Antipodean reflections

It has been ten years since I set up this WordPress blog.

With the exception of the photo of QEII at the end, the below pictures are from an area at the rear of buildings facing Grey Street, South Brisbane. Overhead railway lines travel between South Brisbane and Roma Street stations. The previously unused space has been transformed into Fish Lane, Town Square.

Brisbane, Brissy, Brisvegas has the reputation of being a big country town.

You need a body in Sydney and labels (darling) in Melbourne.

People who have moved to the city, between states and countries or have travelled extensively overseas are open to new friends.

During Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977, Queen Elizabeth II visited Birmingham UK. I took my younger brother to see her. This is an image from local newspaper, the Birmingham Mail, Birminghammail.co.uk. Taken near the Council House and Chamberlain Memorial, on the day we saw her majesty.

Being from England, a proportion of Australians assume I am from and have lived in London. It is as though London is England.

Talk of Australia becoming a republic are renewed among lobbyists and pollies.

Welcoming pets

Stan has been an important member of our family since 2010. We prefer for Stan to accompany us when going out for long lunches rather than leaving him alone at home.

In Australia, rules about pets attending eating establishments are created and monitored by local councils.

Being creatures of habit we have favoured venues that welcome us with Stan including, Capriccio Osteria, Leichhardt, New South Wales; Marinara Ristorante Cafe, Hawthorne, Queensland; Julius Pizzeria, South Brisbane, Queensland; Patina at Customs House, Brisbane, Queensland.

Occasionally we try out a new place. Mostly we check online or call ahead to find out if our party will be welcomed.

There is a shared excitement about going for lunch. An anticipation about the potential delightful delicacies we may well devour.

Nothing pours cold water on our enthusiasm more than comments about ‘the dog’, especially when we have previously been to the eatery.

‘You will have to sit to the right of the opening (into the restaurant) in case the dog’s hairs fly in’. Mamma’s Redcliffe, Queensland.

Or a new place

‘You have to sit at a table on the footpath. The dog has to be on the ground. Please take the dog off your lap, it has to be on the ground. The council come around and check. I will get into trouble’. La Dolce Vita, Milton, Queensland.

‘You can have the table at the end. You cannot sit under the canopy’. Cafe Gioia, Norton Street, Leichhardt, New South Wales.

The pedestrianised part of Queen Street in Brisbane, a.k.a Queens Street Mall does not allow dogs even on a lead.

Similarly if we were to take Stan on public transport (buses, trains) in Brisbane he has to be in a carry case.

Fortunately, we can now sit outside on the river ferries providing Stan wears a muzzle.

And thank goodness for Uber Pets.

Celebrating 22 years

We arrived in the harbour city of Sydney, New South Wales on 17 January 1998. For the first ten years we did not consider living anywhere else.

The face of our chosen suburb, Newtown, gradually threw off its grungy working class garb. Gentrification crept through the streets. Great news for house prices as rough edges of the area were smoothed. For the niche bars, retailers and eateries, rising rents pushed them out.

Pushchairs replaced colourful characters, walking goats and parrots. Foot paths barely coped with the jam of people, spilling from increased apartment living.

Joining the exodus, we made our way, step by step west to aircraft noisy Stanmore then sleepy Petersham before landing in luscious Leichhardt. In hindsight, we should have settled here, instead of chasing the bright lights of Newtown.

Arriving too late to secure a residence we journeyed 917 kms north (570 miles) to Morningside. The vibe in Queensland is more relaxed than we are used to. Ignoring the Summer daylight saving implemented by other states, Queenslanders arise and retire early to bed.

Here we are in the river city of Brisbane, celebrating 22 years in Australia. Uncertain of where life will take us next.

Nostalgic weekend

Almost a year has elapsed since we moved from Sydney to Brisbane. A morning stroll from Central Park took us through UTS (University of Technology Sydney). Gazing at the final touches of the rebirth of Building 2, my mind wandered to memories of the eleven plus years of mostly enjoyable work time spent there.

Our transversal of Darling Harbour allowed a glimpse of the boat show, gently bobbing in Cockle Bay.

Ambling down George Street alongside the ‘soon’ to be commissioned tram tracks, my thoughts turned to reminiscing the good times, hosted in venues that are being replaced.

The two-hour journey ended at Circular Quay. As we approached, the Harbour Bridge and Opera House emerged gracefully, appearing to shake off the shackles of the surrounding structures of transportation and wealth. Claiming their place as man made jewels atop the deep blue sparkling water of Port Jackson.

Related posts:

SOH a bit more

SOH

Foot traffic

Child repellent

Whenever we sit down at an outdoor café table Stan goes into protection mode. Medium to large dogs, walking by with their owners and children around 75cm high receive the ferocious force of a guard dog.

Stan’s passion is intense enough to move tables and chairs with his lead. When Stan is sitting on one of our laps all is right with the world, peace and calm prevails.

Barking at other dogs started when we moved to Leichhardt, almost four years ago. Stan’s issue with children began after an incident outside the Pig and Pastry, Petersham. We were quietly having lunch when a young girl slapped him on top of his head, as she walked past.

UTS sunset

I worked at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) for around eleven and a half years. During that time, I learned a lot about myself, the institution’s operations from faculty and central student administration perspectives, and the higher education sector.

It holds a special place in my memories, as the University took a chance on someone, a migrant, looking to change career direction.

The serenity of a Winter sunset, reflected in one of it’s buildings contrasted against the bustle of Broadway mirrors my mind as our move interstate looms.

Bleak Winter

Winter is the only time I can sit in the Australian sun without burning.

On Thursday, I waited for a colleague to arrive, jacket buttoned up, seeking warmth from my coffee cup. I would rather have been sitting in the shade of a tree, on a hot day.

An unusually warm Autumn has made way for a chilly, bleak Winter.