A Day To Relax…

Today, Susan and I went down to Berrima, which is about 1 hour’s drive South of where we live, to celebrate 28 years since we went out to dinner for the first time way back on 19 November 1994. We were a week late in celebrating as we were moving house last week.

After all that has been happening in the last 4-5 months, it was delightful to get away for the day and relax.

As is normal, the first stop is Berkeleouw’s Book Barn which houses approximately 100,000 books. It used to be, however, the help the business survive, they kept a reduced amount of books and added Wedding Receptions, a cafe/restaurant, accommodation, and wine tasting to the business.

We spent just under two hours there and (in a separate post) I’ll talk about the books I purchased.

After Berkeleouws, we had a delicious lunch at Josh’s Cafe and Restaurant which is located in the actual town of Berrima. We have been eating there for many years and are always delighted with the food, service, and atmosphere.

From there, we ventured into a few shops (as we normally do), including ‘Mrs. OldBucks’ (jams, sauces, honey, teas, etc), ‘Six Impossible Things’ (various boutique items including writing materials, dip pens, ink, journals, books, and other tourist-inspired goodies). Our last stop was ‘Sticky Beaks Vintage Emporium which consists of a number of smaller antique sellers within a larger shop.

All-in-all a very relaxing day that helped us celebrate one of the most special days in our lives!

Looking forward to next year’s celebration!

Written by David Johnson

26 November 2022

Winter Sun

Aquawash Rocks

Today, we went out to Lake Burragong, which is approximately 1/2 a hour drive away from where we live. Lake Burragorang, when full (like it is now), holds 4 times the amount of water of Sydney Harbour. We have been there many times and it is a most beautiful and relaxing place.

I took my Winsor and Newton Field kit (which now has both Winsor and Newton, and Daniel Smith Watercolour paints in it) plus my Aquawash brushes and a small sketchbook.

I wasn’t all that excited about the sketch/painting I did first out there but it did give me an idea to painting a similar subject but in a different way, and more from my imagination.

Day 1,270 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day

I’ve had my Aquawash brushes for a few years now though I’ve only used them sporadically and I need to watch some videos on how to use them with greater effectiveness. I rather like how this sketch turned out, though and I will be using these type of brushes more in the future.

I’m due to go on my first field trip with the Sydney Urban Sketchers next month and I think it would great to take these brushes.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

24 July 2022

Silent Moments

Renew

Oh The Fun!

Last weekend, my Wife and I stayed with our friends at Millthorpe, NSW, Australia as my Wife had been invited to a Baby Shower in Bathurst, about 20 minutes drive away.

Whilst my Wife was at the party, I ventured into the CBD and started to look for a suitable subject to sketch and paint.

I came across a lovely-looking building with a dome which turned out the be the Courthouse however, I chose to sit in the park and view it from behind. I quite liked the busyness of the structures in front of it that were set against the backdrop of the dome.

For me, it was rather a challenging subject as I am still endeavouring to learn ‘how much I want to leave in or leave out?’ One of the other challenges I had on the day was it was quite chilly with a wind blowing. The light was just beautiful though, so I sat there and attempted to sketch and paint it, well my interpretation anyway…

I will definitely have another go at this subject at some point. It was the first time out using my new Winsor and Newton Field Kit which has a mix of Winsor and Newton, and Daniel Smith paints.

After I finished the sketch, I set off with my DSLR camera and (of course) my Phone camera to see what I could capture in the beautiful late afternoon light. Below is one example from the iPhone camera.

All in all, I had a very enjoyable couple of hours in the late afternoon light.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

3 May 2022

Island Fish Fry – A Sumptuous Experience!

There are many interesting tours to do on Norfolk Island. One of our favourites (we’ve done it every time we’ve visited) is the ‘Pine Tree Tours Island Fish Fry’ located at ‘Orn Da Cliff’.

Imagine eating freshly caught fish that is barbecued on a clifftop and served with loads of traditional Norfolk Island food whilst the Sun sets in the background…

All this whilst being entertained by Trent Christian, and 8th descendant of Fletcher Christian (from the Mutiny On The Bounty), singing and playing his guitar and also having a demonstration from the Baunti (Bounty) Beauties performing Norfolk Polynesian dancing.

