Friday, March 31, 2006

End of the lane

(Woy Woy walks #89 & 90)

That's right, peeps. I finished the lanes of Woy Woy. I've now walked every road and lane of the Peninsula. I now know it a lot better than when I finished the streets last September. I had two walks left to finish up, one long one medium length. I wanted to finish before April (tomorrow) so I walked the long walk this morning and the medium one this morning. My feet ache and I got pretty warm but I finished.

Walk #89 - this morning

To get to Patonga and Pearl Beach from West Street you go down Sydney and Hobart Avenues then along Mt Ettalong Road and over Mount Ettalong.

Tucked away between Hobart Avenue and Mt Ettalong is the tail end of Umina. At the Calypta Road end it's mostly forties and a few fifties houses, then it moves into the seventies (ugh) then up around Cowper Road it's nineties and noughties.

Albert Square Umina
(Big version)

Albany Square sounds like some Georgian close or the place where the BBC films Eastenders.

Albany Square in Umina is three or four 1940s houses beside a small creek smack bang in the middle of suburban Woy Woy. Past the wee white posts there's a footbridge over the creek and behind the camera is a standard suburban street, albeit full of cackling kookaburras.

Burdett Place Umina
(Big version)

This house in Burdett Place is only in the picture to show how close the New Year's Day fires got to this part of Umina.

The biggest version shows the regrowth sprouting directly from the trunk on the big tree behind the house. Pretty standard stuff for gums. They're tough as old boots.

Ettymalong Billabong and Wetland
(Big version)

Ettymalong Billabong and Wetland, on Etta Road Umina at the corner with Mt Ettalong Road. Another small reserve in suburban Woy Woy. Billabong means waterhole or deep hole in a creek. This one's part of Ettalong Creek.

Behind the trees in the foreground the creek's full of bamboo and lantana. Both imported plants making a nuisance of themselves in the Australian bush. The local bushcare crowd meet just across Mt Ettalong Road and they're the crowd you see in there on the weekends in their gardening gloves ripping out the lantana by the roots and hoeing out the bamboo.

Elanora Road Umina
(Big version)

I'd forgotten how many fifties houses there are in this part of Umina. It's the part behind the caravan park, off Mt Ettalong Road and before the road goes up Mount Ettalong.

This one's a little worse for wear but still has its original fibro. The rusty stains are from bore water. The "No through road" sign points in the direction of Albany Square. The street sign says "Elanora Road".

Mt Ettalong Road Umina
(Big version)

Looking scruffy but there's nothing there a lick of paint and the ripping off of that cladding couldn't fix. Mt Ettalong Road.

Yarrabin Road Umina
(Big version)

It's heavily overcast today and this photo's still pretty dark even after a tweaking. In the flesh, the house had a gentle glow to it. Nice cheerful colour and looked good beside the blue of the house on the right. Yarrabin Road.

Yarrabin Road Umina
(Big version)

Another well-maintained house off Mt Ettalong Road. The reno windows and cladding are the standard stuff but the colours look quite smart. Also Yarrabin Road.

Walk #90 - this afternoon

Did the final walk of the Peninsula lanes after lunch. Across to the Paperbark Forest. A beautiful spot.

Kerrawah Boulevard Woy Woy
(Big version)

The Paperbark Forest is a tiny pocket of bush between Kerrawah Boulevard and the golf course. Kerrawah Boulevard snakes alongside it but it's an out of the way road only used by the locals. You can hear a few cries of anguish and victory from the golfers but they're quite faint. Last time I was there I could see a pond through the trees but that was in winter. Couldn't see any water this time but it's only autumn.

Run rabbit run
(Big version)

An escapee or a feral rabbit on the run in Kerrawah Boulevard beside the Paperbark Forest. It was nibbling on the grass beside the road and bolted when I came along.

St Andrew's Cross spider's web
(Big version)

The spider is sheltering from the sun in the leaf. St Andrew's Cross spiders are common on the Peninsula.

Dorothy Street Woy Woy
(Big version)

Even with the cladding and the seventies windows this place looks very fifties still. It's the palms and the colours.

Dorothy Street Woy Woy
(Big version)

An odd little house in Dorothy Street. A likely contender for Least Decorated Exterior on the Peninsula. It looks very unfinished. It's pretty small so maybe the original owners intended to extend it when they had a bit more money and never did.

