On your bike

It’s Spring, so it must be time for the Sydney Rides Festival!

In addition to the annual events we’ve come to know and love (the Spring Cycle, the Bicycle Film Festival¬†and Ride to Work Day), there are some fabulous workshops coming up this weekend to help you get your bike road-safe and looking sweet:

All Greek to me

Hornsby Greek Festival

The first ever Hornsby Greek Festival went “opa!” last weekend at Greenway Park, Cherrybrook. It was a hot, humid day, but the park was crowded with families enjoying fabulous Greek music and food.

We sat under the trees at the edge of the park, in earshot of the kids squealing on the dodgem cars, and ate our souvlaki and baby octopus while we watched the camels (Greek camels?) lollop around the perimeter of the oval. We took home a box of fresh almond shortbread (Kourabiethes) thinking it might last us a week, but they were so yummy they were all gone by Monday night!

I hope this becomes a hugely successful annual event – I’ll be keeping an eye out for it same time next year.

Rabbit rabbit

Chinese New Year Twilight ParadeIt’s the year of the rabbit. So the Chinese New Year Twilight Parade through Chinatown this year was heavily populated with bunnies. Racing bunnies on rollerblades (above); bouncy bunnies on stilts; giant bunnies made of recycled water bottles… there were even marching bands playing rabbit-related tunes (I heard the the Bugs Bunny theme more than once!).

We line up every year right at the tail end of the parade route. Apart from the fact that it’s very easy to get a spot with a good view, I love to watch the groups as they finish up. Some are still pumped full of adrenaline and yelling “Happy New Year” at the tops of their lungs, whole others switch off as soon as they cross that invisible finish line.

As soon as the last rabbit had run the gauntlet, the crowd dispersed as if by magic, headed to Darling Harbour for the fireworks. We went off in the opposite direction to buy a little bag full of Emperor Puffs to sustain us on the train home.

Chinese New Year Festival
28th Jan – 13th Feb
All over Sydney

Sydney Festival First Night


Sydney Festival First Night - Gramaphone Man

Last night we headed into the city for the early part of the Sydney Festival First Night. Our major driver was to participate in the big You Can Ukulele uke-off. All five of us (aged 10 to 43) had been watching the video on YouTube, and had learned our chords. We took the opportunity to do a bit of last-minute swatting up on our lyrics (the chorus, at least) while sitting in Hyde Park waiting for things to get going, and before we knew it, it was our turn! (Along with several hundred other ukulele wannabes.)

It was over far too soon! I wish we’d been given a whole songbook to learn – it was just so much fun playing along with such a huge crowd.

We wandered about Macquarie street and Hyde Park afterwards, and the feeling in the streets was great (though admittedly it was mostly families at this early stage). A large group of the NSW constabulary were joking around having their photos taken in front of Il Porcellino at the Sydney Hospital. Gramaphone Man (above) was entertaining passers by with his funky hapsichord beats. Orkestra Del Sol were keeping toes tapping. Everywhere you turned, there was something to groove along to or marvel at.

Before we headed home, we took advantage of the ANZ chill bar an the Hyde Park Barracks, drinking our free hot chocolates under the fairy-lit fig tree and lazing on cushions strewn across the astroturf. A perfect way to kick off the Sydney Festival.

Sydney Festival
8th-30th January
All over Sydney