D&D and a big walk

Friday night was Dungeons & Dragons night! During the day I had my usual ethics classes, and in between I prepared by cleaning up the house. It needed a thorough vacuum, and cleaning the bathroom, so that took a bit of time. I also did some last minute prep work for the game, running through the adventure quickly and printing out some new character sheets for characters who had levelled up since last time.

We had a new player join us, an old friend of mine who I played with many years ago. She was the player of the original Alvissa in the fantasy game that I based Irregular Webcomic! on, and also Paris in the science fiction game that I based that them on. One of my other regular players was Draak and Spanners, and it was the first time the two players had seen each other for a few years, so that was a nice reunion.

Our new player rolled up a character using random rolls, and decided to be a magic-user. Notgandalf the usual magic-user wasn’t present (because his player is on an overseas trip), so extra spellpower was useful. They started a new adventure, investigating an old temple hidden behind a waterfall, dedicated to an old god of swords. They didn’t get very far into it, spending a lot of time dealing with some interesting traps, some serpent people, and a nasty gelatinous cube.

Today my wife got up early because she had a special Open Day event at her work, and had to be there to set up by 8am. I spent the morning working on a report for Standards Australia on the recent ISO Photography meeting that I attended. I need to do one of these for each international meeting, before our follow-up Australian meeting, which is scheduled for this coming Friday.

At lunch timeI walked up to my wife’s work with Scully to meet her there. They had a sausage sizzle going, and I had a sausage sandwich as part of lunch. They also had people baking fresh scones, served with jam and cream, and we got a pair of those to eat as well together after my wife had finished her shift.

Then we walked from there up to Cammeray so she could get a coffee. I grabbed another small snack from Maggio’s Italian bakery to complete a piecemeal lunch. And then from there we walked home. Bu the time we got home, Scully and I had covered 6 km of walking.

After we walked all the way home, I rested for a bit before heading out for a 5k run. It’s the first run I’ve done in 2 weeks, since last weekend was so wet and cold and miserable. I took it a bit easy. But I overtook a man and woman jogging together on one street in the same direction as me. Then when I was doing the loop around the end of the peninsula, I passed them again, going the opposite away around the loop. And then coming back from the peninsula, I overtook them again. They must have taken a shorter route around the loop, because I was definitely running faster than them, but they got ahead of me somehow. And then I turned off the ain street into some backstreets that zig and zag a bit, and when I was further along, they appeared from another side street and I overtook them for a fourth time! By now they were laughing and chatting to me as I went past, and I exchanged a few friendly words, saying that I was nearly finished my 5k for the day.

This evening my wife and I went up to the local shops for dinner at an Indian restaurant. I also dropped off a couple of D&D 5e adventure books that I’m never going to use with some of the D&D players at Professor Plums. I’d organised to sell some at cheap prices to some of the other DMs there.

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3 busy days: Grand Canyon Track; Lego and games; French bakery

I’ve been busy the past few days, so have missed a couple of daily updates. But firstly, there’s horrible news from here in Sydney today: multiple people have been fatally stabbed in a shopping centre stabbing spree. I’m fine and I don’t know anybody who was in the area, in case anyone reading this was wondering.

But to better things. Thursday was very busy because I took my visiting friend from the USA out to the Blue Mountains to get a taste of the national park. I didn’t want to battle peak hour traffic by driving into the city to pick him up from his accommodation, so he graciously agreed to make his way on the trains to my place, arriving at 9am. We drove outwards, against the traffic. It took us just under two hours to reach our first stop: Lincolns Rock Lookout. This is a bare rock ledge on the edge of the cliff, looking west over Jamison Valley, so the sun was behind us, illuminating the view.

Lincolns Rock Lookout

From here we drove over to a nearby pie shop for an early lunch. I wanted to get my friend to try a good Aussie meat pie, but I didn’t know any of the pie shops in the mountains. I did some research and also asked my friends, and converged on Mountain High Pies in Wentworth Falls. We both had the green curry chicken pie, which was pretty good. I tried a sausage roll, while my friend had a chocolate croissant and a cookie.