Purple flowering tree
(Big version)

These trees are still flowering all over the Peninsula though they're starting to look a bit tatty now. They're a big favourite with the Dear Old Things, partly because they can see them even if they've lost their glasses.

Doing the two walks today was not much of a problem. I took my time and walked slowly.

In all the walking I've done in the last year, my motivation has rarely flagged. A fair few times I've been fairly crook (sick) and I've cut walks short but only so I could recover to walk another day. On the few walks where it's been hard-going (like the Long March) I've just fallen into a daze and plodded along. Today I did a bit of that towards the end of the second walk and my feet are still aching now at 11PM. But I finished the lanes in the month I promised myself I would.

I'm looking forward to having a wee holiday and wandering pretty much at random looking for the rest of the fifties houses on the Peninsula.

Where next?

Now it's autumn and I've finished the lanes of Woy Woy, I can go back to West Gosford. Had to break off there in December due it being too hot of a morning to fuck about in buses then walk in the hot sun then back in another hot bus.

I'd hoped it'd be cooler by now than it is. Seeing it's not, I'm going to have a little holiday. Instead of going back to West Gosford on Monday I'm going to keep walking in Woy Woy for a couple of weeks. I'll wander about collecting some more fifties houses and other stuff that takes my fancy. I'll go back to
West Gosford when it's nice and nippy every morning.

Cyclone Glenda

Glenda finally crossed the coast of WA (Western Australia) yesterday. It'd been hanging about off the coast since before Larry and giving everyone the heebies. It was a category 4 when it crossed, the same strength as Tracy. No-one got killed or even hurt apparently but they're still battened down waiting for the flooding.

Not so lucky in Iran. This has got to be the third quake around there in five years. Poor bastards.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

29th of March

(Scroll down for the walkies post)

Today's the first anniversary of my Gran's death. I bought some flowers for her a couple of weeks ago. Might get some more tomorrow if they're still in the shops.

Gran's influence on my life is hard to put into words. With some much upheaval and crap in my family over the years, the well-behaved members have been a bit overlooked. When I was a kid Gran and Granddad were a safe harbour in a frightening world. They didn't wail and weep and make mountains out of molehills, the very opposite in fact. They were always calm and thoughtful.

You weren't allowed to fart in front of Gran but then she didn't go ballistic if you did, not like my grandfather on the other side of the family who went right off if you walked in front of the telly while the races were on. He died when I was small but while he was alive he was very irritable and quite scary if you ventured into his shed. And Nana was a drama queen and wrung every tiny droplet of drama out of every single bloody situation, so Gran and Granddad were quite restful in comparison.

After my other grandfather died, Nana gave her histrionic tendencies free reign. She was a noisy griever, which is fair enough, but she never got any quieter and she's never been happy unless she's miserable. She was quite miserable sitting on her bum waiting for someone to entertain her so she sat on her bum waiting for someone to entertain her.

When Granddad died Gran was in a bad way. They'd not long celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary and they had a happy marriage. But a couple of months after he died Gran demanded the family typewriter and taught herself to type. When she'd exhausted the possibilities of typing she was given a computer and taught herself to use that. She wrote emails to my aunt in America and looked up recipes and amusing homilies. She printed things out and stuck them on her pinboard. She went for a walk every single day and enjoyed other people's gardens and she didn't brood over things.

When I was a kid I hardly knew my aunts and uncles and cousins. We didn't associate with them much. When I left Perth as an adult I had even less contact with them. Gran was the steady only contact I've with my family for ten years. We didn't talk much about my father and that suited me right down to the ground. I used to ring her every week or so and we'd talk about small things, lovely plants we'd seen in other people's gardens, nice outings I'd taken her and Granddad on, history docos we'd seen on the telly.

We rarely argued. She'd quizz me about my eating habits and guilt me about not getting enough veggies and exercise but she never harangued me. I'd ask her about her health and if she'd been feeling dizzy again and she'd tell me her health worries, things she couldn't say to anyone in person. I'd help her word a note to (her daughter) Jean about it so Jean would get the message but Gran didn't have to say it out loud. The notes went on the pinboard for Jean and that way Gran got to the doctor when she needed to without having to expose her fears.

