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.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

An Amazing Six Months

Sydney in winter is like a date with a hungover Audrey Tatou. N’est pas parfait, but it’s still p-r-e-t-t-y d-a-m-n f-i-n-e…

After a couple of weeks of mixed weather, things brightened up at the start of last week and the temperature was pushing 20C every day. Not bad for winter. Last weekend was the best of all with two full days of sun and blue skies. And there’s so many great places to be in Sydney when the sun is out. I am gradually getting to know them all, but there’s years of exploring left yet, and I’ve probably yet to see some of the finest spots. On Sunday I found a pretty unique spot that I’ve been meaning to get to for some time.

Sydney Harbour is said to be the greatest natural harbour in the world. It is to harbours what the Grand Canyon is to holes in the ground. It's the sheer extent of the harbour, the number of coves and bays and beaches that is incredible. There are 317 km of waterfront in total, a fair portion of which is packed with the most expensive real estate in Australia. But it’s the amount of untouched, natural shoreline that’s impressive.

Some of the wildest parts are at the headlands at the mouth of the harbour. North Head and South Head (which sit on the north and south side of the harbour respectively – nothing, if not informative, this blog) are a couple of hundred metres apart, but separated by almost 25km of coastline (and bridge).

I took ferry, bus, foot to north head on Sunday and had a really peaceful afternoon in the winter sunshine. Wearing just a t-shirt and jeans for much of the time, I spent a good few hours wandering around, admiring the views and watching the whale watchers – who seemed to be having a frustrating, whale-less day (as opposed to a whale of time), which was a shame given the immense beauty of the place.

For me, it was a good time to relax and get a bit of perspective on the first half of the year. In the spirit of talking about ‘we’, rather than I, it's good to be able to say that Opportunity had a really blessed first-half of the year. In spite of the terrible economic climate, and really gloomy outlook at times, we have met our fundraising targets for the first six months of the year. This is immensely satisfying because of the hard work that the team has put in, and because we know how important this will be to the poor, especially given how hard hit some communities will be by the economic crisis. And personally, I’m delighted. I’ve found the past six months the most rewarding of my career. I want to be able to continue to do this for a while yet…

And the chocolate event was a big success! Fanny and Alex’s chocolate creations were the absolute business. Liquid chocolate, mousse, sorbets… fantastic stuff. And my first experience of a panel interview wasn’t as terrifying as I’d expected, though I was perspiring quite intensely – I blame the warm, chocolate kitchen atmosphere hitting my unaccustomed Scottish noggin.

And that's about it for this week. Given such amazing news at work, everything else seems unworthy of reporting.

After another stint of hard work, I’ve rewarded myself with an iPhone. A full review of this work of time-absorbing delivishness will follow in the next update.

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