Ocean Pools – The Start of a Quest

Ocean Pools carved into the Rock

This is where I went for a swim today. Looks impressive eh?

This is the ocean pool beside the famous Bondi beach. The pool is equally famous I guess, to those who know about these places. This place is better known as the “Icebergs” pool as it is managed by the Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club.

Ocean Pools

Ocean pools (or Rock pools) were built adjacent to many beaches in Australia. Literally carved into the rock and filled with sea water. A place for swimmers to do tranquil or sporting fast laps as an alternative to fighting the waves and dodging the surfers.

The first one ever built is oddly not associated with any beach. It is called Bogey Hole and located at Newcastle north of Sydney. It was built by convict labour back in 1819 under the orders of Lieutenant Colonel James Thomas Morisset, the Commandant of Newcastle between 1818 and 1823. He initially had it built for his own personal use. For this reason, it is also known as the Commandant’s Pool. This is probably also the reason why this first ocean pool is quite small measuring only about 10 meters by 6 metres. Whatever the reasons for its construction, Mr. Morisset started a trend that continues to this day.

Free or Pay?

The Bondi “Icebergs” pool is a full Olympic sized 50 metres in length. The downside is that it costs $9 to use. The one at Bronte beach is only 30 metres in length but is free to use. I think that will be the determining factor as to which one I use on a regular basis. There are several others nearby. Some are free and some charge an entrance fee. I shall see over the next few months which ones are free to use and which are the best. Suffice to say that there are enough of them about. In fact, there are about 100 ocean pools in New South Wales alone. Another great example of why Australia has won so many swimming medals over the years.

I intend to swim in as many as I can. But I will not be in a hurry to pay $9 every time I want an ocean pool swim. Once was enough (for now) for the Icebergs pool.

An interesting view of the Pools when empty. By Nicole Larkin

This last photograph is courtesy of Nicole Larkin. A talented, Sydney based architect, artist and designer, Nicole has painstakingly surveyed, photographed and classified many of the ocean pools in New South wales. You can see the brilliant results of this and her other exciting work here:  https://www.nicolelarkin.com/the-wild-edge

Incidentally the pool gets a clean once a week – probably when this last photograph as taken.

Home Imprisonment Looms Large

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. It’s coming…

This week the Australian government is making the decisions which will probably see Dani’s school closing two weeks early for their Easter holidays. That will mean a total of five weeks holidays! Maybe more if things do not get any better. I am not even going to mention the “c” word.

The thought of five weeks or more in total lock-down does not sound appealing does it? I believe the total lock-down will follow very soon after the announcement to close schools. If not the same time. Many companies in the Central Business District (CBD) have already told their employees to work from home. Modern day Sydneysiders will soon be reliving a similar experience to that of their predecessors. Imprisonment (albeit at home).

Meanwhile, Dani’s mum managed to buy two toilet rolls today. Individually wrapped! Not form the usual supermarkets but a local pharmacy. $1 per roll! That seems expensive but it is definitely a seller’s market eh?

What to do when imprisoned in your own home?

If this was a normal five-week holiday, then there would be loads to do with Dani. Plenty in the Sydney area to keep him occupied even if it means spending money on days out The problem is we will almost certainly not have chance to do any such things. If there is a stay at home rule introduced then it will be like Dani’s hometown, Madrid, is right now.

We had hoped to take a week or so further north during his Easter break. Maybe to a beach resort like the Gold Coast. My plan now is to get the hell out of Sydney before such a rule is made. If we can. At least try to get some time away before a nationwide lock-down starts. It is all a race against time unfortunately.

I finally received my Shane Gould autobiography. Signed by the legendary Aussie sportswoman herself. It took three and a half weeks to arrive. The Australian postal service seems to be very slow. A review of that book will follow in a future blog post. At least I have that and a few other books to read if we end up confined to the apartment.

I wonder if they will allow people to go to the beaches? Providing they keep well apart I don’t see why not. But then again….

Last Weekend

We did manage to get out and about a little last weekend. We drove up the Pacific Highway north of the city as far as Turramurra. A pleasant little suburb where we had lunch in a nice bar. Just off the main highway a little park was full of these guys.

The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is unmistakable and bloody noisy too. All white with the conspicuous yellow crest sticking up on its head. The tiny park was full of these noisy birds. Said to be one of the noisiest wildlife sounds in Australia.

I must say the bird-life in Australia is very impressive. It is a twitcher’s dream. So impressive in fact I even went to the local library to get a book on the birds of this country. Yes folks; I am becoming a bit of a bird-watcher (the feathered kind of course).

