Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Crochet Hat

Something has gone wrong with the sizing of my crochet hat. I'm not finished yet and it's already too big for ME and its supposed to be for the Memsahib. I'll just have to turn it into a balaclava. :-)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Wentworth Falls

Yesterday we went into the Blue Mountains, specifically 'Wentworth Falls' to see.....well the falls. It was a gloriously warm day and after a very pleasant 2hr train ride we arrive in Wentworth Falls, population 507 we are reliable informed. The walk from the station takes you through bush land and brings you out at yet another dramatic vista.....(I'm almost dramatic vista'd out!).......only joking, how could you get bored of after mile of dramatic scenery and day after day of glorious sunshine :-) We decide on a sedate 2 to 3hr walk along the cliff path to see not only the Wentworth Falls but also the Empress Falls, again very impressive At the end of the walk through the bush we take a stroll (not quite so energetic) through the back streets of the town of Wentworth Falls, picking out which house we woul buy if we were to stay. It really is an ideallic little town. We take the train back home and have a little snooze then go out in Paddington for a steak and beer with no.2 son :-)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Snorkelling at Clovelly Bay

Another beautiful day today and we decide ( the Memsahib and I ) to go to Clovelly Bay for another try at snorkelling. This is an ideal spot, apparently , for beginners as the bay has been constructed on either side using concrete to give it the impression on an open ended swimming pool. There is a beach at one end with some rocks and the open sea at the other end thus allowing open sea swimming without the waves. There is still some swell but just enough to add some fun to the swim. We entered the sea with our snorkel sets not knowing what to expect, but we were not disappointed. Within minutes we saw lots of fish of all shapes, sizes and colours including a Blue Groper which is a sizeable fish. Several snorkelling sessions followed interspersed with some sunbathing and with each session in the water the Gropers got bigger and bigger until the last one actually took my breath away!! He approached me from out of the murk as I was watching some smaller fish and caught me by surprise then swam right under me flanked by his shoal of followers. I turned and followed him for a little while, feeling not a little unlike Jacques Cousteau, then swam back to tell the Memsahib like an excited school boy :-D

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Road Trip to Jervis Bay

An early start today to pick up a hire car and then journey 3 hrs south to Jervis Bay. The reason for the trip is to see (apparently) the whitest sand in the world and the clearest bluest sea. Unfortunately it's raining and overcast! Still can't be helped, today is the day the car is booked and so off we go. The journey itself is fairly un-eventful and when we arrive at our destination we duly purchase snorkel sets for all and ask directions to the finest snorkelling spot. Instructions issued, we head off to Murrays Bay beach. The weather is starting to pick up but so is the wind. By the time we are ready to enter the sea it is looking quite choppy, but we've just bought the gear so we are going in. Once you've got your shoulders under its not so bad and then we start to look around below the chop. At first sight of a reasonably big fish the Memsahib is squealing down her breathing tube and reaching for me, luckily we are mot deep and I can stand up otherwise she would have drowned me. Methinks that snorkelling is not for her. We drove around the area later in the afternoon looking for Kangaroos, as the guide book promised that they can be seen in this locale. After speaking with some locals we managed to track down the elusive roos at a caravan park in a place called 'Green Batch.' We also saw our first Kookaburra :-) Some sunbathing ensued as the afternoon warmed up, then a pub tea and the journey back up the road.

Sunday, 2 December 2012


Well, I've been thinking about it for some time now since we arrived in Australia and finally today I made my decision. 'The Rocks' Sunday market was on (being as it is indeed Sunday) and so the Memsahib and I went out for a wander. Coincidentally the Didgeridoo shop is in 'The Rocks' and as we were talking about momentos and gifts from Oz I finally decided that, for me, a Didgeridoo would encapsulate all that is Australia. Having researched the shop and the instrument online for a few days I knew exactly what I was looking for. Within 5 minutes of walking in I was walking out again with my very own piece of Australia and all that it is to be truly Australian. A momento that I can look at and play for years to come (much to the Memsahibs annoyance) :-)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Hot, Hot, Hot, phew!

