Twelve months ago in Sydney we were recovering from the dust storm. Twelve months later it remains a topic for conversation in Sydney. And it’s an event which has influenced two of the photographs in this year’s Sydney Life art exhibition in Hyde Park.

One is a reasonably straightforward representation of the storm taken on the north side just near the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The other is more interesting, and my favourite in this year’s exhibition.

Mikhail and the Dust Storm by Christopher Lawrie
Mikhail and the Dust Storm by Christopher Lawrie. It’s obviously been photoshopped in some way, as it features a young man with striking dark features (and a hint of redness in his eyes) against a background of the storm taken in the southern suburbs of Sydney.

Twelve months ago this weekend, Kate and I were on an art crawl, visiting a number of galleries, including the rather fantastic White Rabbit. Today I went on an art crawl of my own, taking part in a guided tour of Art and About.

Art and About has expanded quite significantly this year. This year in Hyde Park there’s a fair bit more than Sydney Life, with art and craft workshops and a rather spectacular idea which has involved dressing up various statues around the city in a variety of interesting and sometimes outrageous clothing and adornment.

Pigs might fly. Il Porcellino, the wild boar sculpture outside Sydney Hospital.
Although much of the focus in the media and on blogs has been on Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Captain Cook, I was rather taken with the William Bede Dalley statue in Hyde Park and the wild boar statue, Il Porcellino.

The Dalley statue was interesting because a) I’d never noticed the statue before and b) I loved the way they gave him sunglasses and a “green” theme. And I loved the wild boar statue simply because a) it’s a great statue anyway and b) the idea of putting wings on a pig is simple and effective.

As I wandered back through the city I jumped on a bus which I assumed would take me further back up George Street to Railway Square. Wrong. Before I knew it, I was half way over the Anzac Bridge. With a deep breath, I figured there was little to lose and it gave me an opportunity to wander – without plans – around Balmain. The one opportunistic discovery I thought I might made was visit/trespass on the White Bay re-development site which Carol mentioned. Although I was tempted and tried to trespass today, I couldn’t find a suitable entrance, and got scared at all the signs about not trespassing.

Datchet Street, Balmain
It was interesting to walk around some of the back streets of Balmain, though, especially since I only really know the main drag. I discovered, for example, a little laneway called Datchett Street which has wonderful houses, wonderful views, and is so tiny and intriguing, I couldn’t help but think I’d like to live there sometime.

Catching the ferry back to Darling Harbour, I attempted to purchase an ice-cream, but with lengthy queues – as bad as those at Sydney Ariport today – I ended up with a slurpee.

As I wandered back through the city I came across an unexpected parade which had closed off much of George Street.

Preparing to march on George Street are those celebrating the Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival
If there was ever such a thing as the “Sydney Straight Mardi Gras” this was it. Lots of “golden oldies” rugby union players from Australia, NZ and the Pacific have gathered on George Street in a range of costumes. Lots of Aussie flags, kangaroo outfits, etc.

When I thought the day was just about over a mate invited me out for a drink and to listen to some old style disco tunes at The Midnight Shift.

Quite a diverse Sunday you might say. And a day with absolutely beautiful weather here.

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