Our first weekend in Sydney has been safely and enjoyably navigated.  Alison and the kids are still pretty jetlagged – judging by Alison’s inability to sleep at night and then equaally not being able to rouse herself in the mornings.  We had late starts both Saturday and Sunday – not leaving the house before midday – but once out and about we managed to explore a fair bit of our new surroundings.

Saturday started rainy and windy.  And carried on that way.  After a very late breakfast we caught a decent break in the weather and headed off toward North Sydney and the office where I’m working.  To get there we walked through St Leonards Park where the kids stopped to play on the swings, and then down Miller Street past the North Sydney Community Centre, where the kids stopped to play on the swings (there’s a theme here somewhere….after playground depletion in the DR they are making up for lost time).

Passing by the office where I’m working, we headed on to the foot of the Harbour Bridge.  Stopping at the foot of the bridge to eat our cheese sandwiches in a Force 5 wind, wrapped up in fleeces and windstoppers, we felt every bit like ‘Brits Abroad’.  Undeterred (chin up and all that, best foot forward), we pressed on.  “This is an icon, kids – you won’t know it but you are so lucky to be here”.  “My feet hurt”.  “I can’t walk any further”.  “Why couldn’t we get the train?” and “When are we getting to the next park?” were my only replies.  Kids, sometimes there is just no pleasing them.  Actually, swap ‘sometimes’ for ‘always’ in that last sentence.

Through the Rocks, down to Circular Quay, ferry to Old Cremorne, then a mile or so walk back to the house.  Pasta and pesto for tea.  Just like the DR, really.

Well actually, not at all like the DR.  For starters, it’s bloody cold here.  It’s definitely trousers and coats weather – the shorts and t-shirts that form the majority of our clothing will be staying deeply packed for some time.  Secondly, it’s really expensive.  Not helped by a poor exchange rate, but even the locals say how expensive this place is.  As I said to our hosts in Manly on Sunday, we used to live on about £15 per day in the DR.  “That’s a round of coffees here”, Dylan replied.

So yes, on Sunday we went to Manly, which is a truly fabulous part of this truly fabulous city.  At the seaward side of the harbour, on the north shore.  It’s a bit like Mudeford spit (for those of you who visited us in Bournemouth) – with beach on both sides of the spit, a ferry to get there and some stupendously expensive beach huts for the fabulously well-heeled.  Only this spit is a bit bigger, the ferry takes 200 passengers on the 30-minute ride from Circular Quay (rather than 16 people and a couple of dogs on the 200-metres or so from Christchurch Quay), and the houses average about $6 million each.

A bus ride over the Harbour Bridge to the City, a short walk and then the push-me-pull-you double-ended ferry.  Thirty minutes later and we’re stepping out into the rain at Manly Wharf.

In Manly we met up with Al’s old friend Jan, her husband Dylan and their children Siena (7) and Zach (5).  Their Zach definitely out mads our Zach in the hair stakes – his shock of curly white blonde hair reminding me of Matthew from his early years.  Jan & Dylan drove us back to their lovely house for a late afternoon BBQ (prawns on the barbie, what else!) and then it was the bus home, the family Britton being carless for the foreseable future.  There is something about the typical Australian home that we both find really appealing.  Where in England a home is typically split into lots of small rooms, the Australian style is open plan – typically with the kitched, lounge and dining area as one large, flowing space.  With just a bit of thought to keeping this area warm (maybe a radiator or two, or underfloor heating) and this woudl be our ideal living space.

By 8pm we were back at our increasingly warm little house (thanks to the our new plug-in radiators, supplied after a mercy call to the letting agent).  Thoughts turning to work on Monday (boo), I gathered my clothes for the morning and headed off to bed to leave AL catching up on her online word games.  Back into the old routines so quickly…..


  1. Thea says:

    Hey how wonderful, Jan and Dylan, Siena and Zach!!! What a long time no see. Send my love when you next catch up with them and glad you are all safely back together again in Oz. Good luck back in corporate-land Dickie and best wishes to all for the weather improving. Lots of love Theos and Ian xxx

  2. Great that you are all together again and are able to enjoy the sights of Sydney! Shame about the weather, but it’ll soon be Spring out there, so “no worries”!! Have you sorted out schooling? I may have missed some postings on this subject, but was curious to know what you’ve decided to do? Home schooling? State school? Or some other? I can imagine that the cost of living has come as a shock! Back to ‘watching the pennies’ etc … Hopefully, Richard’s income will overcome that hurdle for the most part. Hope the job is turning out to be what you expected or is exceeding your expections, Richard, which would be nice!! Looking forward to the next posting!! The sun has finally arrived in Bournemouth “Allelulia” … that’s what we’re all saying as, my goodness, it’s been rubbish here for such a long time. Still been raining in the north and Scotland I believe, but to see blue skies and the beach buzzing with people in our home town makes me feel so much happier. Even if I’m working and not partaking the beach fun, I can genuinely say that as I drive along Southbourne Overcliff, past your road and see nothing but cars, cars, cars parked alongside, it brings joy to my heart! It’s what Bournemouth has always been ‘about’, a seaside resort. Long may it stay with us … we are all keeping our fingers crossed! Take good care “Possoms”!!! XXXX

  3. Chloe says:

    Brilliant to hear you are all together again and already musing on open plan layout for your living space! I hope you all continue on your MADventure with curiosity and fun. Sam asked if Matthew and Ben were still at Mikeys new house…hopefully and wish fully wanting to see them again soon…Much love Chloé x

  4. susie morris says:

    Fabulous experiences in a wonderful country await you all!! So glad that you are reunited and the adventure continues! This senior citizen aka old cranky lady looks forward to reading about your family!!
    Best wishes, Susie

  5. Nana says:

    Hello again from nana and so sorry you have cold weather while ours has finally turned a corner and we have baked today. The hottest day of the year according to the news but as we havent had much good weather period this year it has turned with a vengeance. I am sure that mums with children at home for the school holidays are praying it continues for the next few weeks as we all know it makes life easier for getting out and about.
    Peter and i went for a nice walk or perhaps i should say climb! round Blackamoor today and it was great except for the bloomin flies which nearly drove me nuts. I was wishing that i had an aussy hat with corks onbut i had to make do with a big fern which i kept waving around like a mad woman. happy days!xxxxxxx

  6. Layering is the way forward my lovelies …. you can’t beat a merino or two for keeping the southern hemisphere cold at bay!
    Just glad we took our merinos to the UK for our ‘summer’ holiday to wear with our shorts and mini skirts in the pouring rain! Luckily spring is just around the corner and you can’t beat Sydney in the sunshine. Enjoy exploring this wonderful city and hopefully we can join you at some point soon for a sneaky weekend at some point soon.

  7. Ted Walkden says:

    Good Blog Richard, took me back to our last visit to Sydney. I see you walked over the Harbour Bridge, next thing is to take the family on a Harbour Bridge walk, over the top !!!!! You don’t have to worry as they supply you all with parachutes as a safety precaution !!!
    Only thing is it would be very expensive now, was about $160 Oz four years ago with 2.3 $ to the £……..times have changed.
    Don’t worry too much about the weather, by the time your contract is up, it will be Summer over there :-)

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