Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Spoke too soon. Bloody ISPs! The old one expired 5 minutes after I blogged that I was back online and the new one isn't connected yet. Bastards!

But anyways, here's a picture for you too look at. From my last walk at Tascott.

Noonan Point

Monday, November 28, 2005

Jam tomorrow

Yes, peeps, I'm back. Back online at home and with a shiny new computer.

Will bung up a few photos tomorrow.

Cool wet silver drops

We had a really beautiful day a couple of Tuesdays ago. It got hot again and muggy. Not as bad as the week before but not great. The sky was clear at dawn but the cumulus had slowly been building up. By lunchtime there were some pretty dark clouds in the west. I went out at one o’clock and as I stood at the bus-stop I heard a rumble of thunder and felt a raindrop on my arm.

It’s a short bus ride into Woy Woy from my place. By the time the bus got to the station the breeze had started to blow. A cool refreshing breeze but not strong enough yet to blow away the flies. By the time I got to the library round the corner the breeze was a wind. The date palms outside the library rustled and people looked up at them and listened to the sound.

From inside the library I could see the tops of the trees behind the Post Office tossing and the agapanthus in the library courtyard were nodding and bowing. I bunged my stuff through the photocopier and went back out into it. The wind was stronger again. The street was clearing, people were scampering for coffee shops and cars. Leaves were flying through the air and forming drifts across the road. The main cloud, with the storms in it, was coming down from the Hunter Valley in the north. There was also some low dark wispy cloud coming in from the south-east. It was moving fast. Cloud normally moves fast in a storm but this cloud was coming in at running speed. I stood at the Post Office and stared at it in the gap between the old Fire Station and the supermarket.

I was finished in town so I walked home. I wanted to stay out in the wind. There’d been a couple more drops while I stood outside the Post Office. As I walked along some more fell. Cool wet silver drops that hit hard. The sun was coming and going in the gaps between the clouds and it lit them perfectly. Against the hill of Phegan’s Bay and the black cloud above it they looked white.

As I walked along the symphony of the wind in the trees changed constantly. It gusted and the trees it gusted through changed. There was the soft constant background of the street trees (gums) and shifting over them the sound of different trees in front yards. Palms at that old white house, a maple a few houses further along, the liquidambar, a frangipani in full leaf and a waft of scent from its wet flowers, the silvery rustle of a lilac tree and the faint clatter of the rain on the leaves of a huge old rose bush.

The thunder came again and the scent of the wet earth started to rise just as I got my key in my front door. Every now and then a dog left out a brief bark but most of them were hiding with their paws over their ears.

By half past two it was storm dark. The palm outside my bathroom window clattered and I could hear the thunder every now and then and the snap of a sheet on a clothesline somewhere nearby. The rain came down suddenly. A beautiful noise on next door’s tin roof. When the wind gusted it pattered on my balcony and on the leaves of my geraniums. God, it was a beautiful afternoon.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Effing and Blinding

Thank Christ the comments thingy is back on and my links column is back as well. I was starting to get rather paranoid re my recent computing catastrophies.

No news yet on a new proper site. Will update you as soon as I get it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Bays #2 - Brisbane Water Walks #6

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.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Bays #1 - Brisbane Water Walk #6

Warm again today but not as stinking hot as last week. Went over to Woy Woy Bay and did a little walk there.

Pleasant spot. Plenty of Federation (circa 1890 - circa 1915) houses still there. Some built in the twenties too I think and plenty in the forties. A dozen fifties places, nothing in the sixties (which is normal for Woy Woy) then a few dozen seventies places and about the same in nineties and noughties new builds or renos (renovations). That's more Federation stuff than I expected and it was very pleasant to find it.

There's a beautiful place on the corner of Taylor and Meena. Owned by Della Bosca who appears to be the Minister For Everything Else for NSW (a Minister is like a Senator). Whatever his politics, his house is beautiful. Federation or maybe a little earlier, judging by the decorative bits. I'll be looking the bugger up and finding out exactly how old it is. The bugger being the house not the Minister For Everything Else. Can't think of much more boring than looking up pollies.

I wandered and drifted along, taking in the glimpses down into Woy Woy Bay and Waterfall Bay and staring at people's houses. A lonely kelpie high up on a balcony barked for attention and watched me with interest as I fiddled about with my camera. As I went I took its photo and it seemed quite pleased with that. I suspect boredom is the No1 killer of Woy Woy's dogs.

There's a park at the end of Taylor Street. Gurdon Park. From there I could keep an eye on the clock across the water next to Woy Woy station. There was a shady seat right down on the water's edge. I sat there and soaked up the breeze and the view.

