A Travellerspoint blog

Day 6 and 7 - Catching up with friends

Beth and Jen

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I had organised to catch up with Beth for lunch today. She was able to get the afternoon off so she suggested we catch the monorail over to the Casino. We had lunch in their little food court area, which was quite nice. They have yummy looking cakes so I hoped we might get back there for afternoon tea. We were playing the pokies, I was doing ok but the machines were just taking Beth's money.

A lady from the casino came around and asked if I wanted a casino card. I have one for Melbourne, Auckland, and the Gold Coast so I thought why not! When she got to the occupation question I was able to answer "retired" for the first time. It's really starting to sink in. We chatted and fed machines for a few hours then headed back to Central station on the monorail. We parted company and I headed back to the Hotel.

Thursday, it was back to the hospital to visit Jen. When I arrived she was in the gym and had just finished some walking activities. She was sitting in the wheelchair away from other patients facing the wall. I walked up behind her and asked if she had been naughty. The speech therapist came over and wanted to go through some exercises which was briefly interrupted by the nursing staff wanting to see Jen transfer out of the wheelchair on her own using a quad walking stick/support. She was able to do this quite easily. I am really impressed at how Jen is handling herself and progressing through her rehab. I headed back to the city just before 7, arriving back at the hotel just after 9. Today nothing really connected properly so everything took longer. Tomorrow, is the start of my South Pacific cruise.

I am starting to feel nervous about doing this on my own.

Posted by Christinesolo 07:10 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Day 5 - Getting around Sydney

Trains, buses and more walking

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The day started slow, well not the day but me, I started slow. The visiting hours are 10 to 12 then 2 til 8 so I have decided to leave the city by midday to get to the hospital by 2. I downloaded a free journey planner app called TripGo to help me get around Sydney. I can tell it where I wish to travel from and where I want to go and it gives me options on how I might get there. I also noted that when I was on the train it tracked our location. When I got to Museum station, I looked at using the machine to buy a ticket, it's probably really easy but it looks hard so I buy my ticket from the person at the only booth that's open.

The trains here are really clean, and the seats look clean and have not been vandalised. I still can't get over the double decker carriages and self opening doors. The trains I have needed to catch run frequently and have easily connected with buses, much better than getting around Brisbane. The buses are the same as the trains. The drivers are well protected and are separated from passengers by a Perspex door. They are moving to a card system instead of tickets for all types of public transport, well trains, buses and ferries. Coming home one of the Campbelltown station personnel showed me how to use the ticketing machine. He was a really nice man, it's a shame that the full implementation of the machines and the Opal card system will mean the loss of jobs.

I didn't have to wait long for a train to Campbelltown and there weren't many people on the train. A nice family got on at the airport and sat next to me, the little girl was gorgeous. She seemed to like Dora the Explorer as she has a suitcase and money pouch with Dora on them. She told us she was five years old, and asked the older lady with them (I assumed it was her grandmother) if she was coming home with them. The lady said yes then indicated she could go to her aunty's house too. This upset and confused the little girl til her father said they were going home together. They all got off the train a few stations before me. The little girl turned and waved at me so sweetly.

At Campbelltown, I had to find stand A for the 895 bus. I got there and a bus was at stand A it had 895 on it but I felt the need to double check the app to make sure it was the right bus, and whilst I did that the bus left. I almost missed the next one as well cos the driver didn't change his sign til he was ready to leave. After buying my ticket I asked if it would be obvious where I had to get off the bus. He said there was to be a new driver come on board part way through the trip and he would ask him to tell me when we got to the hospital. While I was on this bus a hailstorm hit. It lasted about 5 minutes and was weird. Thankfully the hail and rain stopped before we got to the hospital.

I spent hours with Jen, having a stroke has really affected her in some ways and not at all in others. The stroke has affected the right side of her body, she has feeling back in her leg, can stand but has some difficulty moving her leg to do things we take for granted like walking. Repositioning it on the wheelchair support is also a challenge. Her right arm doesn't work at all, and yes she is right handed. Her work may need to be adjusted if she is able to return. It's hard to know what to do when she struggled to find a word or to get it out. I decided patience was best and just gave her time. I did a couple of times step up and guess, and a couple of times I made a joke out of it which did seem to help. Inappropriate joking is one of my strengths! We both had a laugh which was good.

