Tag Archives: Sydney

Weekend Coffee Share… Gunners’ Barracks and Balmoral Beach, Sydney.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

This week, you’ve hit the jackpot. You’ll be joining me for a Sparkling High Tea at the Gunner’s Barracks at George’s Head near Mosman overlooking the magnificent Sydney Harbour. We’re here to celebrate my friend Jody’s 50th Birthday and I’m sure she won’t mind having all of you along…the more the merrier, especially a virtual crowd. You can all eat as much as you like and sip on that never-ending glass of champagne without any repercussions. You also won’t get in trouble if you accidentally on purpose eat someone else’s allocation of that exquisite but ever so tiny sliver of chocolate cake indulgence. I totally understand the temptation. Enough is never enough when it comes to anything to do with chocolate.  I had to be very restrained.

Naturally, being a high tea extravaganza, we had a selection of exotic teas to choose from. I chose a black tea called Red Roses, which is described as: “A blend of the finest China tea with rose petals and the delicate aroma of the rose; flowery, mild and light”. It arrived in a classic silver tea pot. I was also very tempted to try the Irish Whiskey Cream with “the extravagant flavour of Irish whisky with a hint of cocoa blended with an intensely malty Assam Tea. Served with hot milk.” I guess that gives me a good incentive to go back (as if I needed one!!)

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I should’ve photographed this before we’d consumed all those tasty morsels, but I’m sure you get the drift. 

 

However, although the dainty morsels were delicately scrumptious and I did develop more than a casual attraction to a teeny chocolate dessert, the absolutely breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour, historic architecture and unique history, placed Gunners’ Barracks in a league all of its own.

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The view across to Macquarie Lighthouse, Vaucluse from the Barracks’ Gunnery. 

While I should apologize in advance for my non-existent sense of direction in advance, I’ll have a go at showing you around. As I mentioned before, Gunners’ Barracks is located at George’s Head on the North-Eastern side of Sydney Harbour closer to the Heads and those two omnipresent icons of Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, are conspicuously absent. However, you can see the historic Macquarie Lighthouse at Vaucluse poking its head over the hill. You can also see Watson’s Bay and Camp Cove, where my Mum used to take me swimming when I was a toddler.

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Please don’t ask me where my camera was pointing, although if you could tell me where this is, I’d be mighty grateful. I’ve scoured maps and images online but it’s beyond me. 

 

 

 

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My beautiful new shoes. I might even be elegant. Fancy that!

There’s another view I wanted to share with you. That’s the view of my new shoes. Indeed, I was so over-the-moon about my new shoes, that I even captured them in all their glory at the Gunners Battery. They’re beautiful with pointed enclosed toes, shiny patent leather and a small heel. Miracle of miracles, they not only looked amazing, I could even walk in them. That might be something you take for granted, but with my disability issues, it’s more of a case of wishful thinking. Dream on! I was also stoked to find a pair of strappy shoes with an enclosed toe. After all, those distant appendages at the end of my feet are meant to be concealed.

Balmoral rubber ducky

After the party, I drove over the hill  to Balmoral Beach. It’s funny how somebody who balks at walking along our local beach only metres away, goes out of her way to visit a different beach. However, I appreciate that just because you’ve been to one beach, you haven’t seen them all. Balmoral Beach is also known as one of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches and has some photogenic heritage architecture to attract my interest. I’ve made no secret of my passion for photography and how I’m sure I see so much better through the camera lens. Indeed, thanks to a combination of short and long sightedness, at times it feels like I can’t see anything clearly at all.

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Southern end of Balmoral Beach. Balmoral Beach is lined with massive fig trees, which create a park environment by the sea.

Right now, I’ll just post a couple of photos, but I’ll take you for a walk along Balmoral Beach later in the week. As I’m sure you’ll appreciate, when you’ve been busy in the real world, it’s hard to keep up on the blog.

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Balmoral Beach, Sydney

How has your week been? What have you been up to? Have you been to high tea before? Was it your scene or do you prefer something else? I’d love to hear from you. 

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 Bathers’ Pavilion, Balmoral. 

This has been another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by  Eclectic Ali. We’d love you to pop round and join us.

Best wishes,

Rowena

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Retracing the Footsteps of Our Cycling Champion.

