Easter holidays 2019: trains, buses, taxis and crowds.


Well we’re about to hit day 2, week 2 of Term 2, and I can’t believe we’re nearly in the middle of 2019. George was not excited about school starting last week, still being in “holiday mode” he said, the night before. I was still in holiday mode too last Monday morning but now back into the swing of things well.

This holidays, after our afternoon of bath products window shopping, I worked for a couple of days and then we hot-footed it to my Dad’s in the Blue Mountains. This involved a Murray’s Bus from Canberra then a train from Sydney’s Central station. Why did I not drive? I’ve caught the anxiety of the M5 from my parents. So 6 hours after leaving Canberra, we arrived in the Blue Mountains, about 90 minutes west of Sydney.

We witnessed an altercation on the train between two young women over one of the women saving a seat for “a friend getting on at Parramatta”, and taking up four seats (2 for her luggage, one for her bottom and another for her legs). George was quite interested in all the lively high-school/uni student conversations, including from a group of six skateboarder-types perched on chair arms, as there weren’t enough seats.

“Next time, we’re driving!” I whispered to George in a wave of middle-aged defiance against my parents.

In the mountains we met up with Dad’s partner’s daughter and her boys aged 8 and 11, so George had plenty of play time with them. We had some lovely late afternoon walks admiring the red and orange leaves and Dad cooked a lamb roast on Good Friday.

Autumn parade in Blue Mountains streets.
It was a scene from a fairy tale in a local park!

We battled the crowds in Leura Mall (Pitt Street Mall, more like it) while we were coffee-chasing (me) and lolly-shopping (George) and sneakily vintage-clothing window-shopping (me). Leura on Good Friday was like Campbell Parade in Bondi on a Summer Saturday, proportionately speaking.

Bustling Leura Mall on Good Friday

George was disappointed Woolworths was shut – he couldn’t get his hot fried chicken wings, but he cheered up with pizza at Leura Garage, a cafe with Bondi-style prices in a charmingly decorated converted garage. It was very good Margarita pizza though. We bowled up to the host standing behind a lectern at the cafe entrance who informed us we could go on a “wait list” for a table and he would phone us when one was ready. To make the most of our time, we hurried over to the gourmet chocolate shop “Josophans” around the corner and selected a few items. Just as I was about to queue up to pay, I got the call from Leura Garage… a table was ready now! No time to purchase chocolate, I planned to return later. So much for peaceful village life.

Chocolate bunnies perched on some kind of car thing.

After our late lunch George felt better so was tolerant of my browsing (Yes, I was happy browsing) in a few arty and vintage shops. And we went back to Josophans for Easter chocolate gifts.



We got a taxi to Dad’s in the next town as it was late and Good Friday – I did consider waiting for a train but a lamb roast waits for no one!

The rest of our holidays was more trains, buses and taxis. Because our train to Sydney the next day was delayed by 30 mins, it meant we had time to duck across the road for this…

Easter in Sydney was a whirlwind of wheeling luggage around from Central to Bondi Junction, lunches, family, chocolate, pizza, no church, no beach and an Easter egg hunt in Granny’s courtyard.

We caught a bus and taxi (thanks, “track work” on the Eastern Suburbs train line), and then met my friend Nadia to catch a train to the Royal Easter Show with our boys aged 8 – 13, then a train, bus and another bus back to Mum/Granny’s.


Boys 8, 11 and 13 ready for the journey home

After the Show, it was a bus from Central to Darlinghurst to Nadia’s amazing new pad – location, location, location! Then we hot-footed it to Kings X to get a bus back to Granny’s. 14,000 steps later, I collapsed on the couch and George carefully examined his Warheads (sour candy) showbag.

Location, location, location! Perfect for Mardi Gras.

The next day was lunch with Sister Se├▒orita Margarita in the very lunch-friendly Woolworth’s* express in Pitt Street Mall (Leura Mall, more like it), before catching a train and a bus to Skyzone in Alexandria to meet my cousin and her son and then catching a bus back to Bondi Junction where the thought of a train and another bus back to Mum’s was all too much so I jumped in a taxi. Which really was all too much, in the dollar sense.

George found his mothership in Sydney’s CBD. He looks a bit tired. Too many holiday late nights!

The next day, we got a Murray’s bus back to Canberra, then a taxi home to my beautiful, scratched little hatchback that gets me from A to B.

