Tag Archives: Pittwater

Catching the Palm Beach Ferry – the Perfect Antedote for a Rough Week.

Last week might not have been the worst of times but it certainly wasn’t the best of times either.

No matter how medical tests pan out, they still put you through an emotional and organisational wringer. Moreover, I won’t even mention what we all could have accomplished if we hadn’t spent an eternity on hold… waiting. That just adds stress on top of stress because you can’t help thinking about what else you could be doing if you weren’t still waiting. After all, didn’t you know? Life’s a beach!

So far the test results are encouraging but we are waiting for the final results. Make that still waiting!!

Anyway, whenever you are going through a trial, you have to do the whole ying and yang thing and somehow balance up the good and the bad. You need to look after your mental health as much as your physical health…even when someone you love is seriously ill.

Ettalong Beach

Ettalong Beach

So after a rough week, we needed a great weekend. The kids were already been booked into scout and cub camps and were looking forward to extreme fun as well as pushing their physical limits.Geoff and I were off to Palm Beach together until fate intervened. Miss needed a taxi and so Geoff stayed home. I did reconsider Palm Beach but I really needed a break and we all know what the home front’s like. It’s a constant battle against an insatiable, demanding beast which is constantly sucking you dry. So as much as I hate to admit it, I took off on the Palm Beach Ferry looking forward to drifting off into a blissful state of suspended animation in Palm Beach and I wasn’t looking back.

Ettalong Wharf looking towards Booker Bay

Ettalong Wharf looking towards Booker Bay

Meanwhile, on the way to the ferry, Geoff’s short straw was cut even shorter when his mobile rang and he was off to work for a few hours. What have I mentioned about Mrs Murphy’s Law?

So there I was at Ettalong Wharf about to set off on my own private adventure, which, as it turned, it wasn’t going to be all rest and recuperation, after all.

What I love about traveling or going out solo is that you can meet an amazing cast of characters you’d never meet otherwise. When you’re with the family or group, while it’s fabulous to enjoy each others’ company and do things together, you also become insular. Immersed on your own private island. But Rowie was out of her chrysalis and my wings were just about dry. This repressed social butterfly was about to take off!!

Boarding the ferry.

Boarding the ferry.

Before even boarding the ferry, I met a wonderful group of 20 somethings who made me their  Paddington Bear.  I didn’t even need to lure them with marmalade. You see, with my broken foot back in the boot again and staggering along with my walking stick and my bag, I didn’t even need a sign saying: “Please take care of this bear”. It was pretty obvious I could use a hand. My new-found friends chivalrously carried my suitcase onto the ferry and even invited me to sit with them in the crew section, among the privileged few, which I might add, did not include the buck’s party wandering around the ferry wearing green aprons. Suddenly, I was part of a mobile party and it was such FUN!!!! Surrounded by a kaleidoscope of outfits, fake and real tans and short skirts. Actually, make that short short or some instances, even short short short. It was time to  Party!!!!

Traveling in style with my absolutely fabulous ferry friend, Emma. Happy Birthday!

Traveling in style with my absolutely fabulous ferry friend, Emma. Happy Birthday!

Fun and compassion…such a wonderful mix.When you’re having a bit of a rough trot, you don’t want all doom, gloom or even too much sympathy. There’s no better therapy than a laugh and experiencing an unexpected, spontaneous act of human kindness and the hand of friendship, especially from strangers from the distant galaxy of youth. It was just what the doctor ordered!

After all, don’t you sometimes get sick of being a grown up and I didn’t realise the Palm Beach Ferry could also be a time-machine.

Heaven!

Heaven!

But my new found friends, weren’t just about partying, looking good and having fun. They were such caring, compassionate and thoughtful people who really touched my heart. They had time for me. Included me.They even carried my bag to the bus stop, which also involved a lot of trust on my part as well. That’s gives an insight into the bond we’d forged on a very short ferry ride. I know this meeting wasn’t a random thing. That it was destiny. Meant to be. Serendipity.

At this point, we parted ways as I waited for the bus but the party continued. Another gaggle of twenty somethings were spilling over the footpath and onto the road. Putting my “mum hat” back on again, I felt like shepherding them off the road and back onto the footpath, although I said nothing. I don’t think you needed any testing apparatus to know they’d had more than a few drinks and I could sense the Palm Beach locals would be eying off this unruly mob thinking “@#$% Coasties!!” However, at least these characters knew how to have a good time and as long as they stayed off the road, they weren’t hurting anyone.They were all heading off to Newport Arms, which is abut a 15 minute bus ride from Palm Beach. The Newport Arms is one of Sydney’s most popular hotels or pubs and is quite legendary.

A disapproving Mrs Mangel from the hit drama series, Neighbours.

A disapproving Mrs Mangel from the hit drama series, Neighbours.

