Byron Bay Japanese Festival

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Kizuna Taiko Team : a fantastic Japanese drumming group from the Gold Coast

Last Sunday, hoping to celebrate and share some of their cultural traditions, the local Japanese community hosted  the inaugural ‘Japan’ festival on the  Byron Bay beachfront.  We knew that parking would be difficult so parked close to Clarkes Beach, just a short walk away from the festival.

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Such a perfect day: even though the seat beckoned, I resisted for I could see the flags of the festival up ahead.

There were lots of stalls to explore,  outside on the beachfront and inside the Surf Club. I was drawn to the beautiful clothing,  pottery and jewelery.

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So many lovely shapes and the glazes – just beautiful

 

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I love clothes made of Japanese cotton: the material just gets silkier with every wash and last and last..

All around were members of the Japanese community and their families having fun. The children in particular, looked adorable.

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We arrived just as this activity was finishing.

And while a variety of alternative therapies are always a feature of markets in our area, it was interesting to see a Japanese perspective.  I was particularly intrigued by the Singing Bowl tent.  It seemed a little similar to the Acutonics therapy that my sister Maryanne has trained in and which is gaining a devoted following.

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Multiple Singing rings or bowls are placed around and on the body. As the Harmonic Sound Resonance  from the bowls vibrate around and through the body,   a deep  sense of relaxation and well being is engendered. The lucky recipient of this massage/therapy seems very content and there was quite a line up of those wanting to experience this for the first time. More information can be found at https://www.singingring.com.au 

And inside the surf club, there were lots of cultural activities on show.  Part of the club had been turned into a tea house for the afternoon where still and silent, an appreciative audience enjoyed the tranquility and harmony of the ‘tea ceremony’.

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I sometimes think that Japan is the Scandinavia of the East: uncluttered  interiors, natural colour schemes and every thing within, a thing of beauty.

There was origami jewellery,  a calligraphy workshop,  a landscape artist and Japanese board games to enjoy to name just a few of the activities on offer.

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These cards would make any occasion,  very special.

And then there were the food stalls! I will confess, it was the thought of a yummy plate of gyoza ( japanese dumplings), piping hot pork buns and yakitori that had initially enticed me to the festival.  Food in hand, Kenn and I found a lovely shady spot under a nearby Pandanus palm and enjoyed every morsel and a wonderful beach view.

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The water was really lovely. Following our time at the festival, Kenn and I grabbed the beach umbrella, our swimming costumes and enjoyed a couple of hours of quality beach time. Bliss.

But for me, the highlight of the festival were the performances. Firstly a small group of Japanese children who live locally and attend a Japanese language and culture class once a week sang and danced for us.

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It was delightful how the older children looked after the little ones. A lovely performance.

A musical duet featuring Japanese instruments followed.

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There is a haunting quality to the sound that these instruments produce. It reminded me of one of my favourite records; James Galway’s “Songs of the Seashore, a collection of Japanese melodies”.

And the final performance was a Japanese drumming group from the Gold Coast.   They treated us to three, terrific compositions utilising the drums in different ways. Their energy and enjoyment was infectious.  For the first time in my life, I wanted to be a drummer!

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The drummers really loved drumming and it showed! Their rhythms rocked the beach.
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The sound of the barrel bass drum down the back was amazing.
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The amount of force used and the variations in dynamics was impressive. No tuck shop arms here!

The festival was a great success. I’m already looking forward to next year’s. Maybe I’ll see you there.

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee at Elements of Byron

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Looking over the toddler pool towards the Reception and Restaurant area

Last Wednesday, I joined my friends Annie and Grace for morning coffee at Elements at Byron, our newest 5 star resort.  I love going out for coffee. Savouring that first spoonful of chocolate-sprinkled foamy deliciousness atop a cappuccino, endeavouring to avoid  a hitler-resque  moustache and perhaps sharing a slab of Middle Eastern orange cake or a lemon tart or a white chocolate, raspberry muffin are some of life’s simple pleasures. But while the coffee is important, for me and I’m sure for many others,  going out for coffee is  more about catching up with friends. And if this catch-up can take place in beautiful surroundings, so much the better.

