Six Year Old’s Bucket List?

Walking back from school the other day we got talking about Darwin. Not sure how that started but I can definitely remember how it ended.

Darwin on his mind…

I think we were talking about places in Australia that I like. Dani seems to think I only like the Blue Mountains but that’s not true. I like everywhere we have been outside of Sydney. It is Sydney itself I am not too keen on. It’s just a big city thing I guess…

Anyway, Dani seemed to have something on his mind so I let him go… (so to speak).

Have you ever been to Darwin dad?
No.
Darwin would be nice. You wouldn’t like it though. It’s not like the Blue Mountains.
Well it’s a big town I suppose. I think I might like it.
It’s a city dad. It’s in the mmmm… what’s that state called?…Oh yeah Northern Territory
That’s right. Well done. How do you know that?
I want to go there.
OK. Why are you so interested in going to Darwin?
It’s on my bucket list
WHAT??!! (trying to laugh only to myself)
Do you know what a bucket list is?
Yes, I know what a bucket list is. Do you now what the bucket is?
Yes it’s things you want to do before you die.
OK. Well you are only six, so no rush eh?
I want to see mum. She will be so scared if she sees a crocodile. (laughs)

So now I know why he wants to go there. And he hasn’t even seen Crocodile Dundee. Naturally I told him that just going to Darwin would not guarantee seeing crocodiles. He knew – obviously (eyes roll upwards).

For the record I also want to go to Darwin. I told Dani that and said we could maybe go on his next school holidays if inter-state travel is allowed. He agreed that was a great idea so there it was. Next school holiday trip planned. Well, decided at least.

Then Iceland…

Then he says:

Have you ever been to Iceland dad?
The country or the shop (knowing he wouldn’t get that joke)
Eh? Have you been in that hot water pool near the volcano that is hot even in winter?
Actually Dan yes I have. It was freezing outside running from the changing rooms but the water was very warm.
Wow. I want to go. That is on my bucket list too.
Nice one mate. But Iceland is a very long way from here. But at least you have time on your side.
Yeah. I know. (Happy little ‘bucket lister’)

So there you have it my six year old son has two more things on his bucket list than I do. Mine being empty…

Now for this one…

And tomorrow we are off on holidays. Dani just finished school term 2. Off for three weeks. We are heading north almost as far as we can without going into Queensland. Byron Bay in fact. For about ten days. More on that anon…

Weekly (ish) Aussie Beer Update

OK folks here is another Aussie craft beer update from Sydney, Australia.

‘Stay Home’ beer

First of all let’s recap on one mentioned in the previous beer related post (see here). The coronavirus/covid19 inspired offering from the Endeavour beer company. This one is their pale ale offering called ‘Stay Home’. 

Yes I think the message is clear. Stay home and drink more beer. Quite a clever ploy in these so called “unprecedented times”. The beer can is a clear aluminium tin with stick on labels. Like most bottled beers do it. I am sure they just knocked together a quick batch or two and thought, ‘let’s get this one out there with a catchy label to capture the times’. Clever idea. And who knows? these may become collectable when all this virus crap blows over (if that ever happens!). This is actually a decent and an easy to drink beer. 

Stay Home pale ale by Endeavour Brewing Co.

The Endeavour Brewing Co. are based at The Rocks in the city centre and have a fair selection of ales. This Stay Home pale ale is one of three limited release beers they have recently released. The others are ‘Lock in Lager’ (based on the virus lockdown thing again, but a lager) and Stacked IPA which I am particularly looking forward to trying. More from them later…

The Endeavour Tap House – Pub and Brewery

What is a TPA ?

OK a quick rundown/recap. There’s Lager, Pale Ale, IPA (India Pale Ale) and as we have seen there is also XPA (Extra Pale Ale).  But what the f*#k is a TPA? Apparently it stands for Tropical Pale Ale. Personally I think they are taking the proverbial but I was willing to try it. And….

Six Strings TPA

Sorry. Not for me. It almost tastes like a mix of lager and pale ale. I am sure it is quite refreshing in the summer months but not as tasty as the IPA/XPA family of ales. This one is by Six Strings Brewing Co. which is based in a small town called Erina in the Central Coast area (which is just over an hour’s drive north of Sydney – about half way to Newcastle).

