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Mary Rose

Making Friends (For Nigel!***) in Sydney.

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*** Just my little pun! 'We're only making plans for Nigel, we only want what's best for him.' (quoted, or more likely MIS-quoted from XTC (I nearly said 10CC too.) Funnily (or not) enough, just after I arrived in Sydney in December 1978, so probably in 1979, XTC came out here. I wish I'd seen them too, now. 'Generals and Majors was the other song I remember from that time.


I've suddenly realized that I can pontificate to my heart's content on 'Life in Sydney', without having to put up with all those pesky doomsayers who disagree with me on Poms in OZ. Of course, the downside is that I am often 'shouting into a valley with no echo?'


It does s**t me, though (a nice Aussie expression, there, and one of the first I learnt. I can still remember 'M' this Pommie lady I worked with in 1979, saying to me 'B is giving me the s***s.' - that, I am trying to be positive about my experiences in OZ, and someone else is saying 'it's all BS.' This is on the subject (finally) of my post, ie. making friends in Sydney, (or anywhere else in OZ.)


I was saying (on PIO) how I had 'pushed' myself to talk to more people, on this, my second, time in Sydney, wherever I met them, in cafes, pubs, shops. I introduce myself, tell them my name, and ask them theirs. Outside my door are two convenience stores and two cafes. I know the names of the people who run them as they do mine.


One of the guys on PIO replies, very patronisingly, I thought, 'we are talking about making friends, not knowing the service staff.' Well, most of our friends ARE 'serving staff', or similar, when we first encounter them? You meet for the first time, then go through a gradual, never-ending process of getting to know them, what they like, maybe common interests. I have a friend whom I met in one of the pubs - Strawberry Hills - we were b0th watching AFL on the screen. He regularly goes to live games with one of the barmen, whom he did not know until he started going to the pub.


I went in to one of the shops the other day, and I thought I recognized the lady behind the counter. 'Did you used to work here?' 'Yes. I am friends with the lady who bought the business from me, and now I work for her a couple of days a week.' (Making friends again!) I could not remember her name, but I did remember her son and husbands' names and she was pleased that I did.


Yesterday, I went for a walk about noon, and thought I'd pop into the Royal Exhibition hotel to say hello to two of the barstaff. I often do that, don't have a drink, just say hello. Actually, funny thing is, that I had a sudden desire to have a beer, had two in fact - schooners of Coopers. I don't know what came over me, as, although I love having a beer in the evenings, I rarely do during the day. The other funny thing is that, I went home at 2pm, and it reminded me of England in the 1970's when the pubs opened and closed twice a day, particularly that Sunday session from noon to 2pm. (I remember a bloke I knew telling me Sunday lunch was the only time he went for a beer. Mind you, he had eight pints!)


The two ladies in the pub have become friends. I've been for a meal with them. One of them often looks up at my flat to see if I'm there if she's out with her dog. And on my birthday - the big 60, this year (Anzac Day) they got me a present - lovely shirt - and a cake, and we had an impromptu little party in the bar, with two other friends from the bar, plus the bouncer, and a bloke who worked for Sydney Trains who was having a beer.


Anyway, don't believe all the c**p you will see and hear about how unfriendly Aussies are, about how they don't have 'our' sense of humour, about how you cannot enjoy any banter with them, how it's easier to make friends in the UK, etc. ad nauseam. Take people as they come. Smile and say hello. If you have kids, you are just as likely to make friends with other parents on the school run as you are in the UK.


If you like football (soccer), well, there are plenty of places to watch the EPL with fellow fans, Pommie and Aussie. But why not make an effort to get into Aussie Rules and Rugby League or Union? Don't just dismiss it as rubbish. I still largely prefer football to the other codes, at least when it comes to watching Spurs, but I LOVE watching AFL when the Swans are winning (which they are in every game this year.) I vaguely follow an NRL team - Melbourne Storm - and love the State of Origin series, which is the most popular sporting event on TV in Australia, and also follow the NSW Waratahs in the Super Rugby (they are having a great season too.)


