A Spectacular Performance -Weekend Coffee Share: November 29.

This week, you’re invited on a virtual cafe crawl as we catch the train from Woy Woy to Sydney. Have breakfast in Glebe then drive two hour’s North via the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Hunter Valley and then back down to Parramatta in Western Sydney and back home again. I assure you with this grueling schedule, you will require every single coffee and no doubt a few nature stops along the way.

The last week has been truly incredible.


Before we get onto my daughter’s performance at School Spectacular, I just wanted to touch on a bit of a shadow which hung over things last week.

You see, my daughter was concerned about being caught up in a terrorist attack while she was in Sydney. Of course, being a kid, she didn’t express her concerns so succinctly. She simply asked where she could buy herself her own armour after seeing Police with bullet-proof vests on TV. I had a chat with her about it all, advising her on a few things she could do if she was in an emergency, which I outlined in this post: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/a-conversation-no-parent-should-have/

I have to admit that even though I knew the chances of her getting caught up in a terrorist attack were very unlikely, there was that remote possibility and there’s definitely that sense that trouble’s brewing at the moment but we don’t have that crystal ball.

Anyway, off she went and on Friday morning, I caught the train down to Sydney with our son and the rest of the local kids. It was only a four carriage train and it was packed, mostly with kids. As we were about to head over the Hawkesbury River Bridge, the lady next to me turns to me and says: “The guy next to me asked me to mind his bags while he went to the toilet but he hasn’t come back and he’s been awhile. I’ve got to get off. I can’t remember what he looked like. He might have been tanned but what does a terrorist look like anyway?”

Now, let me just put you right into my shoes. Here I am on a train packed with school kids including my son, my friends’ kids, friends of friends kids and the teachers who are like family to me and suddenly I’m in charge of potentially deadly situation. I’ve heard the announcement countless times while waiting on train platforms. If you see unattended luggage, please report it to station staff. This was exactly what they were talking about. At the same time, I looked at the large bag of Christmas presents, all beautifully wrapped in Christmas paper, wondering how they could possibly blow anyone up? How could Christmas presents ever be considered dangerous, even deadly? I noticed the intercom for the guard nearby and gave him 10 minutes to return. I was hoping that he’d been eating plenty of fibre and it wasn’t going to be a legitimate (but very extended) call of nature and I’d just caused pointless stress.

This was a lot to take onboard, especially after my chat with my daughter. I certainly didn’t expect to be thrown in the dead end like this. It was all supposed to be over-active imagination and now I’d somehow become embroiled in a plot, which was way too big for this little black duck.


Illustrator Sarah Davis

Of course, the fact that I’d been to a three hour writing workshop with Australian Illustrator, Sarah Davies the day before, didn’t do much to appease my imagination. Suddenly, I’d become the reluctant hero but what if I made a mistake? It was a huge responsibility!!

Fortunately, the man returned and calm was restored. I could get back to reading my book. I was in the Quiet Carriage while the kids were in what could only be described as “the loud carriages”.

This was the second false alarm I’ve had recently. You might recall that the day before the Paris attacks, we had four Army Black Hawk helicopters flying just above the rooftops of our quiet beach-side town. They were circling around doing lap after lap after lap and while I wasn’t thinking about terrorists, having a very dangerous criminal on the loose wasn’t desirable either. But…that was also a false alarm.

However, we made it to Sydney rather uneventfully in the end and I was able to meet up with Miss before her grand performance.


Miss Spectacular

Miss Spectacular

Our daughter performed with her school choir at School Spectacular, an absolutely huge extravaganza held at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. They were part of a huge mass choir, a sea of white shirts made up of 1500 kids singing 30 songs and doing actions. They did 4 performances over two days and had a pretty intensive rehearsal schedule as well. I am surprised any of them were still upright by the end.

Finale- School Spectacular, Sydney Entertainment Centre.

Finale- School Spectacular, Sydney Entertainment Centre.

