A birthday celebration…

It was early March, Coronavirus had not reached pandemic proportions, it was mainly simmering away in China. No directions from our government about “social distancing”, no need, yet, to “self isolate” Australia was still in a certain amount of denial that it would happen to us

So I decided we would do something different this year and go a bit further afield for a birthday lunch. Jack and I share the same day for our birthday, 5th March. So, on the spur of the moment and for a change, I chose Sydney and a lunch cruise around Sydney Harbour. 1000 kilometres south and a one and half hour plane trip. Only a short hop in Australian terms of travel…

March 5th dawned overcast and then it poured with rain. This is going to be a very different look at the harbour. Previous visits have always been bathed in brilliant sunshine.sydney pc 032_5184x3888The large trimaran boat waited and when we got aboard it was very obvious that tourism has declined. The friendly waitress told us there were only about a third of the numbers that would normally be on the cruise.sydney pc 046_5184x3888

The food was delicious, varied, freshly cooked and plenty of it. What a varied chatter of languages flowed around us, Italian, French, Greek, English, Middle Eastern and just a couple of Asians and sitting next to us a delightful Argentinian couple, who could not speak English, with an older gentleman that I assumed was their father. When they tried valiantly to eat the huge prawns with a knife and fork, Jack, in sign language, gave them a lesson on how to eat them “Aussie style” using your fingers. We all ended up having a good laugh and then taking selfies.sydney pc 049_5184x3888

The lunch took 2 hours and we circulated around the groups chatting with the ones that could speak English. As the boat cruised around the harbour past all the iconic landmarks I took some photos through the window. A commentary about the history and details of the things we were passing played in the background. But because of the noise of conversation and clattering dishes I could only hear the occasional snippet. After 2 hours the boat pulled back into Darling Harbour and most guests disembarked. But we had paid an extra $10 to have the 4 hour cruise. So, with only a dozen people left on board, the boat retraced the route around the harbour with the commentary, which I could now hear. I was delighted to have this second hour and a better look as we went onto the back deck sheltered from the rain by a roof.sydney pc 062_5184x3888We toast our birthday with glasses of bubbly the waitress gave us and watch Sydney float by. With all the colour washed away it became an ethereal monochrome.sydney pc 104_5184x3888The bridge looms out of the mist and Jack toasts this classic Sydney structure that was opened in March 1932 just 2 weeks after he was born. They are both keeping in very good shape… ( Look very closely at the bottom left corner of the bridge in the below photo and you may see a group of tourists just starting their climb to the top of the bridge. What brave souls in this windy and rainy weather)sydney pc 072_5184x3888As we glide under the bridge the stately opera house slowly emerges. The sails of this amazing building merging with the grey clouds.sydney pc 095_5184x3888sydney pc 077_5184x3888Now we pass the million dollar mansions all clustered along the shore line sharing a view of this best harbour in the world.

sydney pc 131_5184x3888This bottom photo is the Admiralty House home of the Governor General. We are heading back now and pass under the bridge again, stopping briefly at Circular Quay to let some guests off.sydney pc 080_5184x3888This is the cruise ship terminal. These floating cities dwarf the bridge. Little did we know at this time, as we passed this monster, that in a couple of weeks time, from this photo, they would be floating virus hubs and the cruise ships would not be allowed to dock here. And the massive cruise ship industry would be in crisis.

How the world is about to change.

This has been a memorable way to spend our birthday and we still have 2 more days before we head home.007_4984x2287With all my activities now on hold I have time to catch up with my journal, this is the first page. Not much drawing in these pages but there will be more to come. I like to keep the colourful brochures they hand out.

Cathy of “Wander Essence” hosts an art journal invitation and she invites you to join in. Now this post only just qualifies as I only have the one spread to show you. But go over to see Cathy’s post it is so inspirational




  1. Wow I didnโ€™t realise quite how head in the sand Australia was. I have been on high alert since February after the Diamond Princess debacle in Japan. Just got back to NZ and am in 2 weeks self isolation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Naomi lovely to hear from you. Our โ€œleaderโ€ certainly didnโ€™t give much direction at the start. I think an almost โ€œsheโ€™ll be right attitudeโ€ but that has all changed now. NZ is a really good place to be. Are you wintering over there on the ski fields?


  2. Such a nice birthday treat, Pauline. Did those prawns taste as good as they look?

    I’ve been on high alert about this virus since early January. It must be my disaster radar, lol. I can multi-task and worry about two disasters at the one time. However, I can only prepare for one disaster at a time. I already had a stack of dried fruit in ready to flee from the fires. Bonus. Dual purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely way to spend your birthdays! And so good to see those beautiful photos of Sydney Harbour. Reminds me a bit of San Francisco’s fog. You know the poem “Fog”? It talks about “little cats’ feet” but looks like yours was a nice fat tom! So glad you and Jack continue to have such good times together, and that you share that joy with those around you, and us online. Humble thanks to you both. ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for a wonderful post and I wish both of you many more years and a very…although late…Happy Birthday! I am happy for you both that you got to spend your celebration touring the harbor and having such a wonderful lunch. The certainty of life is that things will indeed ‘change’. They always do and life does resume in the ways people live their lives. Do take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re so lucky you managed to get to Sydney and this luncheon cruise, even in the rain, to celebrate your joint birthdays, Pauline. Belated happy birthday to you both! It looks like it was a warm and cozy place to be even in the gloomy weather, and it sounds like you had good company without being swamped with other tourists. I also love your journal spread. I also like to add bits from travel brochures, and I love the picture of you and Jack. Keep safe and healthy, Pauline. I’m happy to link this to my next art journal post on April 10. Let’s hope we have more certainty and good news by then. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • The less people certainly was a bonus, not too long a queue to get the food from the buffet and a relaxed atmosphere. I imagine Rome is much different now to the crowds when you were there. More time to blog and catch up with art projects now. Wonder what another 4 weeks will bring, everything is so uncertain at the moment.


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