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I realised I didn’t write about going to see The Arrival of the rubber duck on Day One of the Sydney Festival a couple of weeks ago.

If you know me, you know of my penchant for whimsy, and the thought of seeing a five-storey high rubber duck float into Darling Harbour was too good to be missed. Karen had organised a yum cha lunch on that day, so it seemed like a good idea for the Beilzes, the Phillipses, Georgina and me to trundle down to the water together after lunch at Sky Phoenix. Which was, of course, delicious.

It was a scorchingly bright day, but I remembered I had some umbrellas in the car, which was conveniently parked across the road at mum’s work (so good having a mum with a parking space in the city!). So at least sitting out in the hot sun wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Though after a couple of hours, we were really just ready for the duck to get in there and didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the acrobats and band, who I’m sure had worked really hard in preparation. I felt sorry for them when, due to a technical hitch, they had to pad out the time by repeating a song and sequence that hadn’t been that interesting the first time around.

But there was a rubber duck cannon that fired 3000 ducks into the water! Bubble machines! Duck bill whistles for the kids!

I was impressed by Huff and Puff’s restraint, who dutifully obeyed when they were told they weren’t to blow on their whistles until they saw the duck, and then they could blow to welcome him in (though Huff couldn’t blow into the whistle with enough force to muster a quack anyway…it was pretty cute).

Little A had a rubber duck from home that she played with while she waited, but we scored a few more when the duck collectors started chucking them into the crowd (one for each of the kids and one for G’s duck-loving ferret).

Once the giant duck started drifting in through the Pyrmont Bridge, everyone just smiled. So much smiling! I wonder what the kids made of it. I wonder if, at that age, you can still be all, “yeah, it’s a giant duck. That’s not unusual, is it?”, or whether you’re completely confused about what’s going on.

I love art that plays with what is ‘normal’ and what ‘should be’. There was whimsy enough to satisfy even me, and a lovely day in the outdoors with friends.