The bus pulled up and I sat opposite an elderly lady who was already sporting a few frowns and other disparaging expressions. If you ever used to watch Neighbours going way back to the beginning, there was Mrs Mangel and this woman was a white-haired impersonation a she sat in her seat so stiff and almost frozen,  The party revelers, including the bucks party, also clamber on board. By now, they were under the weather, rowdy and rambunctious. No sooner than the bus starts moving and the bucks start belting out iconic Cold Chisel songs, providing live, on bus entertainment. I loved it. Soaked up every minute of it. Great memories.

Cold Chisel: Cheap Wine & A Three Day Growth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFKxbr4_-Vc

Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQl8_u-JKew

However, to say “Mrs Mangel” was looking “Uncomfortable” would be such an understatement. Evidently, she found the echoing sounds of fun and jovial happiness. as torturous as fingernails scratching down a chalk board. I could sense the pain in every cell in her body. It was etched across her face and she’s so incredibly uncomfortable. She yearned to get out of here. Get those louts off the bus so she could return to civilisation. She was really suffering in serious pain and looking across to me for some kind of understanding or even salvation. I haven’t made it to the hairdresser for awhile so the grey is showing but being more mature doesn’t make me a wowser. That said, I shouldn’t judge. I often struggle with loud noises myself but juxtaposed against everyone else on the bus, who were squeezing the fun out of life, it really looked like she’d swallowed a bag of sour lemons.

This reminded me of something an elderly friend once told me. She said that her husband had “decided to get old”. At the time, that struck me as odd. After all, he was in his late 80s and a returned serviceman, At that grand age, he was old. However, I am coming to realise that there is a difference between getting old and feeling old. Feeling old is a choice.My grandmother said much the same thing. That she’d look in the mirror and she didn’t know the old woman staring back at her. Quite remarkable really. At least, I used to think so until I started looking in the mirror and started seeing glimpses of photos I’d seen of my great grandmother looking back at me when I still feel 25 on the inside and I suspect I will feel forever young: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQi8wEHMm5Y

I was barely on the bus and I was off, leaving the party behind as I headed for a weekend of silence, solitude and serenity alone at Palm Beach. Almost immediately, despite the animated screams from the kids playing in the pool next door (this time it was my turn to feel somewhat tortured), I fell into a deep, comatose sleep and began to dream.

Sunset, Pittwater, Palm Beach.

Sunset, Pittwater, Palm Beach.

When I finally woke up and the sun had all but set, I realised that the screaming had finally stopped. I’m not talking about the kids screaming in the pool but the screaming in my heart and in my head. I had only been vaguely conscious of the scream before but now that it had stopped, I could hear it so clearly and feel its pain. Yes, I’ve been screaming, silently, unconsciously screaming for some time but it was only now that it had stopped that I could ironically hear myself. The touch of human kindness on the ferry had released me. Set me free. Probably not forever, it was only intermission but it brought relief.

Now, I could feel myself slowly starting to stretch back into my full height, gaining strength and being able to stretch my wings enough to fly, instead of being curled up into a self-protective ball so I could just survive.

It was then I remembered a childhood song, which Google (my not so secret best friend) reminded me came from Romper Room: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIRu8-5Nyek

Bend and stretch

reach for the sky

There goes Jupiter,

There goes Mars

Stand on tippy toes

Oh so high!”

I would love to hear how the love and compassion of a stranger has touched you. Please share!

Love & Blessings,

Rowena

A wet and misty day in paradise.

A wet and misty day in paradise.

 

Looking very much like a scene from a Northern winter, it's summer in Sydney...not quite your postcard perspective!!

Looking very much like a scene from a Northern winter, it’s summer in Sydney…not quite your postcard perspective!!

Happy Australia Day 2015! It’s overcast, wet and even the cricket has been delayed.

Just in case you didn’t check out yesterday’s post, this was yesterday:

Mister still roasting as a very hot Australian sun sets.

Mister still roasting as a very hot Australian sun sets.

 

People often tell you that tomorrow is another day and most of the time I’ve politely nodded while feeling highly sceptical, cynical and plain unconvinced. How could my entire world change completely overnight like waving a magic wand? Surely, there would just be more and more of the same and one day surely follows another. Why would it change?

Well, overnight, we have seen an absolute change in the weather here in Sydney. Yesterday, there was blue sky and the sun was blazing overhead like an oven. I’ve always meant to actually test whether you can actually fry an egg out on the raod on days like that but eggs are rather messy and I always seem to forget. I’m sure someone somewhere has tried and can tell me if it works but that would somehow spoil the magic.