Next stop was the Grand Canyon Track walk. This had been closed following the heavy rain last week, and only reopened at 8am on Thursday, just a few hours before we got there. It’s a 10km loop walk that descends from the car park on top of the plateau down to the valley floor, then along Greaves Creek, which descends into a deep, narrow sandstone canyon for part of the journey.

Grand Canyon Track panorama

I haven’t done this walk before, and was amazed at how beautiful and spectacular it is. It was very wet with the recent rain, with water dripping off overhead rocks in many places, so we got a little wet, but not soaked. At one point the canyon opens out into an area surrounded by rock, and a waterfall drops into the space from the cliffs above. The walking track actually goes around the back of the waterfall, just like in the movies (at left in this photo).

Grand Canyon Track panorama

In several places the track is cut into the rock and you need to be careful to duck your head to avoid banging it. In one spot the walk goes through a dark tunnel and we had to use the torches on our phones to light the way – although you probably could have managed without light as the tunnel was only about 10-15 metres long. There were a lot of muddy puddles that we had to carefully walk around to avoid getting wet socks. In one place the stepping stones crossing the creek were submerged and people had placed other rocks on top to keep your feet more or less dry, and it was a bit of a balancing act to negotiate safely.

The walk took us about two and a half hours, and was worth every second of it. I definitely want to do it again with my wife one day, but we’ll try after a period of drier weather! After climbing back out of the valley we ended up at Evans Lookout. This has a view of the Grose Valley, which is on the other, northern side of the plateau to Jamison Valley.

Evans Lookout view

We rested here enjoying the view a bit before walking back to the car. Then we drove over to Govetts Leap lookout, which has views of Grose Valley from further north.

Govetts Leap Lookout

Next we headed back from Blackheath to Katoomba, and the famous Echo Point lookout. This is the most famous spot, and the most visited by tourists, so we saw a lot of other people here.

Echo Point, Three Sisters

And our last stop was Submlime Point in Leura. Another fantastic lookout spot, with views in the distance of Lake Burragorang in the river valley.

Sublime Point lookout, Leura

It was close to sunset now and we headed back home. My friend accepted my suggestion to have dinner with me and my wife, so I drove home and after meeting up we walked up to the local shops and had dinner at Turka, a Middle Eastern restaurant. That was really good and a great way to finish up a strenuous day of sightseeing.

On Friday I had a bunch of ethics classes. After the last one I took a trip to Chatswood to meet someone who wanted to buy some of my old Magic: the Gathering cards. he was interested online, and when I learnt he lived in Sydney I suggested we meet up instead of me posting the cards to him. This was good, because he got to see the cards in person before transferring the money to me – it was a significant amount, over a couple of thousand dollars.

After that I got the train back home and enjoyed online board games night with my friends. We played a new game: Word Traveller. It’s a cooperative game where each player encodes a route through a famous city (we used the Paris board) using a hand of word cards to attempt to describe various landmarks on the gridded map. The other players have to determine the route as best they can given the ambiguities, and everyone scores points according to how many point-scoring landmarks they successfully visit. It was fun, but there’s a time limit and the second (and final) round was really tough against that limit.

Today, Saturday, I did some housework, cleaning the bathroom. We also dropped Scully in for a groom and haircut, and then took the time to drive over to Paddington so my wife could visit the markets there. While she did that I walked over to Tonton Bread bakery. I was seeking their delicious apricot/almond croissants. But when I got there I didn’t see any on the counter, so I asked the woman at the counter, “No apricot almond croissants today?”

And she looked really puzzled, and said, “Apricot? We don’t make anything like that.”

I said I’d had them there before, and she said that it must have been a long time ago. But it wasn’t that long ago.. only eight months, in fact. Well. So I got a ham and cheese danish, and a chocolate almond croissant instead (which I shared with my wife). I also got one of their delicious flans for dessert tonight.

We got home, picked up Scully, went for a walk. I went for a run too, but took it easy and only did 2.5 km instead of the usual 5, because I’m still not fully over my sore back – it’s about 95%, but I wanted to not strain it too much. And phew… I think that’s all the highlights of the last three days.

