“How was your week?”, my cousin Matthew asked me at Ballina Airport this afternoon. “Pretty relaxing, considering I was working most days”, I told him. Since arriving home on Christmas Day I’ve been pretty much connected to my phone and computer most days. I’ve also visited the Lismore office on two half-days, because there are some things I needed to in the office which I couldn’t do remotely. But for the most part, I’ve been able to spend the week with family and friends, and still keep up to date with my job.
Ahead of catching the flight back to Sydney, we stopped in a few places around the area. “It’s been years since we’ve been down here”, Pat said on a few occasions. It was also a lovely highlight for me, to revisit some of the places of my childhood.
Obvious highlights from the week have included being in town for the Tropical Fruits Festival, which I’ve written about previously, and being here at a very nice time of the year. Sometimes Lismore can be unbearably hot and humid at this time of the year, but this time around it’s been very pleasant, indeed. There’s been no need to sleep with fan all night, which is often a characteristic of being home for Christmas.
There have also been some lovely, unplanned activities, such as running into relatives at the shopping centre, and some old friends.
I also ran into a colleague who comes to Lismore most years, having been friends with a local. Though they know each other from Sydney, he was born and bred in Lismore. He’s been living back in Lismore on and off for a couple of decades, and we had some wonderful conversations about people we know in common. “Oh yeah, that’s my aunty”, I told him at one point during the even. Also at dinner was his partner, who I’ve since found out works with some of my cousins, and another friend of theirs, also in Lismore for Tropical Fruits, but who was also born and raised here. The world is too small.
In the end I never ended up going to the Tropical Fruits New Year’s Eve Party at the Lismore Showground. Though it was tempting, I reminded myself I’m not very good with big crowds anymore, and I’m no longer a fan of big dance parties.
Still I had a terrific time attending some festival activities, including some art exhibitions, the street parade, and had a few beers at The Civic Hotel. The Civic is a pub I most often have a drink at, when I’m visiting Lismore. It’s a fairly relaxed, working class pub only a few hundred metres from home. But this year they’ve started having regular LGBTIQ+ drinks, the bar has been emblazoned with rainbow flags, and they even had a rainbow-themed menu.
So I was heading back to Sydney feeling quite calm, contented, and revitalised. And then I saw this.