the Crown, so ended up staying for a few beers and then having an early dinner when the kitchen reopened!

(An aside – something has bitten me and it is bloomin’ itchy – grrr!!!!)

Tomorrow we’re off to the Blue Mountains for an overnight trip, hopefully doing a couple of decent walks in the process. The Blue Mountains are about 3 hours drive west of Sydney so we’ll make a fairly early start and get a good walk in before dark. The temperature should be several degrees cooler up there and the scenery is meant to be spectacular – watch this space!!

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