Shocking savage seagulls of Sydney the sequel: Mothers’ Day – away with the birds

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Imagine the title of this post being spoken in the kind of voice typically heard in a horror movie trailer.  Maybe with some chilling, high-pitched, psycho violins reminiscent of stabbing.

But we’ll get to the seagulls later. Mothers’ Day 2018 in Canberra was pretty low key which is just how I wanted it: a chance to sleep in, teach Spider Boy how to make my breakfast (after he ran into my room at a reasonable hour to give me a beautiful card and origami box he’d made) go to Bunnings for a sausage sandwich and some double-sided wall adhesive, and a little walk and coffee by the lake. There were no seagulls. But there were chips, and former-Sydneysider Spider Boy commented how lovely it was to eat chips by the sea, while lakeside at Kingston Foreshore. I knew what he meant. But just as well we weren’t by the sea in Sydney, after what I heard next…

On the way home from our pleasant little lakeside stroll, my sister Senorita Margarita called to report a savage seagull incident in the Harbour city. She and my mum had decided to take a ferry from Rose Bay to Circular Quay and enjoy some fish and chips by the water. According to the Senorita, just as Mum was about to tuck in to her seafood lunch, fish on fork on its way to her mouth, a seagull swooped in, stole the fork from under her nose, slapping her in the cheek with its wing as it flew off, fork in beak with the fish still attached. Then it ate the fish and dropped the cutlery on the ground. Not only a violent thief, but a tosser!

As my sister recounted mum’s seagull encounter over the phone we both started laughing at the sheer gall of the gull, but then I was laughing so hard I nearly ran the car off Yamba drive. My laughter was hypercritical, considering I got annoyed when Spider Boy laughed at me spilling my flat white on my new felt winter hat that very afternoon (and in case you’ve got a mental picture, I wasn’t wearing my hat at the time)

The Senorita reminded me of another seagull event at the Quay a few years ago, when one decided to move into her lustrous blonde curls during her lunch break, while its seagull sidekick did a fly-by and took a bite of her sandwich as she brought it to her mouth. Yes, the Circular Quay seagulls are particularly bold.

Later that day after hearing about Mum’s seagull drama,  I rang my dad.

Dad, who has recently moved to the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney, had ventured back to the East for the weekend. We swapped stories about our Sundays. He complained about Sydney traffic, Sydney queues, Sydney prices, Sydney attitude and annoying and expensive Lexuses and Range Rovers in Centennial Park, and how he’s so happy that’s all behind him now that he’s moved to the Mountains. (I must admit, I do love being able to visit him there.) And then I told Dad about my peaceful Mothers’ Day in Canberra, and about my Mother’s not-so-peaceful day in Sydney.

While relating the story of the savage seagulls at Circular Quay, it occured to me the Seagulls were just like Sydney itself… they were, in fact, very Sydney seagulls.

“Yes!” agreed Dad. “That’s exactly what they are – Very. Sydney. Seagulls!”

In May 2014, I blogged about a family outing where we experienced another particularly rude seagull event coupled with terrible service from an ice-cream vendor. Here’s an edited version of Sunday drive: savage seagulls, snakes and service with a snarl

My sister Senorita Margarita, Mum Spider Boy and I decided on a nice low-key beach area. So not Bondi. We drove south and ended up at Botany Bay.

We bought fish and chips and made our way down to the little beach facing the airport runways. There was lots of interesting things to look at, and balmy weather considering it was May.

We perched on the wall of an elevated garden bed since all the benches were taken. Suddenly, A flock of seagulls descended. Spider Boy wanted to run, run so far away (sorry, any chance to bring up the 80s).

Spider Boy was edgy. He tensed as the seagulls squawked and edged closer to his lunch. “Should I give them some lunch?” He asked, obviously hoping that feeding them would make them go away.

“No!” I squawked. “If you do that, they’ll never leave! They’ll just get louder, closer and more annoying! Like Mummy nagging.”

So we sat there uncomfortably perched on the garden bed, sea grass tickling our legs, seagulls staring us down, wind blowing my hair in my face.

Suddenly a rampaging toddler disturbed the status quo, throwing out the delicate mutual respect Spider Boy and I had achieved with the flock of seagulls. They squawked, they flapped. Spider Boy jumped. Then I felt something drop onto my fish and chips paper at the same time as hearing a distinctive splat! I felt something wet on my hand and leg.

I looked at my lunch fearing what I knew I would see there, and I’m not talking about tartare sauce.

“A seagull just pooed on my lunch!” I shared with my family and passers-by.
“Well at least a seagull didn’t land on your head!” said The Senorita. “That happened to me once you know!” 

Here are some pics from Sunday…

 

Winter light

Winter in Sydney is not really winter. Winter in Sydney can be a bit cool (ish). Yes, occasionally it does get cold (ish). Very occasionally, there may be a biting wind. But not most of the time. Not even often. And when it does happen, everyone talks about how cold it is. Brrrr.

For the past few years, perhaps to keep the spirit of Summer alive over the Winter months, Sydney has put on an event called Vivid – a festival of light, music and ideas. Vivid Sydney is the biggest event of its kind in Australia. According to the Vivid website, the festival is a world-class line-up of concert and music performances, public ideas programs, creative industry workshops and conferences.