It is great also to meet other visitors to the Island and share some stories of your trip adventures so far and you will probably run into them from time-to-time through your holiday.

The food was delicious, including traditional desserts washed down with a wine or a beer or non-alcoholic beverages. It’s hard to get across in words so I think I’ll let the images do the talking from here, although one final recommendation is ‘go to Norfolk Island and sample it for yourself!’

Written by David Johnson

12 Mar 2022

Renewal

Norfolk Island – Paradise!

On 18 February 2022, my Wife, Susan and I headed off to one of our favourite places to go for a holiday, Norfolk Island for 10 nights. It was our third trip there.

View from Queen Elizabeth Lookout over Quality Row (part of Kingston World Heritage site), the Golf course and Nepean and Phillip Islands.

Norfolk Island is located 1,766 kilometres (1,097 miles) North East of Sydney, Australia and there are only two flights in and out per week. The Island itself is an external territory of Australia that was gifted to Australia by the British Commonwealth back in 1913. It became self-governing in 1979 but then in 2015 the Australian Government took over control.

There have been 4 settlements on the Island. Archaeological evidence suggests the the Polynesians were there between (c.1150 and c.1450 AD), then in 1788 the British arrived on Norfolk Island and a Penal colony existed till 1814, then was closed down. A while later, another Penal colony was established and that was closed down in 1856.

Gallows Gate – New Gaol – Penal Settlement

The ‘Mutiny On The Bounty’ also had a part to play as, after the Mutiny, Fletcher Christian and the other mutineers ended up taking The Bounty to Pitcairn Island (some 7,000+ kilometres East of Sydney). Descendants of the mutineers then settled on Norfolk Island in 1856 and descendants of the 8 families are still on Norfolk Island to this day.

As mentioned, this is our third visit there, the first being our Honeymoon in 1997, then for our 10th Wedding Anniversary in 2007. This time it was for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and we will definitely be going back again.

Susan and a Moreton Bay Fig Tree
at ‘100 Acres’.

The Island is only 34.6 square kilometres (13.36 square miles) in area and is 8km (4.97 miles) wide and 5km (3.1 miles) long however, in three visits there we have not seen it all or done everything there is to do there. It is such and amazing place that caters for all interests and tastes. Whether you are a history buff, like to relax, sketch, paint, photograph, play sports (including Golf), swim, surf, snorkel, read, kayak, paddle-board, fish, hike, go out to restaurants, live bands or shop, there is something for everyone.

Sunset at Puppy’s Point

Over the ensuing weeks (or longer), I will be writing some articles based on our experiences on this Island paradise.

As the Island’s advertising slogan states, ‘There’s more to Norfolk Island.’

Written by David Johnson

5 March 2022

A Favourite Spot!

A favourite spot I (we) like to go to relax is only about 8 minutes drive from where we live. The Nepean River wanders through the Camden District (N.S.W. Australia) and it is at its widest going through Camden.

There exists a lot there to please people and caters for a diverse amount of interests. You can:

  • Have a leisurely walk on man-made paths or go off-track
  • Kayak/Canoe up and down the river
  • Go for a quick dip (no sand on the bank, though)
  • Ride your bike along a designated Bike track
  • Sit by the river with a book
  • Sketch, Paint, Photograph
  • Play ball games with your friends and family
  • Exercise in a number of ways
  • Take your children to the permanent Play equipment or kick a ball
  • Just relax

We use it to go and relax, go for a walk and other things. I’ve been down there to sit and read, walk, sketch, paint or just sit and relax. When Susan comes with me she will either take a book or Crotchet.

Our most recent visit was just to sit and relax on one of the benches by the river. We were joined by i/2 dozen Lizards, a few Ducks and cooling breeze on a hot day for an hour or so. We are certainly blessed to have such a place so near to us.

Till next time!

Written by David johnson

16 February 2022