The Golden Arches of Waterloo

There has not been a post for over 3 months.

So the time has come to hit the keys once more, and what better way to do that than declaration of love and devotion to the children of my friends and most importantly my two cherub nieces ‘ There’s a Mc Donald’s on my street!!’

This 6 words are enough to stop a overactive 4 year old dead in their tracks, sooth the distressed cries of a near 2 year old.

‘ What did you say?’ I hear Ms R asking.

‘ There’s a McDonald on my street!’

And I’ve photos to prove it.

Its not at the attractive end of town and I admit I have never eaten their myself but I want to! And I want Ms 4 and Ms nearly 2 to accompany me.

No rush, but in the not to distant future I’d love to eat a happy meal with my favourite little people.

And then there is Ms 8, Ms 4 and Master 1, Master 7 and Ms 6, Master 4 and Master 2….on and on the roll call goes. So many Mc Chickens and 30c cones to devour in our combined futures.

As the slogan goes ‘ I’m loving it’ – a shout to to parents who want down time ( for a limited time!!) – drop the kids off to me and we will go to the ‘ Mc Donald’s on my street’ – the stuff dreams are made of.

Sydney is a tiny village



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!!


Inner City Living

Today I feel a little more in love with Sydney.

Having recently moved, to what may or may not be my final resting place in the big smoke, I am starting to adjust to my new surrounds.

In all my time as a renter in the city I have always lived in houses, in quiet residential areas with great access to the CBD, always had a garden of sorts, ample street parking for a car and the ability to be beach side in under 20 minutes ( if you left the house at 7am)

It is new for me in live in an apartment, inner city living, constant traffic. I can no longer walk out my front door and feel the earth beneath my feet. Now I walk out the front door, into a lift, ascending four floors before I can be truly grounded.

And within the four walls of my apartment, my life is compact. Everything is shiny and new. The odds and ends that survived the constant move – unpack – eviction – repack – relocate cycle that was my life for 12 years, did not cut the mustard upon unpacking THIS time.

A total overhaul, long over due, much longed for.

It has not been love at first sight by any means, but every time I discover a new convenience that is inner city apartment living, I thank my lucky star that I took this leap of faith back in 2014 and entered the property market.

So why all the gushing today? I discovered the 355 bus, which departs a mere 5 minutes walk from my building, and travels from East to Inner West – joining my favourite parts of the City of Sydney.

I drank an almond piccolo in Eskineville, I shopped at my favourite book store and health food shop on King Street, Newtown. I indulged in some people watching and window shopping, all the while reminiscing about my life as a renter in the part of the city. Fond memories.

So life as an inner city apartment dweller….so far so good.

Each day it gets a little better, deep breathing helps. Change is good, and I am happy with the direction I am headed. This time on foot,public transport, Uber.

The car was sold last year…inner city apartment living does not come with a car space.

But that is just how I like it!!

A place to call home

That view..without big boat

Having lived away from Sydney for the last 4 months- I find each time I return, a sense of disconnect prevails.
Whilst it may not be the Amalfi Coast or French Riviera, there is lavish beauty, opulence and excess to be seen on every corner. It is simply inescapable.
It is a city on heat, a city that is conscious of its good looks and always up for an opportunity to flaunt them.Perhaps I had to retreat South for while to finally see the city in this light- for it had been my home for 14 years & I was seemingly blindsided by its vanity.

In a matter of weeks I will be back ‘ home’ & I’m not sure how I feel about it. If I’m honest, the town I grew up in, Austinmer & surrounding suburbs, has gone though a transformation of its own, and now resembles Byron Bay & the Hipster invasion of the ‘ almond piccolo lattes with a side of kale’ kind.
So I guess I feel a sense of disconnect…. in general.

But beneath the beauty and buzz of Sydney and the South Coast is the ‘ in your face’ awareness of personal suffering, sadness, struggle & hardship. It too is inescapable. Not everyone is ok, not everything is all glitter and light. With both eyes open I am painfully aware of this.

My desire to foster a sense of belonging where ever my ‘home’ may be comes with a sense of social obligation to extend a sense of belonging to those within my local community, and beyond. Everyone has a right to feel safe and loved, a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, a sense of security, a sense of home.




Rent Rent Rent

The monopoly board of rental properties in the city of Sydney.

12 years paying weekly sums of my wage towards someone else’s mortgage or investment property

  • Summer Hill
  • Petersham
  • Leichhardt
  • Lilyfield
  • North Randwick
  • Erskineville
  • Camperdown

Shared and solo living

Flora the cat

Mould, cold, flea infestations and make shift solutions to lawn mowing, window cleaning and house improvements

Fabulous flatmate friendships and meals shared over daggy reality television finals of the Bachelor and Farmer Wants a Wife

House and neighbourhood parties, dinners alone & with Flora

Each Sydney Suburb I have loved –Each move prompting me to declare I could never love a Sydney Suburb more.

