Sunday, November 22, 2009

Terrigal, NSW to Las Vegas, NV

A very low key last full day. I went back to Mums and spent the day there. In the afternoon we had a visit from Lisa - fun as always. That evening the Sheargolds joined Mum, Craig and I for dinner at Red Centre at the Entrance for dinner. The Entrance hasn't changed much, but it seems a little busier than I remember.

Jason, Kelly, Mum & I @ The Entrance

Packed and done. 3 weeks back in Australia is not enough. It gets harder and harder every time I leave. But of course the other side of that is I get to see my Amy again. Kel drove me down to the airport (in 105 degree heat) and from there it was smooth sailing. Before I went through customs I bumped into 1 more set of old friends. Roberta's parents and brother were seeing off his in-laws, and we had a first catch up in 11 odd years. Seems like retirement really is treating the Lindbecks well, and to see Paul with a child was surreal. My flight was pretty smooth (thanks to Lunestar) and what a sight to see Amy 17 hours later!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bateau Bay, NSW to Terrigal, NSW

On the 19th, Mum and I drove to The Entrance to see if the Byrnes were home. We got a quick visit in with Caitlin. Mum had to head to Craig's, so I had her drop me at Long Jetty and I walked around Tuggerah Lakes (4 miles) and met her there. It was yet another day that was perfect to be outside, and I enjoyed every moment by the lake. I did try and get round to see Mrs Kern tonight, but she was not home. I did get to spend some time with Nan instead.

Friday started as a low key morning had me teaching Mum how to use her new laptop and transfer a bunch of photos to her computer. 

In the afternoon, Kel picked me up and we set off for Dads. We stopped for lunch at Red Rooster as well as stopping at Hornsby along the way. Dad, Nan Hutch, Trish, Moz, Kara, Tim, Kel & Jase were all there. Again we picked up take away from Victoria Village Chinese. A last dinner with the family for a while. We drove back to the Sheargolds the same night, and after watching I Love You Man, I stayed the night in Terrigal.

Kathleen, Dad, Me, Nanna Hutch & Kelly

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Concord West, NSW to Bateau Bay, NSW

Monday morning and I was up with Trish and on the train back to Tuggerah. Mum picked up from the station and we spent the afternoon hanging out with Kel in Bateau Bay. We also had a visit from Amy Carpenter and her 3 week old daughter, Caitlin. Cute baby. Craig and Jase came round in the evening and we had one of mum's lasagnas. Again, I am spoiled.

Tuesday was very low key. All Mum and I did was go to Erina Fair and meet Kel for lunch at Spurs.

On Wednesday (the 18th) I did my walk down to Shelly Beach (4.2 miles) again this morning and spent a lot of time by the water enjoying the beach, though it was not warm enough to go in. By the time I got back Aunty Sue & Riley had arrived from Fairfied West. We had a good visit and I got to spend my first amount of time with my cousin, Grant's son. This kid has genius written all of him - and personality to match. 

Later in the afternoon I had a visit with another old school mate, Caryn, who was up visiting her parents. Always good to see Norris - even if it is briefly. 

That night was spent in with the Sheargolds and Nan and Grandad Fay, as they came around to mums for a fish and chips dinner (I'm going to miss that).

Me & Riley

Me, Granddad & Nanna Fay, and Kel

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Neutral Bay, NSW to Concord West, NSW

Greg and Jill cooked up breakfast which we had on their balcony before Greg & I drove to Watson's Bay to meet up with some friends for a picnic. We were met by Brooke, Adam & Jesse, Jane, Benno, Josh & Emily, Katy & Creany, Anthony, Lis & Andy, Roger & Lee, & Bernie. What a great afternoon again. Relaxing on the Harbour with some great friends, fish and chips from Doyles, great weather - so good is life. 

During the day, the fabulous news of Reggae & Phil’s engagement filtered through. Very happy for the 2 of them. 