I have encountered a lot of lovely people in Sydney, people in service positions who actually appear to think that providing a service is part of their work. So novel! Maybe Brisbane will follow suit in time. Now prolific swearing is another thing. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a tendency to let rip with some profanity from time to time. I don't however need it every sentence, I can use other descriptors instead. It jars with me when people sit right behind me and have a conversation consistently swearing. Seriously what is up with that or am I just a prude?

Everyone that I have asked for help have been wonderful. Tonight when I came back through Museum Station and my ticket wouldn't go in the turnstile machine, I asked the guard standing there. He nicely said it's all open just walk through it's ok. I laughed and said I wasn't expecting that.

Posted by Christinesolo 09:43 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 4 - Sydney

Quiet day walking around Sydney

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Got up late due to a headache - possibly should have drunk more water yesterday! I walked around Hyde Park which was really quite nice. There is an al fresco cafe in the lower left corner of the park. Lovely to sit and have a coffee and soak it all in. This being retired is so hard to take!

Not far from the cafe is the ANZAC memorial. It's free to get in, the exhibits are donations from returned soldiers or their families. Uniforms, boots, ID cards, "most wanted" playing cards and medals. I find this to be so interesting as it refers to specific soldiers telling a bit of their story. There was a short film on the memorial and the origin of the term ANZACs as well as what it represents. There is a great statue in the middle of the building, I think they said it was called Sacrifice. It has a dead naked soldier laying over a shield and sword in a kind of crucifixion pose, he is held up by three woman and a child. The dome overhead has 120,000 golden stars one for each NSW man and woman who served overseas in WWI. That is just NSW, it is hard to imagine so many Australians being involved in that war alone.

Going through this memorial stirred up some national pride and in particular made me think of my uncles who served in Vietnam. Max and Graham both returned but saw things that no one should see. This affected Graham, who was always a sensitive soul to the point that he spent time in psych wards. He later disappeared somewhere in Western Australia. The police found his car with a disturbing note inside, then found him in bush land. He told them he was writing a book so they left him be, no one in the family has seen or heard from him since. I think of him every ANZAC day and certainly thought of him today.

After the visit to the memorial I had a walk around the shops, bought nothing though. I did stop into the Cafe Cherry Bean for afternoon tea. A little pot of English breakfast and a yummy Fruit Crepe. The crepe was wrapped around slices of banana and strawberries drizzled with melted chocolate and served with whipped cream and ice cream. Simple but beautiful. I will need to visit again before leaving.

Tomorrow I will be heading out to Camden hospital to visit a friend who had a stroke a few weeks ago. I also want to visit the Hyde Park Barracks museum as they have an interesting exhibit about female immigration I would really like to see.

Posted by Christinesolo 06:54 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 3 - Sydney Writer's Workshop

Last day of the workshop

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Today we had some more inspirational authors speak with us. I must be feeling more comfortable today as I didn't notice as many irritants as yesterday. Maybe it was just that it was freezing in the room that took my attention.

Megan Dalla-Camina was the first and she was charismatic. She runs programs/courses for women in leadership. A lot of the women In leadership positions that I experienced in my 30 plus years in the public service had little to no empathy, no emotional intelligence, and certainly didn't inspire people under them to achieve greatness. They are too busy focussing on how they can enhance their own careers, they don't realise they will do that a lot easier if they get their people on board and it is their role to achieve that. You don't have to put others down to make yourself look better. Just think how much better something works when everyone is focused on the same result, understands how all the bits fit together, realise that all parts are important in the overall result and are empowered to look for improvements. The Public Service has so many restrictions placed on it resulting in clunky outdated processes. At times it felt like you needed a committee to determine if you needed a new pen, then another one to research what type of pen that should be, and yet another to determine if you were competent enough to use it. This process would be so long winded that it woul take months to resolve and you would have the naysayers lined up expressing their concerns about who is being consulted, the biased influences and how that all affects the end result. In one area I worked in, you also had to be in the in crowd to even think about a replacement pen. I started buying my own! I digress.

