Friday, 28 December 2012

Mystery in Towlers Bay

There are mysterious happenings here in Towlers Bay.  This cosy little hamlet for boaters apparently holds a secret for someone ... it is unknown whether it is sinister or just sad.  Let me explain...

Mr G, Molly and I have been coming over to this lovely bay for years now.  Our permanent boat mooring is just on the other side of Pittwater so its a short hop across the bay to pull up a spare mooring and break out lunch or the 5pm wine and cheese.  . 

Towlers Bay - also known as Morning Bay - is perfect for boaters with a wide sandy beach at it's end.  During the warmer months the beach is crowded with families, boat tenders and motor boats every weekend.  Thankfully they all go back to work during the week and leave the beach in a peaceful can even see the occasional wallaby on it at dusk or early early in the morning.

On the eastern edge of the bay there is a smallish beach with the ruins of steps leading up a wooded hill.  There are also old rusty rails leading out into the water which must have worked one time as a lift for goods or supplies for the house or settlement at the top of the hill.  The only thing left of the settlement is an old fireplace and a forlorn set of steps - easily imagined as the front porch steps.  The area is the preferred place for responsible dog owners.  You can go ashore on the beach at low tide and climb the hill to explore the ruins .. Molly loves it and will go in a clearing which is easy to pick up in.

The mystery is this....during the early evening a lone man arrives in a tin dingy.  We have never seen him arrive or leave.  We just look and seemingly he has just appeared.  He sits at the top of the hill in the trees on the top step of the old porch.  He sits there all night.  We've never seen him leave.  While the light is still reasonable we can see him just sitting there...sometimes we see the flash of a cigarette being drawn.  Spooky.

We used to go across when he was there to take Molly for her evening toilet.  He's there as we approach but then he moves way back into the woods and where to be seen.

Mr G and I wonder .. is he a devil worshipper?  A while back there used to be a few boats there with him ... but only one boat sits on the beach now.  Is he sadly waiting for a lost love one?  Who knows.  He was there again last night.  Again we didn't see the boat come into the bay we just saw it as we were taking Molly ashore.  So, with the last full moon of the year shining brightly, we decided to go to the big beach.  Best to give our mystery man his hill for this evening at least.

Thursday, 27 December 2012


After all the rush rush and fun fun leading up to and peaking at Christmas its real nice to chill out on the boat in one of the heavenly bays in Pittwater.  Pittwater is a large body of water just north and about a 45 minute drive from where we live in Sydney.  Its beauty is breathtaking!

We - me, Mr. G, and Molly - got to the boat this afternoon.  Took a quick motor just across the bay to a national park bay called Towlers Bay.  Because this is holiday time the bay is packed with big and small boats all enjoying the day.

BBQ dinner tonight with baked potatoes on the grill off the back of the boat ... nice wine ... and I'll finish with another round of Downton Abbey....I'm almost through series 1...series 2 to go.  Mr G isn't in to it but he humours me...good man that he is.   Sorry for the short update is getting warm and the grill is ready.  More tomorrow (maybe).

Here's some more pics of this beautiful area.  Enjoy will!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Wonderful – and WET – Christmas Day & Party

First of all a belated Merry Christmas to everyone!  I trust your Christmas Day was filled with love, good fun and good cheer with everyone you care for.

Our Christmas Day/Party was terrific!  The culmination of weeks of planning and preparing it was a roaring success with great friends, lots of food and just the right amount of cheer….and for the first time the event was at our house.

It all started a couple of months ago when Mr. G and I went out for dinner with our friends Keith and Jenny.  I had been thinking about being retired with, unlike any year before, the time available to host Christmas lunch at our place. 

By mid-December the numbers were looking like 15 people for lunch with everyone bringing something for the banquet.  We hadn’t hosted a big event here since my 50th birthday and then I had the benefit of caterers to take care of the food.  Not this time.

I put up my hand to provide the seafood… easy - with prawns and oysters; veggies – easy again; and the turkey for 15 – not so easy.  Mr G and I don’t eat much meat…no red meat at all actually.  So the traditional turkey roast is not my strong suit.  That was my main concern.  But after talking to my best friend/sister Jae in Atlanta, downloading endless recipes online and watching and recording about 5 Jamie Oliver cooking shows – I felt ready to tackle the turkey.  Or Turkeys since I thought for 15 people we would need 2 turkeys.

It seemed like Mr G and I cleaned the house and the yard for about 2 weeks.  Why is it you can only see things when you really start to look at them?  One window that seemingly just needs a wipe turns into realising all your other windows and the window frames are so awful you’re embarrassed about anyone who’s been to the house and seen it in the last year!  God we are PIGS! 