Poem – At the End of the Day, It’s All Just the Flu

Sorry. I know I said I wouldn’t write about this rubbish for a while but I couldn’t help myself. The virus is everywhere – as in all the media and everyone taking about it. They are even talking about closing Dani’s school – which I ma sure will happen in this week. So I thought I would write a poem. If you have read other posts on the virus you will already know my stance…

At the end of the day, it’s all just the flu

They told us that bird flu would wipe us all out,
Then that swine thing would kill us they’d scream and they’d shout.
Every few years they come up with something new,
But at the end of the day it’s all just the flu.

Before birds and pigs they tried to scare us with SARS,
The only way to escape it was to reach for the stars.
The pandemic never came, it only killed a few,
Cos at the end of the day it was just another flu.

They’ll give it another name, so they don’t all sound the same.
Something scientific, something far more horrific.
SARS, H1N1, Covid-19 too,
At the end of the day it’s all just the flu.

Here is a question, and I would not say it’s minor,
Why do most of these diseases originate in China?
That’s not an unfair question, it happens to be true,
But at the end of the day, it’s all just the flu.

Here is a rundown, a scare history,
SARS was way back in two thousand and three.
Two thousand and five was the year of the bird,
aka Avian or something absurd.
Then in the year two thousand and nine,
They gave us another and called that one swine.
It’s been 10 years now since they’ve frightened us anew,
So now we have another, but they are all just the flu,
But this time it’s different, as the name we all knew,
Cos it’s called Corona, which is a nice beer too.

A Cold and Wet Day in Paddington

Paddington  is a smart and fashionable area within walking distance of the centre of Sydney. The area was a slum around 1900 but then became popular with hipsters and the like during the 1960s and 1970s. Then it was the yuppies turn in the 1980s. The result is quite impressive. Between them they have turned the area into a trendy suburb with plenty of fashion shops, cafés and some great little restaurants.

Note: I would have described the area as ‘eclectic’ but that word just annoys me as much as ‘iconic’.

Houses

The hipsters and yuppies transformed the area by beautifully restoring the old Victorian-era terraced houses. The majority of houses in the area are the iron-lace veranda type. It is similar to French-colonial architecture and seems a lot like New Orleans.  Fortunately though for the Australians the British were here first. Phew! Lucky for all Aussies eh?

Pretty much the whole area is like this. It does have a kind of quaint feel to it. There is certainly still big money to be made in renovating these houses. They sell for millions and quickly.

When these houses were first built those living in them would not have had cars. Sadly, as is the case everywhere these days, it is now hard to get the best shots of these lovely terraces without all the parked cars.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof…?

No cat on any hot tin roof. Not today. It was cloudy, cool and by the time we left it rained. But many houses still feature that favoured form of roofing from back at the turn of the 20th century. Even the most recent restorations still use this form of roofing. Probably it’s part of the planning/building regulations for these properties. A roof like that must get bloody hot in the summer though, surely?

Shops etc…

In some streets many of the terraced houses are now either specialist shops, cafés or bars. There is also the popular Paddington Market held (almost) every Saturday. But not this one. Too windy! Bloody typical.

The whole area has a trendy yet relaxed feel to it. Somewhere you can relax in the restaurants, and other foodie places. Some of the restaurants are almost hidden. If you don’t know where to look you would miss them. We will definitely be back to try some of them. Despite its close proximity to the city centre it is quiet and calming. I quite like it.

Even this narrow plant shrouded street had a great café/restaurant at the end of it.

One for the kids…

There is even a dedicated post box for letters to Santa Claus. In operation 365 days per year (so they say).

Paddington Police station and Courthouse
A tribute to David Bowie outside one of the ‘hidden’ restaurants.

Adiós Coronavirus

Not exactly goodbye. Or even au revoir, auf wiedersehen or adieu. More hasta la vista really. As in; I will write something at some point but only the big news and only when (not if) it happens. There’s enough out there. The mass media hysteria is far worse than the virus itself. Although I do enjoy the stupid stories where people completely over-react. In the meantime however I intend to write more about (normal) life here in Australia.