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A big walk to exercise my back

Today I had three ethics classes in the morning, finishing just before midday. After that I met up with my American friend and we went for a walk around my neighbourhood and the northern shore of Sydney Harbour.

We met at Wollstonecraft Station just after midday. I’d planned to take him down Berrys Creek to the harbour, but with the recent heavy rain that track would have been very muddy, so I suggested we take a higher street route to my favourite lunch lookout spot, and then go down into the creek valley from there. We walked around Berry Island and saw the Aboriginal rock carvings there, and then over to the Coal Loader, where we walked through one of the train loading tunnels.

Coal Loader tunnel

From there to Balls Head, with its great lookout views of the city.

View from Balls Head

View from Balls Head

Then down to Sawmillers Reserve, with more views and a historical shipwreck.

View from Sawmillers Reserve

MSB barge wreck

From here we walked across to Lavender Bay and checked out Wendy’s Secret Garden, before continuing past Luna Park and down to Milsons Point and then Kirribilli. We parted at Milsons Point Station about 3:30 pm, which gave me and Scully time to walk up to my wife’s work by her finishing time of 4 o’clock. And then we all walked home together. It was a long walk – I did over 20,000 steps, but I didn’t track the kilometres. Scully and I were exhausted by the time we got home!

But all this exercise was good for my sore back. It was nasty in the morning when I got up, but this evening is feeling much better. Maybe 70% or so. Hopefully it won’t deteriorate much during the night again.

And then tonight after all that I have not one, but two more classes. I’ve added an extra at 9pm, the latest I do them, to cater to a loyal student who needed a later one. I wouldn’t do this during summer because daylight saving would push it to 10pm start and 11pm finish. But since we just went off DST, I’m okay to this timeslot for the next 6 months, and then I’ll have to re-evaluate it.

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Jigsaw puzzle done!

After neglecting it during the week. we put in a concerted effort today and finished off the 1000-piece Renoir jigsaw puzzle.

Jigsaw complete!

We woke up to a sunny morning, after a night of very heavy rain. The rain gauge at Sydney’s main weather station broke overnight, so we don’t have a reading for the 24 hour period, but nearby gauges registered 145 mm at Sydney Airport and 160 mm at the suburb of Canterbury. I heard the rain hammering down in the middle of the night, but it had stopped by the time I got up and the sun had come out. But there was evidence in the garage basement where much of the floor was still wet, and there were water-transported trails of sand everywhere. Part of it must have flooded like it has on other heavy rain occasions (though I don’t think as bad as those ones).

Heading out for a 5k run after breakfast, I passed a couple of small toppled trees and fallen branches. The streets looked the worse for wear, with lots of twigs and leaf litter, and torrents of water still rushing in all the gutters.

Another consequence of the weather was to completely change my plans for the week ahead. I mentioned yesterday that I was planning to take my American visitor friend up to the Blue Mountains on Tuesday. The plan was to do the Grand Canyon Track walk near Blackheath, and then go see some of the other sights depending how much time we had. But because of the weather, the National Parks and Wildlife Service has closed all of the Blue Mountains valley walking tracks until Thursday morning. They need time to check them for landslides, rockfalls, tree falls, and general safety.

This means we can’t do that walk on Tuesday. I was really looking forward to it, and my visitor is a keen hiker, and this may be his only chance in a lifetime to do these Blue Mountains walking tracks. So I shuffled my ethics classes from Thursday, moving some to Tuesday and some to Wednesday, and so I can have Thursday free to take him up to the mountains then instead of Tuesday. The other good thing about this is that the weather forecast for Thursday is dry, whereas Tuesday may have a few showers, so it should be a better day for it anyway. Now we just have to hope they don’t find anything dangerous that causes the track to be closed for longer.

For dinner tonight I made vegetable fajitas. Onions, garlic, carrot, zucchini, broccolini, cauliflower. And I tried a new ingredient, frying up strips of haloumi to add to the fajitas. The added salty crunch was good!

