Sydney shoves it in your face
THE past two weeks seem to have flown by. No sooner were we back from the timeshare at Yarrawonga, when we had to head off to wonderful downtown Sydney for the wedding of a long-time and very dear friend.
With Yarrawonga only lasting a week, we thought, "What The Hell!" and decided to make Sydney another mini holiday.
With doctors' appointments cancelled (by them) on Tuesday, we managed to get away a day early and pulled up that evening at Holbrooke, the last remaining town between Melbourne and Sydney not bypassed by the Hume Freeway.
This was my chance to finally stay at the Byer motel.
And here comes my "useless information" section: Max Byer was an electronics wizard of some note back in the '40s and '50s.
He produced one of the first Australian made reel to reel tape decks - and a thing of beauty it was.
I know this because my dad had one when I was 6 or 7.
Where it has disappeared to in the intervening years I will never know but I always held it in esteemed affection as some of my earliest musical memories were played upon this - at the time - new medium.
Max ended up going bust and selling out to the Rola company.
With the money he had left over, he built the motel at Holbrooke, and ran it until his death in 1985.
As we walked into reception, there on the shelf stood the very same tape deck that dad had owned.
Gotta say it made me a bit misty eyed. Right. Back to the travels.
Knocking back the invitation to eat in the motel's restaurant, we headed out for some fish and chips at the other end of town.
Rita says, looking directly across from the motel, "That's an awful lot of trucks parked beside the road."
This could mean only one thing - the best God damned fast food in Holbrooke! $12 and a massive steak sandwich later, we waddled back to the motel.
We arrived at Sydney's northern beaches around three the next day, just beating the dreaded peak hour traffic.
I lived in that town from 1972 to '93, and at the time, loved it.
The love affair is well and truly over!
Sydney makes three lane roads by painting an extra white line on what were originally two lanes. How you blokes and gals manage to drive semis around the town truly amazes me.
The wedding was held on the James Craig, an old sailing ship moored at Darling Harbour.
A simple affair, the reception was finger food and all the wine and beer you could drink.
Moving into my best old time advertising sales mode, I sucked up to a wine waiter who ensured my glass stayed full.
Don't remember too much about the latter part of the day, but I'm told I had a really good time.
With a couple of days to spare we decided to spend some time at Manly Beach.
No one in Sydney smiles at you when they relieve you of your hard-earned.
At a takeaway fish and chip shop on the Manly Corso, as the scowling order-taker yelled out, "Next!", Rita ordered a piece of fish smaller than an iPhone, two dozen chips (if she was lucky) and a small Coke.
"That'll be $13.80." Mate! If I was able to con $13.80 out of unsuspecting punters on a regular basis like they were, you'd never wipe the smile from my face.
Coming home we left the beaches at 6am, again to avoid peak hour. By 6.40am we were south of the airport.
I reckon the northbound traffic from that point stretched 30km or more. I like peak hour here in Hooterville! A timber jinker, two cars and three sheep who have right of way.
The trip home was punctuated with coffee breaks, where more than once we got yakking to the odd truckie.
After five days of self-indulgent, don't give a damn, get out of my way Sydney, it was terrific to talk to real down-to-earth people again.
In the immortal words of Jeff Fenech, "I Love Youse All!"
Take care of You,
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