I have decided to post early due to the large number of photos still to be edited.
Monday 30th December
Up at my usual time and my usual walk with the usual suspects along The Broadwater.
At 9.30 I had an appointment with the Radiologists for X-Rays of my spine and an Ultrasound of my hip. The Sonagrapher was, as expected, a little less than forthcoming with the results although he did say the Chief would review the results and have them to the doctor by Thursday. I asked specifically about Bursitis of the hip. He found some swelling although he expected some but it is not significant. More likely he thinks it could be a tear in the muscle due to the body trying to compensate for the spasm in October and the body trying to work out a new way to walk and move. He expects I may need an injection, likely in the spinal region.
I will be in Sydney on Thursday so will visit the doctor there who ordered the last lot of X-Rays. Maybe he can send them to my local doctor to compare with today’s results.
The rest of the day was spent saying Happy New Year to friends in the village. Oh yeah I had a snooze after lunch.
Sister Enid arrived late in the afternoon so we went for Yum Cha at Harbourtown.
Tuesday 31st December
After a quick breakfast we hit the road by 7.15.
Today would be interesting as I was unsure how my back would handle travelling all day.
After 4 hours we stopped the old Port town of Ulmarra NSW on the Clarence River and had a coffee and mid morning snack at the Ulmarra Hotel.
https://www.ulmarrahotel.com.au/ This is a lovely old hotel on the river.
Ulmarra was settled about 1857 and has now been National Trust Classified.
Much of the hotel has been maintained as it once was. I must comment that the cakes and pastries are all cooked locally or on the premises and prices are reasonable. For two coffees, a scone and a slice of banana bread was $16. Compare that to Starcut Florists in Mackay a couple of weeks ago when I was charged $12 for a cup of coffee and a Pastizzi.
The town was originally a port to ship the Cedar as it was cut. Later when the Cedar ran out, properties were established as Sugar Cane farms.
The closer we got to our destination the thicker the smoke haze became. The outdoor temperature started to rise from about28 degrees and reached 39 degrees. On arrival the temp had dropped to a comfortable 28 degrees. We were blessed with traffic without any major delays or accidents. The only bottle neck was at Coffs Harbour. The M1 is a great road which has almost by-passed all towns but because the country around Coffs Harbour is very hilly it has taken a long time to find a route deviation.
Although we changed driving each two hours it was still an eight hour day. On arrival in Forster we went for a walk and had to walk down a steep hill with a very strong wind at our backs. That was uncomfortable.
Our other sister Sandi was here as was sister Bev and husband Peter. We were at our brother Allans and wife Rae house in Forster. It is not often we are all together like this so any opportunity to get together is welcome.
Allan barbecued a butterflied chicken for dinner.
At 9pm, those of us still awake stood outside in the cool breeze watching the fireworks from Forster sports ground.
Somehow we drifted off at various times to bed. The most brazen of us stayed awake the longest. Enid and I were awake to not see in the New Year. Ten pm and it was lights out in the household.
Any noise of NYE revellry which may have been made by neighbours at midnight were not heard. I slept all night.
Wednesday 1st January NEW YEARS DAY. Yay.
I slept on a hard futon and spent a painful night.
After breakfast we drove to the breakwater wall and walked to the end then had coffee at a very busy restaurant in Tuncurry.
The rest of the day was spent just relaxing and talking. The strong North Easterly winds from yesterday returned. There is a strange haze hanging around. It seems a mixture of smoke haze and salt haze from 6 days of relentless winds have driven the salt mist ashore and has mixed with the smoke.
Thursday 2nd January
We were up and ready to leave by 8am. Rae had an appointment for her Chemotherapy Treatment at the local hospital. Sandi came with us.
Enid and I took turns driving, stopping for fuel once and a coffee stop at Heatherbrae north of Newcastle. From there I took on the driving, over the Hunter River via the Hexham Bridge and onto the M1 all the way to Sydney.
Bev and Pete were about 30 minutes behind us, arriving just as we were finishing our lunch.
Dinner was simple but delicious. Pete barbecued some salmon steaks and I made a salad of Rocket, Baby Spinach, Shaved Parmessan, toasted Walnuts and thinly sliced Apple with a light Caesar Dressing.
There were no leftovers.
Friday 3rd January
Today we had planned to walk the new clifftop track from Maroubra Beach to Malabar Beach. Bev and Pete had child minding duties, Sandi is still unable to walk far, my back is suspect and temps were expected to be in the high thirties. Instead Enid, Sandi and I caught the train to Circular Quay where we had coffee and raisin toast then caught the ferry to Parramatta. We have been wanting to do this trip for a long time. The reality did not live up to expectations. The first half is quite interesting although we did not go via Balmain. All the suburbs are new to us. The ferry is fast and has many stops so photo opportunities were limited.
The day was strength sapping hot so we sought shelter inside.
Once we arrived none of the attractions were within reasonable walking distance so we stopped to look at an old house known as Willow Grove built in 1870 which is currently undergoing a battle to save it from demolition. https://theoldparramattan.org/willow-grove/
Next we had lunch at a small Thai Restaurant. Prices were reasonable and serving sizes were large. I had the Beef Salad and did not notice it was served with a chilli dressing. Wow! That helped to clear the nasal passages – quickly. https://inthemoodfor-thai.com.au/
Across the street was the old Roxy Theatre, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roxy_Theatre,_Parramatta built in 1930, Heritage listed and now permanently closed. Most likely the owners cannot afford to maintain the building according to heritage rules and therefore cannot develop the site. They most likely cannot sell as any potential buyer inherits the heritage ruling.
We decided we no longer wanted to return via the ferry. Instead we caught the train to Redfern and changed to the Cronulla line. That was better. The train was faster and air conditioned.
Saturday 4th January
Sandi, Enid and I walked to Gymea for a look around the shops. Then it was time for a coffee and an egg and bacon roll simply because we can. The weather forecast was for very hot conditions of around 38 ° and around 44° in the western suburbs. By the time we walked back to Bev’s place it was already uncomfortably hot and the house, especially upstairs was almost unbearable.
After a light lunch all 5 of us drove to Cronulla Beach to see the movie Jo Jo Rabbit. The beach was packed with people seeking shelter and cooling off in the ocean.
I fell asleep in the movie. Not once but three times. Everybody else stayed awake.
After the movie we had drinks at the Cronulla Hotel (exceedingly noisy) then walked to Cronulla Mall and had an early dinner at Kurrabar Cafe. https://www.zomato.com/sydney/kurrabar-cafe-cronulla One of the reviews said how good the Seafood Chowder is. Well, I tried the chowder before I read the review. Even while I was eating the chowder I was trying to compare it with Canadian chowder. On the east coast they tend to do a cream base while on the west coast it seems they use a tomato base. I really like the cream base. Tonight it was a cream/tomato base and honestly I loved it.
Once home I fell asleep watching TV until the predicted Southerly Buster turned up and dropped the temperature by 10 degrees within a half hour. It also deposited a fine layer of dust over everything.