Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

From William Wallace to Willy Wonka

Hey, I'm trying to jazz up the website a bit again, hence the elephants marching across the top of the page (from Etosha National Park, Namibia). I'm not sure it looks ok on everyone's computer, so if you've any feedback on the new look, let me know! (Time permitting) this is still a draft of the new look. (I seriously need to dig out that html book I slept through a couple of years ago.)

It's the depths of winter, but Sydney is still a beautiful place to be outdoors. This morning I went for a run in the botanics. When the notion takes me I can run through the park down to the edge of the harbour, round the edge of the water between the botanics and farm cove (the site of the first white settlement in Australia) and jog up to the Opera House in about 15 minutes. A round tour back through the botanics takes about 30 minutes and I never see a single car. This morning it was spectacularly beautiful and peaceful too. Why do I not do this more often??

Well of course I'd do more outdoors-ey stuff like this if I did a little less socialising at the weekend, but being unattached in Sydney is always going to keep the number of 'quiet nights in' to a minimum. Similarly I'm typing this on the roof of my building - from the 17th floor you can see the bridge and the opera house to the left and out to the ocean to the right. Why is it two months since I was last up here??
My running route. Out my front door, past Brett Whitely's matchsticks, out past the Boy Charlton pool and round farm cove to the Opera House (to the right of the bridge in the photo). This was the view from the roof today.

Work continues to be really sweet for me, and it will be even sweeter than usual this week. On Wednesday night I will be part of a panel being interviewed in front of an audience of young professionals in Sydney. We will be talking about Opportunity International of course, and also talking a little about the impact of the global economic crisis on the fight against poverty. The venue is a chocolate shop (ooh, free chocolate!), Boon Chocolates on Victoria Street in Darlinghurst. And the prospect of free chocolate has me very excited.

Not that I need free chocolate of course. But - not unusually for a Scot - I have a very sweet tooth. It's an affliction that comes and goes. At various times I can handle my condition (sic) pretty well but then at other times I just can't resist at least two 'treats' per day. This past month has been such a time. What constitutes a 'treat'? There's a modest list of top quality goodies that will satiate my junkie-like need for a sugary hit: crunchies (or violet crumble in Oz), mint aeros, McDonald's M&M Mcflurry and caramel slices are all near the top of the list, while home-baking (with it's built-in disregard for the dietary common-sense that afflicts products sold to the general public) is almost an obsession, especially tablet, fudge and shortbread, all of which have that insane level of sweetness needed to satisfy a long-time sugar-abuser. (If my metabolic rate ever slows down I'm in so much bother...)

But chocolate of any form will do nicely, thank you very much.

So needless to say, I'm very much looking forward to Wednesday. I may not sleep until Friday, and then of course I'll have to go cold turkey at the weekend. But by God will it be worth it.

And hopefully Andy Murray will give all Scots an excuse to stay indoors (and away from ice-cream vans and sweetie stories) next weekend. Come on Andy, surely the insanely high hopes of the British public will be met with Nadal already out and only 14-times Grand Slam winner Roger Federer standing between you and the title.

Seriously though, I do think he has a chance. Could be a cracker on Sunday.

Weather update: spectacular change in the weather in the 30 minutes since I started writing this update. I'm now back in my apartment as the expected lovely sunset vanished, usurped by a sudden storm and potential rain. Hmmm, it'll have to be an episode of peep show in front of the telly this evening.
Still love a good fix of quirky British comedy.

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