While this particular brew was not to my taste, they also make several types of IPA including a few ‘dark red’ IPAs. So l will just do the Arnie thing and say “I’ll be back”…

Colonial Pale Ale

I had seen their yellow tinned IPA but when I was shopping the other day I only saw this pale ale offering from the Colonial Brewing Co. based all the way over in Margaret River Western Australia. Now also with a brewery in Melbourne. 

Colonial Pale Ale

This pale ale is easy to drink with a slightly bitter after-taste that lingers – but in a nice way. I quite like this one, so I am sure that I am going to love their IPA. More on this to come..

By the way, I love the full tear off lid (deliberately left in the picture). It reminds me of a Japanese lager that used to do that . Now what beer was it? I am sure someone can tell me. Colonial Brewing have said the American supplier of their full tear-off lid have stopped production and that they will revert to a standard can opening until they can locate another source. Shame, but I am sure they will sort it. Good luck with that one guys. 

And now for something completely different….

Well sort of… But still very much beer related. Colonial Beer. How is that offensive? Apparently some idiots seem to think it is and are calling for the company to change its name. Yes that is correct – a sure sign of these ridiculous times… Well I am sure you can already guess where I stand on that one. 

News reports state that one particular bottle shop (off licence/liquor store) in the Melbourne area called ‘Blackhearts and Sparrows’ has stopped selling the Colonial Beer Company’s ales. Well my message to anyone living in Melbourne is simple: “STOP SPENDING YOUR MONEY at Blackhearts and Sparrows!”

The way I see it is this: These people who are trying to impose all this so called “cancel culture” are really a minority. A very loud and in your face minority admittedly, but still, they do not represent the majority. Not at all. So if enough of the rest of us counter their stupid misdirected anger then they lose. It really is that simple. I also think that all other independent breweries should rally around Colonial on this one. 

That means also – in my case at least – that I am gong to buy Colonial Beer. Mainly for all the obvious reasons however. Because it’s actually quite good. 

Coastal Walk – Coogee to Tamarama

There is a famous coastal walk in Sydney that runs from Bondi beach to Coogee beach. Probably further still in each direction but Bondi to Coogee (or Coogee to Bondi) is the one everyone knows and seems to do.

We had already done Bondi beach to Tamarama beach not long after moving over here so today – being a little unsure of the weather – we did the rest of that walk. Coogee beach to Tamarama beach.

Coogee Ocean Pools

Starting at Coogee we first went to the south side of the beach to check out the ocean pools. The most famous of them is the McIver Baths but that is only open to women and children. So I never got to see that one and probably never will. Who cares? There is also one called Wylie’s Baths but that is even further south of the beach – and our intended walk – so that one will have to wait.

There are three around Coogee beach however. Here is the one known as the Ross Jones Rockpool.

Ross Jones Ocean Pool – Coogee Beach

It didn’t look too inviting but there were plenty of people willing to have a go both here and  in the sea.

The Worst Fish and Chips?

It was about lunchtime so before we set off on the walk I thought it would be a good idea to feed Dani. We tried a restaurant but it was full, then we saw this place.

Crap Fish n Chips

A funny joke, play on words of that old delicacy ‘fish and chips’ eh? Well you can take it from me, the food was also a joke. We ordered some ‘Chish n Fips’ and trust me they were the worst I have ever had. Well, that might be a bit too much, as I can’t really remember every fish and chips or bag of chips I have eaten especially after a heavy night out drinking. But these were definitely crap!

Coogee Beach and out…

Disappointed but reasonably full of grease and calories we headed off. The coast in between beaches around these parts is basically made up of steep cliffs. So, a lot of up and down but the  little legs of Dani did quite well. Once we actually go going he never moaned.

Coogee Beach

Coogee Beach from Dolphins Point

At the north end of the beach there is another ocean pool known as Giles Baths. Literally this one is carved into the rocks. Quite interesting perspectives all round too…

Giles Baths Entry

Giles Baths

Giles Baths to Coogee beach view

View North from Giles Baths

Gordons Bay and Clovelly Beach

Up we went, looking over the sheer drops – which Dani loves to do, mainly as it scares his mum half to death – then down to the first inlet. Gordons Bay. This is quite a sheltered narrow inlet hence the waves, so loved by surfers, are not a problem for those who want a leisurely swim. It really is a great spot to swim and there were enough people doing that despite this being the middle of winter.

