Infinity Pool – Revisited

At the end of 2016, I boldly declared my New Years resolution to be one which would see me spend time, lots of quality time in 2017 with a favourite little person, my niece, Ms R.

Time to revisit the infinity pool that featured in the 2014 12 Beaches of Christmas Campaign. For good reason….the delightful Ms R, attached to pool noodle, floated alongside me.

Infinity Pool and Beyond with Ms R

Infinity Pool and Beyond with Ms R – Beach Number Eight, 2017

 

At last I can report that I stuck to a New Years resolution.

All thanks to a feisty and determined little person who will not hesitate to ask for  kisses and cuddles and mangoes and chocolate ( in that order)

On this particular catch up, Ms R and I chewed the fat on how lucky she is to have a backyard swimming pool.

‘Nanny and Fa Fa ( Grandfather) don’t have a backyard swimming pool’

‘ I don’t have a backyard swimming pool’

‘ Do you have a backyard swimming pool Ms R?’

‘ Yep’

‘ Yes you do, and aren’t you lucky?’

‘Yep’

It was a conversation that lasted but 30 seconds but it was on point and it was factual. It made us both smile – we are indeed lucky, we get to share precious moments with each other immersed in crystal clear chlorinated water. A pool of our very own. A lifetime of swimming catch ups ahead of us!!

Photo credits to Fa Fa ( My Dad, Ms R’s Grandfather) – three heads and counting….

Two people, Three Heads - Infinity Pool

Two people, Three Heads – Infinity Pool

 

 

 

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Bar Beach

The sun was shining and I asked a Newcastle local, a council worker, if I was on the right track ‘ The coastal walk’- something I’d read about in a tourist information pamphlet.

His remark ‘ Never heard of that before love’!

I laughed and thanked him anyway – could not have asked for a better response.

I was walking the coastline – but according to locals, there was no official name for the journey.

I was walking in the direction of the Ocean Baths that came in at Beach Number 10 of the 12 Beaches of Christmas 2017- Merewether. The walk took me 2 hours and sites that greeted me along the way were breathtaking.

Memorial Walk - Newcastle, Looking South Towards Bar Beach

Memorial Walk – Newcastle, Looking South Towards Bar Beach

I did stumble across ‘ Memorial Walk’ – a 450 metre sign posted path, a tribute to the fallen men and women from the First World War. This part my stroll had spectacular views of the coastline – none prettier than Bar Beach.

One of my favourite Newcastle swimming spots, Bar Beach that conjures up special memories of being ‘ in town ‘ ( Newcastle) and hankering for a swim.

Never fear, Bar Beach is oh so near. In a matter of minutes you can go from hipster shopping on Darby street to ocean dip at Bar Beach.

Life is beautiful for Novocastrians.

Life is beautiful for those who visit her.

Bar Beach, Newcastle

Bar Beach, Newcastle

And perhaps my council work friend, who had never heard of Newcastle’s ‘ Coastal Walk’ eyes would have lit up if I had referred to the walk as the ‘ Bathers Way’ – the ‘offical’ name for the 6 km track linking Newcastle’s famous coastline stretch from Nobby’s Beach to Merewether Ocean Baths.

Some how I think he would still have remarked ‘ Never heard of that before love!’

Merewether Ocean Baths

The Australian Summer.

Early morning swims, coffee catch ups. Friends & family gatherings. BBQs, mojitos. Sunburn, sun cream and sand.

The familiar nighttime anthem – Cicadas serenading the moon.

Writing about aquatic adventures.

Does it get any better?

My adventure North of Sydney to Newcastle, revealed an abundance of salt water delights.

Take Merewether Ocean Baths.

Merewether Ocean Baths - view stretches for miles!!

Merewether Ocean Baths – view stretches for miles!!

