Beach No 50: Maroubra (7 January 2018)

Since 2010 I’ve been visiting Sydney’s beaches in alphabetical order. I’ve reached number 50: Maroubra. We’re set for record-breaking heat today. It’s supposed to be in the high 40s in the Western Suburbs. My old schoolmate, Tracey, is visiting from Chicago – and no heat is too much heat for her.  My friend Matthew is coming along too – he’s becoming a regular here at Sundays the Beach with this to be his third (after Little Congwong and Manly). The Maroubra Beach high street, the shops, the reserve behind the beach, the beach itself, and the area between the flags are …

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Beach No 49: Manly – 10 December 2017

Summer has arrived and the beaches beckon. It’s a gorgeous, golden, shimmering day. There’s heat in the sun and cool in the shade. It feels, as it should, like early summer. I meet Aaron, Giancarlo, and Matthew for a late breakfast at Kansas City Shuffle in The Rocks. We eat, drink coffee, talk of politics, and life, and whatever else comes to mind – an enjoyable, engaged, all-in conversation. This was just the sort of thing I missed while I was travelling alone through France – this sort of free-flowing dialogue among people with enough in common to understand one another yet …

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Beach No 48: Malabar – A winter solstice beach (25 June 2017)

In 2014 I heard a story on the radio about ceremonies people create for themselves. A caller described a women’s winter solstice ceremony she had been conducting for years. The Winter Solstice, marking the moment when more light begins to fill your days, is the beginning of a new cycle and a nadir. The caller’s ceremony involved letting go of the past year – which I then sorely needed to do. I had then run my worst turn around the sun to date and was, finally, starting to recover. I’ve missed marking the solstice in 2015 (I was in the northern hemisphere) and …

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Long Time a Coming – Long Reef (No. 47*: 16 April 2017)

You’d almost think I’d grown weary of this project given how slowly I’ve returned to it after my time away, but that’s not it at all. I continue to love the idea but sometimes it just becomes hard to get there. While unemployed, my weekends weren’t a break from my labours – I could just as easily search for jobs at the weekend as any other time. Even if I wasn’t looking for work at the weekends I felt the pressure that, perhaps, I could be, I should be.  While unemployed, I was also more conscientious of spending money and …

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Getting Naked on Little Congwong Beach (No 45, 2 January 2017)

No 45: Little Congwong (Monday 2 January) Little Congwong is not officially clothing optional and yet it is. So it was appropriate that I should visit while my friend Matthew is in town. Matthew recently rode his bicycle from Eindhoven, the Netherlands to his hometown of Adelaide. I had been following his blog as I was preparing for my own big bicycle tour and, one day in December 2014, I was catching up on his story when I watched this video, and thought it was excellent. I complimented the video, and, knowing he was summering in Australia (wisely not riding …

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All of My Sisters in Burqinis are Enjoying Christmas Day at Lady Robinson’s Beach (No 44 – 25 December 2016)

In recent years, I’ve made the tradition of a Jew’s Christmas my own. In the United States that’s a movie and Chinese food. But this is Australia so: a swim, a movie, and Chinese food. Lady Robinson’s Beach is on Botany Bay between the mouths of the Cooks River and the Georges River. European settlers (invaders) named this Seven Mile Beach but it was renamed during the tenure of the 14th Governor of New South Wales, Sir Hercules Robinson. He served from March 1872 to February 1879 and the beach was named for his wife, Lady Robinson, or Nea Arthur …

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The Last Beach Before My Travel Began, No 43: Lady Martin’s – 17 May 2015

Is this a bit of a cheat? I visited Lady Martin’s on 17 May 2015 – one week before I departed for my midlife gap year – but never posted about it. I don’t want to visit it again so I’m going back to my diary from the day to write it up now. Lady Martin’s is a wee crescent of beach at the bottom of Point Piper. I suspect in any other country it would be privately held and divvied up among the millionaires whose mansions hover nearby. These include the current Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull. Of …

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Why Donald Trump Has Scared Me Back to the US

Last month I wrote and published this piece in the Sydney Morning Herald I grew up in Ronald Reagan’s America and moved to Sydney 16 years ago. I have made regular short visits to the US, but none have been as long nor as important as the one I’ll embark on soon. President Donald Trump would be a dangerous disaster. His chances at success have been dismissed for months yet he is the Republican presidential candidate. I cannot sit idly assuming that Hillary Clinton will defeat him. It’s time for me to go and help. In 1992, I loved both Bill …

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Riding in France: Days with Fallen Australian Soldiers

I am slowly transcribing the long-hand diary entries from my midlife gap-year and turning them into blog posts. I’ve reached the morning of the 108th day as I awake in Amiens, France. Wednesday 9 September 2015 I’ve received a lovely email from Robert Pinsky in response to my poem about reading his poems. That gets the day off to a good start – I’m feeling light-hearted as I leave Amiens in bright autumn sunlight which warms me in a way it hasn’t in quite a while. I follow the Somme. I have a cheap mp3 player which I refill with …

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Riding in France: Arriving in Amiens

I am slowly transcribing the long-hand diary entries from my midlife gap-year and turning them into blog posts. I’ve reached the mornign of the 106th day as I awake in a municipal camping ground in Poix-de-Picardie, France. Monday 7 September In the night I have pulled on my jumper, my beanie. But once the extra layers were on my beloved sleeping bag did the rest of the job well and I sleep into the morning. At 8:00 I walk through the quiet the village of Poix-de-Picardie to the boulangerie. The day is sunny but very cool. I hope the sunshine …

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