Saturday, June 22, 2013

Munsonland Midwinter

Moomin snow
The winter solstice passed yesterday with few chills in these parts. I’ve rarely worn more than a single layer of outerwear this winter, and this shortest of days was no exception.

Indoors we’re experiencing a weather system known too well to the families of malamutes, huskies and their cousins. A veritable Munsoon of hair has taken over the house, more noticeable than usual in that the house is still mostly empty as we creep up to two full months of camping out indoors sans furniture. While in France I collected up several years worth of discarded Munson chiengora but left it behind as possibly too inviting for Australian customs officials to slap some fee on it. After all that effort of collecting all the clean tufts and brushings we had nothing to show for it. Still, we may catch up on that loss much sooner than I imagined.
Colossal whether metric or imperial
Here I proudly present Munson’s Winter Collection, with some further releases scheduled in the coming weeks with something to satisfy even the fussiest of dog hair wearers. This doesn’t include any of the plague of hair-bunnies, nor the thick dermafrost which has settled on our floor-level bedding where Munson sleeps during our absence.
Munson, facing malamute-pattern baldness

Sunday, June 16, 2013

STANWELL PARK Bob and Bridge tour

Munson as surf watchdog
My friend Al, who made the Bad Boys of Sydney Park calendar, featuring Munson as Mr January, has moved with dog Bob down to Stanwell Park, a small beachside community between Sydney and Wollongong. It’s only an hour’s drive from the centre of Sydney – most of that taken up with clearing the southwards crawl of suburbia. One of the main attractions, is a full time off-leash area on the beach.

Stanwell Park on the map  Off leash area
Munson hasn’t seen Bob for three years, nor had a swim since he got to Australia. His last swim in surf was during our Spanish road trip last year when he hit the waves at Cadiz. Access to the beach was by way of a path next to a shallow lagoon – the surf was far too rough for a real ocean swim today, but he had no fear about running into the shallows in pursuit of Bob and a large stick.

Munson, Bob & Al
The sand is just as appealing as the water – note face down position, centre right:
Munson's sandy beauty hints
Gustav checks out the local geology   5-P1130624
Stanwell Park lies between a high ridge that cuts off the sun by mid afternoon during the winter months (it’s hard to believe we’re a week away from the shortest day of the year and still out in shorts and tee shirts). Above us lies Stanwell Tops, a favoured spot for hang-gliders, who ride along the ridge before descending to the beach. When we arrived I looked up and saw what I thought was a hang-glider coming down, but then it did a rapid loop-the-loop and I realised it was just a kite. One of the more interesting kites being flown was this multi-coloured galleon:

4-P1130597  galleon kit
Hang glider landing on Stanwell Park beachAfter lunch in the sun at the beach kiosk we returned to the car, just as a real hang-glider was making a landing.Bob, lord of the lagoon
Ten years ago the coast road south of Stanwell Park, long subject to erosion and rock falls since it was built in the 1860s, suffered an embankment slip forcing its closure for several years. In its place, the Sea Cliff Bridge was erected to reconnect Stanwell Park with its southern neighbours, essentially a road section on piers, standing away from the cliffs. Al said it’s become a bit of a tourist attraction, especially as there’s a pedestrian walkway along the ocean side of the bridge.1-P1130653
 Sea Cliff Bridge, looking north to Stanwell Park   Sea Cliff Bridge, looking southBob and Munson on the Sea Cliff Bridge
After parking on the southern approach to the bridge, we walked all of the raised section and back. The path has at least enough room for five wet and woolly malamutes to walk abreast, if such a thing were possible.

I’m not sure I’d drive all the way down here just for its sake – its a nice short walk, but doesn’t take much time to complete. However, while not as dramatic as Norway’s island-spanning Atlantic Highway, it is at least a bit more accessible.

After saying goodbye to Al and Bob, we drove south for a few little while, and then turned back to Sydney ahead of the weekend’s returning traffic.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

5 years and 50kg

Many apologies for being a slack-arse blogger in recent weeks. I’ve gone through a Downton transition from Dowager Countess “What’s a weekend?” to job-holder. That means being surprisingly tired at the end of each day – not helped by sleeping for 6 weeks on a mattress on the floor while we await our furniture from France.

My life crosses several class barriers in one go

I actually don’t even have a full weekend now as I work Saturday mornings, and with Gustav working all day Saturday, we now only have Sunday as common day off.

So that is how I found myself having lunch with just Munson at cafe Lumière for the first time in three years. Looking down at Munson I realised that it was not only a weekend, but mid-June and therefore a Munsonversary. It’s five years this week since Munson joined my household, and since the photo on the left was taken at Lumière.

With lunch over, it was time to renew Munson’s acquaintance with the fountain next door.
2013-06-15 Lumiere 5 years