Escape to the country

I booked a day’s outing for Mr S and me. A day trip on a vintage train. I told everyone we were going on a steam train. Not that old. It was diesel. Still, pretty old.

Our carriage was a master work of pressed tin ceiling recovered from other carriages and wood work.

On the way out we were served tea and scones. Very civilised.

We travelled south, along the coast to Wollongong.

Then up the escarpment.

We stopped half way up, from where we had an amazing view of the coast, Lake Illawarra and the now declining steel works.

There’s one big difference between modern and vintage trains. Noise. Modern trains are insulted and you are cocooned from the ch-ch-ch of the wheels, the grinding squeal when wheels are forced to go around slight bends, the rattle of windows, the creaky of the carriage. People shouted to be heard over the noise. When we stopped at stations, the silence was deafening. On the video of us ascending through the temperate rainforest, you will hear the shouting, but not all the other noises – my audio didn’t pick it up. But trust me.

On the side of the tracks, at suburban and country stations, people watched, waved and photographed our train. It’s lovely the impact of heritage trains. I think it is the mystery and sense of adventure. Modern trains, with their quietness, their metal and glass, just don’t have the same sense of romance.

Our destination: Robertson. As it is in the southern highlands, it was much cooler. And breezy.

Did Lucinda eat at her namesake?

No, she didn’t. I don’t drink coffee. We headed straight for the pub which had lovely bright decor and lots burning in the fire place. Luckily I had booked a table; there were many people who missed out.

A few beers and we were ready for a hot lunch. They stuffed up our order and gave us two No 5 blackboard specials instead of a 2 and a 5. They were so busy we didn’t bother complaining. We’d never have got our order by the time the train was to leave.

A quick walk up the Main Street. Past the big poo, sorry The Big Potato.

Up to the Cheese Factory.

As well as a cheese factory and cafe, the building contained the most amazing rabbit warren of a store. Second hand, new, upcycled, clothes, jewellery, toys, furniture. Stuff. Lots of stuff. I bought two pairs of gloves. They are so soft and a little fluffy inside. I couldn’t decide which pair I liked. So bought them both. There was a grey pair. I showed restraint and didn’t buy it.

The fruit shop was amazing. So cheap. $3 for a punnet of fat, lush raspberries. And the biggest bunch of basil I have ever seen, for the same price as a tiny bunch in Sydney.

A walk in the golden light and long shadows back to the station. There’s memorials to the fettlers and men who built the railway up the escarpment. It would have been heavy going. The memorial is made of concrete sleepers, topped by a rail indicator.

The station building looks to be made of wood – an easy assumption as we are in the highlands. But no, it is concrete slabs.

The track not taken. We were not heading this way to Moss Vale. The train had gone there to turn around. We were heading back to Sydney. There’s always something evocative about looking out the back window of a train. Not that you can do it from a modern train with the guard or driver’s compartments in the way. Maybe that is why it seems so special?

Back down the escarpment, to the coast.

Our trip back through the south of city was in dark. It felt like more like 9 than 5pm. We pulled into platform number 1 at Central. The country train side of Central.

We hoped on a suburban train home. So quiet!

We felt like we were returning from a long holiday to a different place. And a different time.

Escape to the city

On Saturday, I went to French lessons. Our pause cafe (the break in the middle of the lesson) was two divine cakes.

I then went straight into the city. I love walking under the Harbour Bridge. It never gets old, looking at all the metal and rivets.

Join me on the rest of my walk to the theatre.

Down some steps between two rows of terraces.

Down three flights of stairs and follow the road you see to be level with the harbour.

And there’s the water, sparkling through the gaps between the wharves.

I met some friends for lunch. I started with a cocktail. The cocktail was divine – so I had another. The food less so. The restaurant is close to one of the theatres we go to but has changed hands or managers. We won’t be eating there again. The vibe, the food, the service just not the same.

Then it was off to the theatre.

I was really looking forward to seeing Hugo Weaving in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He is amazing. And he was in this play too, as were all the other actors, especially Zahra Newman. But I just didn’t enjoy the play. It was soooo melodramatic, so over-wrought. All that screaming and long monologues and pacing the stage pointlessly. I’m not sure if the fault lies in Tennessee Williams or the director. Still glad I saw it.

Then it was time to retrace our steps back to the train station. The evening autumn light is so golden. Stay golden, Ponyboy.

Back up the steps between the terraces.