Gordons Bay

Gordons Bay

Next stop off point is Clovelly Beach. An even narrower inlet, this bay is more like a lake and definitely a safe place to swim. Also popular with kids water polo training. It also has an ocean pool but this one was still closed.

Clovelly Ocean Pool – aka The Geoff James Pool

Clovelly Beach

Clovelly Bay and Ocean Pool

And what about this place for a game of bowls? Overlooking the Pacific Ocean and on the cliff top. This is Clovelly Bowling Club.

Clovelly Bowling Club

Cemetry to Bronte

The next beach is Bronte. But before reaching it you pass by Waverley Cemetery. For a one off payment you can get a place to rest here overlooking the ocean and for a fraction of the cost of the properties we saw. I have seen other cemeteries in Australia built right on the sea front like this but this one is probably the best known. There must be a reason why they did this all those years ago – maybe I will find out later… Apparently a lot of famous Australians are buried here. It’s even got its own website. All I do know is that this place is on prime real estate. The value of this land would be astronomical.

Waverley Cemetery edge

Waverley Cemetery

Cemetery

Bronte and Tamarama

Bronte beach was next. I like this place but it was fairly busy. Some musicians had set up a couple of places to jam together and seemed to have brought all their friends. No social distancing here then… But did anyone seem to care? Nah!

Bronte Beach

Tamarama Beach

Then a short hike further north and we made it to Tamarama. Fair play to Dani, he did well. I reckon it must have been 4km or more with all the minor detours we took. But that was enough. Bus and home – via a cake shop…

 

The Great Aussie Coronavirus Swindle

“It’s Easier to Fool People Than It Is to Convince Them That They Have Been Fooled.”

Apparently Mark Twain said those wise words. It could have been someone else, but whatever… they are so true. People do not like to admit when they have been fooled and those doing the fooling are even less likely to admit it.

In short folks you have been duped. Big time! And please don’t listen to all this bull about “a second wave” (unless you mean surfing).

Australia Almost Fully Open?

OK, here’s a quick run through of what you can and can’t do right now:

Cafés, restaurants and pubs can open but have to follow a few stupid rules. No bother if you feel like a beer go for it. All types of shops are now open. Some never really even shut though including amazingly many hair-dressers. Good for them I say.

Gyms are now allowed to open and most have already. That leaves cinemas, theatres and concert venues along with sporting venues. Oh, and libraries. Still baffled by that one but hey…

Beaches: You can now go onto the beaches in the Eastern suburbs which were stupidly closed at the height of this panic-demic. Although now the weather is not really conducive to sitting on the beach you can still go for a stroll. Most beaches of course throughout the state and country always remained open.

Travel and Tourism

You can travel withing your state of residence only, although some states are opening up to people from other states (sort of). They need to stop this nonsense right now. There is absolutely no justification for it. School holidays are fast approaching and people want to get away. The powers that be keep trying to encourage Australians to help out those rural and touristy areas where the economies had virtually come to a complete stop. With no foreign tourists coming in why would they keep the state borders shut? Oh, yeah, and I want to go to Queensland hehehe…

Another important one (for us)  is if we leave Australia to fly back to Europe – which we can do if we book a flight – then we will not be able to get back in as we are not Australian citizens. So no summer holiday in the northern hemisphere and possibly Christmas on the beach the way things are looking…

What about a “second wave”?

The politicians just can’t help themselves can they? Instead of admitting they made a massive mistake – something that they would actually gain a lot of kudos for –  they are still trying to keep people scared with talk of a “second wave”. Well here is my take on that shit.

There is not going to be a “second wave”. Nothing could be more certain. And do you know why I can so confidently say that? It’s simple. Because there was never a first wave to begin with. Our so called “leaders” made one of the biggest mistakes in human history (if not the biggest) and need to just own up to it. But don’t hold your breath.

Any “second wave” in this part of the world will just be seasonal flu. In recent years seasonal (winter) flu killed so many more than than this supposedly highly contagious and most deadly corona thingy. ‘They’ have fooled so many people over this past few months. Please don’t let them do it again.

