Miss E's graduation from college/uni was the reason for my journey to Sydney (see previous three posts). Tuesday 13th December was an exceptionally hot summer day (and night), as had been forecast, so we were very pleased the graduation venue was air conditioned. Master J and his fiancé J, drove six hours that morning to be present for this special occasion. It was also the first opportunity J had had to meet Miss E.
I was very grateful to be able to attend yet a little sad that my husband wasn't well enough to make the trip too. Having several of our children there made it a mini family reunion, memorable for many reasons.
A couple of days later Miss O and I left Miss E's girls' share house and made the 10+ hour train trip home. Our few days in Sydney had been filled with meaningful sight seeing, family times, special events and appreciating the company of many of Miss E's wonderful friends.
Before we knew it Christmas was upon us and for the first time since last Christmas we had all eight children home again - definitely a time to take a family photo! Family, faith, food, fun and cricket were all part of the day!
Last but not least, this week has seen Miss V celebrate her 13th birthday - and one of the gifts from her siblings was a mini indoor cricket set!!! Once more we will enter the New Year with five teenagers in the family - each and every one of them a treasure!
May we each be able to look back on 2016 with grateful hearts for the many blessings we have have enjoyed and face the coming year with hope, peace, expectation and trust.
After an inspiring morning browsing through much of Art Gallery NSW we wandered through Hyde Park, past the Archibald Fountain (last visited in 2010 with all the family) and headed for QVB, the Queen Victoria Building. QVB was completed in 1898, deliberately designed to employ many out-of-work craftsmen during a severe recession. The atmosphere of QVB is amazing, a wonderful place to window shop and soak in the visual delights, including the spectacular Swarovski Christmas Tree. QVB is also home to a Baby Grand Piano which is open to the public to play - much to our delight it was in use as we walked through. The Christmas crowds were bubbly but not frantic, making the city a very pleasant place to be.
When Miss E finished her Internship hours at the Gallery she caught up with us and took me to see the city campus where she studied one subject this semester and will attend next year for her Honours studies. Only ten minutes walk from the CBD, along busy roads, yet once you enter the courtyard area behind the street-front buildings you find a green leafy oasis of quiet. I was so pleased to be able visit the campus and visualise her study days more accurately. It had been another beautiful day!
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Art Gallery NSW in the heart of the city was our main destination the following day in Sydney (see previous post) as Miss E is currently involved in a summer internship there. Miss G, Miss O and I leisurely journeyed through most of the galleries and exhibitions. Having never been to Art Gallery NSW, I was delighted to discover photography was permitted, unlike at our local town gallery, and that general admission is free.
The more we looked the more we saw. The Gallery houses many of Australia's well known art pieces as well as indigenous art, visiting exhibitions and European galleries. The Gallery located on the eastern side of Sydney's CBD, next to the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Domain. Spread over five floor levels, it needs more than one visit to enjoy all the Gallery has to offer. There is also a cafe and a shop which I didn't have time to enter. I hope to return next time I'm in Sydney to explore in more detail.
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There are those special days which you want to capture in a bottle so the memories and emotions can be enjoyed over and over again. The second Sunday of this month was one of those precious days. Miss O, Miss G and I were in Sydney in readiness for Miss E's graduation. And in many ways the tables had turned - now it was my grown children (Miss E and Miss N) who were making the decisions and organising our days, showing us the best of their newly adopted 'home town'. It was exhilarating to not have to make all the choices and constantly be on the look out for eight young children and a husband with health challenges - but instead to be lead and just soak up the opportunities of each day.
As we caught one of the Parramatta RiverCat ferries into the city on this Sunday the warm summer weather was perfect as was the company of my older daughters. The journey took around an hour as the scenery changed from the mangrove swamps to the inner city harbour and it's stunning icons. We wandered through some of the oldest streets of our young country, enjoying the Sunday Markets at The Rocks and a special lunch at The Tea Cosy where you are invited to pick up and add to the 'anonymous knitting' at your table while you wait for your food to be served.
We strolled freely under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, marvelling at the stunning structures and wonderful views before browsing the markets in more detail. At this point Miss G and Miss N joined us in the city after their women's cricket game.
People of all ages and races were meandering around Circular Quay and The Rocks, stopping to enjoy a wide range of street entertainment and the eclectic mix of watercraft and architecture. I realised I had never been in the heart of the city on a Sunday. The pace was very different to the focused rush of commuters on week days. It was one gloriously beautiful day!