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A mess of a morning

Normally I take Scully (my poodle, if you’re new here) for a quick 10 minute walk around the block just before my wife leaves for work, to prevent Scully crying when my wife leaves. This morning Scully got up a bit late and I needed to take her out for her toilet about 30 minutes before my wife left for work, so I decided I’d take her on a long walk to Naremburn, and sit at the bakery there and get a croissant or something for second breakfast before coming home.

I took Scully downstairs, realised I’d forgotten my phone, but thought, “Oh well, I’m not going back upstairs just to get that, no biggie.” After Scully did her toilet, I walked with her to Naremburn. All the way I was looking forward to sitting down and having that croissant or whatever. But when I got there I realised that since I didn’t have my phone I couldn’t buy anything! (I’ve taken to using Apple Wallet to pay for things, and basically haven’t carried my physical wallet/credit cards/cash since COVID restrictions began in 2020.)

So we turned around and walked home. When I got to the front door, I realised I had also forgotten to take keys! So no phone, no keys… the only thing I could do was walk with Scully all the way to my wife’s work at North Sydney and get keys off her. I didn’t finally get home until nearly 10:00. And since I expected to be home before 8:30, I didn’t put any sunscreen on, and it was a hot sunny morning.

I thought my woes were over, but no! After lunch I went to the post office to pick up a package that was awaiting collection. I got there and because it’s December there was a huge queue. 20 people or so. I joined the end. The queue progressed super slowly because everyone was sending multiple Christmas packages. Eventually I was about halfway down the queue, and I spotted a sign saying “Parcel collection” with an arrow pointing out to the hallway. I figured I’d been standing here for 10 minutes when I could have gone straight to the parcel collection point!

So I left the queue and went out there, around the corner in the hallway and saw the parcel collection window… shuttered up, with a sign saying “After 9am, collect parcels from the main service counter”. So I had to go back in, and of course now the queue had grown even longer, and none of the people who were behind me a few seconds ago showed any inclination to let me back in. So I had to go to the back of the queue again.

15 minutes later, I was the next waiting to be served. An employee appeared out of a side door and said, “Anyone just collecting parcels?” A few people behind me raised their hands, and so did I. As the next to be served, I went first, leaving the others in the queue, and gave her my package delivery card. She took it and disappeared back through the door. Then while I was waiting, the service counter called the next three people, and they all got their packages before the woman reappeared with mine! Aiiieee!

In other news, while heading to the post office I walked past the new underground Metro station that is being built at Crows Nest. It’s been a construction zone for a long time and as the building has gone up above the underground station it’s been shrouded in scaffolding and screens. But now part of it is being peeled away, giving us our first look at the station access building.

Crows Nest metro station construction

Well. It’s not exactly what I’d call pretty.

Crows Nest metro station construction

I assumed the building above the station would be shops at ground level and offices with windows above. But it looks like a big bland wall of bricks, probably hiding a bunch of air conditioning plant or whatever else they need to keep an underground train station habitable.

Lest the day be nothing but negativity, I’m pleased to report that my lingering jet lag symptoms seem to have passed fully away, and I’ve been getting decent sleeps the past couple of nights. Oh, and the package I picked up was an American food care package from a friend, in time for Christmas. It contained a bunch of American sweets that are either impossible to get or super expensive here in Australia, as well as a big bottle of maple syrup, which is definitely super expensive here. So that was good!

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Walking the Nakasendo

Today was our big planned walking day. We’re in Nakatsugawa because it provides access to a popular part of the Nakasendo, one of the Edo period walking trails from Tokyo to Kyoto.

We got up and had a quick breakfast, then departed to make the train leaving for Nagiso at 08:14. Yesterday when we arrived at Nakatsugawa station, I’d checked the timetable for trains leaving for Nagiso in the morning. Reading the poster I thought it said that there were trains departing at 08:14 and then 10:00, with no trains in between except for expresses that required reserved seating and significant extra cost. I asked a staff member at the station and her confirmed this. So rather than wait until 10:00, we made sure to get the 08:14 train.

