After spending the last few days on board and having given Elaine's treatment some time to "kick in", we were ready to continue our explorations of the Sydney area. Of course, watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, which leaves through The Heads of Port Jackson, was the perfect excuse.However, we had originally thought we would take the dinghy under the Spit Bridge and on out to Hunters Bay to watch the start, but after Roy read some horror stories online about how chaotic and precarious the area becomes with all the punters flying up and down on the water, we decided on an alternative approach. Instead, a very enjoyable bus trip to Manly turned out to be an excellent idea, where we watched the proceedings from the safety of shore, albeit a little further away from the intense action, while enjoying a gelato on the pier. It also helped that Elaine's first rodeo was a huge success. She was able to walk properly for the first time in over a year. Miracle tablets for sure! From there we took the short walk to Manly Beach and enjoyed a late seafood lunch at Fiasco, a modern Italian restaurant, followed by afternoon coffee at Fushion Point, before returning to Paw Paw. On the dinghy ride back from Cammeray Marina we stopped by the Spit Marina to investigate other options for leaving the dinghy and encountered a very helpful gentleman who informed us we were more than welcome to use their restaurant facilities with no charge to dock the dinghy. Refreshing! That said though, there are still very limited options for anchoring and then leaving the dinghy and getting ashore for any length of time. Keeping Paw Paw on the swing mooring and exploring by bus from Cammeray Marina is definitely proving to be the best option for our time in Sydney, not to mention inexpensive, efficient and we get to enjoy a "field trip" every time!
Although we both had a restless night with the windy and blustery weather that managed to work its way around Killarney Point at times during the night, we still woke up full of the joys of Christmas, A coffee and our favourite Walkers shortbread biscuits in bed and receiving an early morning phone call from Keenan started off the perfect day. Phone calls to the family in Ireland as they enjoyed their Christmas Eve swiftly followed, after which Elaine baked Irish soda bread, accompanied by bacon for breakfast. By then we'd held off long enough to open our Christmas presents.Albeit that the weather remained overcast and chilly the whole day, Roy did a garbage and fresh water run after breakfast, while Elaine set and decorated the table to Christmas music and twinkle lights, before cooking started in earnest. Our meal of Herb Roasted Turkey, Pear and Chestnut Sausage Stuffing, Bacon Wraps, Cranberry Sauce, Turkey Gravy, Roast Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts (for Roy) and Snap Peas (for Elaine), paired with the perfect wine (mostly for Roy), following by Steamed Christmas Pudding and Custard (for Roy) and Lamingtons and Custard (for Elaine), together with the obligatory Lindt Mint and Ferrero Rocher chocolates and a selection of nuts, turned out to be a rather grand, not to mention, delicious meal, to come out of our relatively small gallery and one Elaine thoroughly enjoyed preparing, although some assistance was needed from Roy on the final touches. The day was wrapped off watching one of our favourite Christmas movies, The Holiday, followed by another favourite, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. A low-key, wonderful Christmas Day in Oz!
Thursday was a repeat of Wednesday - Wake up to the 0630 alarm, get ready, head to the bus stop, join the mass of other commuters to downtown Sydney and from there onto Drummoyne. This time it was for Elaine's follow up doctor's appointment to get the results of all the tests. Initial treatment has started while further tests are conducted. The blessing is that everything was uncovered in less than a week and we certainly cannot complain about the excellent and relatively inexpensive care Elaine is receiving here in Australian.Yesterday was laundry day, so after a lazy morning and catching up with family and friends, we headed to Cammeray Marina to use their Iaundry facilities. When we returned, Elaine enjoyed a quiet afternoon on board while Roy met Terence to get some of the heavier shopping done (aka beer and wine), following which Terence joined us aboard Paw Paw Paw for a quick sundowner. Today was Angie's turn to visit Paw Paw, but not before we enjoyed a mid-morning coffee at the Echo on the Marina restaurant at Echo Point and being surprised with a beautiful gift from her - A large bunch of fresh flowers, our favourite South African treats of biltong, peppermint crisps and wine gums, as well as some Australian treats to try, including chocolates, vegemite, tim tam biscuits and lamingtons. Spoilt indeed! From there we loaded her into the dinghy for the short transfer to Paw Paw. Over a light lunch and well into the afternoon, the conversation continued unabated. Another fabulous day! In between all this activity we have been getting ourselves ready for Christmas like most folks at this time of the year and would like to wish all our family and friends around the world a very blessed Christmas.
Hi ho, hi ho, it's back to work we go - wake up to the 0630 alarm, get ready, head to the bus stop, join the mass of other commuters to downtown Sydney. Wait, something's wrong! Nightmare? No! Reality? Yes, but not a permanent event, thank goodness! Just had to get from Cammeray to Drummoyne for Elaine's early morning appointments for her MRIs and X-Ray, but not before we enjoyed a morning coffee at Bowan Island Bakery after we arrived in Drummoyne, feeling very chuffed with ourselves that we'd actually made it.Once all the imaging activities were completed, it was time to finish our Christmas shopping at the Birkenhead Shopping Mall, have lunch and make the journey back to Cammeray. Thankfully we have a free app called "Moovit" which has been invaluable to helping us get around Sydney without a hitch. We'd barely made it back to the marina though, when the heavens opened. Given that temperatures hit 38C / 100F today, the rain was a welcome relief from the heat. We then barely made it back to Paw Paw, after our 3NM dinghy ride, when mother nature truly released her wrath; thunder, lightening, rain and hail, which had Elaine piling all our electronics into the oven and running for cover in her cabin. Roy, on the otherhand, moaned about the interruption to his DIY tasks of installing the new fire extinguishers and replacing the anode on the dinghy outboard motor. The rain didn't even stop him from continuing with the barbecue he had planned. Fortunately, it all cleared up after about an hour and we're enjoying a lovely cool and refreshing evening.
We were up early this morning to get ready for the day and dinghy the 3NM to Cammeray Marina, where we awaited our ride. One again, this was no ordinary ride. We were meeting Angie whom we also hadn't seen since leaving South Africa and what a special day we had together.Once the hugs and kisses were out of the way, we headed to her local shopping centre in Belrose to enjoy a morning coffee and start the process of filling in the years that had separated us, but in many ways it felt like we had just seen each other yesterday. Of course, the conversation continued the entire day while Angie took us on a fabulous tour of the North Sydney area, commencing with a drive through the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to see what's referred to as the "Australian Bush". That took us to the West Point Lookout where we enjoyed magnificent views over Lion Head Island, Broken Bay, Pittwater and Palm Beach and where they happened to be filming a well known and famous Australian soap opera, "Home and Away". From there we headed to Church Point where we had a delicious meal on the waterfront while overlooking Scotland Island, before making our way back through Bay View and Mona Vale, passing the Narrabeen Lagoon en route. The day was topped off with afternoon tea and delicious home baked Polish biscuits at Angie's home. Unfortunately David snd Stephen, whom we haven't seen since they were toddlers were both at work, but hopefully we'll have an opportunity to see them before we leave Sydney. With that a day of nonstop talking came to a close and it was time to head back to Paw Paw. A great big thank you to Angie for a wonderful outing!