Dave, Friends, Food, High Tea, Shopping, DVDs.

After an awful Thursday night, partly my own fault and partly some bastard who let Dave down, I thought we were in for a crap weekend. Thankfully, we sorted things out, and ended up having a great time.

Friday night

* Dinner at Bravo in Crows Nest
Dave and I hadn’t been to Bravo in months, and the food was better than before. We both had spaghetti – Dave’s was with meatballs, and I had a spicy sauce. Followed by gelato – chocolate & lemon for me, and chocolate, lemon & pistachio for Dave. Which was not a very good idea as it was damn cold (probably 11 degrees YUCK!). On leaving Bravo and venturing to the bus stop, we felt like we were going to freeze both internally and externally!

* Nothing that exciting
The rest of Friday night was spent doing various things including:
– Watching some shows we’d recorded during the week
– Dave playing computer games

Saturday
* High Tea at Lilianfels in Katoomba.

Met Mark, Helen F and Stephanie at Central to get the “fast” train to Katoomba. “Fast” is in inverted commas due to the fact that the trip from Central takes 2 hours, and probably 3 in total including getting to Central. I think driving takes about 1.5 hours from my place.

We were made a little late by a medical issue at Strathfield, so instead of getting to Katoomba at 12.29, we got off at Leura at about 12.45 and got a taxi.

I didn’t realise until I got on the train that the annual “Katoomba Winter Festival” (or “Feral Festival as our friendly taxi driver called it) was going on in Katoomba, which explained all the unusually dressed people on the train. Also, the inappropriately dressed, being that the maximum temperature in Katoomba was going to be 11 degrees, and a girl wearing only a t-shirt and a small skirt (I think) was spotted on our train. This was not a great thing to find out, as there were 12 of us going to High Tea, and it may mean it would be harder to find seating.

Well we all found seating, but not together at first. Unfortunately you can’t book High Tea in Lilianfels, so we were told that as we were having high tea at 12.30, instead of later in the day, we would be fine. I think they forgot about the “Feral Festival”. The staff were extremely flat out.

As soon as we got there, poor Karen and Sean had to take their little boys (Matthew and Benjamin) elsewhere, as they’d been there for an hour and the kids were running riot. But we got to chat a bit to Juliet, John, Amy and Dave Gi.

It wasn’t the fabulous service I got last time I had high tea there, but I think the problem was mostly that they had loads of people there at a time much earlier than usual. But I will go back again, and make sure it doesn’t clash with any festival!

* Shopping in Leura
Afterwards, Amy & Dave Gi went up to Katoomba to check out the “Feral Fest” and the rest of us went to Leura for some shopping. We only had an hour before the train headed back to the city, so we made our ways to the shops we liked best, and then met up at Leura Station.

As usual, the first stop was Megalong Books, where I found “A guide to modern + conetmporary Art in the city Paris” , and “Stalin’s Nose” by Rory Maclean, which looks like a fiction travel book of the eastern parts of Europe. Yes, I liked the Trabi on the front cover (it reminds me of Berlin) ;). I also mentioned on the way in that I’d found a really good Berlin book last time I was in there, and someone overheard me and asked where they could find it. Unfortunately I took the last copy.

Then it was off to “Leura Whisk” to decide if I wanted the tea cups I found a few weeks ago. I yet again decided that I already had too many tea cups, and continued up the road.

I went into a great gallery, “Michael White Art” where I found a print I really liked, but left with cards when I found out the cost of the print. There were quite a few lovely prints. I must go back there next time.

And then it was quickly through a few other stores, a quick farewell to Juliet & John, and off to Cafe Josophan’s to get a hot chocolate, before heading up to the train station.

Thankfully we only had to wait about 5 minutes on the incredibly cold train station. The train ride on the way back went very quickly. Luckily we got seats, and we also got to see more unusual costumes of people returning to the city after the festival.

It was a very nice way to spend a day with friends, just felt so rushed!

* Dinner, DVDs and no clubbing

On the way home I picked up some DVDs and dinner for Davo and I. I was too tired to consider clubbing (although I did want to see Heiko Laux).

We watched “Rendition” which we really liked, but I think the ending was a bit abrupt. I always like to see movies with Peter Sarsgaard and Jake Gyllenhaal, as I think they are quite good actors. Their looks help too πŸ™‚ Dave reckons I like Peter Sarsgaard as he’s like the Andrew McCarthy of the present day. I hadn’t picked up on that before, but definitely agree.

And then Davo decided more computer games were in order, while I tried to watch “Sweeney Todd”. It was hard to decide whether I wanted to watch it. I tend to despise muscials. They really drive me nuts. But a great cast and the fact that the director also hates musicals changed my mind. It’s not that bad, but I haven’t had time to watch the last hour. Will finish it tonight.

By this stage, it was time for some reading and then sleep. I thought we’d watch “3:10 to Yuma” on Sunday, but that went out the window!

Sunday

* Breakfast at Epitome
Another place we hadn’t been to in ages – Epitome in Lane Cove. Was acutally a good experience this time. Food was great and service was quick. Haven’t had a big fry-up for breakfast in sooooooooo long.

* Shopping in Crows Nest

We’d seen a book in the window of “The Constant Reader” that we wanted to check out. So we went, found it, didn’t want it, and I ended up leaving with a book on Chagall. How surprising!

Then we just ventured around Crows Nest checking out some shops, but didn’t find anything else we really wanted, apart from more gelato at Bravo (even better than yesterday – yum!) so headed home. I had a short nap, and Dave played more of GTA4!

