52 lists – good things about my town

From Dept of Enviro siteI quite enjoy living in the Blue Mountains. Our little part of the world is great because we get the beauty of being in a world heritage area, but we aren’t so far up the mountain that it’s a mission to get to the City. Best of both world’s really. 

My favourite, favourite things about my mountain town are:

1) Blackheath Farmers Markets, on the second Sunday of every month. The produce there is fantastic and because it’s so cold at the top of the mountain, all the dogs come along wearing jumpers!

2) Red hands cave, which I walked to for the first time this week. It has stencils and hand prints from between 500-1600 years ago!

Red hands cave

3) Bakehouse on Park which serves outstanding carbohydrates! There are stores in Glenbrook, Leura & Blackheath.

4) The walks. Oh the walks. I love a good bush walk. I love how cleaned out your lungs feel, I love how much the inclines make your leg ache ache and I love being surrounded by quiet. The only downside is the bush latrine situation! That, my friends, is no fun at all.

5) The endless sea of eucalyptus trees that are the reason the mountains are blue. As explained in Local Heroes, their leaves are covered in tiny droplets of oil that disperse into the atmosphere, mixing with water vapours in the air. The light hits these globules causing a dazzling display of blue.

Lying on my back, looking up at the sun streaming through the trees is one of my favourite things to do.

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6) Schwarz German Bakery in Wentworth Falls. I like to take visitors there for pretzels and pastries. You can quote me on this  -Nom, nom nom.

7) The lake at Wentworth Falls. It’s just beautiful there. The perfect place to lie and while away the day.

8) Josophans Fine Chocolates. This place. OH MAH GOSH. Triple exclamation marks.

As the name suggests, Josophan’s creates very fine chocolates indeed. She uses only Fair Trade certified chocolates and fresh flavour infusions with no preservatives and  no artificial flavours. Her hot chocolates are my personal favourite. And when one lives in a cold mountain town, I feel it is mandatory to provide my guests with as many hot beverage options as possible. Therefore I’m obliged to buy every different version of Josophan’s hot chocolate.

Leigh & David gave Ian & I a truffle making course for my birthday and I cannot wait to do it! 

9) The Wellness Centre in Faulconbridge. We’ve found our new remedial massage therapist! I never thought anyone would be as good as Gabriella from Glebe but  we’re now convinced we’ve found her mountain clone. You walk out of this centre feeling blissed to the eyeballs. It’s heaven.

10) I also really like living close to lovely people like Sheela, Kylie & Emma :)

Hope you can all come and visit (again) soon!

xx

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A lovely afternoon in the plains of Emu

Yes, mere months ago, I too would have thought that blog title was a complete oxymoron. But a lovely afternoon in Emu Plains we did have. In fact, I am thinking that my suburb snobby-ness may be dwindling.

Anyhoo, to the point Neen.

This afternoon we went to Penrith Regional Gallery and it was charming. We loved it.

In 1979, the artist Margo Lewers bequeathed her property and her art collection to Penrith Council. She left strict instructions that it must be used as an art centre for the locals.

The gallery

Her and her husband Gerald, who was a sculptor, had lived on the property for years and developed a beautiful garden. Although it’s probably not exactly the same as the way they left it, the garden is still a work of art. We loved peeking out at it from inside the gallery and wandering through it afterwards.
Garden

The vegetable garden supplies the café where we lunched. We both had the corn fritters which were fresh and corriandery. Although at $17 a pop, quite the rip! I highly recommend the coffee though. Very good indeed.
Cafe LewersThey currently have a Japanese raked garden exhibition going on.
Raked gadenApparently these gardens are created in the absence of water. They create a stylised landscape of white pebbles dotted with granite rocks. The whole thing is meant to imitate the flow of water and the land formations of mountains. It’s so minimal but so beautiful. We sat for at least 20 minutes enjoying the garden, wondering how something so simplistic could so wonderfully calm our chi.

There was also a bonsai display and E loves bonsai plants so he was in his element!

Bonsais

And then some other pictures that caught my eye.

The artPhotos: 1. Night Caller, by Joanna Braithwaite 2. Sing to me, by Joan Ross 3. Egg comes first, by Joanna Braithwaite

Afterwards, we crossed the road and went for a lovely long walk along the Nepean River. It was raining, we got soaked to the bone and it was terribly romantic.
The river
The perfect day really.

