more oz

March 8, 2009

Sydney – Melbourne February 27th – March 8th

We left Sydney via Bondi Beach which was sheltering under a huge black cloud. We saw people fishing, jogging, doing tai chi, meditating, swimming, boarding and of course surfing. Two Buddhist monks sat in their saffron robes and focused on the waves. ..clearly keeping any more great white sharks at bay (except it didn’t…we read in the paper 3 days later that a 3rd attack took place!) There was an open air pool right next to the beach and waves crashed over and into it – why didn‘t we have time for me to go in there?

The drive down the coastal road was beautiful. Hyam‘s beach was an excellent stop…in the kind of light that makes the sand look even whiter, the sea look even more turquoise and the sky look even bigger and bluer.

Mollymock Beach was gorgeous (Billy Connolly has a house somewhere near…cost $1 million and a quarter and he comes here for about a week a year) but Pebbly Beach was superb… exciting drive down a dirt track led to a distinctly unpebbly beach renowned for kangaroos. We spotted forest, grass, rock pools, white sand and eventually friendly roos and even friendlier exotic birds. Eddie explored while I had another washing machine experience in the surf which had wilder and bigger breakers than Mollymock.

The coastal road took us 3 days through Gypsy Point, Mallacoota, Eden, Lakes Entrance….so many idyllic spots with beaches, lakes, fishing, boats, pelicans and glorious scenery. We met some very friendly people who are so proud of their country and especially of their own little piece of it.

We arrived in Melbourne to stay with my relatives. Maggie was my mam’s cousin and she and Derek came here in 1971. They have 4 sons – Heath lives in London and Maggie is visiting him at the moment. Taran works in Ceres, an environmental collective – it’s a fascinating place (great for school trips and learning about sustainability!). We went to his daughter’s 12th birthday party in a Japanese restaurant and met his children Riah and Liam for the first time.

Calan lives in the city and runs a community printing business which was really interesting (we have some clever and funny postcards and I‘m already ordering next year‘s Christmas cards!). He lent us his apartment so we have had 2 days of city living in a designer flat overlooking the sea and the city – the night time views are extraordinarily beautiful. Calan is thinking of letting the apartment to visitors so check him out if you are going to Melbourne because it is central, stylish and the swimming pool is so cool and has the most amazing view….

Jarret and Debbie and their son Hayden live near where the bush fires have been and as you can imagine, it has been very tough up there. We experienced just a little of the extreme weather with 33 degrees and the hottest, most fierce, most unpredictable wind I have ever felt – it certainly made us understand how the fires spread so dramatically but they’ve had several days of 46 degrees and these terrifying winds for weeks now.

Jarret and Debbie live in the most fantastic house with huge space inside and out, the most amazing bathroom taps (we had a competition to see who was quickest at working out how to use them!) parrots and kookaburras in the garden, turtle in the pond, Debbie’s mum makes fantastic food and Hayden is excellent at sport… and a ‘Groodle’ called Honey. A groodle is a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle which makes it a friendly and very smart dog…and she was…we plan to set up groodle breeding business when we return home.

Derek has been a tremendous host – we have eaten very well (lots from the garden) and it’s been lovely catching up with family news and old photos. He’s driven us all over the place and it’s not his fault that we didn’t win the pub quiz! Griff the dog is a character and has become very fond of us. Sarah has lent us her computer to do the blog and organise things and been delightful. We’ve had great book conversations and enjoyed her excellent vegan food.

We have also met Tim’s brother Steve and nephew Daniel and had a pleasantly alcoholic evening in the wonderful Dog‘s Bar in St. Kildas ( I apologise to them both unreservedly now…in my defence I had only eaten 2 slices of toast all day and that wine was spectacularly good!) they were lovely people and didn’t deserve to see me sozzled. We also caught up with Xris who we first met up with in Beijing – it was bizarre to discover that she lived right next to where Taran works and has probably met him already! It was brilliant to see her, she showed us round Williamstown and we had a thoroughly pleasant time watching the ships and boats and sharing a chocolate toblerone cheesecake of spectacular size and taste…..and on the way back we shared an earthquake!!! We didn’t actually feel it as we were on the train but it was an interesting end to a wonderful day.

So the weather has changed….33 one day, 19 degrees the next…and rain……we were back to fleeces and socks but pleased that the change will help the firefighters! We have skyped Paul and David and Ali (HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALI!) and the memory of David with his drinking hat on will sustain us for some time.

Off to New Zealand on 8th – very excited about meeting up with Rod and Gill. Internet access will be more difficult from the motor home but we will endeavour to share our Lord of the Rings experiences.

G’day cobbers!!!



One Response to “more oz”

  1. sue & chris Says:

    Hello both of you

    You’ll be in NZ by now. Enjoy all that space and beauty.

    Hope you’re cosy in your motor home.
    Much love

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