Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Slide Bar Celebration

It’s Emma Floyd’s 40th birthday and she has decided to celebrate this milestone in quite a unique way.  We have been invited to an evening at the Slide Bar in Darlinghurst.  Not quite sure what to expect we scrub up early and pick up our friends Helen and Harvey on the way to the City.  We have an easy drive in on a warm evening sand arrive on time as the party is just beginning.

Emma Floyd's Fortieth1

Slide’s signature serving is its unique degustation menu night called El Circo where guests are treated to a nine-course meal while being entertained by a variety of acts in between courses.  Emma had booked the mezzanine level for her big night out and we had our own selection of yummy hord’oeuvres washed down with drinks from the bar conveniently located on the same level.  As we socialised and chatted with friends, we looked down on amazing acts from trapeze artists, contortionists, and other circus performers – a kaleidoscope of colours that flashed by just metres away from where we stood.  The night ended with the tables pulled back and the diners taking to the floor.   It was a great night and a fun way to celebrate turning 40!

Emma Floyd's Fortieth

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A bit of Creativity?

I’ve spent a bit of time mucking around with my photos when I discovered that Picasa, one of the programs I used to manage my photos had a few new features Steve (5)embedded in their software that must have somehow updated automatically on my computer!  The one I particularly likes allows you to convert a photo to a hand drawn sketch…enabling you to pose off  as a competent artist...if you so desired!

I’m quite pleased with the result…so I’ve included a few of the better images here..for anyone who might care to have a go themselves!!

This exercise reminded me of something else this Easter weekend.  The importance of trying new things in life.  I think too many people are so often stuck in their routines…their structured lives…and feel scared to live outside their comfort zone because of this fear of trying something new!  I this having the courage to try something new is what helps you grow… and keeps your life interesting.  Make sure you are not stuck in a routine…where life becomes boring and dull.  Live spontaneously….give something new a go..and you might be amazed at what you discover!!

IMG_7943.CR2 A few more for the record…


 “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.”
Dave Barry

Happy Easter!

I woke up on Easter morning feeling quite refreshed and invigorated from the relaxation of the day before…but we are completely out of food in the fridge and I am starving hungry!  IMG_7997.CR2 We are lucky in that there are some great cafes in the shopping centre up the hill but as we approach the mall we find that most entrances are shut and the entire place is dead.  This doesn’t happen often in Australia..but Christmas and Easter are still sacred even in the retail sector.  We finally make our way to the main square via a laneway and find the cafes are buzzing.   We settle in for a morning of reading the newspaper and more indulgence.  I order a breakfast that is listed under the healthy gourmet section…but I wonder if poached eggs, fried mushroom, spinach, crumbed potato, avocado, Turkish bread dripping with butter and the sausages I switched for bacon would rate highly with my doctor on my next cholesterol check up..:)!  Diets are good for times between holidays but today I will continue to splurge.  I had woken up craving exactly the brekkie I am happy…and I am in bliss.

We spend the time catching up on the recent news and doing a bit of writing.  I am writing a piece on the Middle East for the Island newspaper in Sri Lanka where I have now become a regular!  The story rekindles memories of that wonderful year on the road in 2010…and I realise it is time to start planning for my next trip..

Finally after exhausting all drinks on the menu from hot cafe lattés to fresh orange juice we go home.  Later on that afternoon our new neighbours Clair and Brad call to invite us over for Easter drinks.  They have moved in to the house vacated by our friends Emma and Harvey and we are already becoming good friends.  Brad and Clair met while skating and share a love for this sport.  Brad is also in to 4 wheel driving and Clair has done her share of backpacking so we have lots of shared interests in common!  We have been to each others houses for dinner, exchanged recipes and have plans for more walks and get togethers.  They have a steady stream of visitors from Brad’s mother, to more neighbours as well as their skating coach who hails from Canada and her daughter.  Today is not as warm as the two previous days and the there is a threat of a thunderstorm or at least a good rainstorm in the air.  For now, the rain holds off and we sip our drinks, eat chips and exchange more stories and laughs.  P1010001

I love our neighbourhood community.  It seems to draw people who are laid back, love the bush and are community minded.  It is lovely to be able to pop over for a cup of tea and to know there is someone next door in the event of an emergency…or even if in need of a cup of milk!  Brad, Clair and her two kids have made Easter eggs.  We tuck into the chocolate and head home before a fabulous thunderstorm breaks the silence of the valley!  We had nothing planned for this break and it has turned out to be one of the best I’ve had!


