We left Orange behind and drove towards the Blue Mountains. Preventative back burning is taking place, and we realised that the presence of smoke may affect our journey today.
We could see smoke haze in the distance, adding to the blueness of the mountains, but we didn’t want to arrive home smelling of old ashtrays.
We stopped for a second time in Bathurst, impressed by the extensive war memorial park. Bathurst claims to be the first inland settlement in NSW, with deep gratitude to a Mr Evans who opened up the west.
There may have been a place of execution here, if the pavement markings are to be believed.
The mountains would have moved towards us, I’m sure, but instead, we made the effort, mostly Helen, thank you!
The smoke was still too far away to smell, but there was a definitely pall in the distance. The view at or from Govett’s Leap was fantastic, though, the escarpments and the gumtrees. A couple of walking tracks are closed due to landslides, but we weren’t planning a long walk today.
As usual, a little picture on a small screen doesn’t do justice to the scale of this place, it’s immense and so impressive.
And then we go and spoil it all by doing something stupid like taking a selfie in front of a terrific view.
A café in an old theatre with an antiques display at the back seemed like a good venue for lunch, if only we could find such a place. Blackheath rose to the challenge, and we found ourselves in the Victory Café where I had a liquid lunch, though not in the conventional sense of the phrase: I had curried sweet potato soup, vanilla milkshake and water then jumped up and down to mix it all up.
You have to walk through all the
crap old and interesting displays to visit the dunny but it’s very risky, the aisles are very narrow.
We went forth at Wentworth Falls, just a short loop, but a welcome bit of exercise after lunch. I could just stay there and look at this view all day. Not much happens, clouds glide by, birds swoop, leaves rustle in the breeze, but it’s so quiet and peaceful.
Either we travelled at warp speed or I nodded off in the car but we were back in Manly in no time.
While we were away, the plumber had been in to fix the toilet, to cement it securely to the floor. After using the facility, I put the seat down and closed the door. Only the door wouldn’t close, it was obstructed by the toilet seat. The plumber had tightened up the screws, but only after moving the seat forward by an inch or so.
I found a saw and was about to cut a notch into the door, so that it would close fully, without bashing into the toilet seat, but Helen said she’d rather get the plumber back instead, to move the seat back to its original position.
The sunset is usually good from Helen’s apartment and today was no exception.
Helen had to work the following day, someone has to, I suppose, so Liesel and I were left to our own devices. After Liesel visited the local spa for some treatment, I met her over the road for breakfast. We can recommend Sketch, it was one of the best breakfasts we’ve eaten out, and we’re thinking we might return before we leave Manly.
We caught an early ferry to Circular Quay where I had a chat with my new BFF, an Aboriginal gentleman playing the didgeridoo. He’d been to the UK as part of a group, travelling down to Devon and all the way up to John O’Groats. They’d even played at the Edinburgh Tattoo.
We were here to meet an old friend, Maggie, who’d moved back to Australia from Chessington over 30 years ago. It was good to catch up after all this time. Our children no longer need babysitting of course, but their children, our grandchildren, might. She brought a friend, Carol, who I don’t think enjoyed the long-ish walk to The Rocks area for lunch as much as the rest of us did.
Maggie is enjoying retirement too and we talked about a few mutual friends from Chessington who are no longer part of our lives. It’s always sad when you lose touch with people, but we can be quite philosophical about it.
There was a cruise ship in port, dwarfing some of the older Sydney buildings.
On the ferry back to Manly, I realised we hadn’t taken any photos with Maggie. I’ll try to remedy that when we meet up again in another thirty years!
Phhh-psst, sneezed the elf living in Helen’s kitchen. Bless you, said I. After several such exchanges, I investigated further. It’s not a little person after all. There’s a machine that squirts elephant repellant into the air every couple of minutes. And it works: there are no elephants in the apartment. No bugs either, so that’s a bonus.