We had our coffee on the back terrace, overlooking the infinity pool.

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Overlooking the infinity pool. This photo was from an earlier visit when the weather wasn’t quite so obliging.  The fountain in the foreground becomes a fire pit at night. Very cool.

Soon we were catching up on each other’s news: Grace regaled us with fascinating snippets about her trip to Portugal where she spent time at an ashram and retreat centre in Monte Sahaja and the shenanigans of her very astute pre-schooler grand-daughter. This little one asked her mother, ‘Mum can you carry me home from the park?’ to which her mother replied. ‘No, you’re a big girl now.’ The little one promptly sat down where she stood, a mutinous look on her face. Mum exasperated, cajoled,’ Tell you what, if you walk home by yourself, you can have an ice-cream when we get home!’ The little one considered, pondered, thought long and hard. Her eyes lit up. ‘How about this, Mum. If you carry me home, I’ll share the ice-cream with you!’ Such consideration!  A lawyer in the making?

All too soon, coffee was finished. Grace hadn’t been to Elements before so we showed her around some of the resort. We pointed out where the Writer’s Festival had been held and then followed the path to Belongil Beach. Here you can recline on sun loungers while you take in the beautiful sweep of beach before you.

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As you can see, we made ourselves at home. The view to the lighthouse was so lovely.

Nearby, the resort has a sunset lookout. It too was lovely. This is a resort which has really spacious grounds. If you wanted to get away from it all, in 5 star luxury this might be the place for you.

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Beachcombing in style

All too soon, it was time to go. Another catch-up, this time, a coffee afternoon was organised. In keeping with the 5 star theme, this catch-up will be at the Byron at Byron. I do love going out for coffee! Hope you do too.

 

Birthday Firsts

It’s been ‘Birthday Season’ of late for the young and not so young in our family.  I love how whether you’re one or ninety one, it’s all about the moment: watching glittery balloons float around above us as our fingertips rustle and rifle through layers of wrapping paper, carefully or not so carefully unveiling our presents. Inhaling the scent of flowers so prettily tied up with string and of melting candle wax, the aroma of wishes. Listening to the good vibrations of “Happy Birthday!” and savouring the last, chocolatey, gooey morsel of a special cake.  What’s not to love? But this year, there’s been so much more.  The little ones’ wonder and joy allowed us to see the world through their eyes as they  experienced  many of these  treats for the first time.

As Pooh bear noted, ‘It’s hard to be uncheered with a balloon.’ Hudson who turned 1 last week was captivated. They were so big and so shiny and there was a Thomas the Tank Engine! He couldn’t wait to pull them down to cuddle them.

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Mum, you can trust me!   I’ve  caught it …nearly! Sealpop …  just … hold me up a little closer … please.

And the delight that two year old Genevieve felt in the early morning light as she took her first bounces  in her new trampoline! A dedicated balloon lover, as the balloons took flight, so did she.

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Which one will I choose to dance with next! The blue or the pale pink? I know, I’ll have the pink with the white dots and then we’ll twirl and whirl  and curl together.

I love the way little ones unwrap their presents, sometimes with a little help from Mum.

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You want me to type? Now?

But then take off to test out the working capabilities of particular gifts.

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Why did this truck decide to tip my teddy out? Mmm … maybe it’s not a taxi afterall.
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I’ve got it! It’s all about the turning circle! Do you think I’m ready for the ‘Tour de France’?
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Hey Dad, the door works great! Thank you for making me such a great cubby for my birthday. And yes, I can play peek a boo with you through the windows.

And what would a birthday be without flowers Genevieve loved hers as much as I loved mine. Must be a girl thing.

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And of course, there’s the birthday cake.  When my children were little, this was a very important part of the celebrations. As they got older, they would  pore over the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake book and put in their requests. After some negotiation,  I would bake the cake and Kenn would decorate it. So keeping with family tradition, Melissa was determined to make Huddy’s first birthday cake memorable and she certainly succeeded.

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So super cute! And he managed to blow out the candle.

