Unfriendly sunglasses

Banksia cones at Balmoral. Janna Schreier

Intricate Banksia cones on my morning walk

If you saw my post on Cremorne Point, you will know I am a bit perplexed by Mosman walkers.  And so it was with great surprise (and delight) that on my recent ‘left turn’ morning walk, I would say three out of four people actually looked up and smiled.  The same walk, the same time of day, the same walking gear, the same hair tied back…….ah ha, but with it being overcast, no sunnies on my face.

Hibiscus. Janna Schreier

Bright Hibiscus flower on my street

And so it seems that Mosmanites are not to blame for their lack of eye contact, it is my sunglasses’ fault.  Which is a bit of a shame really because I have had them for years, they are ultra comfy and I loathe shopping.  But at least I now know.

Tree fern at Balmoral Oval Steps. Janna Schreier

Light catching a tree fern frond on the steps to Balmoral Oval

And so, feeling particularly upbeat upon my return, I thought I would share a few photos I’ve taken on my left turn walks.

Flowering gum at Balmoral. Janna Schreier

A flowering gum at Balmoral – stunning against the blue, blue sky

Turning left first takes me past the Mosman shops and I enjoy the smell of freshly baked bread coming from the early opening bakeries.

Crepe Myrtle on Middle Head Road. Janna Schreier

Crepe myrtle in flower on Middle Head Road

I then head down Middle Head Road, a wide but quiet street, full of flowering trees and front gardens as big as our entire plot. In spring it is a purple wash of Jacaranda.

Natives at the Service Accommodation on Middle Head Road. Janna Schreier

Could do with a bit of a prune to create some contrasting forms, but I adore these lush natives by the Service accommodation

I approach the Service houses, just before the Harbour Trust land, and admire the natives in the gardens. They always look so lush and full and encompass every shade of green, blending wonderfully with the bush beyond.

Grevillea on Middle Head Road. Janna Schreier

Middle Head Road is full of Grevillea flowers of every colour for most of the year

Then, my favourite bit of the whole walk. The road opens out and there is the harbour, the ocean, both North and South Head.

Sydney Harbour Heads. Janna Schreier

Panoramic shot of North and South Heads; with the sun rising between them

In the morning the sun is rising between the heads and it is a magical sight. The water still, glowing with reflected light, the odd boat sailing past and just green, green and more green on the heads. It is so special to be there at this time of the day. It is almost impossible to believe the city centre is just behind the foreground shrubs.

Balmoral Oval Steps. Janna Schreier

It’s a delight to travel along all 263 steps to Balmoral Oval when it’s as beautiful as this

Down 263 steps through the bushland, I hop and skip as gravity takes charge. I adore the unfurling tree fern fronds which invariably hang over the path, and have to resist the urge to stop and touch their hairy swirls.

Hairy tree fern frond unfurling. Janna Schreier

Unfurling tree fern frond – hard not to reach out and touch it!

I come out at Balmoral Oval cricket ground. If I am lucky, the Child Whisperer might be there. I am in awe of this man. 30 toddlers, in their best Superman/Princess outfits, and he has every single one of them gazing up at him in wonder. If one is side tracked for a moment, his name is called and the child is instantly re-engaged. I’ve never stopped to talk to him, so have no idea of his real name.  ‘Child Whisperer’ doesn’t really do him justice; Supernanny has nothing on him.

Morton Bay Fig at Balmoral. Janna Schreier

These huge figs defy gravity with their enormous, horizontal limbs stretching way out over the beach

If I have not been entirely transfixed by the Child Whisper (generally that’s just weekends), I come out of the oval on to Balmoral Beach. I might be lucky and run into an army training session – a dozen fit, young men coming out of the water to commence press ups – but invariably I have the beach to myself.

The Boat House at Balmoral. Janna Schreier

The Boat House cafe – ever-changing, always stunning displays at its entrance

I pass the Boat House Cafe, with its stunning displays of fruit, plants and flowers, and head along the promenade.  A seagull, the odd swimmer and the quiet lapping of the  sea.

Bathers' Pavillion at Balmoral. Janna Schreier

Banksia integrifolia in the foreground to the Bathers’ Pavilion and Balmoral Beach – taken during the busy school holidays

I’m only by the water for ten minutes, but the energy it transfers to me is electric. I don’t feel sad as I head away from it back up the hill; the water somehow motivates me so strongly that it powers my legs to stride up the hill and home to start my to do list.  I’ve never lived near the coast before, but I now appreciate why people say they couldn’t live anywhere else. That huge body of water does amazing things to you.