The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.  ~Robert Flatt

A Japanese Bath House in the Blue Mountains?

Please Note:  The images on this post are from the website of the Japanese Bath House. - as no cameras are permitted inside.

We’ve decided to have a spontaneous Easter Weekend, so have made no fixed plans of places to get to or people to see.  It is turning out to be a wonderfully relaxed way to image from websiteenjoy the long-weekend where people will spend most of Friday sitting in traffic trying to get somewhere and then most of Monday sitting in traffic trying to get back home.  I’ve been there many times myself (and probably will again) but this time its time to try something different.  Yesterday while driving to Church Point we heard an ad on the radio that we couldn’t  pass up so we came home and googled the Japanese Bathhouse.   It is exciting to discover  hidden treasures in a City that you think you know so well and to learn that despite my travels around the world, there is much still to discover in the place I call home.

Our destination is a place called Hartley about 30 minutes west of Katoomba.  I have been to historic Hartley previously but never really discovered Lake Lyell and certainly not this Sparadise!  Despite it being Saturday we end up sitting in traffic.  imageIt appears it is unavoidable on a Easter Weekend in Sydney but we eventually get to our destination in time for our 3 pm appointment.   Even before we have stepped into the beautifully converted Tudor building we feel the stress of the drive from Sydney evaporate.  The views of Lake Lyell are stunning and the location for a retreat could not have been much better.  We are greeted at the door by a Japanese lady who asks we remove our shoes for a pair we are given and escorted inside for a tour and a briefing.

The Japanese bathhouses have a long tradition, starting out in the hot springs and later migrating to public bathhouses not dissimilar to the Roman or Turkish baths.  They were imagecommunity meeting places where people gathered not just to wash but also to find out the neighbourhood gossip and indulge in a ritual that we certainly could do more of in Australian society.  So many people are caught up in the mad dash to work then the mad dash home for more domestic duties.   We spend far too little time with our families and friends, just chilling out..and enjoying the bliss of doing nothing and getting a little bit of pampering.

The baths are filled with water from underground hot springs in the area.  They have varying temperatures from very hot to very cold.  I love the outdoor pool where you can feel the fresh mountain air, drink in the view and relax your muscles in the imagewarm waters of a natural spring.  It is set in a Japanese zen garden not unlike my own pebble garden at back home and I start to fantasise about the possibility of building an outdoor spa…a community gathering place for my friends in the neighbourhood!

We have opted for the ultimate luxury and booked a 1-hour massage.  As I listen to the soft strains of Japanese music I feel my muscles unknot and the stress from weeks of sitting at a computer finally unravel.   

It is almost seven at night when we finally call it a day.  We have soaked in hot springs, walked the reflexology path and de-tressed in a herbal steam bath.  Now its time for dinner.  The Tea Shack serves simple Japanese cuisine and as we tuck into eel and curried beef and sip a beautiful herbal tea, we congratulate ourselves on another fabulous spontaneous getaway!

image "Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." Ovid

A Trip to Elvina Bay

We arrive at Church point on what is turning out to be a beautiful Easter Weekend.  We have woken up to bright blue skies, dotted with white puffy clouds but thankfully there is no hint of rain.  We have just turned back the clocks here in Sydney, so daylight is precious and winter only just around the corner.  We are determined to make the most of what nature is dishing up on this wonderful long holiday weekend…

IMG_7906.CR2We have come to the Pittwater Area, in the northern suburbs of Sydney and find ourselves looking at picture postcards views of the bays around the mouth of the Hawkesbury River just before it dumps into the ocean.  There seem to be far too many sail boats moored and unused on such a brilliant day as this...  IMG_7898.CR2We have a short wait before we catch the ferry to Elvina Bay from Church Point.  I reflect on the book I am

Map picture
currently reading Briny Cafe, set in this area and written by Susan Duncan who lives at Lovett Bay, next door to our destination today. I am insatiably curious about these ‘off-shore’ folk, who live in places where the only way in and out of home is by boat.  It is a lifestyle choice that sounds idyllic but is not without its hassles.  These off-shore folk still need a car for getting about the mainland.  Parking at Church Point is at a premium and a hassle.  Often people plan their lives around times when parking might be more available and may make choices about dining at home to driving to a restaurant just because they want to keep that prime parking spot they just scored!  Most of these locations have no cafes or groceries available, so everything has to be trucked in by boat!  Not easy if you have run out of milk…but the difference is the sense of community that is so often missing from your typical middle of the suburbia.  Running next-door for a bit of milk or a bowl of something…is a way of life unlike places where people live behind manicured lawns and walled in properties and barely exchange a hello with the guys next door!  

