Bloody near froze to death yesterday. Went off to The Bays again. That's Woy Woy Bay, Phegan's Bay and Deadman's (AKA Correa) Bay. It was a beautiful stormy afternoon Tuesday and Tuesday night was cool enough for a quilt. Shoulda took a jacket Wednesday but the old brain was still asleep.
Anyways. It was rather pleasant. I did a circular walk that took me up hill and down dale then back to where I started.
There was a quirky old place on the waterfront section of Phegan's Bay Road, a wee cottage called "Geebung". Geebung is from a rather funny Banjo Paterson poem. This place looked like it'd been a tiny one-room fishing shack built around 1900. I'd say there was a veranda on the front of it then. Once you've done the fishing you need a veranda to drink and boast on. The next lot of building visible was around the forties. Fibro (asbestos sheeting) extension at the side and back, wooden or stone foundation stumps relaced with the classic forties brick ones, and the amateur concreting under the Hills' hoist. Delicious.
Further along at No 62 there's a house called 'Minerva'. Minerva, according to my hist list, is circa 1920. It's still going strong up there on the rise and has a rather pleasant view across to Woy Woy.
Round the corner at Nos 10 - 18 my hist list has "Houses (5) 'Eric' et al ... c.1915/18". 12, 14 (Eric), 16 and 18 are still there. Where No 10 should be there's someone's 1970s or 80s driveway.
No 18 is a seventies brick-over job but the "1915/18" roofline is still there and it's got some Federation repro in the form of iron lace and wooden cut-out trim on its veranda.
No 16 has 40s fibro sheeting down the sides but the clapboard is still on the front and looks in pretty good nick. 16 & Eric have both got 40s concrete steps and a 40s addition at the back as well and I'd bet good money they've both got a 40s or 70s kitchen. No 16 has a seventies sliding door as a front window and Eric has one of those unlovely seventies aluminium frame sliding windows.
No 12 is untouched (on the outside anyways) by the 40s and 70s. But it's not in the besst of health. It's got a significant sag on the right side and leans towards its middle. That sort of thing does the frame no good at all.
From the top of Phegan's Bay Road you can see across to The Excrescence at Ettalong and all the way over the Peninsula to Barrenjoey Head and its lighthouse.
That was the mid point of my walk and from there I wandered back down to the bus-stop on the waterfront. The sun was in and out like a fiddler's elbow all morning and the water was green and bright one minute and beautiful shades of grey the next. The wind was getting up again and it was quite nippy. There was a bit of rain but I cowered in the corner of the bus shelter and enjoyed the view.
The bus shelter was a view as well. There was a big painting behind the seat entitled "James & Annie Phegans waterfront house in the early day's of Phegan's Bay" (their errant apostrophe not mine). It was taken from a photo in an historical advert in a frame next to it. There was a large Federation house right on the waterfront. Nipping out for a look at the terrain between showers, I worked out the house must've been right where the bus-stop and that wide bit of the road is. I was probably sitting on the back left corner of the house. There was another historical advert flogging furnished cottages. The one price I could read looked like 63 pounds. There was another photo, this one of a dangerously overcrowded ferry of grinning people. The women were wearing those wide hats that look like meringues and Gibson Girl blouses so that's early 1900s. There was another photo with a small crowd of adults and kids (plus two dogs) around a car. A woman in that was in a Gibson Girl blouse but the others were wearing what looked like 1910 - 1920s gear. Droopy sailor frocks sorta thing. Couldn't get a make or model off the car. They were all draped all over it.
It was pleasant sitting there waiting for the bus. The galahs screeched and scrawed on the hillsides until the rain started, I could track the progress of the garbage truck from its muffled lifting and clanking noises, the Sydney train sighed as it pulled into Woy Woy station. "All stations Berowra then Strathfield, Redfern and Central, negs top will be Wondabyne, passengers for Wondabye alight from the rear carriage only". Couldn't hear it but I know it by heart. A siren left the copshop in Blackwall Road opposite the library and hurtled off down Ocean Beach Road. Somebody'd thrown a tanty in the TAB perhaps. (For my American viewers, that's chucked a tantrum in the betting shop.) Nearby someone backed a V8 cautiously down a steep driveway, high tide lapped against the rocks and goat baaed at me from the terraced garden of the 1920s house there on the corner. I poked my head round the bus shelter and the goat and I stared at each other for a few minutes.
Looking from the shelter across to the hill with Phegan's Lookout on it (the hill appears to be nameless on all my maps) I was looking at a hill untouched by houses and covered in big old gums swaying in the wind. Between it and me there were a few private jetties and an old falling-down jetty that belong to 'Minerva'. It had a shag perched halfway along it and a tiny blue clapboard boatshed at the shore end. Closer to me there was a small old blue and white dingy riding at a yellow buoy and if I turned my head to the right I could see the old pines at Memorial Park in Woy Woy and beyond them the hills of Saratoga and Daley's Point.
The garbage truck worked its way down the hill and backed up near the bus-stop. Never noticed before but it's got two small spotties beside the taillights. For garbage collecting on dark winter afternoons I presume.