Monday 29 January 2024

Four Seasons in one day

In line with Sydney's competitive nature towards Melbourne, we seem to have taken on their weather. Just before New Year's we took friends up to Cottage Point for a BBQ. The weather was overcast but not forcast for rain. 

Then there was a down pour.
Then the blue skies came out as if it had always been sunny.
And then the grey clouds reappeared. 

Still a lovely day out, and a green snake leapt from the raised retaining wall to land with a slap on the ground less than a foot behind me. Alas I was too slow to whip out my phone and it had slithered away before I could get a shot - probably due to my involunatry squealing! That was definitely a first for me!

So for this week's #Allseasons linky, I'm talking about all seasons in one day!

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln


A friend and I went to the closing party of the Festival of Sydney. Before we went in, we chatted to a woman who was there by herself. She didn't come in with us but later, I saw her enter and I waved her over. So she joined us while we were sitting and talking. She had decided last minute to come, having seen the main act give an art talk the night before.

When we went to dance, I included her but she didn't come with us. After about 10 minutes she joined us and we all danced together. She had obviously thought it over and decided 'why not?' My friend and I decided to leave early before the main act came on and she pleaded "Don't go! It will get better!" It was 10.30 on a Sunday night though so we just weren't into it enough to stay (and we have Rudimentals on Tuesday so plenty of dancing ahead of us).

On the way home I said to my friend "That's great that she's still going out and doing fun things at her age". Then I paused and asked my friend "Was she my age? Do I look like that?" Maybe that's what I look like when I go to bands by myself? I honestly don't know how old I look to people, and how old other people are anymore. Maybe I never did, and I'm just more aware of it (or self conscious about it).

Either way, just in the same way people talk to me when I'm at a gig by myself, we swept her up into our group. I suddenly realised she was exactly like me - she may have grown older than the people that like to do certain things but not ready to stop enjoying them. It was like seeing myself in a mirror, so to speak. 

May you never give up on what you enjoy, even if you have no one who wants to come along and do it too. You just miss out on too much if you let that slow you down.

“Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideas. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” – Samuel Ullman

Linking with #MondayMusicMovesMe  #FriendshipFriday #KeithsRamblings   #TrafficJamReboot #FineWhatever (because dancing is one of my passions) 

Sunday 28 January 2024

Money and Happiness

There is a meme going round that a lot of my friends like to share. It's Jim Carrey saying that he hopes everyone gets rich and famous so they realise that it's not the answer. Every time I see it, it winds me up with irritation. Yes, I agree money can't buy happiness but seriously, there is such arrogance of privilege in that statement. 

Plenty of people can't go to the doctor until they have saved up enough to afford it. Plenty of people get an unexpected bill for $100 or $200 and that creates so much stress for them - weeks of anxiety or fiscal pressure. 

On a personal note, I learnt a lesson on this recently (and note, I'm aware I'm the Jim Carrey in this scenario). While in Japan (yes, already privileged enough to have an overseas holiday with my family), one of the kids left early. I went with them to the airport on the train because I was worried I needed to fix something on our ticket, and if he couldn't check his bags (due to short connection time) I was going to take it back with me. However, I took us on the train to the wrong airport. We couldn't find our check in counter and when asking someone, they looked at the ticket and pointed out my mistake. It would take an hour and forty minutes by train and bus to get there, or an hour in the taxi.

I told my son we were just getting the taxi, and as we put in the bags, I asked the driver how much it would cost.  My son paused putting his bag in the back in case the answer meant we couldn't go with him and I said "Hon, we're doing it anyway. It's going to be cheaper than buying you a new plane ticket." My heart was sinking as the taxi driver typed a lot of numbers into the calculator to show me a figure. I then did the currency conversion from yen and while it was over $200, I was slightly relieved it wasn't the $500 I'd imagined.

I felt terrible and told my husband enroute, as it was a wasteful mistake that ate into our budget unnecessarily (and with no joy as a reward). Kindly he just said "Let me know if he makes his flight", no doubt knowing full well I'd be mentally beating myself up over it.

My son stated, when I worked out the cost "It's a good thing you came. I couldn't have paid this!" I was so relieved I didn't just book his train ticket and send him on his way.