She was always quiet and neat and never gossiped, a typical upper working class Scot of her generation. She had a dread of making a fuss but she knew when not to hide things. She was always rational and calm. She didn't ignore the world but she knew when to shut it out. In the last year or so she started to forget who'd been born and who'd died but she was still the rock she'd always been. All my life, whenever things have been shitty, she's always been there at the calm quiet centre of the world.

Drop your pants

(Woy Woy walk #88)

Finished off the lanes at Ettalong today. There's a big wodge of them there, from Gallipolli Avenue-Maitland Bay Drive down to Palm Street. I've got stuff-all lanes to go, polished off more than I realised in the last couple of weeks. I'll be finished by the 31st.

Cocky logo at Ettalong Pet Shop
(Big version)

Another cocky for Suzanne. Not the real thing but an accurate depiction. They spread their wings like that and stick their crests up when they're squabbling with each other. The pet shop's opposite The Excrescence.

Drop your trousers
(Big version)

The sign says "DROP YOUR PANTS / A SOUL IS WASTED WHEN THERE IS NO AIM". The 'drop your pants' bit is the dry cleaner's slogan. The bottom bit is some sort of homily I s'pose. While I sat there at the bus-stop I stared at the words until they lost all meaning then floated about in my mind like some strange eroto-religious stricture. More prosaically, the seventies building on the left is the Senior Cit's (Senior Citizens) and stands on the spot where the Ettalong cinema once stood.

1950s shop on Barrenjoey Road Ettalong
(Big version)

Don't know if this old shop is being used for anything more than storage but the old(er) house behind it is occupied.

I'd guess it was a butcher's shop, going by the nice big window and the position next to an older shop (green roof) on a busy suburban road. This suburb was once a village in its own right and is now part of the Peninsula's suburbia. You can still see the village in these old shops and the age of the houses around them.

Barrenjoey Road Ettalong
(Big version)

Despite the cladding and the windows this one still looks fairly close to original. Because the window awnings are still there I think. The one's without their awnings lose most of the fifties look.

Bourke Street Ettalong
(Big version)

Finally got this bugger without the caravan blocking it. I like the smart green and white of this one, though I'm not sure a green that dark is a fifties colour. That's Blackwall Mountain in the background, by the way.

Woy Woy's largest cactus
(Big version)

In a lane off Lurline Street Ettalong. I'd love to transport this magnificent beast to the front garden of a nice fifties house where it could be admired to best advantage. It has a few translucent yellow flowers (big version) not unlike waterlillies. Didn't even know they flowered.

Bit muggy today. Cloudy this morning, as you can see from the photos. A storm on the way, the weather person said. Hope it happens. It was darkish on my walk and it's sunny now but there's a big front of cumulus coming in from the north-east.

Monday, March 27, 2006


(Woy Woy walk #87)

Streaky sky over Woy Woy
(Big version)

Today the cloud is high and light. Cirrus streaking the length of the sky.

In the morning sun
(Big version)

Plenty of flowers're still blooming in the early autumn sun.

Once were roofs
(Big version)

Tin roofs enjoying a second life as a fence in a Umina lane.

Darley Road
(Big version)

The one on the left looked fifties from close up but the one on the right looks more sixties to me even though it's got the flat roof. Then there's the seventies brick part though that looks like it was just pasted onto the outside.

Crown Road
(Big version)

Looks quite nice. Nothing flash but in decent nick and still with the fifties fibro. A big cactus would set it off nicely but the owners obviously prefer daisies.

Neptune Street
(Big version)

Not sure if this one's a rental or not. The mismatched curtains say yes but the nice fence says no. I resisted the urge to bang on the door and ask. There's been a veranda on the front at some stage. Though not when the house was built by the look of it.

Nice and nippy again this morning. I even put the bedspread on last night. The last few days have been so beautifully cool and damp. Cyclone Larry came a long way down the coast, much further than most of them, and brought masses of cloud with it. Good thing too. We need the rain and the poor buggers up in Queensland where it hit needed it to stop raining.

The Commonwealth Games are over, possums, and the Sierra Leone athletes have been found and in the final medal tally we beat the shit out of England and (more importantly) New Zealand. Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Red & swollen

No walkies today. Fiddled about and didn't get one in before the doctor. Then I came home to avoid a drowning. Black clouds were piling up over the Peninsula and there was a nice shower when I got home.

