Manning up...

Trip Start Jan 16, 2012
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Trip End Jan 01, 2014


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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Monday turned out to be a day of more walking than either I had planned or Shelley had dared fear...

Overnight I had been blessed with some Lazarus style recovery to my ankle - swollen and very painful on Sunday night - which means that it looks as though the tri-marathon challenge will commence this coming Sunday.  As I result I was more than happy to be exploring Sydney on foot, starting with a dash to the bus stop.  Shelley has previously labelled buses as "transport for refugees only" and so - in an attempt to make her face her fears, Batman style - I have now subjected her to around 3,000 kilometres or so of bus travel this year.  Sadly this appears to have reinforced, rather than altered, her views on public transport, although she has at least accepted it as a fact of life in expensive Sydney.  Maybe she just appreciates the fact that we are now actually the refugees in a nation which does no longer welcomes those from its once master (now poorer relation), but would instead embrace immigrants from the upwardly mobile East.  Or maybe she just wishes I would get a car...Anyway, I digress - we missed the bus and had to wait about 30 minutes for the next - no great chore in blissful sunshine (sorry to keep going on about it those at home, but it's kind of immense here (especially for winter).  Our destination was Bunnings DIY shop in Clovelly, as we needed utensils to beautify our ever growing pile of reclaimed goods.  I managed to miss the huge green fronted store as we roared along on the bus, and this resulted in a 2 kilometre or so trek up a hill back to the shop, all against the backdrop of whinging from Shelley, much of which fell on deaf ears as I spent most of the walk 10 yards ahead of her trying to maintain some sort of pace in the team.  The shopping itself went remarkably smoothly - Shelley is much more focused in hardware, than fashion, shops - and we were soon back on the streets of Clovelly.  It was here that my evil Ranolph Fiennes streak worked its magic and I suggested that we may stumble across some more abandoned homewares in need of restoration, knowing full well we were near to the huge Centennial Park, which I wanted to explore.  I was hoping that the impressive wildlife - including black swans and freaky Dinosaur-esque Ibis birds - and numerous lakes would soothe any complaints but was soon proved wrong as the moaning intensified and it cost me a cool eight dollars in coffee and ice cream to carve a passage through the park.  Lesson learnt...

We emerged from the Park in unknown territory, but with the Westfield Tower as a towering beacon as to the required direction of a walk.  I had by now slowed to nearer Shelley's pace and was also starting to suffer from something of a dip in moral (or just hunger) as we had probably walked 12 km's and had maybe anohter 5 or so to go.  It was now that divine intervention showed its kind hand and the sun beamed on a sign for $5 steak all day at The Forrester's Arms.  We crossed the road in a heartbeat, both wolfed down a steak, and set off home with renewed bounce and purpose.  The spring in Shelley's step was further bounced when we stumbled across an abandoned set of drawers in an adjacent street.  Twenty minutes of sweat and endeavour later and we were back in the flat.  I can safely say that my enthusiasm for dragging tatty items across cities and watching Shelley improve them has increased spectacularly since this became our only income stream...

Tuesday was as close as can be to a standard day in our lives here - whilst I went for what was intended to be a short run, Shelley stayed in to beautify some of our mounting collection of disgarded furniture.  My run became a bit of a disaster when a number of navigational errors compounded to leave me over eight miles from home, without mobile phone or money, and knackered.  It was a cracking day however and my unplanned route - which took in Centennial Park, Bronte, Bondi, Double Bay, Rushcutters and Kings Cross - served up a few fantastic views of the city and the harbour which one would not normally see.  Either way, as I stumbled into the flat, I experienced a feeling akin to what a once middle ranked racehorse must feel when it's owner starts calling the glue factory and dog food companies for quotes.  The remainder was spent with the usual cheap skating - cheap rate cinema "The Amazing Spiderman" (v good) and cheap Pizza Hut pizzas.

Wednesday featured a ferry crossing to Manly, in northern Sydney.  It's becoming predictable - although never unwelcome - as the sun shone strongly on the 30 minute crossing.  Whilst still being part of Sydney, Manly itself is a town in its own right.  The scene on Manly Beach was textbook Australia, with surfers dotting the beautiful blue water, albeit my toe test (as far as I'll risk with sharks around) indicated that the water was North Sea freezing.  As we walked around, we had an unexpected nature fest as about 20 noisy wild cockatoos covered the pavement.  Somewhat more interesting than a flock of dirty pigeons...We also had a usual free furniture find - this time a green wicker table which had been inexplicably binned by a clearly overly wealthy owner.  Thank you Bruce and/or Sheila.  As for the crossing back - the arrival into Circular Quay, with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, must be one of the most spectacular in the world and anyone who takes this commute on a daily basis should consider themselves extremely privileged.

Anyway, having been to Manly (irony, I hear you cry) it is now fittingly time for me to man up for the first marathon challenge this Sunday, the Winery Running Festival in Hunter Valley (http://www.huntervalleymarathon.net/).  The next few days will be spent carbo loading before trying to remember how to drive and manoeuvre a four wheel machine (after I did so well on two wheels in Asia).  Wish me luck...

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