And as I prepare to pack up my belonging in Camperdown – my personal favourite– I got chatting to a local lady, estimated age 80 +, who joined me in praise for my current ‘hood.

‘Everything here, so easy. I walk to the shops. I walk to the park. No need for change’

I agreed with her whole heartedly.

‘ When I change, I will go to the cemetery! ’

I laughed….’ That too is close!’

Shared laughter

Will it be possible to love another Sydney suburb more?

My track record suggests YES…..but it tugs at my heart-strings to say goodbye to yet another Sydney community I have come to LOVE.

Onwards and Upwards…..

Change is on the horizon!

City 2 Surf 2013, 11th of August : Sydney CBD to Bondi

I have entered myself in the City 2 Surf, the LARGEST timed road race in the world!!

In two weeks’ time, on Sunday the 11th of August, I will run, walk and or crawl, with all 85,000 other entrants from Sydney CBD to Bondi Beach.

I have mixed emotions about the whole thing, but having been training one day a week with a personal trainer since March…I was questioning what I was going to do with my new level of fitness.

The answer?  A fun run

And I am running for charity. I have not mentioned this not for profit organisation in my blog writing before for fear that if I mentioned it I would not be able to stop.

Check it out via clicking below:

Sydney Story Factory

 The Sydney Story Factory is located in  Redfern Sydney, a not for profit creative writing centre which sole purpose is to encourage children to write.

Trained volunteers (of which I am one) offer free help to children write stories of all kinds. Programs target marginalised young people, and those from Indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds, but are open to everyone.

I won’t go on…I vow to write more about the Story Factory in other blog entries…but I mention it as it is the charity I have chosen to dedicate my City 2 Surf run to…And YOU can sponsor me!!

I am running with the staff from publishing house ‘Random House’, with all monies raised going to the Sydney Story Factory.

To sponsor me, simply click on the link below.

Then you type in Random House and donate next to that name.

Thank you in advance, pray for me on the 11th of August and please check out the Sydney Story Factory (it will change your life, as it did mine!!)

CUWAM- Temporary Beauty

Sydney- a city of villages…one of the promotional catch cries that have been applied to my home town in the last two years…

And on Saturday morning  I embraced this village concept with gusto…driving to Bondi for a early morning coffee at hipster hangout: Bondi Picnic….then to the inner west, via the back streets of Surry Hills, Redfern, Darlington where café culture is alive and well, tables decorated the sidewalks, steam from hot coffee danced above the breakfast patrons…People emerging from the Eveleigh Farmers Markets with fresh produce I worried would be left to rot in fridge!!

Destination Newtown, and parking the car near Sydney University, I paused momentarily at the activity unfolding on the University sport grounds…soccer and league matches were in full swing…. Me, I just wanted to continue my slow graze approach to breakfast…

A pastry from Luxe bakery on Missenden Road was found to be  underwhelming…the croissant I am certain was more than 1 day old. A quick browse at Berkelow Bookshop and then the car journey home, along Cleveland street, Surry Hills…traffic was bumper to bumper, and as I gazed out my car window I began to wish I had my camera with me.

Home by Midday…inspired by the city sites, I changed transport modes, and hopped on a bus bound for Surry Hills.

Café Nookie on Cleveland Street, a hole in the wall coffee hang out…literally….A door, from which behind it stands a lone barista serving coffee…The coffee is good, the service cheery….and the café blackboard is always entertaining, providing chalk drawing commentary on current affairs, the controversial, the topical, the humorous…

And the picture that caught my eye on Saturday, was a childlike sketch of the characters from the wonderful children’s book ‘ Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak, who passed away on the 8th of May.

It was a beautiful drawing, the boy Max, and two of the ‘Wild Things’ standing at a single gravesite, paying respects to their creator. The sun shone overhead, a sign of hope, that their sorrow and grief would pass.

From first glance from my car…I knew I had to capture this image on film..

Between the time I first saw the picture, to the time it took me complete the drive home, gather by gear and catch a bus back to the city…I truly wondered whether I would indeed be able to capture this image on film….If the drawing had been erased by the time I got back to the café, it would live on only in my memory, and over time, perhaps I would even question whether it had ever really been there, was it imagined?

As I rushed back into the city, I came to realise that it was the temporary nature of this drawing that was its true was beauty….Its job was done the moment I spotted it from my car window, for it transported back in time, to my childhood, to Sendak’s story of  the power and importance of imagination,  happy memories….

Whether it was there on my return was irrelevant…the drawing had worked its magic

Upon return….the image remained …pure luck…which means that I get to share it with you.

I hope you enjoy

CUWAM- Mission Accomplished

All events this week were overshadowed by a single phone call….