* Balmain

Dave, Rowena, Charles, and I met up with Monica in Balmain. We found a cafe and spent a good 2.5 hours there catching up. Charles had KB beer, which I took a photo of, but has somehow magically disappeared off my phone πŸ™

Then we decided to have dinner, and ventured up the street to “La Boheme”. It has all sorts of food – Bavarian, Belgian, European, German, Hungarian, Vegetarian. I love the layout of the restaurant too. Dave remembers being there before with Rowena and Charles, but we think it was called something else.

We had a great time – the food was excellent and we had a lot of laughs. For entree, I shared Escargot with Garlic Sauce with Rowena (yum), for main I had Hungarian goulash & dumplings (more yum) and for dessert had Belgian Chocolate Mousse with Berries (excellent way to finish off the meal!). Also drank Staropramen beer, although most of that was finished by Dave (I rarely drink beer, and when I do it has to be extremely cold or I can’t finish it). Everyone else had wine, the first bottle of which was called “Vampire”. They all seemed to enjoy the Australian wine better πŸ™‚

Monica and I were almost in shock when we realised we both liked Foals. In 20 years, Monica and I have NEVER agreed on any music. It was very distressing and we must never admit this again πŸ˜›

It was a very entertaining evening, including a drunken Dave when we got home. I don’t think anyone else realised!

* Home

It was so cold last night. I thought we’d freeze. We both did a few things on the internet, and time got away from us. I got more engrossed in my book, and didn’t get to sleep until 11. Which was early considering the last week, but I want more!

We had a great week, so much of it being spontaneous. Dave and I would like more weekends like that!

Monday

I woke up feeling crapulous. So sick of getting colds constantly. Erika went home sick after lunch – she didn’t look too good. Had auditors hassling me all day. I wanna go home!!!!

Weeks blurring

I’ve not had much of a chance to blog recently. So I will do a summary of the few weeks since I went to the Blue Mountains:

* Got a promotion. Now am doing my old job as well as doing the Transactional Products area, and am responsible for training another staff member now. This has resulted in me being much busier than expected, as this was done just as we were getting ready just for year end.

* Have had many lovely work lunches with friends – Alisia at GPO, Michael T at David Jones Food Court and Helen F at Suminoya.

* Had a filling replaced, which means no more pain when having cold things.

* Jenny, Fiona, Fiona, Karen, Deborah and Christa came over for a night of nice smelly things and relaxation.

* Went to Ettalong with Sandra, on a beautiful and not too cold day. We had lunch at the RSL (!) and I got a little drunk on Smirnoff Double Blacks. Really enjoyed the ferry ride there and back from Palm Beach. Have to do this again.

* Missed the wedding of Dave & Valli in Brisbane. Have seen the photos and it looked gorgeous. Wish we could have gone.

* Lots of clubbing:
– Lost Baggage at The Cross, with Gaiser and Marc Houle. Gaiser is brilliant and hot, hot, hot πŸ™‚ Marc Houle was the same as every other time I’ve seen him. Enjoyed hanging out with Dave, Tad, Liz, Lisa, Ant, Brad, Hayley, Wowk and Jarrad. But the crowd, as usual at those parties, was appalling.
– Arq, with Stephan Bodzin and Dubfire. Bodzin played live, was amusing (he wore rubber gloves and played with phallic looking things) and was nice to hear a few of my favourite tracks of his. Dubfire was not bad, but was too tired to stay for the whole set.
– We Love Sounds at the Hordern Pavillion, Royal Hall of Industries and The Forum, with Dave, Rowena, Charles and Tad. I had a lot of fun, especially getting to hear (and see πŸ™‚ ) Gaiser again, enjoyed Ellen Alien’s set and thought Dubfire played 45 minutes of good stuff, which he could have mixed with a bit more interest. Was bored to death by Lindstrom, Steve Lawler and Marc Houle. Not too many crappy people. Not too cold. Was too tired to go to the after party at The Cross but wish I had. Dave, Ant and Tad all enjoyed it!

* Many lovely dinners with friends. Been lucky with restaurants lately. Will be going back to all of these:
– Atelier in Glebe with Josie. Excellent company, food, Cosmopolitans, decor and staff.
– RedOak in Clarence St for Vanessa’s birthday. Hadn’t seen Vanessa & Jason in over a year, and was great catching up. Excellent food there too. Lovely tasting plates, of which Dave had a meat one. Will be getting one next time!
– Catalonia in Kirribilli with Dave, Lisa and Ant. More excellent company, tapas to die for, Caprihini’s.
– Ainoya in Kirribilli for Brad’s birthday, with Dave, Brad, Hayley, Lisa, Ant, Sylvana, Ben, Verity and Brad. Even more excellent company, lots of laughs, excellent Japanese, great Lychee Cocktails, and our own private area. I think our noise scared everyone else off though!

* A relaxing facial.

* Sex & The City at The Entertainment Quarter with Tad and Liz. Unfortunately no Cosmopolitans were available at La Premiere, so I had to settle for Frangelico, followed by Smirnoff Black. We had yummy food too. Liked the movie a lot.

