Sunday, February 10, 2008

Katoomba, a traveller's tale

0802 Katoomba mosaic
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

It was a grey day yesterday, more of the rain we've been having all week, on and off. But what's to complain about, when the dams that were at 33% full this time last year are now double that?

I pulled out a jacket that normally wouldn't get worn in February/summer, but you never can quite tell when you're heading up the mountains. I know it's snowed there in December (also summer) although that's rare.

(If you click on the mosaic, you'll go to its page in Flickr, where it's larger).

Old wares shops fascinate me. There is always, always something you've never seen before, and things to appreciate and dream over. Where could those doors fit into this house? Look at all the greens of those bottles, there's a quilt colour scheme silhouetted against the window. Loved the two quirky little houses, home-made, perhaps? And the colours of the little accordion - wonder what its history might be?

Katoomba has a reasonable amount of Art Deco architecture, some wonderful, some shabbily ignored. It's been good that of recent years the Carrington Hotel was restored.

Along Katoomba Street, you'll find plenty of bookshops, mostly second-hand and antiquarian, with some new books in these, but mostly not. Wonderful spines on old children's books, an amazing assortment of stools and seats on which to perch while you browse.

There's still a hippy edge in Katoomba - it's a meld of all sorts of ways of thinking, from conservative to avant-garde to alternative, and you'll easily find a shop or three selling Indian cotton clothing. Always a homewares shop or three as well, with an eye to the locals and the tourists - these foofly rosy cushions amused me, and I mentioned the lovely cupcakes yesterday. The old chap sitting almost in the window of his dusty secondhand bookshop with a rug over his knees looked comfortably settled, and on a showery cool day, there would be worse places to be.

The fifth row has some architectural details - an iron cross, two adjacent buildings, a mural of Bridal Falls, a statue in a junk shop, the waratah-cutout street rubbish bins.

The sixth row of photos is about things in shops - one had an astonishing array of eiderdowns, an astonishing number of which were pink. The found sculpture of a mad sort of insect made me chuckle, while the brightly coloured tins struck a happy note. The Radio sign is welded into the railing, a reflection of this old wares shop's original incarnation, and well, there's yesterday's excellent lunch.

It's not grand, Katoomba, but sorta shabby and interesting - there's an energy around, it's not dying, but travelling to its own music. If you go to the end of Katoomba Street to the viewing platform for the Three Sisters and the valleys, the shops there are geared for tourism, and you'll pass assorted galleries on the way. I hadn't been there for a while, so it was good to look at familiar places, find new ones, and just browse. Even the parking gods smiled. I wore my jacket (more than one shop had its heater on, and a couple featured fires in slow combustion stoves - yup, in February/summer) and didn't get too wet, and came home happy.

I'm still listening to The Time Traveler's Wife on CD - a bit over half way through, as I'm only listening in the car to spin it out as long as possible. It's so very good - William Hope and Laurel Lefkow's voices are almost a distraction from the road. I come home and reread the section I've listened to in the book, and hear their voices again in my mind.

I note from the Internet Movie Database ( that the release date for the film of the book has been pushed from June 2008 to November 2008. Sigh. I hope they do it well, I'm looking forward to it, but that's a long shove on, five months. Who knows the vagaries of film releases? But with November already noted as the release date of the next James Bond film, and the next Harry Potter, and some other things - could TTW maybe come in October? Or earlier? Please? (Eric Bana is playing Henry - ha, the Australian infestation continues!).

Today it's been sunny most of the day, and the washing smells fresh and good as it comes off the Hills Hoist (rotary washing line). Yup. Housework's been the order of the day, and the one day cricket match on the radio this afternoon its soundtrack. Unless there's a batting collapse, India should have this one in the bag - Australia's got an uphill battle defending their unusually small score (well bowled, India!).


Quiltycat said...

It's been quite a few years since I've been to Katoomba but I enjoyed "revisiting" through your words. That egg and bacon pie looked mouthwatering and the cupcakes sounded delish. Carmel

Isabelle said...

I want to go there. Can I get there from Scotland this afternoon and be back in time to feed the family in the evening?

I like your advice to the sixteen year olds. Particularly about the foofle. I'm sure there's too much foofle in the world.

rooruu said...

Maybe next time you're out this way, Carmel? It's food worth travelling for.

Isabelle, I think you're waiting for intergalactic travel to make it a day trip from know those flights over the Pole that have you arriving before you left?!

I'm sure you've given lots of good advice to sixteen year olds.

Yup, plenty of foofle around.

Thank you both for your comments.