Welcome if interested!

This is a blog of our year in Sydney. Nick is undertaking an orthopaedic research fellowship as part of his training before becoming a consultant. We have given up many things to do this having sold our house and have left friends and family and jobs that we both enjoyed. However we believe it is likely to become one of the most memorable years of our lives. I am keeping this blog mainly as a personal record of events and memories. Hopefully it will still be available for our children to read in years to come.


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Messing Around

Whilst Nick is working very hard and driving all over the city every day I am enjoying the daily school runs and finding new things to do with Alex and Edward. Already our days are very busy. There is a playgroup every day in Coogee and Randwick so on Mondays we go to a church playgroup near the sea. It is incredibly well run by lovely ladies who volunteer. You pay a little bit more per child to go in but all the toys are laid out, there is a baby room and cars and ride on toys, a sand pit, all the coffee you want to drink. The kids can paint or do play dough and Alex loves it. The best bit is at the end when all the ladies get the children singing church songs and dance and clap!. It has been a fantastic way to meet other Mums and everyone is so friendly!! They even sent me a post card after my first visit encouraging me to come on Sundays. Here is Al getting stuck into painting. I have met a french lady Marion, from Quebec, who is over studying with her husband and son for two years and she has started to teach Oliver some french and if Nick and I can find the time we are going to have some lessons too. She has a little son, Romain, who is the same age as Alex. Unfortunately he only likes girls and so he has struggled a bit with Alex who wants to be friendly with everyone.

Oliver has also started tennis and has an incredible teacher called Julie who he is just desperate to impress. He now asks everyday if he can have a tennis lesson. Primarily just so he gets another hour with this lady. She is so full of praise for everything he does. In just a few weeks he has learnt how to catch, something I have been trying to do for years and he can now return a ball forehand and backhand with his racket. Check out the concentration on the little guys face and the tongue hanging out!. I have also started having lessons down on the beach courts. They run a mothers group on Thursdays and have a little creche on site and so for two hours of the week I am childless. It is fabulous. I have never played before and am worse than terrible but am having a great time.

Olivers behaviour has improved so much since he has started school again. Mind you I have found some excellent punishments that keep the naughtiness away. Here he is changing a poopy nappy, an experience no one would wish to repeat, forget the naughty step, this is the way forward girls!
The other thing that Nick and I are trying out is sushi. There is so much fresh fish and Japanese in Sydney that there are sushi bars everywhere. I always thought that Sushi was tiny bits of raw fish on top of rice. ( I quite like this sort) Well Nick went and got ?sushimi? the other night and came back with platters of sliced raw fish for our supper. Well I already had the wok heating up ready to cook the stuff. Ollie, however, embraced the concept and dug in. He loved it. We didnt however emphasise the raw!!. The swordfish was ok but it was just all to big and cold and uncooked for me. I will have to keep trying I guess.

Weekend in Killcare

Nick is working for Professor Warwick Bruce and he invited us up to his holiday home for a weekend.

We were both feeling a bit nervous about how the boys would behave but as it turned out they were brilliant and he seemed quite relaxed. He is however the father of six!.

His holiday house is on the hillside in a village called Killcare in Bouddi National Park just North of Sydney. It has a panoramic view of Putty Beach, the only South facing beach in NSW. Completely stunning, Nick says almost as good as Gulls!. Here are some of the views from the balcony and looking down towards the beach.

We were lucky enough to be sleeping downstairs in a self contained apartment. Also Judy, the Professors PA came with her husband and nine year old son and also another family came with there two boys, seven and three. Ol and Al had a ball, they spent there time on the beach and in the bush chasing a bush turkey. This was a good plan until Oliver returned splatered in blood. I tried to find the source but soon discovered the boys had been squashing big fat mosquitos and it was their blood!. They were both covered in bites, yuk!.

We were well looked after and ate fresh fish, steak, oysters and drank a very special wine...check this out...

