Some may view me as a disgrace to womanhood, but I detest buying clothes. It’s not that I don’t like to look nice, but it’s so time consuming and irritating. The older I get the more I dislike the whole business.

Anyway, I set off on a two day shopping trip to Sydney recently, staying the night on the North Shore  at Mosman.  The city is  always a shock after my quiet Blue Mountains nest. In fact, I’ve been known to change my mind  on these city trips, choosing to spend the day  at the State Library instead. However, there are times when I have to grit my teeth and go forth.

As I walked through Martin Place damn me if there wasn’t  a busker playing Silent Night…in mid September!  Life slips by too fast for me already, so I only gave him a dollar. And do you know what? There was an ibis listening to him. I swear they’re taking over the city.  I’m worried it might be  emus next.

Urban Ibis in Sydney

One step closer and I shoot!

On I went, nearly colliding with a life size hippo in  Pitt St mall. Something to do with Taronga Zoo I think. I skirted around it, because sometimes the staff have live snakes they  encourage  people to pat. There are enough snakes in my own garden, thanks.

I prefer department stores to boutiques, because I don’t like to be pounced upon and pressured. Cynicism comes with  age you know, and  when someone says, ‘You look fabulous in that, Sweetheart,’  I don’t believe a bloody  word of it.  And then there are the shops that play VERY loud, thumping music. Is that really necessary?  As my mother used to say, ‘I can’t hear myself think!’ 

I avoided George Street and the light rail construction work. Just hurry please is all I’ll say. I want to be agile enough to get on the new trains….or are they trams?

There always seems to be a sale on these  days . Am I right to be suspicious, or is this  just another indication of my advancing age?


Early bird sale in Sydney

Early bird bargains? I wonder!

Mind you, the big stores  do have their own hazards. Even though Meyers  has multiple  exits on different levels I am sometimes completely unable to find my way out. I wonder if this is all a deliberate ploy by marketing  psychologists? If so it doesn’t work; a panic stricken woman hardly has  more shopping on her mind.

I will gloss over the horror of finding the  fitting rooms and endlessly struggling in and out of clothes.  Sizing is all up the creek these days. I know I’ve lost a bit of weight, but it’s crazy that I now fit into size 8 pants instead of 10.  I suspect the manufacturers just want to make us feel thinner  and more inclined to buy. At least I found  a few things eventually. Oh joy! Might have to take the hems of the pants up though. Why do they make them so incredibly long?

Thankfully hat buying was far less stressful.  A fellow shopper  joined the search. We had so much fun that she even  took my photo.  At least she was honest in her comments, and  actually very helpful. She said she was supposed to be looking for a dress to wear to her granddaughter’s wedding. To my shame I did not offer to help her in return, though I wished her well.


Pauline Conolly trying on hats in Sydney

Hat shopping.

Bought some shoes. Flat soled, soft leather. Soon I’ll be buying Hush Puppies.


Clearly the  store staff had been instructed  to ‘engage and chat’ with their customers. As  I handed over my credit card the middle aged assistant said;

‘You are very energetic!’

What a peculiar thing to say, I hadn’t exactly been leaping about the store…or swinging from the racks. I was unable to respond, apart from a quizzical smile. Her English was not fluent, but  I took it as a compliment until she added;

 ‘Some people are  in a really bad way’.  It’s terrible…. they can hardly walk. Even people younger than you. So don’t be sad dear!’

Oh good grief! And I’d been feeling relatively chirpy  after my ‘finds’. I thought the  sixties were  supposed to be the new forties.  Pity she couldn’t have seen me on a trampoline a while  back. Naturally I headed for the nearest mirror for reassurance. I didn’t think I looked too bad. Mind you, I do have the beginnings of cataracts; OMG, I probably can’t see myself as I really am.

On the trampoline..viewed through a flattering veil of bar-b-que smoke!

On the trampoline..viewed through a flattering veil of bar-b-que smoke!

It was  clearly time for a big hit of caffeine and carbohydrate. I sat down after selecting what I thought was a cream puff, but  which was described as custard filled  profiterole. Oh yes, give it a French name and charge me more.  And look how the bloomin’ thing was served. No wonder it cost so much…I was probably charged  another $5 for the giant plate and the swirl of syrup. Hmm, slightly worrying shape too…..

SydneyVisitMarch2014 005

I caught the bus home after that, still in a state of confused deflation. As usual, it was very crowded so I had to stand up. A man smiled  kindly at me when I nearly fell over as the driver braked suddenly on the harbour bridge.  He didn’t offer me his seat, but I smiled back because he must have thought I looked young and energetic….relatively speaking!

As evening fell back ‘home’ in Mosman a full moon rose over the heads. I like to think this explained a lot. Lunacy!


Full moon over Sydney Heads

Full moon over Sydney Heads. The answer to everything?

FOOOTNOTE – I bought two hats that day…… should last me a while.

Pauline Conolly shopping for hata

I’ll have this one too.

Have you had a day similar to mine? Do leave a message in the comment box below. As always, scroll down and complete the simple anti-spam sum before pressing SUBMIT.


  1. The most wired shopping experience indeed, and what wonderful primary source material for this article. The Mitchell always a bit of heaven, but I seemed to remember every book I wanted had to ordered and would be brought to one from the stocks – or was it stacks!!!
    What a shame you couldn’t travel back by ferry.
    And I hope you were pleased with what you bought.

    • Pauline

      Yes, you still have to order books from the stacks or external storage Annabelle, but no different to any other major library. The wonderful thing these days is that you can do it all in advance on-line. The Mitchell is also battling funding cuts etc.

      I adore the ferry, but the bus drops me at the door of the apartment. Am happy with my purchases except for arguing with Rob about whether I need to take the new jeans up. Have washed them to see if they shrink!! xx

  2. I am laughing. It could only happen to you. It’s a conspiracy to keep you writing! May I just add that I didn’t see you actually BOUNCING on the trampoline; although the kneeling was very impressive, ‘cos you cannot do that after knee replacements 🙂

    • Pauline

      Well I did bounce on that trampoline Marcia….albeit very cautiously and holding the hand of a caring little friend. My knees are still fine but my balance isn’t the best. xx

      • Well next time Pauline, I’d like to SEE the action shot! xx

        • Pauline

          I think I have one somewhere….oh yes it’s on my story about Churg Strauss Syndrome!

  3. Love your story Pauline. Now I know why I clicked with you in the first place. We are like minded. It has been many years for me since I have written about my every day experiences. Though so wonderful to provoke smiles, giggles and laughter.
    I empathise with you about the clothes and the shopping. I am aghast with the idea of walking into any library and having to order the books to be brought to me. Having been brought up a book lover and doing regular jaunts in the city from one second hand bookshop to another with my father, grandfather and then partner, I cannot imagine going to any place that has books available and not being about to simply choose that one that looks so interesting and browsing through to see if that is the one that wants to be read.
    All in all, I love your blog posts. Keep writing, they are wonderful to read.

    • Pauline

      Thanks Sandy. Fortunately there was such an outcry at the Mitchell that they stopped removing the books. The Reading Room is much more accessible though, so I guess that’s an improvement.

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