Not only did the cake look good, it tasted great. Huddy was amazed. This was the first time he had been allowed to eat a smartie, chocolate icing and mud cake! It was a revelation! Huddy’s taste buds will never be the same again.

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Please Mum, can I have just one more smartie? On second thoughts make that two or three!
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Thanks Mum, High five?

I even love singing Happy Birthday. Really no matter how musical or unmusical it sounds, it is the sound of love. Christian, Kelly and girls couldn’t be in Byron for my birthday this year, but for the very first time, when they face timed that morning, Genevieve sang Happy Birthday to me and included four very enthusiastic hip hip hoorays. An unforgettable serenade.

The thing about firsts is that they keep coming. It can be as simple as taking Huddy for a walk along Main Beach in Byron. Even when it’s a perfect day,

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a boy has to do what a boy has to do!

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Wait up, my stroller isn’t as light as a feather you know!

And you never know when you’re going to strike it lucky and for the first time get to use the special toddler swing at Main Beach.

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Now Sealpop, just a little higher. I’m a big boy now, I’m 1!

You just have to be ready to lose yourself for a time in the world of the young.

 

 

Vividly alive in Sydney

 

Last week I found myself on the Manly ferry as the sun was setting. I took in the familiar sights of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, relishing the taste of fresh, cold sea air.

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I love that it was beautiful but different from home, for it has been lovely in Byron Bay of late. Perfect winter weather, perfect walking weather.

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For walking along Main beach in the mid afternoon
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and  past the Pandanus palms at  Wategoes
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and  strolling down to the Pass. We’re watching for whales but haven’t spotted any yet.

Even walking around the lake closer to home has been lovely.

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Anyone for a seat?

But back in Sydney, as the ferry steamed towards Manly, all too soon, the sun set and clouds gathered.

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As I watched the moon break through stormy clouds and ripple its light across the harbour, I thought about Uncle Neil.  Last week, aged  92, he passed away. At his memorial service, family and friends remembered a quiet, clever but always loving man who had lived a really good life; a life that like the moonlight,  softly touched so many for the better.

While I mourned the reason for our reunion, it was good to see my city and country cousins. Life is always an adventure when they are around. Travelling back into the city from Sutherland,  I was able to appreciate my cousin Beth’s advanced driving skills at close range. Exiting the Eastern distributor and swinging a right across a couple of lanes into Macquarie St, Beth spotted a park and paralleled parked her 4WD in under a minute. All this in the dark, in peak hour traffic and in the midst of a festival! It was a maneuver beyond my wildest dreams and all under the watchful eyes of a police car which just happened to be parked behind us!

Soon we were making our goodbyes and I headed down Macquarie St to Circular Quay to  see some of the fantastic Vivid lights on my way home. Vivid Sydney is a festival of light, music and ideas. Beautiful light and laser shows illuminate, interpret and transform Sydney’s urban spaces with a unique creative vision. These lights transform Sydney into a wonderland that is free for all to enjoy. As well there is an innovative contemporary music program.

Earlier, my son Christian and his family had gone to Vivid at the Zoo where young and old alike were entranced by the light sculptures and the laser display.

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I am going to go next year!

So I was very keen to see the Opera House and the foreshore which serves as the heart of the festival. I was not disappointed even though I couldn’t really capture it with my camera phone.

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The Opera House sails was a constantly evolving tapestry
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The jewel colours of the foreshore buildings reflected in the water
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The harbour bridge looks awesome with the lasers. 

But this was a fleeting, family visit. We are definitely going to plan a Vivid holiday next year.

All too soon, I was back on the plane, headed for home. I had a window seat and as I took one last look at Sydney, I thought that it was fitting that Uncle Neil should leave us in the middle of festival such as Vivid, surrounded by light, never to be forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer daze in Byron Bay

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Sunset beach walks along Main Beach

Despite traffic gridlock, long supermarket queues, tourists occupying all the best spots at my favourite cafes and an inability to snag a rock star park at the beach,  I have to admit that this summertime, the livin’ has been easy  in Byron Bay and we have enjoyed that  ‘peaceful, easy beach holiday feeling.’

