Monthly Archives: November 2015

Bridge Climb

20151122_091324-001Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a must-do on most tourist bucket lists. And it’s easy to see why. Exploring this iconic structure close-up, and enjoying the magnificent views over the water and city, is a unique experience.

Perhaps lesser known is the footbridge that spans the Pacific Highway at Lake Munmorah on the Central Coast. This concrete and metal structure links a residential suburb with some of the main schools in our area. To my mind, it’s an ugly example of modern urban architecture. But for Ickle, it has been an object of real fascination for months.

We have driven under it hundreds of times, but that is not where she wants to be. “Mummy, can we walk over the bridge, please?” has been a regular refrain on car journeys. So, this weekend, we did. Just the two of us en route to the local shopping centre.20151122_091056-001We stopped in the grubby little car park where I imagine parents battle for spots at school drop-off and pick-up times. Out hopped my little pink fairy, very excited about the prospect of an impromptu bridge climb. And looking more than slightly incongruous against its dreary greyness, as she scampered up the concrete slope.Bridge Climb1At the top, we peered down to the road below – no harbour vistas here – and admired the passing traffic, before descending to the other side. By this stage, Ickle was beside herself and wanted to run all the way up and over again. Slightly alarming despite the railings and extensive safety grille, so I attempted to slow her to a walk. Alongside me. Back to our starting point.

And the fun is not over yet. Next time, she has announced, we are doing it twice.

Spiderweb Pizza

Australia does not have a huge tradition of celebrating Hallowe’en; in fact, some folk are dead against the festival. Many of the criticisms I have heard involve the words “American” and “commercialism”. And then, of course, there’s the timing. The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is still months away; out here, we’re currently gorging ourselves on stone fruit and pineapple and preparing for the summer sun.

Things are changing, however, and don’t just take that from me; Hallowe’en is on the rise in Australia. Events range from small community get-togethers to large-scale spectaculars, such as Sydney’s annual Zombie Walk, now in its fifth year. Even our local supermarket was bedecked with cobwebs and spiders this year.

I personally don’t have any objection to children, big and small, dressing up in spooky costumes and stuffing themselves full of sugar one night a year. That said, I do find some costumes downright scary, and make valiant efforts to limit the amount of sweets/lollies that Ickle consumes. And I would never let a young child go trick-or-treating in unchartered territory, or without an adult by their side.

We didn’t go banging on doors this year, anyway. Local friends had invited us to a party at their place, where it was all about fun. An enormous spiderweb greeted us at their gate and, inside, little witches, skeletons and ghosts bounced around with sausage sandwiches and sweets in hand, while the grown-ups enjoyed a chat and a bevvy.

Ickle opted to buck the Hallowe’en theme, dressing up as a pink fairy. And I rustled up a quick treat in the kitchen to take with us: a spiderweb pizza for something different. Not to mention quick and easy! I arranged the string cheese in a web on a pre-bought pizza base, baked it in the oven and then placed a rather poisonous-looking olive spider on top.P1030424It was not one of my best efforts, I’ll admit. I got distracted during the 10-minute baking time and the cheese started to bubble and brown. And the pizza came out tasting a bit dry and bland. Next time, I’ll definitely load it with tomato sauce and whisk it out of the oven as soon as the cheese has started to melt. Loved the spooky spider though!P1030428