Evidence – as if any was needed…

If you are a young healthy surfer you have more chance of being killed by a shark than by coronavirus. One surfer did actually die following a shark attack just a week or so ago here. Think about that for a moment. It hasn’t stopped the young (and old) surfers trying to get their daily ocean fix has it? It was the governments (state, national and local councils) who put a stop to the wave riding – or shark dodging, depending on which way you see it. If you are a fit young person you have more chance of being struck by lightning than dying of coronavirus. Really. The stats support all this. Don’t just take my word for it. Just stop listening to the politician’s crap and the mass media hype and go and check for yourselves.

Footnote: Post title inspired by the Sex Pistols second and post break-up album ‘The Great Rock n Roll Swindle’. I could have equally titled the post with a play on words of their first album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Real News…

 

Oh No. Say it ‘Aint so, LEGO

With all the crap flying around the internet and social media these days it is hard to know where to start, never mind what to believe. So when I saw this one my reaction was initially one of despair.

Lego Pulls Police and White House Playsets?

The article first appeared on 2nd June. The full title is “Police Pulls back police affiliate marketing amid George Floyd Protests.” Apparently (key word there!) Lego group sent emails to affiliate marketers requesting them to remove more than 30 Lego sets that include police officers, firefighters, criminals and associated buildings and vehicles. The White House sets were also said to be included in this…

What?!! Are you f*#&ing kidding me? Well that was my first reaction, naturally.

The article was then updated two days later on 4th June * with a clarification from Lego. Phew! But wait there is more… (* June 4th is ironically a key date in history – remember this for later.)

LEGO’s Response

“We requested that our affiliate partners refrain from posting promotional LEGO content as part of our decision to respect #BlackOutTuesday and pause posting content on our social media channels in response to the tragic events in the US….”

They will update as necessary and I am sure we will all get to see and hear about it. But why would they do that? Are they afraid of being targeted by looters and rioters? Or are they just virtue signalling. Almost certainly the latter – but what about the first one?

LEGO then put out this tweet: “We’ve seen incorrect reports saying we’ve removed some LEGO sets from sale. To be clear, that is not the case and reports otherwise are false. Our intention was to temporarily pause digital advertising in response to events in the US. We hope this clears things up”

To The LEGO Store

Well there was one way to find out more and that was to go to the LEGO store near to us. So off I went. It turns out that the clarification from LEGO is true. Sets with Police officers are still on sale. white house sets are freely available on the LEGO website also.

I wonder if LEGO, or anyone else for that matter, will be doing a similar thing next June, on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre – which was also known as the ‘June 4th Incident’. (What timing for that article update eh?) If not, why not? It would seem to be the logical thing to do right? Then they can stop promoting the Great Wall of China sets perhaps?  (Yes there is such a set.) Where does it all end?

It seems to me that some people, and the media in particular, think that some causes are much more worthy than others. If we put everything into context and by scale of injustice then we would all be protesting all of the time and banning just about every single thing. And that would get you as far as trying to set up a protest camp in Tiananmen Square !! Let that one sink in…

Conclusion

All is well and these media stories will be updated – corrected – in due course. One would assume…

Sadly, however, LEGO do have a history of caving in to politically motivated criticism. Like ditching their Shell Oil company logos and associated sets in favour of their own made up petrol company ‘Octan’ – in response to pressure from anti oil groups and the like. There is a story to that one which I cannot recall right now.

Politicising kids toys – especially the best ever kids toy – is totally unacceptable to me. What do you think? Does anyone disagree with me on this? Would love to hear from you…

Holy Swamp, Batman! – The Flying Foxes of Centennial Park

Take a look at the photos below. Each one of those dark (or dark and tan) hanging things is a flying fox. There are thousands of these creatures living in the trees that make up the Lachlan Swamp.

The swamp is a small but densely wooded area of Centennial Park. The park was built on swamp lands. Probably why there are so many lakes and ponds there. Although only covering a small area this carefully preserved micro-environment provides a natural habitat for these creatures of the night. And as the sun goes down they stretch their wings and head for the skies. Their silhouettes looking just like the Bat Signal in the Batman movies. Dani loves them.

Flying Foxes vs Bats

What’s the difference between a flying fox and a bat? I hear you ask.

