Blue Mountains Roaming
I know the Blue Mountains don't qualify as Sydney but I have to be up here and it's too good to resist. I've always loved the mountains and although some parts have changed radically, Katoomba seems the same as ever - slightly down at heel and deeply evocative of another era.
On the way up I meet some volunteer fire fighters from the NSW Fire Service stopping for a quick break on their way to Coonabarabran. Siding Springs Observatory, a remote global research facility in the Warrumbungle Ranges has been paritally destroyed over night. It was in the path of a huge fire burning west of Coonabarabran. Firefighers there will be in desperate need of relief. These highly respected men and women do a superb job. Steve Jackett, Deputy Group Captain from Baulkham Hills, organises everyone in front of the bus for the shot. He's a confident person, full of bonhomie - a man you'd want on your side.
I arrive at the main drag of Katoomba and come across John Ellison, local artist, sketching the antiques shop across the road.
Here are some of John's pen and ink drawings. So simple you'd think you'd be able to do them yourself, until you try.
I zip down for a quick look at the Three Sisters.
It's Annika, style queen and vintage clothing lover. She has her own blog: www.pineneedlecollective.com . I especially like her surprising facts about science.
Late afternoon to early evening light is best for landscapes, so I head back to the lookout.
The Cecil has definitely seen better days. I remember staying here many moons ago. It was run by a segeant majorish type, very particular with a touch of Cleese about him.
And here's the more upmarket Carrington Hotel. I stayed here too long before it was done up. Staff members insisted it was haunted by a male ghost called George.
Just as I leave, I look to the west at the ominous sky that signals terrible bushfires. The fire fighters I met this morning would be hard at it by now.