We pile in to the ferry in eager anticipation and enjoy the ride around the Bay, catching fleeting glimpses of life at places like Scotland Island.  There is a laid back and almost tropical feel to the communities we pass and the people who live there.  It is easy to make out the locals from the day trippers and it isn’t just the expensive cameras hung around our necks. IMG_7961.CR2We hop off at Elvina Bay armed with information we had gleaned on the ferry.  There is a waterfall we have just heard about and that is now our destination.  Of course there are no signs to this place and we would have missed it had we not stopped to chat to Michael.  He and his wife were the longest residents in the area and we chatted about the pros and cons of living the off-shore lifestyle.  His relaxed and friendly manner indicated that after 43 years this was certainly his bit of paradise.  He not only gave us directions but invited us to their once a month local community dinner!  Perhaps we might take him up on that…

The waterfall was pretty and we scrambled down to splash around the ice cold water.  There were a few more day trippers there…but they appear to be speaking French!  I wouldn’t have thought any overseas travellers would have found their way to this intrepid location..but it just goes to show there are others out there who discover Sydney’s hidden gems...and don’t limit their visit to ticking off the 3 Sisters and the Harbour Bridge!  

It’s close to 3 pm and I am starving.  We hadn’t thought to pack a picnic lunch and I was starving.  We walk down to the boatshed to catch the ferry back, enjoying the view and  the schools of tiny fish darting about in the water below us.  It isn’t a long wait and we wrap up a wonderful day with a brilliant seafood meal that doubles up for lunch and dinner.  As we leave, we notice the name on one of the boats….Endurance…a quality required in abundance if one were to make the choice of living a life off-shore!


"To dream anything that you want to dream; that is the beauty of the human mind. To do anything you want to do; that is the strength of the human will.  To trust yourself to test your limits; that is the courage to succeed".   Reverend B.B.Edmonds

Monday, April 2, 2012

Road trip to Wollombi

The Wollombi Valley is a beautiful place.  Living in one of the most northern suburbs of Sydney means we can get on the road out of town relatively quickly and find ourselves in places far removed from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke….which is how we find ourselves in the Wollombi Valley.  If I have visitors from overseas, I often take these back roads to the Hunter Valley, stopping for a sip of nature before we head north for something stronger.  IMG_7880.CR2

Steve and I are in a writing mood and have come armed with our ultrabook and IPAD today.  We are seated at a cafe happily working on our stuff and sipping our coffee lattés when one of the friendly locals starts to chat -  having first checked to make sure we are not from the Department of Planning.   Funnily enough the chatter is all about their LEP and some of the recent re-zoning that has happened recently.  Land that should have been left rural has now ended up with a zoning that is yet to be resolved leaving something of these areas with a code that states ‘deferred’! 

We learn about the politics that play out in these places.  The struggle between the greenies, the farmers who need to make a living to survive and the retirees who come up here from Sydney, having made their money elsewhere and who wish to preserve this spot in a time capsule!  It brings home to us that the solutions to problems are not black and white and that ultimately, preservation of the environment has to be balanced with the needs of the local community who have after all co-existed here for generations!

I seem to be in a very reflective mood…and don’t seem to have captured any pictures of the town itself…funny that!


Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.     -Charles Kuralt, On The Road


Spending the day at Crosslands

My neighbourhood friends had planned to go camping a few times this summer but unfortunately we’ve had to call it off thanks to the heavy downpours that seemed to accompany every weekend we picked.  While we like to blame our friend Helen for this rather freakish occurrence this summer, I think it is actually linked to something called the La Niña phenomenon.  I hear the La Nina patters have decayed across the Pacific because we finally had a sunny weekend which enabled us to finally make it to Crosslands.Crosslands & Pittwater Mar 2012The wet weather that had preceded us had left pools everywhere..and I had lots of fun taking photos of the reflections they made..


