Sydney

S to V of Doors and Windows

S to V of Doors and Windows

Well, here I am at the S to V of doors and windows. I’ve got S, T and even V covered, but U? I haven’t been to Utah, Uluru or Ulladulla, so the U section will either be devoid of photos, or full of creative licence.

The purpose behind these stories about doors and windows is a wild attempt to sort out some of the thousands of photos I have collected over the years. By working through the photos alphabetically, it helps to categorise the many places I’ve visited. Why am I drawn to taking so many photos of interesting doors and windows? I have no idea. I’ll leave that to the arm-chair psychologists to work out.

Buckle up, and let’s get this show on the road.

S – S is easy. There is Sydney, Seattle, San Francisco and even Shanghai, and luckily I have photos from each of these beautiful cities. But because I grew up north-west of Sydney, I’m going to focus on S is for Sydney.

Sydney is famous for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, affectionately known as the Coat Hanger, and the Sydney Opera House.

You would have to wonder what Danish architect Jørn Utzon was thinking when he designed the Sydney Opera House, officially opened in 1973? White sails in the sunset, maybe? But no, Utzon’s design was apparently inspired by nature. Hmmm, I might have to stretch my imagination a little to work out which part of nature he had in mind.

Masterpiece by day – spectacular by night – the Sydney Opera House is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. It’s right up there on the world stage with the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids.  

S is also for South Bank Brisbane and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this door.

Ornately carved wooden doors set in white brick wall


Goodbye S and Hello T

T – T is for Tenterfield, a town in the New England region of New South Wales. Singer/song-writer Peter Allen was born in Tenterfield, and wrote the song Tenterfield Saddler about his grandfather, George Woolnough. Perhaps Peter’s most significant contribution to Australian music, guaranteed to move ex-pat Aussies to tears, is I Still Call Australia Home.

These buildings are reminiscent of the architecture of an era when buildings were built for beauty. The buildings of today might be flashy, but they don’t have the character of these old places. The arched door and shaded windows in the side of the School of Arts look like a tired old face, looking out over the kingdom.

When I visited Tenterfield in 2018, I had forgotten that my grandparents had lived there in the early 1900’s, when Grandfather was the Postmaster at a little village near Tenterfield (Yetman). As I walked through the School of Arts I suddenly sensed a very real ‘presence’ of my grandfather. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had walked down that very same corridor, so many decades earlier. Perhaps his spirit is still walking those corridors… (shiver!)

U – I can’t put it off any longer and here I am at U. Did I mention that I might have to be a bit creative with this one? Since I haven’t been to any places that specifically start with U, I’m going to highlight Union Square, San Francisco. And since we are still in holiday-mode from the Christmas just gone, this photo is timely. In true Christmas Spirit, what could be better than the Macy’s Christmas windows?

Wall of windows in Macy’s storefront, San Francisco.
Macy’s Christmas window – Union Square San Francisco

Phew! That’s U, done and dusted!

And now, on to V….

V is for Vancouver, another one of my home-away-from home places. I always seem to gravitate back to this beautiful city to relive memories of happier days. Don’t get me wrong – all my days are happy days – but there are some that are happier than most. And my days spent in Vancouver (most of 2005) hold very special memories: of buying tulips at the supermarket to brighten up the week; Saturday morning treks to Granville Island Market to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables; walks to Stanley Park to use our yearly pass to the Aquarium.

I challenge you to spend time in Vancouver and not fall in love with the city and its beautiful people.

Wall of windows in a dark brown and a light coloured brick buildings.  Bare trees in the foreground.


Doors and Windows on Dunsmuir Street Vancouver.

The photo was taken on my last trip to Vancouver, in December 2016, featuring the St Regis Hotel on Dunsmuir Street. I love the windows in the lighter coloured building, with their darker frames. And the bare trees highlight the winter feel of the impending cold night.

On my very first trip to Vancouver, in January 2005, I stayed at the St Regis Hotel. We had flown out of sunny Sydney, had a few days in sunny Hawaii on the way, and then landed in cold, dreary Vancouver. I hate to admit that I wasn’t impressed, and may even have given voice to thoughts of going home – sooner – rather than later. Then the sun came out and we moved into an apartment in the West End, and I fell madly in love with Vancouver. Whenever I get the opportunity, I head back to that magic city, surrounded by Grouse Mountain – covered in snow, and Stanley Park – home to ducks, geese, squirrels and raccoons.

Is Vancouver on your Bucket-List?

It should be! And if you want to spend some time in the best location in Vancouver, contact me (through the Comments section) for a link to the best apartments on Robson Street. You couldn’t find a better location, or a more fantastic Landlord.

With the S to V of doors and windows completed, there is only W to Z left to do.

Huh – and I thought U was hard! X and Z – really? Oh well, I’ll just have to be creative – again!

