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Back in Oz
Sun Jan 13 17:38:17 2008

Back in Oz

Jobless and Homeless in Sydney

I'm not going to make excuses for my lack of blogging over the past months. Put it down to laziness. I am currently sitting less than five miles from the place where I last blogged. Since then, we have been to Melbourne, Bristol, Foca (Turkey), Bristol again, Devon, Berlin and back to Sydney via Singapore. 30,000 miles without a single blog. Apologies. Refunds available at the door. You get what you pay for. Etc.

So, back in Australia. In Summer. Thinking of all you poor souls in the frozen North. Ha. Jobless and homeless. The homeless thing is solved, or will be on Australia Day. The jobless thing will, regrettably, probably stop soon, too. Just as I'm getting used to it.

So today, being "unemployed, of no fixed abode", we did the only rational thing possible. We went swimming in the sea at Manly. Despite the presence of sting rays, jellyfish, sharks, surfers and (probably) spiders, this was not an actual suicide attempt.

At the south end of Manly beach there is a patrolled swimming area, about 100m across. We took the slow ferry over, bought a couple of beach towels and hurtled into the water. Seconds later, soaked and bedraggled on the beach, we tried again. Same result. You step off the soft, baking sand into warm, clear blue water and start walking to the surf. Then the surf comes to you, in metre-high lumps at 15 knots. It takes a while to master the technique of not getting dumped further up the beach with each breaker. Once mastered, however, you can get beyond the surf line and into the fun. The waves seemed huge from a swimming perspective, but were probably less than two metres. You can be standing waist-deep as a big one approaches, then get sucked towards it and lifted way up to the top. If it doesn't break, throwing you ten metres back into the smaller stuff and slamming you to the shore, you plummet down the seaward side giggling like a very giggly thing. Then it happens again. Gradually, you get blasted sideways by the longshore drift, until you get to the end of the patrolled area. Then, you body-surf to the shore, grab a drink of water, walk back to the other end and do it all again.

After an hour, we were absolutely knackered, so we went ashore and had beer and ice-cream.

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Last modified: Thu Aug 31 22:46:12 AUSEST 2006