Our back garden

Our back garden
The pond

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Sydney Royal Easter Show- An Easter tradition

This Easter I finally made it back to "The Sydney Royal Easter Show," I Haven't been for at least 6 years after the death of my son. It holds so many fond memories but I haven't been able to bring myself to go. This year my husband won two free tickets so it spurred us on to go.My younger son invited a friend so he didn't have to hang around with the "old parents!"
The Sydney Royal Easter Show, is an annual show held in Sydney, Australia over two weeks around Easter. It is run by the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales and was first held in 1823.
The Show comprises an agricultural show, an amusement park and a fair and combines the elements of each, showcasing the judging of livestock and produce. This comprehensive fair has many competitions including arts and crafts, photography and cookery, as well as tests of strength and skill such as wood chopping. The Show also has shopping, restaurants, commercial stands and exhibits, a horticultural display, a national accredited conformation dog show and cat show, and stage and arena shows. The Show currently attracts one million people per year- Thanks Wikipedia.
I love the wood work and painting exhibits. Not too sure about the scones and cake displays. They usually look very unappetising.
As a kid I loved the show bag pavillion. Then it was just chocolates and lollies in showbags. Now it is toys, bags, perfume, makeup.
I settled for ,"the Better Homes and gardens," showbag this year. Free samples of food, toothbrushes and play dough. Now what am I going to do with that??? plus Better Homes and Gardens magazines.
Sideshow Alley. My younger son's favourite place.
The Laughing Clowns and Haunted House. I love the laughing Clowns. Everyone wins a prize. My kind of game.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Grandmother's vase

My maternal grandmother, Lillian was a very stylish woman. She always dressed impeccably. Her father was an artist, named Lachlan Browne and her mother a Scottish lady who worked as a housekeeper at The Hydro Majestic at Meadlowbath in the Blue mountains of Sydney. Her employers were the Foys a wealthy family that owned a store called Marc Foys in Sydney. I used to love visiting my grandmother, (nanna). She had some lovely things. One I have inherited is a beautiful vase. There were two of them. My aunt has the other.

Here is a picture of my nanna and pops wedding circa 1920 and the vase in question.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Rocks Ghost Tour, Sydney- seriously good fun

On Saturday night, my husband son and I went on The Rocks, Ghost Tour- Dark Northside.
As it didn't start 'till 7:45 p:m we had a wonderful dinner at the nearby,Orient Hotel built in 1844.See accompanying photo.There are so many old pubs at the Rocks and you can go on a pub crawl if you want to experience them all. They were all built in the early 1800's so they are very quainte and old fashioned.
The Rocks was the first area settled by the English in 1788. It was notoriously known for crime as most of the early in
habitants were convicts.There were lots of deaths through disease and murder so it is easy to see how the area can be haunted. On the Tour we all had to take on a part of a ghost or victim. I was the Mrs Cadman who apparently haunts Cadman's cottage, the oldest surviving convict dwelling from Old Sydney Town.My husband was the Drunken sailor who met his untimely death at the hands of the notorious Rocks Push Gang and my son a French manservant who chopped up his master. ew!
The tour was fun and full of laughs and also quite creepy,especially in the archeological dig and the coffin builders house.Lots of spirit orbs captured on camera.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Open Gardens

Each year in early spring they hold open gardens in the Hills and outlying areas.The people that open their gardens to the general public do not just have normal suburban gardens, they have amazing gardens usually set on acres.Now I have trouble looking after my measly suburban garden. How do they do it.
Two years ago I managed to talk my family into going with me. I just loved it and took lots of snaps. They couldn't wait to get home (males!)The place that sticks in my mind was a cactii inspired Meditteranean garden with citrus trees as well.It was simply amazing.

Vaucluse House again

I have found some more photos of Vaucluse House so thought I would post them.
It was built by William Charles Wentworth (1790-1872)who is known today as one of our(Australian) early colonial statesmen.The mansion, built in fits and starts between 1805 and the early 1860s, is in a mixture of styles.

Interesting Place in Sydney- Part 3

I love a historical tour and what makes an historical tour even better is it being a Ghost Tour. Now the most haunted place in Sydney has to be The Quarantine Station at North Head, five minutes from Manly.So manly poor immigrants lost their lives there, dying from Spanish influenza, typhus, and the dreaded smallpox and many of them are buried there. Last year I went twice. Firstly with my hubby and son and secondly with a group of friends. The first tour wasn't for the faint hearted or the unfit.(there's lots of steep hills to navigate). It was called the medium tour as we were guided by a medium that actually appeared on, "Ghost Hunters International," when they filmed at the Quarantine station last year. We were given EMF meters to measure electro magnetic field which apparently ghosts give out and yes they did go off and yes I had my hair pulled and my son had his shoulder tapped.
The Quarantine Station has now luxury accommodation from $145 A a night and you can stay there for the weekend . There is also an up market restaurant called "the Boilerhouse."Mains: $26.00 - $36.00 I will have to try that next time.Here is the website

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Interesting Places in Sydney- Part 2 Vaucluse House

Now, I love Vaucluse House. It is steeped in history. You can feel the atmosphere of times past. The first time I visited was when I was a little girl and I was awestruck. I have been back at least 3 times. The unusual features are the entrance into the second floor off the staircase. It is as if a piece of the wall has been cut away to make a doorway.Also on the top floor a bedroom has been made by placing a large wall unit across a hallway as the owners ran out of money. When I was a child I just loved the downstairs toilet. So modern for their time in the early 1800's. They actually flushed but two toilets side by side is not my idea of privacy.Apparently the ghost of one of the daughters still walks the second floor. My husband and I actually saw a wardrobe door open by itself.(It was behind a rope barricade.)
The gardens are the piece de la resistance. I could imagine having tea and scones on the wrap around verandah in my beautiful 19th century dress overlooking the lush lawns on a balmy summers day.

Interesting Places in Sydney- part 1

Last year I happened to receive an email from "The Historic Houses Trust,' and noticed there was a tour of the old Callan Park, Insane Assylum. Now I love Ghost tours and old places so I talked my hubby and son into visiting. It was $40 a head but it is only open to the public once a year, so we had to go. It is now "The School of the Arts'- (reminds me of Barry Humphries alter ego, Sir Les Patterson.) Callan Park was bought in 1873, then known as “Callan Estates”, with the purpose of building a large lunatic asylum to ease the severe overcrowding at the Gladesville Hospital for the Insane, at Bedlam Point, near Tarban Creek in Gladesville. The new lunatic asylum was designed according to the 'enlightened' views of Dr Thomas Kirkbride, an American. Colonial Architect James Barnet worked with Inspector of the Insane Dr Frederick Norton Manning to produce a group of twenty neo-classical buildings. These were completed in 1885 and named the Kirkbride Block.
Well the buildings on the outside are still spectacular. Inside it's a different story. The paint is peeling from the walls and it is just not very nice inside. My mother in law remembers seeing sad faces at the windows when she used to live nearby. I'm sure some of those people still haunt the corridors.

In search of

About a year ago I removed the curtains from our bay windows in the dining room but left the brackets for the curtain rod on. We were going to remove them lst week but then I remembered a purchase I had made on a bargain shopping trip last year.... a hanging glass/ star tealight holder. Well it looks great hanging from the bracket. the problem is I needed two. Where to find one? I looked up the shop I bought the first one from but they are at Taren Point and they're not online. I searched on ebay to no avail but guess what,
Today there is a listing for a star hanging tea light holder. Hallelujah!