* Reminiscing over our late European trip. Right now, a year ago, Dave and I would have been in Barcelona. And tonight we would have been going to the Minus party, with Magda & Rebecca Aff playing. We’ve been missing the warmth of Barcelona, the brilliant tapas, and the fun times we had together and with our friends. Dave and I have since decided to go to as many Spanish restaurants as possible until we find Patatas Bravas EXACTLY like we had in Barcelona. So, after going to Catalonia last week, we went to Raquels in Darlinghurst this week. Excellent food, but we still have to search for the patatas bravas. Wonder where we shall go to next week?

* Met up with a very old friend, Samia. Had a great lunch out in Max Brenner at Parramatta. Got to meet Sam’s lovely children, Audrey and Marc-Antony too. We haven’t seen each other in about 15 years, and had a great catch up over waffles. Am looking forward to our next outing!

* The first lecture in the series of “Monet’s World The Cultural Background to Impressionism” at the NSW Art Gallery with Alisia. This is a brief description of the lectures today:

– The Paris of the Impressionists – Professor Roger Benjamin
Paris was a magnet for the artists of the 19th century. Roger Benjamin, research professor in the history of art at the University of Sydney, looks at how the cultural and intellectual ferment of the city influenced artistic practice.

– Literature and the modern city – Professor Margaret Sankey
In the age of Impressionism urban life formed the backdrop to the work of novelists and poets. Margaret Sankey, McCaughey Professor of French Studies at the University of Sydney and a specialist in the history of ideas, provides a map to literary Paris.

Professor Benjamin was brilliant. An excellent presentation, very amusing at times (Crikey!) and lots of lovely works to see. Professor Sankey basically read off her notes, and I didn’t take in a lot of what she was talking about. Not well prepared to use Powerpoint either. Overall though highly enjoyable.

Afterwards, we tried to find somewhere to eat, and it took us an hour to find something that wasn’t full or closed. High Tea at the NSW Art Gallery wasn’t available until 2pm, and the lunch menu didn’t grab us. We tried the cafeteria at the gallery (full), The Tea Rooms at the QVB (closed for a private function), Glass at The Hilton (closed), Ivy (closed), The Observatory for High Tea (full), and Swissotel for High Tea (full). We couldn’t believe it. We basically were ready to give up, but then I remembered Max Brenner at MetCentre. Thankfully it was open and had seating. We had lovely sweet lunch: Alisia had waffles, and I had Fondue. It was a lovely way to keep out of the cold.

After our experience of full places to eat, I wondered a couple of things. Is there really a recession coming? And what do tourists say when they can’t find a nice place to eat, on the spur of the moment, on a weekend. I tend to book things way in advance, as most of my friends know. But the one time I don’t, it’s almost impossible. A taxi driver we had today told us of a couple of ladies from Melbourne who had a similar problem recently. Why are so many places closed on a Sunday? After my experiences in Melbourne, I can see why they are now the tourism capital of Australia. I don’t think I’ve ever had trouble finding a good place to eat there. Do I have to go to a crappy food court even on the weekend, if it’s a spur of the moment thing?

Anyway, it’s been a mostly enjoyable few weeks, albeit a bit busy with work. I just wish it wasn’t so cold!

A weekend in the mountains with three of my favourite ladies

Juliet, Rowena, Liz and I ventured up to the Blue Mountains last weekend for some sightseeing, shops and food. It was all up very very pleasant, and now we are thinking of doing it again πŸ™‚ Possibly the Hunter Valley next time?

Friday
* The long road trip
Got a taxi to Liz & Tad’s place in Darlinghurst. Got to catch up with Tad for a half hour or so, which was lovely as his work is limiting us seeing him for the next few months. After Liz finished getting ready, she drove us up to Wentworth Falls. It was a pleasant drive – not much traffic at all, except for one small spot turning onto Parramatta Road. We did a lot of talking, as you can imagine πŸ™‚

* Lunch – Wentworth falls cafe in the old Post Office.
Juliet met us, after getting lost in Old Toongabbie, for a lovely lunch. I had very yummy chicken, but after so much good food on the weekend, have forgotten the rest of it! We discussed some of the upcoming activities and our adventures on the long road trip.

* The Blue House www.bluemts.com.au/bluehouse
Our place for the weekend. Four bedrooms – 3 upstairs with queen beds, 1 downstairs with 4 single beds (bunks). 2 bathrooms, 2 toilets, big kitchen, cozy lounge. Perfect for sitting and reading in front of the fake fire! No TV, and it was nice and quiet without it. Well, it would have been, but I think I made up for it!
I decided to take the room downstairs. Was great for putting all my stuff everywhere, as everyone who has travelled with me will know how lightly I pack (!) And it was closer to the heating.

* Shopping in Leura
Lots and lots of lovely shops to see and buy things in. Some of the ones we went to:
– Cafe Josophans www.josophans.com.au Excellent chocolates and chocolate cakes/pastries/etc. Can buy some of their own chocolates, or some lovely ones I have purchased before from Europe (Valrhona, Michael Cluizel). I bought some of the handmade chocolates, and quite enjoyed them.
– Megalong Books. Of course I found, and bought, a book on Berlin called “This is Berlin”.
– Leura Toy Shop. We ventured in there as they had cool looking wooden games in the front window. We didn’t end up buying games, but Liz and I decided to get the exact same gift for her husband and my boyfriend. Dave has been pleased by his. I can’t say what it is, as I don’t know if Tad has his yet. It’s bright and useful!
– Elizabeth Rosa Stationery. I didn’t buy anything in here today, as I couldn’t make up my mind. Brilliant place for purchasing writing things.
– Leura Whisk http://www.leurawhisk.com.au I wanted either the Dibbern tea cups and saucers, or the Jasper Conran Wedgewood Breakfast set. I left with neither.
– Ophelia’s Emporium (I think). Vintage clothing and accessories. Liz found some gloves and a new coat. Juliet refrained from making large purchases, opting for a few smaller items.

