To which I replied:
The aforementioned lunch was in way of a Christmas Slap Up & Celebratory Nosh organised by a couple of the ladies from 12WBT 30+ Crew FB group who shall remain nameless for no reason at all, but who are Kirsty Gosewisch and Helen Rubin - how's it going ladies?
Lyndal and I made quick plans for me to come to her place for the night, then to catch the train to Sydney the next morning, thereby blowing the socks off one young blossom named Amy, who was meant to be on the same train, but who had no clue I was coming. She's the President of the Newcastle chapter of the Leanne Is A Legend Fan Club*.
I got all excited - I hardly ever go out at night, and I certainly don't drive all the way to Cardiff for a sleepover and hop on trains to Sydney! I was in the car on the way out of town feeling a bit naughty, and thinking to myself that the last time I had left home at 9pm to begin a night out was when I was about 22 years old - and I wouldn't have left home then anyway because it was far too early!
The next morning when I checked FB, it was to find that Miss Amy had tagged me in a 'I wish you were coming' post, so I had a bit of fun with her and said something along the lines of 'I wish I was coming too, but excuse excuse excuse... we'll catch up after Christmas blah blah blah' Lyndal joined in, as did the organisers, so Miss Amy was completely in the dark... much like a cute bubbly English mushroom!
In the mean time, Lyndal was texting me to let me know the kettle was boiled and do I want brekky... um yes please! Ahhh we laughed, and we laughed...
At the last possible minute the night before, Miss Amy had decided to change trains to catch an earlier one - more time for shopping, so our surprise had to wait until we got to the restaurant.
The day began on the platform of Cardiff station., where Lyndal and I met up with another friend Camelia. I was like The Country Mouse visiting his cousin, The City Mouse. There were all sorts getting on that train, my eyes were like saucers. There was one young lady who was Anglo but all dressed up like a Geisha, but with a long blue wig... at least I think it was a wig...
I managed to get down the stairs to the platform without face-planting go me but it had been that long since I'd been on a Sydney train that I had forgotten everything about them. Like the big gap between the train and platform cue vertigo and the stench of stale urine always a delight first thing in the morning and the fact that Sydney trains have an upstairs and a downstairs.
I was soon to realise that stairs were to become the theme for the day.
The train quickly became packed, as more and more people piled in at each station, and as you can imagine, seats were at a premium. There was this one woman, who was alone, but had managed to score 4 seats together. She spread all her stuff around - handbag, scarf etc so that no one would sit there with her. Every time someone approached her to sit down, she very apologetically tell them that people were sitting there... imaginary friends perhaps??
This went on for quite a few stations, until we began to comment about it. Suddenly she grabbed her phone, and making a great show of it, raised it to her ear, turned toward us and began to look frantically around the carriage and through the doors at either end, speaking all the while to the 'friend' on the phone, giving directions as to her location on the train. After a few minutes of 'chat' she'd put the phone down and continue doing whatever it was that she was doing.
Every time someone would comment on her hogging four seats while over a dozen people stood up all the way from the Central Coast to Sydney, she would grab the phone and repeat the charade all over again. In the end she decided that we were on to her, and said loudly that her friend had decided to stay where they were, so those seats were free now.
We arrived in Sydney safe and sound, up the stairs in the train to the platform level, then up the platform stairs of which there must have been thousands I kid you not to locate the right platform to go down more stairs to take us to the correct train no stairs which would shuttle us one station away to Town Hall which involved - yes you guessed it - more fricking stairs! at which point we could just walk through the gates, and VOILA! we'd arrived at the QVB (Queen Victoria Building) our destination for the day.
The place has 6, count 'em 6 levels! LG2, LG1, Ground, Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.
We came in all the way down one end of LG1 and had to go aaaaall the way to the other end of Level 3!
And good little 12WBTers that we are - we took the stairs.
Up every level.
2 flights per level.
I'm sure it was more...
Twice we used the escalator, we went up a floor, then figured out we'd made a mistake and so we went straight back down. This was especially hard for me because I have a little thing about heights and get a bit of vertigo, so the GLASS escalators were pretty confronting. Especially as they were suspended in mid air and had opaque GLASS landings that were also suspended in mid air!
Now I'm... how shall I put this... Vertically Challenged... and I only have little legs, but Lyndal and Camelia are practically Amazonian from my point of view and I trailed along behind them with my little legs goings as fast as they could trying valiantly to keep up. No time for window shopping that day, thank God that Lyndal had worn a very beautiful bright blue flower in her hair!
All I dreamt of that day was having a rope like the ones they make the kindy kids hold onto when they go on excursions so as not to get lost!
When we finally made it to the restaurant, Cellini's - which really struck me as more of an up market cafe - and Miss Amy saw Lyndal & Camelia she got all excited and happy. When she saw me she just about bloody wet herself! It was the absolute best surprise face ever!!
Lunch was ordered and eaten - I ordered a Thai Beef Salad, and received a bowl of fancy lettuce with a truckload of red capsicum, cucumber, celery wtf? two slices of tomato and a bit of sandwich steak on the side, with the 'Thai' element being the single sprig of coriander that I found hiding amongst the lettuce. Oh and the 5 teeny tiny pieces of chilli that burned holes in the roof of your mouth if you were silly enough to eat them.
|Spot the 12WBT Meerkat|
|Santa & Jo|
There was plenty of laughs, plenty of selfies, and a close encounter with THE Santa for Jo Dalziel. We got the staff to take a group shot of us from down the table, during which Jo managed to pull off a stellar impersonation of a Meerkat.
Having to get away in time to catch the train back to Newcastle didn't leave much time for lolly-gagging around window shopping on the way back, but we did manage to see some amazing shops. Like the one that only sold animal themed items call 'Paws A While'... toys, stuffed animals, cards, door stops, you name it - they had it! There was a shop just for Dr Seuss art, and the usual high brow stuff like Oroton, Georg Jensen, Ralph Lauren etc
|Chocolate dipped strawberries|
But what really caught our attention was the tiny shops and kiosks on the lower levels that sold chocolates, fruits, and cakes! One place had chocolate dipped strawberries that were the size of peaches! There were chocolate dipped banana's on a stick - we had a bit of fun with that, choc dipped pineapple and watermelon... yummmm Lyndal & Miss Amy indulged themselves in a single decadent chocolate each, talk about willpower.
I would have to say that the single most amazing thing that stands out for me at the QVB would have to have been the Christmas Tree. It is 24 metres high - which is 3 floors - and is covered in 144,000 Swarovski crystals, with miniature crystal chandeliers that are around 12 inches long hung all over it. Stunning.
|Back L to R: Bec, Camelia, Amy.|
Centre: Leanne - dat's me!
*Disclaimer: There is in actual fact no Leanne Is A Legend Fan Club, so unfortunately Miss Amy cannot be the President... but if there was one... she would tote's be it!