Some other July days in the past decade or so… A photo post

Looking through my archive for July 2016 I see retrospectives that are worth selecting from. So here are some, nothing too heavy.

Posted on July 13, 2009

1207 006a
Passing parade — Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

Posted on July 24, 2009

glebe 021
Cornstalk Bookshop, Glebe — owner Paul Feain at the freebies table…

Posted on July 11, 2010

Sunday lunch — Trinity Bar, Surry Hills

Posted on July 14, 2011

On Wollongong City Beach looking towards Port Kembla.

Posted on July 19, 2011

Lunch at The Diggers Club.

Posted on July 27, 2011

Wollongong Harbour.

Posted on July 20, 2012

Lunch at the Steelers Club — the club and the neighbourhood are totally changed since then!

Posted on July 13, 2013

A rare sighting of Michael Xu in Wollongong, at the back entrance to Illawarra Grammar School in fact.

Posted on July 29, 2014 

From my window, Mount Kembla on the left.

Posted on July 11, 2016

Lunch with Chris T at Ziggy’s House of Nomms, which included two treats especially, the first being a sencha tea delicately scented with flowers. Lovely. The second we tried because we didn’t know what it might be, but it turns out to be a thing! Taiwan Taco Gua Bao.

In June 2011 — reflecting on mutability

Yes, a whole decade! Sometimes I can’t believe it! And I have decided to launch this one tonight instead of tomorrow morning…

Lovely day but tinged with sadness

Posted on  by Neil

Today is Trevor Davies’s funeral in Sydney. I didn’t make it, but my thoughts are there. [Trevor was a pillar both of South Sydney Uniting Church and the Labor Party. He was also the begetter and inspirer of the South Sydney Herald.]

I went down to the library, and then to Wollongong City Gallery.

That – linked – is the work of Ian Whittaker. I was impressed.

Also saw Just Imagine 2011 , Agnieszka Golda & Martin Johnson and Maree Faulkner.  Ended up having some good conversation too. Very glad I went.

Then to The Diggers Club. I am growing very fond of this place.


The kid waiter was ‘in training” – his fourth day, he told me.

Diggers has changed since the Golf Club took it over — and not always for the better. I still go there but very rarely eat there nowadays.

Yesterday was an emotional day

Posted on  by Neil

Early train to arrive in Redfern by 9.30 am, then South Sydney Uniting Church. After that a nice time at the Trinity Bar in Surry Hills with Sirdan and B, followed by my first Oxford Street visit for ages – the Oxford and The Shift. Home by 6.30.


Redfern Park 9.30 am


South Sydney Uniting Church: Trevor Davies

‘Today is a day of mourning for us. Our brother and friend, Trevor, is not in his pew. Something’s not right. We feel it in our bodies and spirits. We feel the burden and the void because we have loved, and because we have experienced love. We feel the force of love. We have experienced a genuine, a divine love in our life together – the most humanising thing that can ever happen to us.

And so, in time, we will be all right. I say this with a keen awareness of grief, a personal, private and particular grief that to some extent wants to be alone and quiet. In time, we will be all right. We are being made fully human, and, as we have prayed, human destiny is eternally linked to the divine. Jesus says, “I am committing myself to you”.

Yesterday, I experienced a peace I hadn’t known since hearing of Trevor’s death. I started to believe (faith is always a beginning) that I/we will be all right. That God is love, and that love is inextinguishable. That humanity, that flesh-and-spirit human being, human loving … that Trevor Edward Davies participates in the inextinguishable love that is God, who is God … Language breaks down under the pressure of love – and yet continues to speak, to signify anew …

“And now, sisters and brothers, I must say goodbye. Mend your ways. Encourage one another. Live in harmony and peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones send greetings to you” (2 Corinthians 13:11-13)…”

Looking back ten years from the start of winter 2021 — 1

This is the first of two posts of selections from my June 2011 photo blog. Bur first a memory Facebook has just given me:

1 June 2011

92 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes and 40 seconds smoke free.4645 cigarettes not smoked.$2,976.00 saved.

And not one since!

OK, it appears I went up to Sydney in June 2011, no doubt visiting South Sydney Uniting Church and then going to Surry Hills for a Sunday lunch with Sirdan. Here are some pics from that day. I have taken some also from my other June 2011 archive.

Selfie — the morning train.
From the morning train — Stanwell Park
Redfern Park
A ring-in from April — The Shakespeare in Surry Hills — the most viewed photo in June 2011 though.
Sirdan in The Oxford Hotel
The Oxford

Return of The Rabbit

In the early days of this century — and of my blogging — there are quite a few references to and appearances by one Mr Rabbit. For example:

Shakespeare Hotel: Rabbit and Sirdan

21 JUNE 2009

That is the company at Sunday Lunch; the menu you may divine from the plates. As generous a $10 worth as you could hope for…


Ran into Richard Allen and Karen Pearlman later at the new Surry Hills Library. And their two children! Richard was one of the editors of Neos.