He checked in with time to spare and I got the bus back to town. It was expensive and a stupid waste of money, but it didn't really impact us. Not in a major way. But for many, what do you do in that situation? That decision, if you can even consider it an option, could be far more fiscally stressful. Do you take the affordable transport but potentially miss your international flight? I felt so bad about my mistake but it didn't matter really. Imagine how you feel if that's your food budget or rent for a week gone?

Yes, money may not make you happy or bring what you think it brings, but for a lot of the world it might make life easier, or bearable, or mean they can afford their meds or see a dentist or even just eat properly.

I saw a band called Dip last week and one of their songs has a line "My mental health is so expensive" and that seemed to resonate with the young audience. It made me very sad how tough people seem to have it in this 'lucky country'. Getting help is financially out of reach for many that need it.

So yes Mr Carrey, it is not the answer but it does take away a lot of stress and difficulty. Maybe acknowledge the privilege it brings. The privilege of never really having to worry about spending money.

Photos are from the taxi tearing across Osaka. 

Linking with #HappyTuesday (because discussing happiness) #MondayMusicMovesMe #FinalFriday #WWWhimsy and for the pics with #SkyWatch & #GaleriaHimmelsblich

Art is all around you

 A while ago I posted about these two sort of textured posters around the neighbourhood. I've since found a few more, slightly further afield.

It's turning into quit a gorgeous collection, like a city wide (realistically probably just Inner West but let's roll with it as it sounds more delightful). I posted a photo of another one in this post.

There was a third one but I don't seem to be able to find the picture, so below is a mural but I can't remember where I was when I took it...

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Enjoying the best of Sydney

My longtime friend, we met in a hotel pool in Malaysia when we were 12, was visiting from England. She wanted an easy day to catch up so I picked her up and we drove up to Cottage Point for lunch and a swim. Enroute, I needed to put air into the tyres and apparently you have to pay for this in England! I can't get my head around this at all. Surely for safety it needs to be free. And it's air. And you'll probably buy something from the shop while you are there...However, I digress....

We caught up for hours, chatting nonstop while lying by the pool or swimming, with the noise of cicadas and surrounded by stunning views. It's the most relaxing day, even with the hour-long drive to get there.

We are a far cry from those young children who met and played on holidays, and then stayed loosely in touch. Yet nothing has changed. We covered off on politics, the apparent rage issue Sydney has (she had noticed it too), ageing, our kids, our husbands, our travel plans, her friends (some of whom I've never met but she has mentioned to me - she thinks it's funny that I ask about them, but it's almost like characters in a book - I feel I know them because every five years or so I get an update, A bit like the 7up documentary), menopause and of course, our recent holidays. It was in part, the same conversation I would have with any other friend. A sign of a good friendship, when time & distance creates no barrier. 

I dropped her to where she was staying and then raced home before heading out. I had tickets to Night Songs at Coney Island as a date night for my husband and I, and it would have been such a romantic evening but alas he felt sick so stayed home. It was too last minute for anyone to come so I set off solo.

You were taken on an old ferry for a tour around the harbour at sunset with a band playing music. Moon River melodically accompanying the giant full moon on the rise as the pink hues grew across the sky. It was beautiful. Finally, we arrived at shimmering lights of Luna Park. 

The band proceeded to play in the fairground before we all made our way into Coney Island. Alas no photos allowed in there but after a quick go in the Mirror Maze, the immersive show began. The orchestra was sectioned off in the Joy Wheel and we could walk around while the choristers moved around and performed near us. They were on the walkways, up the stairs of the slides (at one point zipping down the slides), shooting paper planes past us and so on. It was a fully immersive experience with 200 or so voices telling a tale of war and the loss of children in the fallout. It was beautiful yet very sad and disturbing.

When it was over, the boat took us back across the inky black harbour that was capturing the sparkling lights of the city. The boat played recorded jazz swing standards by Glenn Miller, a little cheerier way to end the evening.

It was a glorious way to enjoy this beautiful city of mine. A brilliant idea by those organisers of the Festival of Sydney.

And that is what's been on my calendar. What's been on yours?

Linking with #ThruMyLens #SundayBest #TravelTuesday #WednesdayAroundtheWorld #MCoW #WBOYC  and #NaturesNotes for the Cottage Point (& sunset) photos #WaterThursday