‘The ring you had on order has arrived in store’

Time stood still…till I arrived at Tiffany’s and Co on Saturday morning…..

One might say it was lucky that this phone call arrived via mobile on Friday afternoon…for the working week required 99.73% of my attention.

The office focus was our annual International Exchange Fair, where partner universities from around the globe, send representatives to promote the benefits of studying overseas….It was a full on…and I was consumed by the event from Monday through to Wednesday….when I wasn’t awake living and breathing exchange, I was asleep dreaming about it…

Thursday came, and I could breath again….small breaths, in and out…I went shopping for socks and stocking and Target in my lunch break…….still in post-exchange fair recovery mode…only capable of amounts of joy….

And then Friday….a phone call…a mood change…and a new focus.

The little silver bow ring from Tiffany’s and Co that I had fallen in love with in New York city 8 months ago had made its way to the Sydney store…

When in New York, the jewellery focus has been on my friend Jenny, I was buying her a replacement necklace, the original piece had been lost….I had entertained the idea of purchasing myself a piece of silver …the silver ring had graced the middle finger of my left hand for a matter of seconds…and then been returned to the display cabinet….

Five months later, back in Sydney, and pining for the ‘ Big Apple’ it seemed to me that the little bow ring would elevate my mood…I just had to have it.

With the Australian Dollar so strong and with a family friend and cousin venturing to the States on separate holidays…I handed over instructions and payment plans in the hope that they would return to OZ bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and Tiffany jewellery.

Days, weeks, months passed…

Holidays started and ended….

And still the ring was not with its rightful owner…

Two tour of duties of the States had failed to locate a size 7 bow ring….I took matters into my own fingers….logic suggested I place an order for my specific size, in Sydney…

And that is what I did…and the ring is now mine

The ring is mine

The ring is mine

And it would not be a complete post without a song to commemorate this momentous occasion…So a duet, the King, Michael Jackson and Sir Paul McCartney ‘ The Girl is Mine’…when they say ‘ Girl ‘ insert ‘ Ring’…

So go forth and listen to ‘ The Ring is Mine’….oh, and I need to mention that I now have my sights set on a pair of Prada sunglasses? That in itself is another story!!

Whilst the ring acquisition overshadowed most events this week, it was closely rivalled by seeing Bic Runga and her band in concert at the Angel Place Recital Hall, Sydney on Saturday night.

It was inspiring to be in the audience on Saturday evening for on stage, was a women, born to entertain, to tell her story through the medium of music, voice.

Bic Runga’s lyrics captivate, her voice soars….effortlessly her music filled the concert hall….The audience tapped their feet, their hands, anything that the seating venue permitted!!, rested their head on the shoulders of love one when the tempo slowed down…

It was over all to soon… before I knew it I was back on the bus home…but happier, lighter, accompanied by a sweet melody that played over and over in my head…that and the fact that on my left middle finger was a bow, a little silver present to myself!!

Sunday…ah, the joy of Sunday…Inspired by Bic Runga, I dusted of her first album ‘ Drive’…got in my car and headed to Bondi Beach….The sun shone winter is seemed had arrived unannounced, the sea was being whipped by a strong icy wind, autumn leaves danced up and down streets…

I had a coffee at Café of the moment, Bondi Picnic, and then went grocery shopping.

Home by 11am I took part in my own personal cook-off….the rules…to make as many home style dishes whilst using as many kitchen utensils possible.

Two hours later I had one spinach and feta quiche, one batch of pumpkin soup and 24 Anzac biscuits….and as the photos suggest, I was successfully completed part two of the challenge, using every bowl, pot and knife I own!!

And as a result the remainder of Sunday was spent….washing up…

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CUWAM- Sunrise,Sunset

The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things. Henry Ward Beecher

Common things : the rise and fall each day of the biggest star in our solar system : the sun.

Sydney has not seen much of this perfectly spehrical ball of plasma over the past few months…Our summer was one of grey skys, thunder storms and flash flooding…So when the evening news confirmed that Sydney was in for a treat, that our favourite star would shine brightly for the next week, bestyowing upon  our city and its inhabitants warm sunbeans and light rays….a celebratory blog post was called for.

It called for commitment on my behalf…to rise out of bed at 6am…to catch the sunrise at Clovelly Beach  at 6.24am…and then to walk the city streets, camera in hand,  taking photographs of the cityscape as the sun bid Sydney adieu…

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Words don’t always come easy, they have limitations when conveying the true beauty of a subject…Photos too have drawbacks…

My advice…get out their and experience this daily phenomena for yourself…Rise early or step outside one evening and watch the sun part ways with the day, and when you do so, hum this little tune to yourself!!

