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We will fight them on the beaches

December 8, 2012

With a room number of 1418 at the Shangri La hotel in Sydney, I could be forgiven for expecting world War 1 to erupt, and it nearly did when we could not get a seat in the 36th floor bar for a nightcap on Friday evening. Dozens of kids, full of booze from their Christmas parties, were taking up space to which we, as residents, felt we were entitled. With the arch-duke about to be shot down in Bosnia, causing WW 1 hostilities to commence,  I had to act quickly to head that Nice Lady Decorator off at the pass. I found a seat and sat down. When I was asked to move I told them I was too old and tired to get up and if they wanted me out they needed to call a para medic team and an ambulance. They got the message and we got some great seats by the window looking down over the wonderful Sydney skyline. An international incident was averted and there will be peace in our time. We just don’t know how long it will last.

There is a World War theme developing today. We had an appointment to meet a long-lost relative (well, he has been in Australia for a long time) who was a life guard at Bondi beach, and being the iconic surfers beach and a must see Sydney attraction, we decided we were attracted to it. We managed to gain access to the RSL in North Bondi, which is a kind of ex-servicemen’s club, but no ex-service mens club in England that I have ever seen can boast a view as good as this.

Bondai Beach pic

View from the RSL in Bondi Beach

We met a 91-year-old former Wellington bomber pilot who had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in World War 2, but he flew off before I could get his picture. I think his name was John Brown. Earlier, we had stopped in for a quick one (try three) at the Bucket List bar on Bondai beach for a thirst quenching jug of beer. I like the idea of selling it by a jug, which comprises three Australian pints, it makes ordering the round so much simpler, although not being a full pint is yet another way for the Australians to extract money from people under false pretences, but I digress. Wonderful weather at least diverted that Nice Lady Decorator from a further sense of humour failure.

Earlier we had walked along the cliff side past a couple of very pretty beaches close to Bondai in order to work up that thirst.  I am not at all certain what transpired afterwards but I know we went back to someone’s house and drank some very relaxing Maclaren Vale Shiraz, before being poured into a taxi to return to the city for what we hoped would be a short siesta before dinner. Waking up at midnight was a bit disorientating, so here I am writing this column and trying to remember to extol the virtues of opening an account with Currencies Direct in the middle of the night, whilst contemplating taking a mortgage out for room service.

Just three more days in Sydney before the big trip home, so we have a few more things to cram in.  Today, we are meeting Valbonne renegades the Chadwick’s, Joe the canny Yorkshireman and the lovely Debs, who moved back to Sydney a couple of years ago, for breakfast and a tour of this lovely city, then John “Chuckle Brothers” Surtees and his wife the lovely Rachael “Lady In Waiting” will arrive from their diversion to the Barrier reef, so all hell will let loose later today.

Chris France


One Comment leave one →
  1. anna maj permalink
    December 8, 2012 5:50 pm

    My father-in-law was there when Churchill made that speech and writes in his diary that after saying the part about “we will fight them on the beaches…etc”, “Winnie covered up the microphone and added ‘and if that doesn’t work we will hit them on their heads with sticks”
    – that’s the spirit!
    sounds as if you & Issy are having a most wonderful time *****


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