While our last day in paradise has been spent indoors, I was watching a few yachts sail past and even a couple of what I could only call zealous kayakers paddle by and then I realised that they were out there carpe diem seiziing the day despite the rain. I didn’t know whether that was a good thing or just blind obsession but as much as I love going out in the kayak, I don’t like that sensation of having wet raindrops patter again your skin. It’s sort of creepy…as in scraping fingertails down a chalkboard kind of creepy. No, I’ll stay inside.

That said, I am considering a swim in the pool. It was so balmy warm last night. You see, it has solar heating and we haven’t adjusted the settings so it was like swimming in a balmy soup. Yes, it’s going to need a good dose of something when we leave. Unfortunately, at those temperatures it’s going to become amoeba soup.

We will be heading back home tonight. Tomorrow, will be our last day of school holidays where we will be quickly trying to adjust our body clocks to the inevitable early mornings and trying to get all our ducks lined up for the real new year.

At least, I’ve made a list.

Sadly, something tells me that we’ll be relieved just to pull up at school on time with hair done, shoes on and something in the lunchbox. We are still struggling to implement our scouting motto: “Be Prepared”!!

By the way, I still have the boot on my broken foot as we start the new school year and the operatic cough is starting to look like I’ve had whooping cough. While this might excuse me from being wondrously organised for the start of the new school year, that isn’t going to help the kids get a good start or perhaps aiming well beyond our station…actually, get ahead.

Wish us luck!! We really, really need it!!

xx Rowena

Are you sure we didn't miss the turn off?

Are you sure we didn’t miss the turn off?

The dogs love being able to run around at low tide when we go to Pittwater, Palm Beach. the rippled sand is pocked with soldier crab holes and as the sun sets, the place is quite a moonscape.

Bilbo (right) is striding straight ahead and while I was flicking through possible Rumi quotes, my husband suggested:

“Are you sure we didn’t miss the turn off?

I shouldn’t laugh.

My husband and I have had many explosive moments with me in the navigator’s seat. I don’t know why I always end up navigating because I get lost in the shower and even struggle to follow a map when I turn it the right way up (OK folks…I mean “upside down”.)

I know we probably should invest in one of those GPS thingies for the sake of our marriage but after experiencing the possibilities of neuroplasticity personally, I had hoped that with a bit of practice, that I’d miraculously find my way.

Moreover, I was also concerned that if I gave up, my sense of direction could even get worse. In that case, I might even need GPS to find my car parked in our own drive way.

I shouldn’t jest!!

Anyway, Bilbo looks hell bent on going straight ahead but Lady isn’t quite so sure: “Are you sure we didn’t miss the turn off? I can just see Bilbo, who is a much more introverted, serious dog grumbling back to her:

“We’re fine. I checked the map before we left. I know exactly where we are.”

Then I can see Bilbo quoting Daniel Boone:

“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks”.

As much as I love John Lennon’s quote Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans,” sometimes, you just want to reach your destination!

Do you have any navigation dramas to share?

xx Rowena

Lady is not one to let truth interfere with a good story…especially when it comes to boasting to all her mates about her wild adventures at sea. She might have only kayaked 3 metres off shore with assistance but she’s still an intrepid explorer! All it takes is a good photo. Yes, that’s right. Lady is off to explore the world. Can’t you tell?

Move over Huckleberry Hound. Lady enjoying her kayak adventures.

Move over Huckleberry Hound. Lady enjoying her kayaking adventures.

Hmm…Lady doesn’t exactly look like the intrepid sea captain here. She’s certainly rather drenched and looks a bit scraggly but she’s actually been for a swim.

Okay, so I wasn't quite going solo after all.

Okay, so I wasn’t quite going solo after all.

Lady is thoroughly enjoying the Palm Beach lifestyle and like us, will be struggling to adjust when we return to the real world.

xx Rowena

My Dog Post: Lady at Palm Beach, Sydney.

Welcome to Summer in Palm Beach, Sydney on Australia’s East Coast.

Of course, this means that if you’re visiting us from frozen lands across the globe, you’ll need to turn up the heat…a lot!! It’s incredibly hot here and we’re all fighting for a bit of shade. Indeed, a little bit of snow and ice would be most welcome over here!!

Lady...A picture of innocence.

I’m such a picture of innocence.

Let me introduce myself. I’m Lady. Perhaps, you’ve met me before on Mum’s blog. If not, you can meet me here: Introducing Lady  https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/introducing-lady-our-new-dog/

and Portrait of a Lady: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/portrait-of-a-lady/

Perhaps, I shouldn’t have brought these damaging posts back up. Some things are best left buried in the past and never dug up. However, the photos are good and as for the words….I assure you, it’s all lies. Mum has an overactive imagination and a real gift for hyperbole. That might be good for her writing but it hasn’t helped my reputation.