We tapped our Apple wallet Suica cards on the station gates, climbed over the stairway to the other platform, and boarded the two-carriage train that was waiting there to depart. We had several minutes to wait, and it was lucky we did, because there was an automated announcement on the train in Japanese and then English, saying that Suica cards were not accepted beyond Nakatsugawa, and anyone on the train needed to pay the driver on the way off the train. We could do that, but we needed to cancel our Suica taps somehow, lest the system get confused and end up charging us some wrong amount, or not letting us on our next train. So I ran back over the stairs with both our phones and spoke to a staff member, who nodded knowingly and told me to tap the phones on a pad there, which he programmed to cancel our previous tap-ons. He then said I should buy tickets to Nagiso, which I did, before running back over the stairs to get back on the train before it departed. It wasn’t actually close, as I made it with 2 or 3 minutes to spare.

The train took us up the river valley into the mountains, into countryside a lot wilder and less settled than any we’d seen on the way to Nakatsugawa. The rocky river and the forested mountains on both sides were beautiful. We arrived at Nagiso at 08:30 and alighted the train with about 6 or 7 other passengers. It’s obviously not a heavily travelled line.

We left the station to take a brief look around the tiny village of Nagiso, and a small cafe was just opening. We went in, but the man had retired to a back room and I had to call out “sumimasen” loudly a couple of times before he heard and bustled out. My wife ordered her coffee to go and we set out.

Right near the station we saw a sign pointing the way to the Nakasendo, leading us over the train line on a small pedestrian bridge, and then along the road above for a bit. Soon the path left the road and we were walking along narrow laneways with a few scattered houses. There was a little car traffic, but not much, and the path became narrower and less vehicle-friendly. We crossed a few small bridges and the scenery became pleasantly rural, but not really wilderness.

A few kilometres down the path we reached Tsumago-juku, the first of the historic post towns along the route where travellers could stop to rest. This was essentially an old village laid out along the trail, with well-preserved historic wooden buildings. Some of them were private residences, but many had been turned into shops or cafes or restaurants to serve modern customers. It was very pretty to walk along, and not at all crowded, with just a few tourists walking around. It may have been too early, as many of the shops hadn’t opened yet.

Tsumago-juku, Nakasendo trail

Continuing along the Nakasendo, we soon found ourselves walking along a foot trail uphill through thick pine forest. It was really beautiful, with a feeling like Sam and Frodo walking across parts of Middle-earth. Occasionally the path popped out at a small cluster of houses or a lone building, and some of these offered refreshments. There were also several toilet buildings along the way. But the main next goal was Magome-juku, the next post town along the route. This was up the mountain and over Magome Pass. There was a road running up to the pass as well, but the Nakasendo mostly followed a foot route running parallel, occasionally popping out to cross the road or go along it briefly before heading back into the forest. But at one point near the Otaki-Metaki Waterfalls there was a detour due to the Nakasendo path being closed because of some sort of small disaster, presumably a land slip or rockfall or something. So we had to detour past the waterfalls – which was in a sense fortunate otherwise we might not have seen them at all, and they were worth seeing. The detour took us along the main road for a few hundred metres before we rejoined the Nakasendo route through the forest.

Nakasendo trail

The forest was a mixture of pines with large stands of giant bamboo in places, and very beautiful. The going got tough as we ascended to Magome Pass, with the trail becoming steeper. We started to notice people walking the opposite direction, heading to Tsumago-juku. They seemed happy to be walking downhill while we puffed slowly past them. Eventually we topped out at Magome Pass, 790 metres above sea level. Nagiso, where we’d begun walking, is at 411 metres. From here it was all downhill! Almost.

We walked down and it was a bit under an hour to Magome-juku. By now it was lunch time and we stopped in at a small place that offered simple soba and udon meals. We both had cold noodles with wild vegetables, my wife getting soba while I had udon. We wanted cold instead of hot because it was a hot day and the sun had come out, and it was also very humid, so we’d become very hot walking. Resting in the shade of the restaurant with a fan blowing cool air was a pleasant relief. We also tried a goheimochi coated with a sauce of sesame, walnuts, soy sauce, sugar, and sweet sake. These were really delicious, with the nutty flavour making them much better than mitarashi dango which we’d had at Nishiki Market in Kyoto.