There was a bit of drizzle at the end of our hike but we were starving hungry and found a picnic table with a bit of shelter to share the picnic lunch we had brought along.  It wasn’t the camping trip we had planned but it was a good start :).  It had been such a fun day that we decided to travel a bit further after saying goodbye to Helen and James and spent the afternoon at Kuringai National Park - Westhead.  It must be one of the best views in Sydney…So why did they call it the Pitts..I mean Pittwater :)


I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.          -Willa Cather, O Pioneers

A High Impact Moment…

Recently I learnt there are often a few high impact moments in our life which change its course or make us sit up and and reflect on where we have come from and where we are going.  In my own life such moments have included the time I first left home and travelled alone to California, my father’s death and my own separation but surely Steve’s resignation and retirement must also factor as one of these.

The last week of March was a significant marker in my life.  My boss of 13 years was leaving work after serving the local government we work at for 35 years.  farewell lunch He had shared the news with the 3 of us – his direct reports and closest staff - in February more than 6 weeks ago but the time has flown and it is now the 30th of March. 

Steve had broken the news to us over a Thai lunch earlier in the year where he gave each of us a ‘Chinese prediction’ for our future, in a little red envelope.  It was the beginning of the year and we laughed at what Steve had predicted for each of us till it was time for him to read his own...  “you will retire next month and your last day at work will be the 30th of March”!  It took a few seconds to register and then we all stared at him in shock.  Steve had often pondered about his retirement but it was one of those moments you felt was in the distant future.  Six weeks later we have come back for a final Thai lunch to say our goodbyes.  This afternoon there will be a lunch and a formal send off from the organisation but we had already said our goodbyes and given Steve our own fun presents at a team lunch yesterday… 

I’ve had four positions during my time at Council but Steve has always been the manager I reported to.  In fact it is exactly 13 years to the day, when I sat across him a little nervously and was interviewed for my first position of Professional Engineer.  During our time together he has taught me many things and I shared 3 of these lessons at our team lunch in the hope they will continue to inspire others... 

The first lesson is what he taught me about OPPORTUNITY!  Steve often reminded me that opportunity was like a fly that kept buzzing around you.  You can swat it away and it may come back and buzz around you for awhile but eventually it will stop buzzing forever.  Steve gave me many opportunities in my career and many of them challenged me to step outside my comfort zone.  The reason I am in the position I am today is because I had the courage to say yes but also because Steve supported me in the challenges I had agreed to face.  Such challenges have helped me learn and grow.  If you never challenge yourself, whether this be at work or in your life, you might be comfortable but you will also be bored.  The challenges I faced have ranged from teaching at UTS to presenting papers at many stormwater and flood mitigation conferences to briefing councillors.  It has also included stepping up to lead the Catchment team...and finally to manage the Natural Systems Group.

imageThe second lesson or quality that resonated with me was Steve’s HONESTY!  Steve lived his life according to his own values and beliefs and was not swayed by a desire to be popular or by desiring to win the approval of others.  My own relationship with him was reflective of this.  If we disagreed about something, we sat down and discussed it however hard or painful it was.  It is this quality that has helped him win the respect of not just those in our own organisation but in the wider industry as well. 

The third quality that I admired in Steve was his VISION!  Many people in this world are just marking time.  Work is just that 9-5 place where you do what you must so you can make ends meet before you escape home.  We spend so much of our lives at work that I believe we need more than a pay check at the end of the week to be fulfilled.  For me it is refreshing to work in an environment with people like Steve who passionate about the work they do and for whom it is an integral part of their lives and belief systems. A ‘Green Engineer’ - a bit of a paradox but true of most of us who work in this field.  When people talk about having that work life balance I often wonder why work is so often seen as something so distinct and divorced from the rest of our lives…?  Perhaps it is because many people have not yet stumbled on their reason for being…or found their true destiny! 

But its time for Steve’s final farewell.   Dush has organised a beautiful chocolate cake that is decorated with strawberries.  The room is crowded with staff, a few consultants he has worked with in the past and a couple of his old managers have made it back.  His current manager Deb, another executive manager Diane and the City Manager bid him farewell on behalf of the organisation.  Steve then responds with a farewell message and a thoughtful presentation he has put together that makes us teary.   As a parting gift, the organisation gives Steve two books with highlights from his career.

The first book is titled “The Greening of Fairfield City” and highlights his legacy.  It is one he shares with many of us.  I’ve compiled the book with recent photographs I’ve shot myself and interspersed them with others taken by professional photographers the organisation had engaged during the past years.

