Thursday, 5 June 2014

NSW Trip Day 12 - Newcastle

I got up early and left with P when he took the girls to school and went to work. He lent me his car for the day so I could have some time to myself, and Tony and the kids stayed at the house and played, and Caitlin made a cake with K (a dairy and gluten free carrot cake).

P works just near where Mum and Dad used to live (and me too when I was younger) so I went and had a look at the house – apart from a satellite dish on the roof and a basketball hoop in the front yard it looked exactly the same. I went down to the shopping centre that I know as Garden City but I’m not sure if its still called that, and it is definitely not exactly the same. It has gradually been expanding and extending over the 30 years since we first moved to the area and I’d seen a lot of the changes, but hadn’t seen the final stage. The carpark was big and confusing, and once inside, at the end where I always used to enter, it was quite similar – when I got to the point where the centre used to end though – it continued on for just as far again and it felt somewhat overwhelming! Anyway, I did a bit of shopping – birthday presents for Millie and LiAM, clothes for me and the kids, a new book for me.

Once I’d had enough I bought a frozen yoghurt (from a cool make-your-own kiosk) and drove in, via the coastal route, to Nobbys Beach. I always enjoy that drive, and it was extra exciting having not done it, and having not seen those beaches, for several years. I sat on a bench and ate my yoghurt and read my book and soaked in the view and the atmosphere. It was a gloriously sunny day, lots of people out walking and running and surfing. I walked out to the end of the breakwater – something I have done hundreds of times before, it felt exciting and familiar. There was a shoal of fish in the water at the end, I’ve never seen that there before, and it was interesting watching a larger fish jumping through them to get its dinner. I hung out at the end for a while, watching the waves and the boats, then headed back, watching a container ship leaving the harbour. It became quite warm as I walked, I hadn’t expected to feel so hot, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment and the walk and the location really helped me to relax and feel great.
Ship being taken out of harbour by tugs

Nobbys Lighthouse
View from breakwater
Breakwater, and ship free of tugs, leaving harbour
Tony had hoped to catch up with a friend of mine, T, who has recently opened the Reserve Wine Bar in Newcastle, but I didn’t have current contact details for him. I thought since I was in the area I could call in to the Reserve and see if I could get a phone number or something – when I opened the door the first person I saw was T’s wife – she and T were having lunch there with her parents. I hadn’t seen them for about 7 years so it was a very pleasant surprise for everyone. I had a quick catch up and grabbed T’s details then left them to their lunch, hopefully we’ll catch up again later this week.

I drove down Hunter St, through the mall which is now open to one lane of one way traffic, and could see that the shops are actually doing business now and there were people everyone, unlike the last few times I’d been there when this end of town was dying. All of Hunter St looked in a better condition than last I’d seen it. I went to Hamilton and had lunch in another wine bar, Fortunate Son, recently opened by a friend of my sister’s. I had a fantastic pancetta, kale and pumpkin salad in a cosy and modern bar, I was quite impressed.

From there I picked P up from work and we came home. The kids were watching TV together, then they iced the cake and we all had a piece – it was delicious. The kids played for a couple of hours, then Tony and our kids left to go out for dinner. We met our friends R & K at Paul’s Asian Affair – Tony’s favourite restaurant in the world. The food is fantastic, and they provide generous serves. It was great catching up with our friends and eating wonderful food. The highlight for LiAM was the Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert which he ate single handedly. It wasn’t too late when we got home but everyone was tired (and Caitlin had been feeling unwell all day) so straight to bed.

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