Josj, Benno, Jane & Emily @ Watson's Bay

Brooke, Adam & Jesse @ Watson's Bay

Bernie, Katy, Creany & Greg @ Watson's Bay

Afterwards Greg drove me to Central where I caught the train around to Concord West to the Hutch / Coffey compound. There we had dinner cooked by Manuia.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Neutral Bay, NSW

Greg, Jill & I walked down to the wharf to meet Reggae and Phil for breakfast at Thelma & Louise Cafe. What a place. Right on the Harbour, great food, superb location. Could not have asked for more. 

After breakfast Greg, Jill and I take off on a walk along the north side of the Harbour. With no real plans we meander through Cremone, Bradley's Head, past Taronga Zoo and eventually come to a stop near Clifton Gardens. In all we cover 7.2 miles over 5 hours. We make our way back to Bradley's Head Road and pick up a cab back to Neutral Bay. 

The afternoon is spent relaxing and recovering. We order Thai take-away and rent The International on DVD for a quite Saturday night in.

 Reggae, Greg, Jill & Phil @ Thelma & Louise Cafe, Neutral Bay

Greg & Jill on our Harbour Walk.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Terrigal, NSW to Neutral Bay, NSW

On the morning of the 12th, Kel drove me to Tuggerah station so I could catch the train to Chatswood. Here I wandered around the mall, did some emailing and had a beer at the Orchard (where I used to go when I worked for Centrelink) before meeting up with Barnesy and heading back to his place in Neutral Bay. We walked up the hill to The Oaks for dinner and a couple of drinks. We were joined by Reggae & Phil - which guarantees a good night. Thankfully the walk back down to Greg's was much easier.

Greg had gone to work by the time I got up. I wandered down to catch the ferry over to Circular Quay, where I tried to go to a few old record store favorites, but Red Eye was the only place still around. I walked to the other end to have lunch with Reggae. 

After lunch I walked through Hyde Park to try and see the War Memorial, but it was closed. I did, however, go to Hyde Park Barracks and looked around. Funny how history is more interesting now that I am into Genealogy. I vaguely remember coming here as a kid for a school excursion, but that's all I remember. Having said that, it is one of the creepiest museums I've been in. 

I walked in the rain through the Botanic Gardens, past the Opera House and back to Circular Quay, where I caught the ferry back to Neutral Bay. Here I quickly shower and change and get on the ferry back to Circular Quay again to meet up with Tammy, Anthony, Greg and Jill at Rockpool Bar & Grill on Hunter Street. Dinner was fantastic - as was the company. After dinner we stopped at Jill’s Office, so she could pick up some luggage (she'd just got back from Singapore that morning). From there we caught a cab back to Greg and Jill's over the Harbour Bridge.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bateau Bay, NSW to Terrigal, NSW

Got up Tuesday morning and walked from Mum's to Bateau Bay Beach & Blue Lagoon via Crackneck before returning (about 3.25 miles). In the early afternoon Mum and I picked up Nan and we drove into Gosford to have lunch at Iguana Joe’s. Was a great lunch, sitting on the patio over Brisbane Water. The real reason we went into Gosford was so Nan could go to the doctors. We had some time to kill before the appointment so we walked through Gosford. It was like a ghost town. Not the same place it was when I went to TAFE here 17 years ago. That night, Mum and I had pizza from Bruce's, another local favorite.

On Wednesday morning, Kel came to Mum's and picked me up so we could drive to Copacabana for lunch. We ended up across from the beach at Copacino. We went back to Kel’s in Terrigal and took Poppy to the beach. I have never seen a dog take to the beach so well. We could hardly keep her out of the water. And she was fearless. Because Jason was in Sydney for the night, I stayed with Kel, and we went for dinner at Hungry Wolfs in Terrigal. We sat out on the sidewalk and enjoyed a great dinner.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mosman, NSW to Bateau Bay, NSW

I had a Sunday morning visit from Reggae. She had just got back from a week in Tasmania. She picked me up at the Upcroft's and we went to hers, and I met the enigmatic Phil. Later that afternoon they dropped me off at St. Leonard's station so I could catch the train back to Concord West where we had a BBQ with Trish, Dad, Manuia, Kathleen, Nan, Kara, Tim, Moz, and Trish's friends, Janine and Stewart. I stayed there the night

Monday morning I got up with Trish and Moz and walked over to Concord West station with them, where I caught the train back to Gosford. Kelly picked me up at the station and took me back to Mums. Later that afternoon Brooke came round to Mums and I got to meet her 1 year old daughter, Jesse. What a sweetie! That evening Mum and I were joined by the Sheargolds at Craig’s for one of his famous roast dinners. Am definitely being spoiled coming home.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Concord West, NSW to Mosman, NSW

Early Saturday morning Trish drove me to Strathfield station, where I caught the train to North Sydney. There I was picked up by Bob, and taken back to his and Linda's Mosman Home. 

