Saturday, 9 August 2014

My Home Town

The weather has really turned now.

Photo taken in the Blue Mountains source: Sydney Morning Herald

Needless to say, this fair weather rider has been busy doing other things. I sat down at the computer tonight, not really knowing what I was going to do then realised I never did a proper write up about the trip to Newcastle, the first and only trip I've done so far on Huck.

I'm not going to wax lyrical about the trip, you already know I enjoyed the ride .. and loved the adventure on my new baby. I think I'll just show you some pics of the town that I grew up in. It has changed a lot since the years when I caught a train from my home in Lake Macquarie to Newcastle to go to the beach when I should have been in school. It's even changed a lot in the few years since I left and the places where I used to go out are no longer there. We went out for dinner one night with Terry's daughter and her family, I didn't get pics of that cause well .. to tell the truth I forgot to grab my camera when we rushed out of the motel. But it's a great little area that has grown up out of the bunch of run down wool sheds that I remember from my youth. There are many restaurants and plenty of places to go for a night out with friends or family. We visited one of the ice creameries even though the night was decidedly chilly.

The hotel that we stayed in was strange for me, it is one of the high rises that has popped up in the area that used to be taken up with the Royal Newcastle Hospital. The hospital was unrepairable damaged in the 1989 earthquake and the prime real estate has been taken over by expensive hotels and multimillion dollar apartment buildings that look over the wonderful Newcastle beach.

Getting into the motel was an adventure I have to say. I was alright navigating us to the motel even in the dark as it was about 7pm by the time we got there. Then we had to get into the car park, I let Terry go first so he could show me how easy it was. We had to go under an automatic gate that was opened with our room key, I was hoping it would stay up long enough while I gathered my courage for the next part. After a sharp left turn it was down a steep slippery concrete ramp and an immediate sharp right hand turn at the bottom, then nearly straight into a sharp left again for the second slippery ramp at the bottom of which was the last sharp left hander before putting them into a parking spot on the right .. oh my! All of this had to be just done in one go, if I had've paused I'm sure something would have gone wrong. As it was I did it and even though I was shaking when I finally got off the bike, I was ecstatic at my accomplishment!

The Bikes in their shelter.

We took my mum out for breakfast the next day at a place that I'd never been to. It's called the Paymasters Restaurant, as it's name suggests it was used as the paymasters office for railway workers. The railway terminal is very close by. It was built in 1879 on a site that was used as a convict lumberyard then stockades from 1804 - 1847. We saw some of the relics that are left from that time when we visited, they are underground things that are covered with glass so didn't photograph very well. Originally it was the Warfingers Office and became the Paymasters Office where they paid the railroad workers in cash later. In 1981 it was left empty and let to become run down.

Paymasters house in its run down state. From: link
In 1993 it was restored and the restaurant has been there since 1994.

What the Paymasters looks like today.

We had gotten to breakfast early .. I mean really early!! So while we waited for Mum we wondered down to the foreshore. Now this area has a lot of memories for me as that's the way I walked from the train station to the beach in my youth. Wow has it changed! Some things stay the same though, they can pretty up the walkways and put in parks, they look lovely, but they will never really be able to change the harbour that is the mouth of the Hunter river where it meets the ocean.

Looking in one direction you can still see some of the industrialisation that Newcastle was built on.

The mountain you can see in the sunlight in the background is Mt Sugarloaf, those towers are the tv towers that service the Hunter region. It's a great place, and somewhere I really must visit again one day soon.

Looking towards the ocean you can see where river meets ocean .. and the light house that isn't operational any more but still a landmark called Nobby's. Nobby's Beach is the beach I favored all those years ago.

All along this here used to be where the tug and pilot boats used to moor, not sure if they still do, you can see one pilot boat there, maybe they were all out working while we were there.

We wandered around the park beside the foreshore for a little while then went back to Paymasters for breakfast with Mum.

The rest of the day was spent doing not much at all. We wandered back to the motel, along the way we passed some buildings that haven't changed much since my childhood.

And they did invoke a sense of nostalgia, even though I never thought about them when I was young, I walked past a lot of them on a regular basis and seeing them after so long away brings a strange feeling.

This is all that's left of the old Royal Newcastle Hospital, I did some of my nursing training right through those doors and looked out some of those windows at the ocean on my breaks.

We wandered around the Hunter Street Mall for a while at lunch time and had a lovely meal at one of the trendy new places that has sprung up. Then just spent the rest of the day doing nothing. The next day was our trip home .. first we had to get the bikes back out of that car park. I lined Huck up at the first ramp then just went for it .. not stopping til I got to the driveway. Terry followed me and we made it out of the city center to a new bike shop in Islington.

Lots of bikes to look at, but I was interested mostly in trying on as many helmets as I could. There aren't a lot of choices here in Dubbo .. but as you know, I didn't end up finding one there. Terry did ...

And then we rode home without getting lost this time. It was a great trip and all the better for being the last time I've really ridden in so long that my memory of riding is starting to fade I'm sure of it. That will get better soon, the weather will start to turn nice again soon. But even so I do expect that I'll still be a bit slack in the blogging department. I have decided to start a uni course, that might take me 3 years to complete, or might take me a hell of a lot longer if I get lazy. We'll see, the thing is it's taking a bit of my time .. and has held my interest so far. I'll post up when I've nothing else to do never fear .. I'm just not managing to keep up with what all my friends are up to like I used to.