On Thursday, I caught the train to Marrickville in Sydney’s Inner West to retrace the footsteps (or should I say wheels tracks) of world cycling champion Cecil Walker, who was my grandfather-in-law’s first cousin. Although I’ve read countless newspaper articles about his career, I also wanted to walk the streets where he walked and cycled to get a sense of the man in his own environment when he was still a fish in his own pond before he leaped into the  big pond of American cycling at the Newark Velodrome.

While reading about his wins was exciting, I’m much more interested in finding out about his early, formative years and what it took to reach the top. How did he do it? Was it just hard work or was he superhuman in some way? I was curious, and this is the sort of insight which could be very helpful to our kids. After all, it’s one thing for a random stranger to be your hero. It’s quite another when someone inspirational shares at least some of your DNA. I thought it could be a mighty encouragement.

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Herbert William Brooker, Geoff’s Grandfather with his bike in Tasmania. He seems to look quite a lot like like his cousin, Cecil Walker. 

This is the Cecil Walker I particularly wanted to share with my teenage kids, so they understand that success doesn’t arrive on a silver platter. That it takes hours and hours of grueling hard work, talent, strategy, a solid dose of rat cunning and the X factor to boot whatever that might be. That’s not to overwhelm and discourage them, but its easy for kids to look at adults and not realize what it took to get there. They might not become world champion cyclists but hopefully they won’t end up face down in the mud unable to face another defeat either (Me too!!).

William Joseph Cecil Walker was born in 1898 in Marrickville to parents Catherine O’Maley and Joseph Elezer Walker. His father had a grocery store on the corner of Victoria and Sydenham Roads, Marrickville. Cecil was working in his father’s store and went from making deliveries on his bike to joining the the Marrickville Cycling Club. After a shaky start, success followed success and while he was expected to compete in the 1920 Paris Olympics, he turned professional and left for USA in 1920.

Cecil Walker Maddison Square Gardens

In an interview in 1939, he reflected:

“WHILE I was as keen as a new razor to get a break in the bike racing game in America, I must confess that the main reason for my deciding on a trip to the land of skyscrapers was to escape becoming a “hand” in my dad’s grocery store at Marrickville, Sydney. It was a big gamble. With such mighty Aussies as Alf Goullet, Reg McNamara, Alf Grenda and Frank Corry already holding high places in America, and a brilliant collection of home and European anklers on hand to meet the demands of the cycling fans there, the market of peddling wares seemed very much glutted. However, I figured that if I was eventually to go back to go back to weighing up sugar and butter I would have the satisfaction of knowing that at least I made a valiant attempt to escape such a fate.1.”

Marrickville Station

By the time the train pulled into Marrickville Station, it was early afternoon. As you may be aware, I love going on random walking tours with my camera where I aim for a general direction and follow the lens where it leads. Today, I was aiming to find the location of the grocery store, even though it’s been knocked down. However, I wanted to walk around the block and when I checked out the map, I noticed there was a park across the road. I also wanted to walk along the Cook’s River. Lastly, I’d left a message for a school friend hoping we could shift our friendship out of Facebook and back into the real world. So, even though my trip was rather unstructured, surely something would pan out!!

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More wisdom on the walls of Marrickville than from the mouths of our politicians.

However, as I exited Marrickville Station, the street didn’t look right. I’ve driven through Marrickville before and I’d expected a busy road with loads of multicultural eateries. This wasn’t it. I figured that if I went left I’d end up at the river and if I went right, I’d find the grocery store. However, I didn’t factor in my inimitable capacity for getting lost. Well, not exactly being lost, but not being where I intended to be either. Indeed, I’d got right off the grid.

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These gorgeous pooches from Australia Street Stained Glass eventually posed for the camera.

So, as much as walking around on foot is the best way to explore a place, I was mighty grateful when my friend responded and rescued me from my misguided wanderings in her 4WD. Then, as we’re heading for a cafe, I finally see a familiar site. It’s spot where the grocery store once stood. I recognized it from Google Earth. 

Above: The Henson, Marrickville.

After we stopped off at a cafe for a late lunch, we picked up my friend’s dog and headed off to Beaman Park, which runs alongside the Cook’s River and is actually in the adjacent suburb of Earlwood.

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By this stage, I had no idea where I was. You know how it is when you’re sitting in the passenger seat nodding your head. However, my friend was doing a superb job of taking care of Paddington Bear and showing me around pointing out how these seemingly disparate bits of Marrickville fitted together.

