Saturday 23 April: I've kindly been invited to stay for Easter at John and Lisa's Sydney home in the northern beach suburb of Belrose. There's no McDonalds nearby so instead I invite the family to a Sardinian restaurant overlooking Freshwater Bay, my treat (I allow myself the occasional splurge). Named Pilau at Freshwater it's extensive Italian and French wine list rivals most in Australia. John and I share their signature dish, a two-person platter of slow oven roasted cuts of suckling pig with fine crisp crackling while Liza picks their Rangers Valley rare hanger steak with cannonau jus - this looks pretty good too. Lisa's sweet desert, white chocolate, apricot and pistachio semifreddo with torched Italian meringue (I think) looks amazing while John an I share a plate of four Italian cheeses served with walnut bread and sweet dried raisins on the vine, all delicious, but for me the semi-hard Venito cows cheese with black truffles is a clear winner. The wine waiter's recommendation is a popular Corsican red, smooth and luscious to my palate much more so than the yet-to-mature Aussie reds of the Hunter Valley, and we finish off with a Clare Valley desert reisling and vintage 25-year old Pays D'uge calvados courtesy of John, followed by more red wine and late night, early morning rugby back at chez Boyle. Such an engaging evening I forget to take photographs.
Sunday 24: Easter home-cooked lunch is a Liza-family team-effort for twenty-four hungry Aussies and one pom. It runs like clockwork, I'm amazed - there are people who's names I'll never remember - Des, another John, Alistair, Georgie, Daniel and so many more - the tenderest roast pork - the firmest poached pear - too much big sparkling shiraz red and Yarra Valley merlot - too little coffee - shamefully I bow out for an early night - too much wine in too few days, too many people, too few photos. But, I have a big new 48-page passport, freedom! Sincere thanks guys - enjoy the Robyn Drayton's "Foreplay" and if you are ever in London . . .
Tuesday 22: More rain. Too cloudy to climb Sydney Harbour bridge so I take in The Rocks Anzac Day celebrations, suddenly the weather clears briefly and I find myself at Bondi Beach. Storm clouds gather and I'm running out of visa time so it's time to head west to Canberra, the nation's capital, west? West is the start of the the long-haul home.
Photos of Belrose and Bondi Beach