Looking back, 2016 was a big year for us: travel to distant destinations both abroad and here in Australia, the arrival of our first grandson, beautiful Hudson, ‘ Huddie’  James  and our daughter Lyndsay’s picture perfect wedding at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania among the many highlights. By mid November we were ready to relax and  get into the holiday groove. The Christmas tree went up and channeling that ‘peaceful, easy feeling’, I shopped early. I found I had time to wander, consider and unearth! My former self; a demented banshee rushing around in a blind panic trying to find the perfect present at the last minute and failing miserably, was banished … hopefully forever.

So with gifts nestled beneath the tree, we threw ourselves into the revelries of the silly season: parties and drinks with friends and of course, Carols at the ‘Byron at Byron.’ one of the premier resorts in Byron Bay.  Nestled in coastal rainforest, the staff welcomed us with a glass or two of champagne on the deck (helps to lubricate the vocal cords) and offered delicious bites both traditional and local.  Who could resist a delicious mince tart or a Bangalow Pork roll or a nibble of this or a nibble of that?  Certainly not us! Our group  was soon in a very festive mood.

 

And so we sang, mostly in tune, as the dusk closed in. Luckily the choir was loud enough to make us all sound ‘joyful and triumphant’.

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Our singing mingled with the ‘songs’ of the black cockatoos who, according to the Bundjalung people, herald in the New Year!

The peaceful, easy feeling just grew and grew.  Melissa and Ben hosted Christmas Dinner on the deck of their home in beachside Byron. Everything was just perfect. And I didn’t have to stress about a thing.

All I had to do was cook a turkey and make a couple of salads to contribute to the festive fare. So easy. So delightful. So restful.

 Even Ninja got into the holiday spirit as we exchanged gifts.

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What’s Santa bringing me ?

All of Ben’s family had traveled from Adelaide to share Huddie’s first Christmas. Who would have thought that a roomful of adults could be spellbound as a 7 month old baby opened his first Christmas presents! And there were a lot of presents to open.

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Eventually, it was time to return home. Christian, Kelly and little Genevieve were arriving the next day for a week. The cousins would meet for the first time!

And Genevieve traveled to Coomera to play with her great grandfather and mother and enjoy a swim with Nemo and Dad in their pool. It’s a special moment to see four generations all together these days.

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Come on Dad, can’t this fish swim any faster?

And I  got to play sandcastles with Genevieve and Huddie at Lake Ainsworth, located next to the surf club at Lennox Head and take them both for a swim. Watching their expressions as little waves washed over their feet and their toes dug into cool soft sand was everything I thought it would be. That  beach holiday feeling had arrived.

Even though the days were hot, they were perfect for long evening walks along the beach.

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misty magic

Even one of the locals joined us entranced by the sunset.

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And when the clouds rolled in,  the sky seemed to say, ‘look at me, look at me

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Mirror heaven

Despite the traffic and the arrival of bluebottles on a couple of occasions, we lolled around in the surf and  when the waves permitted, caught a few in to shore. It’s reassuring to know that you haven’t lost the knack.

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That rush when the wave takes you …so good!

We have enjoyed leisurely breakfasts  and evening barbecues on the patio while the cat has played with his holiday treat, a cardboard castle.

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Will I fit?

And there’s something about watching the cricket and tennis  in the heat of the day. that is deeply relaxing, I find.

And so our summer continues:  early morning games of golf, lighthouse walks, swimming and kayaking  in the lake and in the bay and a new arrival to welcome  and a special birthday celebration in March to look forward to.    Yep, that ‘peaceful, easy beach holiday feeling’  is definitely here. Hope your summer has been as enjoyable.

Swimming in the Bay

The weather is perfect for swimming at the moment. Sunny, humid and hot. The crystal blue water  of the bay  beckons swimmers into its cool embrace. There,  in waist deep water, I float and splash about. Occasionally, very occasionally I catch a wave and ride it to shore.  Heat disappears as my body chills down. It’s lovely, really lovely.

