A bit of a climb

I feel as though I am on an uphill climb. I think I might have to start allowing 2 days "rest" before returning to work after my jaunts home – I am not a teenager anymore.   Last night I barely slept and so today I was asleep in the wellness room at lunch time!  Now I am wide awake when I should be going to bed. 

I took this photo in Hunter's Hill Sydney: 

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Iron Cove Bridge

Another of my questionable photographing whilst driving escapades……

This is the Iron Cove Bridge in Sydney  – I love the thick girders and the feeling that you are driving into a cage. 

I love the fact that I am doing this at 80kph – 50mph,  without "incident" – note how straight I am in my lane in the rearview mirror!  



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I am out in the country – in Coonabarabran – The Astronomy Capital of Australia (according to their welcome sign). 

Today I am going to drive over 2 hours further west to have lunch with two "girls" I went through school with  – and I mean all the way from kindergarten with one of them!

Here are a couple of amusing signs I found before we left Sydney:  This is a shop of GPS devices – I took this through my windscreen as I was driving so it is not as clear as it could be but I think the message is clear….

Have your pizza AND lose weight………  one stop!

Women can do anything!!   (This is an advertisement for Driza-Bone – Aussie work/farm clothes).

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Schooling ….

I was baptised and confirmed in to the Church of England (Anglican) religion and would describe myself as an agnostic now  – but I sent my 3 children to Catholic Secondary Schools (Years 7-12).

There are about 9,600 schools in Australia (not many – but then our population is only just about 21 million).  Of those schools 72% are Government (State) schools, 18% are Catholic and 11% are ONG (other non-Government schools which includes private schools, Montessori etc, and religious, other than Catholic).

There are 2,271,000 Government school students and 1,122,000 non-Government school students;  170,000 non-Catholic children attend Catholic schools. 

When my eldest son was ready to attend Year 7 there were two reasons we considered the Catholic school system
1. Our local state high school did not have a good reputation and 2. we thought he could do without the distraction of girls!!   Once he was in the system it was easy to have the siblings follow.

So, the Locksmith and the Economist attended Holy Cross College (which they affectionately referred to as Holy Shit College),  an all boys school with lovely old traditional buildings on massive grounds:

In horror movies "evil" crows are always seen around churches, steeples etc..  Here we have them at the school!

The Princess attended Marist Sisters' College Woolwich – an all girls school.   The Catholic Church owns considerable valuable land in prime locations and the college is an example of this ….   it sits overlooking the Lane Cove River at Hunters Hill just before the river enters Sydney Harbour.   The front of the school: 

The back of the school with its view over the river:

Honestly I would have found it hard to concentrate when the windows overlook such a tranquil sight…

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Secure Site Accommodation

Currently we are staying at the Australian Telescope National Facility (ATNF) headquarters in Marsfield, Sydney.

They have six single and two double accommodation "huts" on the site for visiting scientists and students to the ATNF and the AAO (Anglo-Australian Observatory).  These are basic but adequate rooms, containing what I consider necessities – a bed, a shower and a toilet – not necessarily listed in order of importance!

There is a communal lounge and communal kitchen and I am having nasty flashbacks to student housing at Macquarie Uni!

The tv is in the lounge so everyone watches whatever the first person is watching. The fridge has large containers marked with the hut number in which to put your food/drink.  I am fairly convinced that someone is drinking my cranberry juice and absolutely certain that someone took my passionfruit yogurt!!
The huts are set among gum trees and native shrubs and the kookaburras start laughing at the first peep of the sun.  Then, the currawongs and magpies start their loud chattering and there is no hope of further sleep!  There are rabbits throughout the grounds and I am sure there are snakes – at least that is what I keep telling the astro-dweeb 🙂 When we arrived we were told that they are trying to eradicate the rabbits with a virus and that they go under the huts to die….   so far we have not smelt any rotting flesh – but there is still time!

This is a Government site so at night it is locked down and we need magnetic passes to get through the large gates into the compound – it is basically deserted and a little spooky. The ATNF supports research in radio astronomy. It is administered by the CSIRO, a national scientific research organisation and is funded by the Australian Government. There are two 4 metre radio telescopes on-site which are used to test instruments which will be sent to other ATNF telescopes.

 The ATNF operates the Australia Telescope which consists of the Compact Array at Narrabri and the Parkes and Mopra radio telescopes. These telescopes can be used together as a long baseline array for use in Very Long Baseline Interferometry.   More information on ATNF


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Another day

It has just taken about 40 minutes to upload a few photos  – we are in the hotel and are on someone's unprotected wi-fi.     We are about to go out to breakfast to a cafe which sits over the water – a wonderful location.   I don't care so much about the food as long as there is strong coffee – I am going to need fortification for another full day with my poor parents and it is just slightly too early to start on alcohol (but be assured, I will be nipping from lunch time onwards!).

These are photos from our first full day here.   This is the Watson's Bay beach

This is the city of Sydney photographed across the water from Watson's Bay.  You can see that it is not really a very spread out city:

These are Banksia – an Australian wildflower:  (a live one and a dead one)

This is the Korean charcoal BBQ restaurant we found in suburban Sydney.   We were the only non-Asians in the place which is always a very good recommendation and the food was fabulous:

And this is little Diesel – the locksmith son's dog.  Diesel was expelled from doggy school for being over-excited and picking fights with bigger dogs!   He is an Australian cattle dog Kelpie cross younger than 12 months.  In this photo he is still because he is waiting for permission to eat his dinner.  This is the one thing he did learn before expulsion – he is told to sit, lie low, wait and then okay, eat.   My son says that he  had the poor little thing wait nearly 10 minutes once to see if he would break away and he didn't  – it is actually the only thing he is obedient at!

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Hello from Sydney

Arrived in Sydney yesterday but after all the travelling I was pretty much a wreck.
I think the compression stockings worked (there is no evidence of a blood clot!!)…  but on the flight from DC to LA my feet were incredibly cold in those knee highs. I thought the idea of the compression was to increase circulation so I was surprised to find my feet so cold and I had to scour LAX for socks  – I had visions of having to buy Lakers purple & yellow socks or Disney designs, but I actually found white anklets – at this stage my sister commented that she hoped I was not wearing a skirt!   Now that is an attractive image!

Anyway, basically all we did yesterday was cook dinner for the kids!

This morning we got up and went to The Gap and Watson's Bay (where I took lovely photos of the Pacific Ocean) and then went to a fabulous Korean Charcoal BBQ place for lunch. 

Tonight the Princess cooked dinner for us – delicious tacos – her signature dish!

I have photos to post but AH's computer is so old …..  (need I say more).

Off to the retirement village tomorrow – about 3 hours drive north of Sydney – to see my parents for a couple of days.  Maybe I will find an unprotected wifi signal while wandering around. 🙂


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Watson’s Bay, Sydney

Watson's Bay is located at the southern head entrance (commonly called South Head) to Sydney Harbour.

It is recognised as Australia's oldest fishing village – established in 1788  – and is generally just a lovely place to hang out.

The Watson's Bay Hotel beer garden is a great way to wile away time watching ferries berth and sea planes touching down.  The famous Doyle's Restaurant opened here in 1885 – roughly on the spot where the first Mr Doyle sold fish.  The restaurant has been in the same family since opening! 

I took this photo from the wharf – the hotel (pub) is the building on the right and Doyles Restaurant is the cream building in the middle.   I'm sure I will spend time here on my visit home as my friend AH lives just down the road!


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