I walked every street in Woy Woy

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Walk #32 - Cotton Wool Clouds

(Walked 13th of July 2005)

Everything I said about not bringing home any more plant cuttings this winter was a lie. Well, okay, I meant it when I said but this daisy bush today was just asking for it. Another one off the verge down by the beach. Ripped it up and stuffed it down the back of my satchel. It's big enough that it should survive the rest of winter. Some of its fellow daisies from a couple of months back are doing fine. Of the five, three are doing fine, one is definitely going into a decline and the other looks fine one week, sick the next then back to fine again.

Along Umina Beach To Patonga Ridge
(Big version)

It was cold and overcast when I got up this morning. It rained overnight and the ground was still wet. But it started to clear and by the time I went walkies it was clear bar a few high cotton wool clouds. The wind came back and I rugged up. Good thing too. It was a bloody cold wind, coming down from the north. Jackets were flapping, people's hair was lashing them across the face and under-dressed teenagers were shivering and blue.

Went down to Whatsit Street and walked five small streets. The two ending at the beach had several houses from the thirties and a couple of pleasant old twenties houses with enclosed verandas. I love enclosed verandas. They remind me of Nana's old house. The sleepout (enclosed veranda) at the back was full of interesting things to play with in rainy weather (an old copy of Astounding Space Stories and a jar full of odd buttons make a convincing asteroid belt for young astronauts to navigate through) and it was where the puppies spend their first few weeks. It had louvre windows and the wind whistled and howled through the cracks if they weren't shut tight.

Lion Island & Pittwater from Umina Beach
(Big version)

There was a pleasant bungalow from around 1920 with a couple of huge old trees and a sympathetic upper storey added. It was done out in dark green and a deep creamy white. The right colours for its age. A few fifties houses, mostly not in good nick. One had suffered from an owner with too much time and not enough building skills and was barely visible behind layers of add-ons and crooked pergolas.

Building at the beach end has been pretty continuous since the forties. A pleasant sixties house on the corner of angles and windows on one corner, an unlovely block of seventies flats on another. Both streets were sixties and seventies at the beach end, eighties in the middle and nineties and noughties at the Whatsit Street end.

Out Through The Heads
(Big version)

The sun was lovely. People have been huddled inside over a heater for the last couple of days. Today they were out with their hoodies up trotting along the beach. Dogs barked and leapt and picked up sticks. Tourists bailed people up and asked about ferries.

Lobster Beach from Umina Beach
(Big version)

Took a few snaps at the beach. All my photos so far of Ocean Beach were taken on cloudy days. Watched the spray jump high as the waves hit the cliffs on the ocean side of Barrenjoey Head. There was a bit of surf but it was not enough to make a surfer leap with joy.

Dune Plants
(Big version)

On the other side of Whatsit Street it was all forties and seventies again (the forties & seventies are two of the three big building booms on the Peninsula). The forties houses were okay. Nothing to write home about but fairly well built. The seventies houses were another story. Mostly cheap and shitty and coming apart where they stood, mortar going from between the bricks and a wall here and there sagging dangerously.

At one house there were deep churnings in the front lawn, a pile of bricks where next door's brick fence had been and injuries to the bushes in the front yard. A very careless parker lived there. Or a frequently drunk one. Round the corner, at another house, an attempt had been made to draw attention away from some tacky seventies brick by adding an upper storey and painting it virulent green. It was certainly eye-catching and not in a good way.

He Loves Not Wisely But Too Well
(Big version)

A couple of houses down a garden was crammed to the brim with plants. Bushes that needed six feet of space were planted six inches apart, trees were festooned with staghorns and hung with flaccid pot plants. Shade plants were in the sun and sun plants leaned desperately out of the shade. The veranda was crowded with ratty cane sofas and dog baskets and windchimes and little figurines of dogs and deer. Across the road a garage had been turned into a cabin (granny flat), much like the one where I used to live. The age and priorities of its occupant were made apparent by the quilt draped over the car's bonnet.

Near the Whatsit Street shops a Dear Old Thing cycled wobbily into the teeth of the wind. In the furniture shop there was a silent schaunzer. It'd been brought up in the shop and had no fear of strangers. Big bushy eyebrows and soft curly grey hair. It was as light as a feather when it put its paws up on my leg.

Fossicked in the library for a bit then caught the bus back. There was a Dear Old Thing on it who didn't know where his bus stop was and smelt terribly of stale pee. The driver stopped after the Dear Old Thing got off and examined the seat where he was sitting but it was dry enough.

Next walk


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