199  Bawley Point and Candelo

I first met Helen when we were Botany students at the University of NSW. She was captain of the University hockey team and at some stage when the second team were desperately in need of some extra players, I was dressed in someone’s uniform, given a hockey stick (for the first time ever!) and told to hit the ball ‘that way!!” For most of my school days I’d only played basketball as it was then called. I went on to play for the University for several years and we had some memorable games, not so much for the sport itself but for the weather which was sometimes so bad the hockey ball would get lost in the water covering the grounds.

Time passed on and our lives took very different turns, but converged again quite unexpectedly when ‘Cornelius’ was motoring along the Hawkesbury River heading back for Pittwater and caught up with a little sailing boat motoring in the same direction  …..with a madly waving Helen and John on board. (“My g… It’s Nancy!!”)

I went to their wedding …. and then years later they came to Dave’s and mine in NZ. That was 12 years ago. So it was a lovely reunion at their beautiful beach home near Bawley Point. Surrounded by acres of beach-bushland, there were plenty of kangaroos around including an albino which they’d christened Alby, but after close inspection of my photos that was changed to Alberta. (A Vet friend has confirmed: “There’s definitely a Joey there”).

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There are fantastic views from all parts of the house, even from our bedroom at dawn:

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It was only a short walk down to the beach, particularly beautiful in the evening light.

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Bawley Point has a thriving Community spirit. Among other things there is a community garden. Does anyone know what this is?

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A quick visit to nearby Ulladulla gave Dave some awesome surf shots:

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We were wined and dined (including local prawns and oysters of course) for several wonderful days, then it was time to move on, heading for Merimbula and the camp where we stayed almost a year before.

As it is now the off-season I think the owner was very pleased to see us, and on being asked which was the best place in Merimbula for a birthday celebration, offered to be our chauffeur for the night. Here’s the birthday girl, looking a bit worse for wear…  that’s a gigantic affogatto in front of me. 

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Leaving Merimbula next day we stopped at the Bodalla cheese factory for some coffee and bought an interesting Sage & Saltbush cheese….

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…. then on to the heritage-listed little town of Central Tilba with its rows of interesting shops. The ‘Passionfish’ candle shop was fantastic; when I stepped inside the first thing I saw were rows and rows of soaps in rainbow colours, plus art on the wall, then in the next room a huge array of candles and candle-holders. Unfortunately my photos did not turn out well. Across the street was a leather shop where I finally bought a sorely needed belt and resisted with difficulty all the beautiful handbags and also alpaca jumpers. An antique jewellers had an amazing painted floor, somewhat marred …. everywhere were cottage gardens, books, coffee, clothing …..

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We’d hoped to catch up with other friends who were touring with the Aston Martin Car Club, and finally did so in the historical little town of Candelo, about half an hour’s drive inland from Merimbula through beautiful south coast farming country. We’ll see them again in Melbourne.

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During the last few weeks and indeed throughout our Australian touring I’ve been able to catch up with a number of old friends, some of whom I haven’t seen for many years. There are just two remaining, one in Melbourne and the other, sadly, a schoolfriend who sent me a short email saying “Sorry, flat out with grandkids” and that was that, even though we were in her area for six days and would have stayed longer if necessary. I’m very conscious that this may be the last time I see some of my friends. We are all into our seventies; several are over 80. Travel insurance is becoming so expensive that even the healthiest of us have second thoughts about long-distance travel.

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