Up Up and . . . . !

Posted on Mar 20, 2013
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Howyagoin? as they say around here!

Very little new to report.  the weather seems to have settled into pleasant lower to mid 20’s with very little rain, so we are now getting into walking mode and generally after a good walk throwing ourselves into the sea somewhere to cool off.
The following, perhaps rather over long paragraph is Jeremy’s contribution to this blog of one of our favourite short walks around the headland at Colloroy.
“On a great day for walking, we decided to visit the coast at Collaroy and walk to the head, where one can watch paragliders floating in the light airs. On this particularly day the paragliders were notable by their absence but there was one lone hang glider who was unpacking his wing and readying himself for a flight, so we decided to wait and watch. After quite a time of putting the contraption together, double checking all the bits of wire and string were correctly attached, he paced around his take off area on the edge of the cliff, throwing grass into the air to test the wind and generally trying to convince himself that the whole thing was a good idea. We were getting slightly impatient by this stage but eventually he donned his crash helmet and strapped himself into his harness. He now had a rather significant wing attached to his back and was finding some difficulty in staying upright. As the only onlookers, he called upon me to lend a hand, which, of course I was pleased to do, in anticipation of him getting airborne a little more quickly. I grasped the end of one wing, endeavouring to keep the wing level but I too was having some difficulty keeping the whole thing under control. Fortunately, at that time a paraglider arrived with his kit and also offered assistance. Introductions were made and Scott grabbed the other end of the wing. By this time our pilot was somewhat over exerted both physically and mentally but gentle encouragement from me appeared to boost his confidence. We walked him up to the edge of the cliff, holding the wing level but on at least 5 occasions he bottled it, saying he didn’t feel comfortable. Having now waited for a good half hour, I wasn’t going to let him off that easily, told him everything would be fine, and if perhaps he just took a run at it, his nerves might be overcome. This strategy was eventually agreed upon and with a long run and Scott and myself holding the wing straight, our intrepid pilot launched himself off the cliff. The expectation was that he would soar above the cliff on a thermal but alas it was not to be. As the hang glider disappeared below the level of the cliff, Scott asked me to oversee his own launch, believing me to be the “duty pilot”. Apparently one is not supposed to partake in such activities without having another qualified person to oversee proceedings. I’m not sure why Scott thought I possessed such qualifications, bearing in mind my charge was now spread-eagled on the beach below, but I soon informed him that he would need to seek someone else to assist. Our attention was then drawn to the beach, where our pilot appeared to be in a certain state of anguish. We later discovered he had suffered a severe blow to his arm upon crash landing and, no doubt, was also troubled by a certain lack of dignity in a rather short and inauspicious flight. We nevertheless decided that some assistance might be in order and Scott and I made our way down the cliff to the beach to retrieve said pilot and wing. We arrived back on top of the cliff some while later and Diana and I left as our hero readied himself for another attempt, without the benefit of my assistance.”
We have decided Hang gliding is not a sport we will pursue!
Back to me now!  I invested in a new walks book this week, equally as enjoyable as the last which apart from the longest in the book and or farthest out of the city, we have just about covered.  This has 50 new (to us) walks all in fairly close proximity and we have done a couple this week.  On Monday a 12k fairly level (for these parts!) walk around a big lake Manly Dam which we did not even know existed until now but is in a vast area of bush land a few miles Inland of Manly.  Yesterday we did a short walk around Middle Harbour and under the fairly impressive North Bridge which we have admired when driving across it a few times but even more impressive when looking up from below.  These 19th and early 20th century engineers were quite something weren’t they?
We have been enjoying babysitting Jack either in the day time or at night to allow Oli and Angie a bit of free time for cinema and theatre visits of which they have been deprived over the last year.  He is at such a lovely age in that as long as someone is paying him attention, he does not mind who it is.  He will quite happily watch Mummy and Daddy walk out of the door then turn to whoever remains and give a big grin as if to say “ok what are we going to do now”.  No doubt by this time next year he will be a bit more picky about who picks him up if he falls over or who feeds him his tea etc, so we will enjoy it while we can!
Having mentioned our visa issues in my last missive, that along with continued reports of dire weather in the UK has made us rethink our return plans.  We are always moaning that we are not here at the right time to visit various parts of Australia that are on our wish list itinerary.  Therefore we have decided,to put back our return flights until the end of April and take the opportunity to head up the East Coast and visit Queensland.  It will be the tail end of the cyclone season but hopefully we will hit a calm spell.  We fly to Cairns and after one night there will be whisked away in a light aircraft to a remote lodge in the Daintree for five nights.  From there we should be able to do some trekking, crocodile viewing by boat (fairly rigid I hope,) and they have a catamaran for trips out to the Great Barrier Reef.  All that and luxurious Eco Lodge accommodation.  Should be good.
Next week Paul (Angie’s Dad) arrives so we are all heading off for
Easter long weekend up to stay in a house on Lake Macquarie from where we can visit the Hunter Valley, Australia’s very own Newcastle and/or the coast. Also just enjoy the lake.  We can swim from its jetty or use the kayaks provided to explore further.
Will write again after Easter but note to Sally and Suzanne, we have timed our trip back to be there to cheer you on in the Stratford half Marathon, so keep up the training!  Sally and Oli if you want to stay over at Frog that weekend that would be lovely although don’t be offended if we are turning in about 9.00pm as we will be keeling over with jet lag!
Love to all and looking forward to news of Kemp Grandchild no 7!
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