Saturday, July 28, 2007

Waking up at Coogee

The apartment felt like home arriving on Friday night after the (just over) 3 hour drive from Canberra. We loved waking up Saturday to a perfect Coogee morning. A cup of tea as we watched a perfect sunrise over the Pacific Ocean from our living room window, then one hour of walking: down to the beach then heading north around beautiful Gordons Bay, admiring the sparkling clear morning light and the ocean like a turquoise millpond sending tiny rivulet waves onto the raked clean beach. Stopped off on the way home for a big coffee from Coogee Bite, the Sydney Morning Herald and the best bircher muesli from Melonhead on Coogee Bay Road. I thought I was in heaven sitting back at our east window enjoying our purchases and my view of life in Coogee.
We found this amazing picture from the 1890s through a link on the Randwick Library website. It is view north to Bondi Junction from the top of Carrington Road. The first crosswise street is Coogee Bay Road, so our apartment block has been constructed on the left, this side of the intersection (in the late 1920s we think, 30-40 years after this picture). The big Victorian mansion that you can see on the right, this side of the first intersection is still standing (virtually opposite our window) as is the house opposite it across Coogee Bay Road.

Rob spent the rest of Saturday morning doing the home handyman thing, getting everything in the apartment the way he likes things (now nothing is falling apart!). Our lovely locksmith from Maroubra rekeyed all our locks for us, including the one on our brand new back door which was replaced during the week. While Rob worked hard I walked up to Randwick village and found some shops. I was very pleased with my gift buying with all the August birthdays coming up!

We left Coogee as late as we could Saturday, stopping off at the Golden Unicorn at Maroubra Junction for a sensational yum cha lunch, although the ambience left a bit to be desired as we only arrived at about 2.40pm, in the last 20 minutes of the lunch session, so we finished off our delicious dumplings and salty squid in an empty restaurant save for the workers all seated around a table wolfing down their after work bowls of noodles. We will go back to the Golden Unicorn and give it another chance to show its stuff!

Sunday morning back in Canberra, up early then over to see the beautiful Ella (10 weeks old tomorrow) and take Nellie the beagle for a long walk.

I created this picture from a photo of Josh at 8 and a half weeks. I think there is a touch of Ella there around the eyes!

Jody and her beloved Mummy make a beautiful pair. You can see their colouring is very similar although Ella's eyes are a darker blue at this stage and her hair is more dark brown than black. Ella may be a bit of a hair girl as she already loves having her hair brushed, curled, rubbed and styled. We all agree that coral-red is her colour!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ella at 8 (weeks)

Last week was a big week for baby Ella. As well as being 8 weeks old (on Monday 16 July) she was weighed by J&J's GP. She is now 6.2kg, a gain of 1.1kg since her birth weight of 5.1kg. As well as being weighed she also had to endure her first round of immunizations. J&J noted she seemed to develop a cold very soon after. Unfortunately this has spoilt her formerly excellent night time sleeping habits. To us she seems to be getting more and more gorgeous each time we see her. She has a dazzling smile which she is very generous with.

Josh has had a big smile on his face too after becoming the proud owner of a go-kart. After getting his P plate license last week he spent the day racing it today on Canberra's go-kart track. He was thrilled with its performance particularly after he ironed out a small problem with the "tube feeder thing" (my words).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Moving in

Friday 20 July was a big day for us. We loaded up the Thrifty HiAce Van with mattresses, tables, chairs and other household effects, drove up to Sydney, hauled it all up three flights of stairs and spent our first night as the proud owners of our Coogee apartment. M & R provided great back up and reduced the number of stairs hauled in the process by at least 50%. Finally settled in by late afternoon we celebrated with a glass of fine red (notable for its soft tannins).
It was exciting to be able to walk up to Avoca St Randwick in the balmy, winter, early evening air and further celebrate our efforts with an Indonesian meal at our favourite "Jimbarin" restaurant. Our first night at the apartment was notable for the unaccustomed sound of traffic (for M&R in the front sunroom) and being woken just after 6.00am by the big jets coming into land at Sydney airport as the curfew finished!
Today we were able to add some refinements as our bed was delivered, and our (bargain) fridge which had to be manually lifted up the three flights of stairs by the burly Samoan/Maori delivery guys (trolleys no good twisting big tall objects around the landings on each flight).

We met our neighbours this morning, Andrea and Giordano (with an Italian accent). They are young and very sweet. They have lived in the apartment opposite us for over a year. They said it was a beautiful place to live. We think it will be too!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Coff's Harbour is not a beach

We've just had 3 great days with Ros and Pete (and Josie) on the "Coff's Coast". They rent a house at Emerald Beach, a stylish coastal village about 20 minutes north of Coff's Harbour and about 10 minutes south of Woolgoolga (Woopi). Ros and Pete are great hosts and our 3 days went quickly, sight seeing, eating great meals, lots of beach and headland walks and a chance for us to see their block of land at Sandy Beach (5 minutes further north of Emerald Beach) and all the plans for the beautiful house they are building (starting soon hopefully).