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That was how I found myself deposited at Sydenham Station to make my way home. By this stage it was dark and a large, all but full moon was rising above the tracks and into the night sky.

It had been a wonderful day, even if it went to prove one of my favourite quotes:

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” 

John Lennon & Allen Saunders 

Best wishes,

Rowena

Sources

  1. Sporting Globe (Melbourne, Vic. : 1922 – 1954), Saturday 21 January 1939, page 8

Weekend Coffee Share…3rd March, 2019.

Rowena in art galleryWelcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

This week, I thought we’d backpedal a little and have coffee at the Pavilion Kiosk in Sydney’s Domain, across the road from the Art Gallery of NSW. I’ve chosen a table a bit out the back, which is under the shade of a Morton Bay Fig tree and for that rustic touch, we’re perching on leaf litter. Hard to believe this place is only a stone’s throw from the busy CBD.

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Brett Whiteley: Self-Portrait in the Studio at 36

I’ve brought you here, because I was here on Friday as I headed into the Art Gallery to see the Masters of Modern Art from  St Petersberg’s Hermitage Museum. I also wanted to squeeze in Brett Whiteley’s Exhibition:  Drawing Is Everything. Fortunately for you, I have my camera with me. So, as a whirled through these exhibitions like a cyclone, I committed what I could to “memory” and also bought the catalogue.

 

However, if you love and appreciate architecture, you might just want to rewind a little further and do a bit of a tour with me from St James’s Station on the edge of Hyde Park across the road to St James Banco Court and St James Church and then across the road to the Hyde Park Barracks, The Mint and Sydney Hospital.

I must admit that I was interested to note the statues of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on opposite sides of Macquarie Street. They reminded me of John Keat’s: Ode to A Grecian Urn where the lovers are destined to spend eternity apart. I felt like giving Queen Victoria a bit of a shove across the road to be with Albert but then I saw what looked like a magic wand in her hand, which looked rather sinister and I decided to leave her alone. If she wants to be with Albert, she’ll have to find her own way there.

These buildings along Macquarie Street are among the very oldest public buildings in Australia and are well revered and loved. However, although I’ve admired them walking past, I had not been inside The Mint or Sydney Hospital and was gobsmacked by their stunning interiors with all their ornate design features. Naturally, they don’t make buildings like they used to and I love the high, lofty ceilings, incredible staircases and detailed touches like pressed tin and plaster ceilings etc. I could quite easily call one of these places “home”, even though you’d need an army to keep them clean.

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The other thing I’d like to share with you about my trip to the Art Gallery, is that I ran into an old uni friend I haven’t seen for over 20-25 years. I was absolutely stoked, because I’ve lost track of quite a few really close friends from uni and most of them haven’t gone onto Facebook and I haven’t been able to track them down. While many people have come and gone throughout my life, there’s something special about my school and uni friends which is different to the rest. I also feel they know the person I’d describe as the “real me” a lot better, as I feel that this person is often swamped by responsibilities and chronic health issues and can be in absentia. My friend and I had a coffee together at the art gallery cafe and went through the exhibition together. It felt so good to see her. Moreover, after all my walking around, I was getting quite tired and just like she used to do, she took me under her wing. I do have a bit of a Paddington “Please take care of this bear” aura about me.

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Above: Brett Whiteley: Head Studies 1971

It was good to get away, even just for the day, as I’ve been trying to get the house sorted. I have started out in the kitchen with what I’ve called: “The kitchen Revolution”. However,  my plans backfired. I might be wrong here, but it seems like order requires space. So, when you decompress everything in your cupboard and create space for what you put back, its a very clear case of: “Houston, we have a problem”. Just like many a backyard mechanic has found left over bit reassembling an engine, I have stacks and stacks of left over “crap” after I’ve removed the “really crappy crap”. While many might advise me to consult Marie Kondo on how to resolve my dilemma, I’m staying well away. Rather, I’m  secretly hoping that someone will accidentally knock the piles of leftover plates, bowls and what not, off the bench so I don’t have to make any more decisions. Yet, even then, I’d still need to find space in the bin. So, my troubles still wouldn’t be over. Indeed, it almost makes me wonder whether it would’ve been better to have left “well enough alone”.