* Regular shopping in Katoomba
By this time it was 5pm, and the good shops were all shutting. So we ventured back to Coles in Katoomba to purchase some weekend necessities, and snacking requirements.

* Relaxing
An hour or so chatting, drinking Cosmopolitans, snacking, reading, and settling into The Blue House. Then we picked up Rowena from the station, and went onto dinner.

* Dinner – Zycca Indian Restaurant www.bluemountainswonderland.com.au/client_detail.php?id=608&type_id=2
Juliet had been here before, and was quite right how nice it is. I am very anti fast-food Indian (actually, I dislike a lot of fast food) for the reason that my stomach doesn’t appreciate it. This was so far from a North Indian Diner that you find on Oxford St! It was like a fine dining restaurant, without the prices. We had 2 chicken dishes and 2 vegie dishes between us. Lots of chatting involved. This was not the only time we scared the locals.

* The Three Sisters at night
Liz knew a good quiet spot from which to see the Three Sisters at night. And it was fabulous. Rowena, Juliet and I hadn’t seen them at night before, and were very pleased. Thanks Liz!

* More Relaxing
It was thought that we may venture to the Baroque Bar and hear Meem. This went out the window. We were all rather tired, and decided to go back for more chatting and reading.

* Early to bed

Saturday

* Late to rise
I didn’t expect to wake up at 8.30, when I’d been asleep since 10.30. But the heater ended up overheating the house. And me. So I didn’t sleep very well.

* Breakfast – CafΓ© at the Norman Lindsay Gallery http://www.nsw.nationaltrust.org.au/properties/nlg/default.asp
Juliet had also been here before. The breakfast was awesome. I had a big breakfast, including chorizo. Yum! It’s a lovely and welcoming cafe, and the staff are very amusing. Yes, we continued to scare the locals.

* Art – Norman Lindsay Gallery http://www.nsw.nationaltrust.org.au/properties/nlg/default.asp
I really liked the tour of the studios, the tour guide, Lindsay’s brothers’ paintings, and the grounds (where I sat in the sun for a few minutes, to be told that I was taking a Granny Nap). I only actually appreciated a few of the paintings and sculptures by Norman Lindsay. Many of them looked demonic to me. And I have never seen such an obsession with mammaries! Apparently, even if his models had small mammaries, he gave them big ones. I think there may have been only 1 or 2 paintings where the women were actually clothed. I think we were all a bit surprised by his obsession – Maybe we shouldn’t have been! Norman Lindsay had quite an interesting life, which apparently was not reflected at all in the movies “Sirens”, so I bought a book by one of his daughters, Jane Lindsay, to read, called “Portrait of Pa”.

* Afternoon Tea in Leura
Back to Cafe Josophans www.josophans.com.au for afternoon tea. I had this awesome Mexican chocolate cake. YUM! Rowena loved her scones – cranberry and chocolate chip. And Juliet and Liz were pleased with their croissants.

* More Shopping in Leura
Two reasons: We didn’t go to everything yesterday, and Rowena hadn’t been with us yesterday.
– Elizabeth Rosa Stationery. Yes, I bought a journal. I couldn’t help myself
– The Loft. I got a lovely oil painting, that is now sitting on my bedside table. And Juliet bought a necklace that she eyed up there in January.

We didn’t do any more shopping there. Liz and I were both really tired, and Liz was driving. I had a quick look to the other side of the road (yes, we hadn’t gone through all the shops), and decided that I could do without seeing more. I forgot about the place where Dave and I found a great painting a few years ago, and The Candy Store. More stuff to do next time!

* Quiet afternoon
We dropped Rowena and Juliet in Katoomba for more shopping, and then Liz and I headed back to The Blue House. I had another Granny Nap, whilst Liz got some of her work done.
I was woken shortly before we left for dinner by the chatter going on in the lounge. I think Rowena got a lovely scarf. Or was it Juliet? But they didn’t spend much.
It was concerning that they couldn’t find the bakery that sold walnut bread. What happened to it? And now where do I find good walnut bread (no figs)?

* Early Dinner – The Avalon http://www.eatability.com.au/au/sydney/avalon.htm
We had seats right at the window, but unfortunately it’s too dark, even at 6pm. That’s what happens when it’s getting close to winter. The Avalon is a lovely older style restaurant, with a menu that hasn’t changed in years, and really lovely wait staff. The food was excellent too. Hardly any tables were in use when we got there at 6pm, but it was full when we left.
We had yummy spring rolls for entree. My main was Eye Fillet – yum – and my dessert was Chocolate Truffle Cake with Ice Cream – yum yum yum.
We all left feeling content. Lovely conversation. And we managed not to scare the locals!

* Movies – Indiana Jones at the Edge Cinema http://www.edgecinema.com.au/features.html
I had already seen this on Thursday (and liked it) and wanted to see it again.
We waited in the big line, where we saw Grant Dodwell from “A Country Practice”. Celebrity spotting in the Mountains!
The Edge Cinema has a screen like at IMAX. They didn’t use the entire screen for Indiana Jones, but it was definitely a lot bigger than normal cinemas. We had a lot of laughs, and a few jumps from my friends. It was a fun way to spend the evening – a good “no brainer” movie.