Temperatures today reached an un-before experienced 36 degrees. We started the day with a trip to Bondi to, finally, get son no.2's medicare insurance completed, at last we have a happy Memsahib. After Bondi we headed to Max Brenner's Chocolate emporium, a coffee shop, if you will, with a chocolatey twist. If Willie Wonka had opened a coffee/chocolate shop this would be it. All chocolated out (for now) we went back to the apartment to recover and prepare to hit the beach. Bronte beach is not as large as Bondi but, I feel, has more character and still has some great surf. Lots of lovely Aussie bodies on display, and not a little cheek!

Fruit Bats

No I'm not talking about the inhabitants of this fitness crazed city but rather the animal:
Yesterday was a hot one and so most of it was spent at the Andrew Charlton pool followed by a barbie and then in the evening we decided to go down to the Botanic gardens to see the 'Fruit Bats' or as they are actually called, Flying Foxes. We saw a notice in the Botanic Gardens advising that the Flying Foxes become active around dusk and so we arrived, not knowing what to expect, around 7pm. The gardens were closed but we stood for a while and sure enough the 'bats' appeared. They look exactly like a bat flying through the night sky but they have a wingspan of about 1 metre. Pleased with our sightings we moved on up through Hyde Park on our way to a famous watering hole called 'Shady Pines'. Along the way more of the Flying Foxes were spotted in the park, also rather strangely for us in these temperatures a Christmas tree. Having found the foxes we now had to find 'Shady Pines'. No.2 son advised us that it was down a lane off Crown St. with no outward signage to guide the weary, thirsty traveler. If you couldn't find it then you probably weren't hip enough to go there. After some perseverance and the welcome intervention of some locals we found ourselves in a lane confronted by a queue of people standing outside, what appeared to be a disused shop front. (Picture to follow). We were easily the most mature people in the queue but we waited and made it into the bar just before our bedtime :-) it was a great bar but incredibly noisy and so after one drink and a bit of people watching we left for home. Another good day in Oz.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Manly Bike Ride

Today was a hot one, it started out with a 4 mile run at 6:30am when, believe it or not, the park was packed again with joggers and cyclists and it was 20 degrees. After breakfast we made our way to the Manly ferry with the bikes and followed one of the mapped out routes around the headland with some stunning views of Sydney and the harbour. On our way back from the headland we dropped in at Collins Bay which was a beautiful secluded, sun drenched, tropical paradise. The Memsahib decided to do a spot of sunbathing whilst I kept in the shade. Suffice to say I am still a human creamy colour whilst the Memsahib has taken on a rather more rouge hue. The temperature topped out at 28 degrees today, we are expecting it to be hotter over the next couple of days, up to 33 degrees. The day was rounded off by the discovery of a Huntsman spider IN our apartment. As you can see from the photo he was a fair size but I overcame him and removed him from the premises without a single squeal.....ok maybe a little squeal but he was BIG ok!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Today was not too hot or sunny so lent itself nicely to a bike ride to North Sidney over the bridge. There is a well marked network of cycle tracks all around Sydney with some very well delineated from the other road users. We followed one such cycle way across the iconic bridge into north Sydney. Once over the other side we stopped for lunch beneath a brightly coloured tree, which was obviously very appealing to Rainbow Lorikeets as we had a couple in the tree above us searching out the nectar. A pleasant change from being pestered by pigeons and seagulls whilst eating your sandwich (although both were also evident in abundance). The trip back was to be via one of the many ferries which operate all around the harbour much like buses and included in the price of the multi trip pre-paid travel tickets. The views all around the harbour are breath taking, Sydney is indeed a lovely city although for my liking a bit busy. I have become a country boy and prefer less hustle and bustle, although out here less hustle and bustle means more rustle, as in creepy crawlies. Hey ho!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Fitness fanatics