So here are a few snippets. My way of saying a temporary farewell to the little virus. Factual, cynical or just silly…

Virus Bulletin Board

  • Dani’s home town (city) of Madrid has just been put on lock-down. They started a few days ago making people work from home and closing all schools. Dani’s cousin Susana is now doing her lessons at home. I think he is a little jealous but is not saying. Ah well Dan. Soon it will be like that here…
  • The great toilet paper panic buying mystery has now been solved. It seems for every person that coughs, another hundred shit themselves.
  • Hopefully, once this virus crap fades into the past the media can get back to some serious stuff like what Greta Funburk is talking about. I have to say that is the one thing I am truly thankful for with this virus. It really has kept Greta and her fellow climate loons out of the news. Let’s hear it for the coronavirus! Hip-hip. Hooray!
  • The reason why Italy, and in particular the industrial north, is the epicentre of the virus in Europe is now out of the bag. Not so long ago many Italian leather works were sold to the Chinese. They then flew in about 100,000 cheap workers (i.e. slaves) mainly from Wuhan to make cheap leather goods in Italy so they could label them “Made in Italy”. Well they are not so ‘cheap’ now are they?
  • Meanwhile, hospitals in Italy struggle as there are not nearly enough breathing machines. Maybe they could get some made cheaply in China? Not funny really I know. But next time you go and buy some ridiculously under-priced clothing or some cheap gadget for your house, just remember what the real priorities should be. And while you are at it ask your local MP what the hell the NHS is spending its money on. Surely in the grand scheme of things those breathing machines cannot be that expensive? Can they?
  • Australia, and Sydney in particular, is on a one-way path to lock-down. It is now inevitable. It’s more ‘when’ not ‘if’. The rugby season will be suspended or games played behind closed doors. The start of the Aussie rules football season (next weekend) will probably now be postponed. Tick tock. Tick tock…

Back to Normality…

Sort of normality. Yesterday after school Dani and I went to the beach. Along with a few hundred thousand others. It was packed. The weather was beautiful. Perfect in fact. Even the sea felt just the right temperature. Not so now. The weather is looking grim this weekend. So what shall we do? Tricky. I feel a bit of culture coming on…

The Nonsense Continues to Gather Pace

Job Done You A-holes…

Just as predicted yesterday folks. The skywriting of “WASH HANDS” in the Sydney sky had the desired/undesired (you decide!) effect. This morning in Coles supermarket the following sign was on display, where they used to stock hand sanitiser. That leaves me with only one thing to say to the authorities who thought that was a good idea: “Mission accomplished you f*#&ing morons”.

Mission Accomplished you Morons!

Other Supermarket News…

Also noticeable is the continuing lack of toilet paper (rolls). Yet mysteriously right next to the empty shelves are all these boxes of tissue paper (for ’tissue’ read ‘toilet’ if you like). Can someone please explain why these are not being ripped off the shelves? If the toilet roll section was replenished they wouldn’t last five seconds.

This proves beyond any shadow of doubt that people who panic buy toilet rolls are idiots. As if we didn’t already know. Yes, you morons, you can wipe your arse with these too.

Amazingly people fail to understand the potential uses of these products

Skywriting Enquiry…

I was wandering how much it costs to get a skywriter up there in his/her little plane. How much do they charge? Is it per letter or word? My latest idea is to hire one and get them to write something suitably daft or cynical exactly where they had them write ‘wash hands’ yesterday.

I was thinking something along the lines of “TOILET ROLLS HALF PRICE IN COLES”. Or maybe “USE TISSUE PAPER TO WIPE YOUR ARSE”. Better still something directly aimed at the authorities, like “FUCK OFF MORONS”.

Does anyone think I can get this crowd-funded?

Sports News…

Meanwhile back to the unreal world of sport. The National Rugby League (NRL) season has already kicked off. But now they are actually issuing advice to players not to shake hands or hug after a score. Just a good old pat on the back. Who are these idiots kidding? These men will shower together after the game for crying out loud. Then probably go out and socialise for the evening. The NRL also went on to advise against any contact with the fans. Would that be the same fans who are paying your over-inflated wages? You bunch of Wankers!

Over in Melbourne it seems the current F1 champ Lewis Hamilton has echoed my own thoughts on why the F1 Grand Prix is going ahead. He says that the race is only going ahead because, “cash is king”. Well Lewis would know right. He gets over 40 million quid a year out of it. That’s about $80 million Aussie. He is yet to refuse to race this weekend…

On the Political Side…

Enough of the ranting about “sports stars”. Here is something so ridiculous it is actually funny. The Australian government’s response to the stock market slide and (probable) threats of a recession has been to announce a huge spending plan. Basically, printing more money – some $17-18 Million – and throwing it around like confetti at a wedding. The idea apparently, is that people will continue to spend and the economy will not stall. They even have the audacity to call it a “stimulus”. OK some of the plans sound almost reasonable such as business support if times get rough. But one of the plans is to give people on the dole (that’s lazy folk who do not want to work) a handout of $750 each! Some 200,000 of the lazy bastards. The only ones who will do well out of that are the pubs of course, because that is straight where that money is going.

