It’s lunchtime on Sunday and I’ve yet to do anything productive. That said, I guess you could mount the argument watching television, listening to music, and reading email MUST involve some form of energy consumption. It’s not a complete waste of an otherwise beautiful day, though, as I’ll head out somewhere after completing this considerably overdue blog update. The lack of an update has nothing to do with the amount of activity in my life, rather it’s because I’ve had a bit of “writer’s block”. I’ve started several posts, only to discard them minutes later. But finally, it seems, I have something to say and the ability to do so. Maybe it’s the relaxation I’m feeling half way through the Easter Weekend.
Andrew had spotted a couple of exhibitions he wanted to see at the Maritime Museum: a collection of French toy boats, and a photographic exhibition of pets on board ships.
The toy boat exhibition was excellent, and it brought back lots of memories of my own childhood. “Do kids still make boats from balsa wood?” I wondered to myself at one point. As well as the boats, I also really loved the black and white photography featured in the exhibition.
As we wandered around the museum, we also looked at the exhibition of Australian swim-wear, the photography of a young American who visited Fremantle in the 1920s (or thereabouts) and, my favourite, saw a boat made entirely of beer cans for Darwin’s Beer Can Regatta.
The beer theme continued over at the Justice Museum with an exhibition about the history of Sydney pubs. As well as all the expected stories about the “Razor Gangs” and “The Six O’Clock Swill”, there was an interesting section about “Pub Rock”. In the midst of the current debate about licensing laws in NSW, there was an interesting observation that the pub rock scene which brought forth Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, Icehouse, Mental As Anything etc, was only possible because Sydney had such large large bars, due to the six o’clock swill. With the end of the swill, it was argued, they needed something to fill the space. In the 80s, it was pub rock. Now, of course, it’s poker machines and bistros.
It’s a gorgeous museum, by the way…
With all of this talk of beer, it was inevitable Andrew and I would eventually make our way towards a bar at Circular Quay, via the odd installation/sculpture near the Cahill Expressway. As we enjoyed our drinks, we chatted and watched the world go by. There were the girls sitting nearby who were “more than friends”, there was the older man in the awful lime green jacket, and there were wedding photographs being taken. The silver/grey bridesmaids dresses were just fantastic, by the way. Overall, a great way to spend the afternoon.
Another highlight of the last week was dinner on Friday night with a couple of mates, John and James at Strangers with Candy, a small cafe in Redfern at the top of Kepos Street.
“It’s a bit like Wagga around here”, John observed, as we looked out the window of the small cafe onto the tree-lined street. It was also quite chilly on Friday night, continuing the analogy. In the 2007, Good Food Guide, the cafe is described in these terms… “This former shopfront is home to an engaging eatery. The eclectic charm of comforting wood tones, candle-lit tables and burgundy walls and the warm welcome from staff; not to mention the food, which is consistently appetising.” For entree, I had a dish made from figs, proscuitto, rocket and parmesan. For mains, I had the duck confit with apple and ginger agrodolce. Both were excellent and well-priced.
Aside from the usual Wednesday night drinks, it’s just been work, work, work. I’m in massive money-saving mode at the moment, as it’s now just over three months until I leave for Europe. It’s still a little unbelievable, though, and it probably won’t become “real” until a few weeks before-hand. Swedish lessons are going well, and I even had a dream the other night where I was in Sweden and speaking Swedish. Weird eh? A workmate, Ann, has loaned me a copy of her husband’s Lonely Planet Guide to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which I’ll attempt to devour over the next twenty four hours, before heading back to work on Tuesday which, at the moment, seems a long way away.