Tuesday, 13 March 2012

March 2012

It's now almost the middle of March, and we've had more downpours, cold and wet days and some absolutely stunning summery days.

The many frangipani trees around the area are a good indication of how little sunshine there's been.  Normally, throughout summer there is a good scattering of fallen flowers, so fragrant, underneath the canopy, but this summer the flowering has been so sparse that there have been very few falling.

Gerd is putting on yet another concert in his The Edge Art Space gallery.  This space was once the War Memorial Hall, so it is an ideal venue, as it has a stage.  Gerd has renovated it beautifully to make it into his gallery, and on Friday March 16, at 7.30 pm, The Rhythm Hunters return to perform there.  Gerd puts so much effort into holding these concerts (as do the performers themselves) and they are well worth attending. His phone number is 0424 176 337.

It seems a long time since we've seen the Hawkesbury Explorer on the river, and the Hawkesbury seems to have taken over the Riverboat Postman's role.

Since the floods further upstream, the river is a chocolate brown, and there has been a lot of debris floating down it.  Little Wobby residents have spoken of a forty foot raft of rubbish floating past, and telegraph poles and trees, all of which represent a severe hazard to boating.  The 1.8 m tides earlier this month were as high as a normal 2m tide, so it's all contributed to conversation.

For all those who know the delightful Vanessa from her work at Paul and Maureen's, the pub, the servo and
the charter vessels, all of us hope that she makes a good recovery, and hope her family knows we are thinking of them

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

February 2012

It's already mid-February and I've not written this since November.

Summer has been a bit of a non-event so far, but the good summery days have been spectacular, and it's good not to be worried about the fire danger. I feel sorry for all the businesses here, which are so weather reliant, but the ever-smiling proprietors have kept their spirits up and all of us should make an effort to support them.

A couple of Saturdays ago we went to a party in Brooklyn.  A delightful afternoon, when we were able to reconnect with friends, and meet some new and most interesting people, each with fascinating stories to tell about their past and recent experiences and all of whom are still actively pursuing exciting lives, projects and careers.  The oldest member of the gathering, aged 90, a Brooklyn resident, told us stories about her travels in France as a teenager, and subsequently as a young mother, with husband and young children.  She enunciated most clearly her likes and dislikes of Brooklyn.  Some other guests, also Brooklyn people, had just returned from sailing the Atlantic, and have very exciting plans in store for Kangaroo Point.  The youngest guest was our hosts' daughter - henna hair, tattoos and a talent for fine art, drawing in particular - which is astounding.  Their son, a recent resident in Brooklyn, is a fine chef and has a wonderful way with animals, both domesticated and wild.

So, what does all this have to do with The Current at Brooklyn, I hear you ask.  I have written about our delightful Saturday experience because all of this rubs off on Brooklyn.  If people who are not locals enjoy hospitality here, they are going to think fondly of us and want to return.  Brooklyn is a hamlet in a fabulous location and has always welcomed visitors.

Trish's wonderful Broken Spines bookshop provides such a good venue for people to relax and meet (while hopefully buying books so that the shop continues).  Right in the heart of Brooklyn, "Where everything is normal" (according to their blackboard), I have recently bought three books which belonged to our aforementioned hosts!  All four of us think it's wonderful that this exchange gives so much pleasure to all involved, and helps the bookshop at the same time.

Having referred to the "heart of Brooklyn", each day I wonder if this railway end, with the PO, ex police station and PO buildings, pub, marina, etc., should be re-named Hawkesbury River, to match the railway station.  Brooklyn seems to me to be part of The Gut.  What does my blog follower think?

The dear little Banksia seems close to completion - it will be so lovely to see it plying the river.  Rick Stockley ,of  Marine Cabs, must also have felt the effects of the weather, as have so many other businesses, so let's hope they all enjoy a busy end to summer and a great autumn and winter.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Final blog for 2011

Thank you all for reading my blog this year.

Best wishes to you all for an enjoyable festive season and a rewarding and healthy year ahead, full of happiness and laughter.

Monday, 7 November 2011

November 2011

Two wonderful new additions to Brooklyn in October - the Nicole Ruiz Gallery "Hang" next to the general store, and the lovely Banksia ferry.