We spent both days on Putty Beach, Nick got a mini surf in with mini waves and Oliver and Alex made friends on the beach and both gained confidence swimming in the sea. A very beautiful place.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Around Randwick

Here are a few pictures of the suburb in which we are living. Randwick is a popular place to settle but is also very expensive. Mind you Sydney real estate is now said to be more expensive than anywhere else in the world!. It is fantastic mix of buildings, victorian terraces, art deco blocks of apartments to ultra modern very plush houses. Most people drive four wheel drives here despite being in the city. Parking is a premium and off road parking a luxury. At the top of our road Mears Avenue is Avoca Street which is long and runs south towards Botany Bay. On this and at the topof our road is a shopping centre that contains the most amazing fresh fruit and veg market. We have had the worlds best nectarines,mangos and bananas from there. Around the corner from us is The Spot where four roads meet at a roundabout. On each road centering around the spot are restaurants and street cafes and the Ritz Cinema, the oldest preserved art deco cinema in Sydney. We have now found two trustworthy baby sitters and have managed a couple of nights out here too.

The Prince of Wales Hospital is just at the top of Avoca Street as well, five minutes walk from us. Nick's lab is based there and so far when he is not operating he is spending his time in the lab preparing research data. After we went to dinner last week he took me to the eighth floor of the hospital to see the most amazing view of the city skyline at night!. We did encounter an Xray technician in the lift who, I think, wondered what and earth we were doing. Who says romance is dead!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Rainy Weekends

Can you believe it... the last two weekends Sydney has had more rainfall than it has had in the same period for he last fifteen years. It has poured, crazy rain and thunder storms. I slept with Alex one of the stormy nights as the thunder was so loud it made the house shake. When we awoke in the morning the TV wouldn't work. Nick shook the adapter and it rattled. When he opened it up the inside was toast, crazy!. Luckily the TV survived but we are unplugging our computers now at night.

The storms are frequent here. The weather has been extreme and you can see how it takes its toll on the cities buildings and roads. Nick and Al ventured out for a haircut in one of the heaviest down pours and they returned as drowned rats. The water runs down the hills so fast that it spray up and arcs off the parked cars. The water opened up massive potholes in the major routes through the city and brought down loads of trees, even some houses or so the news headlines said. The hat that followed made the humidity unbearable. On one day I had to take three sucessive showers after walking with the pushchair, drenched in sweat. Really very attractive. The rain has meant that we havent been able to camp. There are however many things to do when it does rain though. On the first weekend we took a trip too the Powerhouse Museum that bases its exhibitions on the industrial era, advent of steam power to space travel and so on. It had a great eighties exhibition with mainly Kylie and Neighbours memorabilia...pretty cool! Unfortunately I lost my pictures of our trip there though. We manage to teach Ollie how to ride his bike with out stabilisers though on one of the gaps in the rain and we have also been doing a lot of cooking ( cake variety mainly!)

Exploring Coogee

Whilst Oliver has been at school Alex, Edward and I have been exploring Coogee and its surrounds. Coogee is in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney and is centered around Coogee Bay Road that leads directly East to the beach. Olivers school is on Coogee Bay Road so we can drop him off or pick him up and walk on to the beach. The beach is lovely, yellow sand, very clean. It has the backdrop of hotels and beach bars, fish and chip shops and a Macdonalds so lots of hub but it also has headland either side through which the coastal path runs. Here you can find wonderful coastal reserve with beautiful plants and birds and amazing insects. Heading South towards Maroubra, where Nick thinks the best city surfing is, is the greatest kids play park. It sits on the headland with a view of the beach and the sea. It is surrounded by park and communal BBQs and picnic benches. Below the headland lie the three coastal pools. The first is by the surf club right on the beach, the best for the boys. The second is the women's only pool but I haven't managed to get down there as there are so many steps and impossible when you are on your own with the boys!. Wylies Baths are at the end and are almost 100 years old. You can just see them here in the bottom left of the picture. This is looking from the coastal path heading South towards Maroubra. The kiddies park is just to the left of this picture too with barbeques in the park for use too!. Here is Al on the swings and Ol and Ed enjoy the park too