Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A fresh start in Sydney

So, my 16 lovely followers (I see some old friends have joined - welcome!), by now you're probably getting some idea about my life on PB now. I might just backtrack a little to life pre-PB for a while to fill in some more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.  Back in January 1999, we moved to Sydney to live, only a week after we had married.  Talk about doing it all in one fell swoop!  It really was a fresh start.  New marriage, new (rented) house, new city, new jobs, new friends, the whole catastrophe.  And we were living in one of the world's most gorgeous cities, nestled around the Harbour, a little like Hobart.
Image obtained from here
They were heady, intoxicating days.  We hadn't lived together before (due to living in different cities and countries for a lot of the time) so that was a whole new ballgame.  I still remember chuckling when Mr PB called out "Honey, I'm home!" at the end of the day, like we were in some 1950s sitcom.  We would just dissolve in laughter.  Suddenly we were 'grown-ups', living a life of domesticity, watering the garden and taking out the rubbish. We ate all our favourite junk foods, just because we could (that soon stopped after our waistlines began to expand).  We cooked our favourite dishes, drank lots of wine and generally made merry.

We lived in a very sleepy little suburb on Sydney's North Shore with the leafy grounds of St Ignatius College Riverview at the end of our street.  The rental prices were staggeringly expensive for people who had grown up in Hobart but it was the norm and we just had to adapt.  We enjoyed setting up our home with all our shiny new wedding presents and exploring our neighbourhood.  Gradually, we settled down into our new jobs.  We found Sydneysiders to be generally very welcoming and helpful. So many of our work colleagues were outsiders who had moved to Sydney so they shared our desire to explore and discover.  During those early days, we forged some dear friendships which endure to this day.

One of our favourite things was catching the ferry to work.  By that time, we had moved to live in leafy Woolwich, a little peninsula jutting out into the Harbour where the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers meet.  We had a leisurely 10 minute stroll to the ferry in the morning.  It was a most civilised, convivial affair.  Parties of commuters travelled together, 'holding' the ferry if they could see their friends running down the street in a mad effort to leap aboard before the ropes were cast off.  We grew to know the ferry workers and admired their handiwork with ropes and ability to get us on and off the ferries in choppy weather without accident.  Our morning trip lasted 15 minutes, a refreshing break before we disembarked and scurried off to work in the shadows of the skyscrapers.  The evening trip was about 30 minutes as it had more stops.  Those long, balmy summer evenings were perfect for sitting outdoors.  On Fridays, the regulars would share (furtive) beers together and revel in Sydney's glory.
Image obtained from here
That was Sydney's public transport at its undoubted best.  Once we moved to Ryde and bought our apartment, we had to use the bus.  The agony, the irritation, the waiting, the running late.  Even although my bus travelled in the 'bus' lane (what a misnomer, choked with four wheel drives with one passenger), my 13 kilometre trip could take an hour and a half on a bad day.  So many times, I had to ring my boss from the bus and explain how far I had reached in the painstaking crawl to work.  Of course, I then had to make up the time at the end of the day.  Not happy, Jan.  That's one thing I don't miss about Sydney.

Next, I'll fill you in on life as a lawyer in Sydney.  Time to collect Joshua from school!



  1. You're not kidding about Ryde - I had to go down to CSIRO at North Ryde a few times for work, and the public transport was just non-existent. Well, I'm sure it did exist, but I didn't see it. I had another friend who lived near there for a while and she pretty much reported what you say - that the bus took forever, and unless I'm misremembering, it cost something like 10 bucks just to get where she was going each day.

    What on Earth happened to public transport in Sydney? I like to complain about Brisvegas, but its bus system is like something out of a communist utopia compared to Sydney.

  2. Hi Nadiah! Thanks for stopping by. You are right on the money there. We would have used the Meadowbank ferry if the last ferry hadn't left Circular Quay at 6 pm. Not exactly convenient for the hours I was working and we would have had to park the car at Meadowbank all day with limited carspaces available. Catching the train from West Ryde was possible but we all know Cityrail's problems...We had our hopes up when the state government announced the metro option with a stop at Top Ryde but of course that vanished off to the never-never like so many of their promises. At least there is a new shopping centre there now!

  3. I was starting to think "stop stop stop you're making me want to move to Sydney" until I read the bus bit!

  4. Er, yes, Ash. That's the shame of it all. I think I'll do posts on 'What I miss about Sydney' and 'What I don't miss about Sydney' - see what you think after that!


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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