I went to Vivid for the first time last week, with Spider Boy, Lulu and the Magician. As well as Vivid installations outside, we have seen indoor museum exhibition displays of light, as well as the beautiful natural winter light that surrounds us outside.

Here are some of our light treasures from Winter so far:

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The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) looking like it’s been the recipient of a crazy mosaic job.

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The MCA outdoor cafe under lights at night.

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This display reminded me of a stained-glass window.

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This dynamic large-scale light installation, Affinity, is by artists amigo and amigo (Simone Chua and Renzo B. Larriviere). Vivid’s website explains that the piece represents the complexity and connectivity of the human brain. When people arrive at Affinity, there is a web of darkened dormant orbs, except for a small trail of light that bounces between them. As people touch the globes, light flows in, linking the orbs.

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Circular Quay train station dressed up in red.

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One of my favourite museums…

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It’s here Spider Boy made friends with his shadow side…

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We found art made of light…

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Tupperware light fittings…

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and giant lightsabers!

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Meanwhile at a local club we discovered stage lights…

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bright lights…

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and on another day, afternoon sun bouncing off the water at Circular Quay.

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Followed by a sunset at Rose Bay.

Winter doesn’t need artificial light to glow; Its natural light is beautiful in its own muted way. But Vivid is quite spectacular.  If you’re reading this on June 8th and you’re in Sydney, you can still catch Vivid, otherwise, it’s one for the diary next year.

Vivid Sydney light displays are on from 6pm until midnight June 8th, 2015 (some events finish at 11pm).

http://www.vividsydney.com

The Light Show is on at the Museum of Contemporary Art until July 5th, 2015.  

Check out the @MCA_Australia_Now on Instagram for some of the amazing light displays inside the Museum.  They’re better than my photos!

Edited Highlights: Month in review: baked goods, street art and 80s pop

It’s a cold and windy start to Winter today but at least the sun is out so the weekend washing is drying nicely outside.

Given that it’s the start of a new season I think it’s high time for some Edited Highlights from the past few weeks.

In May I enjoyed my Mother’s Day breakfast… IMG_4906

Mmmm… bacon. Even better when the bacon is on a waffle with maple syrup… IMG_4909

A good friend from Melbourne came over for dinner. I’m no domestic goddess so it’s not like he came all the way from Melbourne for my great cooking. He was in Sydney on business. I kept it simple with pasta, pesto sauce (from a jar), salad, a fresh loaf of sourdough and hummus. I had some fresh rosemary sprigs from my dad’s garden so stuck that in two glasses of water and voila – table centrepiece. Threw in a few lemons too to enhance the Tuscan vibe.IMG_5183_2

Spider Boy, Bat-Gran and I swung by one our favourite bakeries, Brasserie Bread at Banksmeadow on a recent Sunday drive. Spider Boy went there on a school excursion last year and learnt how to make a bread roll and a pizza. But on this day, we just looked at jam jars.

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At school, Spider Boy is learning about the differences between the past and present – the Year 2 children had to interview someone “from the olden days”. He chose his granddad (my dad) because as he told me, “He’s more olden-days than you, Mum.”

Here are some mid-20th Century snaps of my dad and family. Spider Boy couldn’t believe that the only electronic device around when his granddad was seven, was a radio.

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Bottom left: My dad at 7, the same age Spider Boy is now, with his younger brothers.

And from my 1940s Pop to 1980s pop, Lulu and I went to see the Absolutely 80s band perform at Souths Juniors Rugby League club at Kingsford last Friday night. Brian Mannix (Uncanny X-Men), Paul Gray (Wa Wa Nee), Scott Carne (Kids in the Kitchen), David Sterry (Real Life) and Dale Ryder (Boom Crash Opera) in one pop-tastic show singing all their own hits plus great covers of songs from the Models, INXS, and Dragon. Seeing these guys perform is always such a fun night out, and their voices haven’t changed since the days I used to watch them on Countdown.

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Clockwise from top left: Brian Mannix, Paul Gray, David Sterry and Scott Carne.

I indulged in the sweet tunes, but unfortunately NOT in the sweet treats I spied the next day in the Myer Food Court. I looked, but did not touch.

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Instead, I bought an expensive pastry down at the Sydney Writers’ Festival cafe… more about the Writers’ Festival in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, here’s a picture of the action down at SWF headquarters at Walsh Bay last week. IMG_5275

Before we began our trek down to Walsh Bay, we stumbled upon the Home Food and Design Weekend marquee in front of St.Mary’s Cathedral. We walked in (there was no admission charge), did a quick circuit with Spider Boy who was keen to get to  lunch after his swimming lesson, and emerged five minutes later with a goodie bag. Gotta love free stuff.

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Goodie bag booty.

We also spent some time at Circular Quay… IMG_5377

We found some street art at the entrance to Nurse’s Walk in the Rocks. It was a piece for Vivid, the light festival that is currently gracing the city until June 8. As it was 3pm, it wasn’t lit up yet. IMG_5361

Spider Boy found a sculpture outside a touristy/opal/jewellery store that he was strangely taken with. He wanted me to buy it. But it was a “No” from me. He clutched onto his little bunch of Autumn leaves instead, the last of the season. IMG_5451

Here’s to a new season, wherever you are.