The museum of fire, plus a bonus story about how I almost burnt the house down

Museum of fire

We always see the sign advertising the Museum of Fire when we’re on the M4 and we always say we’ll go. Well this morning was the perfect rainy day for an indoor excursion so we finally got there.

The Museum is in the former Penrith Power Station. It’s been there since the 80’s and I have to say that although the heritage listed building is cool, the displays are looking a little tired. There was also not a dashing fire fighter to be seen which was slightly disappointing.

We did so love the shiny red fire engines though! They have a collection from around the world from the late 18th century up to the 80s. Seeing how beastly some of the trucks are, I now have even MORE respect for fireys! They’re like the dashing knights of our day, able to rush in and save lives, AND their reverse parking skills must be awesome!!!

Fire trucks
The museum also has an international collection of fire fighter helmets, fire alarms dating back from the 1920s and a random assortment of tools. Then there’s the stack of ledgers that record the complete history of fires dating back to 1910. We tend to gravitate to any kind of book display!

One of the signs that caught my eye was this one.

IMG_0483Ah yes, a fire can take hold in three minutes. Yes indeed. Let me tell you about a little something that happened a few weeks ago.

My lovely friend Selina, gave me a really cute candle for Christmas. It was coconut scented and came inside a little coconut shell that had it’s own little coconut shell stand. I took the candle away to Byron because I love nothing more than summery holidays that have a coconut aroma. We burnt the candle every night in our cabana and it was delightful! Then I brought the candle home and decided to burn it in our en suite which was smelling a bit musty after our house had been shut up for more than two weeks.

But I kind of forgot about the candle. Ian and I were both downstairs for awhile, doing something or other. And then as we walked up the stairs I realised I could smell smoke. I kind of registered that it must be the candle but didn’t realise how bad things were till I got to the top of the stairs and found our whole bedroom filled with smoke! The candle had got to the end of it’s 30 hours wick time and the flame had burnt through the coconut shell, through the candle stand and THROUGH our bathroom cabinet which is made of wood. The bathroom cabinet was still on fire when we came in and the flames were just licking the wooden cabinet above the basin. Luckily E managed to flick the flames out with a towel but the look on his face freaked me out!

We’re soooooo lucky that we didn’t stay downstairs for longer or go out to the garden for awhile. Note to self – when one lives in a wooden house (or any house!), do not leave candles unattended!!!

So now our bathroom cabinet looks like charcoal. And the gross marks you can see below that are sort of speckled ALL over the cabinet? Oh that’s just the remnants of an ENTIRE tube of foundation that the candle burnt through as well. All that was left of the tube was it’s cap! I can’t clean it off, the foundation has been burnt into the cabinet!  I think a massive ‘holy crap’ is appropriate at this point.

Seriously though, we’re so lucky! And after what we learnt about fires this morning? We’re getting a fire alarm put upstairs, pronto! Bathroom disaster

And now speaking of hot…

Hot firemen!

 

You’re welcome.


Photo credit.

 

Australia Day Gnome Convention – Glenbrook

So this is the story.

In 2005, a group of Rotarians were doing some beautification work on Lennox Bridge in Glenbrook – Australia’s oldest mainland bridge. By total fluke, one of the members caught sight of what he thought might be the high red hat of a gnome. The group proceeded with care, not sure of the nature of the gnomes or where they might have come from.

But the gnomes were friendly. They just like to inhabit foresty areas so they had found a good spot and set up their comfortable little homes.

To celebrate this gnomey bunch, the local Rotary Club established what has become an annual Australia Day Gnome Convention with up to 8,000 people attending.

Then (then!) in 2010, another Rotarian, 800 km away, discovered another 1,500 gnomes in the backyard of a deceased estate he was cleaning. He called in his Rotarian buddies from the Mountains who devised a rescue plan. A group of volunteers and a fleet of vehicles, led by the, erm, Gnome Master, travelled all the way to Cootamundra to adopt the gnomes. They were fostered by Rotarians until the next Gnome Convention, when they were all inducted into the area via a citizenship ceremony and then given away to local residents.

So we decided we’d go along today to check out this festival. It was kind of equal parts enchanting and off putting to me. I don’t actually really like garden gnomes but I liked the story behind this bunch.

So in the park this morning there was a petting zoo, hundreds of market stalls, a ukulele band and a bunch of people walking around in pointy hats.

And then these dudes, below. I gotta say, I’m kind of looking forward to seeing them again next year.

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And below, not a gnome but a damn good sausage. Good to be multicultural on Aussie Day since we’re a multicultural country, right?

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What are you up to today?