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Monday morning ‘at work’

9:20am, Monday. Hard at work. 😉

Nadia from ‘A Photo a Week Challenge’ is asking us “to share a photo or two of a change you’ve experienced during the covid19 crisis”. I’ve actually been extraordinarily fortunate: no job loss or salary reduction, and the work I used to do in the office I now do at home. I’m not especially sociable at the best of times, so the absence of other people is no hardship at all.

I took this photo at 9.20am today — ordinarily, I’d be in the office by then, not exactly ecstatic at the prospect of another week of work surrounded by noisy (sometimes irritating) colleagues, just starting on my cup of coffee. But on sunny mornings while working at home, I cheekily postpone the start of the work day and enjoy my coffee outside. 🙂

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Familiar but strange

This is a photo I never thought I would ever take! There is usually a mass of people walking here, with waiters dashing back and forth across the flow from the restaurants on the right to the outside seating beyond the pillars on the left.

On Sunday I ventured out of my immediate neighbourhood for the first time in weeks. I took the ferry from my local wharf (I’ve never seen more than a handful of people of that route, so social distancing was absurdly easy) to Circular Quay, where I stepped into an alternative universe: the buildings were all there, but the vast majority of people had been stripped away. My goal was the botanic garden (still open in the lockdown, although all its buildings and cafes are closed) and the easiest route is to walk along the quay and past the opera house. All so unthinkingly familiar — but this time, also so very strange.

I generally scurry along this stretch, dodging dawdlers and tourists. No need for that now.

Where are the hundreds of restaurant tables?

The next shock was the forlorn, stripped-down Opera Bar. This place I avoid like the plague — so noisy, so crowded!

Opera Bar — no tables, no chairs, no bar, certainly no people.

Looking back at Opera Bar from the other end. I’ve never taken a photo with all the people; the one on the right, below, is from https://www.sydney.com.au/images/circular-quay-restaurants1.jpg.

I then walked around the opera house, rather than crossing in front. At the harbour end, I encountered one other person; there are usually dozens here.

At the harbour end of the opera house.

It was time to head for the gardens. My ferry is only hourly, and this eerie ghost town with its memories of happier times was not somewhere I wanted to have to kill time if I carelessly missed my return. I took one look at the hordes on the main path that runs along the water and chose another route.

And indeed, away from the harbour, the gardens were fairly deserted, and as lovely as ever.

Bridge and birds of paradise.

Something bushy sticking through a fence.

Bonus points if you spotted the man up the tree!

This is the approach to the cafe. A lovely spot, with good food (and it’s licensed).

These chairs and tables are usually spread all over this area, full of people.

This looks like a painting, doesn’t it? The reflections give everything an undefined look.

More reflections.

Clumps of plants, backlit by the low autumn sun.

The various little buildings where you might sit with a group are closed.

But the benches are still open! I sat here for a while.

This protea caught my eye while I was sitting. Protea Cyanoides ‘Little Prince’, according to its sign.

Usually, after a stroll around the gardens I’d finish off with a glass of bubbly at Portside, another venue at the opera house but much quieter and more civilised than Opera Bar.

No bubbly at Portside this time, alas. Certainly quiet, however!

So it was back on the ferry and home again.

Heading home.

Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walk. (I see she has a cheese fest this week, oh yes!)


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Sling your hammock

Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks — heritage-listed former barracks, hospital, convict accommodation, mint and courthouse — has reopened after extensive renovations and renewal. One room is set up as a dormitory with reproduction convict hammocks; audio brings alive the experience of trying to sleep in a room crowded with men talking, snoring, shouting, singing, fighting, etc.
The very rough texture of the rope used to hang the hammocks looks as if it would play havoc with soft modern hands and I hope the workers who tied those knots wore sturdy gloves!

Posted Posted as part of Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge, specifically: Texture; and also Debbie’s One Word Sunday Challenge, specifically: Knot.

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Floral Friday – planters in the city

Mobile gardens.

I always know when summer officially arrives in Sydney — it’s when these planters magically appear overnight! The city is full of them, metal squares stuffed with plants in pots. Instant gardens pop up on streets everywhere. The plants don’t last the whole summer, so one day I’ll come along and completely new fresh plants have appeared. Though I’m not sure about what appears to be decorative cabbage in the planter above …

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Rainlight

Those streaks in the photo are rain. At last! (This view is from my balcony, looking at what I call ‘the jungle’.)

Okay, I freely admit that ‘rainlight’ is not a word. But it’s raining, and I’m too happy about that to worry too much about madeup words!! And you know, there is a special quality to the light when it rains. 🙂

Here in parched Sydney, we are finally getting some rain. Since last Thursday we’ve had some good falls of rain, which have not only made a visible difference to grass and trees and gardens in the city (not to mention cleaning the ash buildup from surfaces), but have eased conditions in some nearby bushfires. I don’t know if any rain fell in the dam that supplies Sydney’s water (the last figure I saw was 43% capacity — eek!), but let’s hope so.

Posted as part of January Squares, the theme for which is words ending in light.

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Smoky morning

My morning view, 21 November.

You may have heard about the terrible bushfires in Australia. Sydney itself is in no danger, but we do get smoke from fires when the wind is right (wrong?). A large, intense fire in an area about 150km (90 miles) northwest of Sydney, called Gospers Mountain, brought us much smoke recently. I live in the east of the city, about as far from that fire as you can get before encountering the ocean, yet the smoke was bad for me too. The air quality in Sydney on days such as this is rated ‘hazardous’. Just imagine how awful it is for people so much closer.

Below, for contrast, is what I see on a normal morning. And if you’re wondering — no, I did not walk to work on 21 November.

My morning view, 27 November.