I've decided that I'm really battling to catch up with the blog so that I can actually write in the present tense. So, you're now in for a mammoth post!!! This whole post will incorporate my starting work on Tuesday, 25 March all the way through to our outing on Sunday, 13 April. Most of it will be pictures - enjoy!
The boardwalk at Dee Why
Sunset over Dee Why lagoon
Sunset with Scott in the foreground
The forum website (http://www.saaustralia.org/) which we belong to had a "Sydney Get-together" at a picnic/BBQ area in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park called Bobbin Head. The entrance to the park is about 8km away from our front door.
Looking down at the marina at Bobbin Head
The picnic area alongside the river
The Saffer camp at Bobbin Head
This is the barbecue station. It's very similar to the one we have a the apartment. Electrically operated and free.
Tyrone enjoying himself immensely!
Tuesday, 1 April '08
The original April Fool in a very stylish hat!
Chairs - Saturday, 5 April '08
Scott's reading chair arrived this morning at 06h45!!!!! Needless to say, I kicked him out of bed to accept the delivery! So here he is looking very chuffed & comfortable in his new leather recliner.
When we went grocery shopping this morning, we found this really cool hanging chair in one of the lifestyle shops at Hornsby Westfield. It's oh so comfy for reading in and watching the birds from the balcony. Just a pity it's starting to really cool down now - but it's great for sitting in the morning sun with a cup of coffee while watching the cockatoos.
Okay, so we were terrible at taking photos on this particular day. The trains weren't running due to trackwork being done on our line. So this was our first trip into town with me driving. Even with the GPS, it was nerve racking!!! We first went to Paddy's Market in Flemmington - this is on the South side of Sydney. I went with this one instead of Haymarket because I thought we'd have an easier time with parking and traffic because it wasn't in the city centre. Hrm....... This wasn't the best decision I've made.....! It was smelly. It was dirty. It was noisy. And there were far too many women walking around with scarves over their heads....... The merchandise was very similar to what you'd find on the Grand Parade in Cape Town. $2 for 5 pairs of socks.... I think we were there for a sum total of 3 minutes and we high-tailed it out of there.
After some more stressing in traffic on my part, we eventually found Haymarket and the underground parking entrance to Paddy's Markets. Right, so this market was worlds apart from the other one!!! We left our beloved "sheeps" (woolly slippers) behind in ZA cos we didn't know if quarantine would zap them. So our first port of call was one of the many wool merchants - and voila! we both now own a pair of Australian UGG "sheeps".
The market it huge and we walked around for hours! We could've spent an absolute fortune there but didn't. Although our apartment feels somewhat empty, we've got to keep reminding ourselves that we have a container load of things arriving next month. We don't want to start cluttering up the place with too many candle holders and stuff before we've unpacked all our old stuff. Oooooh, I'm SO looking forward to having our personal stuff arrive!
Going over the Anzac Bridge
Okay, so you all know that Scott is such a boy........ He bought himself a remote controlled Apache helicopter at the market.....
This is what it looked like out of the box..... Pretty snazzy!
As soon as we got home, Scott wanted to try out his helicopter. I told him to wait until daylight when he could take it out onto the field around the corner. But he was leaving before sunrise the next day to go to Canberra. There was no way he WASN'T going to try and fly his new toy! Well, after the first couple of attempts inside the apartment, it was missing it's rear wheel.
So he took it outside onto the lawn.....
In the dark..... I tried to warn him.....
He came back upstairs looking a little dejected because he'd now lost another piece - the weight thingy on top of the rotors. Now it wouldn't take off at all..... And he couldn't find the lost piece because it was dark..... Oh dear.....
Glenmore Park - Thursday, 10 April '08
I went out on my first (and only to date!) scoping job to a school called Surveyor's Creek Public School in a place called Glenmore Park. It's a few kms from Penrith near the Blue Mountains.
Just before I got to my turnoff
Just ahead of me there is the toll point. Most toll roads here are cashless. You buy an eTag which you attach to your windscreen near your rear-view mirror. As you go under the toll point, your eTag bleeps and the toll is charged directly to your account which you pay every month. If you dont' have an eTag, your car gets photographed and you get a fine if you don't pay the toll to the relevent road authority within 48 hours. It's a brilliantly efficient system.
This is the M4/M7 free way. All along in both directions is a bicycle lane. Totally safe and well used. Motorists are warned to keep a lookout for cyclist and cyclists are warned to cross exits & on ramps with caution.