Constructed in 1935, the Baths are the largest in NSW ( measuring 100m x 90m) And if that was not enough to lure you in, Mr Daniel Johns, former front man of the Australian band Silverchair, is a Merewether native (Be still my beating heart)

A place such as Merewether has but one religion, the ocean. You live and breath it.

Don’t feel that way inclined about the deep blue? Consider moving inland.

I’ve read the John’s struggled with this during his teen’s and early 20’s – he did not identify surf culture and that made things hard going. With the passing of time, and the international success that followed due to his other worldly musical ability, Merewether became a place of refuge. A place where he could simply be.

Yes, you can do that in Merewether.

Once you’re worked out who you are you can do that anywhere.

Given the choice, I’d choose to me by the ocean any day.

Merewether Ocean Baths - view stretches for miles!!

Merewether Ocean Baths – view stretches for miles!!

Bilgola Beach

The 11th Beach of Christmas is Bilgola Beach, Northern Beaches, Sydney.

I was lucky enough to be invited to spend Easter with a friend who was house sitting in this part of world. An exclusive coastal hamlet, bus travel was the transport option of choice on this occasion. Having sold the Honda 18 months prior, I am a seasoned professional at the NSW public transports system.

Arriving in Avalon, I was collected by car and driven to my weekend chalet.

Not before siting a favourite Rumi quote on the side of a local butcher shop. Yes, the Long Weekend was off to a marvellous start.

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It was to involve many beach swims, champagne sipping at the Newport Arms Hotel, easter egg eating, rest and relaxation.

The stand out beach swim took place at Bilgola Beach, 33 kms north-east of Sydney.

Bilgola Beach, Northern Beaches, Sydney

Bilgola Beach, Northern Beaches, Sydney

When you travel by bus, 33kms from central Sydney – you may as well have travelled to another country – so distinctly different is the Northern Beaches vibe.

Fewer high-rise building, less traffic, less inner city aggression. Instead an abundance of natural beauty, trees, birds, native flowers and vast open space. Unspoilt views of the ocean. An overall sense of peace and calmness that alludes the inner city.

The 2 hour bus trip did indeed induce a sense of time travel, the wheels on the bus went round and round and it took as eternity to arrive at my destination. But the  promise of paradise upon alighting the bus – made me resilient and strong.

As Rumi states : Set your life on Fire. Seek those who fan your flames’ – for me, Bilgola sustained me from April through to December this year. And I can’t wait to go back.

The Bogey Hole

The 12 Beaches of Christmas 2017 – let’s start this!!

In October I took myself to Newcastle, 2.5 hours North of Sydney. I caught the train, the return trip costing $9.00.

I’m happiest when by the sea, and Newcastle reminds me of were I grew up as a child.With the passing of time and the luxury of hindsight you realise how lucky you have been, if as a child, the ocean formed part of your backyard.

Newcastle, you feel like coming home.  There is a sense of the familiar as you stroll the streets, the smell of sea salt in the air. Peaceful walks along seemingly endless strips of golden sand, waves lapping feet.

Family holidays as a child from the South Coast, were always water based, and involved driving further South! Moving to Sydney some 14 years ago, means that holidays remain water based….but I’ve started going further North.

The 12 Beach of Christmas is the iconic ‘Bogey Hole’ swimming hole, Newcastle.

The Bogey Hole, Newcastle

The Bogey Hole, Newcastle

I discovered this gem on day three of the holiday. Day three the wind howled, the sky was moody, the sea was angry.

But the beauty of the Bogey Hole, though dark and moody, yes ever present.

An ocean pool hand carved into the rock platform by convicts, commissioned in 1819 for the sole use of Commissioner James Morrisett.

Wow and Wow.

On day three I had stumbled upon this place by chance. I had been searching for it the day before, when the sun shone down in full force, sweat was dripping from my brow. I had walked the entirety of Newcastles coast line. In vain.

And in the drizzle and rain of the next day – there she was, in all her glory.

A true Christmas Miracle – in October no less!!