You see, after all of her tales, I’ve actually acquired something of a reputation for being:”wild”, “mischievous” and an all-round “bad dog”. I wasn’t impressed at this complete lack of respect. After all, I was just a dog being a dog….nothing more, nothing less. Now, other mums and dads pull their dogs away whenever they try to say hello. I’ve been deemed a “bad influence”.

After all of that dreadful publicity, I seriously considered suing Mum and terminating her blog. However, if there’s one thing you soon learn as a pup, it’s not to bite the hand that feeds you…especially when bacon fat, BBQ chook and juicy bones are at stake. It’s all part of a dog’s modus operandi to encourage good relations with the family cook..even if that does involve suffering a few indignities on the  world wide web.

Anyway, Mum and Dad are serious disciplinarians. So instead of clearing the road of dead rabbits, I’m on a strict diet of tennis balls. These might thrill Bilbo and turn the usually comatose  mutt into some  sort of Olympic champion, but personally I still can’t see the point. Tennis balls taste nothing like rabbit! Yuck!

So here I am writing my first post on Mum’s blog. Once again, she’s off having a nap and I’m getting up to mischief… business as usual. I thought it was about time I had my turn and shared a few thoughts of my own.

You’ll have to forgive my elementary efforts at applying my paws to this a#@*#  keyboard. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way…thank goodness for spell check. Now, even a computer-illiterate, uneducated scruffy mutt like me can connect with the world. Amazing!!

That said, I’m much more adept at leaving messages on posts of a different sort and I can assure you, that they’ve attracted quite a lot of traffic. After all, I’m a very popular dog. At least, I was before Mum spoke. Although I only attract local traffic and 62 nationalities visited Mum’s blog last year, my stats blow hers right out of the water. I mean, if you want to talk about views, visitors, likes and followers, I’m the undisputed Queen. You might think that as a Lady, I might be getting ahead of myself but I beg to disagree. I’m hot and once I clear up all of Mum’s tattletales, I’ll be back to my old form.

Unfortunately, Mum doesn’t always appreciate my popularity. She’s always in such a rush and just wants to keep walking. Raves on about me lowering her heart-rate. That it’s all my fault that she’s put on weight. She even threatens to leave me at home.

But I’m simply a dog being a dog. That’s all. I can’t help it if  I’ve had an enthusiastic response on my posts. Of course, all these messages are terribly exciting for a dog. It’s the canine equivalent to “you’ve got mail!!” Being a deeply caring sort of dog and a good communicator, I just can’t give a stock standard reply to all my messages the way humans do. Oh no! Each and every message deserves a personal response and I must admit that I get quite thirsty after all that hard work.

However, while Mum doesn’t like waiting for me, the same rules don’t apply to her. When she’s chatting, she forgets all about her heart rate and has no consideration for getting me back home in time for my morning rave at the postman. Oh no! She only stops when she’s ready to stop. If I so much as nudge on the lead, then I’m a “bad dog”. Where’s the fairness in that?I know she writes all about egalitarianism and the golden rule but does she put any of that talk into action? Not on your life. I wouldn’t believe a word of her precious philosophical theories. Besides, she gets most of her material from me and the rest of the family.She doesn’t make it up.

Soon we’ll all be seeking royalties!

Need shade. Lady and Bilbo sheltering from the boiling summer sun.

Bilbo and I sheltering from the boiling summer sun in the shade of the boat house. We’re dreaming of a kennel conversion. .

Anyway, aside from trying to rebuild my shattered reputation, I’ve also jumped online to tell you that we’re on holidays at Palm Beach for a few days. I’m told that Palm Beach is where they film the hit TV drama series, Home & Away, except we’re on the Pittwater side, which is better for sailing than surfing.

I’ve been hard at work since we arrived investigating one of life’s perplexing mysteries.

High Tide, Piitwater, Palm Beach on the way out to go sailing.

High Tide, Piitwater, Palm Beach on the way out to go sailing.

For some strange reason, the water in our backyard keeps coming and going. One minute there’s water and slowly but surely it disappears and this whole new world opens up. I’m not talking about your ordinary puddle, which might just evaporate in the sun. This is a huge body of water….so much bigger than a puddle. Nothing, could drink up all that water. Moreover, that doesn’t explain how the water comes back…even when you factor in the waterworks  Humph! I just don’t get it. Where does it all go? How does it come back? Moreover, what are those scuttling critters who tried to bite me on the nose when I dared to investigate?

DSC_5229

I was watching these critters this morning at low tide.

 

There are so many mysteries in this world for a little dog. My head hurts!

While we’re on the subject of mysteries, what happened to all the rabbits? I found one and as we all know, there’s no such thing as just one rabbit. Rabbits breed like rabbits. There has to be more but even I, the master rabbit hunter of the mighty Tenterfield Ranges,  hasn’t been able to sniff them out.

Humph! As I said, life is full of many, many mysteries!

Love & Doggies Kisses,

Lady