The above pic shows the variable speed limit signs. These are LED signs which change depending on the traffic conditions. The route I took between home and Penrith varied from 90km/h to 100km/h to a maximum of 110km/h. And everyone sticks to the speed limit. Okay, so there are a few young P-platers (youngsters who have passed their driving test but are still on a provisional licence) and hoons (road hooligans) who will insist on breaking the speed limit. But I'd say 99% of the time, everyone obeys the speed limits. It's great! No big 4x4/BMW/Merc flashing their lights at you while trying to climb into your boot!!!
The built up sides of the free ways appear when the road runs through or near a residential area. From what I can gather, these are mainly to cut out the traffic noise. There are also signs (especially on downhill stretches) asking trucks not to use their air breaks in built up areas.
Okay, so some of you may be wondering why I'm not raving on about how fabulous my job is...... That's because I'm not really enjoying it. My initial intention when we arrived here was to start a very personal journey into finding my passion in life. Scott's found his - he LOVES what he does. I was going to incorporate this massive life-changing move with finding what I really love doing. I was more than happy, if we wanted to supplement our income, to get a part-time job.
I was offered this job before I'd even gotten over the fuzziness of jet-lag!!! Sure, it's got it's perks - a car, laptop, phone & a half decent salary. But I'm yet to actually do any work. I sit at a desk in the office trying to look busy. I was supposed to be out on the road doing site visits all day - not sitting at a desk in an air-conditioned office twiddling my thumbs. So I'm just a tad bored.... I only use the car to get to and from work. And I haven't had any need for the laptop or cell phone yet. *sigh* Not exactly what I'd envisioned for myself. So, not one to muck about, I've come up with a cunning plan......!
I'm going to stick it out until just before our container arrives - hopefully before my folks do - towards the end of next month. This is when I'll resign so I've got some time to spend unpacking so we have a comfortable apartment (which actually feels like home!) when my folks arrive on the 31st. And then I can spend some time with them too! Woooppeeeee!!!!!
After they leave, then Scott's dad arrives so I'll get to drag him around Sydney for another week before I start looking for a half-day job. The money I make will go towards paying for the car repayments, car insurance and petrol for the new car we're buying.
We went off to Sutton's Holden in Waitarah and, after test driving the Astra and the Viva - we ordered our Astra.
We'll be able to pay it off in 2 years & then we'll have a good car to keep for at least the next 5 - 10 years. Believe it or not, this is a SMALL car!!! I'm amazed at the size of the cars people drive here. V6s & V8s. And not too much under 2L. And everyone drives an automatic! Gas guzzlers all of them!!! And then you must hear them complain when the petrol price goes up!!!! It's VERY funny! :-) And then there's also the fact that they've got this immense power under the hood & they rev up at the traffic lights.......... zero to 60km/h in seconds I tell you!!!!! It's amazing to watch! And then they all stick to 60km/h. LOL!!!!
So anyway, there'll be some more pics of the car when we go and collect it - probably in a couple of weeks' time.
A couple of cool pics we took under the bridge
A Trip to the Hornby Lighthouse @ South Head - Sunday, 13 April '08
This is a stunning little beach at Watson's Bay called Camp Cove.
An old canon which was used to defend Sydney
Some Rainbow Lorikeets in the tree - these are really common.
Looking across at North Head from South Head - this is the entrance to Sydney harbour from the open sea. Notice the ship coming towards the harbour...
The following pics were taken with my Dad in mind. He's always loved yachts and when we were kids he'd love to take us down to the yacht basin at Cape Town harbour so he could dream about sailing off into the sunset.... :-) There must've been a race on and it was the perfect day for it with quite a brisk breeze.
Remember the ship.....?
The Hornby Lighthouse
Imagine our disappointment when we got there & found all the scaffolding!!!
The lighthouse keeper's house
Scott at the edge again!
Some more fortifications, gunners trenches etc. There is a naval base about 30m away and most of the trenches have been bricked off - I suppose they all lead to the inside of the naval base.
My boat in the palm of my hand! Messing with perspective.
Surfin the rock......? Huh? LOL!
After having found a replacement weight thingy in Canberra, it was time to fly the chopper again!
This was a relatively soft landing.....
How do I make it go up? Up! Dammit. Up!!!!
This landing wasn't so soft!
And now there's a piece of the rotor missing too. The Apache is now not airworthy any more.
Oh dear..... :-(