Good question. Well, first off, flying foxes are bats. They are the largest member of the bat family sometimes referred to as mega-bats. The mega bat genus is known scientifically as Pteropus. The smaller bats that you see all over Europe for example, tend to eat insects. Whereas these flying foxes prefer to eat fruits and other plant supplements, though some also eat insects. They are also known widely called Fruit Bats.

Most of them are nocturnal. The common image of a bat is of a nocturnal animal that flies and hunts using echo location. This is true for the smaller insect feeding bats. However, the flying foxes have very keen eyesight which they use to navigate at night. Night vision no less! They also have an excellent sense of smell so that they can locate food. They are not able to echo-locate.

A closer view of these magnificent creatures

Stretching a wing

Apparently these animals are endangered. But you wouldn’t know it to look up at the tree-tops in this little swamp. One reason is that the females give birth to only one offspring each year. They are slowly becoming extinct. I can understand why some people don’t like them or are even afraid of them, but if they were to become extinct it would be a great shame. We think they are great

Lachlan Swamp

Lachlan Swamp was Sydney’s main source of water from 1837 to 1859. The whole city has spread out over the years but back in the early days when the colony of Sydney was being built this swamp would have been a fair distance from those who needed the water. It was transported to the colony through a tunnel. The swamp still has some of the original natural springs that fed the original wetland that is now the park.

Crazy Fact

I read this crazy fact about Lachlan Swamp: It was the site of the last known public duel in Australia between a Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Thomas L. Mitchell and an old Premier of NSW, Stuart Donaldson. Neither man was hit (apparently) but the flying foxes would have had a bat’s eye view…

 

On The Rocks – Part 2

Another weekend staying local. We visited The Rocks – again. This time it was different. Although many places are now open for business (if they want to) the street markets were absent. This meant you could actually appreciate the streets, the views and the buildings. This is actually a great time to see The Rocks properly.

This is a follow up to an earlier post which you can see here. That post was written just before the coronavirus “lockdown” nonsense kicked in.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

First stop off the bus was Gothic-style Catholic Cathedral of St. Mary’s. First started in 1821 when the Governor Macquarie laid the first stone. The original church was destroyed by fire in 1865. The rebuilding was done between 1868 and 1882 – when it was open to the public despite being unfinished. It was officially opened in 1900. Work continued until the crypt refurbishment was complete in 1961. This must be one of the newest buildings of its kind.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

Immediately opposite this ancient looking building – the other side of Hyde Park – is the modern downtown city of Sydney.

Modern Sydney directly opposite

Hyde Park Barracks

At the same end of Hyde Park lies the Hyde Park Barracks. Originally built by convicts, for convicts. This place is now what they call a ‘living museum’. The main building is the convict barracks consisting of three floors.

Modern City from The Barracks

History

Before you enter the barracks themselves there is a little history of why and how it was built. This includes examples of some convicts’ sorry tales. Don’t get me wrong. This old dad has never been one to deny a horrible villain his (or her) just deserts. I am no soft-touch. But the fact is that many convicts were sent to Australia having committed what would now be called ‘petty crimes’. Such as stealing handkerchiefs or stealing a letter from a mail box. Seriously. These days you would probably not even go to court for such ‘crimes’.

But it gets better than that. Many were also craftsmen. Skilled in the various building and allied trades. Many convicts were stonemasons, carpenters, brick-makers and blacksmiths. And I really don’t think that was by accident. More on this below…

Inside the barracks

The top floor shows how dormitories would have been, where the convicts slept in cramped conditions. There are also examples of whips and leg-irons that were used for punishments. Standard items really in those days.

Hammocks packed in tight

Dani enjoying the tour

Hammocks in the convict’s dormitory

The second floor showed what the convicts were used for. They not only built the barracks but they also built St.James church directly opposite. There were many other examples of how the convicts were used to construct much of the new colony.

Ont the ground floor the museum showed us that it was also used for more charitable causes. Once the convict era had passed this place was used to house newly arrived immigrants and also as an asylum for women. Government schemes aimed to increase the number of women in the colony but many were alone and needed help on arrival. The quality of the bedrooms had certainly improved by this time.

Better sleeping arrangements post convict use.

On to The Rocks (proper)

While the barracks are included in many organised tours of The Rocks they are the other side of the main quay. The old centre of The Rocks was much quieter than I had ever seen it. Great. We had a walk around and decided it was time to eat so went for a Devonshire Tea to a place called ‘The Tea Cosy’. I do love a scone with jam and cream washed down with a cup of tea.