As we live in Greater Sydney and about 90 minutes away, Miss ended up staying across the road for almost a week with her friend’s grandmother. They were staying nearby 53 levels above the ground with the most incredible views of Sydney. She was so blessed and having her there made things so much easier for me with juggling transport.

Here I am enjoying the view from where Miss was staying.

Here I am enjoying the view from where Miss was staying.

While Miss was living the high life, I booked Geoff and I into the cheapest accommodation I could find which wasn’t above a pub. It wasn’t too bad but when we checked it out on Google Earth, we did notice some kind of Chinese massage parlor next door and Mum did warn me to make sure Geoff didn’t disappear during the night. The place had a pretty dodgy metal fire escape out the back and while comfortable,could well have been the sort of place a fugitive would hide out. Needless to say, there were no views from our hotel room. Indeed, I’m not even sure there was a window.

Hotel Carpark.

Hotel Carpark.

Saturday morning, we headed off to Glebe for breakfast. We had intended to have breakfast at Glebe Markets, where I used to hang out several lifetimes ago but we couldn’t find parking and after weaving out way through a series of dead end and one way streets, we found ourselves sitting at the first cafe we could find on St Johns Road and refueled with coffees, an almond croissant and omelette.

Rebel Red Shoes.

Rebel Red Shoes.

I should also point out that I was wearing really dodgy shoes and could barely walk. After breaking my foot last December, I’ve virtually spent the year in joggers but as we were going to my cousin’s wedding, I just couldn’t resist wearing my fave red shoes. They have wedge heels and being flat on the bottom, I can sort of walk in them but it’s definitely a case of “Ricketty Ro” and much of the time, I have to hold onto Geoff’s arm for dear life.

While I have nothing approaching a shoe fetish and wear sensible shoes almost all the time, sometimes I just want to step out there and feel a bit pretty, elegant, frivolous and NOT a matron or person living with  disability. Be myself. If you haven’t worked out the obvious by now. I am not a sensible person so why should I wear sensible shoes?


Driving Across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


Moving right along, we’re having our next coffee in Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley. Kurri Kurri is a coal-mining town on the gateway into the Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s most famous wine-producing regions. Like many regional towns looking to put themselves on the tourist map, the town has rebadged itself as “The Town of Murals”. Fifty murals, each with a hidden kookaburra, have been painted around town: http://www.kurrikurri.com/kurri-kurri-murals-project/

More Coffee...Kurri Kurri Tourist Information Centre.

More Coffee…Kurri Kurri Tourist Information Centre.

After over compensating for Sydney traffic congestion, we arrived at Kurri Kurri 2 hours before the wedding. Needing another caffeine hit (make that a strong one, please!) we stopped off at the Visitor’s Information Centre for great coffee and Caramel Slice before driving our town checking out the murals.

Red Bus Mural, Kurri Kurri.

Red Bus Mural, Kurri Kurri.

Next stop, was my cousin’s wedding. This was so exciting that my trigger-happy camera finger went into overdrive and I’m surprised I haven’t developed some form of RSI. The wedding and reception were beautifully intimate and included personal wishes from the groom’s grandparents, which just added a certain magic.

We drove home last night and had my uncle to stay. Made him pancakes for breakfast and must’ve totally exhausted myself as I didn’t photograph his visit at all.


Drove down to Sydney to pick up the kids and head off to the Muscular Dystrophy NSW Annual Christmas Party, which is so generously put on by the staff at the Commonwealth Bank in Parramatta. This is a real extravaganza and the kids loved playing on the slot car rack and enjoyed the arrival of Santa and their presents. I was particularly thrilled to meet up with other members…friends I’ve made at an Adventure Camp I’ve attended. This is my community.

Mister with Santa

Mister with Santa

Right now, I’m ready to hang up my red shoes. “There’s no place like home” and a deep sleep!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our coffee and I look forward to topping up the caffeine levels when I pop over your way.