So there was a flurry of activity.  When Mr. G finally spit the dummy and threatened to withdraw his labour I did some more cleaning on my own.  I told him, “Big events are the catalyst to get the jobs done that are too easy to put off”.  He wasn’t moved.  But he bounced back at the finish line to get everything done.  Our most excellent friend Leona came over to spend Christmas Eve with us to help get it all together.   She worked unselfishly and happily.  Thank you so much Leona!!!

We planned to eat in the backyard and had organised with the next door neighbours to use their pool since they were planning to be away.  Christmas in Sydney is usually very warm and sunny.  Unfortunately the weather turned nasty and we had THE MOST RAIN on Christmas day in over 70 years!  Not to worry.  We moved to the carport ….and the rain kept coming.  At the last minute Mr. G devised a way to block the windward side of the carport with an old sail.  Eventually we had a dry place to eat together….our feet were a bit wet but after the 3rd champagne it didn’t matter.

The party was great fun.  Everyone brought wonderful food and beautiful wine.  The hit of the part was the table football game Peter brought.  There was tournament after tournament with everyone migrating down to Mr G’s “shed” to play darts or hang around the football games.  Isn’t It ironic that we spent so long getting the house looking good and then the whole party ends up in the not-so-spick and span shed.  Who knew?

Molly is a good football player.  She can catch the soccer ball and dribble it back to you time after time after time.  By the end of the night the soccer ball was heavy with rain water, she was soaked and so tired she could hardly walk!
The perfect finish to the day was Peter getting out his guitar, joined by Pete and John, and playing some terrific music.  Great times, the best of friends and an outstanding day!   Thanks everyone!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Southern Belle - Sailing Proud

Bluewater Cruising Yachts - the local company of craftsmen that built our beautiful sailing yacht Southern Belle - have just produced a video which shows our lovely lady sailing in full flight.  The red sail is our MPS - multi purpose sail - a bit of a cross between a spinnaker and a full head sail.

In the video, Southern Belle is the red trim boat (ahem-the one with Southern Belle written on the hull).  The other boat was just launched late this year. 

Have a look at our pride and joy!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

GrateFULL morning walk in Beautiful Sydney

I fully believe the practice of being mindful about being GRATEFUL every day for your life, nature, surroundings, achievements and people in your life is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. 

Just stopping to take notice of all that you treasure, of your surroundings, of your community, of the people you share your world with helps you see how much that has true value in your life.   It puts a brake on taking things for granted....even for a short while.

This morning Mr. G, Molly and I went for our morning walk as usual - only today we took a short drive to the harbour.  It was early and warm but not too warm and the harbour was just waking up – not too many people or boats out and about yet.   I couldn’t help but think how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful city in such a lucky country. 

We wandered down a bush walk along the harbour’s edge.  Molly had a wonderful time running way up ahead, up and down the hills.  It was a short trip to doggie and people heaven!  Thank you Universe!!!

Coffee after our walk with Mr G.

Friday, 21 December 2012


Last night I was the blood bank…a fast food outlet … and Woolies all rolled into one for a squadron of blood sucking mosquitos!  I’m happy for them; they must all be lying under a tree with bulging stomachs taking the day off.

My body doesn’t deal well with mosquito bites.  I get welts instead of just an itchy red place that hang around and itch like crazy for days and days.  Mozzies don't seem to care for my husband ... they make a bee line to me and don't bother him at all.

Because of this – in the summertime – we sleep under a big mozzie net tent.  I did have one of those automatic spray things but felt like it wasn’t good to sleep in a bug spray mist…can’t be good for you.  Molly likes the tent.   I think it makes her feel cosy.


Sleeping under the tent has its problems which is why I was a one woman picnic last night. 

The main problem is it restricts air flow… not much but just enough to cause problems for Mr.  G.  NOTE:  Mr. G is the person formally – in this blog – known as “Pookie”, my internet paranoid husband.   There have been comments so I’ll refer to him as Mr. G from now on.

 Problem #1 is it gets hot.  The ceiling fan has to be turned up really high to get the air flowing enough to make Mr. G not feel like a furnace.  Also I’m a hugger/spooner when I sleep which means he’s always waking up telling me to “move over” which wakes me up and makes us both cranky.

 Problem #2 is it doesn’t let the air escape quickly…and this is my problem.  Mr. G has the unique ability to fart – and I mean a big enthusiastic one – in his sleep.  These can be quite odorous and they don’t disperse quickly.  So if the sound doesn’t wake me up the smell does.  This is why I was dinner for mozzies last night.  I woke up to an unpleasant (I’m being kind here) odor and quickly pulled the side of the tent apart to get some oxygen.  Then I unfortunately fell back asleep and didn’t wake up until I had lost about a pint of blood and was itching like crazy.

No beans for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Parrots ..... And a quick thought on change

A few years ago Pookie (my internet shy husband) made a big bird feeder for our backyard to bring the parrots in. We get regular visits from a pair of rainbow lorikeets.  And in spring they bring their young around. 

