Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Sydney Sojourn

Monday 15th April

We set off at our usual time and headed up the highway to Sydney. It was a nice drive (for me – Indie and Ron didn’t really enjoy the hilly countryside quite as much) and we had some nice glimpses of the ocean along the way.

When we reached the southern outskirts of Sydney the drive became quite horrendous – 15kms of roadway to Ryde and 15 million cars.

We arrived at The Fibro Majestic unscathed but tired and hungry……we could not even get into a McDonalds on the way over the traffic was so ridiculous. Not to worry because Guy had made Cream of Asparagus soup for lunch – yummo!

Then it was down to the serious business of talking the afternoon (and half the night) away.

Tuesday 16th April

This morning we had a bit of a lie in while Annette and Guy were out. They run away every morning (and most afternoons) to ‘Bums and Tums’, ‘Left Toes in Right Ears’ and other assorted exercise classes at the local Gym.

Today is typical (for our last few visits) Sydney weather – overcast and rainy- but, undeterred, Annette and I settled down to a very productive days knitting.

Wednesday17th April

In the morning, Annette returned from her letterbox quite excited that the only bill in the mail today was for me! Yes my fine from five years ago had arrived.

Later on the weather fined up considerably.

In the afternoon we all went for a walk past The Field of Mars Cemetery….much nicer than it sounds….a lovely little pocket of bushland complete with creek.

In the meantime Guy’s gastronomical gourmet delights kept coming and coming. We dined on all manner of delicious dinners, bounteous breakfasts and lucious lunches.

Thursday18th April

I (grudgingly) paid my five year old fine this morning, then it was back to the knitting needles and more intense discussion of projects pending and daring designs for the future.

I even managed to finish a little Dolly for Laylah.

After all that Annette and I hurried off to Spotlight for more supplies.

Ronnie decided to cook dinner tonight since Guy was out sailing till seven. He made his Lamb Korma which was hailed as a great success and the Naan bread was perfect!!!

Friday 19th April

Ronnie is busy sorting out bits and pieces for Indie on this cold and windy day. A wonderful day however for Guy’s home-made Mushroom Soup (delicious) and an opportunity to print out several more knitting patterns, actually do some more knitting and snuggle down under quilts and do some reading.

I’m so glad we are in Sydney as I am reliably informed that one of Ros’ gum trees was hit by lightning last night in Nowra and is today scattered some 80 metres around her back yard! Fortunately no injuries were sustained – chooks, dogs and buildings all well.

 Annette and Guy had some left over Easter Eggs and thus inspired, I knitted a little Egg Cosy, complete with beret!


Saturday 20th April

It poured rain so Ron and I did what everyone else in Sydney would do on a rainy school holiday Saturday and went to the shops. Ron wanted to check his Telstra contract and because he still has six weeks left it would cost him $65.00 to change so we will have to do that later. I’m knitting Xander a little monkey so searched for an appropriate accompanying book to no avail. In the end, we bought groceries and came home.

We spent the rest of the day watching DVDs and ordered in pizza and pasta for dinner.

Sunday 21st April

We spent most of the day packing Indie. We are off tomorrow morning to get our solar checked out and another panel fitted.

Then we are heading north to the Central coast for a look at some more Over 50s Villages.

Monday 22nd April

We headed off this morning at 6.30am out towards The Slopes (past Richmond) to ‘All Natural Energy’ to get our solar done. Driving along, minding our own business when Nathan (the owner) rings and says ‘it’s raining here and I don’t have any cover so can we leave it till this afternoon or Wednesday would be good’. What can I say?.....…!@#$%^& was what I wanted to say!! But we said we could wait around for a while and see what happens.

We went and drowned our sorrows in a McDonalds breakfast and headed in towards Penrith. Nathan rang back and said it had fined up there and he had cancelled the replacement job he had lined up in lieu of ours and we could go now so we actually got there about two or three hours after our original appointed time. 

