Be careful what you wish for, I thought as I signed the contract for my new job. The next 6 months planned out. Not a feeling I enjoy very much if I am searingly honest. Over the last few years, 6 months seems to be the threshold before wanting to venture out and do something new. 6 month work contracts. 6 month apartment leases. I’d throw in 6 month relationships but I don’t seem to be able to even reach that point.
However, being realistic, to live, and enjoy, living in central Sydney, one must work and earn a fair amount of money. Take the Faustian pact to pay for the trappings of a harbourside lifestyle. And quite some lifestyle it is, let me tell you. Arriving in August, the back end of Winter, I have been blessed with the kind of weather that I came here for. Spring is developing nicely and I am already looking forward to Summer and lazy days at the beach. I have just had a conversation with the girl in the bottle shop about whether I miss Yorkshire. And in truth, I do. A lot. It’s just the weather I don’t miss, especially now as the cold really appears to be settling in. It makes me shiver just thinking about it.
So, for this much warmer expat, month 3 starts with me securing gainful employment, my own apartment and with transport, Besbi the Bimbo. Besbi being the brand of scooter that I bought recently. Bimbo being the first word that came into my head starting with B. I have always wanted to own a scooter. But like lots of things I have always wanted to do, I never quite got around to it in the UK. Most probably because of the constraints with the weather. How often would I be able to take her out? Would I want to scoot through the cold Yorkshire winters? A categorical ‘no’. But frequent travels in Asia, regular trips to Italy, and reading the Peter Moore books (www.petermoore.net/) about his adventures on numerous Vespas stoked the fire that burned inside.
And serendipity played a large part too. My first months accommodation in Sydney was secured via the www.airbnb.co.uk website and I was staying with a fellow UK expat, StephWana. Steph had just taken the scooter learners course and bought a scooter. Seeing her buzz off on that to visit friends sealed the deal for me. Before you could say, where’s my helmet, I had booked the 2 day course online and was counting down the days.
Despite almost missing the start of the course, due to some flaming gallah directing me to the wrong bus stop, I navigated the course successfully. The day after completion had me sitting the theory test and walking out the proud holder of a learners motorcycle licence. Being able to ride a bike up to 600cc believe it or not. I now have to carry “L” plates for a minimum of 3 months, “P” plates for 12 months, then I have full licence. Until that point I am unable to have even 1 beer (zero tolerance) or carry passengers. But beyond that point I am able to carry who I want and get blazing drunk in the saddle. Mum, that’s a joke, don’t worry.
Other than scooting around the North Shore and exploring the Northern Beaches the other activity that has brought a big smile to my face is the resumption of my weekly 5 a-side outings. I still wonder on a Tuesday night how Deemus and the boys have got on. Whether they have maintained the winning streak against our nemesis, Sven, and the arch enemy. Thursdays come and go and I still get the emails from Mr Ryan Price laying out the teams for the game at the Shay stadium. Miles and miles away and yet I still yearn to play in those games.
So now, I have a run out on Saturday mornings with a very polyglot bunch of guys. Brazilians, Australians, English and the odd waif and stray. One thing I am still getting used to is playing in such heat. For the first time in my life I look forward to my few minutes break playing in goal. No, it’s not an age thing! It’s the heat. It is. Honest. And the thought that drives me on? The cold beers that I know are nestling amongst the ice in the blue esky I can spy at the side of the pitch. I just need to remember, no scooting about after, I need to keep my licence.
That’s about all for today folks. It’s Wednesday and I need to make the most of my remaining week of freedom. The beach awaits with the words of a great song in my ear, “…just don’t forget the sunscreen”.