Blasted toe. It's infected. Doesn't hurt much or stop me from walking but the infection's a bit stubborn. I'm on my fourth lot of antibiotics now.

I've had ingrown toenails since I was a nipper. They're not much trouble. Bit of weekly maintenance and that's it. But they do get a mild infection every now and then and, if I ignored it, my toe would turn black, curl up and drop off.

Presumably toe infections also give you weird dreams. Last night's saw me sitting in an open-topped cable car whizzing round a nice autumnal garden. A tiny piano was playing automatically in the corner and a visitor kept telling me Richmond won the woodland roof. Yeah. Okay.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Foot of the Mountain

(Woy Woy walk #86)

Cut this morning's walk short halfway through. It was steamy as hell again and baking hot in the sun. At 8AM it was lovely and cool and last night I slept under a sheet for the first time in two months.

Did a few lanes round the foot of Blackwall Mountain. Saw a lovely fifties house. Nice condition, smart paintjob, good clear view of it. Whipped out the camera and the fucking battery was flat. Bastard! Mind you, the battery light's been flashing for a week now. I was just hoping it would go away. My shopping list has had GET A FUCKING BATTERY CHARGER on it for weeks. It takes more than a threatening note to make me part with cash.

Yesterday was beautiful. So cool. Went up to Gosford on the train. It winds up the left side of Brisbane Water so the view is across the water to Saratoga, Green Point and Kincumber. The water was a dull silver and the mangroves were dark. The sky was dark and low. At Koolewong the moored boats were still and white. Across the water whisps of mist hung in bays and the folds of the hills. Got the Erina bus from Gosford and, as it bumped and twisted its way through Bloody Erina*, I gazed up at the mist snagged on the microwave tower at Kincumba Mountain. It rained and hour or so later. Lovely proper rain, none of yer pathetic prickly drizzle, a brief but decent shower.

It's cool again now. As I was coming home from my walk a front of cloud came in from the north like silent surf breaking overhead. New South Wales and Queensland are covered in raincloud. The remnants of Cyclone Larry. There's a second cyclone behind Larry in the Coral Sea and another off the coast of northern WA (Western Australia) but hopefully they'll come to nowt.

I'm now two thirds of the way through the lanes of Woy Woy. Only thirty five left. Looks like I'll be finished by the end of March. After that, it's back up to the streets of West Gosford.

* Bloody Erina is an unnecessarily large shopping centre with maze-like carparks and the same bloody chain stores you get in every other unnecessarily large shopping centre. It is heartily loathed, except by those poor deluded souls who think of shopping as therapy.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Rain already

(Woy Woy walk #85)

One day, when I'm sufficiently good at photography to counter all the shadows in the lanes, I'm going to make a collection of dodgy fences. I love dodgy fences. Don't want of my own but they're fun to look at. Walking down the lanes you see a lot of dodgy fences. There's also quite a few gates that used to be bedsteads but it's the fences I like best.

Today there was a rather beautiful one. Doubt if the neighbours are keen on it, it was on the point of collapse and had a lot of weeds growing along it. But I liked it. It had been a red-painted tin roof at some point in its career. The paint was soft and faded, pink in places and still quite red in others. It was nicely framed by the greys of a wooden paling fence on either side of it and the weeds provided a bright green border along its bottom. Took a photo on the off chance but it turned out crap. Maybe the fence'll still be there when I go back.

Shortish walk this morning. It's bloody muggy and quite dark. It better bloody rain. Last night was hideous. Not as bad as New Year's Day but pretty evil all the same. Muggy as hell. Could hardly sleep. A cool breeze came in after midnight but there wasn't enough of it. I tossed and turned and dreamed the cyclone had come down the coast to Woy Woy. It blew half the houses away but it got rid of the bloody humidity.

It's getting late for cyclones. The season is generally spring and summer and it's offically autumn now. This one, Larry, was a category 4 on last night's news but this morning's paper says it got to a category 5 by the time it hit. That's bloody powerful. They rarely get that bad. Tracy, our most infamous, is referred to as a category 4 but the equipment measuring wind speed got blown away halfway through.