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share. Here’s the linky: http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=585846

Love & Best wishes,


PS Bilbo and Lady have made an an appearance at the Weekly Pet Share November Round-up. It’s a great post! https://hopethehappyhugger.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/weekly-pet-share-november-round-up/


19 thoughts on “A Spectacular Performance -Weekend Coffee Share: November 29.

  1. Susan

    Sounded fabulously busy but fun. Put those shoes away for now and enjoy some rest.Bing in the US, I enjoyed your tour of your sites. 🙂

  2. roweeee Post author

    Corina, it was exceptionally busy and I haven’t even mentioned it all. My head’s been spinning. They don’t call this the silly season for nothing! xx Rowena

  3. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Cindy. It was incredible. I was back to sensible shoes yesterday but they were fun. I’m laughing about the train ride but I am definitely conscious that something is in the air. Hopefully, it doesn’t materialise. xx Rowena

  4. roweeee Post author

    We actually did spot her among the throng. I don’t know if you remember how she had vocal nodules a few months back? She wasn’t allowed to sing at all and has improved enough to sing all 30 songs. That was a real achievement.
    Those red shoes are fantastic an I can actually walk in them.

  5. roweeee Post author

    Deb, definitely loads of coffee. I was feeling quite whoosy along the way. My husband is completely knackered and I’ve had kids at home one yesterday and the other today catching up. I couldn’t even rouse my son yesterday and he’d spent the weekend at my parents’ place but they’re a real bunch of night owls.

  6. roweeee Post author

    I have been quite intrigued that most of my visitors are from the US and so I tend to write for that audience and hopefully explain our Australianisms. I will be writing about a few of the points from my coffee share during the week. xx Rowena

  7. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Missed coffee this week as a flying trip to Melbourne took up my time. Glad to catch up now. Glad it went well. I can imagine your concern with the suitcase being left. I think not only your daughter is worried but that you too are hyper alert.
    Red shoes look great – glad you could stay the distance.

  8. roweeee Post author

    iend of my was a hostage in the Lindt Cafe. I haven’t seen her for years but it really made me appreciate how random these things are. Where we live, I have no concerns but Sydney is another story and I still think we’ve got that mentality where it happens over there but we’re in a different world. I am hyperviglant in many ways but a duck did manage to fly into my car this morning. I only just clipped it and was in the 40 zone so it should be ok. Not so vigilant after all.

  9. Minuscule Moments

    Love those shoes Rowena so very swish. I would have been just as suspect about the parcel after living in London for two years, we were trained to notice such things. One day I saw a gentleman leave a small shoulder bag on the train in the London underground. I don’t know why but the look on his face as the doors closed told me he needed it. I got off at the next station, went back to the station he got off on and handed it to the station master. The man was waiting there very relieved he told me the bag had thousand of pounds in it as he was holidaying from Africa. So sometimes we just have to follow our gut instincts don’t we. It must have been a proud moment watching your daughters performance too. I can’t believe how busy you are I feel like a lie down after reading this post.

  10. roweeee Post author

    That’s an incredible story about that bag, Kath and your actions are typical of those acts of everyday heroism which usually fly under the radar. I was in London for a week in 1992 and was in the tube when it got evacuated. In retrospect, it felt like I was somewhere deep within the bowels of the earth and it was such a long way out.
    I was very proud of my daughter even though I couldn’t see her in the crowd. It was great watching it with her on TV and getting the inside story. I always love that sense of being the fly on the wall.
    Miss has made into the OC Class at Wyong Public and we went up there today to get her enrolled and get her uniform sorted out. I haven’t been up there alot but remembered the old milk factory and we went there for lunch. There’s a cheese shop and a chocolate factory there so I could be moving in there next year.I’ll be driving her on and off and I’ll just stay up there for the day…write, photograph, eat, explore. I’m looking forward to it. I’m not sure about two years’ worth of traveling up there but a few trips would be fun.
    This time of year gets particularly busy for us but we have big stretches of down time at other times of the year.
    Right now, I’m exhausted too!
    How are things with you going? Well I hope! xx Ro

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