Nicole Ruiz has transformed her gallery area into a delightful space with seating inside and also under shade at the back, as coffee and light breakfast, plus cakes etc., are served.  The gallery displays her own art work, other artists' work and recycled paper products, jewellery, ceramics and Shaun Tan cards.  She is commuting from Saratoga each day and has not yet worked out her opening hours, but the gallery is well worth a visit.

Rick Stockley of Marine Cabs has brought the Banksia to Brooklyn.   What a gem!  Built by Woodleys Bros. yard in Berrys Bay in 1952 as a workboat for Cockatoo Island, Cockatoo Island apprentices were involved in its construction, and Rick said at least three of those apprentices live in this area.  The Banksia was originally named Biloela (an Aboriginal word meaning white cockatoo), and its sister ship was the Corella.  It was renamed Banksia in 1965, and refitted in the 70's.  It was operating as a ferry on Brisbane Water from Empire Bay to Woy Woy via Davistown.  I have gleaned all this information from the Banksia web site, but I'm sure Rick knows much more.

On Melbourne Cup Day the girls from River Dreams, and John & Moauli from King Tide Cafe organised a party, which was great fun.  Moauli's dog, Jumbo, won the main sweep!  The cafe is never busy on that day (the pub and club being more suitable for drinking and gambling), so it gave everyone a chance to relax and enjoy.

The Rhumb Race, instigated by Hawkesbury River Yacht Club was held on Saturday.  The start was from Gunyah Point, where the skippers, having consumed a measure of rum, had to row out to their yachts in a dinghy, then sail round Dangar Island.  However, the newcomer to the river has a 27 metre mast, so was not allowed to circle the island because of the power lines, so it went as far as the power lines and back on the West side, and then along the East and North side.  It was beautiful weather, though the wind was probably a bit light for serious sailors.

On Sunday the Dragon Boats had their championships from Deerubbin Reserve.  We've not heard the results but presume the Brooklyn team didn't win, however, we do know they would have given it their best.

The next major event that I know of is Theatre in the Park.  As a newcomer, I know very little of this, other than that many talented people devote many hours and goods voluntarily, for it to happen, and I am looking forward to attending.

Gerd, from  The Edge Art Space, has some very exciting concepts planned for the months ahead.

Trish's bookshop is a great hit and much appreciated by villagers and tourists alike.

The girls at River Dreams have an exciting new collection for summer, including an Australian label of most interesting fabrics and designs, which have been admired and purchased almost as soon as they've been put on display.

Evidently the Hawkesbury and Pittwater are teeming with fish at the moment, so now is a good time to sample them at King Tide Cafe.

In my opinion, we are so blessed to live in this beautiful area, with its magnificent river and Broken Bay, and its diverse population.  We have magnificent views; numerous parks; water taxis; ferries; the riverboat postman; a post office packed to the rafters with almost everything we could want in a PO, and if not, Mustafa and now also, his smiling assistant, Afzhal, offering to order it; galleries; restaurants and cafes; gift and clothing store; general store; bookshop; pub; liquor shop; marinas and hire boats; real estate agent; ambulance; water police; railway and bus; medical centre, and proximity and ease of access to major centres.

As good as it gets, don't you think?

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

October 2011

What an exciting start to the second week of October - being taken out by friends to see a pod of dolphins frolicking between Little Wobby  and Dangar Island.  A magnificent sight, testament to the health of the river.

Another friend lent us Susan Duncan's pictorial book about Pittwater, which made me wonder if anyone has thought of doing the same about this beautiful area.  We have seen the wonderful book by Robert Adamson and Juno Gemes,(thank you Bhupen!), but this is a different genre.

A most interesting part of the book reveals that Frederick Eccleston du Faur (someone we'd never heard of, nor seen any streets, parks or other public places with his name), advocated the preservation of Ku ring gai Chase and in 1894,  35,300 acres, from Hornsby to Pittwater, bordering the waters of Cowan Creek to Broken Bay, were dedicated as national park.  Walking tracks and wharves built to attract holiday makers, still exist.

There is a strong link between this area and Pittwater.  For example, the convict Andrew Thompson started a salt extraction plant on Dangar Island, but then was granted a lease of Scotland Island, so moved his business there.

In the October edition of Afloat magazine, the little ferry Curlew is advertised for sale. She was built in 1922 and  is "the oldest ferry still working to a timetable". let's hope it is able to stay in the Pittwater/Broken Bay/ Hawkesbury waters, especially now that Reliance is back.