The second book titled “Steve Frost: This is your life at Fairfield City Council” highlights his journey of 35 years.  The photographs here were sourced by many people and I’ve compiled the book using blurb.

As we say goodbye to Steve we reflect on his last presentation.  He reminds us that in the end, what will matter is…..

“Not what you bought, but what you built.  Not what you got but what you gave.  Not your success but your significance.  Not what you learnt but what you taught.  What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.  What will matter is not your competence, but your character.  What will matter is not your memories, but the memories of those who loved you.  What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.  Living a life that matters, doesn’t happen by accident.  It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice”.  Steve ends his presentation by asking that we choose to live a life that matters

OSC 004 

For myself, I think the two most important things we can wish for when we move on is to say we have made a difference both in the lives of the people we met and the place we leave behind.  Steve can surely say that!

 “Farewell Steve – The best is yet to come”

Sunday, April 1, 2012

International Speech Contest: In Search of My Destiny


I’ve been asked to represent my local club at the International Speech Contest.  It is the Area competition and I am the only member of the club to have completed 6 speeches so I am the obvious choice.  It is also the evaluation competition and I’ve volunteered to give that a go as well.  It is the day before my boss retires and I have a lot on my mind..but such is life.  Nicky, our club president comes along with me to support me even though she isn’t feeling the best.  The speech is meant to be an inspirational one.  I amend a speech that I gave at a commemoration for my dad a few years ago, and relate it to my own life.  I have titled it “In Search of My Destiny”……….. 

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation”! These words by Paulo Coelho resonated with me as I turned the pages of his most famous book - “The Alchemist”. It’s a book about a young shepherd boy who travels the world in search of his destiny only to return home having discovered the magic of listening to his heart. Fellow toastmasters and guest ….I hope my speech today will inspire you to go in search of your own destiny.  I will share with you some of the gems I have gleaned from this book and interweave it with examples from my own life.  Many of us might come to the end of our lives without ever having realized our true potential; too often we are prepared to “accept our fate” rather than pursue our destiny.

Coelho explains there are four reasons why we don’t follow our destiny. The first is because we are told from birth it is impossible. We often make choices that are safe and predictable because they reinforce our status in society rather than because they feed our passions.

Fellow toastmasters – my own life was initially not much different. I grew up in a conservative family in Sri Lanka. I went to high school, then studied engineering in university before leaving home for California in 1997. I was 25 years old. After a few years at Berkeley I met and married Dean who was an Englishman. It was perhaps the start of making unconventional choices and breaking free of tradition. Around that time, I shared with Dean an ambitious dream I had to spend three months on all 7 continents before I turned 50.

Coelho explains in the Alchemist that the second obstacle to pursuing our destiny is love. We fear our family may disapprove of our dreams and so we abandon them because we might lose the love of those close to us. But real love is about caring for someone as much as we care for ourselves. True love will never be an impediment but rather should add momentum to our journeys and truly give it wings!

Dean and I had a wonderful life in California. After graduating, we found jobs in the Bay Area and together we pursued the dream of discovering North America. We saw more of this amazingly beautiful continent that most Americans will in their lifetime.  Eventually we left America and had an idyllic two years on the road.  We travelled through western Europe, taught English in South Korea to make ends meet and then travelled through much of Asia before eventually migrating to Australia. We bought our first house together and continued our travels. We discovered Australia and made our first trip to South America. That was continent number 5.  I had two more to go…

Coelho writes the third obstacle to realizing our destiny is the fear of defeat. The risk of pursuing a dream and choosing to go down the road less travelled seems harder than sticking to the old familiar path.

It was shortly after we came back from South America that Dean shared with me the fact he wanted to travel the rest of his journey without me.  We had been together for 17 years!  I was shattered.  In 2006, two weeks before Christmas, he walked away from the home we had created together.  A few weeks after that, my dad was diagnosed with a form of leukaemia.  The following years were some of the hardest of my life. I could have gone for therapy but instead I went to Africa. It was my sixth continent. I went to Africa alone facing my fear of defeat - not willing to give up on a dream I voiced when I first broke free of tradition.