My question is this: How is all that money going to allocated? You can bet your last dollar that some people are going to get very rich (if they aren’t already) as part of this process. Proving yet again that ‘when there is blood on the streets, buy property’. *

And maybe that is what this whole nonsense is all about….Well, partly…

*  One of the Rothschild dynasty once said, “the time to buy is when there is blood in the streets”. He made a fortune in the panic that followed the Battle of Waterloo and the defeat of Napoleon.

BREAKING NEWS… UPDATE

Not long after returning home from the school run I read that the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne has been cancelled. It was only practice day today, the race being in two days time. And just after I had tweeted Lewis Hamilton to make a brave stand. Haaa. At the same time the government is effectively about to ban sports crowds. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the government will ban ‘non essential’ public gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday.

Interesting. Why not for this weekend also? And since when could a virus count? The mind boggles and Australia stumbles into an Italian style lock-down. Step, by step, by step…

How to Start a Panic Buy

Here’s one I never thought I would see. How to start a panic buying spree for hand sanitiser (and similar products). Brought to you by the Sydney council or New South Wales government or some other similar group in ‘authority’.

Skywriter

Someone in a position of authority thought it was a good idea to get a skywriter to put the words “WASH HANDS” over the city. Will this genius be named? I doubt it. As if anyone needs to be told. As if some are even going to pay attention (if they even saw it). This is truly pathetic. The only outcome of this publicity stunt is that tomorrow the supermarkets will be rationing hand sanitiser and other such cleaning products. If they are not already doing so.

I noticed it just after the first word had been written while Dani and I were walking home from school. I took a photo then wondered where the plane was. I knew what was coming. As we entered the tree-lined streets on our route home I saw it writing the second word. So apologies if it is not very clear. Also it appeared upside down from our perspective.

Hanks has it….

I just read that Tom Hanks and his wife (Mrs. Hanks I assume) have contracted coronavirus while in the Gold Coast in Australia. Not sure whether they are here to promote a film or on holiday but apparently they are now in a hospital. I don’t know the details and do not want to trawl through the media as I really don’t think that helps. I stand by that saying: ‘If you don’t read the news you’re uninformed. If you do read the news you’re misinformed.’

I know I am cynical about all of this (some would say extremely); but if an ‘A’ list celebrity has the virus then its just means lots more media coverage spreading lots more panic. How long before one of the Kardashians (whoever they are) has it? Then it will be all over their Instagram or whatever form of ‘social media’ they use these days. At least that would make sure a certain age group gets the scare message eh…

Getting harder to fathom…

The truth is I really don’t know what to make of it all now. It takes up at least 90% of the media yet nobody is coming up with any kind of sensible plan. Some may be told to work from home and some schools are closed for a few weeks. But what about everyone else? We passed a bus today that must have had 200 people on board. Packed. If there is one way to spread a virus I would have thought public transport comes somewhere near the top of the list. So anyone living with a person sent home from work/school and still using pubic transport is just going to take it home for everyone to enjoy.

I guess what I am saying is that it should be all or nothing. Carry on regardless or all stay at home and panic. I prefer the first of these options. I just hope the idiot who came up with this skywriting idea has the balls to come forward. We shall see…

Meanwhile

All big sporting events are going ahead this weekend. Also at Bondi Beach this Sunday there is a Latin American Festival. It will be interesting to see how any turn up for that one. Life goes on…

Footnote: (very tenuously related)
Skywriter. Sweep you silver pen across the sky. So High – Opening lyrics of the Jackson 5 hit from 1973. Before they changed their name to ‘The Jacksons’ and when Michael still had some talent left.

Coronavirus Fun – Well, Why Not?

I have decided to do a regular daily update on the crazy antics of supermarket shoppers here in Sydney. Naturally most of this is that good old British trait ‘gallows humour’ but what the hell… Why not right? If we give in to mass hysteria the outcome will be much worse than this flu virus doing the rounds.

Supermarket Watch

Coles and Woolworths (aka Woolies) are the two big supermarket players. These are the battle fields where the toilet roll war will be won or lost. Incidentally today must be another in the temporary cease-fire. There are no battles to report.