I've got plenty of Pommie and Irish friends as well as Aussies, but I don't go to those meet ups for 'New Chums', perhaps because I've been here too long, and I don't have anything in common with them other than my nationality. I have to admit that I sometimes find Pommies from different parts of the UK - Liverpool, Manchester - almost more alien than Aussies. (I'm from Hampshire!) I'm being too harsh, because when you are new here, it can seem an alien environment, and meeting up with others who have just arrived can be good, sharing experiences and the like.


Sorry, I've gone on too long now. I'm cold (and miss my English central heating) so I'm going for a walk, may have brekkie in one of those cafes.


There is a quiz night at the Strawberry Hills hotel on Wednesday nights at 730 if anybody fancies coming down to join my team (of one!)

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@[uSER=30170]Mary Rose[/uSER] Thank you for that, I do love to read you little muses. Ignore the spiteful posters on PIO, if they are short of friends then its no wonder with that sort of attitude. To be honest I am taking a break from PIO, certain posters tend to get on your nerves with their repetitive posts, pushing their own agenda.


May even see you at the Strawberry Hills Hotel one of these fine days (if our house ever sells) though I'm not sure how much help we will be at the quiz, unless its a music quiz in which case my OH is excellent.


Keep on keeping on Mary Rose, you sound like you are enjoying your life in Sydney.


Best Wishes Metoo x

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Come down for that quiz any time. Actually, I went into a new cafe/restaurant/bar last night in the old Readers' Digest building on Commonwealth St, and the guy in there was telling me how they do their quiz night using mobile phones. He is Scottish and the food and drink has a Scottish feel - haggis! I've never had it and I'm going back for a meal very soon, maybe tonight. I just had coffee last night, late arvo really, and was just looking for a place open past 4pm.


Their quiz is on the same night, so I'm planning an early meal, but going to the Strawbo for the quiz as I've been doing it for a couple of years there.


'Arisaig' is the name of the restaurant I think, must Google it to check. I was talking to the young bloke who runs it - Celtic fan, but with a Rangers chef, I think. He told me that his parents have migrated to join them and it cost them $80,000!? I hate going on about 'boat people' but if they ARE 'economic migrants' entering illegally, that sounds grossly unfair to me.


Come down to the quiz any time. It's not about being clever. The important thing is to have different minds, with different 'specialities'. Someone who watches Home and Away, Someone who watches The X Factor, that sort of thing. It's fun, and a good way to get out and meet people.


Contemporary Bar and Dining at

The Arisaig Tea Rooms

The Arisaig Tea Rooms is a contemporary Scottish bar and restaurant located in Sydney's vibrant Surry Hills neighbourhood. Our Head Chef, Karen McPherson, and her team are passionate about creating fresh, homecooked produce which is inspired by Scotland's classic recipes and stunning natural larder.

Alongside our stunning wine list, we have a range of Scottish Craft ales and beers from the heart of Perthshire alongside some local favs. We recommend 'a wee dram' after your meal and our collection of Scottish malt whiskeys won't disappoint.

Our signature "teapot" cocktails are inspired by some famous Scottish landmarks and are so popular we offer cocktail making classes through our events experience partners.

The Arisiag Tea Rooms is located within the iconic Reader's Digest Building and is accessed off our delightful hidden courtyard where you can relax, soak up the sun and people watch. Inside our main space is inspired by Caledonia and our iconic wine glass feature always impresses.

We have a number of option available for private functions, including our Buchanan Room.

Come and see us. We promise a warm welcome!



The Arisaig Tea Rooms

27 July at 10:19

You asked, we listened! Haggis, neeps n' tatties, haggis sliders, chicken balmoral and Glaswegian style pakora is now on our menu. Thank you to all our customers who have taken the time to write us a positive review of their experience. We are very grateful!

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