Grey-bottomed clouds were coming down the F3 from the Hunter, passing over on their way to Sydney. I could see Skion Kop on my left. The TV repeater tower isn't on it afterall, it's on the hill backing Park's Bay. Couldn't see Park's Bay but I could see half the railway bridge you go under to get to it. Beyond that was maybe Caroline Bay. Maybe. Then Green Point and Saratoga with Pelican Island at Woy Woy in front of it. I could see the Bay View pub and the big old pines at Memorial Park. Then the mangroves at the far end of the station then the station with its concrete walkway and the clock behind it then the multi-storey carpark and the crane behind Kmart.

It was a nice spot for a sit down and I stayed there until the bus came. Mind you, I kept an eye out for the black snake that's rumoured to live there.

Friday, November 11, 2005

1847 & Rembrance Day - Brisbane Water Walkies

Yesterday was foul. Beyond foul. It was hell. It was so fucking muggy I thought I was dead already. People were sitting at bus-stops in puddles of their own juices, muttering about how there better be a bloody storm soon.

It was warmish when I started out but not too bad. Had to trundle over to Kincumber again so I thought, Bugger the heat, I'll squeeze in a walk while I'm there. Didn't walk Wednesday because it was too bloody muggy.

Anyways, at the corner of Empire Bay Road and Avoca Drive there's a roundabout. There's a wee old sandstone church next to it and the bus turns and goes down Avoca Drive into Kincumber.

I got off at the wee church. I already knew it was 1847. It's on my hist list. It was beautiful. Brown and grey from the traffic fumes but that can be sandblasted off. St Andrew's in Sydney was done last year and looks like new.

This one, St Paul's, had its own graveyard. Had a look around and there were some lovely old headstones. The oldest one I found was 1810. Wasn't looking very hard due to the bloody flies. I'll dig up the cemetery index here in the library some time. Did notice Rock Davis's grave though. He's the bloke Davistown is named after and I saw something the other day about him being named Rock after the Rock of Gibraltar because he was born near it at sea. Cool.

So I lurked in the graveyard for a bit and took some pictures. (Which have to wait until I'm back online at home.) Wanted to have a gander inside the church but there was some sort of service happening and I wasn't going to crash in. The outside is a lovely stripped-back Gothic so I'm hoping the inside has some nice arches or perhaps a quatrefoil or two.

Kincumber's mostly seventies but there's plenty of 19th & early twentieth century stuff to see. Avoca Drive had a few things on it. Forgot to bring my notes to the library today so let's see what I can remember.

Opposite the church there's the Kincumber Hall of Arts. On Empire Bay Drive. Clapboard painted a dull browny-pink that's one of the paint colours from Federation times I think. Hideous colour. Managed to get a clear photo of the building despite the traffic and I remember it's 1914.

There's another lovely old clapcoard building at Number 154 Avoca Drive with "M Frost Kincumber Cash Store" on it with a post-and-rail fence, another post-and-rail fence at Number 168-170 and a seventies house that looked like it was built on a Federation cottage frame. There was a sign out the front saying the lot is coming down and 11 units were going up. Bugger. But hey, I got photos and the local history crowd probably got some too. The old Post Office and the Postmaster's house are still there on the corner of Davies Road. They're an auto-trimmers or something now but the building itself looks in pretty good nick. You can see the Post Office sign on the Avoca Drive side, poking put above the sign.

Down at the shopping centre you can get through to Kincumber Street. It's the street behind the shops. Go round behind the (current) Post Office. There's a Federation cottage there that houses the Community College and another one beside it that's some other sort of community centre thingy. Opposite them, in the carpark there, there's another tiny church. Carpenter Gothic this time and not in great nick. It's boarded up and has been given a kicking by the local yobs but maybe it's still structurally sound. Behind it there's another cottage which is a third community centre thingy and opposite that there's a scout hall. That's clapboard like the cottages and the church. They're all around 1900 by the look of them. I'm not sure about the scout hall. Could be 1920s. It's on 1940s brick piers (stumps) like the church and the first two cottages but piers can be added later just by jacking the building up. It's not on my hist list so I'll have to dig around for its history.

I'm slowly piecing together a picture of Brisbane Water history. I'm in no hurry. Plenty of the work's been done already by the local history societies and I'm picking out the bits I'm interested in. But of course they're working on what they fancy and that can give patchy coverage sometimes. Sometimes it takes years to dig up some interesting snippet and it can take years for your snippet to come together with someone else's snippet and form a bigger picture. But it all comes together in the end like some giant jigsaw and you see so much more than you ever knew was there.

Remembrance Day - Tascott #4 - Brisbane Water Walk #5
Todays' the 11th of November. Poppy day and (I think) Memorial Day in America. The minute's silence in the library was interrupted by some drongo asking the librarian for something or other and we all turned (silently) round and stared at him until he scuttled off.

