As our house sit comes to an end, we just wanted to say thank you to Toby for being a great little guy to mind. We have loved your cuddles and tender little nature, you are a very easy boy to love and care for. Toby is the dearest little 16 year old Havanese, that we have been looking after in Milsons Point. We also loved how much joy you gave to everyone who saw you in your poochy pouch as Kevin carried you around on your walks. We will miss you. Lots of love treasure.

May Gibbs Nutcote

We didn't set out that day to find Nutcote, but we'd seen signs of May Gibbs along our walks, little reminders of her stories are to be found in the plantings and sculpture around the area.

May Gibbs characters on the harbour walk at Milsons Point.

I noticed this building as we were pulling up in the ferry, some houses just seem to have a story to tell, don't you think? Well, turned out that we'd stumbled across, Once Upon A Time.

This is certainly the land of the stairs this area. But somehow, this ferry stop seemed a little bit magical.

At the top of the stairs we were fascinated to find this sign.
1935 Once Upon a Time. 1936
Live Peaceably with all so shall
thou lead a happy life thouself.
~ Goethe.

I had to find out more...

Once Upon A Time. Former home of William Alfred Leopold Crowle, its entrance gates are presided over by a stone lion ( formerly two) supposedly bought from the London Houses of Parliament after the WWII blitz. Nearby are verses from Goethe, including (in German) “When someone makes a journey they have a story to tell”. This is a house with a journey and a story to tell.

Crowle was a Sydney importer, businessman and inveterate traveler and collector. In 1935-36 he had designed and built Wyldefel Gardens stepping down a hillside in a ‘V’ to the waterfront at Potts Point. This townhouse development with its flat roofs and modern styling was a radical innovation for Sydney. At the water’s edge, he built his own house, Once Upon A Time, the bottom floor being the boatshed for his yacht. Returning in 1940 after three years of traveling, Crowle found that the navy was about to acquire his estate for the development of Captain Cook Graving Dock and to connect Garden Island to the mainland. Rather than lose his house, he had it dismantled and bought across to Kurraba Point on barges for reassembly. Crowle died in 1959 and his enormous collections of artifacts and books were auctioned off. Once Upon A Time is now three apartments. ~ Information from May Gibbs Neutral Bay Walk

How fabulous to live in a house called Once Upon A Time, how fabulous to have called this house that. I think I want a house called Once Upon A Time.

It was such a beautiful feeling to have discovered those words at the top of the stairs. One of the delights from just wandering... Anyway, walking on a little way, we noticed a sign to May Gibbs home, Nutcote. So we followed the sign and found a wonderful little place, one that has the feeling that lives have been lived there, with many happy memories.

"Once upon a time, on the beautiful Sydney shoreline, was a house called Nutcote and in that house lived a remarkable woman called May Gibbs who turned gumnuts into tiny people and banksias into villains." ~ Angus Stewart

Little Toby the darling Havanese we are minding, looks to me like he could be one of May Gibbs little characters.

The dear little Bib and Bub tea room.

Speaking of Bib and Bub.

"This is May Gibbs. At the moment I live in a house in Neutral Bay, Sydney and it's a dear little place with a long, long garden. I'm very fond of it. The first books that I ever did were the flower books or the Boronia Babies, Wattle Babies, Gumnut Babies and I think another baby - Flannel Flower Babies."

"I used to walk about the garden, weeding the garden and loving it," the recording continues, "with a book in my pocket and a pencil and that's where I got all my ideas. I used to think of them when I was gardening." ~ From the video in Nutcote.

Watch out for The Banksia Man though. Abduction of little ragged blossom by the big bad Banksia Man, and saved by Mr. Lizard.

May loved her dogs.

You know how some places just exude a feeling?

Well Nutcote exudes happiness.

The stairs down to Sydney Harbour

A sweet garden.

See if you can spot the little blue sculpture out on the rock.

May Gibbs was one of Australia's first women to support herself from her writing and artwork. She lived at Nutcote for 44 years, view from the downstairs window.

A delightful day out, with a tinge of magic attached, and the satisfying feel of witnessing a life well lived and loved... time for the trip home.

Visit inside May Gibbs home online: May Click Here


A sunny day and I suggested we all go to Northbridge for a drive.
So I hoped in the car and put on my seat belt.

We had a coffee at Bond's corner, people stopped to say how lovely I was.
And afterwards, we all wandered down to the water.

We saw the old pool, full of oysters now...

and I had a little wander on the sand.

I was thinking of my family, so many miles away,

and sent my love across the waves.

Not many sleeps now till I see you again.
That was some of my day, hope yours has been great too.

The old Clive Park tidal pool at Northbridge

Georgia On My Mind

Come with us on an artist date today...

I'd heard about the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit at the Art Gallery of NSW, and was delighted if not a bit surprised to see Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith being shown as well in this exhibit.

“Preston and Cossington Smith, like O’Keeffe in America, have long been recognised for their central role in the development of modern art in Australia. The three artists are connected by their choice of subject, their experimentation with light, colour and form, and their commitment to presenting alternative ways of seeing the world,” says Dr Michael Brand, director, Art Gallery of NSW.

A lovely if chilly walk through The Royal Botanical gardens,

to discover nature was putting on an art show of it's own.

Ah memories of Versailles this time last year.

I wouldn't mind this sculpture in my backyard.

Make a wish at the I Wish sculpture by Arthur Fleishmann

One of my favourite sculptors, Henry Moore. Another one I'd like in my yard.

Remember, the greater the opportunity,
the fewer are those who see it. ~ Captain James Cook

"Larger than life and created from highly polished steel, Michael Parekowhai’s The English Channel is an arresting sculptural presence. The figure, with flowing topcoat and ponytail, is the British navigator Captain James Cook. But this is not Cook as he is seen in the many historical monuments that bear his name – or in the famous 1776 portrait painting by Nathaniel Dance which is one inspiration for this sculpture. Resting on a sculptor’s working table with his feet suspended above ground, this Cook seems to be reflecting on his legacy in the contemporary world."
Visit the gallery to learn more - click here

This stainless steel? sculpture of Captain Cook stole my heart that day.

Then on to view the O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism exhibit... if you have a chance to see it, do visit.

Margaret Preston's work...

Georgia O'Keeffe - Ram's Head Blue Morning Glory 1938

Visit - The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Black Place, Grey and Pink.
"It is surprising to me to see how many people separate the objective from the abstract. Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or a tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or a tree. It is lines and colors put together so that they say something. For me that is the very basis of painting. The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint." Georgia O'Keeffe.

After winding our way around the gallery it was time for a lunch break...

"Give me the sugar and no one gets hurt."

These cheeky little sausages were addicted to the sugar packets and kept trying to steal them from the lunch tables. Kevin pulled one back from it, and it nipped him! Can you see that look in it's eye? They were funny as a circus to watch.

A final wander through the gallery and a stop off to see Brett Whiteley's work... again, this could come and live at my house.

And before it gets too cold a meander back through The Botanical Gardens,

along the shores of Sydney Harbour to catch the ferry back.