After much agonising and huffing and puffing (on my part – Nathan and Ron seemed quite at ease about the whole thing!) we had one new Solar panel installed and one old one (which wasn’t working because a faulty solder joint had come adrift) repaired. He also juggled them around the roof because they were different sizes and needed to avoid vents etc. So after spending about three hours and a total of $567.10 (which included $225.00 for the panel) we are all powered up and ready to go.
We headed back towards Hornsby and up to the central coast A.K.A. God’s waiting room. It is full or retirees and assorted retirement accommodation. We bought a few supplies and found a caravan park, Macquarie Lakeside Village, for the night.

The sun was just setting over Chain Valley Bay (part of Lake Macquarie) and it was idyllic.

Until I panned a little to the left.

Oh well!!!!

Tuesday 23rd April

Today we set out, map in hand to check out as many Over 50s villages as possible. Everywhere we went there was something fabulous and something awful…..either too expensive or stuck out in the middle of nowhere or they had renters as well as owners or young people as well (one even had all of the above).

We saw two that we thought would be worth a revisit tomorrow but we were totally wiped out and went looking for a caravan park. We finally found one at Ocean Beach (Ocean Beach NRMA Holiday Park).

I rocked up to reception and asked for a powered site. No problem and that will be $77.00 thanks. Oh, I said….can you give me a list of nearby caravan parks? As the girl scuttled around looking for her list, the other girl checked we only wanted one night, gabbed the first girl and disappeared into a nearby office. They emerged, assured me they had spoken with the manager and we could have the site for $35.00. Much better!!

Wednesday 24th April

Today we went back up to the two villages that we liked best, Valhalla Village and Lakeside Leisure Village.

We looked around both and liked them both so will keep them on our list of favourites and check their websites regularly. I preferred the second one because it has a lovely walkway beside the lake and there is a big Woolworths shopping centre being built across the road. The other  one appears to have better facilities and the people seem happier and friendlier but it is in the middle of nowhere and you would definitely need a car…….everything’s a trade off!!!!

We left there late in the afternoon and drove back to The Fibro Majestic. As we were walking up the drive, Annette and Guy were walking out the door. They are going up the coast to stay with friends tonight, tomorrow and possibly tomorrow night so we have their house to ourselves.

We were watching a bit of telly when I got three photos from Anita. Paul finally made it to their house and appears to be having a lovely time with the baby Xander. I’m so pleased he got there.They look so cute together but I can’t believe how big Xander is!!


By the third photo, it looks like the baby Xander is saying ‘Right-o, that’s enough. Three photos in a row is my limit!!’


Thursday 25th April ANZAC Day

This photo arrived this morning and I immediately decided that Xander looked just like a little ANZAC biscuit… scrumptious he looks good enough to eat!!!!


Ron and I went to the shops in the afternoon and bought supplies for dinner. Ron changed his Telstra plan and got himself a Galaxy Tablet (another toy to play with).  He is having lots of fun with it so far.

Ronnie cooked up a lovely Chicken Paprika with rice and it was just about ready when Annette and Guy arrived back home. Talk about good timing.

Friday 26th April

Today we are off to Drummoyne Sailing Club for lunch. We decided that we should go for a walk from Birkenhead Point, over the Iron Cove Bridge and around Canada Bay and Callan Park (the old Insane Asylum) first (that way we would be in credit for lunch).

It was fabulous weather and with the harbour looking at its best, Annette took lots of photos.


She even took photos of me taking photos.


It was a great walk and we returned to the Sailing Club and had a wonderful lunch. There is nothing nicer than overlooking Sydney Harbour on a beautiful day. You can’t beat it with a stick!!!

I am looking at getting an e-reader like Ron’s. He has a Kobo Glo and loves it. I have borrowed it to see if I like it before we take the plunge and buy one. I went on to the Helensvale Library website and they have thousands of books on line so I have borrowed ‘Bad Debts’ by Peter Temple, an Australian writer. It is a really good story, a tightly written detective style thriller (and I like the reader!).

Saturday 27th April

Guy has packed his swag, fled to his friend’s house today and is staying overnight. We are assured it is nothing we said.

