Saturday 18 th February

No kookaburras this morning – they obviously don’t work at the weekends!

We had a leisurely approach to the day and headed off to the station close by to catch the train to Sydney, our luggage having been transported back the day before. 

The station in a suburb of Newcastle  called Fassifern, named after a place with a similar name in Scotland described ‘one of the most spectacular places in the world’ – I don’t think perhaps they get out much……  apparently Fassifern was famous for its part in the Jacobite uprising in 1745.  Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed at the house of Fassifern during his March and it was here that he picked the white Rose that symbolises the Jacobites.  So now you know!  Just another little something – Mel Gibson stayed there during the filming of Braveheart – lucky chap!

 The sun shone brightly as we chatted to Peter before reluctantly leaving him.  There is a chance, if it ties in with his plans, that we will see him again for a couple of days when we return to Sydney in early April.  It would be lovely, but we shall see…….  as it was, there were big hugs and ‘a bientot s’ before we took to the upper tier of the train for the journey south.  For the most part the scenery was very green, but it was clear that at some stage all the little towns we passed through will link up and Lake Macquarie will become a suburb of Sydney.  

It took about 2 hours to get to Sydney. Our fellow passengers appeared in various guises – I was particularly taken with two beautiful young girls opposite. Both were very tall and dressed in very summery mini skirted dresses. Both wore heavy boots and one a large black felt hat.  Their makeup was somewhat startling but immaculate and they surprisingly left the train way before Sydney, which I was convinced was their destination.  Instead they got out at what looked like a country village where they must have cut quite a dash ……interesting!  I would love to know the rest of the story!!  It was not to be!

We arrived in Sydney and took the metro to the central quay to take the ferry to Manly where we were to meet up with the girls again.  The ferry across the harbour was busy and the sun continued to shine although there was quite a breeze which sent yachts scudding across the water around us.  We decided to lunch on Manly harbour side and consumed Moreton Bay bugs in a delicious sauce while overlooking the water. 

Lunch consumed, we were met by Wendy in the car and took off for an all too brief reunion with Justine, Tony and Michaela while we dumped a bag and picked up our Australian ‘phone. Time was pressing as we all had limited turnaround time before taking off for Tasmania on Sunday. 

After another celebratory bottle of champagne and fish and chips Australian style (no mushy peas!!) for supper, it was bed,  in preparation for an early collection for the airport.  

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