New Year ’s Day was a quiet one, most people seemed to be staying at home nursing hangovers, and those that had been in area where alcohol had been banned seemed to be staying at home out of sympathy. I went to St Philips for their Friday evening practice, I even got there 10 minutes early, but as it was a public holiday I guessed it was unlikely they would be ringing. I guessed right, so after 20 minutes I wandered home and did not a lot other than try to work out why the week had seemed to go so fast.
It was early the following morning that I realised it was now Friday, not yesterday, so that’s why the week had gone so fast and why there had been no ringing. I haven’t really got the hang of this ringing lark, if I am not waiting outside the wrong church then I am waiting outside the right church 24 hours too early. At least those turning up 24 hours before the fireworks got the best viewing points, I turn up 24 hours and just get to return the following evening. Actually, the weather looked like rain, I almost didn’t bother to go ringing in the end, but I was glad I did. With just 15 minutes of practice left Paul Doyle arrived. I had met Paul a couple of times before including having Christmas dinner with him and he had offered a tour around his workplace, the ABC, Australia’s BBC and as it just happened he was on a lunch break. After joining Paul at the pub for lunch, which consisted of beer as all the food seemed to be of the menu, I was taken to the ABC. Having been shown around the News studio, which was surprising tatty, the camera shows you no more than you need to see, I was taken to the production area where they were preparing for the 22:30 new bulletin which I saw go out live, a nice slick operation, everybody knowing exactly what they had to do with precise timing. Once the news was over I was shown around all the Radio stations, you could tell the type of station, pop music, classical music etc merely by the furniture, décor and layout. The only station broadcasting live at that time of night was the pop station. I was also shown around the comms and IT areas, a very thorough tour which didn’t finish until about 1am, long after Paul’s shift had finished.
The following day I took a visit to the Gallery of New South Wales, really good, I loved the modern art some of them very clever. There were sections of Australian impressionists, Aboriginal art and also some European. I even found a Van Gogh, that really made my day. Actually, when I say I found it I suspect they already knew about it, it was just hanging on one of the walls! There still remained a strangely quiet feel about the city. Unlike back home when everything returns to normal after Christmas, over here it is the start of the summer holidays, schools have finished and families have packed themselves off to the beaches leaving the city feeling very quiet.
Sunday I went off ringing again, but all the service times have changed during the holiday period, it’s all very confusing to somebody who struggles to even be there on the right day in the first place. I caught up with a bit of bike maintenance, so when I set off again I will be using my 7th chain.
I heard on the news last night that western Queensland has had floods, getting more rain in 4 hours than it had had in the last 12 months. Mount Isa and Cloncurry were flooded. I know it is the wet season over there and they do get flooded from time to time, but it reminds me of just how lucky I have been with the weather on this trip. I have lost count of the number of times there has been news reported of places I have just been through or will be heading to, the most noticeable being the cyclones in Myanmar and Banglsdesh. I shouldn’t really be saying this should I?
So tomorrow I head of from Sydney, I feel quite ready to move on, I am looking forward to riding and finding a nice quiet spot to camp. But Sydney has been good to me, I have enjoyed my time here even if I haven’t utilised it as well as I should have done, though hanging around to see the fireworks was well worth it, something I will never forget. I have met lots of people, met some old friend, made some new friends and the place has once again begun to feel like home. Each time I go ringing I am sure to meet somebody I have already met, in fact they all seem to know and use my name, even if I don’t recognise them. So I can’t leave without saying a big thank you to the bellringers of Sydney who have made me very welcome wherever I go, but there is a special thank you to Paul and Elaine from Randwick who always seem to be there and who so kindly invited me to their Christmas dinner. Thanks to them all.