The Bogey Hole, Newcastle

The Bogey Hole, Newcastle

Sydney is a tiny village

Sydney

Sydney

Out for a stroll on Thursday, the sun was shining, I had a spring in my step. Catching up with an old work colleague. A lunch time date two years in the making – good conversation guaranteed.

But little did I know that it was pre and post lunch conversation that would add additional colour my day. Sydney is but a tiny village I concluded as I closed my apartment door on my return home. My walk through Waterloo, Redfern, Chippendale, Darlington and Glebe and then back again, a 6km round trip, included conversations with 4 ‘ Locals’/ ‘Friends’/’ Sydney siders’. It gave my home town with a population of 5.57 million a village feel. It made me feel very, very happy.

There was the film maker and part-time academic to chat to on Redfern Street, my yoga teacher at the train station, yet another former colleague on Abercrombie Street,on his way to pick up a Dominos pizza for lunch, cutting our time to chat short, and lastly a yoga friend post class.

And over the planned lunch date at Redfern favourite, Scouts Honour, a perfect meal paired with 1.5 hours of chit-chat.

These five encounters left me feeling a little smug, of the ‘ I can do this city living thing, my home town does encourage connectivity and chance meetings’ variety.

Sydney is but a tiny village…..You just have to step outside, take a look around with a curiouslity as to what might be. In a city, population 5.57 million, connectivity is a must and chance encounters are just the best.

Who knew that going to a short stroll could be worthy of a blog post!!

 

Alaska

To my niece Alaska

I wondered how to capture what I felt when I heard of your arrival into the world and it came to me through song.

Last week I found myself at Waterloo Library, for no particular reason, perusing CD titles to borrow. I chanced upon Triple J’s Hottest 100 2017, skimming the contents there it was, your song ‘ Alaska ‘ by Maggie Rogers.

Fast forward, and I get round to researching this tune on youtube. As I listened it sounded vaguely familiar so I dug a little deeper.

I had heard it before.

A masterclass at New York University in early 2016, Pharrell Williams critiquing the work of aspiring musicians. Maggie’s piece for the workshop is her song’ Alaska’.

The song is played, it is perfection.

Mr William’s critique ‘ I have zero, zero, zero notes for that ‘ ‘Your doing your own thing’ ‘ It’s singular, you could not compare it to anything else. And that is such a special quality’

Alaska, just like this melody, you are a sight to behold. You are perfection. Nothing needs to change. I would never have guessed your name, but now you are here, you could not be anyone else.

Like Maggie’s tune and Pharrell’s reaction to it, you have captured wide and loving audience.

I look forward to watching you grow, learn, play, laugh and love.

You journey will be unique, you will dance to your own beat and there will be countless loving eyes watching on as you do.

Compassion – A breakfast lecture

CreativeMornings, Sydney : Friday 29th of September.

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Creative What?

CreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. They’re free, monthly events that feature a short talk, Q+A and breakfast. CreativeMornings started in NYC in 2008 and has since grown to over 100 cities all over the world. The local chapters not only celebrate a city’s creative talent but also promote an open space to connect with like-minded people. CreativeMornings happen one Friday a month from 8:30am to 10am ( taken directly from CM website)

So I happened to find myself in the right place at the right time to attend CM’s breakfast lecture on compassion. The lecture was to be given by Mr Edo Kahn, Co-Founder of A Sound Life, an organisation providing free music therapy, yoga and meditation to the needy.

Edo speaks from the heart, he speaks with conviction, he exudes compassion.

A story of love and loss, purpose and passion.

A story upon hearing, one would be willing to forgive the central character for giving up on life, shutting the door to love and retreating within.

Yet compassion, first and foremost for himself, has been Edo’s guiding force. Its healing qualities have enabled him to withstand life’s storms, and to continue to give , ever so graciously, to those around him in endless supply.

Through song, through the spoken word, through video snippets, the audience was gifted with insight into the importance of living purposefully.