The Tea Cosy, Devonshire Tea Rooms

Inside The Tea Cosy

Dani has a Devonshire tea

The streets were free of the many market stalls that normally cover much of the main tourist streets in the area. I much prefer it like this.

Surprisingly clear view of Playfair Street

Another clear street view to the bridge

Pop Art on The Rocks

Pop Art LEGO characters

Suez Canal

No, not the shipping lane that links the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean. This is the infamous street in The Rocks where gang members would lie in wait in the narrow street for unsuspecting drunks. During the 19th century this place would have been a beacon for all sorts of unsavoury characters.

Infamous street on The Rocks

It is thought the name is a play on the words ‘sewers canal’ – the tiny street would flood whenever it rained. The sloping street certainly gets narrow towards the bottom where you could easily walk by and miss it.

Top of Suez Canal

The narrow point of Suez Canal as demonstrated by Dani

Suez Canal looking up

Putting Convict Labour into Context

As mentioned above, the sweat of these convict artisan tradesmen built the city of Sydney (and no doubt other cities in Australia). If a convict was not a skilled man they were still used to chop down trees and clear the way for the builders. The convicts – some of whom were violent offenders but many were not – were used as a pool of slave labour to build the new colony.  Which is all rather pertinent to events going on right now in different countries.

With so many in the USA – and other places – protesting about race relations and using slavery as a large part of their argument, it is worth considering that Africans were not the only ones being used as slaves at that point in history. Something struck me today. Many of those convicts were sent to the other side of the world for trivial ‘crimes’. Meanwhile some of these current protesters are committing far worse crimes than many of those early Australian convicts and not even being arrested.

Of course the situation here, for native Australians, was changed forever by the importing of convict slave labour and colonisers. That is another huge story altogether and remains a major issue in this country.

Staying Local

This weekend Dani wanted to stay close to home. So, we went kind of local. To the  neighbouring suburb of Double Bay.

Hidden Gems?

Double Bay is quite a salubrious suburb. Not as wealthy and expensive as nearby Rose Bay or Watsons Bay – or so I thought. Not that any of that bothers me in the slightest. All I need to know is that I could not afford to buy any of the houses that take my fancy around here (or any of those other two areas). And I am more than fine with that. Still, it is nice to look around eh?

Restaurant on the Wharf

Double Bay

We saw many Porsches, Maserratis and Bentleys. If expensive cars is any indicator of a wealthy area then Double Bay is definitely home to a lot of rich people. There are plenty of fantastic properties and buildings here too. A great shopping area, more like a small town centre than a village. But with that village feel.

Transvaal Avenue. A hidden gem. Shops and cafés line both sides of the street.

It was like Beverly Hills at times. Only better. Because right now in Beverly Hills the rioters are terrorising the area and all the shops on Rodeo Drive are either very well boarded up or have been looted. This place seems a million miles away from all that rubbish. In fact it is just under 7500 miles away (that’s just over 12000km in new/daft money).

We had been there before but only briefly. This time we saw some great little streets almost hidden away. Even the War Memorial in the park did not need any police protection.

War Memorial in the Park

Pubs Open

Great to see the two main bars/pubs both open. The Royal Oak – where we stopped for a quick lunch – and beer! And the Golden Sheaf, a fantastic place with lots of different areas to eat, drink, gamble and watch sports. They even have a great rooftop bar.

Royal Oak. A great place to stop for refreshment.

Two police officers came in while we were there. Not sure whether it was to check the number of customers. Over the whole place – I would say there were definitely in excess of the 50 the government has deemed “safe”.

Golden Sheaf Pub in Double Bay

Australia – Open for Business (sort of)

I think everything is now open. The place was buzzing. Like it should be on a Saturday. Great. The only things that are not now open are the libraries, cinemas and gyms. No idea why not either. We shall see what this next week brings.

Another thing not yet back to normal is inter-state travel. I hope they sort that one out soon. Dani has two more weeks of school and we would like to go to Queensland during his school holidays.

Panic buying toilet rolls?

