Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NOW AND THEN AGAIN

While I was in Sydney last week i not only visited a house where I used to live in 1963 but I also visited "The Australian School of Pacific Administration" (ASOPA) where I studied to be a teacher for Papua new Guinea in 1962/3. Back then, the school was a collection of old buildings that had been used as an army training centre during the second world war. But, it was situated on the most scenic bit of land on Middle Head jutting out into Sydney Harbour/Port Jackson.
ASOPA in the 60's
I took this shot of the first few buildings of the school in 1962.

In 2005 we had our second reunion with the teacher training students called Cadet Education Officers. We went back to the school and we were saddened to see it was no longer being used and the buildings were in a very bad state. So much so that we were prevented from going in them for safety reasons.

Last week when I visited the old school it had been renovated and turned into a business park. This sign greeted us in the car park giving a map and list of businesses. It was so good to see the place had been brought back to life. The buildings seemed to  have more glass, covered walkways and lovely gardens. Better than when I was studying there.




I took this photo from about the same place as those above but the gardens hid the buildings.

So I walked behind the trees to try and capture a shot to compare with my 1962 shot. (The second one from the top)

I think this was the Library or the Admin block in the 60's.

The same block today.

None of these fancy walkways and nice gardens when we were there.

This was our rec room and canteen. In summer we would sit outside on the lawns to eat lunch and look at the beautiful view.

The view from the lawn in the 60's

The view from the same place today. We walked to the bottom of the lawn and found a board walk to a lookout. In the old days we would walk through the bush down to a little beach for evening sing alongs.
My daughter Carol came with Bill and me.

Carol looking towards Sydney CBD.

This is looking the other way towards the Sydney Heads with the famous Manly Ferry on its way across the heads to Manly. (A great trip if you are ever in Sydney)
It was a lovely trip down memory lane.

Friday, November 20, 2015

NOW AND THEN or The Wonders of Blogging

Last year I wrote a post on 'My Story' series about where I lived when I went to Teachers' College in Sydney. You can read it here. Due to the wonders of blogging, I have an interesting story to tell.
Some months ago I received an email from a guy I didn't know and I almost deleted it until I saw the first sentence where he said he had found a post on my blog with a photo of the property that he had purchased. So I went on to read his letter. He explained that he is searching for the history of the house and stories of the previous owners and he asked me if I had any stories about the house and the time that I lived there. There were four bedrooms upstairs and they were rented out to two girls in each. The owners/landlords lived down stairs.
I replied to his email and told him how it was when I lived there. He was very friendly. He said that I was welcome to visit the house when I was next in Sydney. So guess what? I was in Sydney last week and took him up on his offer. My daughter and Bill came too.
This is the photo of my digs in 1963. My friend, Val, and I shared the top right room.


This is the house today with the owners cars. It  was quite an eerie feeling walking up those stairs 52 years since the last time that I did it.The owner was very kind and offered to show us around the house so I could tell him how it used to be because he wants to make changes and try to take it back to how it was when it was first built back in c1910. It is Arts and Crafts Federation architecture. It has returned to being a family home and is no longer converted into bedsits. 

 This was the beautiful view of the Sydney Harbour/Port Jackson from our room in 1963. It is in Middle Head Rd, Mosman. 

The view from our old bedroom today. Isn't it amazing how trees can be beautiful and shady but also they can block the fabulous view of the harbour. The room now is a lovely big bedroom with an ensuite.  We had to share the big bathroom which was next door with all the other girls. It has now been modified into two bathrooms, an ensuite and a bathroom for the other bedrooms.
I took pics of inside this beautiful house but I don't want to publish them here and invade their privacy any more. However, their are some beautiful photos of the inside here on the real estate site from when it was sold for $7.5m.

The owner chatting to Carol about how he wants to change the roof back to slate tiles and paint the woodwork white. Carol being and interior designer/architect was interested.
I found this an exciting visit to my old digs and was so impressed with the kindness of the owner and the house itself. There were quite a few changes. The carport didn't exist. There was a garage at the back entrance from a lane. It is still there. The back yard has been landscaped beautifully with a swimming pool and outside living area. The kitchen is huge with a family room next to it. When we were there that area was divided into kitchenette cubicles for each pair of girls. You can see it all on the real estate site above.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A BUDDING ARTIST

Our daughter, Carol-Ann, has always enjoyed sketching but recently she has tried her hand at painting. She has taught herself from You Tube. We encouraged her to apply to enter a piece in the Swiss+Oz Art Expo 2015. Her application was successful and one of her paintings was hung in the expo. We were invited to attend the official opening in Bondi in Sydney, So last week we packed our bags, jumped on a plane and went to Sydney for a few days.
 Carol-Ann was shy as she had to wear a badge saying 'I am an Artist' and she felt that she wasn't really in league with other artists but I don't think her work would have been accepted if it wasn't good enough.

 There was quite a crowd there and some interesting art.

 I liked this piece mounted in a window frame by Monique Rüeger.

 The exhibition was opened by the Swiss Consul General, Ernst Steinmann.

Some more of Carol's work is on her living room wall.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A TEDDY BEARS' PICNIC FOR BIRTHDAY BEAR

It was Ann's birthday last week and she invited the Birthday Bear Group to celebrate with an afternoon tea picnic in Daisy Hill Forest. Readers not familiar with our Birthday Bear tradition read here 
 Ann recently went on a trip through Australia with some friends from England. Ann and George did a lot of tour guiding. So Bear is going to help Ann with further planning of trips for English visitors.