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Travel, 0 comments
The Dawn of a New Tomorrow

The Dawn of a New Tomorrow

The bell signals the end of learning for another day. Students make a rush for the door, and the temptation to join them is overwhelming. You sit down at your desk and dream of the dawn of a new tomorrow. A tomorrow with no bells; no lesson plans; no marking; and no report-writing.

When you are a teacher, the lines between day and night are blurred. Three o’clock signals the end of learning for students, and the start of paperwork for teachers.

It’s going to be another long night. Before you start tomorrow’s planning, today’s marking screams at you. Thoughts are sloshing around your head – and they need to find their way into the books to be marked, before they settle into a pool of useless, random words. Leaving the marking until later never ends well. So you open the first book, pick up your pen – and start.

Image from Pixabay.com

And Lunch?

Image from Pixabay.com

Your stomach reminds you that playground duty kept you from the staffroom, for yet another lunch break.  Along with the empty feeling in your stomach, you crave coffee. Another one of life’s simple pleasures that eludes you in your teaching day. Hot coffee and students don’t mix – Workplace Health & Safety posters adorn the staffroom walls.  No chance of forgetting. You make a mental note to stop by the coffee shop on your way home.

When is Enough, Enough?

The teaching weeks roll into teaching months. Before you know it, you’re beyond retirement age, but you are still on the treadmill. Love for your job, and dedication to it, are no consolation for the tiredness you feel. That weariness that chases you down at the end of each long day. Your non-teaching friends are in bed at a reasonable hour – you are up late, planning and writing reports. It takes its toll. Your health starts to flash warning signs – Enough is Enough!

And one day it all comes to a grinding halt. The plans you made to keep working until your seventies, not that you are too far from that magic number, disappear. You wake up one morning and think “I can’t do this anymore”. And that’s the day the resignation papers fall out of your pocket – onto the Principal’s desk.

The dawn of a new tomorrow

When I closed the classroom door for the last time, I didn’t have time to think about it too much. As soon as I made the decision to fill in the retirement-forms – I booked a cruise. I needed something to separate my working-life from my new retirement-life. And I needed something to console me in the raw days following my departure from the world that had absorbed me for more than half my life.

I poured myself into planning for the cruise from Sydney to Singapore. That trip was to close the door on my working life – sealed shut – never to be reopened; and it worked! I came home refreshed, renewed and excited about settling down into a normal life. 

Or, So I Thought!

The years of getting by on less than eight hours sleep had become stuck somewhere in my Body-Clock, and it wouldn’t budge. I found myself unable to put my head on the pillow before midnight – but I was still waking up at five or six in the morning. The problem was, there was no planning or report-writing to fill the evenings. I subscribed to paid television – but that didn’t work; there never seemed to be anything worth watching. 

I started writing. I had always loved writing and promised myself that one day I would write a book. Perhaps that ‘one day’ had arrived.

The website I dabbled in, while still teaching, suddenly had meaning. It had been sitting there, half-baked, for years. Now it was time to get it into the oven. 

And the idea of a Blog started to gel. I’d been hearing about, and reading blogs, for a long time. 

Writing; Website; Blogging

The three started to overlap, then merge, until it was only natural that they would become one. And from the ashes, my Phoenix arose.

MaureenDurney.com emerged.

My humble musings from the early days are often painful to revisit. But put into perspective, they are a yardstick by which to measure the distance I have travelled. I can see the improvement in my writing, in my website management, and therefore in my blogging.

What has had the most impact?

The Ultimate Blog Challenge!

Writing within a time-frame and to a specific topic has reined in my verbosity. The challenge dictates a blog-a-day for thirty-one days. You can’t allow yourself the luxury of extra words when the clock is ticking away beside you. Well theoretically, anyway. I still need to work on the length of my blogs. And that is a work-in-progress.

MaureenDurney.com is keeping me focused. It is absorbing me – drawing out the passion that I used to pour into my teaching. It is my new life. Learning new skills is exercising my brain, just as Professional Development did in my teaching days. 

And The Book?

The book is another work-in-progress. And the Ultimate Blog Challenge is pre-requisite learning before launching full-on into it. With my long teaching days behind me, and with the dawn of my new tomorrow, I can now devote my life to Blogging. 

MaureenDurney.com is alive and well!

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Writing, 4 comments
Travelling The World

Travelling The World

When I was very young someone made the comment that I would travel because I had a gap between my two top teeth. Back then, living out of town on almost 20 acres of land, with electricity the only modern convenience we had, I thought the 35-mile journey into Sydney was the ultimate travel experience. Oh, how my life has changed! My journey’s since then have taken me to:
  • Europe (twice)
  • Penang – lived there for two years
  • Singapore – can’t remember how many times
  • Vancouver – spent almost a year there (2005) and visited in 2016
  • San Francisco – spent almost a year there (2006) and many visits since
  • China – 2 fabulous weeks; fell in love with the Ancient Water Towns

Zhujiajiao

  • India – 17 amazing days, including seeing the Taj Mahal
All of the journeys have been amazing and hopefully, I will be able to expand on each one through the posts on this site.    
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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 1 comment