Beautiful Newport … preparing to say goodbye …

I’m heading off soon for other places …


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Kelporama …


Suddenly Newport beach is the scene of a mass kelp beaching … must have come from the huge seas of last week … this morning I was greeted by dull skies, grey sea, a surfeit of seaweed and no people …

But Easter Sunday was a different story …. the sun was at all the right angles …

People frolicked on the beach, a balmy breeze. Image



This was the first crab to get his burrow clean after the tide retreated ...

Seagulls were on the wing, an optimistic crab had cleared out his burrow …

And I’d been out of the water since February when the endless rains set in.  I was just getting back in the mood for a swim. Yesterday I longed for a dip but didn’t have time.


The water is almost warm and froths like champagne around my feet when I walk along the shore … but now the wind is cold and blustery and I’ve lost my former heroic urge to plunge in whatever the temperature.


Have I left it too late?


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Finally made it to the beach at moon rise. It’s harder than you think to co-ordinate having a free afternoon with the weather and above all … remembering to get there on the day. All those three came together yesterday … went mental and took over 200 photos … had to delete quite a few … here’s a quick one to start with … was a bit over excited about being back on the beach, and what with the camera settings for dusk, some of the shots are a bit blurry … will post some more shots during the week …


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Spring had sprung …

Spring … the season in 2010 when a woman’s thoughts turned to … her blog …

12 May 2010

Ahh, the roar of the waves as they hit the sand … here’s one I took in May

Well, they did for as long as it took for me to write this piece in November 2010 and leave it in the ‘drafts’ file, where I found it today.

So where was I in late 2010? About to have surgery on the hand. It turned out to be a fabulous success … happy to promote Dr Hile if anyone has similar problems. The hand is fully restored to use. Originally the thumb was permanently bent and very painful. I just have to be careful not to do too much blogging!

Yes it was a rough winter in 2010 … ahh the joys of middle age … my plan to swim through winter was stymied by ‘flu, the damaged hand, then the injured foot … followed by a deep sense of inertia.

Finally, with the help of some charmingly attractive orthotics, I felt the imperative to get back to the beach once more … and was blown away, almost literally by the sou’wester that was roaring across the sand … but my soul was elevated by glittering water, magical cloud formations, the smell of the salt (and a few decaying fish) and of course the sight of gorgeous young guys in neoprene doing their stretches on the sand, launching their boards into the surf and tossing their heads around amongst the waves.

Exhilarating. But I didn’t take my camera … used a couple of snaps I took on a gloomy morning in April and September of the same year.

Early morning surfer

Early morning surfer, September 2011

Here’s hoping I get back to doing a bit more blogging as the winter of 2012 progresses. Here’s a photo from the last time to motivate me …

June 2010

Will I dive back in?


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Life on Newport beach goes on …

Without me …

Newport Beach 20 July 2010

I had envisaged a kind of salt water Julie and Julia but  …

I guess I lost my beach mojo with the downfall of my thumb and left foot. But I know I’ll get it back eventually. This Monday my specialist appointment finally happens and I have great hopes for the cortisone injection (ouch!). It should release my thumb … fingers crossed (I just realised that’s a pun).

So, in the interim, here’s part two of …

Fiji … a waterblogged memoir …

Accident prone would describe my relationship with the water on our 1969 family holiday to Fiji.

First day: heatstroke, brought on by spending three or four hours straight in the swimming pool in the tropical afternoon Fijian sun against my mother’s advice. Every time I stepped into that sun again, I turned clammy and felt like simultaneously bursting into tears and passing out.  Perhaps I wasn’t as cut out for the life under a palm tree I’d imagined, but heatstroke didn’t slow me down much. I just stood in the shade as much as I could.

Neither did a run in with some sea lice, who left itchy bites all over my sister Diana’s and my legs after a wade in the ocean on our second morning.

Nor a massive dose of antibiotics. My wisdom teeth, perhaps in an ironic gesture, had decided to erupt fifty miles from the nearest dentist, causing my gums to become dangerously inflamed.

I plugged on.

Then there was the glass bottom boat for viewing coral. What a magic trip. The captain stopped the engine to allow us to drift over a reef looking at the azure wonderland below, and said we could go for a swim. So I dived straight off the front, forgetting the boat was still travelling forwards. Coming up for air, I was just in time to receive a mighty whack on the head from the bow. I lived, but the combination of heatstroke, antibiotics  and the blow to the head was making me a little light headed.

But not so light headed that I didn’t feel like joining a conga line on New Years Eve around the swimming pool in my trendy new culottes … only to be heaved into the water by a drunken reveller.

Having a thick skull proved convenient when, after hauling myself out dripping, I crossed the glossy parquet dance floor barefoot to get the keys to my room from Mum. My wet feet slid from under me and the whack as my skull hit the floor reverberated thoughout the room. Silence. I lay there, wondering what had happened.The band stopped dead, staring in horror, and a Fijian singer, wearing an afro and a gigantic floral mumu put down her microphone and floated across the floor to see if I was still alive.

But Fiji couldn’t kill me, try as it may. I figured the blow to the back of my head evened out the one to the front I got from the boat. Off to my room to change into my second pair of culottes (I’d made two) and I was back dancing again within 20 minutes, albeit a little more carefully, but not before an Indian guy had jumped out from behind a frangipanni tree and hissed like a snake at me on the way back to the party. I scurried for the safety of Mum and Dad. Come to think of it, this bizaare and unnerving sign of male appreciation was the only fruit my desperate efforts at sexiness had borne during the entire holiday.

