So, it’s the end of 2016, and I’m currently in Lismore where I’m spending time with my family. Although I’m working through the Christmas/NY period (while colleagues with families take a break), it’s been great having a few public holidays on the back of the weekends. It’s been a busy year at work, as you may have read about in the papers. Though I should emphasise it’s been far more difficult for colleagues than it has been for me, it’s not been a year without challenges. “Did you take an overseas holiday this year?”, my nieces partner asked me at Christmas lunch. “No, it’s been a ‘work year'”, I told him, and indeed it has.
Thus, my only travel this year has been domestic. I’ve visited Canberra (twice), Brisbane (twice), Adelaide, Hobart (twice) and Perth. Though it was mostly for very pleasant work-related activity, there was a sad occasion too: the death of Eoin Cameron, the long-time Breakfast presenter in Perth. I first met Eoin in 2002 (I think), and then in 2004, I was the manager of the radio station there, and so got plenty of time to know him. Though many people often spoke about how “difficult” he could be, I really genuinely liked him. I’ll never forget the early morning phone call I received from Sarah, our manager there, telling me, Eoin had died from a heart-attack, only several weeks after retirement. It makes you think, eh?
As you’ll have noticed from this blog, I really love travelling. I love sight-seeing. I love eating. I love new experiences. This year, I’ve had to “live” some of the overseas travel experiences vicariously through friends, who’ve had trips to Greece, Italy, Sweden etc. Also late in the year, friends Dan and Liesbeth who live in the United States spent a couple of weeks in Sydney, which allowed me to also be a tourist in my own city. For the first time EVER, I took a proper Sydney Harbour Cruise. Highly recommended.
Family-wise things haven’t been too bad this year. Though one family member has been causing my family some grief, things seem to have settled down a little. Hopefully, it’s not just Christmas or the new girlfriend that’s turned things around?
Though it’s been a “head down/bum up” kind of year, there has still been lots of time for “extravagance”. Earlier in the year, Damien, Kristen and a friend Glen and I splurged on dinner at Noma. Noma is the Danish 5-star restaurant which had a 10-week pop up in Sydney, offering their wonderful culinary interpretation of different things to do with Australian ingredients. I was also lucky enough to be on a table which won a lucky door prize for dinner at Aria.
It’s also been a year where I’ve been able to explore other passions including photography and genealogy. In February, I went on a photo walk, and in April, I got to hang out with fellow descendants of James Rixon and Amelia Goodwin, as a headstone was unveiled at James’ grave at Windsor in Western Sydney. There was another bright spot, too, recovering the history project I co-produced for Sydney Pride in 1998, featuring oral history interviews with some of the original Mardi Gras ’78’ers”. And in a lovely combination of both my personal and professional life, one of the absolute highlights of the year was when my nephew Sam, part of my former primary school, South Lismore paid a visit to the ABC, and I was able to contribute to the tour, along with fellow Lismore boy, Robbie Buck, the Breakfast presenter on ABC Radio Sydney. I’m home for Christmas and Sam is still talking about it now.
Other highlights of the year have included attending a Ramadan Dinner at NSW Parliament House, the opening of Sydney Chinese New Year, Australian Of The Year events in Sydney and Canberra, the Lucia Celebration at Sydney’s Swedish Church, the opening of a film produced by my friend Michaela, ABC Radio’s “Sing Out Sydney” event, and many other things. In the midst of a busy year, I am very fortunate, and I honestly appreciate and count my blessings.
2017? Though currently in Lismore, I’ll be back in Sydney for NYE. It’s not as if I have any plans though. I’ll happily watch the fireworks on television and go straight to bed. My friend Sue and I are travelling to Spain in October, and I’m also likely/possibly traveling to Sweden in May. See you on the other side.