Watch Your Step: Coffee in Sydney’s Surry Hills.

If ever there was a sign written for me, this was it!

Somehow, as I was walking along Devonshire Street in Sydney’s Surry Hills, these words leaped out at me. Hit me straight between the eyes.

Bang! Rowena, this message is for you!

Watch your step! Tread carefully. Don’t rush and definitely don’t trip…an excellent life lesson really.

I don’t know if you believe in serendipity, signs, fortune tellers and all of that but if you’d met me in the flesh, you’d know this sign was put there for me. Me of “broke my foot walking on grass” fame:

I also had a spectacular stack in Surry Hills last year where I thoroughly grated my knee, despite using my walking stick at the time. Not to be deterred, I didn’t jump straight back on the train but marched up a rather steep Albion Street up to Crown Street and enjoyed a wonderful lunch after buying an industrial strength stick-on dressing. That scrape was so bad, I needed antibiotics.

Nasty! Nasty! Nasty!

Devonshire Street, Surry Hills outside the Sly Cafe.

Devonshire Street, Surry Hills outside the Sly Cafe.

Moreover, I have to admit that when I stumbled across the sign, I was actually rather lost and completely off-course. Yet again, I couldn’t quite work out how this jumble of streets somehow interconnected. I had actually been heading for Albion Street and although Devonshire Street is still in Surry Hills, it’s almost in a separate universe.

So you can understand why this sign spoke to me in such a personal way…especially as I wasn’t meant to be there.

But who am I to argue with destiny and what was “meant to be”?

Or, in the words of John Lennon:

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

I know I really should be writing about the cappuccino and toastie I had there. They were great and very well priced.

However, I wasn’t in Surry Hills as a food critic…more of an explorer.

I had a medical appointment at 2.30 PM at Royal North Shore Hospital (which I must confess is nowhere near Surry Hills but at least, it is in Sydney) Applying my carpe diem seize the day approach, I like to drop the kids off at school and go off on a few detours before these appointments. Take what you could describe as “sanity breaks”. These days, that means sneaking off to Surry Hills, where my ancestors lived after arriving from Ireland back in the 1850s. I started out exploring their old nooks and crannies and now just find myself wondering around discovering quirky odds and sods and almost feeling at home.

This brings me to another discovery at the Sly Cafe, they had the most amazing light fittings cut out of old crystal glassware. This has given me a few ideas for our place. We’ve had to ditch our light covers after installing the you-beaut electricity-saving light bulbs Geoff bought. With all my vintage tea cups and “stuff”, I thought something like this would fit in extremely well at home.

Light Fittings, Sly Cafe.

Light Fittings, Sly Cafe.

What I like about Surry Hills, and this certainly applies to the Sly Cafe, is that you have an experience. While my food and drink were great, what I really loved was the ambiance. That there were so many little things to check out from the light fittings through to the recycled timber etc. It wasn’t some pre-fabricated, mass-produced excuse for somewhere to go.

There’s still more to uncover there because I understand that a sly grog shop used to operate on the premises (hence the name) and that sounds like quite a story. I love intrigue.

Anyway, here’s a link through to their Facebook page:

Plus, I’m very pleased to report that the sign must’ve brought me good luck. While all my diversions made me run a little late for my medical appointment, there were no accidents. I remained upright.

This would suggest that it wasn’t just me watching my steps. It was a case of divine intervention!

xx Rowena

5 thoughts on “Watch Your Step: Coffee in Sydney’s Surry Hills.

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster

    I wouldn’t say I usually believe in non-printed signs, but this morning I’m a little more open than usual. More on that soon-ish.

    Glad all turned out well. 🙂

  2. maxwellthedog

    I swear sometimes I think we have to wrap you up in bubble wrap to protect you from yourself! Then, of course, we could take turns popping the bubbles, one the best things a person can do. Happy to hear of your happy day!

  3. roweeee Post author

    Had a great laugh at that comment, Tom. I’m really trying to get myself revved up to get my book done and realised that I am both the protagonist and the antagonist…probably quite a common scenario! xx Rowena

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