On the train home, I saw the trial of the new driverless train coming to Sydney. Exciting and amazing but it does mean fewer and fewer jobs for working class.

I finished the day with a workout at the gym.

Definitely a city day.

Treating the weekend like a holiday

I often spend my weekends resting and preparing for the working week.

How stuffed is that!!!

Rather than free time, it becomes more time tied to work. Washing and ironing clothes for work. Shopping and preparing meals for the week ahead. Other household chores that we just don’t have time for during the week because work eats the whole week.

This weekend I treated the two days like a holiday. OK, that was more by chance than planning, but both days were not tied to preparing for work.

I spent Saturday in the city.

and Sunday in the country.

It’s late, and I’ve had a big weekend so I will share my adventures with you in future posts.

How do you spend your weekends? Having fun? Doing household chores? Working? Preparing for work? Resting and recovering?

Bargo River & Mermaid Pool

We drove about an hour and a half south, down to Picton, to join a few friends on a bush walk.

A short drive through Tahmoor brought us to Bargo River.

We walked along the river. It wasn’t a signposted walk and several times we lost the path, scrambling up and down the steep surrounds. Someone has helpfully ties ribbons to guide the way, but we hadn’t seen them at first as we walked along the river bank before it became too steep and we realised we weren’t on the track. Luckily we climbed up, as further along the river drops down between steep cliffs. And we found the track, with a few dead ends!

Then we found signposted trees. I do thank whoever put the little handwritten metal signs up. More useful than the map.

We reached our destination – Mermaid Pool. But we couldn’t swim in it. We were up on the cliff. Our vantage point had us looking directly up the river. Even those people we spied closer the pool, on the flat rock face on the upper side of the waterfall couldn’t get into the pool. It would be a long jump down and a climb up the bare face of the cliff.

Photos don’t show the majesty of the place but here goes.

Walking along the track, we found a tool box. In the middle of the bush!! Inside was a log book and free maps of other areas.

Walking out we found the clearer, and much easier track, up along the ridge.

Today was a hot day, 28°, and sunny. So much for autumn weather. As we neared the end of our walk the river was helpfully not bordered by cliffs. There was a little beach area. I couldn’t resist. I stripped off my shorts and took off my bra from under my t-shirt and dived in. Ahh, the softness of fresh water. Soo refreshing. And my skin felt so soft afterwards. I could have floated there for longer.

But we were going for lunch.

Mr S chivalrously gave me his t-shirt for the short walk to the car. By the time we got there I was largely dry. I popped my shorts back on and they were only slightly damp when we entered the cafe for lunch. My t-shirt was not going to be dry. No worries, I had a long sleeve jersey which I wore instead.

Mr S and I both had a veggie burger with sweet potato fries. Not bad. Not the best I’ve had. The chocolate milk shake I had was lovely, with a big dollop of ice cream.

Before we hit the road home, we popped in a homewares shop. My friends thought Mr S was just humouring me by going in. No way! He loves buying knick-knacks. And we did. Silicon straws – Mr S uses straws a lot. These are reusable. So no more disposable straws. And a new kitchen timer. And my favourite soaps. And slippers for Mr S’s mother for Mother’s Day.

It was a lovely day – all the better for having spent it with friends.

Easter traditions

I don’t believe in supernatural beings. I don’t believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins.

But I’m thankful for the Christian traditions that have given me Easter. I love Easter.

I love decorating with Easter-inspired decorations. Bunnies, eggs, flowers. Strange, I know on so many levels. Symbols of spring and rebirth – in our season of autumn!!! Rabbits are such noxious pests in Australia.

I loved all the decorations my mother did growing up. I hope when I go to Germany, I will be able to find some authentic German Easter decorations. Doubtful, I know, as it will be the wrong seasons. I also loved colouring and decorating hard boiled eggs when we were growing up. My Oma was the master egg blower. Not for her hard boiled. You could hardly find the hole through which she blew out the contents.

Growing up, we would get Easter gifts. Normally things we needed coming into winter – new PJs, new slippers – and a book. Always books. I still give little needed gifts to my sons. This time undies!

Laid out on the decorated table, it just adds a bit of specialness to the year. And so much better than getting a packet of undies tossed at you.

I love hot cross buns. The traditional ones with fruit. Not chocolate ones. They’re just chocolate muffins with a cross. Not apple and cinnamon. Come on. They’re a travesty. At a pinch, I can have the traditional-looking ones without fruit bits. I confess, while I do eat them on Good Friday, I don’t only eat them on Good Friday. I eat my fill a few weeks before and a week or two after Easter, and then that’s it until next year. But on Good Friday, we eat lunch them together as a family. Well, Mr S and I do, kid-ults not generally being up.

