Friday 8 August 2014

More of Sydney

 SO, now I’ve got my head around the fact that Australia is ace, and stopped moaning about the lack of toilets in the UK (amongst  other things), we can get on with the holiday. 

Apart from the fact that Cleggy had to do some work.

Funny how the reason we are actually here seems to be a major pain in the butt and totally getting in the way of the fun!

Our  friends returned from their travels, so we moved out of their lovely house into a rental house about 15 minutes walk away – nearer Bondi.  It’s all mod cons here, electric everything, secret panels, sleek and swish (the beauty of staying in Winter is that it becomes affordable!)

But it doesn’t have an iron. 
Or wifi.

The first has presented a small problemo for me as my entire wardrobe is floaty, fat skimming linen. 
(yes, yes, I know the beauty of linen lies in it’s creasedness, but not when it’s SO creased it’s actually half the size, and what was a tent like top is now a crop top of of the 80’s)

Obviously it presents more of a problem for Cleggy, whose slightly quirky work wear of choice moves from geek chic to properly crazed professor in the blink of an un-ironed shirt.

After three days of looking like the Clampetts we secured a rubbish iron from the property agency..and now look like the Clampetts with a crap iron.

The wifi is a much bigger issue. The boys feel like they’ve lost their right arm (ie contact with their friends and You tube – which is , of course, good for them) 
I have lost the ability to actually get anywhere (how complicated is public transport in another country?) and the ability to let The Granny know we’re all ok and haven’t all been eaten by 
salt water crocodiles.  
The rumpus room with projector - revisiting all the old Pixar favourites
  Cleggy has lost the ability to know where in Australia he’s working and what arrangements (may) have been made to get him there. Curse these laid back Australian colleagues who 'plan' everything the day before!

HOW did anyone manage before the Internet??? (we planned our wedding in those difficult days of pen/paper and telephone…HOW?!)

Fortunately we’ve found enough gorgeous cafes with a free hour, albeit very, very slow.
Bondi Picnic has become a firm favourite

So far Cleggy has been to Melbourne, Brisbane and North Sydney. Not that he’s seen any of the above – just flew in and back out with a conference in between.

He’s also done ‘an evening with Alistair’ at a practitioners home…which we called ‘an intimate evening with Alistair’ and took the piss so much I think he had started to panic about what they actually expected!!
It seems to be going well and he's been asked back..yipppeeeee

The boys and I have tried to fill our days, but not have tooooo much fun without him. (It’s a fine balance)

We met our jet lagged mates at a café on the upstairs terrace of Icebergs (a Bondi institution on the south end of the beach) with wonderful views of the beach and the surfers braving the waves – it was a particularly gusty day!

We also walked to the North end – to a view point called Ben Buckler Point. The waves were huge and a good reminder of the force of nature. We also popped into the Bondi RSL  - another place with a proper view.

On the days Cleggy’s not working we’ve done some lovely day trips. One was to catch a ferry back in to Circular quay then on to Manly. 
It was listed in Time Out as one of the 10 best boat trips to take and didn’t disappoint. 
It’s the season to see whales just outside the harbour – but they didn’t show their faces this time.
The ferry takes half an hour and hugs the coast line to Manly – a laid back suburb about 11 miles North of the city.
Manly pool
Apparently the traditional tourist must do is have a glass of wine at the Manly Wharf hotel…
photo credit

...but since it was about 10 o’clock (never stopped us in France!!) and we had forgotten to apply suntan lotion we headed into the town.
And in Geordie's case straight into the his pants. 
It’s a truly lovely place – lots of cafes on the very pretty beach, friendly locals and lots of surf shops! Again the architecture fascinates me – colonial town halls, modern super homes and art deco buildings with a Miami pastel feel.
 We stopped at a cafe on the front for a Mexican lunch (happy boys)
 ...where Cleggy made the mistake of ordering a pimped up Corona. It looked amazing – salt lined rim, added Tabasco and lime.  How we chuckled  when he declared it tasted somewhat ‘meaty’. It did indeed taste of weak Bisto. 
Lesson learnt.
We had planned to get the ferry back into Sydney harbour for the sunset so only had a couple of hours to waste. The boys all wanted to shop but we opted instead for a walk along the coast to Shelly beach, taking in the views and spotting the sculptures on the route.

As always it was beautiful, dotted with cafes, plenty of toilets and drinking fountains, lovely views and at Shelly some BBQ’s where  yoooths were setting themselves up for an early evening feast.
a real life water dragon crossed our path!
More by luck than forward planning we got on the perfect ferry back for the sunset.

Amazing views of the sun going down behind the bridge, but pretty chilly. I had my feet up on the side and a scarf for the wind, others were (literally) in ski jackets and balaclavas. 

A couple of days later our lovely friends took us to Watsons Bay, a picturesque harbourside in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney,  with breathtaking views over the city. 
 We started at The Gap – a cliff top view point popular with tourists and those of a suicidal tendency (lots of signs with where to get help) before walking on to Camp cove and then round to Watson Bay itself.
photo credit
The houses here were very pretty (lots of wood) and many worth many millions. The huge modern state of the art ones were impressive, but I fell in love with the prettiness of these

And of course the filigree balconies of these:
The warmth of the evening light was magical - I totally fell in love with this place!
And you could still see the city!
(and sometimes Penguins, though not this time)
Having fish and chips at Doyles is another tourist must do, but it being winter, it was closing as we arrived so we got a great seat and a heater in the Beach Club for our fish and chips as the sun went down.
 With a couple of bottles of wine, natch.
It was great to properly catch up with Sara and Andrew – we haven’t seen them for three years so there was plenty to talk about!
Watsons Bay might be my favourite place in Sydney so far.
 On Sunday morning we left the boys in bed and popped down to one of the Bondi markets. Seriously, they could give the French markets I love so much a run for their money. 
The farmers market is on the Saturday – this Sunday one was full of artisan makers. Right up our street.
The shoppers were as interesting to look at as the stalls!
The next few days are a mixture of work and play (before moving North) – hopefully more of the latter.
Fee x


  1. wow again (boring comment, I know :-))
    And if you ever happen to visit Amsterdam, I'll have to think of rrrrreally cool places to go because your pics are totally ace!

  2. Beautiful photos and words to match.
    Anne xx

  3. What a wonderful time you are having!! xx

  4. Well!!!
    I've just discovered two blog posts!! I've been following instagram faithfully every day, with an occasional look at facebook, not realising I was missing the story!
    Thank you for a good Saturday evening read! Perfect with a glass or two of wine to toast the next week of your Australian adventure. (Don't know how Sue gets a mention! I'd better tell her she has shared a comment! ) Love all your pictures and comments too. xxxxx


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I LOVE reading your comments!
fee x