Christmas Sydney Style

27 Dec

Downtown Sydney has a way of making me feel a stranger in my own country. Uncaring crowds hellbent on completing their Xmas shoping lists. Harsh, densely packed glass and metal office towers. Too much stress and testosterone for me.

The huge, grey coat hanger bridge with flags flying seems painted on the skyline. Groups of black ants climb the curved span to the centre. Australia’s number one tourist attraction isn’t Uluru, it’s the Harbour Bridge Climb.

We’re staying the Christmas period at our friends’ harbourfront top floor apartment in Kirribilli three doors down from the Prime Minister’s residence. Except that the current Prime Minister declines to live there and anyway he’s skiing in Val D’Isere, France, with his family for the holidays. Tony Abbott doesn’t lead by example where domestic tourism is concerned.

Our view across to the Opera House and Circular Quay sweeps right to the bridge and beyond. At all times of night and day some kind of boating activity is taking place. It’s like a moving picture show. Ferries, yachts, dinghies, cruisers, water police and water taxis. Last night we watched the floating apartment block, Solstice, leave port. For ten minutes she blotted out the Opera House as she sailed past.

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Maxi yachts with their green Rolex stickers and pennants slice by with wives and girlfriends aboard. A last treat before they hunker down for Sydney to Hobart race hell. Big weather is forecast from the second day of the race. I wish them safe passage.

The out of service ferry wharf below us is a favourite anglers’ spot. I’ve yet to see them catch anything. Just as well. There’s a warning sign near Luna Park just around the corner that lists the health hazards of eating harbour fish.

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We rode the ferry to Manly Beach with my sister Maria’s family. Half way across we pulled alongside the sleek black hull of race favourite, super maxi, Perpetual Loyal. She’ll carry a crew of 24 on race day and hit a top speed of 30 knots. That’s flying! A crew member waved at us as we passed across her bow.

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Today is Christmas Day, a wet, cool one for Sydney. Extended family who could get the time off gathered at my sister Lynde and her husband Peter’s beautiful Wollstonecraft home just a few doors down from the home of Tony Abbott’s Liberal predecessor. I looked for John Howard as we walked by but I guess he’s already on his annual beach holiday at Hawk’s Nest. I did see him on the pavement there once before. He was pushing his toddler grand daughter on her ride on toy. I gave them a wide berth. There’s a time and place to tackle former prime ministers and while they’re playing with their grandkids is not one of them.

Tomorrow Boxing Day brings the start of the yacht race and the cricket. Australia’s change of seasons is rung not with red and gold leaves but by switching national sport spectating. We’re a nation fixated on male dominated sports and the gambling that goes with it. Can’t see that ever changing so I learnt long ago to ignore most of it.

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Of more interest to me is the lineup for the forthcoming Woodford Festival and the weather forecast for Woodford week. Both are looking hot at this stage. Give me musicians over fast bowlers any day!

Wishing you and yours a relaxing holiday with loved ones and a new year full of hope and happiness.

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4 Responses to “Christmas Sydney Style”

  1. Michelle Noble December 27, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Sharon love! Great to get your news and we wish you and yours a jolly lovely season of goodwill too. No one at the chalet for Christmas so Bryan and I snuggled down in front of the fire to open our pressies and then have our Christmas lunch when we felt like it and not at a time set to suit others! Result= not too bloated and not starting a diet straight away. We had lobster, scallops and prawns at various points during the day. Followed by a traditional christmas pud of course. Yum.
    Guests arrive Sunday for the New Year week. Snow arrived again yesterday morning after 2 days of fierce winds and rain. Over 50,000 people in France without electricity over Christmas. We shouldn’t complain that our only nuisance was no phone or internet during that period! xxxxxx

    • Sharon Tickle December 27, 2013 at 10:08 am #

      Sounds like the ideal Xmas Day to me Michelle! Lovely.

      Yes, awful weather in parts of Europe. Terrible floods in southern UK….

      Went shopping for extra ski gear today. Stu heads off Jan 28 and I follow soon after. Keep some of that white stuff for us please ;-))

      Wishing you both a happy New Year!

      Love,

      Sxx

  2. Heather watt December 29, 2013 at 5:36 am #

    Great news Sharon from Sydney. Looks like you had a great Xmas with family. We are still up the Sunshine Coast at Cameron’s place. 40 degrees in Brisbane today so hope it cools down a bit for you at Woodford. It looks as though it will be dry anyway. Happy new year to you both. Moving house this week. Heather

    • Sharon Tickle December 29, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

      What a week to move Heather! We melted yesterday but the music was worth it. Can I give you a hand on Friday? Am free all day. Won’t have a car though as Stu at work. Sxx

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