I love chocolate eggs. Red tulip bunnies are my fav. I loved the chocolate chicken on a basket I used to get as a child. I love little eggs. Ever since I can remember, you have to smooth out the foil covering of the little eggs and make a ring or a wine glass. It’s mandatory, don’t you know. New is my love of MnM crunchie eggs. New because we didn’t have them decades ago.

I love the family roast lunch on Easter Sunday. Numbers are dwindling, as cousins grow up, but with family visiting this year from the US, we still have a full table to enjoy Mr S’s roast lamb.

Mr S and The Dreamer have their own annual tradition of going to The Royal Easter Show. Dirty Boy and I don’t usually go to The Show. Tacky. Crowded. This year, I went to The Show. We took our US visitors. Spent hours there. And loved it. The district displays. A bit of wood chopping competition (which I never see anywhere else, but can’t miss if I go to The Show.) Animals. Dog show. Horse riding and tricks/competitions. Spent heaps on things I never knew I wanted, let alone existed, but once seen, simply had to have. Like this electric massager and necklace with the moons from my birthdate and both of my sons’.

Like everyone, we finished at the showbag pavilion and compulsory annual purchase of the must-have-every-year-even-if-we-haven’t-eaten last-year’s-lot Bertie Beetle bag.

“Where’s my Ninja bag?” asked Dirty Boy when we got home. Since getting one from Nanna as a kid, it remains the most loved one, full of plastic crap and a few lollies and something to inflate to hit your brother with. “Sorry, they didn’t have them anymore.”

Normally Easter falls towards the end of the school term, a week or two before term breaks up. The public holidays are much appreciated. Ahhhh, rest. We sit and relax while other maniacs rush up the highway for the traditional camping trip. “Ha! We’ll have holidays soon. We don’t need to be stuck in the highway parking lot. We’ll eat and read and rest over Easter and go exploring in the break.”

Except this year, Easter fell in the school holiday break. We feel a bit ripped off. No extra long weekend. And horrendous traffic during our holidays!!! With visitors from the US, we broke our usual rule of NOT venturing out in our car over Easter, and did a day trip to the Southern Highlands. This time of year is perfect for exploring and picnicking.

Thank you, Christians. I love Easter.

I live for the holidays

I’m a teacher. You may know me from such favourites as “Yes, the holidays are great. Study and become a teacher so you can have them too” and “Enjoy your holidays. Oh sorry. You haven’t got them. Well, enjoy the time with your kids.”

The Man and I have just had five weeks off. I know you won’t be sympathetic, but the summer break used to be six weeks. Unsurprisingly, I much preferred having the six weeks. Still, we always manage to fit a bit in our five weeks summer break.

This summer break, working up until the 20th didn’t leave much time for Christmas prep. It finally felt like Christmas on Christmas Eve. We had a lovely family day.

Then it was time to pack for our South Pacific cruise. Sixteen years ago The Man and I went on a South Pacific cruise. We swore we’d never do it again. Not our scene. Like a floating RSL club. Bogans who stuff themselves with food. Our cabin was tiny. We had to eat dinner separate from our kids and with people who had limited conversation and one of whom really disliked us. And we had to have dinner with them every night!!!

Well, I’ve changed my tune.

We loved it.

On the top deck, cocktails prior to departure.

Travelling with friends meant we didn’t have to engage in much small talk with strangers which is not our thing. We joined our friends for breakfast and dinner in the restaurant every night and never ran out of conversation. During the day at sea, I slept, read, listened to audio books, drank cocktails, daydreamed. We went to a few evening shows. One was amazing, one pure corn, one hilarious.

As to the cabin size, we booked a balcony cabin. I wasn’t going if I didn’t have my own balcony. But lucky us, we were upgraded to a suite – fancy term for a bigger room with a bigger bathroom and balcony and a small entrance to the bathroom with extra wardrobe space. Luxury!

View of ship from Mystery Island. Look at the clear water.

We did the usual stops. Mystery Island. Port Vila. Lifou. Noumea.

Island opposite from Mystery Island

There was no waiting for the tenders to Mystery Island or Lifou. We were surprised at how quick and efficient the transfers were.