Annette, Ron and I are having a quiet time at home.

Since it is Annette’s turn to make dinner tonight, she is making her usual (a phone call). Tonight we are dining on Tortellini Boscaiola and Pizza….Yummo.

After dinner, we adjourned to the lounge for a double feature of ‘L.A. Confidential’ and ‘Foul Play’.

Sunday 28th April

Guy has returned this morning so we are off on another walk, this time to Sugarloaf Point. The bush here joins on to the bush from our last walk. It is fabulous to think it is all within spitting distance of Centre Point Tower (well, if you can spit 11kms or so).

The Lane Cove River is looking particularly beautiful and blue today and the weather is divine. From here, we walked up the escarpment and came across several little rock pools. Because Sydney has recently had lots of rain, there were tadpoles in the pools that had started to grow their back legs.

How cool is that?

We then continued on through the bush and across the bridge over Buffalo Creek and up through the mangroves.


When we got home, Ron tried printing out our boarding passes for our flight to Darwin on Monday only to find out our flight to Darwin is on Tuesday.
Could be worse, we could have gone to the airport for a Tuesday flight and found out it was Monday!!!!!  Of course that did not stop us from teasing him mercilessly about ‘seniors moments’ and the like!

Monday 29th April

Today is another glorious sunshine and blue sky day so we are off on another walk. This time we are headed to Parsley Bay. But not until after a fabulous brunch which included some home cured bacon that Guy had brought back from his overnighter at his friend’s house. It’s the only way bacon should taste!!

We drove over the Harbour Bridge and through Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and arrived at Nielsen Park (Sydney Harbour National Park). It is wonderful that there is still so much greenery around the harbour and the views are spectacular.

And of course you just have to get the iconic Bridge, Opera House, Fort Dennison and ferry shot!!!!
From there it was down to Nielsen Bay beach, one of many harbour beaches. It was very pretty with a lovely coffee shop built in 1914.
Guy went for a quick dip and then we were off, up hill and down dale to another little rocky out crop.
We went back to the road and walked through the leafy upper class suburbs of Sydney. You knew you were in the posh part because the high fenced properties actually had gates marked ‘Tradesmen’ and the only four wheel drive we saw was a Porsche!!!!
It was a very pleasant walk and finally we came upon a little lane which ran through to a fabulous suspension bridge leading across to Parsley Bay.
Parsley Bay is where Annette and I went once for a Sunday School picnic. That was the day I went for a swim and cut my foot open on oyster shells. I got that patched up and then developed a raging headache. As I set off across the grass to the St Johns Ambulance tent, I was stung by a bee on my other foot. Talk about testing the faith. Needless to say, FAIL, and I never went back!!!!
Today’s trip was much more pleasant.
Of course, being as posh as it is, they don’t just build sand castles on the beach, they go for full on sand sculptures.
What a gorgeous little crab he was too!
   Guy went for another quick dip and then we found a convenient little tea room with a lovely view back across the beach and had coffees before taking on the return walk.
On the way back, we called in at Vaucluse House, home of William Charles and Sarah Wentworth from 1827 to 1962.
It was closed up but we had a good wander around and through the gardens.
From there it was back home and then off to E-woo (Eastwood) to the best Sushi restaurant in the world for dinner. The whole of Eastwood is Asian now and chock-a-block with Asian stores, grocers and restaurants. Divine food.
Tuesday 30th April
Today is our big pack up day as we fly out to Darwin tonight.
This is the first time Ron and I have flown anywhere together for almost nine years. (The last time was for Paul’s March Out from Wagga in 2004!!!) We are definitely not in line for Frequent Flyer Points!!! In fact, they didn’t even make any money from food and beverage because Guy packed us off with the now traditional travel fare of egg mayonnaise sandwiches!!!!
It is quite exciting being at the airport to catch a plane rather than meeting or seeing off one of the boys.
We had a great time in Sydney and flew out at 9.00pm. Here’s hoping Paul will be at the airport when we arrive (four and a half hours later) at 1.00am (Darwin time) tomorrow.


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