In 2009 I was living alone and struggling to cope. My house was robbed, my dad passed away, my divorce was finalized, and I part ways with the man I had been dating for the past year. Then one of my closest friends in SL passed away.  I felt that each time I tried to stand up, the rug was being pulled from under my feet.  Yet Coelho explains the secret of life is to fall down seven times and get up eight times.  I knew I had to keep pursuing my dream even though I wanted to creep into my shell and never peek out again.  Coelho also explains the fourth obstacle to not finding our destiny is the fear we have of actually realizing the dream we fought so hard to achieve. We look around us and feel we do not deserve to realize our dreams. We feel guilty about chasing our destiny.  Yet how can we inspire others to pursue their dreams if we don’t have the courage to pursue ours?

In 2010, I went in search of my seventh continent.  I went in search of Antarctica.  I could have waited till I found love again, till I retired or till I was rich but I decided to live in the NOW and to pursue my destiny with passion. I took a sabbatical to travel and volunteer around the world in search of love.  It was as I was leaving that my best friend Steven gave me The Alchemist as a parting gift.  I said goodbye not knowing he too was going through a sad time having just separated from his wife.

My story has a wonderful ending because I came home after a year of travelling not only having conquered my seventh continent before I turned 50, but having also found love again.  My treasure, was to come home having discovered that Steven (the friend who gave me this book), was destined to be my soul mate.  My father’s death helped me appreciate we have a limited time on earth and that we must live each day as if it were the only one we had.  My own life’s journey has taught me to believe in myself and to realize that when you truly pursue your destiny, everything else will follow.

I hope my journey has inspired you to go in search of your own destiny.  Such a journey will not only bring you personal happiness, it will inspire others to find their own calling and contribute to the Soul of our Universe.

Thank you.

PS – The speech was really well received and I got many compliments on the composition although it did not place.  A stranger walks up to me after the competition, compliments me on the speech and asks if it were all true :).  Yes..truth is indeed stranger than fiction..and this story is all true!

Rhonda’s 70th

It has been a year of big birthday’s in our neighbourhood!  This time if was Rhonda’s turn.  We had decided to  throw her a party and Ros volunteers to organise the evening at her house.

Rhonda's Party

We all contribute toward the dinner with salads and kebabs and take along a few drinks to lighten the burden on the Reads.  The evening turns out to be a lovely night with good food and drinks and plenty of laughter.  Despite the fact that many of our neighourhood friends no longer live next door,  we have had many celebrations this year that have kept bringing us together.  Em is off to Cape Town to continue her 40th celebrations in a few as the evening draws to a close we wish her well and say goodbye to another celebration.

Sushie, Shanil & Priyan Visit

It has been a year of visitors from foreign shores and a hectic start to the year!  After my mum left in February, I attended the flood conference in Bateman’s Bay.  It was an exciting conference attended by about 270 delegates many of other states and overseas.  It was quite a landmark year for me as I was appointed to the Executive of the NSW Floodplain Management Authority as Director – Land Use Planning! 

I came back to Sydney and my first set of visitors – Sushie (my cousin in London) and her husband Shanil!   We were very fortunate in that after weeks of rain we had a few days of respite from the stormy weather and so we were able to spend a few  days enjoying some of the local sights.  We visited Wiseman’s Ferry for a steak lunch and then drove along the river, enjoying the quiet lifestyle the seclusion of the area allows.  The next day turned out to be a beach day, so we packed a picnic lunch and headed off to the closest beach at Mona Vale.  It was Shanil’s first dip on this visit and a lot of fun.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to do much more except to throw an aussie BBQ before they headed back to London.  It was lovely to catch up and reminisce after my visit to their home in London during my year away and also to introduce them to Steve!

A couple of weekends after that, my cousin Priyan who is spending part of his sabbatical in Melbourne flew over to Sydney to visit.  Priyan too had never met Steve before so we stayed up late chatting and catching up on family news.  As it turned out both Priyan and Steve had a shared interest in philosophy, so we had quite an interesting conversation that stretched late into the night.

Priyan has many friends and family here so once again the visit was short but we were very fortunate with the weather.  A friend of Priyan’s had invited us all for a days sailing on the harbour.  The day dawned bright and sunny and we had a a wonderful day sailing on the harbour with a few of Priyan’s high school friends who also live in Sydney.   I had never sailed on the harbour before so that was another first and wonderful experience!

Priyan's Visit Mar 2012

There are big ships and small ships.  But the best ship of all is friendship.  ~Author Unknown