At Mystery Island, there is no mystery. We walked around it in about 40 minutes, and then snorkeled along a rock ledge, with beautiful, colourful fish. We also snorkeled at Lifou. This time with sea turtles. Such big creatures look so mobile and fluid in the water.

Port Vila was visually unattractive. We walked into town and I nearly passed out from the heat and humidity. Clearly my white, white soft skin makes me unsuited to tropical days that involve even the slightest physical activity. It may have been better to visit a resort. The best thing was the cheap duty free alcohol. $11 for a litre of vodka and $24 for 750ml of Chambord. I see some French martinis coming up.

I enjoyed walking around Noumea, eavesdropping on the French conversation and using my poor French when buying some clothes and beer.

I think I want to live on a tropical island for a bit. The s-l-o-w pace appeals to me. Not being able to do a lot, not being able to go far afield.

Leaving on the 28th, early in the break, made the holidays seem longer. Unbelievable that we had a week at home until I flew to Queensland to catch up with family and friends. And then I even had a few days at home before work resumed.

Between the cruise and Queensland, I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody with a friend. I am so glad I saw it on the big screen with big sound. What a toe tapping, joyous movie.

Before the movie, we went to cafe. I’m not a cafe frequenter. I find the food often pompous or overpriced and not much different from what I can do easily at home. My main takeaway from this cafe: is there are shortage of glassware? The water came in finger bowls and the chocolate milkshake in a jar.

Also caught up with another friend for lunch in the city.

Summer isn’t summer without some trips to the beach.

Avoca Beach

The Man’s Kiwi cousin came to stay for a couple of nights. We took her to the beach and then home to laze by the pool and escape the heat with alcohol.

Walking along inlet to North Curl Curl Beach

Surfers waiting for the next set

The holidays will end with a few days lazing by the pool, and dozing inside with a fan, the only way to escape the heat wave.

You know how teachers always say they work during the holidays and you think, “Yeah, right!” Well I did go into to work for a couple of days and did field calls and emails. So it wasn’t all relaxing and fun. But hey, I still had five weeks of awesomeness.

Do you know what teachers fear most about holidays? Running into students. So I was caught doing the congo line in the restaurant on the cruise. Three families from my school were on the cruise! And then another family on my flight to Queensland. Luckily they were all lovely families with great kids.

Already thinking of my next break. And how to escape Sydney’s heat.

What to do when I can’t walk?

Read, of course.

  • Another Agatha Raisin book. A quick, light read.
  • The next book in the Ferrante Neopolitan series. I'm a third of the way through. Getting a bit heavy.

Binge watch TV series and movies.

  • Line of Duty Series 1. I don't know how I missed this series. Some shocking, shout-at-the-tele scenes. I will have to get season 2.
  • Pioneer Woman. I'm not sure how I feel about this show but it is kind of addictive. It's a cooking show but I doubt I'll cook any of the recipes. Too much butter and cream and fat and cheese. Handfuls and handfuls of cheese. With a layer of more cheese. The outdoor scenes are so different. The flat, apparently tree-less plains made me google if there are trees in Ohio. And there are. But you wouldn't know it. It must be so cold and windy!!! It's strangely addictive in the way of watching shows about cults are. All that smiling, wholesome American, blocking out of any diversity. And oh! The plastic. Everything comes in plastic and styrofoam.
  • The 100 Foot Journey. Light, schmaltzy, movie. As you'd expected from something produced by Oprah Winfrey. With great acting. As you'd expect from Helen Mirren. And wonderful scenes from France.
  • The Women on the Sixth Floor. A French movie set in the 60s. A gentle love story and personal awakening.

Play mindless games on my phone.

  • Twenty. My eldest got me onto this. And I'm hooked. My son got up to 18 and deleted it. I got up to 18 and deleted it too. But then put it back on. And got up to 19. Should I keep trying to get to twenty? Mmm, really it's a waste of time.

  • Desktop Tower defence. I have no idea why I'm still playing this. Have been for years or decades.

French lessons. The actual lessons are two hours on a Saturday morning. Add in travel and parking and that's a fair block of Saturday gone. But really, all I'd do is sloth around if I didn't go. Then there's homework and other revision.

Blog. I have more time for blogging. I have posts galore for the future. And I've developed an idea for a new blog.

Going to a cafe. I don't do cafes. I don't see the point of sitting in a crowded small place, often on a road side, on wibbly chairs, paying a premium for a sandwich I can make at home or a cake I don't really like with either too much icing or too dry or both, and poorly made tea or my other choice at cafes, iced chocolate, chosen because I don't like their tea, and then feeling sick because of all the cream in the iced chocolate. But as I can't walk far or up and down stairs, an invite from a friend for an outing to a cafe was accepted.

