Friday, 30 August 2013

An early start on a sunny morning took us to catch a train to the city centre. We walked past the neo-Gothic Anglican cathedral and city hall, through a beautifully restored high class Victorian shopping arcade to the glass shrine that is the Apple computer store.

We didn't join in with other worshippers but continued on with an ever-increasing sense of history to Circular Quay.

Ferries across the harbour and a couple of aboriginal street artists waited for us, but we hurried on to the Opera House. Groups of school children trailed up the steps, clutching an assortment of musical instruments. What an experience for these young performers.

Nothing had prepared us for the beauty of this lovely city. Sparkling water, tree-lined bays, wide streets, elegant skyscrapers, the shell-like curves of the Opera House and, above it all, the harbour bridge.

A ferry took us across the harbour to Watson's Bay for lunch. No ordinary fish and chips: grilled barramundi with chilli plum sauce. Then a stroll along past the beaches and coves and more history to a lighthouse on a headland.

And all the time, talking and catching up. What a joy to meet up with Elissa again, a lovely little girl having become a poised, wonderful young mother. And so many happy memories of the times our families had together.

The evening brought Max and Hanna. Laughter and reminiscing until our faces ached. We went home with them... yet another day of exploring Australia's treasures. The Three Sisters and the Blue Mountains. A male lyre bird, resembling nothing as much as a black pheasant, strutted across the path but what struck us most was the incredible bird song.

And coffee and cake and more and more jokes and laughter. Such dear, dear friends - when we left, I could not hold back the tears. Such friendship is a rare gift - but the pain of separation is now inextricably bound up with the joy.

Before that, though, we managed yet another happy reunion: Lucy, honorary Guernsey girl and erstwhile dog-sitter. Great to see her well settled in her marriage and a promising career as a baker. Love that girl.

We went with her and Hanna to visit the oldest church in Australia at Ebenezer: this far the Lord has brought us. The little church, surrounded by graceful eucalyptus, nestled on a promontory in the great Hawkesbury River. The temperature was in the mid-twenties, the sun gentle on our backs. Peewits and willy wagtails strutted on the thick grass, parakeets fluttered above us. It felt like being back in Kenya.

And so, we left Sydney. Wish it wasn't so far away...

No comments: