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Pelicans and Pearls

Pelicans and Pearls

We are following the “Ashes in Europe” story with interest and thanking our lucky stars that we are neither stuck in the Europe nor desperate to get there. Husband has a client who must be beginning to wonder if he should apply for permanent residency in Sydney, as there appears no immediate way he is going to get home. However, if I had to pick a city to be marooned in, Sydney would have to be a top choice.

It has been a wonderful Sydney weekend, the city is set in such a beautiful harbour side environment that when the sun shines, everything sparkles. The weather is getting cooler and producing days of such clarity that industrial pollution and smog seem like a figment of an overheated imagination. I had the perfect Sydney day on Thursday. My exercise group meets down on the local beach at 6am each morning—one of the great joys of living here is the ability to exercise outside every day of the year and at 6am the beach is buzzing with swimmers, runners, dog walkers and exercisers of all descriptions. As I came down the hill to the beach, a fabulous crimson sunrise illuminated the dark bulk of the Heads that stand sentinel at the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Later on, I walked the dog down at a dog beach where the water was so clear I could see shoals of small fish flickering through the water. A pelican bobbed around in the shallows, unmoved by the gamboling dogs. I find even after almost five years here, the sight of a pelican, with its gawky elegance, has the way of lifting my day into the unusual. In the evening I drove back home down another hill. As you may have gathered, Sydney is quite a hilly city and I got a fabulous vista of a pink and blue fluffy backdrop to the darkening silhouette of the city. I can, however, confidently predict that by tomorrow—when we have a friend from America arriving for a brief forty-eight hours in Sydney—that it will be grey, morose, and pouring. Like children, you can never rely on cities to show themselves to full advantage when the pressure is on.

I have just read a book review of Tears of Mermaids, a non-fiction book about pearls. The reviewer began by revealing that she received a large, lustrous pearl to celebrate the birth of her first daughter. It puts me in mind of a friend in London whose husband whisked her straight from the maternity ward, off to a slap-up lunch at a top London restaurant and straight into the jewelers to buy large and glittering eternity ring. However I would caveat the green with envy quotient by saying I think twenty-four hours after birth of first child I was in such a state of shock that any attempt to whisk me anywhere from the safe refuge of my bed would have been met with some nasty words and language that might have popped the romance of the occasion. However, fifteen years and three daughters later, hope is rising in my breast—sitting in the car in traffic jam with husband I attempted idly to distract him from the enraged wheel tapping that any traffic delay brings on, by pointing out a large roadside advertisement featuring a stack of Tiffany rings.

“Which one do you like best?” I inquired, innocently or pointedly, depending upon your view of the female psyche.

He considered the question and then asked whether they were rings or bracelets—my response was of course, that, that depended on how generous he was feeling! 

However, as previous surprise presents have included a pink and purple spotted wetsuit (if “monster of the deep” is the first image to shoot into your mind here, you are spot-on) and a giant pair of bolt cutters, my hopes on the jewelry front are not high. The bolt cutters I hasten to add, arrived as a Christmas present in response to a recurrent nightmare of mine of mast coming down on boat, rather than as a necessity to release him from his chains.

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