Now in Sydney, 5 months after leaving UK and 6 years since Jodie first popped over for a few months and stayed until 5 days before we were wed! It is odd being back here; we both know our way around well, both have places around the city that we love and have a good stock of friends living here. This all means that whilst it is wonderful to be here, the sense of adventure is rather diminished.
Sydney also reminds us of what a big city really is.With a population of about 4m, it has the same amount of people than in the whole of NZ.No longer are we surrounded by very charming people who want to get to know you, say hello to strangers in the streets and always let people out of side roads.Now we have people rushing around, shopkeepers that barely engage, smelly people shouting in the street (either using Bluetooth or are utterly bonkers) and car horns that combine with fingers to indicate motorists displeasure.Despite that, it remains one of the most beautiful cities in the world and we are comfortable being back somewhere that stays open after 8pm!
We are staying with Melinda, who was Jodie's Bridesmaid, in the flat that she has occupied for about one week (we seem to be getting a habit of making moving in difficult).The flat is in Surry Hills, which is an eastern suburb very close to the CBD and not too far from Jodie old house.It means that old haunts can be visited with very little trouble.
It has been great catching up with people and we think that we have been invited to more things in the last two weeks than we were in the 2 years we lived in London.We got back into Sydney's social scene on the first Fri night and met up with friends whom Jodie had worked or sailed with.I also met up with Ed Turvil, a Fusilier officer who left the army and the UK a few years ago and in now living overlooking Bondi Beach - lucky w***.On Saturday we went to the V Festival in Centennial Park - Melinda had organised tickets as a pressie, which was lovely.We got to meet lots of her friends, but more importantly got to dance badly to bands.I made a particular t*** out of myself to Madness, who still manage to pull a lively performance out of the bag.I think must of looked like a cross between a hard core fan and Homer Simpson in the episode where he was a football teams dancing mascot (you need to see it).We also saw the Human League.I think that they are attempting a bit of a comeback and are touring again.If you see that they are in your area, feel nostalgic and think about going along to see them, don't.Lick condensation off windows, or slam your balls into a draw full of nettles instead - it will be much more fun.Of course if you like to spend time watching two ladies who look like evil old aunties and a almost completely inanimate bald bloke, shuffle around a stage mumbling songs you can't remember (they only did two or three good ones), go for it!
Being at a concert with some of the most popular bands of the day confirmed to me something I have long suspected - rock stars nowadays are a right bunch of wimps.Where has all the naked aggression and spontaneity gone?As the very middle class Kaiser Chiefs sang 'I predict a riot' I was thinking that if any of the band found themselves within 1000m of a riot they would probably breakdown and cry.At the point in which the lead singer climbed to a moderate height up the light scaffolding with all the spontaneity of a call girl approaching a businessman in the bar of the Moscow Hilton, shouted a few very naff remarks and then gingerly climbed down with total regard for his own safety, in accordance with the no doubt huge Health and Safety plan, I longed for Iggy Pop slashing his chest with broken glass before passing out through blood loss. Today being wild consists of staying out late, having an argument with your partner and getting photographed with the ½ inch of makeup applied by your stylist, dripping down your face onto your fake boobs .What is wrong with trashing hotel rooms, getting arrested, dying of an overdose or driving ones very fashionable car into a tree. Bahh.
We are keeping on running but the heat and humidity is making things a little difficult. I have an incentive to keep going; in a vulnerable moment (after a beer or two), I agreed to do the Sydney Half Marathon and have since signed up to it.I managed my first long run (about 9.5 miles) in approx 5 months today - I got round, but chaffed so badly (due to the rubbing of increasingly flabby thighs) that I am now doing a very passable impression of John Wayne. The really good thing though is that Sydney is the home of my favourite run, which takes me through Centennial Park (accompanied by parakeets and cockatoos which seemed much more exotic before I experienced the strange wildlife of the Royal Parks on my commute through London each day), along the side of Queens Park, has a small urban stretch, then hit's the coast near Bronte. The last part of the run follows the Coastal path that is either above rocky cliffs, or skirting golden beaches. It finishes on Bondi beach, which in cloudy weather is a beautiful view, and in the sunshine there are many many beautiful views!
Speaking of beautiful things - Jodie has had her hair done for the first time in about 6 months and is now feeling human again!