As if I hadn’t done enough damage, I also made the mistake of buying two hibiscus plants at our local Bunnings Hardware store to add a splash of colour and Hawaiian delight to our decrepit front yard. However, given how many plants I’ve murdered, Geoff insisted that I plant them straight away. This meant that the kids and I were out under floodlights ripping out the long grass the mower had missed by the handful, while our resident orb spider was rebuilding its expansive network of web on the left of our letterbox and our daughter was trying to keep out. Not one to even do spontaneous gardening by halves, I trudged out to the worm farm and carried through buckets of squishy compost and a gazillion worms to give the hibiscus a fighting chance. This, of course, reminds me that it’s now Monday and I haven’t watered them since. Somehow, I’ve become a very bad and neglectful plant parent!

This coming week is going to be quite busy. Our son turns 15 on Friday and will be getting baptised on Sunday at Church. I’m quite stoked that our teenage son is choosing to get baptised rather than all the other things he could be getting up to. I take nothing for granted and parenting is a bit like going to the beach where “you never turn your back on the sea”. Yet, just as easily as one can be shocked, you can  also be pleasantly surprised. Not that his decision is a big surprise. He’s had his own faith for a long time and goes to youth every Friday night. This is something that I’ve felt has been between him and God and not just something thrust on him from Mum and Dad. I’ve decided to keep the celebrations fairly simple, because otherwise, I’ll get overwhelmed and fall in a screaming heap.

Well, after spending a lot of time turning around and editing photos, I’d better head back to the kitchen and see if I can knock off another pile. Oh yes…and water the plants on the way!

Hope you’ve had a great week.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Eclectic Ali.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

Central Station, Sydney…Thursday Doors.

Welcome to Another Thursday Doors.

Well, my apologies to those of you who are well aware that it’s now longer Thursday and that calling this post “Thursday” Doors is a bit of a lie. Indeed, if I don’t hurry up, it’s going to turn into a double-lie because we’re about to hit Saturday here in Sydney, Australia.

However, I had a trip planned for the Art Gallery of NSW today. So, I thought I’d wait and see what I stumbled across. I’d also planned a doorscursion to historic Sydney Hospital, which I pulled off along with numerous diversions which will be appearing over the coming weeks. This time, I’ve decided not to share all my doors at once, and to keep something for later. I know that sounds remarkably restrained for an enthusiast like myself. However, I was a bit concerned this week that I’d run out. I don’t know if any of you have ever resorted for a “quickie” and just photographed any old door nearby just to have something to post. However, I don’t want to get to that point. In a world jam-packed full of doors, my well should never be allowed to run dry!!

While you might think that by going to a train station we’d be photographing trains,  since this post is for Thursday Doors, we’ll photographing doors instead. Unfortunately, they’re not the most exciting doors. Indeed, they barely rate compared to most of the doors I photographed later on. However, unlike some of the other door sequences I took today, my photos of Central Railway tell a quick story. Or, in Aussie parlance, they’re “a quickie”.

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However, before we get to the doors, I spotted a colourful rainbow arch in the foyer . I love rainbows and truly revel in rainbow colours. Well, at least I would if our society wasn’t so conservative and so ashamed of colour. Of course, the fact that I might wear all my colours at once if left to my own devices, has nothing to do with it. Anyway, the rainbow arch is in honour of the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and the parade will be held tomorrow night. I have to admit I love rainbows just for themselves, without any other meanings added on or being appropriated by any particular group. Rainbows are like butterflies, birds and the colour pink and shouldn’t belong to anyone.

Anyway, I still haven’t actually found any doors. So, I’d better get a wriggle on, especially as I was actually on my way to the Art Gallery of NSW.

So here goes:

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Here’s a close up of the handles, which I’m thinking were originally brass-plated and the brass has worn off over the years.

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In addition to this historic door, I also found a filled-in door. I must’ve been getting desperate by the point. I was only passing through Central and only popped through the turnstile to powder my nose.

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The next one isn’t strictly a door and is more of a doorway, but that’s close enough as far as I’m concerned.

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And there’s one last door…

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I’m sure there must be many more photogenic doors at Central Station. I just haven’t found them yet.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit to our place. This has been another contribution to Thursday Doors hosted by Norm 2.0. Why don’t you come and join us and share a few of your favourite doors. It’s a lot of fun and helps you see parts of the world you’ll never get to visit.

