Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Plain sailing


It’s not a great photograph.

I was asked if I would like a picture and I said ‘yes’, handed the Captain my iPhone, and let him snap away. The filter in the app was randomised which is why the odd sepia colour. It’s not remotely flattering. I look, quite honestly, like a madwoman with particularly bad hair. I am grinning like an idiot. I’d had about 3 plastic cups of cheap sparkling wine beforehand. A tipsy madwoman with particularly bad hair. We won’t speculate on whether anyone should have let me behind the wheel.

But I'm posting it regardless because, even with the weird tone and me looking grotesque and toothy, it is my favourite picture of all the pictures that I have from my vacation because I think that was the point where I was at my happiest. I was steering a 1922 Baltic Cruiser in full sail back into port. Behind me you can see the Sydney Harbour Bridge which we had just sailed underneath. The Opera House is also in view. I’ve got the Australian flag whipping me in the face and a mouthful of hair – blame the harbour breezes – but I am controlling this amazing vessel, so all is right with the world.

December was a mix of the sublime and the utterly depressing.  The to-be-preserved-in-a-photograph moments were thrown into sharp relief by the what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-do? moments. Christmas sent me into a panic. The few days before New Year were the worst –a period of displacement and dejection and aloneness. But here’s the thing, with the help of dear friends, it all came good and the sense of being cast adrift was replaced by a sense of having a destination and, ultimately, a safe place to weigh anchor.

I know that all is starting to be well again because I am writing again. This is a good sign.

So I did a lot of fun stuff and I managed a lot of shitty stuff, but the upshot is that I had my longest holiday in 6 years and have come into the New Year with a lot of plans and ideas percolating in my brain. This year will definitely be a year of changes, but the one thing that won’t change is the food adventures and the kitchen experiments and the writing that goes with them.

A few holiday snaps are below, some of which will make it into the many blogs posts which I need to catch up on, and then it’s time to batten down the hatches and set sail for the uncharted territory which is 2014.
The excitement of a journey
New places to see (the Southern Highlands)

Giving in to nerdiness (Ultimo Centre, Sydney)

Remembering how to relax (The Langham Hotel, Sydney)
Treating myself to the good stuff
A toast to the friend who saved Christmas

A heart-breaking return
BFAMS to help me through the bad stuff
The relief of New Year's Eve.

An unexpected addition to the new household

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