We sophisticated big city residents yearn to live somewhere with a ‘village feel’, just so long as it’s not an actual village.
Real Aussie villages tend to have real Aussie villagers who want the bloody government to do something to stop those bloody boats so the bloody refugees don’t come and overrun Gona-bloody-datta.
Real villages have takeaway pizza bars, pubs serving ‘Chinese and Australian’ meals, hoons doing burnouts on the main drag and pokies at the bowling club as the main entertainment.
They usually don’t have good bookshops, smart restaurants, Saturday craft markets and cafés that know how to make a decent macchiato. Glebe and Balmain do. I just walked around them.
Sydney’s Inner West is the spiritual home of the chattering classes. A disproportionate number of writers, artists, filmmakers, journos and bloggers live here. The chattering classes may not be as rich as the North Shore types; they consider that unseemly. They have enough time to chatter about the environment, and enough political clout to do something about it. They have the money to renovate charming old cottages, or move into eco-friendly apartments in converted toothpaste factories.
They elect local councils that scatter parks and cycle-paths around the harbour foreshore, and transform disused industrial wastelands into heritage sites, with interpretative plaques reminding passers-by of their former functions.
Balmain and Glebe residents get out and make use of these open spaces with their Cannondale bikes, their personal boxercise trainers and their King Charles spaniels.
They seem to have a good, interesting life. Dammit, I’d rather like to join them.
This walk – 18.3km
Total walked to date – 55.4km
Total still to go – 261.6km
Coming up next – Iron Cove, Drummoyne