It was practically hot on the weekend. I got pretty sweaty on my Saturday walk. But it's nice and mild again. The winter sun's back and there's a stiff breeze.
#59 - Monday
Edgecliff Road was nowhere near a cliff, certainly not on the edge of one. It was hard against the foot of Patonga Ridge (Mt Ettalong). One of life's little mysteries.
Sylvannia Road was quite woody. It ended at the foot of the ridge and the last house had a bamboo grove on either side of its driveway. Most of it was the bog standard bamboo you see wherever there's bamboo but behind it on one side there were maybe a dozen trunks of golden bamboo soaring up to maybe 40 feet high.
I could hardly hear the soft whisper of the bamboo groves over the sound of the gums on the ridge. They roared like a distant waterfall. As I walked along the street I could hear other trees in the foreground. A few European trees and, near the creek, some paperbarks and tea trees. Plenty of banksias dotted about too.
My all-time favourite recipe for wind-in-the-trees noises is a background of gums and pines overlaid with a palm or two, a small cluster of tea trees and a couple of dozen nicely spaced banksias. And the wind needs to come in gusts to cover the range of noises the trees can make. HMV oughta stock a CD of that.
Wandered down to the beach. You can get to the caravan park end of Umina Beach from Berrima Crescent. There's a wee carpark there and a loo. Doubt if it's a beat though. Too close to someone's house.
I perched on a rock at the end of the beach and listened to the sound of the surf in front of me and the gums behind me on the ridge. The sun was warm and the wind had a pleasant bite to it. There was a huge boulder perched on the rocks. No idea whether it rolled down the hill or washed up in a storm. Wedged under the front edge of it was a tree trunk. It was beautiful. Bleached white as milk by the sea and the sun and sitting against a background of brown and cream and purple rocks.
It was a good day for a brisk walk along the beach and I could see a dozen people doing just that. A few were taking their dogs for a walk and there was one Dear Old Thing stumping along with a fixed stare and a determined expression. He was missing all the scenery but no doubt he'll notice it another day.
I could've happily sat there for an hour or two mesmerised by the people change from black dots at the far end of the beach to fully formed humans as they got close. But I had to be home by lunch so I set off again.
A block back from the beach I couldn't tell how far I was from the water. Couldn't hear the waves over the wind. Not that they're loud anyways. Due to the beach being protected by the heads. Or something. I'm no oceanographer.
Off in the side streets it was quieter still. Bugger all traffic. Just the wind and the dogs barking and the scrape of a rake. Some guy was raking leaves up into a pile. The wind was really starting to gust by this time and, sadist that I am, I was hoping there'd be another big gust just as he turned away from the pile. But no such luck.
When I was a wee thing we used to go every Autumn to a place we called the Autumn Park. It's part of King's Park in Perth. It's down on Mounts' Bay Drive near the old brewery building. It's full of big old London Plane trees and in Autumn they drop all their leaves and the leaves make a carpet of crunchiness on the grass. God, that was good to run through and roll in. The joy of of the crunch was indescribable. I still pick up as many leaves as I can in Autumn and have a bit of a handheld crunch session. Very soothing. Maybe they should have leaf-crunching sessions at these pricey spas people go to.
Anyways. Walkies. Albany Square sounded very grand but when I rounded the corner into it, it was just the stub end of the road, an unsealed dead end. Pleasant enough. A bit of bush along the creek and the bend in the road cut it off visually from the surrounding houses and gave it the air of a tiny village. A dog sat grinning at me from behind a fence. A biggish dog, short-haired and biscuit brown. There's so many crossbreeds now I don't know what I'm looking at half the time.
Did a couple more streets after that and I was finished for the day. Went back to Mt Ettalong Road to wait for the bus home. The wind was starting that eerie thrumming along the powerlines. Which I realise now is where they got that sound they used in Twister. Wouldn't mind a CD of that noise as well.
#60 - Wednesday
Plenty of wind again today. Bit of a bummer for the firefighters. They've got a fire to fight in an awkward spot up on the ridge. Saw it as I was coming home and I can smell it very faintly coming in the window. They'll probably have to get the choppers in to water-bomb it.
I was up near the Patonga end of the ridge this morning. It was quiet there. Bugger-all traffic and what dogs there were were sunning themselves and couldn't be stuffed barking at me.
The ridge was close on two sides of me. The wind in the gums was beautiful. A rushing sound like a creek close by. The creeks themselves were not rushing. We're s'posed to get rain in October, according to some bloke on the bus, so maybe they'll rush then. Right now they're still and muddy and overgrown with lantana.
The main part of today's walk was in streets no more than ten years old. They were in one of those estates where you have to buy a house from the developer or not at all. The houses were all brick jobs and most of them had Federation repro details. There were a few designs with Federation era (circa 1890 to circa 1915) rooflines as well.
Not many houses in Australia's suburbs are named. There's always a few called 'Weona' or 'Ruo Emoh' of course. I've been keeping an eye out for unusual ones and so far I've seen a house called 'Jerry Sue', one called 'CherMar', a large brick-and-tile called 'Boar Shack' or Boar something and today there was one 'Weona', a 'Itldousal', a 'St Clements' and a 'Lanark Brae'. Lanark's a town in the Scottish county of Lanarkshire, which is the county Glasgow's in. I always thought a brae was a small river but a quick google suggests it's a mountain. You learn something new every day.
Today's walk was much quicker than it looked on the map. It was also the 10th last walk and the finish of that part of the Peninsula. I've got another nine walks scattered here and there over the Peninsula and then I'm finished.