* Bed
We got home at 11, and all of us went straight to sleep. It was a very busy and fun day.

Sunday

* Not so late to rise.
But we had to farewell Liz, who was going back early to finish her paper for work. We wish you could have stayed, but we understood Liz πŸ™‚

* Mermaid’s cave
Juliet drove us to Blackheath to go to Mermaid’s cave. It’s down a rather windy road, and you could miss the sign if you didn’t know where you were going. Luckily Juliet had been before. It was a short walk down some steep stairs, to a lovely small area with a tiny tiny waterfall. Juliet had been there in January, and said it was not so dry back then. But it was peaceful, quiet and very green. Then it was a longer walk back up the steep stairs, to the car.

* Megalong Tea rooms for Devonshire tea http://www.megalongtearooms.com/
This was much further down Megalong road. It was at this point that Juliet and I decided that we couldn’t face High Tea at Lilianfels in the afternoon. I think we’d had so much cake, scones and pastries over the past few days that we thought we’d just enjoy the Devonshire tea and leave it at that.
The hot scones and blueberry jam were yummy, and the hot chocolate was very good too. We had a lovely final chat with Rowena, before Juliet drove her back to Blackheath, just in time for the train back home. We also wish you could have stayed Rowena πŸ™‚

* Shopping in Blackheath
More lovely shops to see and buy things in. I’d never actually shopped in Blackheath before, and was pleasantly surprised. Some of the ones we went to:
– Jewel Gallery http://www.jewelgallery.com.au/ Where I found a necklace that I just had to get. I got one just like it at Melt Festival (outside Berlin) last year, for only 2 euros, that broke a month later. I really liked it, and have been looking for something similar ever since. And I found it! Just wish it had been closer to 2 euros!
– Cafe Josophans www.josophans.com.au Found some Dolfins dark hot chocolate. Quite different from the cafe of the same name in Leura – it was definitely more of a chocolate shop than a cafe. Very good selections too, some of which I really wanted, but decided should wait for another time.
– Victory Theatre http://www.victorytheatre.com.au/ Lots and lots of stuff over 2 floors. I found a book called “The Making of Pride & Prejudice” by Sue Birtwistle & Susie Conklin http://www.amazon.com/Making-Pride-Prejudice-BBC/dp/014025157X. Which I bought. Mmmmmm…Mr Darcy πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
– Gallery Blackheath www.galleryblackheath.com Some lovely paintings & drawings by Blue Mountains artists. I’d spent too much by this stage though.

* Lunch – Victory Cafe http://www.eatability.com.au/au/sydney/victory_cafe.htm
Juliet had mushrooms and I had potato & chorizo soup. All very good. Very amusing waiter too.

* The long trip home
Well we left at 3.10. We didn’t want to go, but we knew that leaving later would be detrimental to going to work on Monday. There was quite a bit of traffic in the mountains, not that we were surprised, so I got home at 5.10. And Juliet shortly afterwards. We had a lovely chat in the car, which involved discussing a possible next trip.

Photos
Everyone took photos except me. You can see some of the photos here:

http://jeweliette.deviantart.com/gallery/
http://www.puppyhills.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=27175&id=565987156&ref=nf

Excellent Weekend
Apart from a small shower in Blackheath on Sunday afternoon whilst having lunch, it was very sunny and as cold as I expected. So no complaints there.

Thankyou very very much to both Liz and Juliet for volunteering their cars (even though I was happy to rent one!) and driving us everywhere.

I had a wonderful time with you all – Rowena, Juliet and Liz – and hope we can do it again in November.

More Leura Shopping

I just found a website to help my shopping in Leura further when I go back up there for High Tea at Lilianfels in June:
http://www.leurabluemountainsguide.com/leura-shopping.html
http://www.visitbluemountains.com.au/retail.php
http://www.lavenderbluemountains.com/attractions.htm

Enough now. Time for sleep.

Sick

Well I just spent a whole week in bed. Sick. What a waste of time. I was so over it, I looked forward to going back to work.

It’s such fun, not. After spending most of the weekend of the 12/13th in bed, the antibiotics didn’t seem to be kicking in. On Monday, the Doctor tells me I need to give the antibiotics a chance. By Wednesday, I was feeling worse, so I went back in. Stronger antibiotics – result. By Friday night I was feeling a hell of a lot better.

So I thought I’d go ahead with some of the weekend plans.

Saturday Day
NSW Art Gallery seminar with Juliet. “Imagination in our time: a window of the mind”
“Is progress real? Are sound, music and colour the root of our existence? And what makes genius? If Einstein and Hubble can fantasise the universe in the name of science, can artists create the universe under the guise of imagination? Sibelius, Berio, Ligeti, The Beatles and favourite string melodies will bring together the threads of the series and offer the chance to create your own map – as seen by Martha Graham and…yourself”.

It was the last in this series of lectures on the “Great Minds” series. It was mostly good – lovely music, lovely art, and quotes. And more quotes. And quote after quote after quote. I’d suggest more content and less quotes would have made it a great lecture series. But I think Juliet, Alisia and I did enjoy the lectures we went to. And I’m looking forward to the series “Monet’s World The Cultural Background to Impressionism” that starts next month. Alisia is coming with me to all the lectures, and a few other friends are going to come to some of the lectures. Details here if you are interested http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/events/cal/monets_world/lecture_listing

Lunch at Lindt http://www.eatability.com.au/au/sydney/lindts_cafe.htm

Juliet and I went to the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place. We both had a roast beef sandwich and a hot chocolate. Yum!