Relaxing under the umbrella, soaking up the smell of salt, sunscreen and hot chips,  I watch as some intrepid souls swim across the bay. Out where you can’t stand up. Out where things, with fins, swim. I can’t make myself do it. Not when I can swim without being nibbled, in what has to be one of the most scenic public swimming pools in Australia,  the Byron Bay Memorial Pool.

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Looking across the 50 meter pool to the ocean

The pool is located at the top of Johnson St, adjacent to Main Beach and overlooks the bay. Like me, there are many who come to the pool to swim laps. There are always three or four lanes set out for this purpose.

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There are designated lanes to suit all swimming abilities

Usually you’ll have to share a lane with others. When this happens, I don my flippers, content to complete my session with a freestyle workout. But sometimes you can be lucky and have a lane all to yourself.

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Doesn’t this look inviting?

Then,  I can attempt a  backstroke lap or two without inflicting a concussion on some poor, unsuspecting soul or if you swim breaststroke in a manner and at a speed  resembling a galapagos  tortoise, as I do, then you won’t hold others up. You can take as long as you like swimming a lap or resting between laps or indeed in the middle of a lap. No one will know!

As well as a 50 meter pool there is a babies pool and a beginner’s pool. Consequently, the pool is very popular with families of younger children. I notice lots of young mums, relaxing with a coffee from Fishheads, watching on as their children play or have swimming lessons.

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Entry to the pool is on the left hand side of the cafe.

 

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The beginner’s pool has a wonderful view of the Bay
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Little ones love splashing about in the shade.

After your swim, you might like to relax for a while.

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Have you left that sun lounger for me?

Perhaps meet friends at the Top Pub for lunch. But wait, you tell me,  you’re wearing eau de chlorine!  Nothing to worry about. The change rooms are more than adequate for a quick transformation and for an extra 50 cents you can even have a hot shower!  Or perhaps like me, you might just like to double dip: into the pool and then the ocean. It’s right there, waiting!

Our local pool is a great resource. Greg and his team do a wonderful job maintaining it for all of us. This season, entry is $4.00 for adults, less for children and pensioners.

Hope to see you there.

 

 

 

 

Lunching at the Lighthouse

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Byron Lighthouse from the new deck of the Cafe

My Tuesday was not behaving itself!  I had intended to have of a lovely morning catching up with my fellow golf enthusiasts for a coaching session with Nicky Rickon, a leisurely coffee and perhaps,  a few holes of golf at Mullumbimby Golf Club. But sadly, it was not to be.  I found myself crawling along Broken Head Road. This was not good. I was going to be very, very late. But my golf clubs were nestled between the odd towel and beach chair in the boot and my feet were wearing socks and sneakers for the first time in months, ready to traverse beckoning fairways, so I detoured.  A few holes at Byron would surely satisfy my golfing itch.

Although it was a very warm morning, there was a breeze so it was with some enthusiasm that I paid my money and made my way to the back nine as directed. I hadn’t played for a couple of months and as expected it took me one or two more shots than usual to complete the my first hole. But to compensate for a less than celebratory fairway performance, I did sink a long putt!  I hit off the second and missed the water. All good. Then disaster. The Ladies Comp  caught up to me. They suggested, nicely, that I hightail it over to the 14th, hit down to the clubhouse and play a few holes on the front nine so that I didn’t get in their way. There was only one problem.  I got a trifle lost and ended up on the 13th. Where was the 14th?  Obviously, my map reading skills need a little fine tuning. Feeling decidedly hot and bothered, I decided to tee off. Then I heard the sound. The sound of an approaching golf cart. I looked up. The lady golfers had me in their sights. There was nothing for it but to pick up my ball and drag my buggy and myself back to the clubhouse.

I felt that I had already walked nine holes but wasn’t ready to give up just yet. “The front nine might be more challenging but is more scenic,” I’d been reliably informed. As I dragged myself down and up, across and back, I  got hotter and hotter. For once, my ball didn’t seek the trees like a ballistic missile. I was stuck in the middle of the fairway. Repeatedly.  Melting. In the tropical oasis that is Byron, I felt as if I was trekking across the Sahara … without a camel! Three holes later, I called it a day. I didn’t want the R.I.P sign at the side of the Golf Club driveway to commemorate me.

