Monthly Archives: November 2011

THE BAY RUN – Sydney’s outdoor gym

The Oarsome Foursome inspire us.

Just a short distance added to my epic circuit around Sydney Harbour this weekend, but to be fair to myself, I did ride the bike to the starting and finishing points.

The Bay Run must be Sydney’s third most popular training loop. I’m guessing that numbers one and two are Centennial Park and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. But on a Saturday morning the 7km pathway around Iron Cove sees a steady stream of exercisers on bikes and sneakers while the rowers and dragon-boaters churn the water.

They range from the taut, toned and terrific to those following doctors’ orders to do something about that gut if they want to make it to Christmas. Continue reading

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Filed under Hiking

SCULPTURE BY THE SEA – popular winners announced

Winner of the people's choice award. South Korean artist Byeong-Doo Moon's Cosmic Elk

Prince Frederik of Denmark and our favourite Princess Mary from Tassie visited Sculpture by the Sea today and announced the winners of the popular choice awards.

The People’s Choice went to the one I picked as my favourite too. Damn! I’ve got the same low-brow taste in art as the Sydney hoi polloi. Continue reading


Filed under Art, Travel-Australia

TOUGH RIDE, TOUGHER RIDER – Donald Mackay and his Dux bike

Donald Mackay's Dux bike - no gears, no brakes, no suspension.

So you thought your morning ride was hard? Did your bike have gears? Did you carry 25kg of baggage? Did you have to fire your revolver to ward off marauding Aborigines? Ha! You got nothing on Donald Mackay! Continue reading


Filed under Cycle touring, Travel-Australia

POWERHOUSE MUSEUM, SYDNEY – where the Wiggles take on Harry Potter

The transport exhibition - could they squeeze in a Big Red Car and the Hogwarts Express? And even if they could, should they?

I feel rather well disposed towards the Wiggles, the more so after taking Grandson 1 to the Powerhouse exhibition in their honour. They had some competition from Harry Potter today, but acquitted themselves well.

For 20 years now, the Wiggles have been playing live to packed houses of adoring rugrats, selling squillions of dollars’ worth of CDs, DVDs and other merchandise and leading the charts as Australia’s top-earning entertainers. I once met Captain Feathersword at a party and he said they were nice guys too. Good luck to them.

It didn't set the children's lit world ablaze, but it did have my name on the front.

At the height of Wigglemania I was commissioned to write three Wiggle books myself. I make no great claims for the literary merit of The Wiggles’ Picnic, Dorothy’s Garden and Henry’s Big Band, but I did my best and was paid adequately and promptly.

The Wiggles took a while to grow on me. Too cheesy, too unbelievably happy. What were the flaws that would make them interesting characters for fiction? Where was the conflict and dramatic tension going to come from?

The style-guide character notes for Wiggles writers were not very helpful: ‘Anthony loves singing and having fun. He wears a blue skivvy.’ ‘Jeff loves singing and having fun and wears a purple skivvy. He sometimes falls asleep.’ Continue reading


Filed under Art, Travel-Australia

GLEBE AND BALMAIN – Sydney’s nicest villages

We sophisticated big city residents yearn to live somewhere with a ‘village feel’, just so long as it’s not an actual village.

Real Aussie villages tend to have real Aussie villagers who want the bloody government to do something to stop those bloody boats so the bloody refugees don’t come and overrun Gona-bloody-datta.

Real villages have takeaway pizza bars, pubs serving ‘Chinese and Australian’ meals, hoons doing burnouts on the main drag and pokies at the bowling club as the main entertainment.

They usually don’t have good bookshops, smart restaurants, Saturday craft markets and cafés that know how to make a decent macchiato. Glebe and Balmain do. I just walked around them. Continue reading


Filed under Hiking, Travel-Australia

SYDNEY FISH MARKET – lunch break!

Thousand of seagulls can't be wrong.

My circumnavigatory walk of Sydney Harbour has brought me to the Sydney Fish Market. It’s a good place to stop and take a breather, if you don’t mind the fishy smell. Continue reading


Filed under Travel-Australia