Sunday, 27 January 2013

Stairway to Happiness and Australia Day

Yesterday was Australia Day and normally Mr G and I share our boat with our friends Jenny and Keith - plus others - for a day of drinking, eating, sailing and more drinking and eating!  But this year Mr G had been talking about sailing the boat to Tasmania - with or without me.  Now, he'll hate me saying this, but I think this plan was a bit of a threat.  You see I've made it quite clear that Tasmania is one place I do not want to go in our little boat - especially with just the two of us sailing it.  Maybe if I miraculously become a calmer, better sailor I will manage it with others aboard.  But, as Dirty Harry once said in the movies, "a man (woman here) has got to know his limitations"....and this woman knows hers very clearly.  Mr G knows if I think he may do something in reality I'll usually give in and go along ... but I wasn't budging on this one.
So, because of the stalemate, the plans for our usual Australia Day didn't happen this year although we are meeting J & K for lunch later so we won't miss out on the drinking and eating!
Instead, Mr G helped his friend John sail his boat 'Happiness' down to his new mooring in Sydney Harbour.  When he bought it, 'Happiness' came with the single most ornate set of steps leading up to board the boat we have ever seen.  So here's Mr G and John on their departure for the sail to Sydney via the Stairway to Happiness!


I was told it was a terrific sail down.  Me, I went to the movies to see 'Les Miserables' on my own because Mr G flat refuses to see musicals.  I thought the movie was technically terrific and the fact that the actors had to sing their parts in one shot direct to camera was amazing and moving.  But, I wouldn't claim to have enjoyed the two and a half hours.  It was way too depressing, religious and mellow dramatic for my tastes.
In spite of having a completely different kind of Australia Day I still absolutely LOVE the day. 
A bit of background for my American friends ..... January 26 marks the day that the First Fleet of 11 ships arrived in what is now called Sydney Cove with a shipment of convicts to establish a new colony.  The ships arrived between the 18th and 20th of January 1788.  The British were forced to establish a new colony because they had lost the 13 colonies in North America after the US war of Independence.  First of all they sailed into Botany Bay which was deemed unsatisfactory so Captain Arthur Phillip sailed up to Port Jackson (better known now as Sydney Harbour) and identified an area for the settlement he called Sydney Cove after the then British Home Secretary.  It took several days to get the ships from Botany Bay to Sydney Cove because of bad weather but they finally made it on January 26, 1788.  The rest - as they say - is history. 
There is the belief - which some historians refute - that the landing was marked by a huge ORGY when the female convicts were taken ashore and set up in tents.  How's that for a gene pool?  It leaves the puritan forefathers of my US homeland looking rather staid.  I guess that's why Americans tend toward their particular brand of fundamentalism still today.
In keeping with the original settlers Australia Day is marked by serious and not-so-serious celebrations.  It's the most popular day to become an Australian citizen...something that Australian's still feel very proud to do ... Welcome New Australians!  There are so many of us - me and Mr G included - that are deeply grateful for the opportunity to live here!  Then, after the formal swearing in and national honours lists the fun begins!   

A colourful bunch celebrating on Sydney Harbour. Picture: Sam Ruttynn from The Telegraph


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