Lying on the couch under a fan with an ice pack on my neck, Kenn took pity on me. “How about I take you and Annie out for coffee and maybe lunch?”  My day suddenly brightened. Taking advantage of our new National Parks parking sticker, we decided that lunch on the newly completed deck at the Lighthouse Cafe would be perfect.

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Can you ever get tired of such a view?

view of the deck at lighthouse cafe

 The cafe offers simple pleasures. Coffee, milkshakes, rolls, quiches, gourmet pies and sausage rolls to mention a few and the best ice cream in Byron Bay.

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We tried the vegetarian quiche, the gourmet pie and the chicken and pesto roll. Needless to say, not a crumb was left on our plates.  And the coffee hit the spot!
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In the Pink ice cream and gelati. So hard to resist.

Lunch finished, we lingered a little. Rested a little.

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Just dreaming

For newcomers to the bay, information about Lighthouse Tours and the National Park can be found in the Lighthouse Keepers House directly behind the cafe.

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Imagine being a lighthouse keeper here! There is limited paid parking available at the Lighthouse if you do not have a National Parks permit.

Refreshed, Annie and I meandered down the track, past the most easterly point of Australia to Wategoes where Kenn kindly picked us up.

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After the morning’s adventures, a strictly downhill stroll to Wategoes was all I could muster.

Lunch at the Lighthouse Cafe was a  lovely and unexpected way to end the morning.

 

Spring Garden Mania

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Blonde headed, real gone surfie types, clad only in board shorts and thongs in the middle of July have spread  the misconception that winter never darkens or frosts our doors in the bay. This is not quite the truth. It is cool, even cold in Byron Bay for at least six weeks a year. Sometimes, like this year, winter hangs around even longer.

Normally, this would not have worried me. After all, I know that we are not experiencing the beginning of an ice age! But Kenn and I have been working in the garden since Autumn, hoping to have it just perfect for our daughter Melissa’s Spring wedding. Kenn  built new retaining walls here and there and replaced decrepit garden arches.

garden arch

I planted out pots of pansies to greet the guests in a jovial, springlike manner.

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Such happy faces !

We weeded, mulched and talked to the plants for we were hosting a recovery breakfast to follow the  wedding reception. I had visions of guests sprinkled around the garden, sipping coffee and orange juice admiring the flowers in the balmy sunshine.

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The back garden just waiting for chairs and tables!

That was before the weather intervened. Instead of  warm, sunny, spring weather, it rained, sprinkled and rained some more. Through the mist, my guests could see that there was a garden and probably somewhere out there, trees, shrubs, ferns and flowers but up close and personal with nature they did not get. Convivial conversation and laughter warmed us instead.

It’s been two weeks since the wedding. Two weeks since that rainy weekend and the garden has decided to really come delightfully alive.

The frangipani trees are sprouting, patterning the skies with green.

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The daisy standard is clearly saying, “Look at me, look at me!” as the bees buzz happily about.

daisy standard

 To my surprise, the bromeliads  appear to be climbing. It’s not a tower yet but …

bromeliad tower in the making

The may bush is in full flower and I noticed just today that the  white Jacaranda has its first flowers while the northern border is alive with colour.

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The white Jacaranda, the northern border and my may bush.

Every garden has its delights, something that catches your eye in every season.  My garden is very much a work in progress. I confess, I  have suffered from garden envy on occasion: walking through my sister Jenny’s rose garden in spring, admiring my sister Maryanne’s original federation garden with its mature weeping elm, box hedges and wisteria or tiptoeing through the tulips in Canberra. But at the moment, I am content.  (After all, do I really want to spread those three bales of mulch that are still stacked around the side from before the wedding?) The birds visit and the flowers and ferns waft about as I drink my coffee in the morning sun.  What  delights  await you in  your spring garden?