And did I enjoy it?

The view was of the road, and the intersection was noisy but we weren't right on the road. The chairs were stable. The food was yummy and something I'd never cook. A flourless orange cake with gelato and orange sauce and Persian fairy floss. And the tea was fine.

Do you spy the scone at the top of the photo? I ordered scones first but they only had one left so they gave it to me on the house. A bit too much with the cake but I powered through most of it. The scone was the softest scone I have ever had!And not at all crumbly.

So yes, it was a lovely. Thanks to my friend who took her temporarily disabled friend out for a Sunday outing. I'd do it again. As an occasional outing, it was good.

And plan my trip to France. Of course, I've been doing plenty of this. Must be time for another post on my plans.

Hornsby garden

Mr S and I like to go for a walk in new places. One weekend at the end of April (I wrote it them but forgot to post) I remembered somewhere I’ve been meaning to go a decade: Lisgar Gardens. Full of camellias. Lush with trees and ferns. Building on it started one hundred years ago. 

I especially love the steps leading into a garden. So evocative. And what about the tree growing from a rock. It looks as though it is melting over a rock.

The garden is on several levels, falling down a deep slope. Along the path, among the boulders and trees, were lamp posts. Mr S said we were entering Narnia. Too scary!!!

We ventured beyond the garden boundaries, down the steep valley to the creek below. The track was really not a track. “Should we walk here?” I asked Mr S. 

“Looks like leech territory to me,” he replied.

Yes I squealed. Rightly so as it turned out. Four, yes FOUR, leeches I found in one shoe.  Blerk!!!

“Leech Hollow”, Mr S named it. (The valley, not my shoe.)

Up we went, back along the track, returning to he civilised garden. 

A beautiful public garden. Well worth a visit. Next time we will bring a thermos of tea. And we will be back in camellia season.  

Oot and aboot

Wanna go see whale rock?

What’s that?

A rock that looks like a whale. 


While the rain held, we went off in search of whale rock. The online guide listed the usual safety precautions – water, clothing, maps. Even bush on the edges of suburbia can be dangerous. 

We walked into the bush, down a wide, cement roadway, big enough for firefighting trucks. At the bottom of a slope we could see directional signs. None listed the sought-for whale rock. “I wonder which way we need to go?” I asked Mr S. As I spoke, I turned and there was whale rock. 

For size comparison, here is s shot with a disguised Mr S (though I admit there’s not a lot of hiding one can do in a hippy tie-dyed shirt).

Definitely worth the 5 minute walk from the road! Yes, that quick. Why all the safety advice? Ridiculous! WHS gone mad. Anyway that wasn’t enough of a walk, so we ventured in further. Because of all the rain we had (thanks Cyclone Debbie) the creek was over the path. At the first flooded crossing we debated: should we turn back or just walk through? “Ah fuck it. Let’s just walk through it.” So we did. Several times on the way into the bush. And on the way back. 

At least the water was running which meant we wouldn’t get leeches. Unlike our walk the day before!

A couple of weeks earlier we had gone in search of our secret waterfall in another part of the same national park. But we were thwarted by the rain which turned a track into a pond. 

With still water and boggy ground all around, we were in leech territory. In that brief walk I scored two leeches but they mistakenly suckered onto my shoes. Mr S, who’d ventured further and made it to the waterfall, did his bit for wildlife rescue and fed a few leeches. 

A week later, and the day before Whale Rock, we went off to the waterfall again. Stocked with necessary supplies – a stash of salt to battle the leeches – my friend and I lady-stepped over the water-logged paths while Mr S schtomped through. And ended up to his knees in logs and twigs and leaves which had been washed into a pile that Mr S thought was a solid pathway. 

It doesn’t look clearer than the above shot but trust me, the path was now passable.

Mr S made a hasty recovery. We all made it to the waterfall. Our party of three in tact. 

Hard to believe that these are all within 15 minute drive from our home. (This is the designated comfort zone prescribed by my friend and endorsed by Mr S.)

