The good news is that I've had three days in Sydney (on top of my week in Brisbane), staying with my NZ friend Sheila in Paddington. Paddo (we abbreviate everything in Australia) is a very upmarket suburb full of streets with charming 19th century terrace houses.
Sheila and I wandered the streets, window shopping, buying and eating delicious food, drinking NZ Sauvignon Blanc wines, and enjoying the ambience of this sophisticated and cosmopolitan area.
Australia Day, 26 January, was celebrated on Thursday, with parties, picnics, lots of drinking, and of course, the obligatory Sydney fireworks. We were just spectators, spending most of our day checking out the great bookshops in the area.
Next day I set out for my longish trip home, by bus and train. My car was at the railway station - and this is where the bad news comes in. Surrounded by shattered glass, with the back passenger's window completely smashed in, beer bottle in the glass on the back seat, and the ignition disemboweled, my car was a very sad sight.
Fortunately my family came to the rescue but while I was waiting for them a local security guard drove up to tell me he'd disturbed two young drunken men last night as they were trying to hot wire my car. They got away but he said one had an Australia Day flag poking out from his pocket. So much for their Australia Day celebration. Too much alcohol, no brains.
My son managed to wire the ignition back together so that he was able to drive the car home. Eddie, aged 2, commented "oh no, Cawol's car broken". That about sizes it up. Could have been worse of course- if they hadn't been disturbed they'd probably have gone for a joy ride then set it alight. So, the glass is half full...
Photos are of terrace houses in Paddington, sunrise over Paddo rooftops, and my sad little car.
Inanimate materials: quite the opposite.
3 hours ago