Anthony and Katey Curnow

Joined May 2019Living in: Ravenswood, Australia
  • Day16

    D15 England - Whichford

    Yesterday in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    The only motivation t get out of that incredibly comfy bed was a cooked breakfast....and it paid off. We had a great stay at White Lion Hotel in Weston- and only wish our stay was longer! The accomodation, food, late night bevvies and service was brilliant- thanks guys and girls!

    Over scrambled eggs and muesli, we had deliberated over which National Trust properties to visit as today was our last day with the silver bullet- our beloved Volkswagen Golf. We arrived at Packwood House in Lapworth and spent a couple of hours wandering through beautiful pastels-worth of flowers, ancient manicured trees and a house with a rich history, touched by the presence of Royalty and major dignitaries. A highlight was being invited into a roped-off area upstairs as the lovely volunteer we were chatting to felt compelled to show us what we were missing. Turns out it was a sitting room with the best view in the house- directly aligned with the garden that we had been in minutes before. We were so chuffed!

    Anthony had been planning our trip to Whichford Pottery for months- if not only to add to his collection of hand thrown mugs he guards so fiercely. This place has such a sense of family and hard work- and when you see the productivity of the place, there’s no doubt of the passion that makes these workers and potters tick. We left empty handed- no mugs for us- but we loved our visit regardless!

    After dropping the bullet off we took the bus from Heathrow down to Woking where we find ourselves sleeping the night. Let’s just say, we’ll be sleeping with the windows closed as our hotel sits right on the high street. And it’s Saturday night...do the maths!
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  • Day15

    D14 England - Stoke-on-Trent

    July 19 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    Potteries, potteries, potteries. We made it to the land of potteries - Moorcroft, Portmeirion, Wedgewood and our new favourite - Emma Bridgewater.

    You can’t come to this part of England and not make a pitstop to at least one of these very dynamic workplaces. It turned out, that we only made it to Emma’s place as tim was against us, and there was plenty to see at that particular pottery - new wares, mini walled gardens, samples shop and a dainty tea house to boot! We ate one of our most delicious lunches so far off some of the most delicious poteeey we’ve used. The potato and onion soup, veggie and hommus sandwich and tomato mozzarella salad all tasted better than it would served on any other plate.

    We paid a quick visit to the Italianate gardens of Trentham Estate, an expansive Capability Brown garden. The intense blue cornflower meadows, dandelion fairy sculptures and long vistas were just a few of the highlights. The huge swathes if perennial colour saw Anthony snap happy, once again.

    That evening, we drove over to Alsager to visit some of Anthony’s old friends who fed and watered us well in their gorgeous little home full of life - children and a garden that’ll have you reeling with envy! Many strawberries were consumed in a very short timeframe.

    We finally crashed at our picture perfect hotel at he back of a pub in the middle of the countryside- but not before we toasted the day with a glass or two of Malbec!
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  • Day14

    D13 England - Tatton Park

    July 18 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Anthony was nothing short of excited... today was his return to the world of plants and English show gardens - the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park.

    Nigel, Anthony’s old boss and mentor from RHS Wisely was running the retail operations at Tatton Park and was able to secure us tickets to the show. On our early arrival, the security guard refused our entry, and so with Nigel’s charm, we were able to get photo security passes made up which provided us with unrivalled entry to the show for the day as volunteers.

    We spent the day wandering around the show, avoiding the light drizzle at times but remaining optimistic that the sun would shine. A few insights from the day:
    1. The capacity for the general public to use the meta language of gardening is impressive. They simply know their stuff.
    2. The show is unlike Chelsea which is primarily for world class displays. This show is all about selling garden related paraphernalia. It’s big business.
    3. The metal workers are all competing for business with delicate constructions of foxgloves through to highland cows (aka coos).
    4. Old people and their plastic crate trolleys, all hepped up on an aggressive desire to score a rare Hydeangea with black stems, can be a dangerous thing to get yourself caught up in.
    5. Anthony really is a plant geek.

    We left the show late afternoon and spent the following three hours stuck in traffic as we navigated our way to Darley in the Yorkshire Dales. Here we ate a classic pub meal with old friends (Nige, Jo, Pam), before hightailing it back to Manchester (completed with a twilight tour of the Yorkshire Dales).
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  • Day13

    D12 Scotland to England

    July 17 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Today we knew was going to be a hard one because:
    A) We were leaving Scotland- which meant saying goodbye to loved ones.
    B) Driving 220ish miles (354km) while trying to stop and admire many the beautiful view.

    For the last two mornings, my Auntie Bella and have so kindly laid out brekkie for us and today was no exception! With our bags packed and our bellies full, many hugs were given and compulsory photos were taken. We are so thankful for Bella and Billy- we will miss the late night chats with copious cups of tea...

    We had a great morning as I introduced Ant to a couple more relatives of mine, who took us out for brunch. Apparently Scottish cafes don’t cut the mustard, so to really impress a guest, brunch is to be consumed in a glass house near a castle. Go figure.
    I think I may have sent the poor waiter into a head spin when I asked about non-dairy milk options....I clearly need to learn my target audience better. To add insult to injury, the coconut/soy/monkey beard milk he was using wasn’t frothing for my cappuccino so I said I was happy to slum it flat white style. Breakfast was beautiful- pancakes, salmon and eggs and the largest vat of porridge you’ve ever seen. Thank you again Aunt Moira and Uncle George- you spoiled us rotten.