In Scotland I have always considered myself to be a reasonably fit individual who likes to exercise and eat a healthy diet. Here in Sydney, Australia I am feeling decidedly lacking when it comes to anything approaching a fitness regime. Today we have come to the Andrew (boy) Charlton outdoor swimming pool for some exercise, yes, and for some relaxation and sunbathing. We arrive around lunchtime to see a steady stream of people running to the pool and then partaking in length swimming, the like of which I have only previously seen at my boys swimming club a few years ago. When I say length swimming we are not talking breast stroke, oh no! That would be considered well below par. We are looking at full on front crawl with the occasional individual embarking on fly! The water is boiling with activity, it's as if the pool were alive with Piranha fish. I steal myself to enter at the recreational swimming lane, the lanes are numbered with the two centre lanes for fast swimming getting slower the further from the centre you get, I find myself looking at lane eight and wishing there was a nine.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Manly Beach

Today we took a ferry trip across Sydney Harbour to Manly beach. A fantastic stretch of beach with great waves coming in from the South Pacific. We had a dip and surprisingly it was not too cold then some sun bathing to dry off. After an arduous afternoon on the beach we walked back into the town for some refreshment and food before catching the ferry back to Sydney central. A fantastic view of the opera house and bridge were to be had on the way back, unfortunately because the sun was low in the sky I could not get a good photo. We will just have to go back another day :-)

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Early Morning Jog

This fine Sunday morning we decided to get up and go to the park for a jog. Well I was jogging, the Memsahib was riding a bike. Sydney must have the largest population of fitness fanatics I have ever seen, it is the polar opposite of Ayr; Glasgow even. We were in the park for 8am and we felt like we had already missed the bus, it was packed with runners and joggers of all ages. There were old runners, the young beautiful effortless runners and even mums and dads with buggies (one of whom overtook me at one point). I can honestly say I have never run in such heat, but what a beautiful day and a fantastic park. The park itself is called Centennial park and has separate roadways for cars, cycles and rollerblades, joggers and horses. It was incredible to see so many people out exercising or just out with the dog in one place.

The Huntsman

I have just found out today from the owner of the apartment we are staying in that a couple of Huntsman spiders live in the patio garden and come out at night to bugs. Check out the Huntsman on YouTube. Needless to say I will not be poking around in any nooks or crevices during the day, and I almost certainly will not be venturing into the garden after dark :-s

Struggling to relax

It's hard sometimes to just let go, cast off all of the stress and baggage we all carry around with us and relax. I think the Memsahib might just have pulled it off :-)

Friday, 23 November 2012


Well here we are in Australia, a place I never thought that I would ever visit, but visit we have. The reason for the visit halfway around the world is to see no.2 son who is still on his travels/gap year. We arrived Tuesday 20th and spent a couple of days getting the lay of the land. During this time we settled in to our apartment and moved our son in with us. He had decided it would be a good opportunity to save a few dollars rent and food money. I dare say the Memsahib is over the moon with the situation. Any road up, we had a cycle around Sydney one day and took a walk from Bondi to Coogee along the cliff tops another. Today we took a trip out to the Blue Mountains and had a fantastic walk through some Australian bush. The views were spectacular and the weather nigh on perfect for a walk.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Second attempt

Here is the second attempt at a poppy using a cotton yarn and a 2.5mm hook. It's definitely more compact than the first one and only took me an hour to make :-)

Crochet Poppy

Here is my first (complete) attempt at a crochet poppy. What with the time of year and all that I was looking for something a little more special and substantial than the usual fare. I found a free pattern on the web and ... Voila, a poppy. It's a little on the big side (nice play on words) because I used a 3mm hook with double knit yarn, my next attempt will be with cotton on a 2.5mm hook, we shall see how it turns out. If they are good enough I aim to sell them to some unsuspecting souls and give the money to the poppy appeal. Beats buying one of those paper jobs :D

Monday, 29 October 2012

Autumn mist

Today was a mix of brightness in the sky and fog down in the dips. It was a crisp morning and the sun was doing its best to burn off the fog, however it was lingering which made for a wonderful vista whilst out walking the dog.