Pass Perfect

Do you have a favourite cafe or eatery? A place to catch up with friends while you sip  a latte or cappuccino  or perhaps a peppermint green tea while basking in the sun? A place which delivers a delicious bite to eat if you wish to indulge? A place, perhaps with a deck or veranda overlooking a beautiful view? There are many such establishments in Byron, but one of my favourites is the Pass Cafe.  (www.thepasscafe.com.au)

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The path leading to the Pass Cafe from the Lighthouse walking circuit. The elevated deck is to the left.

 The cafe is situated in the Arakwal National Park, overlooking the iconic Pass Beach.  You can get there by car: drive along Lighthouse Road, turn left into Brooke Drive and park in the adjacent car park. It is a paid parking area. But my preferred option is to walk to the cafe following the circuit which eventually leads to the lighthouse. A little bit of exercise, lovely views, nice people to encounter, what more could I ask for?

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View from the deck, looking into the rain forest of the Arakwal National Park

There on the deck you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast while you watch the birds or admire the view of the ocean through the trees. I love their brekkie burger but have suffered acute menu envy when others have ordered the Spanish omelette.  As a reward for walking  even part of the lighthouse circuit,  morning coffee  and cake is a must.  I can recommend the gluten free brownies and the Middle Eastern orange muffins in particular but really it is always so hard to choose which delicious calorie laden morsel to have! In the name of research,  I should work my way through the lot!  (it would be a service for my fellow man)  It goes without saying that the coffee is very, very good.

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My skinny cappuccino! Love it.

 The staff are amazingly helpful and always make you feel welcome. The cafe is also open for lunch but not for dinner. Lunch servings are generous, seasonal, varied and very reasonably priced.  They also have a takeaway menu for those who fancy a picnic on the beach, only a few steps away, or a snack to tide them over as they tackle the steps to the Lighthouse.

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Service is quick!

The Pass Cafe is simply Pass Perfect.

Winter Walks in the Bay

Matil
Matilda making her first snowman in her Grandmother’s garden in Woodstock.

As the weather man predicted, much of Eastern Australia is in the grip of an Antarctic vortex. It has snowed in places where it hasn’t snowed for fifty years! My family and friends down south have posted instagram pics of gardens and paddocks adrift with snow. I peruse fine details. Are those Jenny’s sunglasses on that snowman, I wonder?  Mmm, it has been too long since I played in the snow. I would love to be there with Jenny and Monique, sloshing around the garden in gumboots and thick socks helping little Matilda to build her first snowman and … landing a snowball or two on unsuspecting victims!  It would be a perfect winter walk.

But envy isn’t good for the soul. And Winter brings its own marvels to Byron Bay. It is usually delightfully warm and sunny during the day, around 22 degrees Celsius, with low humidity. Perfect walking weather. When the winter tides move the sand back around The Pass, it is possible to walk from Main Beach to Little Wategoes along the sand.  The sky is winter blue as Kenn and I stroll along Main Beach.

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Main beach at low tide, heading for The Pass

Soon, we’re at The Pass. I can’t believe that there is so much sand. Not a rock in sight on the path.

Walking through the Pass, no rocks to stop me!
Walking through The Pass, no rocks to stop me!

Rounding the headland, we negotiate the inlets. Who doesn’t love to run around a rocky outcrop, beating the waves? Occasionally, our feet get wet.

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Can I make it? Yes I can!

Then we’re at Wategoes Beach and the going is easy. Strolling past the Pandanus palms, I follow the curve of the beach around to Little Wategoes. There are more rock canyons to negotiate.  We feel like explorers. There is no one else here except the starfish in the rock pools and the whales in the bay.

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More rocks to negotiate.

We make it and there is a treat in store!

Spray-tacular
Spray-tacular

At the end of the beach, we watch as the ocean puts on a spectacular show. We are so lucky to be here, at this time, for free!  We sink onto the sand and rest awhile. Before the tide changes, we make our way back to Main Beach where a perfect scene awaits.

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Surfing anyone?

This warm winter walk has been  memorable. But I have a confession to make: right at this moment, I’d rather be a’snowing with little Matilda and Jenny in Woodstock.

Jenny and Matilda snow it up!
Jenny and Albie snow it up!