Before the Easter holidays ended, we managed to fit in another Easter, Greek Easter, with family friends of George’s dad. George found a canine friend there. I still haven’t managed to get him a dog. I can’t remember this dog’s name, but I think it was a Greek name and she’s part husky.

George and his Greek-Siberian friend



Much fun was had by all cracking these beautiful creations, by knocking them together and seeing whose egg cracks. It’s sort of like pulling Christmas crackers without the cheap plastic trinkets and hats.

I hope you’ve had a great start to Term 2, or May, if you don’t think in school terms. Less than four weeks to Winter, my second-favourite season! I’d better fit some decent Autumn walks in before then, since it’s my favourite time of the year.

Canberrans say you don’t turn your heater on until after Anzac Day. It’s not that cold yet, so I haven’t needed to. I’m really enjoying sitting with a blanket over my knees in the evening when there’s a bit of a chill. It is SO cosy.

*This post is not sponsored by Woolworths. I just go there a lot.

Edited Highlights: Month in review: baked goods, street art and 80s pop

It’s a cold and windy start to Winter today but at least the sun is out so the weekend washing is drying nicely outside.

Given that it’s the start of a new season I think it’s high time for some Edited Highlights from the past few weeks.

In May I enjoyed my Mother’s Day breakfast… IMG_4906

Mmmm… bacon. Even better when the bacon is on a waffle with maple syrup… IMG_4909

A good friend from Melbourne came over for dinner. I’m no domestic goddess so it’s not like he came all the way from Melbourne for my great cooking. He was in Sydney on business. I kept it simple with pasta, pesto sauce (from a jar), salad, a fresh loaf of sourdough and hummus. I had some fresh rosemary sprigs from my dad’s garden so stuck that in two glasses of water and voila – table centrepiece. Threw in a few lemons too to enhance the Tuscan vibe.IMG_5183_2

Spider Boy, Bat-Gran and I swung by one our favourite bakeries, Brasserie Bread at Banksmeadow on a recent Sunday drive. Spider Boy went there on a school excursion last year and learnt how to make a bread roll and a pizza. But on this day, we just looked at jam jars.

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At school, Spider Boy is learning about the differences between the past and present – the Year 2 children had to interview someone “from the olden days”. He chose his granddad (my dad) because as he told me, “He’s more olden-days than you, Mum.”

Here are some mid-20th Century snaps of my dad and family. Spider Boy couldn’t believe that the only electronic device around when his granddad was seven, was a radio.

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Bottom left: My dad at 7, the same age Spider Boy is now, with his younger brothers.

And from my 1940s Pop to 1980s pop, Lulu and I went to see the Absolutely 80s band perform at Souths Juniors Rugby League club at Kingsford last Friday night. Brian Mannix (Uncanny X-Men), Paul Gray (Wa Wa Nee), Scott Carne (Kids in the Kitchen), David Sterry (Real Life) and Dale Ryder (Boom Crash Opera) in one pop-tastic show singing all their own hits plus great covers of songs from the Models, INXS, and Dragon. Seeing these guys perform is always such a fun night out, and their voices haven’t changed since the days I used to watch them on Countdown.

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Clockwise from top left: Brian Mannix, Paul Gray, David Sterry and Scott Carne.

I indulged in the sweet tunes, but unfortunately NOT in the sweet treats I spied the next day in the Myer Food Court. I looked, but did not touch.

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Instead, I bought an expensive pastry down at the Sydney Writers’ Festival cafe… more about the Writers’ Festival in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, here’s a picture of the action down at SWF headquarters at Walsh Bay last week. IMG_5275

Before we began our trek down to Walsh Bay, we stumbled upon the Home Food and Design Weekend marquee in front of St.Mary’s Cathedral. We walked in (there was no admission charge), did a quick circuit with Spider Boy who was keen to get to ┬álunch after his swimming lesson, and emerged five minutes later with a goodie bag. Gotta love free stuff.

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Goodie bag booty.

We also spent some time at Circular Quay… IMG_5377

We found some street art at the entrance to Nurse’s Walk in the Rocks. It was a piece for Vivid, the light festival that is currently gracing the city until June 8. As it was 3pm, it wasn’t lit up yet. IMG_5361

Spider Boy found a sculpture outside a touristy/opal/jewellery store that he was strangely taken with. He wanted me to buy it. But it was a “No” from me. He clutched onto his little bunch of Autumn leaves instead, the last of the season. IMG_5451

Here’s to a new season, wherever you are.