It was cool this morning. What bliss. I had to get up around four and turn the fan off. The cool breeze stuck around all during my walk. Wouldn't've got Tascott finished today otherwise.

Went up and down some hills and saw some pleasant views. The sirens going along Brisbane Water Drive down below echo off the ridge and the water and are pretty loud even half way up the ridge. My leg is covered in cat hair where two rather plump cats barred my way on Sandstone Crescent. They rubbed themselves against me and I scratched them in the places cats can never get to.

Got back to to train station at ten. I was hot but it was nothing like yesterday. And that's Tascott (Brisbane Water #5) finished. Not sure where I'm walking next. I'll pour over my maps on the weekend and make up my mind where Brisbane water #6 will be.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Victory Parade - Tascott #2 & 3 - Brisbane Water Walk #5

Victory Parade - Tascott #2
Last Friday morning was torture. Hot and sticky as hell with the clouds promising and promising and promising to rain. But at the end of my walk there was a bit of breeze and that was a relief.

The walk was short. One street. At Noonan Point Brisbane Water Drive curves down the hill and off towards Woy Woy. Just at the end of the curve there's a path down to Victory Parade. It's actually called Victory Parade. Don't know if it was named after the victory of World War I or II. Probably I, judging by the age of the oldest houses on it.

There were the usual brash new houses as there are everywhere there's a view but only a couple and only three or four seventies places. At one end there was a pleasant little white board cottage. 1900s. Frangipani, lavender and some other low bushes. Halfway along the street was another white house. Bungalow sized but I can't remember if it was bungalow style. It was circa 1900 or 1910 and also pleasant. There were, according to my notebook, "dozens egs c1900 w & w/out additions". All I remember of it right now is that it was older and nicer than I expected it to be and the faint scent of jasmine came to me from the fence-line along Brisbane Water Drive.

After my walk I tottered into the electical shop and bought a new fan. My faithful old one had finally carked it. I'd turned it on in the bedroom the night before so I could sleep that night and nada. Argh.

Tortured - Tascott #2
It was a beautiful cool weekend. A storm on Saturday and plenty of rain then low dark clouds all day yesterday. So cool after last week. But last night was a bit warm. Not a good sign.

But this morning wasn't too bad. I was driven to the teetering edge of insanity by three fucking million fucking flies but it wasn't as hot as it could've been. Friday I was dripping with sweat, today I was just hot and bothered.

There was a lovely house on Murrumbooee Road. A 1900s cottage, classic white clapboard. A thirties or forties addition on the front left corner and an addition on the right side I couldn't date due to the flyscreened veranda in the way. On the front of the cottage was an unusual addition. A big portico, high-roofed and foursquare. It looked fairly recent, maybe no more than ten years old. It was unusual but harmonised well with the rest of the house. The garden was old and beautiful. Jasmine along the fence, a big tree, maybe paperbark, plenty of low glossy bushes. Very nice.

There were a decent amount of dogs in today's streets. Where there's a lot of very new houses you get bugger-all dogs and cats. A silent malamute poked its face between the palings of its gate and stared at me wistfully. Further along a lazy german shephard barked at me without even sitting up.

The air was perfumed again with the scent of jasmine. I've seen a lot of it lately and its in full flower now. There were some beautifully perfumed roses too but you have to stick your nose in them to get the scent when the sun's not on them. Deep pink grevillea lounged and flowed over someone's garage and a fifteen foot tall magnolia grandiflora had been planted on a street corner. That'll have to come up in a few years I think. They put out huge surface roots like the Moreton Bay fig if I remember right.

On the library computer again and that's all I've got time for today.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


To add to the URL theft evil, I'm having some connection problems at home. So if I don't blog or reply to emails for a few days, I aren't dead. Just resting.

And this is no excuse for A Certain Somebody to email me and tell me all about last Tuesday. In hot sweaty detail and preferably with polaroids!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Divas & Wankers

Makybe Diva has won her 3rd Melbourne Cup in a row. Her jockey had a bit of a cry. Which is fair enough.

Some swine has stolen my URL. I no longer live there. There was a pneumonia-induced mix-up at the server end and someone else registered the bastard when it came up for renewal. So now I gotta get a new URL and dig out my list of links in and shit like that.

But hey, I'll live. There will be some very bewildered peeps out there in Internetland but they'll live too.

Diva Fever

Tell you who else wants slapping. Bloody John Laws. Carson the Queer Eye queen is here for the Melbourne Cup again today. Laws is a prick and a talkback radio person. He makes his living kicking the most powerless around. Takes a special kind of cowardice to do that and love yourself for it. His detractors call him the Talking Brillo Pad. Serves him right for having a dodgy hairpiece.