After eating we resumed our walk. Most people get a bus to or from Magome-juku, but we had decided to walk all the way back to Nakatsugawa. The Nakasendo continued, through a rural area full of houses with vegetable gardens, rice paddies, and we even saw some grape vines. This was a nice countryside to walk through, and I’m very glad we did it.

Nakasendo trail

Eventually we reached built up areas again, part of which was the next Nakasendo post town of Ochiai-juku. This was not as preserved as the previous two, with many of the original buildings being redeveloped into more modern houses. The honjin or government inn was preserved there, but closed for the public. We continued on and stopped at the nearby Genky Ochiai supermarket/drug store to buy some cold drinks: ginger ale for me and green tea for my wife. We drank sitting inside the lovely air conditioning before setting out for the final leg back into Nakatsugawa.

This involved walking uphill over a couple of large hills and back down again, since we took some quiet back streets to avoid the bust main road that skirted around the base of the hills. But it was good that we did this because we passed signs indicating that this was still the original Nakasendo route. It took us down a final steep hill into Nakatsugawa, just a couple of blocks from our hotel.

We stopped and rested for a bit, and I had a cold shower to wash off the walking grime and cool down, before dressing in fresh clothes for dinner. I tried looking for any restaurants nearby that might have vegetarian food, but we decided to just go to the nearby shopping mall and try whatever they had there. It was a small mall, and we ended up just getting some take-way sushi and taking it up to eat at the food court tables. After that we had some ice cream at a Baskin Robins. This was our first non-Japanese food of the trip, but we both felt like it after the hard day of walking.

We’d walked 21.5 kilometres, climbed a total of 683 metres of elevation, and I walked 32,150 steps. Phew!

A really big tourist walk

Today I had two ethics classes in the morning, including the first lesson on Good and Evil with the older kids.

After that I had a busy afternoon planned. A guy who I know via an Internet group is visiting Sydney, with his wife and university-aged son. The son is studying in Melbourne and his parents came over there to visit, and now they’re having a few days here in Sydney before heading home. We arranged to meet at a train station on the north side of the Harbour, and I led them on a walk around the shore, through areas of bushland, historical sites, and lookout spots.

Balls Head Lookout

Scully came with us!

Scully at Balls Head Lookout

We stopped for a late lunch at a cafe along the way, and then continued until we reached the base of the Harbour Bridge and some of the classic tourist views across the water to the city.

Approaching the view

The view

I left them there and walked back home with Scully. By the time I got home, I’d covered almost 15 km! Scully is so exhausted. She had dinner and immediately fell into a deep sleep on the sofa.

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North Arm walk

Being my wife’s mid-week day off, we decided too take advantage today and go do a bushwalk. We took Scully and drove over to Castle Cove, a suburb about 10 km north of the city centre. Here we stopped first at a bakery to grab some lunch and cold water. Then we moved the car a few blocks to a spot where we could begin a walk that would take us on a loop down a long street, and then into the North Arm Walking Track, a bushwalk running along the shore of Middle Harbour back to where we’d left the car. There’s a better map of the walk here.

North Arm Walking Tack

The first part of the track has good views of Middle Harbour.

North Arm Walking Tack

Scully enjoyed it too.

North Arm Walking Tack

North Arm Walking Tack

That’s my wife walking ahead. The whole way along this track we only met one other person coming the other way. So it was nice and peaceful. Well, except for the loud drone of the cicadas!

North Arm Walking Tack

Scully having more fun along the way.

North Arm Walking Tack

North Arm Walking Tack

Towards the end the path went more inland, among fern forests with small creeks draining down to the harbour.

North Arm Walking Tack

North Arm Walking Tack

Scully didn’t appreciate having to walk al the way back uphill to the car.

North Arm Walking Tack

But there were more good views here.