CUWAM- The sun goes down, the moon comes up

A week passes…The sun comes up, then goes down, replaced by the moon, the stars. This sequence has been repeated 7 times since my last blog entry….

Note to self: Insert  British boyband pop music to best explain this phenomena

A relatively quiet week….work and play, tv dinners and time spent with Flora the cat….

I still feel slightly off kilter….neither here nor there….living within the confines of my inner world, and its thoughts, worries and fears ….And as ever, writing helps, enables me to make sense of the day to day… find comfort in the familiar, provides time to reflect of what really is…inspires me to be in the present, whilst reflecting on what has passed…

It was a strange kind of week…2 days of office trivialities, a public holiday, and then another 2 days of office mayhem. The result….a state of confusion….Wednesday, the public holiday  felt like Saturday, and returning to work on Thursday had a Monday feel…Friday therefore felt like Tuesday…and the weekend appeared to sneak up on us all….

Wednesday was Anzac Day, a national public holiday to honour the Australian men and women who have served in the many wars staged since the turn of the 20th century…it was, and rightly so, the only highlight of the week that was!!

Both my Grandparents served in the 2nd World War and both are still alive and kicking…well and truly in their twilight years ( my Nan turns 92 in November….go Nan!!)

In previous years I have had the honour of watching my Nan and her best friend Eileen, who also served during the 2nd World War, marched, arm linked together, down George Street Sydney as part of the city Anzac parade….

The saying might go ‘ Age shall not weary them’….but sadly, it has….My Nan has lost here eye sight, macular degeneration and a stroke, suffered 12 years ago has affected the right side of her body, movement in her arms, legs is often painful…as for her spirit….well nothing is seems will ever dampen that!!

I walked into my Grandparents apartment on Wednesday morning to find Nan in front of the television….

‘ Hi Nan, its me! What are you up to?’ I asked, as I was simultaneously embraced by a gentle Nan style hug.

‘ I’ve been watching the Anzac Parade…such a great turn out!!’

I smiled, my Nan is legally blind…and watching something is out of the question…She  was , however, doing an almighty job of  listening to the commentary, probably being transported back in time, to a dark part of our military history…no doubt experiencing a range of emotions that come with military service…pride, loss, grief, joy….My Nan…an Anzac day legend!!

The tv was turned off, and I joined my Nan and Grandfather at the breakfast table…the joy of old age…there are not deadlines…Breakfast can be eaten at any time of day…The conversation danced around topics of my brothers impending wedding, my recent trips to Perth and Victoria and the new Channel 9 show ‘ The Voice’, to which my Nan declared ‘ We think Delta is just lovely’…At 11am, as my Grandfather munched on his 3rd piece of toast, I took to the road…Places to be, people to see…

I headed into the Rocks to soak up some Anzac spirit of a different kind…Two-up and beer drinking. I was to meet my mate Ali, who has recently relocated to Sydney after 11 years in London. Finding Ali was not to be…The Australian Hotel in the Rocks was on FIRE…not literally…The roar of the crowd when the two silver coins were tossed into the air was deafening…Two- up, the heads or tales way to gamble away truck loads of cash…a sight to behold!! I grabbed a beer, a watched the great spectacle unfold…

An hour passed, and I decided to relocate…I was feeling the effects of the drink, and was promptly swept up into the crowd who had ascended on the MCA at Circular Quay. It was a rather overwhelming transition…surrounded by a crowd of beer swilling pub patrons, to a crowd of modern art lovers

I could not do the museum justice that day…To do that I would it would be best not to be under the influence of alcohol….Intent on viewing one work only, that of friend and work colleague, Kate Murphy…I located this video piece and sat down….Kate’s work ‘ Prayers of a Mother’ is beautiful. I would encourage all to see it….As mother prays, you hear her voice, but do not see her face, yet you witness the effects of her words on her 8 children, their faces alternate for the viewer on 4 separate screens….I have said to Kate that ‘ She see’s things that other people don’t’…that she takes the time to document what many of us take for granted in our day to day lives….Kate’s work reminds us that it is in the everyday and the ordinary that true beauty lies….

A quick look at the new roof top café and bar at the MCA convinced me that one day I would dine there…stunning views of the Harbour, the Opera House and ‘ that ‘ bridge’ thing that looks like a coat hanger!!

The rest of the week can get stuffed…You know the drill, office antics, gym sessions, pet grooming, mindless shopping expedition to Westfield Bondi Junction and the CBD… wishing that I had a secret stash of cold hard cash at my disposal to purchase WHATEVER I fancied….

But happiness does not lie in material things!!…I have to remind myself that as I put back the Marc’s coat- priced tag $459.00.

The Anzac spirit and beautiful pieces of Modern Art on the other hand…have longer lasting effects…and they have sustained CUWAM during a week that was otherwise just the sun and moon playing hide and seek….

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