At the outer reach of the 15 minute zone, is Fagan Park, developed on an old orchard site. We visited here one day in the last two months. While most people clustered around the children’s playground and the interesting “gardens of the world”, Mr S and I picnicked at the old homestead which was open for its only Sunday of the month. Maybe Mr S and I are unusual but we love old places. The homestead a host of farm sheds used for fruit packing and equipment all full of objects from the early settlement, many lovingly restored. The water pumps work. The gardens are peaceful. The actual home has been furnished from the period. 

One of the volunteers was a 90 year old whose extended family owned the farm before donating it to the council for a public park. She recalled not being allowed in the main house as a child, being forced to stay in the separate kitchen with her brother. What a connection! To talk with someone who still volunteered and worked in the garden that she played in as a child. 

Picnicking under the she oaks

Mr S impressed with the working water pump

Room of one of the single farm labourers from early last century. Vastly different from the main home.

Tractor shed

Walking into the homestead site

There weren’t many days with skies as blue as this, so we were doubly lucky to chance upon the monthly open day of the homestead. 

Still, there’s a beauty in the rain as the drops on this she oak show. This was taken in my usual lap around “the block” that passes through the edge of the national park. 

There’s a peacefulness in walking on a known path. You don’t have to concentrate and your mind can wander. You can’t think about other things. Conversely, there’s a mindfulness in walking in the new and unknown. You have to concentrate on the path, you are continually looking at the new sights, your mind is processing all the new information. This means you cannot be thinking of all the humdrum of life, you can’t be planning and strategising and going over things and conversations. This is especially true when the path is a rough bush track. 

Both types of walks are good for the mind and soul. As well as the body. And fun as well!

An eclectic music week

Do things. Fun things. 

Say yes to new things. 

Don’t just use weekends to catch up on sleep. 

My new mottos meant one week was a really busy week in March. Busy and eclectic. 

Ages ago I bought tickets for my sons, Mr S and me to see Spiderbait. It was the 20th anniversary of one of their albums. Actually not my favourite album but I hoped they’d play some of my favs in the encore as they were going to play the album as the set. Of course, they played around – it wasn’t just a “studio” sound. For a three piece band they bang out a big sound. 

Spiderbait has been a family fav and now my boys are adults, they still love Spiderbait. A top family fav is when the female sings, and they didn’t disappoint with Calypso. Click on the link and enjoy. If you watched the movie, 10 Things I Hate About You, you may recognise the song. Of course if you’re an Aussie and listen to JJJ, you’d know the band well. 

Spiderbait, live at the Enmore Theatre.

Interesting tidbits of the family going out to a concert together: we went to an Indian restaurant before (working parents shout of course). Oldest boy, who now lives in the inner west and not “the burbs”, wouldn’t let me order Butter Chicken. “You can have that in the suburbs. In the city you have to try something different and not just take time to read the menu and pretend to be considering something different.” Uh!!! Trendy, bloody, inner city dwellers. Hipsters!!!

Second lesson was for my boys. A lesson in sexism that women routinely face. We were standing up the back of the venue, near the entrance from the foyer (where people, mostly men, kept going to buy overpriced, imported beer [hipster influence again]). It was a standing only concert. Men kept pushing past me. Oldest son wanted me to move as I was being pushed – not aggressively but continually. He thought it was because I was in a natural pathway. I pointed out that the pathway would be wherever I was as I was surrounded by tall men, my own and other concert-goers. Who would the walkers squeeze/push/make move? The tall men or the relatively slighter and shorter woman? 

Anyway, a review of Spiderbait doesn’t make my week eclectic. So off to something different. 

Earlier in the week I went to my first opera. Tosca by Opera Australia. In the Opera House. I got tickets from a foundation that aims to encourage people to go to the opera. They subsidise tickets for $20, instead of the  full price of $230. 

I was wary. I have never gone before. Wouldn’t risk $230 on something I might not like. $20 is worth the risk. Well, I loved it. I would go again. I will go again. Next year.  So the foundation worked. It’s got a new convert. 

Of course, the experience was entirely different. As was the audience. Older, for starters. Not that the Spiderbait audience were spring chickens. Many being around 40 to 50. Less leather and chains and tats at the Opera. 

Sparking wine on the forecourt, watching cruise ships sail past. 

Cruise season has begun. Not my scene. Too much like a floating RSL club.

Fancy a glass? Why yes, thank you.

Interval, looking at the lights and the raw industrial majesty of the Opera House design. 

Look up!

Despite two late nights in the week, and one being a week night, I wasn’t exhausted. These things energised me. Doing fun, and new, and novel things build you up, give you a purpose beyond work. A purpose for work. How else will you pay for tickets?