Doona (Also known as duvet and quilt) Shopping
I realised at this time that I still wasn’t yet feeling 100% – the hot and cold feeling and blocked nose and cough was still happening. So I decided to get home as quickly as possible.

Having said that, Dave and I had planned to meet to buy a new doona, so we had to get that done. We realised both our doonas were about 17 years old – Dave bought his when he first moved out of home, and I got mine when an ex moved overseas. Both these things happened in 1991. We have been sleeping with both doonas, and we still have to wear extra stuff to bed to keep warm (I have been known to wear a scarf and beanie to bed as well as pyjamas). I decided that this was probably not helping my sick situation.

So we went to Myer. Dave got there early and found what we needed. Thankfully we have similar taste in colours, so it took about 20 minutes. And I am now sleeping better than I have in years!

It’s a Downia Silver Collection Goose Down duvet http://www.downia.com/aus_products.html, made from 85% goose down. Thankfully, Myer has a sale on, so it was 30% cheaper. Still, OUCH! We also got a new doona cover with pillows, in coffee with block patterns.

And then home we went, after stopping for DVDs, bread and some stuff for dinner.

Saturday Night
Doona testing (there is nothing rude in this next section!)
I decided that a nap was in order to test out if it was warm enough. It’s so light, we thought it wouldn’t be warm enough. We were wrong! I had a nice nap, and woke up feeling very toasty. And not so sick.

DVD and more doona testing (still nothing rude!)
We watched “American Gangster” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0765429/ and really liked it. And then it was time for sleep, as we were heading to my parents on Sunday.

The doona was too warm for me on Saturday night. I kept waking up because I felt too hot. First time in years in winter I haven’t had to wear socks to sleep.

Sunday
We picked up the rental car and headed down to my Dad & step-Mum’s. They live in a nice country area. Well, it’s country to me. I think anywhere about an hour out of Sydney is country!

We got an upgrade with the car and ended up with a monstrous 4 wheel drive – a Nissan X Trail http://www.nissan.com.au/xtrail/. I am only 5’2″ tall, and don’t like driving massive cars. It was ok, just felt bumpy on country roads. Apparently all 4WDs are like that. I have to say I would much prefer a cool car – like the Audi A4 we got last year in England http://www.germancarblog.com/2006/04/audi-a4-spy-shots.html

We just hung around Dad & Ros’ for a while, then headed out for Dad’s belated birthday lunch. Dad is very hard to buy presents for, and his idea of a great place to go eating is Chinese at the local RSL. It’s always nice to do that, but I wanted to do something a bit more special, so we went to this place that I’ve seen great reivews for, called Eschalot http://www.eschalot.com.au/

The place is lovely – it’s a converted house, where a number of rooms are for dining, and the rest are the kitchen/etc. We all decided that mains and desserts were in order. I had Wagyu Sirloin for main and a Chocolate Fondant with Sorbet & Rhubarb for dessert. Dave had the Duck and two cheeses for dessert. Dad had the Wagyu as well with the Creme Brulee. And Ros had the pea soup for main and the Chocolate Fondant for dessert. We were all pretty happy with our choices. I thought my main was ok, but it didn’t cut very well, – Dave had a bit and said the meat tasted like it had been frozen and thawed. So it didn’t slice or chew easily. Dave’s duck was a bit too fatty for his liking. But everything else was great. The Chocolate Fondant was divine. I’m drooling thinking about it!

We actually realised that we never usually get to just go to lunch or dinner with Dad and Ros. Usually our brothers and sisters are with us – which is great – but it was nice to have a relaxing lunch just with the two of them. I’m thinking we should do this for Ros now for her birthday in August. Maybe the same place, but maybe somewhere new. Recommendations in the Bowral/Mittagong/Berrima areas and surrounds would be great.

Then we headed back to their place – full and tired! We watched a bit of “Atonement” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0783233/, but nobody really got into it (apart from me). We decided a nap was in order, which is typical when we are there. Apparently it happens to all their visitors – the altitude is different. It’s also a lot colder – on average 5 degrees colder than in Sydney. After a light dinner, Dave and I headed home.

Doona Result! (Still no rudeness here!)
I now no longer sleep badly in the doona. I think it was just the first night when we weren’t used to it. I now wake up feeling refreshed, and not like a load of bedding has been suffocating me in the night. YAY!

Monday
Back to work. Mostly well now. Oh, for a holiday πŸ™‚

And congrats to Kate who had a baby boy on Saturday 10th May.

Flight of the Conchords, Art, Chocolate, Art, Chocolate, Clubbing, Too much sleep, and more Flight of the Conchords

What a fun, and also weird, weekend.

Friday
Well, Friday night did involve a lot of house tidying. I didn’t want to have to worry about it for the rest of the weekend. So after that, we watched the first episode of “Flight of the Conchords”.

I am now a big fan.

Thanks to Rowena, Charles and Helen for recommending it. After Arj Barker talked about it on Wednesday night, we finally got to it.

The music bits make me cry with laughter.

Saturday
Another HUGE saturday.

