Acting on impulse

On Sunday afternoon, D and I drove towards Parramatta, intending to go for a walk.

We took the motorway from Strathfield, but on account of my aversion to paying a toll if not necessary and braving for that reason what I recently read to be one of Sydney’s most dangerous intersections on that account, we left the motorway at James Ruse Drive.  I suggested that we look briefly at a riverside park just on the left after we had crossed the Parramatta River.

As we walked by the river, we saw a Rivercat approach a nearby wharf, and ran to catch it.  Could we take the ferry to Parramatta, go for a walk, then return again by ferry?  Why, yes we could, and we jumped aboard for our impromptu adventure.  Standing on the front deck as the ferry made its stately (but probably still environmentally devastating) way through Potemkin-villages of mangroves thinly concealing factories and a container depot, it felt a little like The African Queen, but with less sexual tension.

So we walked around Parramatta for an hour and a half – mostly along the river and in the park, including to the old King’s School and the strikingly rebuilt Roman Catholic Cathedral (we even poked our heads into some ballet school’s Christmas show at the Riverside Theatres) before returning to the ferry wharf, taking some light refreshments (there is a licenced cafe; the food at least is reasonably priced) and finally strolling down to take the 6pm ferry back with the sun now behind us and bathing all in a sunsettish glow.  We made land at Rydalmere, where we had got on. A short walk back to the car, and we were home before 7.  A very enjoyable afternoon.

On Monday afternoon, I was walking through Darling Harbour as the heavens were about to open.  Just by me was the IMAX theatre.  I’d been toying with going to see Beowulf there. A session was about to begin.  In I went.  

I knew the film had received some lukewarm reviews, so my expectations were not too high.  I was pleasantly surprised. Allowing for some animating exaggerations, the film was reasonably faithful to the poem.  It adds a kind of back-story involving Grendel’s mother, but that gives things an interesting twist, and also binds the episodes together rather well.  And as David and Margaret had said, the 3D effects are spectacular!  This was my first experience of either the IMAX or a 3D film, and it did not disappoint on either front.  I wouldn’t necessarily rush back to the IMAX unless there was a film which deserved the big big screen treatment, but it is an experience worth having at least once. If you can’t get to the IMAX, the 3D treatment is probably the more important distinctive feature of the film anyway. 

It’s good to act on impulse occasionally.  However, if you feel impelled to take the Rivercat ferry to Parramatta, you’d better do so soon, given the present rumblings about its curtailment or abolition.

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