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Archive for the ‘Memory Lane’ Category

John Mountford ReserveAt 32 years of age it is so easy to take walking for granted!

I have a favourite place I like to walk… a park named after a man who, as a boy, flew his kite there when it was a dairy and a piggery, this kite-flying youngster went on to become our local Alderman (early 1900’s), Mayor and then member of the House of Representatives. Such important titles for a man I recognise for something much simpler…

I remember my local park when I hadn’t been walking for very long at all! I remember the two-tiered tennis courts, I remember where I was standing in the park when on my fifth birthday, my mum’s friend gave me the card I remember most vividly. I remember riding my bike on only 85% of the park’s circular track before having to turn around, because ‘bad men’ were hiding there.

The Bridge

The Bridge

I remember the bridge above the storm water drain the local kids used to play under, and the random mound of rocks that acted as our kingdom and fort. I remember the steep hill I couldn’t roller skate up, and the same hill I avoid walking up now! I remember the Weeping Willow that I spent hours climbing, staring at or sitting under and I remember weeping myself when in the 1990’s, the council removed the dying willow. I remember the park when it was double the size, before the M5 took the Netball courts. At 13 years of age I had fallen in love with my local park so much that when all my friends were Ice Skating, Shopping and Bowling for their birthdays, I invited my friends to sit under my Weeping Willow and play. Boring? Maybe!

After many years I am back living near my local park again. I am once again walking around my smaller, hilly, Weeping Willow-less park, enjoying nothing more than saying hello to and smiling at the other lucky ones who have discovered the simple hidden pleasures of John Mountford Reserve.

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The Sydney Royal Easter Show, featured on a serenity blog… I’m kidding, right?

I hate noise, especially that of the disorganised, frantic variety. I can’t stand crowds… people are okay as individuals, but put large numbers together and I don’t do people well.

The Archibull Prize

So why blog about yesterday’s Easter Show visit? Why even go in the first place? Three things… One, I went with my mum, two, I haven’t been to the Easter Show since it was at Moore Park, and three, I love watching woodchoppers chop wood. It must have something to do with the rawness of metal slicing through wood, or perhaps the singlets the woodchoppers wear!

Anyway, Olympic Park IS better than Moore Park, if only for the man selling mops in the Woolworths Pavillion! I just bought my fourth mop in 2 1/2 years I am ashamed to say. I have a thing for cleaning equipment, yes, if there was a support group called “Cleaning Equipment Anonymous” I would be there! It’s not the cleaning that I have a thing for, mind you, just the equipment. Despite actually buying the Euro Mop, I did put up a fight… I reminded my mum of my weakness and we went off to “think about it” over lunch, only to spend the time hoping the ‘last of the 200 free mop heads’ wouldn’t be given away.

Despite hating noise there is something comforting about the sound of metal hitting wood over and over again. I would love to say that the smell of freshly cut wood mingled with a floral fragrance and a freshly cooked steak gently wafted on the breeze as we sat in the Woodchopping Stadium, but anyone who’s been to the Show knows there is no breeze – just the sun beating down  mercilessly, and that the only smell wafting anywhere is horse manure, wet sheep fur and cow pats mingled together in such a way as to conjure up memories of every Show ever visited for as long as I can remember.

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A few words about our Engagement… only 7 1/2 months after the event!

The Infamous Photo!

The 18th of July 2009 was just under a year from the time Michael and I began dating. We went for a walk at Mt Alexandra Reserve at Mittagong in the Southern Highlands. I’ve walked there before with my mum around the time of my HSC 16 years ago, but we couldn’t find the elusive 60 ft Falls. Michael and I decided we’d find it this time.

After only one wrong turn we found the falls and sat down to rest and take in the beauty of our surrounds. It was actually really noisy because of the traffic from the nearby freeway which surprised me. A while later Michael popped the question to which I answered with a resounding ‘Yes!’ (Phew!)

The proposal… romantic and beautiful? Yes! Perfect? No! One of the lesser-known stories about this day happened after Michael proposed and I said yes. As most couples would do, we tried to take a few photos to capture the moment for both ourselves and for our family and friends who weren’t there. This wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem for an engaged couple, but most couples aren’t on their own standing on the edge of the 60 ft Falls!

Needless to say, my dexterity and nimble-footedness (in truth, my tendency to be accident-prone and clumsy) struck and as we were preparing to set the timer on the camera and race back to the place in front of the falls where we wanted to take the photo, I slipped and rolled down the slope of the rocks leading to the edge of the falls and that 60 ft drop I mentioned. Just 1 metre shy of the edge Michael’s legs didn’t budge as I rolled into them.

That was one hell of a close call, but we live to tell the tale and despite being on a number of more difficult bushwalks since that one, have decided not to risk our lives for a photo again, at least not until our Wedding…

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9 January, 2010

The old park at Warragamba Dam brings back memories of Saturdays and Sundays in my childhood spent having family picnics at the dam.

When I was a kid we used to visit often in winter. There was a playground specially designed for the vision impaired that had instructions on the railings in braille, there was a large grass area below the water tower just big enough to play French Cricket and there was a small room in the middle of the park housing the simulated Warragamba Dam display that we HAD to press repeatedly, obviously to see if it did anything else but pour water down the wall.

The Old Park

Our most recent trip managed to bring these memories flooding back as I stood in the same park that is now run down, outside the perimeter of the recent upgrade and with the information centre and display closed down.

The day was heaps of fun despite the heat, and I enjoyed revisiting it before people start to return to the dam now that it has reopened. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince anyone to play the obligatory game of French Cricket… not even the male additions to our rapidly expanding family!

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