Silent in Foggy France: Bayeux – Benouville – Houlgate (30 – 31 August 2015)

Sunday 30 August 9:10 am – Relais ‘La Roseraie’, Bayeux (Day 98 of my midlife gapyear) I wonder when I will converse again. Will my voice go rusty, my tongue uncertain? This will be day eight without a proper conversation. ‘Sadness & Happiness’ – the last poem in Selected – one of my favourites – so much so as I think my shoulders slumped and I let out a little sigh of … there should be a word which reflects the regret of finishing a book. Now I’ll have to finish my ‘poem’ and prepare to share it with Robert. …

Continue Reading

Naked Liberation at No 42 Lady Bay Beach – 22 February 2015

Until recently I was dreading Lady Bay. It is the second of, I think, three  ‘clothing optional’ beaches in Sydney (this one granted that status in 1976). The first in this project was beach No 13: Cobblers. I am not generally inclined to get my kit off in public. Prior to Cobblers I never had and I found the experience fairly nerve-wracking. Back then (20 February 2011 – so almost four years exactly) I was not as well equipped, mentally, to look at things that made me uncomfortable, step back, and question why. But several weeks ago, thinking about Lady Bay, I asked …

Continue Reading

You May Have Your Mansion But the Beach is There for All – No 41, Kutti (1 February 2015)

Kutti Beach is in Vaucluse, long the most affluent of Sydney suburbs and still in the top five. Prior to European colonisation the area was home to the Birrabirragal clan of the Dharug language group. They named the whole area, now called Watsons Bay, Kutti. That the usual Sunday crowds are waiting at Watsons Bay is evident on the wharf at Circular Quay.     I am set to meet Tom Allen, his wife Tenny and her sister Narineh under the big Morton Bay Fig in Robertson Park at 1 pm.  Tom is a bicyclist and all-around adventurer, blogger, filmmaker and bicycle advocate. …

Continue Reading

A Riot of Kookaburras and Cerulean Seas – No 40 Jibbon (4 January 2015)

  The strange summer continues as I’ve had to skip another (and hopefully the last) of the Hawkesbury beaches which can only be reached from the water. I will visit number 39, Hungry Beach, along with numbers 35 (Gunyah – Brooklyn) and 37 (Hallets) in due course. *** I got up this morning and didn’t dawdle. I was going to the beach without delay. I catch the bus to the Queen Victoria Building and the train from Town Hall Station to Cronulla Station and, from there, walk down to the ferry wharf. A riot of kookaburras are laughing their heads off in an …

Continue Reading

Is this heaven? No, it’s Bundeena – No 38 Horderns (21 December 2014)

This summer’s beaches have created challenges. I should have begun with No 35 Gunyah (Brooklyn) – up on the Hawkesbury – but it can only be reached from the water so I need my mate and his boat at a time that works for us both and the weather is amenable. I broke my rules and skipped to No 36 Gunyah (Bundeena); No 37 is Halletts – another Hawkesbury beach with water access only – has been added to the boating list. Which brings us back to Bundeena for No 38, Horderns. I’ve failed to find the connection but I …

Continue Reading

I Think You Must Leave Australia to Become Fully Australian – No 36 Gunyah (Bundeena) 23 November

It’s late November and this is only the first beach of the summer. I’ve been delayed by the hopes of sticking to my rule of visiting the beaches in strictly alphabetic order. Beach number 35 is Gunyah (Brooklyn) which can only be reached from the water so I’ve been waiting for my boat-owning friend’s schedule to mesh with mine on a day with fine weather. It’s proving a challenge so I decided to break the rules and set No 35 aside to press on to No 36. There are, I think, a couple of same-name, different-location beaches to be visited …

Continue Reading

No 34: Great Mackerel – 22 June 2014

On Friday I woke to a radio program about ceremonies people create for themselves. A caller described a women’s winter solstice ceremony she had been conducting for some years. The Winter Solstice marks the moment when more light begins to fill your days. It is the beginning of a new cycle of growing then diminishing sunlight – it’s the nadir. The caller’s ceremony involved acknowledging the events of the past year and letting them go while looking ahead to future plans. It got me thinking. I’m so keen to close the door on the past year – to set aside both what was …

Continue Reading

No 33: Grand Flaneur – 9 February 2014

I have been looking forward to this: the westernmost beach in Sydney.  Grand Flaneur Beach is on Chipping Norton Lake in Liverpool.  This would be different. The day is hot and a heat shimmer dances along the tracks as I await the train to Liverpool.  What, I wonder, might I expect?  A parkland?  Yes.  Picnicking Muslims? Almost certainly.  Children swimming in a lake health officials would discourage you from swimming in?  Probably.  Beyond that I have no ideas. This is truly Sydney’s west and a mix of faces and cultures greet my arrival: a saffron-robed Cambodian monk with his mate; …

Continue Reading

No 32: Gibson’s Beach – 2 February 2014

Living in Sydney brings joy to my life.  Even when all else is shit, when plans fail, promises are broken and my mood is sour to see Sydney Harbour, the Bridge, the Opera House brings me joy.  Perhaps especially when all else is shit the magic of my own joyful response to the sheer beauty of Sydney Harbour and my endless wonderment at making my life here lifts my spirit and brightens my day. I was in a fine mood on Sunday to begin with – slightly disappointed no friends were free to join me at Gibson’s Beach but excited …

Continue Reading

No 31: Freshwater Beach – 5 January 2014

I would have posted Freshwater sooner but I got distracted by Duke Kahanamoku. Kahanamoku, a native-Hawaiian, Olympic swimming champion and sometime-movie star, is credited with introducing board surfing to Australia.  Australia without surfing is unimaginable; surfing culture is, to many, synonymous with Australian culture.  Board surfing surly would have arrived by another route but we can credit Duke for surfing starting when it did and where it did – Freshwater Beach, Christmas Eve, 1914. This from a report in The Daily Telegraph of 25 December 1914: Going out into the water some distance, the Hawaiian laid full length on the board, …

Continue Reading