It has to be said - Sydney is not a bad place to be 'between jobs'. When, after a morning being charming to recruiters, one finds oneself lying by the Icebergs pool on Bondi, watching very accomplished surfers make the most of wonderful waves in 28 degrees of cloudless sunshine, it is hard to complain. Icebergs pool is a real Sydney institution and is a sea water Olympic length swimming pool, often fed by the waves that crash against its wall. The regulars are very fit fanatics who have earned full membership by swimming every Sunday for the three months of winter for five years - they are not allowed to miss a session. It seems like 'budgie smuggler' swimming trunks are part of the uniform as well. And it only cost £2.50 to get in! Its got to be better than selling the Big Issue out side the MoD.
We have enjoyed a mix of socialising and job hunting over the past two weeks. The job hunting has largely taken the form of 'networking' with people in industry and recruiters. Many of the people that we have come across are ex army, found through a group called 'the List' on LinkedIn and it has been great that total strangers are willing to spend time introducing us to people, giving advice and trying to find companies that are recruiting. At the very least we have met some really nice people. On the down side neither of us are working yet! Ho hum.
The socialising bit has been a little more fun and once again I find myself writing this with a little bit of a hangover, stemming from a brunch with Jules (Jodie's old flatmate) and Charlie that started at 10am, became a gin tasting at about mid day, transformed into a Pimms session at about 4 then ended at 6. Not bad for brunch. Luckily J and I only had to wander home via another beer or two; Jules and Charlie had to be charming at a dinner date.
Slightly more sober was our visit to the Royal Easter Show with Uwe, Linda and Sharon. The show is just like a very very big village fete, but with a few more pikies due to the large fair. There are lots of country folk with big red noses, Akubra hats and a passion for sheep, and lots of city folk with multiple children, an overly enthusiastic pursuit of junk food, multiple tattoos, piercings and a dodgy taste in leisure wear. There is some debate about what was the highlight of the show; was it the ladies international wood-chop competition featuring hefty rather un-lady like women working up a sweet whilst playing with big choppers, or was it the racing and diving pigs which prove pigs do fly. The pigs where supported by an 'international star' who was a aging country and western singer with long hair and a comb over who made sure we were in the mood before the main event. You cannot help but feel sorry for a man who, in the twilight of his career, has to tell his family and rocker mates that he is a backing singer for some performing pigs. At least he may get plenty of bacon sandwiches.
Between all these fun and games we continue to run. Jodie pushed out 5 ½ miles last week which is fantastic, and I may be on track for a sub two hour half marathon. We have also been continuing the swimming and I had one session 'paddling' off Bronte beach with Sharon's husband James. In my day paddling involved a bucket and spade and a desire to prevent freezing cold British seawater meeting ones testicles. In Sydney it involves jumping on a thing that is like a cross between an oversized surf board and a canoe, crashing out through the surf 'paddling' with hands, then surf in kneeling on the board. Sounds easy but is bloody exhausting and after about 45 minutes I thought I was about to pass out. So I paddled in and drank beer.
The more I see of Sydney, the more I like it. I love how open it feels; the hills and the harbour in the centre ensures that there are always views and rarely a feeling of being enclosed. I get very excited at dusk when between the Botanical Gardens and Centennial Park the sky is blackened by a stream of thousands of crow sized Fruit Bats eerily making their way to their night-time feeding grounds. And we are very fond of the Eastern Suburbs that stretch from the CBD towards Bondi, with their once slum like Victorian terraces converted into very stylish leafy streets, with loads of cafes, green spaces and BYO restaurants. And because its so nice and the weather so pleasant, even the nutters and drunks seem a little more pleasant!
Adventures on the horizon are a stag night in Sydney, a wedding in Brisbane, the Sydney Half Marathon and going to watch a game of Aussie rules football. I will keep you all posted (not sure who 'you all' are anymore; it may just be our Mums!).