Dani has just finished reading a book he brought home from school. Quite advanced I thought for his age – So yes, I am proud of his reading ability. But I am even more proud of his fun and sense of humour.

Riders on the Web book

It wasn’t a very good story though. He even said as much as soon as he finished reading out the final page last night. I hardly knew what was going on as he read most of it with his mum. But I did pay attention when he first brought the book home and showed me the cover picture- laughing…

Panic buying toilet rolls?

He pointed to the old fashioned looking kid on the bike and then his (newspaper) basket.

“Look dad! He has been panic buying toilet rolls – hehehe”  

It made me laugh as it does look a bit like that. Which just goes to show what is going on this past few months has made some kind of impression on him. Thankfully he has a great sense of humour and can see the funny side of all this. And credit to him. He spotted that little joke before me. (I need to be quicker.)

Funny Kid books

He much prefers the one he is reading with me right now. So do I. ‘Funny Kid for President’ by Matt Stanton. This is definitely more his style. Talking of ‘style’, he also identifies with the book’s main character Max too. He has similar hair style to Dani. 

Funny Kid book

I will do a review of this one when we finish reading it. There are at least three other books in this ‘Funny Kid’ series so plenty for Dani to read and laugh at.

Also I have only just realised that the author Matt Stanton is from Sydney, Australia. Maybe we can arrange for him to visit Dani’s school…

School Term – only three weeks to go!

In all the excitement of a long weekend a few days ago I had almost forgotten. This second term has only three more weeks to go!. Then it’s a three week holiday. I had better start looking for somewhere to book. The problem of course is that many places are still not willing to open up and I am not sure about inter-state travel restrictions. I fancy a trip north to Queensland, but we shall see…

Holiday Monday

The last day of our long weekend trip to the Blue Mountains. This was mainly a return route along the ‘Bells Line of Road’ on the north side of the National Park.

In 1823 Archibald Bell, with the help of Aboriginal guides, surveyed a route across the northern Blue Mountains. This would become the Bells Line of Road.

Pulpit Rock – Mount Victoria

Before our return journey we made a quick return to Mount Victoria and the Pulpit Rock lookout. The Great Western Highway snakes through the mountains so there are so many different angles and perspectives from which to view the scenery. This was another good one.

Dani takes a photo with his own camera from the Pulpit Rock

Botanic Garden

Despite the outstanding natural beauty of this whole area there is also a stunning botanic garden half way along the Bells Line of Road between Lithgow and Richmond, near Mount Tomah.

The land was acquired in 1934 by French-born horticulturist Alfred Brunet and his Australian wife Effie. They operated a flower farm to supply florists in Sydney. The Brunets wanted to donate their land in Mount Tomah to the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney to form a new annex of the Garden. They formally presented the land for the Botanic Garden in 1972. The Garden opened to the public in November 1987. Today, The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden includes 186 hectares of sandstone woodland and gullies to be maintained as a conservation area for plants from all over the world.

Quick Stops – The Walls to Kurrajong

The traffic was getting heavy but we managed to make a few quick stops on our return home. First was the Walls Lookout. This part f the mountain range is one of the most spectacular although (as is often the way in such cases) not easy to get to. At least with a six year old. The sheer steep cliffs form an impressive line of “walls” – I guess that’s why it is so called.

The Walls

Next we stopped at the apple orchards in Bilpin where you can pick your own. It is just about the end of season now so the pickings were thin to say the least but we still managed to get 3 kilos of Pink Lady apples. Time to learn how to make something that will keep, using those apples?

From there we continued on to the lovely village of Kurrajong. A very tranquil spot for a bit of lunch. This place caught my eye because of the funny sign. So in we went…

A bite to eat in the lovely Kurrajong village

Despite the amount of traffic on the main road this village was fairly quiet. The problem was however the same as everywhere else. Not all places have reopened to the public yet.

The last leg home…

From Kurrajong we headed off the main road toward Wilberforce where there is one of those ‘living museums’. Basically an old pioneer town showing you how people used to live. Another one that was still closed! But definitely one for the future…

From Wilberforce it was a short drive along the Hawkesbury river bank to the small town of Windsor. The town is said to contain some of the oldest buildings in Australia. It was only a quick stop but we saw enough to know that the area warrants further exploration. By now the driver was tired and there was possibly less than two hours of daylight left. So we just went home…