Dave arrived during the morning and the 4 of us took a cab to Randwick for a day at the races. We met up with Greg & Jill, Suze & Brad and their friend Claire, Graham Hart (who I hadn't seen in 10 years) and his wife, as well as Anthony. A great day was had by all, especially me, I won on a horse racing in Race 6 at Flemington. All American come in at 40/1 and paid $260. All the signs pointed to me backing this horse. The name (if that doesn't say Amy, what does?), black and gold colors of the jockey (same as the Wests Tigers), and his fathers name was Reg Ransom (Amy's middle name). Jill also picked it as well. I also won on 3rd place Handsome Stash in Sydney's 5th race. 

We left and went to Doncaster in Kensington for drinks. Again it had been years since I'd been here - and it had been done up nicely. We walked past UNSW into Kensington to have dinner at Dong Dong Noodle (a places the Upcrofts had been before). What a fantastic meal! And cheap - in Sydney. 4 of us jumped in a cab back to Upcofts to finish the evening

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bateau Bay, NSW to Concord West, NSW

Thursday is miserable, it rains all day. Mum and I leave the house to meet up with Kel & Jase at Erina for lunch. Later that night Nanna Fay and Craig join us for dinner at the Bateau Bay Bowling Club.

On Friday morning Mum drove me to Tuggerah station, where I caught the train Concord West to spend the night in the Hutch /Coffey House. When I arrived, Trish and I went and picked up Nanna Hutch from Concord Hospital. The afternoon was spent hanging at Trish's. That night we ordered take away dinner, with Dad & Manuia, from Victoria Village Chinese (on the other side of the station).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Salamander Bay, NSW to Bateau Bay, NSW

We left Salamander Bay at around 10am, headed back to the Bateau Bay. On the way home we stopped at The Oaks in Hexam. This is a place we had stopped many times as kids on one of our many trips up the north coast. However this is nothing like I remembered. Although the name remains, it is now merely a Hungry Jacks, and not the great rest stop I remember. 

After we arrived back at Mum's, I walked around to see Nan & Grandad Fay. I love the fact that I still have the opportunity to visit with my grandparents, though they are not quite themselves after the recent loss of Uncle Gary. Still, I'll take every minute I can. Mum picked me up and we bought some fish and chips to eat at Shelly Beach. This is one of most favorite rituals to do when I come home, even if it was way too cold to be sitting in the wind at the beach. Tonight I stayed at Mums - the house I grew up in.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Salamander Bay, NSW

Again not much was done today. The weather was hot, so we all alternated between the pool and the room for the day. That evening we all headed in to Nelson Bay for dinner at the Nelson Bay RSL.

Me Doing It Tough

Monday, November 2, 2009

Salamander Bay, NSW

Mum, Craig and I drove into Nelson Bay this morning to have breakfast at the Sidewalk On Magnus. After a quick look at the beach we went back to the resort where the day was spent relaxing in and out of the pool. In the afternoon Jase and I played tennis (something I hadn't done in years - and now remember why). That evening we went back in to Nelson Bay to have dinner at an unnamed Chinese restaurant in celebration of Jason's 34th birthday.

Oaks Resort

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Terrigal to Salamander Bay, NSW

Mum, Craig, Kel, Jase and I are heading to Salamander Bay for a few nights at the Oaks Pacific Blue Resort. We stopped at the local shopping center for lunch before checking into the resort. What a great way to come back to Australia. The afternoon was spent in the pool, before we headed over to Salamander Bay Tavern for dinner and some pool.

Craig & I @ Salamander Bay Tavern