Botanic Walk Callistemon and Grevillea. Janna Schreier

Bottlebrush (Callistemon), Westringia and Grevillea in flower on Botanic Walk; with a cockatoo watching over them

I walk past my favourite garden, full of stunning succulents (more on that another time) and up Botanic Walk. How ridiculously lucky am I that part of my circuit is along ‘Botanic Walk’? Just a residential pathway but seeing that signpost brings a smile to my face every single day!

Banksia serrata new growth. Janna Schreier

True Australian colours: new growth of Banksia serrata. This combination of colours is just divine

I’m really going for it now; it’s a steep path up Raglan Street but I revel in the aerobic exercise. Then back past the shops and home.

Banksia serrata seed head. Janna Schreier

Fading Banksia serrata flower on Raglan Street, so intricate and so Australian

I continue to be amazed everyday with the beauty around me and the fact that I actually live here. I always feel inspired by this walk, never ever tiring of it, but seeing a smile on others’ faces rather than a definite head down takes the enjoyment to another level. Sunglasses, you may have to be retired; long may the smiles continue!

Wild rabbit in Mosman. Janna Schreier

I see rabbits most mornings. I know they do a lot of damage but I can’t help but like them

PS If you are a Sydneysider, don’t forget to get your tickets to the very special Hidden Open Gardens event, 14-15 March – there are only a few left. Hope to see you there!

14 thoughts on “Unfriendly sunglasses

    • jannaschreier says:

      Hi Dorothy. The circuit used to take me exactly an hour, almost to the second, but with my new improved hill fitness I’m down to about 55 minutes. I’m quite proud of myself – used to be truly hopeless at the slightest incline and now I love these bits! So much variety packed in to a short walk though; I am exceedingly lucky to have it all on my doorstep.

    • jannaschreier says:

      Hi Antonia. We did indeed turn right and didn’t see any of this at all. Let me know when you are next in Sydney – this is just as gorgeous. Right, got my ‘runners’ on, I’m off to do it again!

  1. Katie Joy Simons says:

    Morning Janna. I just took an armchair walk with you. Since I have lived in Australia I have been thinking about starting a “nature table” at home. Did you have one of those at primary school? I used to greatly enjoy bringing in a leaf or branch or other tiny wonder to add to its ever changing collection.

    • jannaschreier says:

      Hi Kate, I’m glad you could come on the walk with me! What a fantastic idea to start a nature table. I had one in Mrs Edwins class when I was five, but gosh, couldn’t you make a great one here? Who knows what creepy crawlies would come out at night, but that might be all part of the fun of it!

  2. Catherine says:

    How lucky you are to have such a walking route. You’re right, the pull of a large body of water definitely has an effect on humans, although it seems to send you into gravity defying mode! Your photos are a wonderful nature table.

    • jannaschreier says:

      Yes, the water just makes me want to seize the day and takes no account of the fact that the seizing needs to happen at a higher altitude! Sorry about the rabbit, by the way; I did guiltily think of your munched garden as I posted it.

  3. Louise Dutton says:

    Wow! I wish I could do that walk every morning. Mine is not quite like that. You do take exquisite photos! What sort of camera do you use or is it an iPhone? I must say I recently did the Bay run walk while in Sydney and wondered why people did not smile or say hello…….perhaps it was my sunglasses!

    • jannaschreier says:

      Thanks, Louise. I took all of these on my iPhone. I occasionally take photos in my garden with a Canon EOS but I find it too heavy to lug around. Apart from high zoom/depth of field or indoor photos, I actually find my phone is often better; the colours seem to have more life for some reason. I don’t like either the concept of, or the time required, editing photos so it’s a no brainer. Miserable Sydneysiders on your walk by the way, but it really was incredible the marked difference without glasses; you’ll have to test it out too and let me know if you find the same!

  4. Adriana says:

    Wonderful Janna! It all sounds so lovely, you are indeed fortunate to have all that on your doorstep. Ian’s becoming all water focussed at the moment and you are right (we were never that way inclined either) once you are bitten by the water bug, it does indeed have an amazing pull.

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