Tracy hit Darwin on Christmas Eve 1974 and flattened the place. It killed 71 people and left 30,000 homeless in a town of 43,500. Emergency services and volunteers turned up from all over the country and at the Boxing Day cricket in Melbourne the players collected cash in buckets from the crowd for the relief fund. Every time there's another cyclone you hear people who were kids when Tracy came talking about how they took their Christmas presents to the local supermarket on Christmas Day to be sent to the Darwin kids.

Larry's hit Innisfail, a town of 8,000 near Cairns. The Herald quotes from someone from the Bureau of Meteorology as saying: "Category Five is the highest category cyclone. 'Wind gusts to 290km/h [180.20 miles] ... we're going to see extensive damage, there's not much doubt about that.'" There's another cyclone behind Larry but it might come to nothing.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Last chance to see

Went for a wander down to Burge Road and nailed St David's on the way back. It's at 120 Blackwall Road, a couple of blocks down from the railway station.

St David's Blackwall Road Woy Woy
(Big version)

My hist list says it was built in 1908 and 1920. The NSW Heritage Office has its building date as "1908-" and its style as "good example of a timber framed church of the early twentieth century ... Federation". The design may not be a Carpenter Gothic (circa 1840 - circa 1890). My book (A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture: Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present, Apperly Irving & Reynolds, Angus & Robertson, 1994) lists pointed arch windows as one of the key points of the style. There's only a pointed arch on the door, which is one the side of the portico.

The Heritage Office also says "Moved to new subdivision in 1920. Only known building to have been physically moved when the Village of Woy Woy moved closer to railway station." Doesn't say where it was moved from but I remember overhearing some Dear Old Thing say it wasn't moved more than a few kilometres.

St David's I caught on the way back. I'd gone to get the old house below before it was demolished.

Burge Road Woy Woy
(Big version)

This place and the one next door have a fence around them now and a sign on the fence saying "building site". Looks like they're coming down and another whatsit of units going up.

Last time I saw this place the lawn was waist high. It was night. An ambulance was parked in the driveway and its lights were flashing silently. The front door of the house was open but it was dark inside. The ambos must've been stumbling about in there with their torches, looking for the Dear Old Thing who lived there. A couple of people on the bus said they didn't know she was still alive, they'd seen no-one there for months. Looks like she didn't survive, poor thing.

Burge Road Woy Woy
(Big version)

Burge Road Woy Woy
(Big version)

Got the corner this time.

Burge Road Woy Woy
(Big version)

This is the one next door and it's going too by the look of it.

I'll go back in a few months and see what they built in the place of these two nice old houses.

Friday, March 17, 2006

In the paper

I did a day's washing & sorting on an archaeological dig in Cumberland Street in The Rocks a couple of weeks back. It was hot grotty work but fun and interesting. It's in the paper today. Here's an excerpt from it:

The site, at the heart of Sydney's original convict settlement in The Rocks, lies between Cumberland and Gloucester streets. It was first excavated in 1994, when more than 750,000 artefacts, including sandstone, brick features and the foundations of about 30 buildings, some dating back to the 1790s, were found. ... "Thanks to its past use as a bus and car park covered in concrete, the site has survived remarkably intact since Sydney's first days as a convict settlement, and offers a rare glimpse at our past," Mr Sartor [Minister for Planning] said.

The article says the dig is happening now but unless its been re-opened it closed on the 3rd of March and is now in the sorting-and-pondering stage in a uni somewhere.

It'll be great to go back for a gander when the site's been turned into a museum. By then they'll have a lot more info on who lived there. Apart from Cribbs the lacenous butcher obviously, They know about him already. I want to see the images they put together of what it would been like in those narrow lanes and tiny terrace houses. The museum will be right across the road from the living museum thingy that is the Susannah Place corner shop.

Halfwits' lament

(Woy Woy Walk #84)

Nice blue sky this morning. Makes much better photos. Popped down to Ettalong and took some photos from the beach then got in a few lanes.

Ettalong Wharf & Hardys Bay
(Big version)

The Ettalong ferry wharf and Hardys Bay from Memorial Avenue. The ferry goes down to Palm Beach behind Barrenjoey Head. From there you can leap on a bus down the Northern Beaches to Sydney.

