Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Mum's Visit Nov 2006 - Part 2

Mum's Visit - Part 1
Mum's Visit - Part 2
Mum's Visit - Part 3

Milord decided he fancied coming with us to the Hunter Valley (5), so we did a bit of sightseeing on Monday waiting for him to finish work, then travelled there in the evening. We stayed in his (and his ex’s) golf apartment, which is pleasant and quite central. It needs a bit of TLC though, so on Tuesday mum and I had a bask by the pool while m'Lord shopped for paint etc, then we all mucked in and gave the place a slight makeover. Most of the effort happened on the balcony, with pressure hoses, paint and furniture oil in full flight. Inside we had a spring clean and touched up paintwork – it all looked far better in the end although we were all covered in paint! It’s been on the market for over a year so hopefully this will help. (Update: the place sold within weeks of our make-over!) On Wednesday Milord volunteered to be chauffer and tour guide, and we had an excellent wine tour and lunch in the region. Everyone is so friendly, and being out of season we could have a good chat with the staff and try everything ;-). We also spotted a couple of galahs (big pink parrots) in a tree at the golf course.

On Thursday the 16th we all travelled to the Blue Mountains (6) via the scenic, winding back roads, and checked into a somewhat scruffy and grubby but very cheap cottage in Blackheath. Not m'Lord’s style at all, but he wasn’t supposed to be along on that leg of the trip so I hadn’t allowed for his sensibilities! Then a quick sightsee to the nearest gorge, before heading home to play with the log stove which made it all warm and homely.

Friday morning early Milord headed back to Sydney on the train to go to a birthday lunch/dinner/boozeup, and mum and I went for a glorious scenic walk along cliffs at Katoomba overlooking a vast gorge where we could see flocks of cockatoos flying through the trees below. We walked to where there used to be coal mines, and travelled to the valley floor on a thrilling almost vertical railway that used to carry ore to the top. We had very interesting roam around in the forest and saw a rare lyre-bird, then took a cable car back and walked back to the car. After a late lunch we went exploring in a vast rhododendron garden … being so high up it stays pretty cold in spring and they were just finishing, but we could still enjoy acres of colour.

On the Saturday morning m'Lord came back very hungover on the train, and after a fry up we headed off for the Gardens of Stone national park which I’d read about somewhere. We’d hoped to go walking but couldn’t find any trails so Milord ended up doing an extremely exciting impromptu 4x4 drive through some fantastic scenery. It’s the first time we’ve tested the car (big 4wd Lexus) off-road and we were pleasantly surprised! We were in the bush for hours, and it was fascinating to see the GPS showing us meandering around in uncharted territory… Then back to the cottage for a jug or two of g&t and a roast dinner.

Sunday was a slow start, with the smell of ash from the back-burning around a nearby bushfire that had been raging for nearly a week. The clouds of smoke over the ridge were truly ominous! We went out to do a walk along the nearby gorge, only to find it completely filled with smoke… we decided to head home to Sydney instead and had a quiet night in. I later heard that the fire jumped the back burning and entered the gorge, which is a shame.

On Monday 20th mum and I went for a little scuba dive off Shelleys Beach near Manly to brush up her skills as she hadn’t been diving in the sea for over a year. Shelleys is very sheltered and no deeper than 10m where we were so nice and safe, but very very boring to dive. It was good to be back in the sea though, and mum soon got the hang of things again.

Mum's Visit - Part 3

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