And many more, or so my search of my archived blog Floating Life suggests. Some of them are more than a bit cryptic, even to me now. Like this from 2004:

Oh yes: if you see a silver-grey Toyota Echo, make sure there is sufficient distance between your car and it, won’t you? Wonder how the twin rabbits went?

I do remember the car…

2 June 2004: A short one today — possibly a relief to my readers after the past couple.

I still feel like death, a bit of a contrast to last Wednesday, eh! It’s ironic that this cold (flu?) came on the very day I was meant to be having a flu shot at the Salt Mine, but even I knew it is foolish to have a flu shot when you are already fighting off an infection. Madam cheered me up no end by telling me that Jerry had a flu shot and was dead two weeks later…

I may give in and go to the doctor today. So far I have only missed one day at the Salt Mine, as Monday I don’t work anyway and today there is a strike. We’ll see if I am up to going tomorrow, but I certainly won’t go coaching this afternoon.

At least one consolation is that the broken tooth (it fell apart during Sunday’s lunch with the Empress and Sirdan) is not hurting, but I can’t do anything about that anyway until I am over this present episode.

Delenio greeted me via ICQ last night — first time for ages. Sent get well greetings, as he apparently still reads this diary. He is deep in some essay on historiography and finding “poor historians” (both Keith Windschuttle and his haters) very frustrating. Last time Delenio and I talked about this he was rather taken with Sir Geoffrey Elton on this subject…

“Delenio” was a contemporary and friend or The Rabbit at Sydney Boys High; he appears occasionally still on my Facebook feed. He is now married with children.

“Madam” was the proprietor of a wonderful hole-in-the-wall coffee shop and eatery in Devonshire Street Surry Hills where The Rabbit and I lunched on more than one occasion in the early 2000s.

January 09, 2003: This afternoon did not disappoint.


Cafe Max – Madam and Dimmi 2003

Nina, Trevor and a friend of theirs from Wollongong arrived at Cafe Max on time, and Mr Rabbit met Sirdan for the first time, after which Mr R had to scuttle off to the city for a time, but not before being somewhat taken with Nina’s amazing vitality and tales of salsa dancing in Cuba. Madam at Cafe Max won some new converts to her special Caesar Salads with edible baskets. While the Wollongong contingent went off to see Waiting for Godot, Sirdan and I went home and then to the Norfolk, where Mr Rabbit joined us.

Wanting to give Mr R an opportunity to beat me at Trivial Pursuit (which he almost did) he and I set off home to await a call and also the end of the play, which was apparently excellent, but the Wollongong group could not join us for coffee as they had a train to catch. Mr R set off a few minutes ago to catch another train, pleased with his day which was far from over.

Excursions both to the South Coast and to Sirdan’s (once he has de-mined his living quarters*) seem highly likely in the near future. Both promise to be excellent.

The most memorable excursion with The Rabbit took me for the first time in fifty years into the very first home I had, Auburn Street Sutherland. “At the end of December 2002 Mister Rabbit drove me out to Sutherland….”

A final reminiscence:

Surprise visit


Yes, a Rabbit!

tuesday 034

… who kindly permitted this picture.

These days The Rabbit lives and works in the Blue Mountains, has a big birthday next year — not this year as I erroneously told Sirdan in New Zealand in a recent phone conversation — and is still teaching. When I returned to The Gong in 2010 he was teaching in Wollongong; we had a few coffees together at Diggers and Swell Cafe. But in recent years he has tended to vanish on social media — making a reappearance last night on Facebook. We had a longish comment session. He said of his absence from FB: “I just come back once a year to see it’s still here.”


Back in January I travelled up to Sydney to have lunch at the Shakespeare with Michael Xu — and to travel on the tram for the first time.


I went all the way to Randwick and back — loved it, I have to say.

It is a tad slow, but that is probably better than running over people or crashing into cars. Indeed at one point yesterday a car came through an intersection as if the moving tram wasn’t there. The tram driver sounded his horn — not a bell, notice. However, while well aware of the costs that have been involved in the build, I give the tram the thumbs up! It isn’t the line to nowhere after all. Yesterday it delivered quite a few to the cricket — sorry about that, Kiwis! Then it has two well-placed stops for Randwick Race Course, ditto for the University of New South Wales, and the Randwick line ends right in the midst of the medical offices, cafes etc., that are part of the Prince of Wales Hospital precint. I can see a lot of use for the line as time goes on.

I have not been back since, a combination of Covid and (I have to admit) of advancing age. But I did manage a virtual ride to the Surry Hills stop yesterday morning.

Back in the day I passed through or by that Chalmers Street exit countless times — especially if you think back as far as 1955 when I began as a student at Sydney Boys High. There were trams then, of course, but they went up Cleveland Street not Devonshire Street.

One feature of the Chalmers Street entrance from 1955 through to 2010 (when I took the following photo) was the shops — I am afraid the cigarette store had me as a rather regular customer through to February 2011!

But (as I noticed in January) now there are no shops there, and the Opal card and ticket readers dominate. Clean, of course, but lacking life, eh!

Even bigger changes are in store for Central, particularly when the Sydney Metro is operating.