COVID-19 has been the defining feature of the year but so has gratitude. Never have we been so grateful for science and vaccines, to live in a country with a vaccination rate of well over 90% and to live in a city with so much variety. Yes, we had to make do with takeaway coffees for months and being confined to 5 km radius from home but with North Sydney market eventually open to fully vaccinated, masked people and Sydney harbour's tucked away delights such as Lavender Bay and Obelisk Beach we had nothing to complain about.
Then there's Sydney's built environment ranging from the quirky terraces of Surry Hills and Redfern to the impressive contemporary University of Technology with its green walls.
Once NSW opened up more we spent days at art galleries from Canberra's national galleries to smaller independent galleries showing works such as a Peter Kingston retrospective to Aboriginal art.
We were lucky too, to squeeze in a few days in Brisbane over the Anzac Day holiday, making it to Noah's share house-warming the day they started moving in and some quality time with Andy and Milo.
A few days at Sunshine Beach and a stop in Sawtell, well away from the big smoke rounded off the week.
A very different experience was our week in June at Dark MoFo in Hobart, Tasmania, celebrating the winter solstice. Spooky displays, concerts, moody MONA, mulled cider, time with friends Paul and Fauzi and Salamanca markets--such wicked fun.
We've been forced to focus our pet sitting activities closer to home but that has been a boon, taking us to new places. First up were a hot few January days cat sitting in Orange, a second stint dog sitting Billy and Monty on Berry Mountain overlooking the Kangaroo Valley and then three mischievous cats in Canberra.
Last but not least, we spent a few days with prince of spots, Marcus, near Bilgola Beach--our favourite place on the northern beaches peninsula. Friends Helen and Robert took us sailing on Pittwater in their new yacht not far from another favourite spot, the Newport Arms.
So what with Zoom French, yoga, photography and cocktail Fridays with friends and/or family, Rick's once-a-week prison official visitor job, writing, walking and exploring, we have so much to be grateful for.
Merry Christmas and here's hoping for a peaceful 2022.
Carol and Rick