Next we had the mind gardeners, Susan Pearse and Martina Sheehan. Wow! Some time ago Stephen put me onto mind gym, which slowly but surely helped me to change my perspective and how I let things I had no control over affect me. What these ladies preach seems to be similar to that. They have a website and a book Get Wired for Success. Everyone can be happy across all aspects of their lives and be successful.

Then a lovely lady Jess Ainscough, who studied to be a journalist, was an editor with Dolly and had a life changing experience when she was diagnosed with a type of cancer. My understanding of her book Make Peace with your Plate is that it's about sustaining a diet that ensures a healthy mind and body.

Yesterday they asked us what type of book we were wanting to write and most said self help/inspirational or wellness/spiritual, a few poetry, and a few fiction. They have concentrated on the self help and inspirational. The information they are providing is pretty much the same for all types, Hay House mainly publish this type of book. For those of us wanting to write fiction, we will need to self publish or go through another publisher. We probably won't be in the running for the publishing "prize" they are giving away for being at this conference. The four women who spoke today were previous winners and they all seem to be going from strength to strength.

My story, temporarily named Ride the bull was going to be about office bullies, reflecting some of my experiences working in the Public Service. I don't think I can make it a self help book since I didn't handle these bullies very well at all. It would be more of an exposé, except I can't name names or Departments without running into legal issues.

If I took nothing else from this conference I understand that to be in any way successful as a writer/author I need to connect with people. Social media is a great way to do that so I need to find a niche. I also learnt that if you want to go through a publisher you really should make contact with them early so you can get into their schedule. I am pretty sure that they said Hay House already have their schedule for 2015, and if you submit a proposal to them now, outside the competition for the conference attendees, you will probably be looking at a release date in 2017. Self publishing is probably the way to go.

Posted by Christinesolo 18:26 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Day 2 - Sydney

First day of the Writers Workshop.

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Woke up at 6.30am, still not sure why. A slamming door perhaps? Tried in vain to get back to sleep. Registration starts at 8 and the workshop at 10. No need to get there early, I hope. It is being held across the road in the next block, roughly. I'm thinking 5 minutes walk from the Vibe.

As is my way, I started out being early and ended up later than I had wanted. Fronting up for registration at about 9.40. Apparently I should have received something in the post... Oops! Oh well, they check my emailed confirmation, find me in the list and I'm in. Wrist band on and sample bag in hand I head into the conference room. Not long after I sit down, someone sprays perfume... Hmm this will be interesting. Ok it's strong and is making me feel uncomfortable but I think I'll be OK if I fan my face a lot! More people stream into the room, you should see them! Some dolled up to the nines, most trying to look "artsy". It's raining in Sydney today but it seems wide brimmed hats are trending right now as are scarves. The woman sitting in front of me, stood up and bent over to pick up her bags showing me she has three holes in her track suit pants. Now I did start a rant here about the inconsiderate people who were sitting around me but I deleted it. In a room with 500 people listening to people speak there were people chatting, women doing their hair, people stretching, phones ringing, people checking their Facebook pages and showing it to their friends, silent smelly farters, and pen clickers. That was just around me.

Today's sessions had a "you can do it, because I did" feel to them. Lots of talking at us about finding that original twist on a theme. The world really doesn't need any more cook books but then again people like Jamie Oliver seem to be able to put out new ones showing how even time poor can eat healthy. I also found out I need a platform and a brand. I did think that "riding the bull" might be a good title for my first book, til I googled it to find it has a sexual meaning. I'm guessing If we were talking I'd need to pause here while some of you looked it up. :-)

Dropped into JB Hifi at lunchtime today to see if I could get a replacement pen for the surface. Nope couldn't get an original they don't sell them separately any more, had to get a generic one and no I can't get it to work so it looks like I'll be taking it back tomorrow. Sigh. I also bought a scarf cos I could rather than needing it.

Walked around the block then up the street tonight looking for some takeaway food. Couldn't find anything I wanted so it was back to the Vibe to try room service pizza. Not bad and it was hot! Really tired so will leave it here, hope tomorrow will be more interesting.

Posted by Christinesolo 03:22 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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