Australia is now a year on from being seriously affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. And while we watch the world continue to battle with this terrible threat, Christina and I find ourselves thankfully distracted by a few happy dates to celebrate.
In this Edition, we have some important anniversaries – both our own and other people close to us – to raise a glass to. Going hand in hand with that, we also have some excellent new venues to tell you about, and as the country gathers its blankets for the oncoming winter, we also have some spectacular skies to show you.
We hope you enjoy this Edition.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx
Christina has been getting up early in the morning recently to hike around the neighbourhood. She’s accumulating some stunning photographs, giving weight to the notion that a photographer’s favourite time of day is early in the AM.
This shot from Birchgrove Beach is one of my new favourites.
But today is a very special day for us. It’s our wedding anniversary! We’ve come to the beautiful little cafe restaurant in Balmain East called The Fenwick. It’s in an old sandstone building right on the water next to the ferry wharf. And while we’ve been here for breakfast a few times, this is our first lunch.
It doesn’t disappoint.
This burrata with proscuitto and white nectarine is absolutely delicious.
Inspired by the table next to us, we order a bowl of fries to go with our mains. Christina has the ocean trout with celeriac puree and roasted broccolini. I go for the beef tenderloin with Jerusalem artichoke puree, king brown mushrooms and a red wine reduction.
To go with our truly superb meal, we choose wine from the award-winning list. The waitstaff here are brilliant and really helpful navigating the extensive menu.
We end up both having Italian wines (our server is from Sardinia) – an elegant Valpolicella Superiore from Veneto for me and a beautiful crisp Sardinian Vermentino for Christina.
Happy anniversary to us! These 12 years have gone by so quickly, but here’s to dozens more.
Christina’s next dawn shot is shared by an errant kayaker!
This evening, we’re catching up with our mate Chris from Adelaide. He’s in town for work, but we whisk him away from the office to a few bars in the city. We have a couple of beers and a bite to eat in the Duke of Clarence, which is so like an English pub it’s amazing you don’t get jetlag as you walk in.
But we move on to a new bar none of us has been to before – Double Deuce Lounge. Named after the bar in the Swayze classic Roadhouse, this cocktail bar is very cool. Tucked beneath the beams of the building above it and full of ’70s movie vibes, I’ve got a feeling this bar is going to be a favourite of ours to bed down in over the coming winter.
As we sip our extraordinary drinks (you’ve got to try the Cuffs & Buttons – the bar’s version of an old fashioned – and the Discretionary – the most amazing coffee cocktail I’ve ever tasted), we relax into our booth and chew the fat.
After a couple more drinks, we go and see our mate Roderick at Grain Bar just down the road for a couple more drinks and snacks.
It’s great to catch up with Chris. Hope he’s back in town again soon.
Another beautiful view of the Harbour Bridge early in the morning. Christina is putting me to shame as I lie tucked up in bed… but I can take it. And I get to admire her photos when she gets home. So really, me staying in bed is a sacrifice I’m making for her.
This afternoon, I’ve come into Glebe to meet Christina after her hair appointment with the eminent Stevie English. Of course, it’s great to see him, but I do have an ulterior motive: we’ve discovered there’s a bar virtually next door to his salon.
These are our drinks at the excellent No. 92 GPR (that’s ’92 Glebe Point Road’ if you’re wondering).
From the outside, No. 92 looks like a small corner bar, but when you go in, you discover it goes right back, has a courtyard and even an upstairs with private spaces to book out too.
The drinks here are beautifully made and they have a well-curated wine list. We have dinner reservations otherwise we’d stay and eat here – the food menu looks great.
This afternoon, Christina is joining her fellow board members on a harbour cruise! She’s on the board for the Australian Society of Travel Writers, and they’re having a well-earned party thanks to Nick Wayland (centre), who owns TravMedia. And the yacht.
In spite of the smiles and laughter, storm clouds gather behind them. But there’s no way a bit of weather will dampen the spirits of these intrepid folk.
As I sit at home gathering a warm blanket about me, so the grey rug of storm clouds drape across the Sydney sky and shield Christina and crew from the westering sun.
Just before sunset, the clouds turn the sky an eerie sepia.
Motoring their way east in a vain attempt at dodging the rain, those aboard HMAS Wayland look back to see the claws of the cloud slashing and grasping at the sunset. It’s a beautiful yet worrying sight.
Indeed, some hours later, a bedraggled but happy Christina will arrive home having survived one of the most intense electrical storms I’ve seen. The lightning carries on into the night, but the morning breaks clear and sunny.
Today is my mum and dad’s wedding anniversary! 45 years – forty-five years! Isn’t that amazing? Here they are in Ramsgate in Kent some time before they were married. My dad’s still up to his old tricks!
On the same day, our friends Jo and Paul are celebrating another momentous anniversary. It’s the 20th year since they met (only six months after we met in fact).
We’re round their house to celebrate with a few good mates.
To mark the occasion, Jo has put together a special cocktail punch. It’s a New Orleans style Cajun Hurricane, which represents their meeting at Mardi Gras – and Paul’s love of rum!
This heady cocktail comes to life as an Absinthe-filled passionfruit husk is set on fire!
Jo ladles the spiced rum mixture over the flames, blending the Absinthe with the rest of the cocktail and saving some eyebrows at the same time.
It’s a great night – one to remember.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Edition. Here’s to many more anniversaries for us all to celebrate.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx