Paul’s Famous Hamburger pilgrimage

Today was more housework, helping my wife with laundry and changing bedsheets and stuff like that. I’ve also started cooking dinners again, after my enforced time off with my hand injury. Speaking of which, the sticky bandage the hospital pout on on Tuesday finally frayed enough around the edges today for me to pull the whole thing off, so the healing wound/scar is now fully exposed. It doesn’t actually look as bad as I thought it might. It’s still fairly bruised and sore though – I expect that will take a few weeks to go away completely.

But the main event of today was a trek, nay a pilgrimage, to get lunch at a legendary food establishment in Sydney’s south. I was inspired by it coming up in conversation with my friends during the week, and then yesterday one of them was actually inspired to travel down there to get one of the famous hamburgers. So today, finally, years after I first learnt of this place, I drove down to the suburb of Sylvania, some 30 km south of home, to sample one of Paul’s Famous Hamburgers.

Paul's Famous Hamburgers of Sylvania

The hamburgers from this place have regularly won awards for the best hamburger in Australia. Although I’ve driven past it a few times on my way somewhere else, I’ve never previously stopped and tried one.

I wrote a full review of today’s experience over in my food blog: Snot Block & Roll. So check that out if you want all the details. For here, suffice to say that yes, it was a deliciously good hamburger although, no, I don’t think it’s the best one I’ve ever had in Australia.

Scully appreciated it too.

Scully testing a Paul's burger

New content today:

Last of the Sydney walk conversions

Saturday… the day I normally clean the house, except I skipped a couple of weeks with my hand out of action. But today I got back into it. The bathroom is now sparkling again.

Went for a walk with Scully, and finished the last outstanding conversion of Imgur album to web page for my Sydney photo walks: Crows Nest shops.

My wife and I have been working through the Roger Moore James Bond films over the past week, and tonight we had to bite the bullet and start watching Moonraker. Oh dear.

New content today:

Getting back to normal

Yesterday I tested my hand with driving by taking Scully to the dog park, with my wife in the passenger seat in case I decided I couldn’t continue with my injured hand and she had to take over. But it was okay, just a tiny bit sore.

So today I drove out by myself to the supermarket to do a weekly shopping. My wife’s been doing small grocery shops a few times a week while I’ve been incapacitated, and we figure with COVID still possibly out there it’s good to restrict it back down to one big weekly shop. I managed fine, although I tried not to carry the heaviest bags of stuff in my recovering hand.

Also today I modified the bicycle light that I’d bought to attach to Scully during night time walks. I put about 5 layers of masking tape over it, but the lights still shone through pretty brightly. So I peeled that off and used two layers of grey electrical insulation tape. Even through two layers of that, you could see the lights, but they were suitably dimmed. So we tried it out tonight went we walked up the street for dinner at a local Greek restaurant. It worked really well! You could see Scully nicely, even in the darkest shadows on dark streets.

And I completed the second last conversion of Imgur album to web page for another of my Sydney walking photo essays: The Coal Loader and Balls Head.

New content today:

Hardware and an unexpected acquaintance

I took a longish walk with Scully this morning, to the hardware store (Bunnings), which is a few kilometres away. I had a couple of things I wanted to buy, so it was a good excuse to take her for a long walk.

When I got there, there were police, an ambulance, and a fire engine, attending a crash that happened on the intersection right outside Bunnings. It’s a T-junction with the streets, with the Bunnings car park driveway forming it into a four-way crossroad intersection. Traffic lights control cars coming out of Bunnings, and there’s a pedestrian light controlling pedestrians crossing the driveway. I was waiting to cross at the pedestrian light to get across the driveway to the pedestrian entrance to Bunnings. The green “walk” signal came on and the “walk now” beeps went off, I stepped out into the driveway…. and a van waiting to go revved up and came right at me, screeching to a stop before it hit me….

Only then did I realise that police were actively controlling the intersection for car traffic, signalling them to ignore the traffic lights and go when waved ahead. Not driving a car at the time, I hadn’t been watching what the police were doing – rather I was concentrating on the pedestrian signal at the crossing so that I could cross safely. The police just happened to wave the cars in the driveway to go right at the moment that the pedestrian light went green! Fortunately there was no accident, and I scurried across with Scully safely.

