The Novel Novocastrian
The Random Ramblings of a Temporary Resident
By Tara Brady
An Introduction, a Confession and a Walk on the Beach:
It’s been nearly three months since I first came to Newcastle, and in some ways I feel as though I’ve been here for years while still feeling like I just stepped off the plane. I came here with my husband while he does a fellowship for a year, and for the first time in over ten years I am not working or in full time education. Now for the next 8 months (and probably never again!) I am a housewife… and it is fabulous!
Let me tell you a little about me: I am a bit of a wanderer. Half Yank/half Pom, I grew up in the USA but lived in Ireland for 9 years, then moved to Liverpool (UK not NSW), traveling Africa (Burundi to be precise, for a year, working for MSF) and Australia where I wound up working for a year in Sydney before heading back to the UK. As you can see, I am fairly used to packing everything up and heading off to pastures new, so it wasn’t a tremendous hassle leaving the rain of Liverpool to come to sunny Newcastle for a year… yet I was apprehensive. This is where the confession comes in. I had let myself be prejudice about a place I had never been, by people who had maybe only passed through on the way to a Hunter Valley wine tour, and believed that Newcastle could be dismissed as “just a small industrial town.”
I. Was. So. Wrong. Please forgive me.
My first weekend here, bleary eyed and all over the place with jet-lag, my husband and I went for a walk along the foreshore to the Newcastle Ocean Baths – and that was the first moment I thought: “I get to live here for a year… cool!” We then strolled further along Newcastle Beach and ended up at Estabar gellati and espresso bar on the beachfront for breakfast. And now, at least once or twice a week I find myself drawn back to Newcastle beach. I love the way that the dry sand squeaks under my feet as I walk. I love watching the surfers of all ages and sizes out in all weathers. I love seeing the parents and kids playing in the sand and the sea.
I especially love the fact that both Newcastle and Nobbys beach are only a five minute walk away from where I live, and that even in the winter (I mean really, your winter is like a slightly disappointing summer in the UK) it is still warm enough on a sunny day to go strolling along the shore barefoot, dipping my toes in the water. But my most favourite moment on Newcastle beach so far has to be watching two whales and a pod of dolphins frolic along the coast as they made their way northwards. I haven’t giggled in excitement like that in ages. It was wonderful. The fact that it was followed up by what has to be the world’s best blood orange frappe at Estabar, made the day a truly epic one. So, if you’re at a loss for what to do one fine afternoon, and find yourself in the East End of Newcastle, why not take a gentle stroll on the beach and then get yourself a little treat from a nearby coffee shop? Just spend some time unwinding. You deserve it, and you might just spot a whale.