Lion Island, Barrenjoey Head & Wagstaffe from Memorial Ave Ettalong
(Big version, resolution's not great but you can see the lighthouse better)

Fron left to right: Wagstaffe, Barrenjoey Head, sundry bits of northern Sydney within Pittwater, Lion Island in front of Commodore Heights (part of the Ku-ring-gai National Park in Sydney) and the sandbar (where the waves are breaking) at the corner where Ettalong Beach stops and Ocean Beach starts.

The Excrescence Ettalong
(Big version)

The building we love to hate. It's a club-cum-casino-cum-hotel-cum-resort on Memorial Avenue at Ettalong Beach. Locals know it variously as The Excrescence, That Stupid Bloody Great Building and That Hideous Lump.

As a building it's bearable. But it's way too big for its surroundings. As you can see in this photo it's the tallest and widest building for miles. It's the tallest and widest on the Peninsula, including the multi-storey carpark at Deepwater Plaza (near Woy Woy station).

Araluen Drive Pretty Beach
(Big version)

Just left of centre is a fifties house at Pretty Beach, the only one I saw today. Taken from the wharf at Ferry Road, Ettalong and as close as I can get with my 4x zoom. The hill is Wagstaffe.

It was a pretty warm walk but there was a decent breeze. Yesterday was stinking hot, black clouds pressing down over the Peninsula all afternoon and a couple of rumbles of thunder but no bloody relief. Today's clear and bright and not too hot.

On the bus back we were entertained, in a can't-look-away sorta way, by a couple of drongoes up the back. They were whinging (whining) at the top of their voices about how their mate had to cut back on beer and smokes to pay his solicitor off at the rate of a hundred bucks a week. It wasn't fair, they decided. After all, the video from the riots didn't actually show him braining that guy with his tyre iron, he was just carrying it for protection and he only went down to the riots to get a closer look. Bloody hell.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Bunged the rest of my view photos and old house photos on the interactive map. Photos from St Huberts Island, Kincumber and Koolewong, Tascott, Point Clare & West Gosford, up the left hand side of Brisbane Water.

Click on the map to go to the interactive copy. Can't make the interactive copy show here.

Hills & Ridges

Flying trams & giant fish

Flotilla of boats spurting fireworks floating down the Yarra, a thong (flip flop) doing aerial manoeuvres over the stadium, hordes of athletes through the airport cattle gates, wee being collected in jars in the village, lycra hoodies being climbed into, all that sorta thing.

Yep, the Commonwealth Games opened last night in Melbourne.

The Sydney Morning Herald has a Games news page or you can read about it in The Age, Melbourne's broadsheet.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bloody mozzies

Coupla rumbles of thunder this morning and a steady rain. But I thought Fuck it and went walkies anyways. Didn't think I'd get much in the way of fifties photos but I'd forgotten what a rich mine of fifties houses Barrenjoey Road is. It was pretty dark but I got a few good ones for my collection.

Barrenjoey Road Ettalong
(Big version)

Sixties windows on this one I think. The change from small windows to big seems to have come in the sixties, from what I've seen. Mind, I couldn't give a stuff about sixties domestic architecture so I won't be looking that up.

Barrenjoey Road Ettalong
(Big version

Love the colour of this one. Lovely blue on a rainy walk.

Barrenjoey Road Ettalong
(Big version)

This one would look much better with a couple of frangipannis or a big nobbly cactus but it looked like a rental so that won't be happening.

Barrenjoey cnr Ridge
(Big version)

Not great colours for a fifties house but all the rage in the seventies when they did the reno.

Barrenjoey Road Ettalong
(Big version)

Nice frangipanni fitting in with the era of the house.

Barrenjoey Road Ettalong
(Big version)

One of my favourite houses on the Peninsula. Not just because it's still fibro. I like the blockiness and the colours.

Barrenjoey Road Ettalong
(Big version)

Very modern colurs but the original shape of the house is still there and the awnings help the retain the fifties look.

Got pretty mozzie (skeeter) bitten. Little bastards were sheltering from the rain under the trees and got in under my brolly. It's been so hot and muggy they're still bloody breeding.

I'm about halfway through the lanes of the Peninsula now. If the temperature doesn't go back up over 27 (80.6 F) I'll be able to knock the bastards off by the end of May. It's back to West Gosford after that.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Didn't see many fifties houses today. I walked on the south side of Ocean Beach Road and it's mostly forties and seventies there, with clumps of new units along the main road.