All of Birthday Bears friends were invited to the Teddy Bears' Picnic.

A mother wallaby also joined us. She wasn't at all frightened of being near all the bears or people.



 I wore my new T-Shirt, "Made in England........a long, long time ago "

 We found a table and enjoyed cheese, crackers, wine and Birthday Cheesecake.  I didn't do a good job at photographing the whole Birthday Bear Group.  Chris brought her DIL and granddaughter because Bob was home sick. Helen and Paul left early as Paul is not at all well these days with his cancer. Mary somehow couldn't find us as she is not familiar with the picnic areas in the forest.

Bill and George found the best chairs and it looks like they shop at the same store for shirts.

Kookaburra kept a keen eye on the food.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

THE NEW RIVER WALK

I have wanted to walk on the new Riverwalk since it was opened in September 2014. The original New Farm Riverwalk was built in 2003 but it was extensively damaged during the 2011 floods with part of it being washed away down stream. The walk connects the suburb of New Farm with the Brisbane city centre.  Finally we got to do the walk and a bit extra.
We drove to New Farm Park. A beautiful place at this time of the year because there are many, many Jacaranda Trees in bloom. Bill was organising his camera carrying vest while I was dazzled by the carpet of Jacaranda blooms.

It was a very dull day but also very hot and humid. I used a special effects setting on my point and shoot camera for the two shots above. 

We walked through the park down to the river, where we followed the path along the river edge but soon we were blocked by houses. This shot is looking behind us, where we had come from.

 We had to walk a few blocks before we got back to the river edge. As you can see New Farm is quite an affluent suburb. 

 We passed some new ferry wharves. They were replacements for those that were damaged during the floods of 2011.

 After about two kilometres we came to the  New Farm Riverwalk. The new structure is fixed, not floating like the last one. It is designed to last 100 years. It goes out into the river and it has a rotating span to let boat owners access their jetties. It is a pedestrian and cycle way with shaded rest areas. It is almost a kilometre long.

 We were getting closer to the city centre and the Story Bridge.

 Another special effects shot. The Riverwalk is divided for pedestrians and cyclists. There are many apartment blocks along the river with great views and prices.

 There are a few original houses squashed in between apartment blocks. I think they have much more character and beauty than the blocks.




The Riverwalk ended and we continued along a path under the Story Bridge. It was getting hot walking and we were looking forward to choosing one of the many restaurants at the riverside centre for lunch and a cool drink.


 Not far now. The Riverside Centre is the low white buildings below the tower with the spire. 

Looking back towards the bridge from near the restaurant. Poor Bill was as red as a beetroot. It was a long walk for him, over four kilometres. But we revived over lunch and instead of walking back to the car we........................

............caught the CityCat, a much cooler way to travel. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

LIVING IN SWITZERLAND IN 1970

(Continuing My Story)

It had been three months since we left Papua New Guinea and toured half way around the world to finally settle in Switzerland. We were living with Bill's parents and they were very good to us. Bill enjoyed showing me his beautiful country. Nearly everyday he took me on a scenic drive.  I was so lucky to see so much of Switzerland with the locals and not as a tourist.
One day we took Bill's mum and aunt for a picnic to Gurnigal in the mountains. It was a lovely drive through farmlands and fir tree forests.

 We tried to find a flat spot for the pinic table and I giggled because my brother always joked with me about living in Switzerland. Why do you want to live there you cant find a flat spot anywhere.
 Bill had an idea!*#!

 "What could it be? Where has he gone? What is he doing?"

 Ah! How romantic he went picking wild flowers for me. 

Another day we went over the Jaun Pass. The road was narrow and winding up and up to a winter ski resort where we had lunch.

 The views were stunning. Just like out of a picture book.

With the inlaws but still not able to have a fluent conversation with them. Would I ever learn to speak Swiss German?


We also travelled to many different towns to visit Bill's relatives. I met his uncle, aunt and cousins in Basel. We even climbed to the top of the cathedral.

 By far the most exciting trip we did was in a small four seater plane. One of Bill's friends had a pilot's licence and he offered to take us for a flight over the Swiss Alps to the Italian part of Switzerland. The little plane just had enough height to skim over the mighty Jungfrau Mountain and then we flew along the glacier between the shear walls of the towering mountains. I was a tad nervous but it was so exciting.

 We landed in Locarno and we found a cafe by Lake Maggiore for morning tea. Soon we were back in the plane trundling along the airstrip and taking off for Ascona another beautiful town on the lake.

We had lunch in Ascona and then it was time to fly back over the Alps. Once again we had to follow the valleys and circle inside the valley to get height to just clear the highest peak. We were so close to the snow and then suddenly we were over the top and the ground was a long, long way below us. It was better than a roller coaster ride. Wow what a day. After my feet were firmly on the ground again, Bill tells me that Hans, the pilot, had let him take the controls while we were flying along the valley. Glad I didn't know that while we were up there. Needless to say, that was the highlight of the trip for Bill.
But the exciting day didn't end there. When we landed at Belp airport  we were asked to be extras in a movie that was being shot there. We happily agreed. The film was called "George"starring Marshall Thompson and it was about a St Bernard dog.

We were having so much fun but how much longer could we last without working?