“This is really one of the great ferry rides of the world”, I said to my friend, as we made our way from Double Bay to Circular Quay, and snapped photographs along the way. I think this was the first and only time I’ve ever caught that ride. On the weekend, the ferry goes hourly, and takes maybe fifteen or twenty minutes. You get terrific views along the shoreline parts of the Eastern Suburbs, and ends with wonderful views of the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay.
We had spent several hours – an enjoyable long lunch – at the 18 Footers Club.
There was the usual bunch of friends (consistenting of current and former ABBA fans) who I’ve begun to know well since arriving in Sydney in the mid 1990s. I knew a couple of them before that time, but it’s really only since the mid 1990s that I’ve begun to know them well.
Three of us have also attended Swedish lessons, and so it was with great delight we discovered the bar manager, Joakim was Swedish. He was a little difficult to understand at first, and then we realised he was from Malmö, where they speak Swedish with a different accent to the more standard “Stockholm Swedish” which we’ve learned. He was charming, saying he thought it was wonderful that we “had learned Swedish because we wanted to, not because we had to”.
It was a lovely moment in our afternoon at the club, which was a very nice place to visit, with lovely surrounds and terrific food. (My only slight drama, to begin with was having arrived after the others. Living within the 5km limit, I needed to be signed in by a member, so we needed to make calls… “Can you come and sign me in…”
The number of times I’ve been to Double Bay (or “Double Pay” as it’s commonly known, a reference to the wealthy inhabitants of the suburb), I could count on one hand. The most memorable of which was when Sonia McMahon was still alive. Sonia McMahon was the wife of a former Australian Prime Minister. We were at a cafe/restaurant and she was seated with a group of similarly aged, obviously wealth women and men in their 60s, or thereabouts. After a few hours of watching them consume SEVERAL bottles of wine, a waiter walked over and said, smilingly, to one of them who had a couple of shopping bags with her, “Would you like me to put your milk in the fridge? It looks like you might be here for QUITE some time…”
I love that story, especially as there was a woman seated at a nearby table at lunch today who looked remarkably like Lady Sonia. “I’m pretty sure it’s not her”, a friend joked.