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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Over Sydney Harbour Bridge to Flowers, Art and Jazz (Day 142)

A great walk over Sydney Harbour Bridge for free - who needs to pay over A$300? And what beauty the other side, Flowers and Art in the Botanical Garden and great Jazz in Foundry 616

A relaxing morning writing. Sometimes, these daily writings take no time at all, others take ages, however I enjoy every moment. It’s funny how I used to really struggle with writing – too many doubtful thoughts that I was listening to. And now it flows…apart from the odd times that I stop and google some research, making sure I get facts rights, and then back to allowing words to pour out from my fingertips.

After lunch we got to the station (a different one this time with easier parking). We were going into Town Hall station again, however when we saw that the train was going further afield and checked the location on our map, our plans changed.

On our hour journey I sat and read my book whilst Tim dozed. I’m reading “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor which my friend Lori recommended and I am so glad she did. It is captivating. Dr Taylor is a neuroanatomist, fascinated with how the brain works, and at the age of 37 she had a stroke. During this time, she near enough lost the use of her left hemisphere of the brain, however because she was conscious, she was able to be aware of what was happening to her and studied her own stroke as it happened. She has given a Ted Talk, now one of the top 5 most viewed of all time, how did I miss this one?! . Since her 8 year recovery she is helping others find their way back from neurological trauma. An amazing lady. While I was on the train, I heard a lady talking with someone about recovering from her own stroke. Argh, missed opportunity, I would have loved to have a conversation with her.

We arrived at Milsons Point station, turned right and climbed up some stairs. We were on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. What a view! Fantastic views of the harbour and of the Sydney Opera House with the Manly Ferry gliding past. This massive arch bridge is 134m from the top to the water and is 48.8m wide, one of the widest in the world. Considering it was built by 1932 that is incredible.

The opening of the bridge was a huge fanfare, estimates of 300,000 to 1 million people took part in the opening festivities. Quite a wide estimate - the entire population of Sydney was about 1.25 million then. At the ceremony, the ribbon was about to be cut by Jack Lang, NSW Premier, when Captain Francis de Groot in his military uniform rode up on his horse with his sword held high and slashed the ribbon declaring the bridge open in the name of “the decent and respectable people of New South Wales”. Apparently he believed that a member of the Royal Family should have opened the bridge and this was his protest. He was promptly arrested, the ribbon retied and Lang continued with his opening speech and recut the ribbon. What a commotion!

The bridge was built during the Great Depression. This did give many local people work, however 16 people died during the build and sadly 60 people decided to end their lives by jumping off the bridge in the first year it was opened. There’s high mesh to prevent this now. On a lighter note, I have come across this poem written in 1940 by Dorothy Auchterlonie:

Twinkle Twinkle little stars On a million motor- cars Along the Harbour Bridge so high Like a coat-hanger in the sky

A few people have suggested to us to walk right over the top of the bridge. It does look fun and we did wave to the people doing this, however at A$303 each, we’ve decided to give this a miss. Travelling for many months we are fairly careful with our money – breaking even with our income and expenditure at the moment and want to keep it that way.

On to the Botanical Gardens – I’m not sure how many we have been to now, definitely in Kandy, Sri Lanka and Penang. We do like to stroll round and see the amazing flora that is naturally created on our planet. By the bamboo, we read a plaque where the Botanic Garden Trust staff voted 10 plants that have changed the world which have been of exceptional significance. What 10 plants would you vote for? Please do let us know (One for you Hugh). While we were walking amongst the wild flower bed, we came across a young couple painting. The young lady said it was the best place to paint in Sydney and I would agree with her.

We had already booked 2 tickets at Foundry 616, one of Sydney's favourite jazz clubs to see Bloodlines. This is three family members Dave MacRae, the pianist, who was celebrating his 78th birthday, his wife, singer Joy Yates and their daughter Jade MacRae who flew back from Germany the day before. I bumped into Jade and Joy before their performance and what lovely people they are. No egos, just genuine people who love to perform.

We so enjoyed the gig, Jade’s range of vocals is incredible and lovely to see Mum and Daughter sing together. Weirdly Joy’s vocals reminded me of Amy Winehouse, or should that be the other way round? A powerful deep, husky and expressive voice. Back to the train station, just caught our train and back home to two cats welcoming us warmly, or was it that they wanted feeding?

Looking forward to seeing your list of top 10 plants that have significantly changed the world…

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