We had our first and only lie-in this morning, not moving until well after ten. Breakfast was taken at a lovely, sedate pace and we all seemed to be showing signs of wear, although Mary was markedly better than previous. We resolved over a cup of tea to do one of the cliff walks from Shelley Beach, a little cove south of Manly. With suitable footwear and plenty water to rehydrate in temperatures in the high twenties, we left the hotel and skirted the coast to the cove.

At that spot we took another look at the gas barbecues available to the general public. They appeared to heat up big hot plates upon which guys were placing simple aluminium foil to hold the various foods they were barbecuing. Tomorrow being our last night in Sydney, we intend to try and cook our own dinner after we’ve had a swim. That would be really Australian, wouldn’t it? Fingers crossed!

The climb up the cliff was moderately taxing but we were recompensed with several beautiful views over Manly Beach and three other beaches further up the coast. We also chanced upon our first bit of wildlife, no, not kangaroos or koalas, but one or two foot-long iguanas who crossed our path or stared at us as we went by.

On the wide plateau at the top we stumbled on a freshwater lagoon where we paused to investigate what might be living therein. No crocs! Just a few tadpoles and the odd dragonfly. We reached the turning point soon afterwards and headed down the road rather than retrace our steps.

About halfway back to the cove, things began to go wrong with me and I started to feel distinctly weird and a bit confused. I actually couldn’t remember which town I was in! Both Mary and Scott got me to a cafe as quickly as possible and I was soon shovelling a Spaghetti Carbonara down me and drinking another litre of water. That appeared to help me recover but I was still a bit anxious so I was marched back to the hotel and put to bed.

I was confined to barracks for the rest of the day and the suspicion was that I was suffering from a dose of sunstroke or had had a hypo, something that hasn’t happened for a long time. Personally I think it was too much sun. You should see me, I’m as brown as a berry and simply couldn’t stay in the room but for the huge electric fan we have on permanently.

The TV came to the rescue and we enjoyed a series of good programmes, including some footie, Attenborough’s new “Galapagos” and an enthralling docu-film on the Enron scandal. I invited Scott and Mary to go and do something exciting but they determined to sit with me and keep an eye on the old man.

It is very warm here in Sydney, especially in the late evening and during the night when the temperature never falls below 20 degrees! Believe it or not, we’re lucky because in Melbourne this week it has been in the 30s every day and those are temperatures Mary and I struggle to cope with. Give me a sunny 22 degrees with a slight breeze and I’m in my element.

Joe and Mo have arrived safely in Oz and will no doubt be cooing over their new grand-daughter whom they are seeing for the first time since her birth in early January. We intend to have a family meal together once we return to Melbourne, so that’s something to really look forward to. We are also hoping for a day trip on the Great Ocean Road and maybe even squeeze in a pint with Alan (ex-Kelso) and Karen O’Kane who emigrated to Adelaide a couple of years ago but will be visiting Melbourne from the 16th.


Water Dragon!


The beaches above Manly


Scotty looking for a shark!

They tell me it’s snowing again in Scotland. After today, I might consider a swop!


My 1st ever Messi pose