All right everyone, strap in! This is a doozy!
Firstly, thank you James, Lauren, Russ (a common theme here), Super Mum, Hazel, da Boyz and everyone else I have forgotten for capturing some once-in-a-lifetime moments. We have done our best to document five different groups across the globe on an unbelievable weekend.
Friday morning started with Super Mum making her way back way back to Adelaide Airport. However, she was not done with Australia yet. She was flying solo; children and groovy husband free. Woooohooooooo! After bypassing Sydney on the way into Australia, I was headed back there, luckily we were cleared to land this time. Sadly I had just missed Juju’s squad by a few days. Looks like you all had an incredible trip ‘home’. Cannot wait to see you all on the other side. If there was even the slightest shadow of doubt in anyone’s mind, I can verify that flying solo without having to dual-wield children is easy peasy.
After landing in Sydney, I was straight off the plane, not having to worry about picking up ten suitcases, travel cots and a double pram. Hang on, which bag were the nappies packed in? Who cares! It was a nice stroll to our Airbnb which friends had generously teed up for me.
In Glasgow, first thing Friday, I dialled across into party land to see how the wedding brains trust was going with the final stages of preparation, everything seemed to be on track.
After work, I headed to Brel in Ashton Lane for the first time to meet a couple of new Aussies and coincidentally another Pembrokian, such a small world. It was a lovely place, this year we really do have to check out more of the West End restaurants now that the children are that little bit older.
Around 22:00 Friday night I chatted with the special man of the day, it was already Saturday morning in Sydney, da boyz had started to arrive and nerves were building. I needed sleep though, it was not long now.
Saturday morning, the big day, the early birds were up and at ’em getting that worm and stretching their legs.
A few hours out the #galpals were getting all glammed up and looking fab!
Meanwhile, approximately 1300km to the west, Eloise, Lachlan and Delilah were having an awesome outing along the Wallaroo coast where a wild Amy had appeared.
Nali and Grandpa DAVE had made it, after over 15 hours on the road over the past few days, they had safely made the long drive from Adelaide to Sydney. They were looking their finest, everyone was buzzing.
From Glasgow, I had a third-row seat. Thank you Tom Pat for setting up the call. It worked perfectly.
Congratulations to the newlyweds! It was a beautiful and emotional wedding. Da boyz took off with the wedding party, while the remaining Radeladieans led by #galpals descended upon Circular Quay.
The weather could not have been better. Once we arrived in mass, everybody took their Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House photos, required by Australian Law for all tourists at Circular Quay.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a steel through arch bridge in Sydney, spanning Sydney Harbour from the central business district (CBD) to the North Shore. The view of the bridge, the harbour, and the nearby Sydney Opera House is widely regarded as an iconic image of Sydney, and of Australia itself. Nicknamed “The Coathanger” because of its arch-based design, the bridge carries rail, vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Under the direction of John Bradfield of the New South Wales Department of Public Works, the bridge was designed and built by British firm Dorman Long of Middlesbrough, and opened in 1932… The design chosen from the tender responses was original work created by Dorman Long, who leveraged some of the design from its own Tyne Bridge which, though superficially similar, does not share the graceful flares at the ends of each arch which make the harbour bridge so distinctive… It is the eighth longest spanning-arch bridge in the world and the tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 134 m (440 ft) from top to water level. It was also the world’s widest long-span bridge, at 48.8 m (160 ft) wide, until construction of the new Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver was completed in 2012.
The #partyparents assembled for some incredible shots as we waited for the wedding party to arrive.
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney. Located on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour, it is widely regarded as one of the world’s most famous and distinctive buildings and a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, but completed by an Australian architectural team headed by Peter Hall, the building was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973… As one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, the site is visited by more than eight million people annually, and approximately 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building each year… On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site… The Opera House was also a finalist in the New7Wonders of the World campaign list.
After drinks in the sun soaking up the atmosphere, the groomsmen arrived and everyone made their way into the Sydney Opera House for the incredible reception.
The view was surreal, we even got a special show from a cruise liner. After working around ships for so long, Lord Danny could not get enough of the thrust vectoring, can you spot him?
A few hours after the 04:00 wedding, I was on an early train. It was certainly one of the days where it was harder to be on the other side of the world and not standing by your side Chris. I figured it was probably the best time to head down to Newcastle upon Tyne for a couple of reasons. Firstly and controversially, Newcastle United have recently been purchased by a Saudi Arabian consortium and like it or not they are going to be a dominant force in world football for some time. Secondly, there was a bridge I was interested in. A good opportunity to check out somewhere new.
At 10:00 I arrived in Newcastle and made my way down to see the Tyne Bridge. I am sure you have connected the dots now. It was pretty speccy but I would describe it as the poor man’s Sydney Harbour Bridge, there was certainly less company here and the sky was not as blue. In its defence, its design was the inspiration for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, “designed and built by British firm Dorman Long of Middlesbrough”, opened in 1928, four years before the Aussies outdid them. After visiting Utzon’s House in Aalborg I am learning a lot about Sydney here.