Best wishes

Rowena

Footprints Running Through Sand…

This photo was taken about five years ago at Sydney’s Whale Beach just around sunset when the sky (and of particular interest to me, the clouds) were reflected on the thin film of water on the beach. I was struck at the time, by my young daughter’s relentless energy  and that love small children have of running. Just running. It’s magic to watch…especially when you’re not trying to keep up and in this instance where she’s seemingly running through wonderland… running through the clouds.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Weekend Coffee Share…31st December, 2018.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

It’s already New Year’s Eve here in Sydney and I’m briefly putting my feet up after leaving the pizza dough to rise and making Chocolate Mouse and Pavlova for dessert. We don’t go out on NYE. It’s not easy to venture into Sydney city for us to view the fireworks in person due to my mobility restrictions, and it’s not the safest time to head into the city either. Moreover, we also have the added complication that at least one of our dogs, Lady, is terrified of fireworks and breaks into a sweat when local fireworks get set off illegally. No doubt, that also happens where you live as well, and you’re also aware of how many pets go missing as a result.

Couple Ocean Beach best

I’m struggling to remember what happened during the last week and I had to confirm with Geoff that today is actually Monday. That’s a common phenomenon in between Christmas and New Year However, I should’ve remembered that there was a minor event called Christmas. How could I forget? Well, I’ll blame the heatwave for that.

We had a family dinner at home on Christmas Eve and headed out to Church for carols intermingled with the traditional Christmas tree manger reenactment.

We spent Christmas Day at my aunt and uncle’s place where we met up with my parents and the extended family. These Christmases fuse tradition and change. Much to my concern, there’s an increasing Melbourne contingent and missing persons from the celebrations. If you’re not aware of the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne, it’s not quite as intense as it used to be but to have family exodus to Melbourne of all places, is a concern. Need to stem the tide. The highlight for me of this Christmas celebration was taking part in a jam session with my cousins with two on guitar, another on cello while I played my violin. It was a very interesting experience because my cousin was playing chords in a blue grass style and I was trying to listen deep into the music and pick out what became something like a song line to play on my violin and my violin actually sounded like a harmonica which surprised me. I usually play classics on my violin of the likes of Bach so playing blue grass ad lib was quite a change and I was very proud of myself for stepping so far out of my comfort zone and doing so well. Our son also joined in with the jam on guitar and also took over my violin plucking the Peter Gunn.Monopoly Go to Jail

We received this local fundraiser Monopoly for Christmas from my parents. Playing Monopoly is a good this time of year. I ended up in jail a few times.

After Christmas, we’ve been catching up with friends and we’ve also braved the post-Christmas sales. Not unsurprisingly, I found my way into yet another book shop.  where I bought Cicero’s: How To Be A Friend which was written in 44BC in Latin. I’m almost halfway through and highly recommend it. I also bought Oliver Sacks’: The River of Consciousness. In case you’re not aware, Dr Oliver Sacks is a neurologist who has written quite a few books including: The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. Have you stuck your nose in any great books lately?

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The weather around here has been fairly intense lately. After having three or four storms the week before Christmas including blackouts and hail, we’ve been caught in a heatwave, which has largely forced us underground. Indeed, we’ve been hibernating at home although I did venture to the beach two days ago for a photographic walk. That was a lot of fun, and despite initially thinking I wasn’t going to find much, the light was particularly good the clouds seemed to dance in the setting sun especially for the camera. I was also quite fascinated by the watermarks in the sand. All those wiggly lines of sand along the beach which resemble secret messages.

Well, it’s now 10.00pm  and after watching the 9.00PM fireworks, we’re listening to the NYE entertainment and Ross Wilson has just finished singing Can’t Get No Satisfaction and has moved onto his own hit Eagle Rock. This music is a good distraction from the choking smoke leaking in from the kitchen. Somehow, the hot plate which I swear I didn’t use tonight, ended up on high and the left over pizza has apparently been incinerated and it’s not safe for me to enter the kitchen. Indeed, even the rest of the family is covering their mouths going in there. Hoping the air is going to clear soon so we could put together our NYE dessert  of pavlova, chocolate mouse, fruit and cream. I was even thinking of chopping up some Tim Tams and sprinkling them over the top for a bit of added chocolate crunch.

Have you set any New Year’s resolutions? I’m still working on mine and as you can see by the dessert we’re having tonight, that my sins are continuing to mount.

I’ll be back in the New Year to share a snapshot of the Sydney Fireworks.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Eclectic Ali.

Best wishes,

Rowena