Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Days 1 and 2 in Sydney

Excuse the crumbs, I am eating a wagon wheel I picked up from the bakery down the road.  I have just returned from the Opening Address with Kate Tempest at the Sydney Writer's Festival. The Roslyn Packer theatre was sold out with people looking forward to this event.

The opening of the Sydney Writer's Festival, like most openings in Australia was started with acknowledgement of the true owners of the land. Then a young Aboriginal man played a new piece he composed for the didgeridoo. It was a sort of tribute to the cockatoos, the kookaburras and other fauna of this region of Australia.

Then of course a politician had to come on board. I thought it was quite entertaining. This theatre was packed with probably the most avid readers of the country and most would be into quality literature. The pollie talked of bibliotherapy which seems to be a catch phrase lately.  He mentioned the value of reading and the books that inspire him, those he enjoys. I heard the names Dan Brown and James Patterson. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind what people read but knowing this audience I am sure there were more than a few book snobs amongst it. Because once he left the stage and the facilitator came back on the stage she and the audience erupted into laughter. I think it had something to him naming airport reads and nothing of serious quality. Knowing some of the Australian readers I am sure the politician thinks we are just some little lady book worms who read gentle fiction. He obviously hasn't read A Little Life.  

Kate Tempest is a young, (30) British poet, playwright and performer who entertained us with her poetry. She believes in story telling and the importance of literature. Her poem encourages everyone to take care of others. Forego greed, busyness, selfies, craziness and see what the reality of life that is around us. She is deeper than deep, a serious story teller with great humour thrown in. I was not familiar with her and her latest book is now out. It is called The Bricks that Built the House. It is her first novel. I really enjoyed her presentation and she gave us all lots to think of.

I arrived in Sydney yesterday and the first thing I did was visit the large
Kinokuniya book store. I love the books and all of the Japanese stationery in this store.  I also visited a large camera shop to upgrade my camera. I am going to concentrate on writers, books and photography this week.

After that I treated myself to lunch in a lovely Japanese restaurant. I am still not certain what all of it was but I loved it. I love tasting new food. I will eat almost anything, especially when I am hungry.

Last night I saw the play produced by the Sydney Theatre Company of Hay Fever, written by Noel Coward. It was being held in the drama theatre of the Sydney Opera House. Any excuse to go into this exquisite building. I love this place. The play was hilariously funny. As I booked at the last moment I could only get a seat in the middle of the very front row. I felt as though I were on the stage as the play progressed. I could see crows feet around the actor's eyes as I was that close.

I had to laugh as in Hobart I often attend things on my own. I easily chat to people on either side of me and never feel lonely. Hobart audiences are always friendly. Last night I sat beside a Sydneysider of middle age.  I said Hello to her. She adjusted herself in her chair with her back to me. It was quite obvious. The woman on my other side was much friendlier. When the intermission came I wanted to ask this woman if she was enjoying herself. That is always a good way to start a conversation. I was alone so once again I tried to get contact but she never shifted. Her back was as far to me as she could possibly get it the entire time.

"What!"  "Are you too rich or something to speak to me." I thought. Then I suppressed a giggle as it could not have been that. After all we didn't have the best seats in the house. We had to look up, like a baby bird just to see the floor of the stage.  Maybe she was just shy.  Anyway I was completely entertained trying to get her eye.

Today was a hot day and I had planned to go to the zoo before the Writer's Festival opening this evening. It was too hot for the zoo so instead I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art at the wharf. I walked around the Rocks area, which is the oldest area of Sydney and has art galleries and expensive shops. I window shopped and shared my cinnamon toast and cappuccino with a one legged pigeon.

Then I spent quite a bit of time sitting in the grass down at the Harbour photographing people. I got some great shots.  There was one shot I must share with you when I download my film. It was a couple of middle aged people eating an ice cream cone. No big deal but beside them a busker was getting dressed for his performance as a stationary tree. He was putting on clothes covered in branches and leaves and it was a huge outfit. The couple beside him never once looked at him. They just sat licking their ice cream.  How could they miss him!? So comical.

Tomorrow evening I have another presentation to attend and then Wednesday, Thursday and Friday picks up a bit more. I signed up for 8 sessions. So as I have all day on my own tomorrow I have booked a tour that goes from 8 am to 6 pm to the Blue Mountains. I have not been to the Blue Mountains before so it might be fun. In any case as there are 50 other tourists on this bus I should get some good pictures of people doing things.

What a busy couple of days.  I'll add more tomorrow if I can find the energy.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Five Days in Sydney and A Festival.

Tomorrow morning I am off to Syydney, crossing the big ditch that separates Tasmania from the mainland. I am attending the Sydney Writer's Festival. I have left time though to visit my favourite second hand bookstores, see a play at the Opera House and work on my photography.

Since I lost my wonderful old dog Wally, I have been quite flat and teary. However after a couple of weeks we did adopt a small black cat from the Cat Centre. Tassie always has a glut of cats needing homes. We had a space available and Cousin Eddie, our tabby, needed a playmate to stop him harrassing our older cat, Uncle Buck.  Enter Griswald, or Grizzy for short. He is beautiful, sweet natured and cheeky. We love him.

Life is getting back to normal and I hope to talk to you a bit more as I find I miss your company when I don't write.

I have been reading. Right now it's Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. I thought I would like it more than I do. The cover was promising and the title sounds old fashioned. However I do get annoyed with the characters. Our book club read is Cold Comfort Farm which I have read and loved. Rather than read it again I am listening to the play that I downloaded on Audible.com. I am thoroughly enjoying that.

I continue to study Photoshop tutorials and attended a great workshop by an Adobe rep at our Photographic club.

It's been too windy to do much scooter riding and has poured with rain which we really need as we have been having drought conditions here.

I finally saw the film, The Lady in the Van which I enjoyed, though I love Maggie Smith. I enjoyed the movie more than the book which is unusual for most book related films I see.

I have discovered Flow magazine from the Netherlands and I love the articles, paper, stationery and art work within its covers. It's a little pricey but I do devour it. It is one of those publications that has little surprises throughout and makes me happy.

I am looking forward to going into Tasmania's winter. The colours here in the winter are beautiful, not too much snow and quite a bit of sun makes this island state a fantasyland.

I hope to get online to tell you about what goes on in Sydney and include some pictures over the next few days. After all the Penguin is happiest when reading and travelling. Stay tuned and here is a picture of Grizzy I put together in Photoshop. Isn't he beautiful.