Lately - almost every day – a big beautiful king parrot comes to visit.  He’s become very bold.  When I go to feed him on the bannister he will put his head right down next to my hand…the first time he did it I thought he was going to bite me.  Now he’s bringing his mate around.  She’s pretty skittish but today I finally got her to come down off the feeder and eat some seeds off the bannister.  They even let me sit outside while they were there.  Very cool….they make the neatest little song.

A quick thought on change...

For the last 12 years or so I’ve become addicted to the gym….it took a while but I have to admit that it really really works for me.  I feel so much better when I work out.  And, at least I’m doing the best I can to keep my bones from getting brittle in my older age. 

I’ve had the good fortune to be able to join a gym where I work with personal trainers.  I love working with them and they’ve both become good friends.   In the last couple of weeks they both have decided to move on to do other things.  I’m really happy for them….and I think I’ve surprised myself a bit with the ease I’ve accepted their move.  There was a time…back when I was all wrapped up in working and rushing around that I would have been a bit upset at the changes to my routine.

On the way home from the gym today I started thinking about how retirement has given me a different perspective on so much.  I was so attached to work and being busy and carrying the “label” of what my job was that I couldn’t see that “stuff” happens ….and then, mostly, we move on to different and often better things.  More times than not it’s no big deal.  Wouldn’t it be liberating if it didn’t take 62 years of living to get that message!

I love love love Bonnie Raitt…great singer.  There’s a line from her “Nick of Time” album/song that says – ‘Life gets precious when there’s less of it to waste’.  I think I’m starting to get that.



What is it about champagne?

Monday night was a lot of fun…too much fun I think when some of the things I said and did came rolling back to me.  I was invited to Christmas drinks hosted by my dear friend Suzi …  a wonderful woman, business innovation leader and fantastic coach.  Some of her closest supporters and colleagues came along too. 
The evening and conversation was easy to get into from the beginning    but the large glass of champagne that met me at the start – along with my empty stomach from a busy day – made it even easier to “get on a roll” so to speak.  And then the other 2 champagnes just added to my transformation.  What is it about champagne that releases you almost instantly from yourself…from any inhibitions you may have … and turns you (well me at least) into a happy and all too outgoing party machine (or so I think)?  And funny!  Goodness.  The bubbles had me loudly delivering one liners about Christmas turkeys and the challenges of recent retirement.  Groan.  Apologies to all.
Also my wonderful girlfriend Deb - that I love so much but for some reason don’t see very often – was there.   As soon as she and her husband walked through the door we were locked in one on one conversation.  I feel a bit guilty today that we didn’t talk much to anyone else … but not really … we laughed and laughed and had a great time.   And there were funny hats ....


The best laugh came from talking about the M word – Menopause.  Isn’t it funny that as soon as men hear that word they quickly find someone else to talk to?   I remember a card I almost bought for a friend.  It said, “I AM WOMAN” in big letters on the front and then inside, “OPEN A FREAKING WINDOW!”  Deb and I talked about the awful hot flashes and the other ways your body betrays you every day…… Like never ever standing up to sneeze if you can help it … because your bladder will, without warning, give up on doing its job. 
We also talked about the anxiety and the resentment that suddenly overtakes you and the sometimes murderous thoughts you have about those you love…especially the husband.  I can happily say that “Pookie” (my internet shy husband) made it through my M word journey unharmed - physically at least.  As two women who are in both the professional world and the homemaker world, or in my case, taking a break from a job (retirement) at the moment, we talked about how women just endure this stuff.  All dressed up, professional; handling whatever work – or family – throws at them with expected poise and demeanour…when actually they want to kill someone.  I am constantly in awe of women and what they can achieve ….  But why don’t we talk about it more?
As I left - hugging Suzi and her husband way too many times – Suzi told me to text her that I got home OK…she was afraid I would kiss the taxi driver!  Well I wasn’t that drunk!  But I did give the driver a big tip and he told me he loved me.  All in all a great night!!!

Check out Suzi’s website – ROAR - if you or someone you know is interested in development either personally or for their organisation.  They do a terrific job.

Monday, 17 December 2012

And so it begins....

Today, after many many months of procrastinating, I'm going to start a blog with the help of my good friend who's given up her time today to help me through the start up process - Sarah (Thank You!).  Here goes...

First of all my life has been changed by this beautiful lady...Southern Belle.  I'll talk a lot about her and how she's added value and complexity to my life.   Our boat.

There will also be a lot said about my husband, my life's partner, my best friend.  He's shy about the internet - won't touch facebook or anything to do with social media - so let's agree now to call him "Pookie".  He'll hate that....but it's kind of endearing don't you think?
The other significant other in my life is Molly - our beautiful Australian Koolie dog. 

I hope to make this a habit in the days and months ahead.