The little Sun ferry is back in operation, still sadly with ply cladding on the aft port side, but sporting a brand new red ensign.  It carried many people to the Island and back during the school holidays, and now an online grocery delivery service van is a regular visitor to the public wharf.

It is amazing to observe what is actually carted on the water - when we moved here first I saw a harp in a tinnie - a glorious sight and what a title for a book or  film!

King Tide Cafe had a very disappointing school holiday period because of the weather, but they set up a TV so the Samoa v Wales match could be watched live.  Unfortunately for them, Wales defeated Samoa, but all the King Tide girls were in their Samoa Rugby jerseys, the tables were dressed in blue and white cloths and some of  the guests were wearing tropical island shirts, so it was a lot of fun.

The girls at River Dreams had a party to celebrate their first year and although it was a cold night, many people turned up to show their support.

It seems that September just "come-d and go-ed".  (This expression is a hangover from years ago, when we delivered some platters for a party to some friends, early in the morning and only the children were awake.
We were going to attend the party later, but had an early morning commitment first.  The younger child said "How come you just come-d and go-ed?"). Now it's almost halfway through October, but there are more daylight hours to enjoy our wonderful surroundings.

Friday, 2 September 2011

September 2011

It's not even 9 am, it's 16 degrees Celsius, the sun is shining, the sky is blue - what a great start to September!

The Hawkesbury Explorer has replaced the Sun ferry for the time being, as for several days the Sun has been blowing a lot of smoke, plus perfect smoke rings, and the engine has not sounded good.  By the time the coachwork, cladding and engine are all fixed we should have a "virtual" new ferry.  It is already sporting a brand new red ensign.

Brooklyn has acquired a new landmark during the last few months - a Big Red kangaroo, nicknamed Karoolaroo, as it's proudly sitting on a rock in a beautiful private garden in Karoola Street.  This larger than life wrought iron sculpture is a magnificent depiction of a male red kangaroo and actually moves in the wind.

The brush turkeys here are viewed with mixed emotions, but they have not invaded the village and seem to have a very confined territory.  At the top of the hill leading from Dangar Road to Karoola Street (the street does not seem to have a name, unless it is "One Way" - perhaps someone can enlighten me on this), there is a  mound.  Unfortunately it has plastic bags hanging out of it, which is a sad reflection on our littering habits.  These birds, of the Megapodes group mate for life, and are probably the most efficient compost makers known to man, and a combination of the sun's heat and the heat generated by the composting litter incubates their eggs.

The Lovely Ladies at River Dreams seem to have survived winter well, with their excellent choices of gifts, homewares and clothing, and are looking forward to a busy spring and summer, as are John & Moauli and all the crew at King Tide cafe and restaurant.

Monday, 8 August 2011

August 2011

On July 24, the Sun (Brooklyn speak for ferry), and the sun that provides light and warmth, both returned to Brooklyn, after, for the former, a short time on the slips, and for the latter, a spell of true winter weather.
John, at the popular King Tide Cafe, says this winter has been much better for them than the last, as there have been so many brilliant days interspersed with the dull ones.

The Sun appears to be watertight below the rub rail now, but above, on the port side, two thirds is clad only in plywood, presumably temporarily, while some work is being carried out on the frame.

The girls at River Dreams at Hawkesbury River Marina have the name up above the shop entrance, which looks splendid.  Their end of July sale was successful and has enabled them to display their new stock to great advantage.

Trish's wonderful "Broken Spines" bookshop is such an asset to Brooklyn and she stocks secondhand books, including children's, fiction and non-fiction, on a wide range of subjects.

Last week we had a visitor from Point Lonsdale in Victoria.  Rick Stockley, of Marine Cabs, was waiting  for his son to return by train from school, and we asked him to take us on a little river cruise.  We started by dropping his son on Dangar Island, where Rick and his family live, then to Little Wobby, round Dangar Island, then under the rail bridge where he showed us the Aboriginal birthing rock.  Then back under the railway bridge, where Rick pointed out the holes drilled in the pylons of the original railway bridge, into which explosives were to be packed if the Japanese had taken Sydney.  Rick is very knowledgable about the river and has a larger cab for groups.

At Little Wobby there's a racing yacht hull which is attracting attention and comment.  It is being prepared for the summer racing season and is an entrant in this year's Sydney Hobart.

Q Rex, the bow-return clinging dinosaur is back, having spent a week or two in the hull of the tinny it is usually enhancing.