Coles had no toilet rolls but did have a shelving section fairly well stacked with kitchen roll. Oddly though there were no takers. I saw people pick it up and study it as if they had never seen the bloody stuff before. Only to put it back on the shelves. Seriously! Are these idiots for real?

Meanwhile the rice depletion has eased as has the mystery of the vanishing pasta. Sadly, the porridge oats are still in short supply. One other thing has been added to the watch list. Eggs. Yeah; I thought that a bit crazy too. Unless you have a massive fridge, what is the point of stockpiling loads of eggs? Stocks are low and the management have put signs up asking people to be patient. Other than that everything seemed normal.

Woolies still have no toilet rolls either only a half (or less) stacked shelf of kitchen roll. Again nobody seems to want to buy them when they are in fact pretty much the same thing. What the f*#k!. Woolies, overall, seems to be less affected at the moment; but the porridge has gone. Yikes! My ‘go to’ breakfast as well. Must keep an eye out and re-stock when I can.

Come on folks. You can still wipe your arse with these things.

Coronavirus anagrams.

Here’s a little fun playing with the letters. These are the best three I could come up with…

Carnivorous – great one because this kind of explains what people are doing to themselves. Eating themselves up inside with fear hysteria and panic.

Racoon virus – We have had bird flu, swine flu, now it’s the turn of those pesky little raccoons. OK one “c” missing but hey. That Rocky Raccoon didn’t think straight and took desperate measures. It was his undoing until he (kind of) ‘saw the light’ (as they say) and saw the flaws in his own actions. The Beatles saw this coming (reference to White Album track).

Saviour Corn. This could be what I have been looking for. I will fill a large trolley with tinned corn. It is the miracle cure. The antidote. The next big panic buy.

Coronavirus Update from Oz

Where to start; with the non-stop nonsense on this virus merry-go-round.

The bloody A-holes cancelled Dani’s school trip today. His year was supposed to be going to a place called The Old School Museum.. One of those old classroom set-ups where the get the kids to use dip in ink pens and slate writing boards etc… Apparently the (real) school opposite had a child who had contracted the virus and the school had been shutdown. In that classic risk averse way of the world these days, the school erred on the side of (super) caution and cancelled the trip. Yes I suppose it’s ‘better to be safe than sorry’ but this is more like the panic buying knee-jerk reaction than practicality.

Several other schools have been closing – it seems at a rate of a few per day now. Not long before the domino effect kicks in and they all close.

Supermarket Sweep…

Also today I managed to buy some toilet roll. Not sure how I did it but I asked at the check-out till. “How do I get my one pack of rationed toilet rolls?”  The woman working there said “Oh I have some here do you want it? A lady had two but you can only take one…” etc etc… I took them but that was not really what I wanted to know. She had slightly misunderstood. Still I can relax and enjoy going to the toilet a little more now eh? And I didn’t have to fight anyone to get them.

The dried pasta has dried up. As far as the shelves are concerned. More supermarket signs telling customers that stocks have been depleted etc… The rice and porridge oats (two other items I have been keeping an eye on) are dangerously low. Babies disposable nappies also. At this rate they will have to ration everything soon. Long Life (UHT) milk will be next I think. People are really crazy. Stupid even.

I might just get the biggest trolley they have and fill it with one item. Anything. Just to see if people start following my lead. Anyone got any idea what I could start the panic buying of?

Meanwhile F1 Weekend is here…

All this garbage hasn’t stopped the Ferrari Formula One team flying into the country from Italy however. Just as I predicted. Money talks eh? Italians are not being allowed to leave their region or in some cases towns without a special permit yet these fat cat crap car racing fools fly to Australia as if nothing is happening in their own country. If I was an Italian in ‘lock-down’ I would have something to say about that.

Sports Wins. For now… 

How inconsiderate can this virus be? It comes at a time when the two biggest sports in Oz are about to launch their new seasons. That’s Aussie Rules Football and Rugby League. The government and other such leaders have been playing down the virus for weeks knowing full well the season was about to start. “Yeah, you can keep on going to sporting events” they tell us. Well I agree, but that’s not the point. When will they be telling us the opposite? That’s what  I want to know. That said we are supposed to be going to watch Sydney Swans (Aussie rules football) in action at the Sydney Cricket Ground in just over a week. Will spectators be allowed i by then? There is an old saying that a week is a long time in politics. Well for this virus crap a week is like a decade. Anything can develop.