North Arm Walking Tack

At times on bushwalks like this it feels a bit like you’re a hobbit trekking through Middle-earth.

North Arm Walking Tack

It took us a couple of hours and we were hot and sweaty by the end of it, but it was a good day out. Along the way I stopped at one point to get something scratchy out of my shoe and I noticed a leech on my shoe, so I flicked it off. Then I found one half in my sock, and pulled it out. I didn’t see any more… until I got home and took my shoes and socks off. There was a leech attached to my ankle. So I had to pull it off, sterilise the wound, and bandage it. I also carefully checked Scully for any leeches or ticks.

Add to that a 2.5k run which I did this morning, and three ethics classes in a row in the evening, and I’m pretty worn out!

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Pastry crawl

Today was Good Friday, a major public holiday. We decided to go for a big trip into the city, and grab something nice to eat at a French patisserie in there in The Rocks. We walked down to the nearest ferry wharf and got on a ferry for the city. We had Scully in her dog backpack, which we thought was adequate for the rule that dogs must be confined. But when we disembarked at Circular Quay we got rounded on by a staff member who told us the backpack wasn’t good enough and dogs needed to be inside a closed container.

Circular Quay was busy! There were tourists around! There was a huge queue for the ferry to Taronga Zoo – it must have been several hundred people. It snaked all the way around from Wharf 4 to the Museum of Contemporary Art. I guess all the tourists got up this morning and realised it was a public holidays and everything was closed except the zoo.

The Rocks was busy too, with all the food places open and people crowding in for lunch. We managed to get a table at the patisserie and had some lunch.

We decided to walk back home over the Harbour Bridge, instead of risking the ferry back and being denied entry.

Harbour Bridge crossing

It was a lovely autumn day. Sunny, with scattered cloud, not too hot, with a breeze, and nice for walking around.

Harbour and Opera House

We also got a good view from Lavender Bay while walking back home too.

From Lavender Bay

For dinner tonight I made pizza, and I made some extra dough with which I made bread sticks, rolled in sesame seeds.

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A long walk and a lie in the grass

This morning I took the opportunity to go for a run. I haven’t done any for a while, so I started easy and went at a slower pace. I started thinking I’d do 2.5 km, but I decided to extend it a bit further, and ended up doing 3.2 km. It felt okay but I was starting to wane near the end. I want to build back up to 5k again if I can.

I did some comics stuff in the morning, then went for a long walk over to the new bakery I discovered yesterday, to try it out for lunch. On the way I took a photo of St Leonard’s Catholic Church, which is a landmark visible across much of the surrounding area with its tall copper spire.

St Leonard's Church, Naremburn

When I got there and went inside, it was very weird – they had several of exactly the same things as the Grumpy Baker over at Waverton. The pie selection was identical, and they had Nutella babka – the only place I’ve ever seen that before is at Grumpy Baker. If I didn’t know better, I’d believe that they were going over to Grumpy Baker first thing in the morning and buying a bunch of stuff to resell under the guise of a different bakery. Anyway, I tried a pie and a sausage roll. And they did have some things that Grumpy Baker doesn’t make, including vanilla slices, so I had one of those too. I’ll add the review to Snot Block & Roll in a day or two when I get time.

On the way home I picked up Scully from my wife’s work, and took her home via the slopey park where she does ball chasing and fetching. We had a bit of a play with the ball before she got tired and decided to have a rest. I joined her for a lie down in the grass too, and we both just laid there for a while. Nice and peaceful.

Scully with ball

But on the way there we passed the brand new pedestrian island in the middle of the road. It’s not a main road, but it does get a lot of traffic. The council recently widened the pedestrian refuge in the middle and installed safety barriers. But today…

Someone didn't

Someone had ploughed right through the “Keep Left” sign, the first pedestrian safety barrier, and half-removed the second barrier on the far side. I really hope nobody was standing there when it happened, or they would have been severely injured, if not killed. I think it might have happened while I was out getting lunch too, because I didn’t see it messed up like this when I passed it on my way out, and neither did my wife on her way to work this morning, though she did see it on the way home.

New content today: