Saturday, June 12, 2021

Thoughts and advice

When the undertaker arrives to remove my body from my bed, I don't want them turning up their noses at the 1990s kitchen chair in my bedroom. 

I need a proper bedroom chair, something more bedrooomy. It needs to be smallish although I concede it will be larger than this chair and I have an open mind aside from not being bulky, too fancy or ornate. Nice clean lines. Ikea online seems to have the closet to what I am thinking but none have really grabbed me. I have yet to consult my in house resident designer with the artistic eye.

Later: I have now consulted my resident in house designer and any example of what I showed him he said were too big and would unbalance the room, and I agree. He then asked what my real issue was with the chair and after some consideration I replied, I don't want a natural timber colour in my bedroom. There isn't any natural timber colour in my bedroom aside from the chair seat. I know, I proclaimed, I will paint the timber seat to a more appropriate colour.

How good am I at solving first world problems! I have limited experience of painting furniture. I wonder who knows about such matters? 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Sydney Day 5 Pt 2

Victor drove us for a short distance from the Hydro Majestic in Medlow to the prime tourist destination of Katoomba. Last time we were here with R's sister and brother in law it was misted in with no views at all. The gods smiled on us this day it was wonderfully clear. 

These boards were terrific for identifying what we were seeing, but I did not really look at them.

Have you at all noticed why the Blue Mountains are named so? 

More great cloud shadows on the Aussie bushland. What are these things sticking up in the foreground?

After much photo culling, I am down to one photo of the Three Sisters. The left most Sister is accessible by a short bridge. It is a bit of a walk to get there, which was no problem for us in 1983 but is a problem for us in 2021. Back in '83 R gave me a telling off for saying to three straight lads sitting on rocks, 'Hello boys!' in my gayest and most suggestive tone. Bah, I could run fast then and they were three rocks away.

It was some years later and another Royal visit when IRA sympathises attempted to derail The Queen's train on the other inland side of the mountain by placing a large timber log across the track. While the train hit the log placed only an hour after the route and track was checked by train staff and security, it was an unsuccessful and a rather half hearted assignation attempt. Australia did not kill Her Majesty. 

We went on to the sweet little village of Leura where we had coffee and a walk along the main street.

With Victor at the helm we then descended the mountain without fuss or burning brake pad odours and he perfectly delivered us back to our hotel. How can we ever repay his hospitality... 

It was a long day but R found time for an hour's nap. Friday night in Sydney for gay men! Party time! Old gay men in Sydney, not so much, but nevertheless we went for a drink to the gay Oxford Hotel. Don't click on the link if you don't want to see glamorous drag queens and nice looking men. Ah, this is rather nice, with a good outdoor area. It has food too. 

After a drink we ordered our food using the on table device and after another drink and half an hour later, I enquired about our food arrival, wondering more really if the order went through. Bar staff called out a senior woman who was not quite a woman and she was so apologetic. The order had gone through but without foreign backpackers in Australia, the hotel was a little short staffed. She poured me a free glass of wine, that is we had drunk two before we left the apartment and this will be my fifth. She knew where we were seated and delivered a beer to R. 'She' was just the loveliest of people. Our food took about forty minutes to arrive but after so much to drink, we cared little. We ate a shared a mezza platter and then watched a drag performance of which I only have a hazy memory. 

As we terribly merry selves walked down the hill to our hotel, R decided he wanted a pizza, so we stopped off and had some rather ordinary but at least cheap pizza.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Sydney Day 5 Part 1

The day dawned brightly and sharp at 10 Victor collected us and we headed for the Blue Mountains and his car climbed 1000 metres (3300 ft)  to a place called  Medlow, a distance from Sydney of 115 kilometres (72 mls). Victor did text in the morning to tell us the the temperature in the Blue Mountains would be a maximum of 11 degrees. I wished I had brought my Melbourne winter jacket. It was 9 degrees when we arrived, cold, crisp and sunny. Quite nice really in the sun. Not so nice in the shade.

There was an incident along the way where a motorcyclist had come to grief on a sweeping curve in the road and his bike was furiously burning away. Hopefully he or she was ok. Emergency vehicles had blocked the road and already there was a long bank up of two lanes of traffic, including more emergency vehicles. Fortunately it was in the opposite direction to our travel.

A little background to our destination called the Hydro Majestic, and majestic it certainly is. When Victor was a little nipper, his parents or sometimes just his mother would take him up to the Hydro Majestic for a holiday. In a glass case were some visitor books and while they were inaccessible, I am sure his parents names would have been written inside.

The Hydro opened in the winter of 1904 accompanied by the worst snowstorm ever recorded in the mountains. The visionary developer Mark Foy of the former Foy's Department Store fame envisioned a sanatorium for guests' health and wellbeing, with many now discredited treatments available to guests.