More panic buying

Finally, and in the news… It seems that people have been panic buying wine with their toilet rolls in some parts of the country. So much for essentials eh! I can only think that they plan on getting totally shit-faced and expect to fall asleep and shit themselves. Then when they wake up from their stupor they can use the tons of toilet paper to clean themselves. Planning of sorts I suppose…

More later…

A Night at the Opera (Early)

Weekend Catch-up

Dani’s choice first, this weekend (just passed), and he wanted to got to Sea Life in the city centre. Darling Harbour to be precise.

From my point of view it was no better than the Aquarium we visited with Dani’s nana in Ellesmere Port of all places! It was OK in the end. It kind of got better the more areas we passed through.The best thing about it was the penguin area where they had artificial snow. It was cold but worth seeing.

The main thing was that Dani thought it was “awesome”. Everything now is either “awesome” or “sick”. He is picking up the local slang with an accent to go with it.

Then to the Opera… sort of.

Following that Dani’s mum had the bright idea of going to the Opera House (yes that funny shaped building again!) for a bite to eat and a drink. We took the ferry around the headland under the bridge and of course it presented that photo opportunity once again. In the space of just over 24 hours I was snapping that architectural “icon” yet again. OK; let me make this clear. I will not be doing that tourist thing again any time soon.

Under that Bridge (again)
Another “iconic” shot…

When we got there it was packed. Suddenly food didn’t seem a good idea as there was nowhere to sit. We just ordered a drink. Then Dani turned into Mr. Miserable. He was hungry. It’s that thing kids do. A bit like a diabetic when their blood sugar level drops dramatically, all of a sudden, and they just need a little biscuit or something. We didn’t know it at the time but in less than half an hour it would have emptied. So, after rushing our drinks we left the scene quickly, passing a shop where we bought him a packet of crisps. As soon as he started eating them, he changed back into Dr. Jeckyll. No idea where Mr. Hyde had gone but I didn’t miss him one bit – the grumpy git!

Dr. Jekyll arrives at the Opera
Then starts to turn into…
Mr. Hyde…
This kid is hungry. Can’t you tell?

Now he was calm again we nipped into a pub for a more relaxed beverage. Then the skies emptied. Then we jumped on a bus back home.

Spanish invasion of Clontarf beach….

The weather has been very changeable lately so planning a day out in the open is not easy. Still, as it is the weekend, we definitely need to get out and about and explore new areas of the city at the very least. Sunday, Dani’s mum had organised a meeting with a load of Spanish ex-pats.

The meeting was organised by a group called ALCE (which stands for La Agrupación de Lengua y Cultura Españolas – Spanish Language and Culture Group) and backed by the Spanish embassy here in Australia. The ALCE lot organise Spanish reading/writing classes for the children of ex-pats who are now obviously going to English-speaking schools. Dani’s mum wanted to try and get him enrolled and find out where the nearest classes were to where we live. It turns out that they are not taking anyone till next school year. A lucky escape for Dani eh? I am not sure he was too keen on the idea of “Spanish school” on top of normal school.

ALCE advertised their presence

Not to worry. Dani’s mum met up with an old colleague from years ago and at least made contact with the right people. At least we are now kind of ‘in the loop’. Everyone brought some food along so it was like a picnic in the park, alongside Clontarf beach. There were even serviettes! Blimey, that’s a kind of toilet paper! Rarer than gold-dust these days.

Clontarf Beach

Clontarf beach is in a nice little bay sheltered from the ocean waves so very safe for the kids etc. There are many such beaches in the huge scattered geography of Sydney Harbour. It isn’t all about surfing. Some lovely boats moored up I have to say. I wonder where these people get their money?

Up a gum tree with his new mate Mateo

Mateo was born in Sydney so although both parents are Spanish, he is a genuine Aussie kid.

Quick tour in the area

On our way home – much to Dani’s annoyance – we drove around the immediate area. There are some great properties. My immediate thought was that this North Shore side looks a little more spaced out (not in the druggy kind of way) than the Eastern Suburbs area we live in.

We somehow managed to get Dani to have a walk around a piece of National Park called Dobroyd Head. This is part of the Sydney Harbour National Park area so would (probably) hardly have changed since the ‘first fleet’ arrived in 1788.

Dani looking out to the mouth of Sydney Harbour towards the Pacific Ocean.

Over the Bridge by Car

I had taken the train and walked across the Harbour Bridge. Now we drove across it. No T-shirt to collect on the other side though. No, just a wrong turn. Or rather, we missed our lane. We managed to get back easily enough though even if it was right through the CBD centre. Good old Google Maps eh. That said I am now getting my bearings around these parts…

Tired, hungry and in need of a shower. Enough for one weekend.