Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tinker, Tailor, Trapeze Artist?

Over the past month, Sydney has been characterised by intermittent foul weather – in fact I would have to say that in true Commonwealth style we joined in wholeheartedly in the spirit of the UK Jubilee, going so far as to mimic London’s grey skies and torrential downpours.

Lashing rain continued post Jubilee as New South Wales celebrated the Queen’s Birthday weekend, an annual event that just to add confusion I discovered is celebrated on different weekends depending on your whereabouts in Australia , whilst New Zealand ever keen to get things off to a snappy start celebrates it the weekend before Sydney gets into the regal party mood.

I had another of my periodic rowing outings yesterday in a social Ladies four, when fortuitously the sun shone and the harbour sparkled. We row up through moored boats, mansions with gardens cascading down steep hillsides to boat houses and docks, and then continue on down through the wooded inlets of the national park. Absolutely stunning and I long for the day when I am a) fit enough and b) competent enough to have the energy and ability to glance round at the scenery rather than clutching my blade (note use of technical language) in a death grip of fierce concentration.

As a consequence of this morning’s outing which encompassed a frankly unbelievable 15 km, I am tending to my blisters and pondering whether I am going to require the services of a crane to get me in and out of the bath as a crab like stance seemed to have set in.

I rowed in a very social (code for hopeless but fun) eight at university for a couple of terms, and looking back I know it would never have occurred to my 18 year old self that in my mid forties that I would be rowing on Sydney Harbour. Given the way that life twists and turns, and fate sends you down unconsidered paths I do feel great sympathy for careers advisers who have to try and give sensible advice to teenagers at the beginning of their working careers. In fact I am full of admiration for people who know what they want to do at 17 based on rational thought – I add this last remark as I have a nasty suspicion my pursuit of a banking career following university was heavily influenced by reading ‘Banker’ by Dick Francis.

We are now at the stage where the Drama Queens are having to start making choices about subject choices and possible futures. One of the options suggested to give some idea as to potential career paths is to participate in Vocational Testing, I was mildly interested to see what the scientific approach would throw up as a potential future – I was however stunned when I glanced at the list of suggested careers based presumably on Drama Queen no.2’s answers and aptitudes. Given the first three suggested professions listed were Aerialist, Blacksmith and Body Makeup Artist, I began to think perhaps the scientific methodical approach to future working life was suffering from what could be classified as a “Funny Turn” – which coincidentally is becoming an increasingly accurate way of describing my own true profession in life.

Sad to say, my first emotion was envy, once I had checked that Aerialist related to “That daring young [lady} on the flying trapeze” rather than to someone who installs car aerials. How much more exciting to have a potential sequined future dangled tantalisingly in front of you rather than the grey tinged fate of a mundane office I wonder if an “Aerial” Training school would accept a middle aged lady for trapeze training, albeit with pre-blistered hands fresh from rowing to prove her worth and grip.

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