Ocean Beach Road
(Big version)

Got it at last. This one's been on my hit list for a while. I see it every time I go down Ocean Beach Road. The combination of fifties and iron lace is quite startling in the flesh. These people really would be happier in a nice old cottage.

The facade has come off worse in the deal too. That window above the door probably makes a huge difference to the light inside but it just looks weird. The purple thing on the right window appeared to be painted wood or metal blocking the window completely rather than an awning.

50s or 70s or reno?
(Big version)

This place had me puzzled for a while and I'm still not sure about the veranda. The front part of the veranda, with the lower roof, is clearly an eighties or nineties add-on. What's got me stumped is the higher part of the veranda.

Was the brick frontage inserted into the existing roofline of a fifties house or was the higher part of the veranda added after the brick using fifties materials? I'm calling the main part of the house fifties rather than seventies due to the fifties depth of the eaves and the age of the garage (below).

50s or 70s or reno?
(Big version

Blasted tree. Very inconveniently placed for my photo. Anyways. The pitch on the roof of that garage suggests that this house is not seventies as its front (above) suggests but fifties with a careful seventies reno. What say you?

Blue 50s cabin
(Big version)

It's rare to get a clear view of a cabin. This one was worth the inclusion of the fence. I like for its colour. I remember that colour from somewhere in my Nana's house.

It was a quiet walk today. Hardly a dog to be found. Normally when I'm walking streets or lanes the local dogs go berserk behind their fences. They're bored stupid and like to make the most of a stranger in their midst. Today there was one barker and one silent mutt that poked its tiny head through the fence hopefully and that was it.

To make up for it there was a rich odour of dog shit rising from one backyard. Either they've got a dozen dogs, they never pick it up or they're buying it by the kilo to use as fertiliser.

A block along there was a faint scent of orange jessamine. They're almost finished now, more's the pity. The frangipanni are still going strong all over the Peninsula and the flowering gums as well. There's still a fair amount of roses and grevillea or whatever they're called but not much else. The next big flowering will be the Magnolia denudata in late winter.

Walked further than I expected. It was hot but there was a bit of shade in the lanes. Didn't stop much either so I got into that nice rhythmic stride you get in a decent walk.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Made a new interactive map at Flickr. Go there and click on the links on the map to see the views.

Hills & Ridges

Friday, March 10, 2006

In the afternoon

The cool change came through while I was eating lunch. Gobbled it down, snatched up my camera and shot out into it. Good strong breeze and cool with it. The sun was pretty hot still but I got a decent walk in, a few more lanes behind Whatsit Street.

Harold Street Umina
(Big version)

Nice effort on the noughties reno but the windows need to be the same level as the doors or each other and those bushes or trees or whatever are going to look weird and bunched up when they get big.

Paul Street Umina
(Big version)

This was the clearest view available of this house. There were a lot of fifties houses where I walked today but half of them were even more obscured than this one.

Check out the frangipannis. Beautiful and as old as the house. Can't guess the age of the tea tree at the front.

Paul Street Umina
(Big version)

Fifties house, sixties (?) windows, seventies brick-over, noughties paintjob. And is that thing under the tree an old copper boiler of the kind my great-grandmother used for washing clothes? Anyone?

Paul Street Umina
(Big version)

Not sure what looks weirder, a fifities house with a bullnose veranda or one with a brick over. Other than the weirdness it was well-kept and pleasant.

Paul Street Umina
(Big version)

I think the front bit is a seventies addition with new awnings imitating the fifties look but don't quote me on that, the guttering on the front corner might be older than the seventies.

Alexandra Street Umina
(Big version)

Argh. I'm hating the tacky brick-over and the flyscreens don't improve it but the shape of the house is not bad.

Alexandra Street Umina
(Big version)

Working on the assumption that the brick veranda and the addition happened at the same time, I'd put the two-storey addition in the sevenites. Those two big windows have a seventies look too, with that wide band across the middle.

Alexandra Street Umina
(Big version)

I like this one, cladding aside. Nice fifties colours and original veranda posts by the look of it. It was also a clear shot after several really obscured houses.

This documenting the fifties houses is fun. There's a lot more of them that I noticed when I was walking the streets of the Peninsula last year but not nearly as many as the forties and seventies houses.

It's got overcast again since I got home and with any luck it'll rain and bring the temperature down properly.