I’ve been exercising and massaging my hand again today. The pain seems to be fading slowly, and the hand is getting stronger and more flexible again. I took a golf club (a wedge) and some balls over to a nearby park and hit a few shots to test out how the hand would hold up playing golf. It was a little sore, but I felt like I could hit fairly well. I might try a round with my friend next week.

The other notable thing today happened at another park a short drive away, where I take Scully for exercise and to socialise with other dogs. There’s a regular group of dog owners who assemble there around 4pm every day – mostly retired people, but a few younger owners. I’ve been going there for over a year and know all the regular dogs and their owners, although only in a casual manner.

Today I was walking with one of them and chatting, and they mentioned something about James. I didn’t know who they were referring to, so I said, “Sorry, James who?”

“James Wood, the Supreme Court Judge. You know, with Pippa.” (Pippa is a cream coloured poodle)

Me: “Ohhh! Jim! … He’s a judge??”

Not just any judge. New South Wales Supreme Court Judge James Wood, OA, QC, chair of both the NSW Law Reform Commission and NSW Sentencing Council, and Royal Commissioner of the NSW Police Royal Commission.

Wow, I had no idea.

New content today:

Making the hand better

My hand was a lot better overnight, as in easier to sleep without being uncomfortable because of the bandages. But it’s still very bruised and sore today, and I’ve been spending some time massaging it firmly as the doctor advised, which just makes it feel more sore. But there’s definite improvements in strength and flexibility since yesterday, so that’s good. I can do almost anything I could before, except things that require significant left hand strength, such as opening difficult jars.

I made some Darths & Droids comics today, and converted another Sydney Walk photo essay into a web page, this one titled: Artarmon, Naremburn, St Leonards grunge.

In the mail today I received a small bicycle light which I bought to try attaching to Scully at night, so we can see her. It turns out that the light is way too bright. Your eyes adjust to the light and it’s not possible to see Scully herself at all. I might try covering the lights with tape to filter it down a bit.

New content today:

Stitches are out

I had my appointment this morning to inspect my healing hand and have the stitches out. I went to the hospital for 08:15 and was seen to after a short wait. First a hand physiotherapist saw me and removed the bandage. He checked the fingers for sensation and range of motion, and that the wound had closed properly.

Next a doctor saw me and inspected the wound. She determined the stitches could e taken out. She also told me to begin a program of massaging and exercising the hand as often as possible, to break up the scar tissues and adhesions and improve the range of movement. She said to massage it firmly, even though it hurts, as much as I can stand before it gets too painful.

I took this opportunity to ask her, “So, can I play the piano now?”

She said, “Yes.”

I said, “Great! I couldn’t play before.”

She completely ignored that and turned the conversation to something else. She may have been trying to suppress an eyeroll.

Now… sure, she’s a hand doctor, and she’s probably heard people attempt that joke a hundred or more times, but for me it’s (hopefully) the only chance I’ll ever get to use that joke in my whole life. The least she can do is politely pretend to laugh. Heck, if I was training hand doctors, reacting to that joke would be part of the bedside manner that they’d have to nail to pass their final exams.

After the doctor, a younger guy took over and removed the stitches carefully with tweezers and a scalpel. It was a bit tricky with a few of them, as the knot was embedded under a protruding fold of skin, but he got there in the end. It turned out I had a total of twelve stitches, not the ten that I’d heard stated on the day of the operation. He also gave me advice on how to massage the hand and stretch it to improve the mobility and strength over the next few weeks, advising again to do as much as possible within my pain threshold.

I was out of the hospital by just after 9 o’clock. To celebrate having the bandages off, I had a pie on the way home. 😄

At home, I worked on converting another of my Sydney photo walks to a web page, and this was a very long one. I also added a lot of historical research. This should be an interesting one because it illustrates the walk most of the way from where I live to the Sydney Opera House.

And I’ve also been studiously massaging my hand muscles to reduce the scar tissue. It hurts like hell when I’m doing it, and takes several minutes to calm down afterwards. But already I can see an improvement in the range of motion, so that’s positive. Now to keep it up for the next few weeks…

New content today:

Long weekend Monday

It always feels like a Sunday again when Monday is a public holiday. Sleep in a bit, got out for a bit, get nothing done.

I recently got a new expansion set for the board game Carcassonne, The Tower, and my wife and I wanted to try it out. We played a game yesterday, and I offered her a bit of tactical advice with the new tiles and rules, and she beat me 102 points to 99.