Started with the NSW Art Gallery for the second weekend in a row for a Seminar on β€œMyths, mystics and music”. A brief description from the brochure follows:

“From Orpheus and the golden mean to Rilke on music, we explore the shared characteristics of the arts, myths and mystics. Myths transmute and reappear in new genres over time, as seen through Shakespeare and in great artistic movements including the Renaissance, the music of Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, French Impressionism and the Parisian intersection of Diaghilev, Picasso and Stravinsky. We’ll note parallel innovations in science with the periodic table, electromagnetic spectrum, spectography and astrophysics”.

The combination of a beautiful sunny day, lovely friends with me (Juliet and Alisia) and a great lecture (with inspirational music) made for a great morning.

We then headed to the Lindt Cafe at Martin Place for lunch with Chocolate. Let’s see, I had a bit of a roast beef sandwich plus a 70% dark chocolate Sundae (drooooooool), Juliet had a roast beef sandwich plus a hot chocolate (yum!) and Alisia had the waffles (oh, if only they still had salad there for lunch during winter, I would have eaten the waffles myself!). We had a very pleasant lunch, involving much talking about yummy famous men, art, and our upcoming trip to the Blue Mountains. It was a very entertaining lunch, and time got away from us.

Alisia had to head off at that stage (in preparation for dinner at Radio Cairo later in the day), and so Juliet and I alighted a 389 bus to Woollahra. This also involved a lot of discussion about the Blue Mountains, and what we would do in Woollahra.

We wandered around the shopping area at first, where Juliet had to fight the urge to go into Antique stores. Then we went into the Touch Galleries, at which we wanted to see the “Wales to Warhol” exhibition.

On walking into the gallery, each step has a Campbell Soup Can on each side. The first room at the top of the stairs was all Warhol. Mostly some of his Marilyn Monroe’s and Campbells Soup Cans. There were also some Rolling Stones and various sketches. A lot of it was similar to what I’d seen before, but was still lovely to see.

The second room was the Prince of Wales watercolours. We decided that he must have a reasonable amount of time to spare in order to paint these. They weren’t bad at all. I’m not usually a big watercolour fan, but I did appreciate these.

Afterwards, we made our way into a bookshop I had seen before. Of course, I found a (rather expensive) book on Berlin I hadn’t seen before, and promptly purchased it. All book shops are dangerous creatures!!!!

And then it was homeward we went. Another 389 bus followed by a lovely walk, a train for Juliet, and a bus for me.

On arriving home, it was time for a short 2.5 hour disco nap, after which we got ready in a hurry to go to dinner.

We met Sara from Melbourne at The Establishment (where she was staying), and wandered up the hill to the Belgian Beer Cafe on Harrington Street for dinner. It was great to see Sara, as we had only a short catch up with her and Damien in March in Melbourne. I wish the food had been great, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

Sara and I both had the mussels mariniere, and were disappointed that there was no broth, and that the mussel shells appeared dry and unwashed. Dave’s dinner was pretty average too. Sara and I shared a chocolate pudding for dessert, which was dry. And the guy who served us was extremely surly. I’m glad for the great company, as the whole dining experience was pretty off-putting. I don’t think I’ll be going back there in a hurry. What happened to that place? Has it gotten too complacent after being around for a few year? Typical Sydney Syndrome I think.

Unfortunately Sara was too tired to come out with us afterwards, but it was great to see her, and hopefully we’ll get to see both her and Damien later this year in Melbourne. I think your engagement ring is gorgeous Sara, and the proposal story was very very cute πŸ™‚

So Dave and I got a taxi to Kings Cross, to go to “The Cross”. Yes, it’s confusing. “The Cross” is a club in the Bourbon. Why on earth it’s called “The Cross” is beyond me. I think it was done to confuse people.

Up we went to find a relatively small crowd (it was only 12am), and found our friends in the side room, listening to Kate Doherty. After a good catch up, I wasn’t getting into the music, so went to check out the main room with, John Devecchis. He was playing a track I really liked, followed by a lot of not so interesting stuff, with questionable mixing. So I ventured back into the side room for Bjorn Wilke, who was not bad.

We were all waiting for Alex Smoke, so we ventured into the main room for him. Unfortunately, he didn’t start until 1.30, so we stood around a while, trying to amuse ourselves until he started.

I really really loved Alex Smoke. His whole set was very danceable, and exactly the sort of music I’d expect from him. I don’t understand the people who didn’t get into it – they obviously hadn’t listened to much of his stuff before. I didn’t stop dancing for 2 hours. Neither did Dave, who only took a toilet break right at the end of his set because he couldn’t wait anymore!

The crowd thinned out during his set, which was fine by us, as it got rid of most of the idiot factor that I’d come across at previous Lost Baggage’s. I’d have to say it was much less annoying than ususal.

At the end of Alex’s set at almost 3.45, we went back to the side room for Matthias Tanzmann. I really enjoyed what he played, but could barely keep my eyes open. Obviously the disco nap hadn’t helped much. We had to leave at 5am, as I just couldn’t move or keep my eyes open. And we were lucky to get a taxi the second we left πŸ™‚

Thanks to Dave, Lisa, Ant, Brad, Hayley, Silvana, Ben, Bianca and Rob for making it such a fun night.

Sunday
After getting to sleep at 6am, I woke up at 12, had a sandwich and looked at the internet for a bit, and then went back to sleep.

This is the weird part of the weekend. When I woke up again it was dark. It was 7pm. I couldn’t believe it. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that! I thought I would have been up at 3.

Dave had only been up since 5, and was happily watching Ghostbusters.