Fortunately for my weight problem, the inevitable attack of holiday dysentry, combined with a chronic Fijian shortage of chocolate and pastries removed several pounds from my frame, so I was in fact slender and tanned, if somewhat dizzy on returning to Sydney. I continued to dream, unrealistically of the tropics, not pausing to analyse the complete lack of synchrony between that particular fantasy life and the Heathcliff and Cathy one that was developing on the grey and windswept Yorkshire moors of what was left of my brain …Newport Beach ten years ago

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Things are looking up …

Newport Beach 28 May 2010

I’v abandoned coffee and taken up jasmine tea instead. After two days of headaches am feeling a lot better  and my thumb joints are starting to free up a little … but I’m still limiting my time at the computer.

Meanwhile … another waterblogged memoir

Fiji 1969

At fifteen I’d never fully recovered from a childhood spent glued to the Hollywood movies of the 1930s and 40s on our black and white TV, among them, the Road movies of Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour . Somehow Dorothy always seemed to finish up in a sarong, whether the road led to Hawaii or London.

Newport Beach earlier this year

The notion of a long haired beauty in a sarong worshipping some bloke in a grass hut on an island had imprinted itself on a particularly vulnerable part of my psyche. The message of these films … women needed to be sexy, and they could achieve this via the application of a floral sarong, a tan, and an exotic swimsuit. They should endeavour to find themselves in a warm location where they could wiggle their hips a lot on the dance floor, flower in hair, revealing the maximum amounts of skin, in order to fulfill their potential as females. I could just see myself in the role.

Newport Beach 19 July 2010

My concept of a holiday by the sea had previously involved hours of  jumping competitively in and out of the water, or lying in goggles and flippers on the bottom of our swimming pool. Now that things were different, Fiji was to be the perfect locale for releasing my inner Dorothy Lamour …

Equipped with a red and white Hawaiian print bikini and a shark tooth necklace, a burgeoning weight problem, and a gigantic teenage ego … plus two astoundingly short mini dresses and some trendy long culottes I’d sewn myself … I was ready.

Only one thing stood in the way of my apotheosis – my inconvenient, but financially necessary middle aged parents. Try as I would to ignore them they remained steadfastly there, organising, criticising, paying for things.

The height of this incovenience expressed itself at the family resort, Korolevu. I had been cavorting on the dance floor with my sister Diana, who was legendary as a wild and uninhibited, if a little eccentric gogo dancer. Returning to the table, I was mortified when Mum hissed at me “Ask your father to dance. Go on!”

Gone were the little girl days when I delighted in standing on Dad’s feet while he foxtrotted round the lounge room to a 78 rpm shellac disc of Cole Porter’s 1940s hit Begin the Beguine. I loved Dad, but didn’t want to get up in public and dance with him. If I did that, my cover as international groove diva would be blown. Everyone in the restaurant would realise that I had boring relatives and the shame by association would be overwhelming.

However, Mum couldn’t dance with him any more since her tragic paralysis by polio some years earlier.  We did our best to live like any other family, but an undercurrent of survivor guilt ran through the rest of us. From a moral blackmail standpoint she was unbeatable on this one. I was forced to briefly acknowledge that Dad had a right to enjoy himself, and caved in.

On the dance floor there was a bit of pulling and pushing while he tried to get me to foxtrot, until reason prevailed and we broke apart and danced as one was meant to in 1969 … throwing ourselves round, together but alone. Dad danced manfully on, but plainly times had changed since he and Mum first glided round the parquet.

Phew, no-one would realise he was my father, in spite of the undeniable resemblance. In my funky mini dress, it was all about me …  and able to ignore him, I launched into the Skate, which Joscelyn Browning had taught me at school. Undeniably, I was the coolest person out there. The Skate involved a forward lift of the shoulders and arms as you slid from side to side with your feet.

As I sat down at our table, heaving a sigh of relief, Mum leant over and hissed at me again … “You can see your undies every time you lift your shoulders.”

This was well before the era when displaying your underwear became an important thing to do. For the rest of the holiday I moved as if in Riverdance replay … my upper body, specially my shoulders, frozen in place.

Next blog … Fiji part 2,  some waterbound adventures …

Newport Beach June 2010

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Easing back into the saddle …

Wrong metaphor for the beach but that’s how it feels …

Newport Beach July 2010

Swimmer contemplates his winter dip while seagulls stand by ...

And I’m contemplating changing my online name from beachblogger to beachwhinger. Because now I’ve injured my foot, which makes walking the beach painful. Does the Creator have a sense of humour? If so, what kind?

It happened last week … and there’s great irony in the situation. I had to renew my First Aid certificate for teaching, and in the attempt to vigorously resuscitate a rubber torso during the class, I bent my toes back under me as, in line with six other students, I administered CPR. (Our instructor, a traumatised ex-army medic, barking at us all the while.)

Newport Beach July 2010

Tip-toeing through the waves ...

Well I’ve got my certificate but now the foot is bound up and I can scarcely hobble down the street.

Luckily my visit to the beach when I first got back from Warrnambool has provided me with these shots to go on with while I wait for the foot to heal …

Including this little spider … eventually everyone seems to make it to the beach …

Newport Beach July 2010

This little chap made it to the waterfront ... he's got eight feet and they're all functioning well, but I don't like his chances in the water ...

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