Saturday, October 22, 2005

Waiting - Brisbane Water Walk #4 - Koolewong #1

Storms were promised for yesterday and there was nowt but a single flicker of lightning. This morning was bloody muggy and bloody hot. The storm clouds came in from the north-west while I walked. It was too bloody hot to walk far and I came home after an hour.

Brisbane Water Streets - Koolewong
Big version

Anyways. I walked in Koolewong. It's one train stop from Woy Woy. I was going to walk there as well as back but it was too bloody hot. Koolewong's a narrow strip of land along the edge of Brisbane Water. Brisbane Water Drive, the road from Woy Woy to Gosford, snakes along the edge of the water, swaying towards and away from the water to stay on the flattest land. There's one street between Brisbane Water Drive and the water at Koolewong, Couche Crescent. It goes up onto a tiny headland and back down again.

There's a fair few forties houses on Couche, particularly on the hill side of the street. There was also a beautiful blue and white house I thought was maybe 1900. A neat wooden cottage with a veranda all round and an office in the garage. I was pretty close. In my hist list it's down as "House & wharf, Fred Couche 'Glenrock', 12 Couche Cres Koolewong ... (wharf opposite) ... c.1902". So that explains the street name aas well and also the broken old rock and bitumen jetty opposite (down the grassed lane beside the private tennis court) and the name of Glenrock Parade which is the main street of Koolewong. The other local connection is the "House: former boarding house, Fred Couche 'Roma', 45 The Boulevarde Woy Woy ... c.1891", which you can see in this photo.

Further round there was a path down to Couche Park. It was a beautifully cool park. 3 or 4 house blocks wide, half a dozen huge old paperbarks, a dodgy seventies toilet block and a long jetty. The tidal flats go out maybe 50 metres along there. I sat down at a picnic table. I was hot already and I'd only been walking ten minutes. There was a lawnmower in action on a waterfront lawn nearby, powerboats buzzed and droned on the water and a goods trains rattled and grumbled past behind me. The sky was still clear and there was a slight haze.

I could see from Gosford at the top end of Brisbane Water to Woy Woy near the south end. Looking at Gosford you mostly notice the pointy sun shades over the yacht club near the footy oval and the twelve storey blocks of flats pressing themselves against the hill. There's 4 or 5 of those blocks but they're probably the tallest buildings between Sydney and Newcastle. This is not the Gold Coast. Thank Christ. To the right of Gosford there was a hill in the background. Erina Heights? Probably. Then Green Point back on the water's edge, a wide sqare-ish hill and one of my future walkies targets. To the right of Green Point there were 3 small hills in a row. Yattalunga and the back of Saratoga? Must be. One of the things I get out of this Brisbane Water walk is finding out what all the hills and gullies are. Then the peak of Saratoga, much closer. Between it and Blackwall Mountain's familar bulk there was a glimpse of Mount Ettalong. Lion's Island you can see from Point Clare and maybe from Tascott but not from Koolewong. To the right of Blackwall Mtn, Pelican Island blocked most of Woy Woy's foreshore from view. To the right of it was the officially nameless hill the rail tunnel goes through. I call it Tunnel Hill and no doubt I'm not the only one. And cutting the hill off was hill dividing Park's Bay from Koolewong and on it I could clearly see the houses in Johns Road, the furtherest point of today's walk.

I couldn't stay there long. It was getting hotter and stickier. I came out the end of Couche and waited for a break in the traffic on Brisbane Water Drive. Some loser was sitting scrunched into the corner of the bus-stop opposite, screaming and ranting into his phone at someone. Something about "not gonna take that, bitch" and "I'll fucking kill you and I mean it". Lovely. So if someone goes missing and the fuzz are looking for evidence...

Psycho Guy hung up on his victim and I crossed the road. There's a level crossing there next to the train station. Might be a good place to bring the camera back to for some pedestrian's-eye-view train pictures. Glenrock Parade runs paralel to the railway line. I stood there looking along Glenrock as it undulated up and down along the ridge. I was sweating again already and I thought, Buggrit, I'll cut it short today and do Glenrock when it's cooler.

Nimala and Nimbin went up the hill a bit and looped back down to the train station. Up at the end of Nimala the view looked back down to Brisbane Water Drive. Close to the shore the water reflected the green of the ridge then it turned a silvery blue. Ahead was Point Clare and Gosford and between them was President's Hill. It was getting muggier and the smell wistaria in a garden nearby was heavy. The view was good. Not a wide view from where I stood but a very pleasant one.

The houses on Nimala and Nimbin were forties and seventies and continuous from maybe the late eighties. The forties ones were mostly still small and recently renovated. The seventies ones had bigger balconies than their original ones. On the hill side of the streets there were the usual pole houses with huge balconies. The view from up there would be pretty extensive but I'm not sure if they could see out over Terrigal to the sea.

In Nimbin there was a funicular, one of those tiny railways up a steep incline, like the one near Blackwall Mountain. That one had an open car with just a railing round it. This one had a full glass enclosure. Excellent for getting the view as you rose and avoiding the rain but on a day like today you'd probably be boiled in yer own juices before it got to the top. Further along there was a barking dog behind a fence. A bull terrier with its tail wagging hopefully. I scratched its chest and behind its ears and it licked my hand the whole time and gazed up at me lovingly.

Back down at the level crossing I stood close to the tracks and got a nice cool breeze from the train going past. There wasn't much shade on Brisbane Water Drive. I stopped in a tiny park called Koolewong Reserve then trudged along in the heat back towards Woy Woy. I stopped to take a picture of the two tiny circa 1900 houses at Murphy's Bay. The clouds were creeping over and the end of Woy Woy Bay was in their shadow. I wanted to get home and sit on my balcony with a cold drink and my bare feet in the rain. I thought I'd just make it home before it started but nothing all afternoon until now. The thunder's coming close and it's getting dark and cool. Better log off before my modem gets zapped.

2 comments:

Suzanne said...

This is one of the many things I love so much about your writing - "storms were promised, but there was nowt but a flicker of lightning." What an opening line, what a hook. Poetry.

Give me storms, dammit! Give me crashing thunder and gusting winds and nature screaming in my ears, to match the howling in my head! This is what that first line suggests to me, and then it is followed by the quietly pedestrian (oh, goodness, a pun!) description of a day spent acutely aware of your surroundings, and a building sweltering heat, and then the barest of relief, a breeze on the balcony and drops of rain hitting your bare toes...

And you thought you were just writing about Brisbane Waters, but there is quite a lot of fodder here for the literary critic...

Spike said...

What an opening line, what a hook. Poetry. ... quite a lot of fodder here for the literary critic...

*squirming slightly and scraping the ground with my toe* Thank yer kindly :)

quietly pedestrian (oh, goodness, a pun!)

Mwha.