Three years ago today…


Where I am right now…

Posted on March 1, 2011 by Neil


Wollongong Hospital after a small heart attack… I’ll be here a little while yet.

So that was three years ago

It was of course on 28 February that I called the ambulance… This also means that I am now eligible for the Keys To the Q:

At three years quit, you’re proclaimed an honorary Mayor of Quitstville, and are presented the Keys to the Q by those who’ve gone before you.

At the moment, because of time differences, the tally looks like this:

1096 days, 8 hours, 16 minutes and 12 seconds smoke free. 54817 cigarettes not smoked.

$41,648.00 saved.

Your quit date: 2/28/2011

Impossible to imagine except it is true.

On the heart front I have had a concern or two and had a blood test yesterday. I see the doc next week.

Not to frighten you, but by fiddling with Photoscape and using Baby HP’s webcam I updated the image above:

Picture 002a

But to reassure you – and myself—it isn’t quite that bad yet. Here I am a few minutes ago:


In memoriam — for some greats of Surry Hills

As you know I lived in Surry Hills, particularly in the Belvoir Street precinct, from 1992 to 2010. Today I am recycling some of my 2008 photos in honour of two Surry Hills characters whose obituaries have appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.


Belvoir Street looking east, early morning

Up there not far from the Belvoir theatre lived the drama critic James Waites. I never met him, I am sorry to say, though we did have some blogging interaction – quite a lot at one stage – and some communication via Facebook where a couple of weeks ago I read about his illness. But I hadn’t checked since.

So I was shocked to open the Herald this morning to see James Waites: Theatre critic whose life became the drama.

Ward Park, Surry Hills

The other Surry Hills character was Enid Cook: A fighter for Surry Hills.

Cook fought many battles to make Surry Hills a kinder place for residents – from stopping the heaviest and most dangerous trucks using its small streets, to campaigning for traffic lights, better integrated childcare services and ”homework centres” for migrant children. She had no qualms about contesting old ways of doing things or authority. She could persuade old-timers that just because ”things might have always been done that way”, they didn’t have to remain that way and she could, and would, argue her case with those wielding political power.

Cook’s greatest personal victory was the establishment of the neighbourhood centre. She believed that neighbourhood centres were a place where people learned citizenship. At a time when individualism was becoming a universally more dominant theme in western countries, the idea of a neighbourhood centre – a space for the community – was contradictory, perhaps even quaint. But Cook could see the enormous value of such places and, with a group of residents, set up a Shopfront Information Service in Crown Street. This was the forerunner of the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre, housed first in Doherty Hall and then the library. Today it is a lively hub in the Surry Hills Library and Community Centre in Crown Street.


In Surry Hills

To Figtree — 24 February — 1

Getting used to working with Baby HP and on XP again!  So some photos now from my walk down to the shops at Figtree, where I also had lunch – The Hellenic Club kitchen being unavailable yesterday because of the ongoing renovations. There is a new chef there, apparently, who has worked some of the best restaurants in Wollongong. We shall see.