Monday, 16 February 2009

Day Thirty Seven: Sydney

As expected it was an early start with Hilary beating me out onto the deck to watch the sail into Sydney Harbour. She was up and about by 5.30am whereas it took me another 30 minutes to get out onto the deck but it was all well worth while and the views are fantastic. Our early morning photos don’t do them justice as it was only just getting light but we are hoping that the video camera gave better pictures than the stills. Once we were moored and the sun was (briefly) up we were able to get some good pictures of the bridge and the opera house, in fact we can look out of our cabin window to see the latter. It really is an incredible mooring and just like San Francisco it is bang in the middle of the city and no paid for excursions are necessary to see the sights. It is only a 5 minute walk from the ship to the opera house and less than that if you just want to go shopping.

We were off the ship and waiting by the central station at 8.30am looking for Brian and we didn’t have long to wait. He was a little bit delayed due to the fact that the trains were full of commuter traffic and he had to miss a couple as they were full but he arrived before 9.00am dressed as promised in a long sleeve yellow shirt and grey slacks. We had no trouble recognizing him as he is the spitting image of Ada and Sonny, slightly drawn in the face but with a good head of only very slightly greying hair, much taller than Sonny as he is very close to 6ft and he still speaks with a distinctly Norfolk accent! Lots of hugs, a brief chat as to where we should go and we decided on the ferry to Darling Harbour which actually takes you under the bridge. The first ferry was at 10.40am so we walked to the Opera House and settled for our first coffee of the day, this time I remembered to order flat whites all round, and then it was time for the photo album to come out and the reminiscences to start. I will leave Hilary to tell you all the family stories but they went on long enough for us to have to move smartly back to the terminal to catch our ferry and then it was a short outdoor boat ride around the headland, under the bridge and across to Darling Harbour. Once there we walked a bit then settled down for some more talking, breaking only to cross a footbridge to the other side of this lovely old harbour and find a place for lunch. “Beers all round?” said Brian but Hilary and I settled instead for shandies while we waited for our huge lunch sandwiches to arrive. Then it was more talking until it was time to catch the 2.45pm ferry back to the Oriana harbour so that Brian could catch his train back to the airport.

Brian finally left us around 4.00pm and Hilary and I went for a wander through the shopping area and managed to get some postcards, a fridge magnet and best of all we found a nice opal store that we could wander through, see how opals are formed and then examine some nice unmounted pieces. The one that we like the best was around £1000 so we declined that and settled for a mounted opal on a composite base that was 1/10th of that price. More wandering and we bumped into two of our dinner companions Peter and Christine who were looking for a Starbucks. They settled for a local bistro where we had cappuccinos and they had Earl Gray tea and with the time getting on for 5.30pm we decided to head back to the ship while they discussed whether or not to come back or to stay out. We are still unsure if we will leave the ship again (we don’t sail until 12.00 midnight) but my guess is that it is unlikely, we are both tired so will probably settle for a light meal in either the Conservatory or Al Fresco before having an early night.

I have added a couple of extra pictures, the first is Hilary’s Valentine dessert and the other is one that we had taken in Auckland when we went to a zoo that had kiwis. That’s my summary of the day I will hand you over to Hilary.

Tiz I. It has been a fantastic day. It was so good to see Brian, he brought a photo album and had quite a few photos of the three of us (sisters) as very young children. He has some great memories of Dad and has a great admiration and respect for Dad. He remembers Bishop Road and the record player and the T.V. in the big wood case with the mirror that Dad built. He played George Formby records on it when he came to stay with us while Aunty Ada had surgery. He also remembered the workshop that Dad had in Lulworth Drive. He said that Dad was working on a viscosity meter and that he should have made a fortune for the design which was revolutionary at the time. Brian has actually been married three times and is still married to Helen but they live apart. He went down to Hobart to take care of her when she had surgery and she often comes to his home to visit. Such a great day even better than I had hoped it would be! He had tried to arrange for Gaynor and her grown up children to meet us in Brisbane but Julie (the eldest) has just been taken into hospital for emergency surgery so it was impossible for them to be there. I must get a card to Julie who is a mother now so it is a worrying time for the family. Brian told us that Colin lives in Queensland and Graham lives just outside Sydney on 11 acres with its own large pond, (there is a story to tell about the pond, I’ll tell you when I get home) He has 2 sons and a daughter. Andrew lives in the UK and there is a long story to tell about that too but I must go now as the cabin steward keeps trying to come in and do our room and can’t while we are still here. She can’t get off the ship until her work is done so we must clear out of her way! Take care, God bless.

Last note to say that at our abbreviated dinner (we had a huge sandwich for lunch with Brian) we met a couple that live in Sydney and had come on board tonight. As we talked they told us that they were getting off at the next stop, Brisbane, to fly back to Sydney. Why would anyone do that? They have all the hassle of packing, getting to the ship, unpacking, then re-packing, going to an airport and getting home all in the space of two nights. Don’t make sense to me. I suppose it takes all sorts…. Night all. Enjoy the pictures.


Pat said...

Absolutely love the view from the ship and what a great mooring spot. It must have been magic meeting up with Brian and did you have a sore throat after all the talking you must have done. Really looking forward to all the stories you will have to tell us when you get back.
Your Valentine dessert looked lovely, hope it tasted as good s it looked.
Glad you decided to stay onboard and to write up your blog. Not having a blog to read this morning would have been just too much to cope with.
Haave a lovely time in Brisbane.

Lots of love


ps Sharon I do agree with Hilary and Hayley, it's definitely time to change your locks.

Julian said...

Hi glad you enjoyed Sydney and that you met up with Brian. It must been great to have moored so close to the opera house and harbour bridge. Glad the engineers fixed the problem with the sea suction, do you have a 'centralised cooling system' for the whole engine room or do you have individual sea water coolers for each engine? Just had a late finish at college since we went to an evening lecture on 'crankcase explosions' something best avoided really. Enjoy Brisbane and we look forward to seeing more photos of the trip. Love Julian Moira Carl & Kelly

Sharon and Georgia said...

Hi Guys,

What a fab day you had! Aunty, I bet you were quite overwhelmed with meeting Brian again. I am so glad he was able to meet you both.

I don't think you could have possibly had a better mooring position than you did. Amazing!

Were those real parrots flying in the background of the last picture? And what were you holding in your hands?

Keep on enjoying...we are all right beside you...

Much love and Aussie sparkles xx

Liz said...

Hi there,

Wow Hilary, I see what you mean about Brian looking like A. Ada and U. Sonny. I can't wait to hear all about Brian's boys when you get back.

You both look very happy and relaxed in the photos, this cruising game seems to suit the pair of you! What wonderful memories you are building on this trip.

We are all enjoying reading your blog daily and it's giving us a great insight into the world of cruising. I didn't know if I would like it, but based on what you have portrayed, I think I would be very happy to give cruising a go.

Carry on having fun, looking forward to hearing about Brisbane.

Take care of each other

Love Liz xx

Hayley said...

Hi Aunty and Uncle,

Fleeting visit again i'm afraid 10pm here and only been home an hour! time for bed i think, but just wanted to let you know that the lottery has kindly donated £10 towards your savings for Kuaia 2010!(or however you spell it!).

Uncle I have set you up a direct debit so I never forget to buy the ticket. I will show you how to do it when you get back, it lasts forever until you cancel it.

So glad you guys got to meet up with Brian! What fabuluous memories you are building!

Bye for now peeps xxxxx
Will message again on Friday when the madness stops. We saw a dog tonight called mumbles! :S ...Is it just me!??....