We woke up in Manly, several degrees further south and several degrees cooler than Queensland. In the morning, after work, Helen and Liesel went to the shopping mall. My invitation is still in the post, so I went for a massage and a walk instead.
A fire engine and several police cars in close proximity plus a few people looking at something: the something was a damaged car. It’s hard to see how a vehicle can be driven fast enough to cause that much damage in the narrow roads of Manly, but Helen assures me it happens all the time.
Manly Beach provided two contrasting views. In one direction, a bit grey and gloomy. In the other, bright blue skies, an image worthy of a picture postcard.
My second perambulation of the day was arranged to coincide with the ridiculously early sunset time of 5pm.
I was surprised to see so many people still out and about and playing in the sea.
For supper, Helen had baked pies for me. As requested. Pies with Quorn chunks and leeks. I do like pies and it’s been disappointing a couple of times to come across a pie shop only to find it’s not open. Or in some cases, to find that the only pies totally sold out are the vegetarian pies. I like pies and I miss pies probably more than any other single food item. Really looking forward to a pie fest when we get home. Lovely pies, thanks, Helen!
I’ve not watched any proper TV for ages but tonight, we watched the first episode of “Gentleman Jack”, several hours before it was shown back in the UK! Well, we watched half of it. Martha and William called Helen after their swimming lessons and we watched them on a laptop screen rather than a phone screen, both talking, both delightful to watch. William is quite happy to pilfer tomatoes from Martha. He’s quite happy to climb out of his chair and onto the table. He’s 18 months old, in case you’d forgotten.
Liesel and I have suffered a few early mornings but today’s early rise in Manly was really hard.
Adam’s away for work, so Helen’s offered to take Liesel and me away for a couple of days. Our third Aussie road trip on this visit. We left the apartment at 7am, drove through the busy streets of Sydney but, as a multiple-occupied car, we were allowed in the special inside lane for special people.
The city views were enhanced by the odd patch of mist.
Sydney’s a big city, it takes hours to drive through all the suburbs. And people commute these great distances too, which we all would find so depressing.
We stopped briefly at the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens and what a beautiful view over the Blue Mountains. The Sun was out, it was a bit misty in the valleys, there were some Autumnal colours.
A Japanese artist would produce a much better image than my camera ever could, but it was a sunning view.
We had a quick look at some of the botanicals too, and as usual, a longer visit here is recommended.
This display of colour is in direct competition with anything at the Chelsea Flower Show, which is on right now.
The sundial was fantastic: if we had a garden, this would fit right in.
We stopped for lunch in Bathurst, and this is another cute little place that we need to explore more. The architecture is very attractive, once you look up from the modern-day shop façades.
Helen coped with it very well, but I wondered whether this ‘squareabout’, a square roundabout at a crossroads, which you drive around the wrong way, was designed purely to confuse the slightly less astute visitor.
The landscapes and skyscapes were great to look at: sometimes, we could have been looking at an English pastoral scene, but then you’d see something quintessentially Australian, and come back to reality.
We arrived at Heifer Station Cellar Door where we went on a tour of the vineyard, on a golf buggy. We sampled wines as we progressed, stopping every few minutes while our guide told us about the different grapes they grow here and the different wines produced.
We tried sparkling, white, rosé and red. They were all good, I recognised some of the flavours but my suggestion that one had a hint of licorice was slightly poopooed! One of the sampled wines was only bottled five days ago.
There are some animals here too, including a petting zoo with a Shetland pony, some goats and a pig. Best of all was the hieland coo.
We all bought several bottles and if we don’t drink it all, Liesel and I will have to lug some bottles all the way home.
Mount Canobolas is the highest peak in this section of the range. It is claimed that, looking west, there is nothing higher until you reach Madagascar. We drove to the summit in order to watch the sunset. We didn’t see Madagascar.
It was a little bit colder up on top, but the views were good, in all directions.
It became dark very quickly once the Sun set. Helen drove us to our b&b in Orange, stopping in town so we could buy some groceries.
It was a cold house. There, I said it. The floor is made of ice, or so my feet told me. We turned on the heater. A few days ago, we were still using air conditioning. No more. Heat is required. Helen and Liesel both feel the cold more than I do, but it was a bit of a shock coming into this cold storage unit pretending to be holiday accommodation. Brrr.