Easter Saturday in Newcastle

After the dramatic lightening last night today it was a bright, sunny but very windy day. We decided to walk along the Harbourside to Newcastle beach.

There are some lovely buildings in this very old town. It was settled very soon after the first settlement in Sydney.

The old railway station
Customs House

Steve was keen to swim in the Ocean Baths. A famous old sandy bottom pool. Unfortunately it is closed. After a lot of controversy it has been decided to renovate the pool and concrete the bottom!

We continued on to the beach. Newcastle has many beautiful beaches and is known for its good surf. I love the steps leading onto the beach. It gives a natural seating area to sit and watch the beach , the surfers 🏄‍♀️ and to catch a little warming sun.

The beach cafe was doing a brisk business in the very chilly breeze. Steve got our coffees and we sat away from others on the steps in the sun. So good.

We walked back up the hill behind the beach. Newcastle has a few good steep hills with wonderful views over the beach and to wards the harbour.

There are some lovely very old buildings including the old hospital.

The hill rose sharply towards a cathedral which we thought was Catholic but turned out to be Anglican. It was cool outside so we went into explore and found a team of volunteers cleaning, getting ready for the Easter celebrations.

I sat and quietly observed and enjoyed the peace while Steve went off to explore. I then heard a voice calling ‘Fran, is that you!’

I looked over to see a lady armed with a broom. It was Janey Smith , the National Chair of ADFAS. I’d just returned from our Sydney Conference ( where I picked up covid) Janey knew to keep her distance and we laughed about the coincidence of meeting in the church. We had planned on meeting for coffee but when I got covid I canceled. Yet here I was ! Almost covid free but definitely keeping away.

I love the tapestry kneeling pads. There must be 300 in the church.

Back to our lovely room at the Crystalbrook for a rest and refresh. This is a very good hotel with a lovely room and a well planned bathroom. What is your favourite hotel ? For amenities and layout?

By now it was lunch time which we were having at an airy outdoor cafe on Darby St There are lots of places to choose from but our friends Brian and Deb Campbell had chosen one for us that had big tables and was away from any other people.

We had a huge catch up. Like Elizabeth and Peter from Crescent Head we met the Campbell’s through their son Richie and our son Rob’s waterpolo career. We sat and cheered their many games together in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane , Beijing & London. Our boys are friends and so are we!

After lunch Steve headed off to more band competition and I headed to the room to rest and read.

Steve enjoyed Canberra City band where he played about 55 years ago!

Steve had a chat to some of the members of the Canberra City band including the conductor. A good reminisce for him. They’ll be inviting him to the bands 150year anniversary in 2025!

A quiet night in our hotel tonight.

Road trip to Newcastle

‘You’ll love it’ said Steve.

The National Band Championships are to be held in Newcastle. an hour north of Sydney. About 10 hours south of Brisbane.

We always go to our beach place at Caloundra for Easter but Steve has joined Brisbane Brass and will start with them playing his trombone after these championships.

Three days after being hit with covid we set off. Steve decided he could risk sitting with me in the car for the 10 hours it takes to drive. If I wear a mask.

We were to stay with our friends Peter & Elizabeth in their beautiful home on the hill overlooking Crescent Head beach. But I wouldn’t put them at risk.

Instead, we met them by the river in Gladstone. It’s a pretty spot. The weather was warm and Elizabeth had the Rose,beer and nibbles all ready at a socially acceptable distance. After sitting for 5.5 hrs with a mask I was ready for a splash of Rose!

After two hours of non stop chat we drove into Kempsey to stay the night at the Blue Moon Motel. At $140 it was a find. They had room service from their motel’s Chinese restaurant and a full moon. Just right for a night.

My covid symptoms are very mild almost non existent, thank goodness. So I’m coping well with the travel.

Last night we had dinner with Dinah, a school friend from Steve’s Canberra days. It was at a airy table almost on the verandah – to be away from others. It was at her sons restaurant Tinta. It’s on Lake Belmont and was just lovely. delicious barramundi.

Our hotel in Newcastle is well located next to City Hall where the championships are held.

This morning we heard the Brisbane Brass band 2 – the one Steve has joined and will start playing with when we return. They were very good and Steve is feeling nervous that he isn’t ready for it. But boy …..he’ll give it a go.

Dinah & Steve we’re at school together more than 55 years ago
The views over the lake were beautiful including the lightening behind the clouds.