Saturday, 24 October 2009

Catch up

I've been a bad blogger - failing to keep my vast audience updated with my adventures down under. Mea Culpa. Sorry.
So here's a quick catch up of the last few things we've been up to.

Trip to Northern beaches

Sydney is divided into those who like the Southern beaches - Bondi, Bronte and Coogee and those who like the Northern ones - Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Avalon & Palm Beach. Living smack bang in the middle of the city - we don't yet have a preference - especially as we had yet to visit the northern ones. Quite a few of my work colleagues live in on the northen beaches so we decided to see what all the fuss was about. A 20 minute drive took us over the Spit Bridge and along into Narrabeen, where we stopped for a coffee. After suitable refreshment we went for a stroll along the beach

It's a lot less touristy at Narrabeen and clearly popular with all the local surfers. Plenty to look at especially when they are stripping down out of their wetsuits!

We moved on from Narrabeen to Mona Vale - stopping along the way for Gus to photograph the coastline

This is the view over Warriewood beach towards Mona Vale.
And this is Mona Vale itself

There's a rugged beauty about this part of the coast that reminds me of North Wales where I spent a lot of my childhood. Unsuprisingly I quite liked these beaches, and I think we are northern beach converts.

And that has nothing to do with the hot surfers...

Hunter's Hill & Woolwich
I drive past the turn to Hunter's Hill every day on my way to work, so we decided to explore it last weekend. It was a sunny day (for a change!) We enjoyed a pleasant walk along the headland which took us to Woolich Dock. This used to be the main dry dock for Sydney and is still in operation - though the lock type mechanism for draining the dock as seen below is sadly no longer there.

We did get some great views of the Harbour. It was quite a windy day so the sailors were out in force.

Hunter's Hill Sailing Club was enjoying a race day, and we watched as all the yachts were launched and prepared for a day of competitive sailing.

These boats are far too small for me - I will only step foot on martime craft that are big enough to have a pool and people to serve me drinks.

Night Noodle

We finally made it to night noodle - this time there were no firemen needed. It all takes place in Hyde Park in the centre of Sydney. We got there about 6pm - and wow was it busy. Clearly the place to be for the post work crowd. We grabbed some food, and pounced on a table as it was being vacated. Our friends joined us , and we had a great evening - top Asian food and plenty of wine. And to finish it all off - coffee from Toby's Estate and some rather fab mini pancakes. It's a good job this in only an annual event - otherwise we'd be there every week.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

where there's smoke...

Tonight we were planning to go to the night noodle market. I left work early (ie 5pm) and took the motorway and bridge route home - paying the toll - so that I could get there quickly. As I got out of the car in the underground car park, I said aloud to myself - gosh there's a strong smell of burning. As I said that - the sirens started in the car park. I headed into the building, and the fire alarms were going there too. I decided not to take the lift (elevator) to our floor, and exited the building. I walked round to the front of the apartment block, expecting to see a crowd of evacuees. No one was there, and I was concerned about Gus. I entered the building and could see a lot of smoke in the hallway. Our neighbour was just opening her door to leave, and we commented on the strong smell and obvious smoke. By now I was quite worried as to why Gus was not on his way out. Entering our apartment, I saw Gus in the bedroom - and told him he needed to leave immediately. Why - he asked? Cos the alarms are going off and there's smoke in the hallway.

At this point he says....I wonder if that's because I've burnt something on the stove.....

I went into the kitchen and lo and behold - on top of the stove is a saucepan, with blackened contents.....apparently it was meant to be a caramel sauce.

We exit the building, and join all the other householders who are beginning to stream down the emergency staircases. By now there are three types of alarm going - the sirens in the car park, the alarm in the building, and then the external sirens for all the five apartment blocks in our complex. It sounds like WW3 has come to Sydney.

2 fire engines arrive and 12 firemen disembark.

In full gear. Hazmat suits. Oxygen cylinders. And axes.


At this point, Gus somewhat sheepishly has to approach one of the firemen and admit that it might be our apartment that is the source of the problem. He leads 12 firemen into the apartment. (Now that's a line I never thought I'd write about Gus!)

Wow - great apartment, they say. Before taking one look at the saucepan. At which point, 11 of them turn around and leave. The boss stays behind, to cool down the pan, and check that Gus is ok. He is.

I have my suspicions that if one of the hot fireman had asked this question,. Gus would have fainted into his arms.
The alarms are swiched off and the firemen leave.

The apartment stinks. We abandon plans to go to the night noodle market, and decide to air the flat instead.

Throughout all this, I have struggled to stop myself laughing. Poor Gus is in a right state. His face when the firemen arrived was a picture. Especially when they took his name and a note of the apartment number. At some point, he will see the funny side of all this.

Because I can hardly type for laughing.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Whatever the weather....

Be careful what you wish for......after the red dust coated the city, I'm sure all Sydneysiders were hoping for a bit of rain to wash it all away. Well our wishes came true - and then some. The last 10 days has seen atrocious weather - dramatic thunderstorms, lightning, strong gales, and a substantial quantity of rain. Last weekend was a holiday weekend and we had more rain over those three days than during the whole of August and September.

For the first time since arriving in Australia, we have spent quite a bit of time in the apartment. It was just too wet and cold to go out - especially as we had Gus' mum staying with us. We did venture out last week to the Pyrmont food market early on Sat morning - but a persistent drizzle drove us back home. I even brought the takeaway chorizo sausage & egg rolls back with us so we could breakfast in the dry.

This bout of bad weather has made me realise just how much I have been enjoying the outdoor Aussie lifestyle. Each weekend we have done something new or gone somewhere fun - and it's all been possible because the weather is ususally predictably good.

This changeable cold wet weather reminds me of home....sniff, sniff

Yesterday we took a chance and headed out to the food market over at The Entertainment Quarter. This was a part of Sydney neither of us had visited before, and it was quite good. It was a smallish food market - smaller than the Pyrmont one, but with quite interesting stalls. Lots of places serving takeaway food - from the standard breakfast rolls, to bbq chorizo, and a dim sum stall. As always, we picked up coffee from the ubiquitous Toby's Estate, and paired it with breakfast rolls. These didn't quite fill the spot, so we added some delicious pastries - a cherry one and an apricot one.

We picked up a few things for lunch - some fancy bread and fresh goats cheese. Not the cheapest of places to shop - $13 for 2 loaves! but it's only once a month. Whilst we were there, we found a shop called Bay Swiss - this is a homewares shop, part of the Freedom Group. Gus has been looking for some type of outdoor lamp - and they had one that matched our colour scheme - we are so on trend. Annoyingly they only had one left, so we had to go to the store in the city centre today to get another one - has to be a matching pair. Now we are all set for our candlelit dinner parties - just as soon as that rain stops.....