Like us all, Edo admitted to days when anger or frustration take hold. When nerves arise or when decisions don’t come easily. And at such times, compassion, self compassion, is key.

Thank you Edo, thank you CreativeMornings Sydney. I was in the right place and the right time and I was open to listening to ideas I’m certain have fallen on deaf ears in the past!

Compassion, first and foremost for yourself, will sooth and comfort. It has a freeing quality, enabling you to navigate the trials and tribulations of daily life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A breakfast lecture in Redfern Sydney.

Forever Flora

16730519_10158248979040383_4884608599785778706_nWas. Is. Always will be.

  • Millie. Flora. Christine
  • Alice
  • Flo, Flowie, Fleur, Flea-ra
  • Flosomely
  • Florence
  • Lamington . Lamington Boyle
  • Lamball. Lamball Jones
  • Lamb
  • Flora Boyle
  • Flora

For 10 years Flora was by my side. Through thick fog and sunshine and rainbows.

A beauty of a feline who willingly offered up a number of her nine lives, to ensure we experienced the full gauntlet of life together.

  • Auto- immune disease – Tick
  • Depressive episodes – Tick
  • Insomnia – Tick
  • Idiosynchratic tendencies – Tick

And that was just the fun stuff!

We moved house together, from house – share to solo living and back to house-share. Six moves in ten years.  And our regular trips to the South Coast, and the countless times you took up residency in Austinmer whilst I forged a truly solo existence in Sydney.

Yet we were never apart for too long. It was too hard on heart-strings.

Saying good-bye to you forever last month hurt. It still does and will for some time.

I was there with you to the end and I thanked you for all you did for me during our friendship. I count you among those responsible for delivering me to the happiest place I have ever been in , well, forever.

We both knew it was your time to go. You were tired, and I don’t blame you.

Your going to be a hard act to follow Flora.

And for that reason I’m not looking for a replacement.

You were one in a million.

Thank you for choosing me to be your pet parent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ode to Katy Steele

Sydney Fringe Festival 2017 Delight - Conversation with Katy

Sydney Fringe Festival 2017 Delight – Conversation with Katy

It was my brother who introduced me to the Sleepy Jackson.

My brother was cool. I was not. It was 2005.

It started an appreciation of all things Steele. A musical education indeed.

I discovered Little Birdy on my own. Though the band had long split, their musical catalogue would enthrall and inspire till present day.

There was one stand out instrument that appeared on each album, each track, cementing me as a forever fan. Forget the talent exuded from guitars, drums, percussion instruments – it was THAT voice, Katy’s voice.

I was hooked.

In 2014 I saw Katy Steele perform solo at the Basement, Sydney. The ticket set me back $25.00. That same month I parted with $165.00 to see Katy Perry.

The $25.00 ticket to this day remains one of my musical highlights – the collective spirit that wrapt concert goers that late October evening was priceless. A full choir joined Katy on the stage, and she drew the crowd in with her energy, her passion, her presence and THAT voice.

Fast forward to Sunday just passed, and I’m on the edge of my seat in a small theatre in Newtown.  As part of the Sydney Fringe Festival, 2017 Katy is in conversation with APRA AMCOS, an organisation supporting songwriters, composers and music publishers.

It is an intimate affair, an audience of 30, a videographer, a photographer, an interviewer and Ms Steele.

The interviewer tells the audience Katy is nervous. Katy confirms this – I am taken aback. But this disclosure humanises my idol. I relax into the afternoon.

We are treated to rare glimpse of the struggle of the creative spirit and the critical mind, the beauty of connecting with your craft and the importance of staying true to yourself.

Thank you Katy. I was fence-sitting as to whether to attend this event. For no particular reason. But I am so glad I did.

In that 1 hour conversation on Sunday afternoon, you reminded that sharing ones unique gift, tapping into the essence of individuality, makes the world a better place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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