I learnt many things over the three days, never having spent any time in this region before. The main one being that Coff's Harbour is a harbour (duh) and therefore mainly appeals to boaties and fishermen. It is the beaches around the harbour that attract holiday makers and sea changers (like Ros & Pete). The coastline is beautiful-long stretches of clean, sandy beaches broken by rocky headlands and off shore islands most of which are protected as reserves and marine parks.
This is a shot taken at Sandy Beach looking south to Moonee and Emerald beaches.
These shots were taken Saturday afternoon walking around the beautiful headland at the southern end of Sandy Beach.

Pete does a lot of contemplating of the waves.

There was a great break at Sandy Beach that afternoon, protected from the cold southerly.

It was great to visit Bellingen on Friday. We loved the famous Hammond & Wheatley Emporium building-especially when Rob was able to find a pair of Naot shoes that he liked.

Lunch at the (Israeli) Mouza Restaurant in Bellingen was amazing - best cafe we've eaten at in a long time.

Ros and I ordered the same most amazing dish - stuffed vegetables basically, but amazingly delicious.

It was a fine dining experience the whole weekend. Room 101 at Emerald Beach on Friday night (sashimi oysters and duck for me with a degustation dessert platter) and Saltwater on the beach (at Emerald Beach again) on Saturday night (bugtails and gnochi and spatchcock for me). Cafes at Sawtell (Barrel) and Woolgoolga also benefited by our custom - all serving great food in really interesting settings.

I had to get a shot of Ros & Pete's ocean view from their block of land at Sandy Beach. I sort of got it - but their verandah will be much higher up! They are only about 200mts from the beach.

Thank you Ros & Pete for your great hospitality. You both seem very happy building your new life together. We were incredibly envious of your early morning beach walks and swim. We've decided to restart our early morning walks around the boring old Circuit after the good habits you started to get us into.

The house was very cold to return to on Monday evening; only 8oC. It took hours to crank the heating up to a bearable temperature. It had been the coldest day all year in Canberra, although we hadn't found the the Coff's Coast particularly warm either.
Check out the link to Joel's new is stunning..he is the man!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Winter joy

Rain continues to fall, snow is dusted over the nearby peaks of the Brindabellas, our dams are at just under 40% capacity (up nearly 10% since Autumn) and it is wintry bleak and cold outside. I am so happy because I have started a two week break from school (on light duties only - not the 11-12 hour days I usually put in) and Rob and I got news this week that our tenants are moving out of the Coogee apartment on 19 July. Woohoo....we intend to start moving in straight away! We escalated our shopping frenzy this weekend, ordering mattresses, a sofa bed and a fridge, taking advantage of the mid year sales.

Rob and I made time to see an advance screening of La Vie en Rose yesterday afternoon at Dendy. We were both crying buckets by the end, it was so gut wrenching and engaging. Back at home I got out my original Edith Piaf LP from the seventies and have been playing it ever since. "What a set of lungs, what a tragic life!" We spread out my map of Paris and tried to imagine early 20th century Belleville and made a vow to find the corner where Rue Toyon and Avenue McMahon meet, where Papa Louis Leplee (dear old Gerard Dipsy Do (Depardieu)) discovers her at age 20.

Claire and the boys spent the morning with us on Sunday. Olay was happy following the usual routines: guitar playing, train winding, car collecting, block building, bird feeding, boy time with Rob. Goosey spent the morning being especially cute and cuddly. We checked out the last 15 minutes of the Phillip fresh food market and found enough odds and ends to make an interesting light lunch.

Rob was full of Ella smile stories from his early morning Nellie walking visit. I was lucky enough to get my first beautiful smiles this afternoon when Ella graciously interrupted her late afternoon feed to socialise with me for a while. She has a beautiful wide smile which lights up her amazingly expressive face

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Claire's birthday

First day of July, cold grey Canberra winter day with a light shower of rain late afternoon, building on the good rain over the past week. The perfect afternoon to enjoy the rich creamy quiches from the Chapman French Patisserie (the bourdin blanc cooked in truffle oil is a treat) and the death by chocolate cake (Moulin Rouge) to celebrate Claire's birthday on 2 July. Some great big rich reds and a chardy or two helped to balance the richness. C & J have hung the new Ningura Napurrula painting - what a knockout; it shimmers and jumps all over the wall it has so much energy.

Ella was a picture in her killer red Oshkosh duds but I couldn't get her to smile for me like Rob was able to earlier in the day. Jody looks a million dollars in her sleek new haircut - a new style for her, with incredible WOW factor. Olay can't wait for his jungle party in 6 weeks time - he has the outfit, the tail, the movements, the sound effects. We hope the costume lasts the distance.

Claire, M & I saw the Bangarra Dance Theatre company perform last night at a packed Canberra Theatre Centre. Their performance was mesmerising, powerful and beautiful - the first piece drawing on traditional Torres St Island stories and the second piece about the impact of the Maralinga atomic testing.

J & E brought their new Subaru WRX along, which the boys were very interested in. It is fair to say the girls were more interested in the delicious Middle East inspired pastries which E had made for us. Thank you E!

Rob & I are continuing to pick up things for the Coogee apartment in the mid year sales. We now have 2 single beds, all the bedding and new towels - almost enough for our first night at 8/85. Makes it seem a lot closer to the time we will be able to move in!

My last week of term this week. Another huge one.

It has been great to keep in touch with Davey travelling north west over the planet through his wonderful blog. Our thoughts are with you Dayv!