I don't like NYE crowds and I have a negligible strike rate for romantic midnight celebrations, so I was really looking to have a quiet evening at home. Buuuttt the organisers of this year's fireworks over Sydney Harbour were promising their most ambitious work yet.
Looking north over Hyde Park towards Sydney Harbour at 7.30 and 8.30pm.
A late-breaking invite to join friends on a balcony overlooking Hyde Park, pulled me out of my seasonal grumps. The hosts were gracious and the party was well-catered, and I caught up with some more people who were unaware of my return to Sydney, plus met a couple of people from my own street 5km away. Sydney gets smaller by the moment.
Flying foxes (giant fruit-bats) massing in the evening sky
Also mad as fruit-bats: post-midnight jollity with Phil, Lyn, Muttley, Frank G, John D, Grace
Nougat will come of this: feeding Muttley
The tide of celebration maintained its surge past midnight, and it wasn't long before I was outside Palms nightclub. Here everything threatened to unravel, as I had elected to wear sandals on this more than balmy night, and the bouncers were not going to admit a male with open-toed footwear.
Sydney still retains horrible vestiges of its "tropical England" past, mostly in the form of dress-regulations entirely inappropriate to its climate. When I worked at Lloyds Bank years ago, no one really cared what wonders I was achieving at my computer, but sartorial carelessness would earn one admonitions that had sounded out of date when "Are You Being Served?" was on telly.
In more recent years, I wore a fashionable open-necked formal silk shirt to a wedding reception in an expensive club on Sydney's North Shore. Halfway through the event, an hag from the club slithered over to demand that I meet their dress standards, and proffered some filth-stained neckwear from their lost property box.
One of my companions suggested that we try the adult-accoutrement shop next door in case they had some slippers or other coverings for my elegantly sculpted metatarsals. A quick perusal of the hardware on offer showed that they only had slippers with a choice in decorative foam his-and-hers-genitalia on offer. Decreasing the number of offensive dangly bits from 10 to 1 probably wouldn't mollify the doormen so we passed on that opportunity.
The next suggestion, was to get a taxi to the nearest apartment in the group so that I could be suitably attired. I felt like some surreal Cinderella with two - no pun intended - footmen being driven around in the early hours of 2008 to obtain shoes that would enable me to go to the ball. Vince and I sat in the taxi while Nick ran inside to get some shoes. Moments later he returned, passing a slightly battered pair of sneakers through the taxi window, simultaneously commanding the driver to return us to the pickup point.
As I struggled into the slightly small shoes, I discovered that Nick had brought me two left shoes. I suppose we could have turned the taxi around at this point, but it all seemed so gloriously in keeping with our demented excursion.
I danced till dawn before my right big toe started to turn into a pumpkin.