Untitled bronze sculpture, group of figures by Bert Flugelman, 1964, UNSW Sydney, Australia. Taken while traversing the University campus. 

In a previous post I wrote about my dilemma of finding the best way to travel to work on public transport. I think I have the answer. 

The M10 from Leichhardt runs around every ten minutes in the morning. The journey time is between 45 minutes and one hour, depending on traffic. This trip pays a dividend in the form of exercise time. Ten minutes walking from home to bus stop on the flat followed by ten minutes through campus, mostly uphill. 

According to The Conversation I need to walk at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes for five days per week. The remaining 10 minutes can be achieved on the trip home by either alighting two stops early or catching buses whose routes don’t pass the end of our road. 

Any walking I do during the day is a bonus!

Experimental walk

Rear lane, Newtown

I was at my physical fittest when I walked for forty minutes to work and the same amount home again every day. Increasing living costs and a change of employer has led to living further out from the city and a reliance on public transport. I try to incorporate some exercise into my journey by catching the bus from a stop further from home, walking for longer than is necessary between buses and getting off early on the return trip. 

As the start of a new academic year looms my thoughts are taken up with how to avoid the morning frustration of having to wait for ten to twenty minutes for the express bus from Central Railway Station. The queue stretches around a quarter of Belmore Park to facilitate the transportation of ten plus thousand students each morning. 
There are a few options available to me, including a ten minute walk down the road to catch the 370. The route is picturesque, zigzagging from Leichhardt, through Annandale and Glebe to Newtown. As the total journey time can take over one hour on one bus I opt for a split journey that includes joining the 370 later along its meandering path. 
This morning leaving the house at 8:15, I catch the bus from the stop nearest home on the Parramatta Road. Alighting at around 8:30, I walk a few steps along Mallet Street to be greeted by the familiar sound of song birds that reside in the area. Also, the electric buzz of cicadas in the trees of Camperdown Park; it’s going to be a hot day! 
Being on a schedule I refrain from stopping to take pictures every few steps as I rediscover the quiet backstreets of Newtown. Row upon row of simple Victorian terraced houses squeezed into every available space and pockets of vegetation jostling for a spot to burst forth. 
When I reach King Street I am confronted by the thunder of cars, buses and trucks speeding towards the city. This is an aspect of the suburb I don’t miss. 
Taking my place in the shade of the awning I forget to look around to check if it’s safe to stop. The look on the face of a young skateboarder barely missing me lets me know that it was not. 
The journey from Newtown to work usually takes twenty minutes. Queuing for the traffic lights as we approach Botany Road in Alexandria has quickly eaten into this overly ambitious target. I reach work at 9:50, an hour after boarding the bus. Even though I managed to take a rather lovely twenty minute walk the outcome of my experiment was disappointing. Maybe I can improve on the overall time by setting out earlier from home. 

The Way of the Gull


I was inspired by my friend Libby’s story of the spiritual fulfilment she enjoys when she accompanies Mel on his pilgrimage from Sydney, Australia to Britain. Mel organises annual walking tours of the Isle of Man for people living with cancer. The following information is from Mel’s website:

Walks to inspire imagination, creativity and healing – a celebration of spirit!
Isle of Man Pilgrimages begins its program in July-August 2015 with a gently challenging walk around this beautiful island for people with cancer, lead by an experienced walker, himself a cancer survivor.
Carers are welcome.
The Isle of Man lies in the Irish Sea, between England and Ireland, and is a site of ancient Celtic spirituality. It offers walkers the opportunity for adventure and exploration, and the simple enjoyment of putting one foot in front of the other just to see where the path goes.
Raad ny Foillan – The Way of the Gull – is a 95-mile walking track around the coastline of the Isle of Man. It is a path across fields and clifftops, through glens and along beaches, almost always within sight of the sea.

Over 10 days we will walk together all the way around the island, in daily sections, returning each afternoon to a comfortable home-away-from-home for reflection and rest, and good food in good company.

 You can find more about the tours, Mel and Libby (Elisabeth) at http://isleofmanpilgrimages.org/

Moment of stillness

Two buses go past as I wait for the green man to appear.

There are two people loitering near the stop. There’s no sign of the express service in the crawling metal convoy before me. I decide to take the train.

I walk briskly towards the railway station. There is usually an ant like line of pedestrians along this route, not today.

I notice the purple green leaves of a ginger in bloom.

As I near my destination I see yellow and silver carriages setting off to the city.

I smile to myself, at least I have captured a moment of morning stillness.