    On our way down the coast we stopped off at Dumfries House and Gardens in Cumnock, which was just amazing. We were pressed for time for the agreement was to see as much as possible of the garden in as little time as possible. Yeah right- over an hour later we reluctantly ran back to the car totally blown away by what we’d seen. I’m not a huge fan of gardens as I wouldn’t know where to start, but Ant is totally in his happy place. And in saying that- if I come across a veggie garden, which I did, I can also lose track of time. 10/10.

    From the moment we left Prestwick, the heavens had opened and it was either lightly raining or right pissing it down. That, with wanting to reach our destination by dinner time, made the journey a bit more challenging. We reached the Lake District after 5pm and had fun zooming down the tiny roads at 100km/hr (sorry Mums!)! It was such a vast expanse of mountainous highs and lows- it was probably a good thing we couldn’t pull over for photos every 5 minutes! Ambleside was our only pit stop and was so cute -very busy- but was full of character and we’d definitely go back as there looked like plenty of walks nearby.

    Once we reached our accomodation in Manchester, we spent the night relaxing and catching up with old, and new, friends. Can’t ask for a better way to finish a day!
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  • Day11

    D10+11 Scotland - West Coast Ayrshire

    July 15 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    After an unexpectedly long sleep in, we:

    - Had a wander through the Main Street of Ayr.
    - Visited Burns Cottage, and Anthony ate a full Scottish breakfast including a ‘link’ and ‘square’.
    - Drove through Alloway and saw Kate’s grandma’s old house on the river Doon now featuring a large golden rocking horse in a conservatory.
    - Were tripped out by the ‘Electric Brae’ where we rolled uphill in neutral.
    - Paid a visit to the majestic Culzean Castle where Kate’s parents were married 35 years ago (ps, congratulations!).
    - Were guests at the family reunion dinner held in a delicious cafe in Troon.
    - Viewed the major sites of Ayreshire as Kate’s ‘Aunt and Uncle’ chauffeured us around. This included seeing the birthplace of Andrew Fisher! Amazing...!

    Today we rose a little earlier and hit the road north to Largs:
    - Caught the ferry to Cumbrae.
    - Circumnavigated the island on bike -10 mile.
    - Were told by the bike store owner that Australians were the second country to log on to his webcam - google Mape and Sons!
    - Walked 3 mile from Millport back to the ferry terminal.
    - Conducted an in depth analysis of the difference between a US Starbucks Frappuccino and a UK Costa iced caramel latte.
    - Ate steak with Kates godparents and Telstra family members - it was a hoot!
    - Completed our third late night philosophical discussions with Kate’s Aunt and Uncle.

    TOP 3 Highlights of the Day
    1. Family.
    2. Family.
    3. Friends of family.
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  • Day9

    D8 New York - Rooservelt Island

    July 13 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    It’s our last full day here in NYC, and both of us agree that we’ll not only have to return to see more of this amazing metropolis, but also see way more of America.

    While we haven’t visited any museums or galleries, we have seen many different neighbourhoods and when looking for something quiet to do today, we thought a stroll around Roosevelt Island was a good idea. After catching the cable car across (which offers an unrivalled perspective of the surrounding area), we headed first to the southern tip. This end houses a park launched in 2012- this was after its designer passed away some 40 years earlier when the city was on the verge of bankruptcy! The name of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park was adapted from his 1941 State of the Union address, at the point of America’s early entry into WW2. It defined four essential human freedoms:
    1. Freedom of speech and expression - everywhere in the world.
    2. Freedom to worship in his [their] own way - everywhere in the world.
    3. Freedom from want - everywhere in the world.
    4. Freedom from fear - anywhere in the world.

    Another few kms and a visit to Starbucks (evil, we know, but are balancing their delicious beverages with trips to local coffee establishments- no judgement , please), we headed back to Manhattan only to get caught up in a Saturday train cancellation drama. This took us to the subway on 125th st (Harlem) before we could turn around and head downtown. Fun times, not.

    We said our goodbyes, and with thanks to Akeem and Gemma who hailed a cab for us, headed to the airport. We do not recommend the soggy spinach gozleme from Eat&Go in Terminal 1...

    Goodbye New York (New York) and hello Frankfurt!
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  • Day8

    D7 New York - Midtown ...again

    July 12 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    After a rejuvenating sleep involving severe burger and beer digestion, we left Nolita on foot. Heading up to Greenwich Village via the little side streets and the verdant green Washington Square, we ate a delicious bagel from Murray’s, loaded with a mixture of toasted seeds on its outer crust, it was filled to the brim with cream cheese, tomato, lettuce and avocado 🥑.

    Our stomachs full, and the temperature rising, and time on our side, we walked north following glimpses of the Empire State Building.

    After passing the little shops of 5th Avenue and crossing the increasing number of streets, we reached the Flatiron Building, an impressive architectural feat aptly named for its shape.

