Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Coogee July

Six years ago we moved into our little flat in Coogee (on this exact same weekend in 2007). Maxie and Rod helped us move in that weekend with our VERY basic furniture - just enough for us to sleep, eat and sit down!

Over the past six years the only major thing we've done is to pay a lot of money to the two Nicks to properly paint every peeling, flaky surface (a big and expensive job) and employ the gorgeous Juan to do a lot of electricals (including new lights and ceiling fans). We've had carpet laid in the bedrooms and hung some beautiful art works (thank you Claire!), but nothing too major other than that.

We don't get to Coogee as much as we'd like - but when we do - it feels like home now!

Our bedroom is a good size, and very light and airy. Paint and carpet have made a big difference since that first weekend we slept here!

...although it still needs some art work on that blue wall.

We enjoyed our 6th anniversary long weekend in Coogee. Thomas and Phoebe stayed with us on Saturday night. We felt like Mum and Dad again as we waved them off to see the exhibition match (along with 83,000 other people) between Manchester United and the Australian All Stars at Homebush.

We heard all about the game over breakfast the next morning at Barzura's. Thomas and Phoebe spent the rest of their short stay walking to Bondi - where they were most excited to see the Man U team again training and glad handing on Bondi Beach, followed by a bit of shopping at the Junction.

We knew a little girl in Sydney (another family member) who celebrated a fifth birthday a week or so back, so we spent Sunday afternoon with her and the other ZACS, enjoying some hair related gift giving....

some quality time with Zoe and her beautiful blue eyed little brother.....

including a lively hour or so at Glebe's "red" playground........

and precious time for catching up with C & S who continue to do an amazing job of parenting these two gorgeous kids while both working in very demanding jobs in this hectic city.

By the time we left the ZACS we were so full of goodies from the wonderful Black Star Pastry in Australia Street Newtown (and C's handmade orange cake) that we couldn't fit in another thing until lunchtime the next day.

We found our way to the Northern beaches on Monday - 8 kilometres or so north of Manly, in fact, to Dee Why.

First stop was the beach front SeaChange Cafe because by now we were both quite hungry. This amazing plateful is the"Veg Out": Poached eggs with a kumara ‘n’ corn cous cous cake, wok fried veggies, eggs & rocket ‘n’ tomato toss (on sourdough). With the carrot, beetroot and ginger juice as a "side" I managed to replenish a few of fresh food vitamins that had been missing from my diet this weekend. We'd like this cafe to open a branch at Coogee please!

This was my first visit to Dee Why. It looked gorgeous today.

But the real reason we were over on the North shore was to meet up with a friend of mine. She's preparing work for an exhibition in September which she has asked me to "open". We spent an hour or so talking through all the work, clarifying  ideas, approaches, media and motives. There's some really intensive weeks of work ahead. I feel very privileged to have even a small part to play in the way it might come together.

The weekend ended with a really successful AGM for our Coogee Body Corporate last night at our unit. The best news is we have  OWNERS moving in (Greg and Liz) in the flat opposite ours.  We were astounded at what they paid for the unit - indicating to us that the Sydney real estate market is very healthy indeed. But what was the best news of all is that Greg is a BUILDER and seems a lovely sensible chap! Rob is over the moon to have someone else on the BC at last who is interested in all the technical building issues.

We're looking forward to more time in Coogee over the next six years.

Camera love 2

I have my Canon EOS back from its prolonged stay in critical care in Melbourne. Luckily I have some beautiful subjects (though not always willing) on which I can test my newly repaired camera.

I am going to use my new prime lens (EF50mm f/1.4) exclusively for a while so I can really test its (and my) capabilities

 So far I think it's working beautifully!

Family birthdays

There are a number of family members who celebrate their birthdays in July. Probably the most notable one this year is Granny K's on the 31st.  She'll be 99 years young! Ros was able to share in some family fun time in Canberra last weekend (13th & 14th July) so we organised a weekend of "events" worthy of this significant birthday for Mum.

We had a family dinner, a long lunch at our place on Saturday and a lovely Sunday breakfast at the Hyatt Hotel (a favourite of Mum's). The biggest thrill for Mum at the Hyatt was having Ollie choose the ingredients for her omelet and hand deliver the pastries he thought she'd like the best. She talked about that for days afterwards. Ollie is quite the charmer!

And we managed to squeeze in some  sister time (very sweetly shared by Rob and Rod): a visit to the Bus Depot Markets at Kingston and an afternoon movie session at Palace Electric. We were lucky enough to see "Mud" which we all thought was a brilliant film.

I think my sisters are looking very hip and happening, especially big sister Maxie with her new hair do and glasses!

Sunday, July 14, 2013


It's been years since we visited Tidbinbilla. We felt too upset to see the devastation caused by the January 2003 firestorm before this, even though I've had a few work related visits to nearby Birrigai in the intervening years.

We picked a beautiful winter day (sunny and around 15o max) last Thursday (yay for school holidays) to meet up with the kids at the Nature Discovery Playground, a short drive in from the Tidbinbilla Visitor's Centre.

It was a great opportunity too to hang out with Claire and Jodyfor a while - time to have a bit of a chat with a few extra adults around to keep a watch out for the daredevils in our group (namely Abi girl).

Ella has taught Abi to hold up one finger when you ask "how old are you?" We couldn't get her to do that today with the pressure of a much larger audience. She kept on insisting she was five (to everyone's cheers!)

In between testing out the slide, the climbing ropes and the flying fox with Ella and Ollie, Angus enjoyed being the photographer - taking lots of pics with Rob's camera.

....and finding some of the same limitations I had to work with over the past few weeks with my SLR out of action.

Mobs of Eastern Grey kangaroos have the run of the park - as do the wombats, emus, koalas and platypus(es).

After lunch (after the girls had left) we took the boys on the short walk up to Turkey Hill....

from where we could enjoy panoramic views of the valley below and those surrounding "blue hills"

.... and lots more kangaroos - looking very relaxed about us interrupting their serenity.

There are massive granite tors that appear to have been tossed randomly around this gently mounded hill by some ancient gi-normous force. The boys are instantly enthused by their size and their mysteries.

There's evidence of Aboriginal custodianship of this land for the past twenty odd thousand years. It is so easy to sense this ancient (and continuing) presence in this amazing environment. The boys are very aware of it too and start talking about and acting out ancient stories they've learnt about.

 Back at the playground the emus have arrived for their afternoon "show"....

 and this little fellow has learnt that humans can be an easy source of tucker. We groan when we see that the older gentleman and his child have (very kindly) given the boys some white bread to feed the kangaroo (very bad tucker for a kangaroo) but the moment is too sweet to spoil with our protests.