Today I didn’t help her so much, and she beat me 138-98! Here’s the game in progress:

Carcassonne + The Tower

And at the end, after we’d removed all our final scoring pieces:

Carcassonne + The Tower

Next time we play I’m not offering her any assistance at all!!

New content today:

Long weekend Sunday

It’s a long weekend here in Sydney! So tomorrow is a holiday Monday, but that means Sunday also feels special somehow, because you don’t have to get up early on Monday.

My wife and I did our usual morning long walk with Scully. We took a different route home, through some bushland, which we’ve been avoiding for the past few weeks because of COVID, and the large number of walkers out taking that route along narrow walking tracks. But today it felt like the right time to be ale to do it again, and it was nice.

I did more rewriting of photo walks to convert into web pages, completing walks 11. North Sydney and St Leonards Park and 12. Greenwich Baths. While researching historical details for the first one of those, I found out something amazing about St Mary’s Catholic Church in North Sydney. It looks like this:

St Mary's Catholic Church, North Sydney

St Mary's Catholic Church, North Sydney

Now, it looks like it’s built of sandstone, and I’d always assumed that was the case. But not quite!

There’s been a church on this site since 1855, when services were first held in a tent. The first church building was built in 1856 of wooden boards, supported by tree trunks, with an earthen floor. In 1868 a church was built of sandstone, which was then enlarged in 1896.

In 1938 they rebuilt the church, demolishing the old sandstone one, to create a larger church building. But they reused all of the sandstone blocks, the roofing slates, the marble interior decorations, and the stained glass. To make the new church bigger they built it of brick, and then they cut each sandstone block of the original stone church in half, and used the thinner stones as a veneer over the brick structure, to make it look as though it’s solid sandstone!

It’s amazing the stuff you can learn by researching local history.

New content today:

Winter walking

My wife had stuff to do this morning and asked me to take Scully on a nice long walk to keep her occupied. I walked down to Greenwich Baths – basically this walk that I did a photo essay on a few weeks ago, although with some extra pieces and a minor changes. It was chilly, as the weather has turned quite wintry here in the past week.

And I was surprised when we got to the baths to see an old lady, must have been in her 80s, getting ready to go swimming in the water of the harbour! As I watched, rugged up in my rugby jersey and a jacket over the top, she descended the ramp into the water and proceeded to swim laps. I’m don’t know how she even got in there, as the baths are fenced off and closed during the winter months – either she sneaked past the fence somehow, or she has some sort of secret way to get a key.

Back home, I worked on another photo essay, converting into a web page – a shortish one I did of a round I played at a local golf course. Maybe not as exciting as all the cool historical architecture I’ve bee learning about in the other walks I’ve been doing.

My wife is getting into cooking with me unable to do so (easily) because of my bandaged hand. Today she made pesto pasta with asparagus, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese for dinner, and it was really good. I should get her to cook more often! 😄

New content today:

Handy hand day

My bandaged hand gave me grief during the night, with some pain that kept me awake a bit. The thumb had become bruised looking and tender, and there were areas that felt a bit numb. It was a little bit concerning, and the fact that it’s my hand meant that I really didn’t want to risk not seeking medical attention if there was any possibility of something serious happening. And given that it was Friday and this coming weekend is a long weekend with a public holiday on Monday, I didn’t want to have to end up in emergency on the weekend rather than the hand clinic (which keeps more normal hours).

So I phoned the hand clinic and described what was happening, and asked if this was normal and nothing to worry about, or if it was potentially a problem. The doctor there asked me to come into the hospital so they could have a look. I went in, and after a short wait (maybe 20 minutes), a doctor examined my hand, removing the bandage and inspecting the stitches and the bruising around the hand. He said it looked to be healing normally and the hand looked fine, with no infections. He said the bruising was to be expected, and prodded various parts of my thumb to check the numbness. He said it was localised to an area that was not concerning, and may have been caused by the tightness of the bandage pressing on a nerve, which matches my experience with the bandage pressing a little painfully on the inside of the base of the thumb.

A nurse then cleaned and rebandaged my hand, with a lighter dressing that isn’t quite as tight, so I now have a bit more movement. It feels much better than the old one. So all seems good! I still have my appointment on Tuesday to have the stitches removed.

This evening I’m playing my fortnightly board games night with my friends, in our current COVID-safe online mode. We’ve played some games of Dice Forge, Seven Wonders, and now Kingdomino.

New content today: