Buses, Ferries, Coastal Walk, Gondola ride, Zoo with a Spicy ending too!

Day 3 – After a good nights sleep and hearty breakfast we were back out front of our  hotel ready for the long-sufferings planned itinerary – fine tuned by the very helpful Concierge waving us off from the lobby!

For the first time since arriving we turned right out of our hotel and up the hill away from the harbour to catch a bus north to Coogee Beach.  After 19,000 + steps worth of  walking the previous day our legs were still feeling slightly fatigued.

The bus journey to Coogee Beach was almost the same journey our daughter from the house of two halves in Cyprus had taken ten years previous during her own travels in the ‘Sunshine State’. And now here we were following in her footsteps!

IMG_1257Coogee Beach was our start point for the 6km clifftop coastal walk to the famous Bondi Beach.


A medium effort walk along paved paths, some boardwalk’s, steps and steep inclines awaited us as the trail snaked and hugged the sandstone cliffs affording stunning panoramic views and beautiful beaches to stop at along the way.



IMG_1265Clovelly Beach


Gordons Bay – small, tucked away between Coogee and Clovelly, the tiny rocky beach covered with boats reminding us of a small Cornwall fishing cove.


Waverley Cemetery – here we were rerouted away from the coastal path due to a wild storm in June 2016 causing a landslip, buckling the board walk with it. A temporary route took us on a straight path through the famous state listed cemetery opened in 1877. Had it not been for the diversion we would not have experienced the real beauty in this graveyard with its huge sculptural memorials and crypts. I can think of no better place of rest than high up towards the sky overlooking the beautiful blue of the ocean as far as the eye can see.


Bronte Beach – surfs up!



BONDI SURFER-1Bondi Beach – The view as we rounded the last corner was spectacular of this famous beach.



IMG_1280Once on ground level we were on the beach discarding our walking shoes for the soft sand between our toes. We were slightly overdressed although this I think was a blessing given the competition all around!


Bus to…Watsons Bay – walk and steps up to Gap Bluff viewpoint. Lookout from tall ocean cliffs facing the Tasman Sea affording stunning panoramic views. Peering over and down from the safety of the angled barriers onto the rocky platform and crashing waves constantly pounding the rocks below it is hard to believe people would willingly throw themselves over the top to an almost certain death. Sadly like our own Beachy Head The Gap is now synonymous for the horror of suicide as well as the Beauty of its location.


A short walk through the park down to the wharf short stop for chips and cold beers before our Ferry arrived to whisk us off to…….


Taronga Zoo – after many weeks of all things high up the long-suffering has – whilst still not cured – become slightly less uptight about the whole ‘scared of heights scenario’. Just as well, as on arrival at Taronga we were offered the option of the Gondola to the top of the zoo! The photo opportunities this afforded swung the decision in favour, much to my amusement!


The zoo opened in 1916 and covers a vast area of 69 acres and houses 4000+ animals of which we only managed to see a small percentage. Nevertheless in the two hour time frame we had before it closed for the day a lot of ground was covered – including ground covered twice due in part to my useless sense of direction!





Back down at the bottom our ferry was there waiting for the crossing back to Circular Quay and the now familiar steep walk back up to our hotel.


After a short rest, refreshing showers, quick change and we were ready for some food.

IMG_1275Walking back down the hill for eats, the Spice Room took our fancy and although busy we were squeezed in at a recently vacated table for two. Here we enjoyed good food – a shared buffet for two – lovely atmosphere and charming service… the perfect wind down to another hectic day. 20,624 steps and counting 15.56km and we still had to step back up the hill!

Tomorrow day 4 would sadly be our final day in Sydney and Australia……….










Finally The Muck Heap Decreases!

Last year….at the beginning of November I took delivery of 50 bags of farmyard muck. Bags a novelty for me as previously in our old large garden with its heavy clay soil we only took delivery of huge trailer loads dumped straight from the farm.


We intended to do the same ‘no-dig’ top dressing activity as before only in this garden it would be for different reasons. On our old clay soil it was used to build up over many years a decent depth of workable topsoil leaving the worms to take it to the depths below. This garden is on thin stony soil and in parts underwater after prolonged winter rain from the runoff of the fields at the back. The added muck will do much to feed the soil and add some bulk to hold the water during times of low rainfall.


I am sad to say as I write in this first week of a new year the pile remains, although it has recently lowered sufficiently enough to enable me to hang out the last of our house guests bedding. Many things good and bad have come between me and the muck……..

An infection – one of many health and safety perks of my chosen career. A rose thorn decided to track its way up my arm, I had removed the offending invader with needle and tweezers I thought. Not so, as a few days later after an emergency visit to a doctor, my ‘sorry to bother you its probably nothing’ turned out to be serious needing strong antibiotics and a warning if things did not improve I could end up in hospital! A lesson here for the future then, ignore at your peril! I was out of action in mine and my clients gardens for over a week.


A harrowing and uplifting week in equal measure was spent going through my late mothers belongings. Treasured memories abounded from her most personal of things and many photos of a bygone age. Now in my own home as I sit at her newly installed writing desk – she did not write, by the way, her writing took the form of numbers in the many business ledgers she meticulously kept – I feel she is not so far away and maybe even looking over my shoulder as I write!


Work was busy -new clients, new designs, new challenges – gardens never stand still.

Decorating started in earnest after the muck pile arrived, the long-sufferings excuse not to muck spread in the cold and wet! I was also too busy choosing paint and blind fabric.


And then in the last week of November on a cold, wet night the first of the many house guests from the house of two halves arrived by courier in a crate. After a day of car, air and finally van travel on her own she was beside herself to see a friendly face prompting her usual stress wee all over my boot.

The long suffering and I had previously been out to make sure Lanna ‘mad dog’ had all the creature comforts she could desire. Food, chew bone, snack biscuits and lastly a comfy bed. On this last item there was much debate, It quickly became clear we had in mind a Great Dane and not a medium sized springer spaniel!


Just as I was enjoying having a dog to walk again on bright frosty mornings, the rains came and apart from a brief respite for snow, have not stopped much in subsequent weeks. The fields became a slippery quagmire sucking at my feet as I performed acrobatics just to stay upright although I did once have to submit to a downward dog saving myself from a full body splat at the last minute!


‘Mad Dog’ for her part was oblivious to my exertions so intent was she on running free reunited at last from the dried barren wastelands of Cyprus to the lush green fields and exciting woods of Dorset –  flushing out the hiding pheasants along the way.


Two weeks later, a day late, due to heavy snow the rest of the family from the house of two halves arrived for an extended stay before taking up their new posting – thankfully in this country – in the New Year. Once again our house was transformed….


With them as well as the clutter came sickness bugs, sore throats, colds, nappy rash, teething, but through all of that there was Christmas, fun, food – when tummies allowed – laughter, reflection and eventually new chapters for all.



And the muck heap…….with all the increased – happy – demands on my time it continued to berate me every day I walked out the back door! Must try harder!

Happy Productive New Year to all my readers wherever you are!