Anyways, I was going somewhere with this. Oh yeah. Carson. Last year when Carson was here handing out prizes for Cup fashions Laws hoed into him on his radio show. So I'm hoping Carson runs into the Talking Brillo Pad at Flemo (Flemington, where the Cup is run) and gives him a slap and knocks his hairpiece off in front of the TV cameras.

Yep, it's Cup day today. First Tuesday in November, Australia's most famous Tuesday, the Race That Stops a Nation, blah blah blah. We're all gripped by Diva fever and peeps are walking about in funny hats and talking about odds and trifectas and a bob (dollar) each way.

Changing of the Guard - Tascott #1 - Brisbane Water Walk #5

After hauling myself up the steepest street I've struck so far and spending several minutes cursing the incompetent cartographers who made this year's map of Tascott, I realised I was on the wrong street. How embarassment, as Effie is wont to say.

That was Kateena Avenue. The views were not bad. Along the tracks and the road from Tascott station back towards Koolewong and some views over to Woy Woy and Saratoga. The powerlines got in the way a bit but it's always good to see the view from a new angle.

It was another muggy morning. By the time I'd hoicked myself up that hill the sweat was trickling into my eyes and down my spine into my undies. Rather distracting but such is life. It was a beautiful grey morning. Soft grey clouds of every shade sat low over the hills and ridges. The water was a hundred shades of silver and the ridgesides were misty green with the promise of rain. Between Brisbane Water Drive below and the water there were a dozen jacarandas in full bloom. They looked good against the dull green of the paperbarks and the grey of the water.

It was about half past seven. The birds were twittering and screeching and carrying on like they do on rainy days. A brush turkey was stalking along the side of the road and an elderly dog wandered out to stare at it with menaces and to nuzzle my hand and wag its stumpy tail. I gave it a scratch and soldiered on. The ups and downs of the weather seemed to have sapped everyone's energy plus I was tired from staying up to watch some crap after Queer As Folk. God, that Brian bastard wants slapping. That cute twink he lives with should snip off his other ball while he's asleep.

I plodded along, swiping flies and catches glimpses of the view as the road curved and dipped and climbed. There was some blue flower and one of the climbing species of jasmine along the fence beside the railway line. There was a tiny tiny breeze and I could smell the jasmine.

Where I used to live there was a night-scented jasmine on a fence nearby and its warm perfume would drift in my open window on hot summer nights. No idea how many species of jasmine there are. I've spotted maybe a dozen, a few not scented, the rest with perfumes varying from beautifully light to headache-inducingly heavy. I like the lighter ones.

There was four light-scented bushes outside the Pizza Hut in Woy Woy. Opposite the library, where that new chemist with the green roof is. I'm bloody glad the Pizza Hut's hideous seventies roof is gone but I miss the gentle scent of jasmine as I come out of the library. There was more jasmine on the fences along Brisbane Water Drive near Tascott station and also a pleasant bush with small trumpet-shaped flowers that came in pink and white on the same bush. The orchids are coming out now as well and the rhododendrons. Though some of the orchids may be rhododendrons and vice versa. I'm the first to admit my flower-recognition skills are pissy.

Along Glenrock Parade and Brisbane Water Drive there were plenty of forties houses and quite a few from around 1900. Most of Kateena and Melaleuca were seventies with some recent places in the best view spots. There was a seventies house at 15 Melaleuca and no sign of the "graves, Scott family ... 1903/11" on my hist list. Long covered over and forgotten perhaps. Waterview Crescent was eighties to now. Though there might've been a seventies place on the corner. It's a tiny dead-end between Brisbane Water Drive and the water with views from Gosford to Woy Woy. Which is from the north end of Brisbane Water nearly to the south end.

There's a roundabout at Noonan Point. Noonan Point's on the hill that has Point Clare at the north-east corner of it. Brisbane Water Drive comes through the roundabout and over the railway line and from just there you can see Lion Island. There's a narrow but clear line of sight just squeezing past the tip of Koolewong, over the Peninsula (Woy Woy) and past Green Point at Pearl Beach to Lion Island and Whale Beach behind it. Whale Beach is the Pittwater side of Palm Beach and Palm Beach is right behind Barrenjoey Point.

Finished at nine. There was a nice breeze coming up in the last few minutes of my walk and it's coming in my windows now. I've got the telly on to watch the Cup, a bottle of something open and I'm wearing a funny hat. That's right peeps. It's the first Tuesday in November.

The changing of the guard title thingy is about the mozzies. Went off at seven this morning and there were still mozzies (mosquitos) about as well as swarms of flies. It must've been there change-over time.