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Preview: Happy Antipodean

Happy Antipodean



A blog by Matthew da Silva since 2006



Updated: 2016-09-29T01:30:08.719+10:00

 



A walk on a busy Sunday morning

2016-09-25T15:00:12.145+10:00

When I headed out for my walk this morning it was sunny and warm, and it had rained earlier in the morning. There were puddles on some of the pavements, and the corners of the buildings were damp. I went past the homeless man across the road from the casino, and he had little blocks of different-coloured glass near his collection hat; it was a cap that had just been turned upside down for



Flying seeds!

2016-09-23T15:51:08.717+10:00

When I was coming to the end of my walk today - a windy, warm day in spring - I could see thousands of seeds from the trees that line the street flying in the air. The seeds congregated on the dry footpaths, creating eddies and whorls as they slipped along on the torrents of air. Harris Street was replete with the moving currents of seeds shaped like little umbrellas. The seeds have a hairy



A rainy day out

2016-09-22T12:04:14.680+10:00

In a positive mood because I had finally decided that I would travel to Japan to see my kids, I went for a walk as usual, heading down through Darling Harbour. Under the Western Distributor there were three schoolgirls in uniform with packets of McDonald's chips in their hands, and they were starting to run because one of them had foolishly given a chip to a seagull. As a consequence, a dozen



Catching up with an acquaintance

2016-09-20T15:14:46.183+10:00

Last night I set the alarm for 8.30am because I had an appointment in Glebe this morning to meet with an acquaintance I had done business with back in 2013 and -14. It was at that time that I had visited Ecuador, where this friend was living at the time. I had also met his wife and another man, who was studying American Indians in their local areas. When I arrived at the cafe in Glebe there



A rainy Sunday at home

2016-09-18T14:50:24.231+10:00

When I awoke early this morning to a bad dream I got up and made myself a cup of coffee, planning to drink it then go back to bed and so miss out on the rest of the dream that was troubling me. Which is what I did. I eventually got up at around 10am and went out the back to the library to see outside (the scaffolding is still up out the front windows). I had an inkling that it was raining. It



A drive out to visit St Peter's in Watson's Bay

2016-09-16T16:16:16.586+10:00

This morning I went out to St Peter's Church in Watson's Bay to drop off mum's ashes for interment. As I have mentioned beforfe here, St Peter's has a columbarium - a reserved place for dead people's ashes with gardens built into it - where my grandmother was also interred in 1995. 21 years later I went back with mum's ashes. My brother and I had chosen a niche close to granny's as mum's final



Une journée du ciel gris

2016-09-16T12:55:27.981+10:00

I'm not sure of my French here but it looks accurate. Or is it "au ciel gris"? Can't be helped, but I was reminded of French when I thought back to those days after mum was diangnosed with Alzheimer's in 2014 when I was not reading at all because I was just so stressed. After I started reading again I took refuge in books by French people, or about France. I remember I wanted to find the



Not walking today

2016-09-12T12:27:28.205+10:00

Yesterday while I was coming back up Harris Street toward home I had some pain in my left ankle that made me slow down my pace, and this morning after I got out of bed I could feel some soreness along the outside of my left foot when I put weight on it. For these reasons I decided not to go walking today, so I am staying at home this morning. I have to go into town tomorrow morning across the



Saturday in the Haymarket

2016-09-10T19:59:58.099+10:00

When I got down under the Pyrmont Bridge this morning - after starting my walk a bit later than usual - I found there was a brass band playing for the crowd. They were playing (surprise!) a medley of Beatles tunes including 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' and 'Something' at a kind of drunken gait because they were not completely on top of the technique of brass bands. It was touching. It was like



A change in the pattern

2016-09-16T12:55:01.486+10:00

Normally I will walk for about an hour and 20 minutes then come home but today I changed the pattern and stopped off to have coffee with a friend. I haven't seen this friend since Christmas and even then we don't meet that often. But he dropped me a line on Facebook this morning and asked how I was so we decided to meet up for coffee. It was a relatively warm day again today. The days are



Day after a night out

2016-09-05T19:08:11.589+10:00

Well I got home last night somehow. I don't remember changing trains, although I do remember walking down a passageway in what I assume was a train station. We had drunk beer then white wine then red wine yesterday over dinner. We talked about tattoos - my daughter got one and my host's daughter, who was there with the rest of her family, wants one - and the conversation got quite heated. I



Another quiet day

2016-09-03T15:58:07.168+10:00

This morning I got up late as usual and made coffee then almost immediately after finishing it, I went for a walk. I took the usual route down through Darling Harbour to Chinatown, then turned right at Paddy's Market and went up Ultimo Road to Harris Street, where I turned north to go back home. It was very windy today and I thought about the possibility of something falling over and hitting



