Monday, April 15, 2013

Sun, surf and Sceolaun

Redleaf Pool

Sydney’s Indian summer continues with temperatures above 25C, leaving us little choice but to enjoy some time by and in the water a few times each week. Last Wednesday was Gustav’s birthday and we celebrated with a little picnic lunch by Redleaf Pool on the harbour. The pool is fully enclosed by a wooden boardwalk, with a shellfish-encrusted grille mounted below to keep the larger sharks at bay. We saw quite a few fish up to 40cm in length while swimming there, and a small ray gliding above the sand in the shallows.

One of the best things to do at Redleaf is to lie on one of the two floating wooden pontoons (approx 3m x 3m) and enjoy the sun, or peer through the cracks between the planks at the play of light on the surface of the water. There’s even a good chance of spotting more fish lurking underneath.

I’ve also taken Gustav to Neilsen Park and Parsley Bay, two other picturesque harbour bathing spots and he’s been to Bondi Beach at least three times now. His most recent visit was yesterday to meet up with a mate from Sweden, so I sent him off to navigate Sydney’s trains and buses solo. We’ve caught up with a few people this week, but are not trying to rush to see everyone in a short period of time, even if it were logically feasible within these few weeks.

Gustav channels the Leyland Bros (2)  Gustav channels the Leyland Bros (1)
On Thursday we moved from Vance’s apartment in Woolloomooloo to another friend’s house in Newtown, much closer to my own (as yet still tenanted) house. He is the proud owner of a ten-month old malamute girl called Sceolaun, here seen in one of her self-excavated cooling holes on the backyard. The name comes from one of the two hounds owned by the mythical Irish hero Finn Mac Cool. She has very similar colouring to Munson, but a much more pronounced mask and a leaner, more wolfish build.

Subterranean Sceolaun
Coming with the move is exposure to all of the area’s culinary and caffeinated treats which continue to delight Gustav. I can see his eyes glaze over with anticipatory tears of joy whenever he looks at the chalkboard menus through Newtown and neighbouring Erskineville, Glebe and Enmore. I too have anticipatory tears of joy when I see a new placename sign and wait for Gustav’s delightful rendering; Erskineville is now either Eriksonville or Erskinnyvilly.

DIY RainbowIn the news this week, a rainbow-painted street crossing put in place several months ago to celebrate 35 years of the city’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parades was removed in the middle of the night by order of a state minister who wouldn’t negotiate with local authorities and community groups. The response was for a “DIY Rainbow Crossing” movement to spring up, chalking rainbows on streets not just all around Sydney, but in other parts of Australia and overseas.

One of the first to appear was quite close to us (shown left), and the photo I submitted to a Facebook page for the viral movement has had a lot of exposure. Some municipal authorities have welcomed the peaceful protest, while others have ludicrously sent police to guard council workers while they hose the chalk away ahead of tomorrow’s forecast rain. Someone has suggested chalking rainbows over every bit of dangerous footpath in their area  to entice their council repair folk out to address long ignored maintenance requests deemed less urgent than chalk on the road.

For the rest of our time at the end of the rainbow we’re still busily job hunting, and counting down the days till my house is available again. I don’t have a date for the arrival of the container from France so we may be camping out indoors on a borrowed mattress for a few weeks.

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