After having a quick diner, we decided to watch some more “Flight of the Conchords”, which kept us in stitches. After 4 episodes, with a bit of other TV in between, Dave went back to bed, and fell asleep immediately.

I, on the other hand, could not sleep. What a surprise!

After watching a bit more TV and tidying up a bit, I decided it was time to call Bec in England. It was 11.30pm here at this stage. We had a great chat for an hour. I love 0018! It was great, as I hadn’t talked with her in ages. We discussed her engagement, upcoming wedding, work, friends, england, holidays, new york, etc. It was so good – but time goes so fast.

I STILL couldn’t get to sleep, so decided to watch that night’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” which promptly really did the trick and got me to sleep. At the grand time of 1am.

Monday
So today, I am feeling a little tired. But happy. The sun is shining, there’s lots of work keeping me busy, and I have thoughts of Europe 2009 in my head. One word people. BERLIN πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

“I Peed On Fellini”

Last week, I went to buy a birthday present for Tad. His lovely wife Liz recommended “I Peed On Fellini” – David Stratton’s memoirs.

I must recommend it to all avid lovers of flim, and the tv show which David appears on. I watch “At The Movies” every week, and really enjoy the comments that David and Margaret make.

David will be 70 next year – he looks well for his age. Has done so much for film in Australia.

And I must agree with his comments on how Australia has changed over the years. I hope a more positive change comes about soon.

Long Weekend

I had a great weekend! Was filled with lots of friends, family, music, movies and relaxing. If only I could have the rest of the week off!

In summary:

Thursday
Disco Nap!
Tad’s Birthday Bash at the Burdekin. Davo was DJing too. Fun, nice to sit down for a while and chat with Davo, Tad, Liz, Kelly-Anne (sp?), Josie and Mark.
Lost Baggage at The Cross. Claire Morgan (excellent!), Layo and Bushwaka (ok), Aril Brikha (mostly meh) and Joris Voorn (mostly meh – and upsettlingly so, as we had to wait until 3.30am to see him, and he was the only reason I went!). Got to spend the night with fun friends (Davo, Lisa, Ant, Wowk, Seb, Ed, Claudia, Bekk, Rod etc) so made the best of it. Annoying as all hell crowd though. Man, find some manners!
Took 2 hours to get home. One hour trying to find a taxi. Giving up, then getting two trains and a taxi home. Arrived after 7am.

Friday
Sleep until 3. Was supposed to go to movies during the day, but had to pull out, as I wouldn’t have coped on 3.5 hours sleep.
Bread & Butter harbour cruise on The Lady Rose. Much better night! Music was better, if a bit all over the place. Joris improved dramatically, but still, his set flow is not conducive to dancing. Had a fun night with friends (Davo, Tad, Dave & Kelly-Anne, Wowk, Seb, Nick, Sara, Jarrad, Tim, Tom, Michael, and more people who I met but can’t remember the names of now!). Was considerably amused by Wowk and Seb’s dancing “skillz” πŸ˜› I really enjoyed Seb’s Fully Hektik Bro dancing, and Wowk’s Borat stylee dancing. Best parts of the harbour cruise. Am wishing Joris played “Lost” though. I listen to it every day on my ipod. And what was with dropping us off at Pier 1, when we started at Opera House? Annoying! Thanks to Wowk & friends for trip to Maccas (ergh) and lift home (yay!). No taxi hell!

Saturday
Sleep until 10-ish. Think I stuffed around on the internet. And Davo and I watched Dexter – yay!
Met Josie at Greater Union George Street for “Juno”. Nice feelgood movie. Started off worried by the language (really annoying teenage talk) but either it didn’t worry me after a while, or they started speaking like humans most of the time.
Josie and I went to Lindt Cafe at Cockle Bay. I had a yummy 70% dark chocolate Sundae. Josie had a passionfruit thing.
Got back home around 6. Bl00dy tired. Think I cleaned up a bit, and so did Davo. Then watched the Brad Pitt “Jesse James” movie. Very good – wasn’t your typical movie experience. Took a while to build up to major events. Was impressed by how horrid “Robert Ford” character was. He’s not usually as horrible in other movies. Great acting, nice pace for a Saturday night after 2 very full on days! Watched a bit of “Control” before falling asleep.

Sunday
Sleep until 10-ish. Watched a bit more of “Control” whilst waiting for my parents.
My brother Phillip turned up about 1.30 and drove us to my brother Michael’s for a family Easter lunch. First time we’ve done an Easter lunch in years! There was me, Davo, Dad, Ros, Phillip, Michael, Tracy, Sascha, Tyarna, Skye, Trent, Summer & Phoenix. Nice relaxing afternoon, spent chilling out, playing with nieces and nephews, annoying the dog whilst everyone watched football and bad movies, and talking with Rowena.
Dad, Ros and Phillip dropped us off at home and had a coffee.
Yummy dinner made by Dave was Chilli Con Carne. Watched the remainder of “Control” (I love that movie), “The Tudors” and “Meadowlands”.

Monday
Sleep until 12-ish. The day of relaxing!
Dave did a lovely fry-up for breakfast.
Spent most of the day catching up on some viewing – mostly “Underbelly” and “Meadowlands”.
Davo made a great chicken and vegetable curry for dinner πŸ™‚
Had weird dreams last night, that involved going from Epping towards Sydney on some magic transport system!!!!

And today I’ve been at work. It’s been busy. So I decided to treat myself to a facial to slowly get into my week πŸ™‚