Mooching around Chinatown

2016-08-28T14:15:10.336+10:00

On my walk today I as usual went down the hill at the entrance to the Pyrmont Bridge and then turned right underneath the structure, heading down alongside the tourist restaurants and Cockle Bay, passing under the motorway overpasses, and alongside the shiny new office buildings to Liverpool Street, where I crossed Harbour Street on the pedestrian bridge. I entered Chinatown at the north end



Feeling more positive

2016-08-26T19:32:45.739+10:00

Today I went for a walk again, down through Darling Harbour and into Chinatown, then back up Harris Street home. It had been a few days since I had gone for a walk due to the rain. We had some days of light rain - and some days of heavy rain as well - here in Sydney and I stayed inside on those days. I was also waiting for a phone call to bring me into the city to sign some papers. So today I



Book review: Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle vol. 2, A Man in Love (2013)

2016-08-24T12:22:35.293+10:00

In the first volume of Knausgaard's multi-volume series we learnt about the author's father, and the book ends with the man's funeral, by which time the author is a grown man. In the second volume of the series, A Man in Love, Knausgaard says that his father was one of the two biggest influences on his life. The other major influence being something to do with his character - "the fact that I



Miss mum but have been walking

2016-08-21T15:35:50.956+10:00

I've been walking for over an hour each day for more than the past week. I also got a haircut, as you can probably see. The walking means I feel generally better once I get home, although I am still waking up lateish and still drinking wine in the afternoons. Nevertheless I am not feeling as depressed as I was before. In the evening when I go to bed I still read Knausgaard. I tried reading



Still missing mum terribly

2016-08-11T11:18:06.072+10:00

It's been over a month now since mum passed away and I still can't shake the blues. Yes, I know that is a rather poetic way of expressing myself. What I really mean is that I'm still grieving for her. I just don't know what to do with myself. I get up now even later than before, at around 11am, and make coffee then sit down at the computer and turn it on. The reliable stream of social media



Book review: Inexperience and Other Stories, Anthony Macris (2016)

2016-08-09T14:00:38.783+10:00

This book of early fiction by this Australian author contains many subtle beauties. The title story, which takes up most of the space in this collection, recounts a trip to Europe by the narrator and Carol, his girlfriend. They are Australians trying to escape the mundanity of suburban existence. They are very young and inexperienced. In Paris they meet a number of different people whose



Preparing to inter mum's remains

2016-07-30T11:03:15.043+10:00

The next phase in the process of saying farewell to mum involves placing her ashes in a final resting place. To that end I got in touch with the rectory at the parish of St Peter's in Watsons Bay, where my grandmother - my mother's mother-in-law - was interred back in the nineties after she died. It was a bit difficult getting in touch with St Peter's at first because their office is only



Starting to feel more normal

2016-07-27T10:37:59.173+10:00

I've been posting from time to time about how I feel now that mum has gone. The problem of what to do in the mornings still exists but I have started to feel a bit more normal on and off over the last day or so. It's a big change in my feelings of wellbeing and for me clearly signals a new era in the process of recovery since mum passed away on the first day of the month. It's hard to



Still missing mum

2016-07-25T13:25:01.678+10:00

The last post from me was on Saturday. Weekends are hardest, as I mentioned in that post, because on those days ABC News 24 only runs every 30 minutes, with reruns of existing programming filling in the gaps. This means that the ABC runs on mere fumes during weekends compared to weekdays. For neurasthenics like me - trying to cope with grief - this is a source of discomfort. I rely on the TV



Weekends at home

2016-07-23T15:00:42.045+10:00

Because of the way TV programming is organised, weekends at home are more challenging than weekdays. On weekdays there is a whole newsroom full of staff at the ABC producing the programming for ABC News 24 - the 24-hour TV news station of the public broadcaster - but on weekends they function on a reduced staff so they fill the remainder of the time available with reruns from the past week.



Still in a holding pattern ... but improving

2016-07-18T16:01:39.192+10:00

Here I am with ABC News 24 on in the background looking after my social media accounts. My usual situation in the afternoons. It's where I go to get away from things, helped by a bottle or two of chardonnay. You can see Malcolm Turnbull here giving his press conference on the occasion of the announcement of the government's new ministry. Malcolm couldn't make it over to my place this afternoon



Returning a wedding ring to the nursing home

2016-07-13T14:14:14.172+10:00

The first time mum went into hospital in Sydney I took off her wedding ring and put it in my pocket because there were signs up in the hospital about protecting valuables. I took it home and put it in a drawer in my bedroom. But when mum had been sent back to the nursing home and I had gone up to visit her again I noticed that she was again wearing a wedding ring. I asked her about it and she



Book review: Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle vol. 1, A Death in the Family (2012)

2016-07-12T16:36:51.052+10:00

When my mother was in the hospital dying recently I read to her from this book - a part of the narrative where Karl Ove and his brother are cleaning their grandmother's house following the death of their father - and, also later, when she was in the nursing home I read from the book again. On the day of mum's funeral I finished reading this volume in the series. But these things are of no