Friday 18th September

We did not hear everyone leave the house but when we got up we were alone except for the cats.  It was a bright day. Having got something of our bearings in the house and looked out over the beach below us that can be seen from the balcony, we set off to purchase Coco’s birthday present.  We had decided on a replacement reed for the clarinet – something of a self serving gift as I felt we were probably to be party to more ‘recitals’ before the weekend was out!  We thought we could also give her a music stand – another ‘must’ for the would be performer.  This was all well and good but we were perched on the Collaroy Plateau and the music shop Keith had found was some way away and we had no idea how to get there, except on foot.  So that’s the way we did it.  What we had not allowed for was that the route was somewhat circuitous, that we had no map and that the day would get hotter.   The combination of all these things meant that when we found that the place Keith had found was a wholesalers and did not sell to the public after 2.5 hours walking we were somewhat despondent.   Luckily not far from the wholesaler was a big music shop, which when we eventually found it fulfilled all our needs!

Reeds and music stand purchased – we had to get back.  We decided that given the distance, the size of the hill we had to climb and the fact that K had no hat, the investment in a cab was the only way and were pleased to arrive back relatively unscathed if a bit pooped!

After a rest and change we gathered ourselves and were ready for Tony’s birthday celebrations at the local family ‘club’ on the beach that evening.  Justine had collected the girls and after a flurrie of activity when they got in as they dressed for the occasion, we were ready for the off.  We all clambered aboard the car and in no time we had reached the bottom of the hill and were being signed into the club.

It was all going on there!  Raffle tickets were purchased for the meat draw and then we were in the bar meeting up with  friends Lesley and Dave. They came over from England slightly ahead of Tony and Justine and were great fun.  Keith and Dave were good partners in conversation as Dave had been in the victualling trade in the Sheffield area.  After a few drinks, we adjourned to the restaurant to eat and Tony was presented with his birthday cake avec sparkler.  We ate looking over the now dark ocean with the sound of the waves washing up on the sand just beneath the window of the restaurant. At every turn we see that it is an ideal location for the Wightmans. The sea just a step away. Everything feels young and fresh.

On our return it was time for Tony’s present opening and then a very excited Coco went off to bed with thoughts of an exciting weekend ahead with her birthday on Saturday and the party on Sunday. It is tough being 9 but good to be 9 on a weekend!

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