    Some distance from our temporary home near Little Italy, we finally reached our destination out front of the Bank Of AmericanTowers, where we met or tour guide for the afternoon, the George Clooney of New York’s food scene - Brian Hoffman. Let us just begin by saying thanks to a group of Kate’s friends for their gift voucher - it, was, amazing...!
    Brian’s am old hand at the tours, having conducted them for more than a decade.
    He appreciated the inquiring questions from the predominately Australian crowd!

    A few notes from the tour:
    - ‘Gentleman’s agreements’ are in place over getting a spot on the street for the busy Monday - Friday trading period.
    - Every night, the small carts must be removed and taken to a holding place where by law they are to be cleaned and restocked. No food can be reused like in restaurants.
    - The stipulations that surround the successful operation of a good cart are governed by 7 different laws - it’s all very confusing. Clean and store every night
    - There are only 4100 permits available, which equates to that many on ground. Thi hasn’t changed since the system was established in 1983.
    - there is a 10-20 years waiting list for a permit, and a lottery exists just to get on that list! People put these permits given their value into their wills.
    - Interestingly, many original permit owners now offer a subleasing system (kinda black market), and so many are newer operators.
    - You can rent a permit to others for two years - $25000 for the two year permit.
    - The food carts are a key supporter of the migrant population, offering valid employment opportunities.
    - Key message of the tour - hot dogs and pretzels are for tourist suckers and should never be bought on a cart. However, every cart regardless of its focus will typically stock both due to demand.

    Our evening was spent at Yankee Stadium - Yankees beat the Blue Jays 4-0. The atmosphere was electric, and Anthony’s pretty ecstatic about the ‘souvenir’ plastic cups. Saving the world of waste.

    TOP 3 Highlights of the day:
    1. Digging into a Bangladeshi biryani from one of the food carts.
    2. Having a few quiet moments on the stoop of the New York state library after our long walk from Lolita.
    3. Home run hit by the Yankees (and BONUS - seeing a gorgeous little Latino 2 year old with a whopping fro, NY jersey on, and a giggle that’d melt your heart as he was assisted down a flight of stairs).
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  • Day7

    D7 New York - West Side

    July 11 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    A few highlights of the day:
    1. The Highline - takes out number one, androstenedione certainly the highlight of the day.
    2. Visiting the place Anthony’s parents lived in the 70s
    3. Wandering the streets of the Meatpacker district
    4. Completing our visit to the final Patagonia store (Anthony....)
    5. Oreo donut from Donut Pub (eaten before photo)
    6. The Vessel - google it!
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  • Day6

    D6 New York - Central Park and Midtown

    July 10 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    As we knew today was going to be on the warmer side once again, we got up early and trained up towards Central Park. We signed up for a 10am bike tour as we figured it’d been the best way to sightsee around the 10km radius of this beautiful city centrepiece. It’s obviously a big business as we had to swim through a sea of sign-waving men tempting us with their deals for bikes 🚲 but we went with a local company with sub-par reviews 👍🏼
    At 10.05am the 16 of us plus our guide Barsha (from Russia....) started our 2 hour venture with praying enthusiasm....until one of the bikes went 💥!!! The dooverwacker on some girls gear thing broke in half, so one urgent Russian phone call to HQ, 5 minutes and a new bike later we were on our way. Until another bike failed, less epically this time. Our tour guide remained optimistic and things went smoothly for the rest of the tour 🙏 To be honest, knowing how untrustworthy the bikes were, I spent most of the time being paranoid and making bee lines for ideal exit routes should MY brakes fail.

    Times Square was amazing but an immediate assault on the senses, so we retreated to the M&M shop...big mistake. Who knew there was a land beyond peanut, crispy and mini m&ms?!

    We followed the crowds to Rockefeller Centre where we made our way up to the top floor- the view of Manhattan including Central Park offered a far more impressive perspective than from downtown at One World. We loved the gothic style architecture from the brass decals to the tall window frames. The spectacular views were popular for Asian brides, a handful of which were there getting their photos taken while their patient new husbands kept cool by intermittently stepping in and out of the air conditioned viewing spaces.

    To finish the afternoon, we had our first whole foods experience. It took every ounce of willpower to prevent us from buying up half the store (the chipotle salsa was amazing!).
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  • Day5

    D5 New York - Midtown

    July 9 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    After a well needed sleep in, we had a quiet morning. Anthony did a spot of shopping while Kate caught up on her Pilates.

    The main events of today however, included a dirty phat pastrami sandwich from Katz Delicatessen, some quiet reflection time at the New York Public Library (yes, think Ghostbusters!) and a quick wander around midtown to buy a few more pairs of socks from Paragon Outdoors.

    TOP 3 Highlights of Today:
    1. The delicious fatty slow cooked charred meat on rye.
    2. Iced coffee. Yes, the American filter coffee on ice is proving to be a favourite for Kate. Especially when accompanied by a cookie that is 60% chocolate chip, 40% dough at best.
    3. Dinner with Gem and Akeem New York style, completed by a trip to a rooftop bar with panoramas of Downtown.
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