With no real plans, I strolled along the River Tyne to the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. Hang on a second, it looked pretty similar to Glasgow’s Clyde Arc, more commonly referred to as the Squinty Bridge and is five years older. Turns out, if you are a mayor/ mayoress of a city and you need a bridge, just copy one from Newcastle.
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist tilt bridge spanning the River Tyne between Gateshead arts quarter on the south bank and Newcastle upon Tyne’s Quayside area on the north bank. It was the first tilting bridge ever to be constructed. Opened for public use in 2001, the award-winning structure was conceived and designed by architectural practice WilkinsonEyre and structural engineering firm Gifford. The bridge is sometimes called the ‘Blinking Eye Bridge’ or the ‘Winking Eye Bridge’ due to its shape and its tilting method. The Millennium Bridge stands as the twentieth tallest structure in the city, and is shorter in stature than the neighbouring Tyne Bridge.
At the time I did not appreciate that the Gateshead Millennium Bridge tilted, that’s pretty wild.
If you are a bridge enthusiast and have some spare time in the UK, head to Newcastle.
Welcome back all, we resume with:
– Nali and Grandpa DAVE eating endless seafood in the Sydney Opera House
– Super Mum tearing up the Sydney Opera House d-floor
– Eloise and Lachlan hopefully asleep at Wallaroo
– Groovy Dad making his way along the River Tyne
– Juju’s clan back in a bright clouded Glasgow
On top of the hill on the south side, I noticed an interesting-looking building, I crossed the Gateshead Millennium Bridge to check out the Sage Gateshead. The inside reminded me of the Reichstag Building in Berlin.
Sage Gateshead is a concert venue and musical education centre in Gateshead on the south side of the River Tyne in North East England. Opened in 2004 and occupied by North Music Trust it is part of the Gateshead Quays development which includes the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. Its name honors a patron: the accountancy software company The Sage Group.
I then crossed back towards the city over the fake Sydney Harbour Bridge, you could see plenty of chimney stacks and the Newcastle Castle.
Newcastle Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas, is a Church of England cathedral in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England. It is the seat of the Bishop of Newcastle and is the mother church of the Diocese of Newcastle. It is the most northerly diocese of the Anglican Church in England, reaching from the River Tyne as far north as Berwick-upon-Tweed and as far west as Alston in Cumbria. The cathedral is a grade I listed building. Founded in 1091 during the same period as the nearby castle, the Norman church was destroyed by fire in 1216 and the current building was completed in 1350, so is mostly of the Perpendicular style of the 14th century. Its tower is noted for its 15th-century lantern spire. Heavily restored in 1777, the building was raised to cathedral status in 1882, when it became known as the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas.
I tossed up the idea of going through, but there was plenty more of Newcastle to see. I power walked up Grey Street, supposedly “one of the most Instagrammed streets in the UK”. Grey was a bit misleading, certainly compared to Abeerdeen the granite city.
I grabbed a Tesco meal deal and sat beneath Grey’s Monument for lunch while tuning back in to see them blowing the roof of the Opera House. The groomsmen dance video was impressive, nailed it! Thanks for that Jamila.
I walked around the stadium and found Alan Shearer’s statue, “widely regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation and one of the greatest players in Premier League history”.
In Sydney, the most incredible party was wrapping up. Once again, congratulations to the newlyweds!
As it got closer to match time the whole city was descending into chaos, so I fled the stadium.
I skipped through the football hooligans to the much quieter Great North Museum: Hancock. The kids would have loved the animals and buttons here.
Saturday night Scotland was celebrating late into the night as “Duhan van der Merwe’s late try gave Scotland back-to-back wins at Twickenham for the first time, turning Calcutta Cup history on its head with a stunning Six Nations victory against a spirited England”.
Sunday morning was a tender start to the day for some. What better way to start the day than with Portuguese tarts? Safe to say, Portugal is part of the travel plans.
Post tart we dashed off to the wedding brunch where Super Mum started to say her final farewells. Next stop, The Rocks Market.
Meanwhile, the #partyparents were recovering in the sun catching the ferry across the Sydney Harbour to Manly, always a beautiful trip.
After a fun weekend, I grabbed my final froco all for myself, no sharing with Eloise this time and some souvenirs for the Glaswegians before starting the journey back to Adelaide. It is always beautiful the approach into Adelaide. Emma and Jo make note to sit on the left-hand side of the aircraft for when you come to visit us in 2025.
Perhaps it was from almost 30k steps in Newcastle yesterday but I finally managed to sleep in past 06:00 on Sunday morning. In fact, I just happen to wake up as Super Mum was on the final approach into Adelaide. As soon as Super Mum arrived back at HQ it was nice to speak to the family about the last two big days. The kids were excited to tear into Super Mum’s souvenirs. It sounded like they also had an enjoyable weekend.
Today, I had a great catch-up with Juju’s family. We had a lot of Aussie travel stories to catch up on, sun tans to compare and holiday plans to sort out before Jane put us to work. On the way home I grabbed some Romy’s & Family Fish And Chips, I figured I had to have takeaway at least once.