In a short time it became just a place for a day visit or as an accommodation for guests, with some very famous people staying at the hotel. The Hydro had its ups and downs through the 20 century but underwent a large refurbishment in the early twenty teen years and it is truly magnificent.

One anecdote I read was an Indian maharaja was a long time guest and courted another guest Miss Molly Fink, a socialite and resident of Melbourne. They married and she returned with him to his palace in India.

The Hydro is actually a collection of linked buildings and sits atop an escarpment looking over the Blue Mountains and at the valley below. At a guess I would suggest it spans over 500 metres along the cliff face and you are able to walk the full width through various rooms and galleries.

A small part and this is the main entrance.

Upon entering you are immediately drawn to these windows

Wow! The views are just stunning.

Note the way clouds form dark patches in the bushland.

Did an excited young Victor run up and down these stairs?

I won't go into detail about each room we walked through but they are all sumptuous. Accommodation prices start at $175 per night and you can look in more detail at the Hydro website. The main entrance looks lovely covered in snow.

To my surprise this old relic still worked as did the rest of them.

A little more contemporary.

Exit via the cafeteria and gift shop. We had some food and coffee in the cafe.

The Boiler Room was what it sounds like, to heat the hotel but is now an upmarket restaurant. The Hydro Majestic is such an amazing place to visit. Thank you so much Victor.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

We have bad wind

I think we have lived here for 19 years and balcony chairs have never blown around but one travelled about tonight so I brought them inside. The wind is incessantly gusting, showers of sideways rain all day. The temperature is 12 degrees but to me feels like 5. Never mind our two week COVID lockdown easing Friday, the weather has locked us down. 

Sydney Day 4

It is wonderful to have friends to take advantage of when travelling. Well Victor did offer his free service and scintillating company to us on the Thursday. A friend had mentioned a public Japanese garden in Sydney. Victor did not know of it. I managed to track it down in the suburb of Auburn.

Victor's sat nav friend Madge kind of delivered us to the gardens in his car even though we circled the Auburn Botanic Gardens multiple times. I exaggerate. R and I had no idea where we were and were none the wiser. 

A promising entrance.

A fabulous lake in the Japanese garden. 

A goose, with other birds plentiful.

Goldfish, koi or carp, take your pick.

Something got up their beaks and they were making a terrible audible fuss. Think food or sex. More likely the former. I think Victor recorded the noise on his phone. Note the traditional Japanese red bridge.

The garden is on the bank of Duck River. I doubt this is Duck River, just a stream from the lake and I don't know what feeds the lake with water.

On an island in the middle of the lake with a liquidambar at its centre, what are all these things sticking up from the ground?

What a beautifully built bridge.

We discovered there was more to the Auburn Botanic Gardens than just the Japanese Garden.

At the far end of this pond is a pine tree grown from a seed of the lone pine at Gallipoli in Turkey to remember WWI.

Then we came across a billabong and not much was visibly happening at the billabong, but it was a nice quiet place to sit.

But there was more! Critters! Swamp and Red Necked wallabies. The are much smaller, have blunt snouts and are less frightening than kangaroos.

I had never noticed that wallabies sit on their tails. I don't think kangaroos do.

There were some kangaroos too.

And emus.

And peacocks.

Well, that was a really good experience. Long may the gardens thrive and prosper. Even on a weekday it was busy with visitors.

Victor knew of a great place to lunch on the bank of the Parramatta River in Abbotsford and it was nice. At least R took a photo, crooked or not.

I overheard snippets of fellow diners' conversations and once again we were in posh company.

The best way to visit the club is by the Parramatta River ferry. Thanks very much to our Uber driver, Victor. But his hospitality had not ended yet. See the next Sydney post on our Friday where we brave 11 degree temperatures.

It was R's nap time and I at back at our apartment wondered what I could do for an hour in Sydney. I remember back to 2005 and being in Kings Cross with R's Sister and soon to be husband. We saw a bus displaying Circular Quay, so we caught it as that is where we wanted to go. It did get us to the Quay but only after touring Elizabeth Bay and that was so interesting. We were not in a rush, on lazy tourist time. I subsequently learnt the bus was the 311 and it doesn't near the Quay anymore. 

I roughly knew its route so I decided to catch it to fill in an hour or so. The Alamein Fountain in Kings Cross (correctly Elizabeth Bay) is another Sydney icon. Then I was in the bus in Woolloomooloo and I realised I did not know where it went to from there. Ah well, I will work it out along the way. The bus turned many corners and finally ran along William Street and so I left it there for a short walk back to our hotel through Hyde Park.

This tourist business can be tiring and tomorrow will be a big day, so we had a nice Thai meal in the restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel.