Debbie Kruger

Byron Bay view
I moved back to my house in Byron in late 2006, finally, after six years of pining for it. I instantly felt calmer; Sydney really does my head in! I also fell straight into great PR work with local songwriters, reconnected with old friends and started making new friends. This page will track the new phase of my life in Byron, so this is the place to come if you want to know the latest goings on in what one friend refers to as my soul place. For my latest Byron news, head straight to the bottom of the page.
It's a long time – 15 years – since that first photo of me at the Byron Bay Lighthouse when I was just a blow-in, a visitor on the verge of a big life change... a sea-change, before people were even using the term "sea-change". In the height of my first summer back in Byron full-time, I had cause to drive up to the lighthouse to obtain a resident's parking sticker, and I realised it had been a long time since I'd given the iconic beacon a good look over.

In fact, as a local resident I would rarely go to the lighthouse in the normal course of life here, although I tell myself I must start walking up there regularly.

On a brilliant clear day, the urge to photograph the lighthouse and surrounding beaches is strong, regardless of how many photos one already has of these scenes. For me, on this hot January day in 2007, it felt like a symbolic homecoming.

Debbie at the Byron Lighthouse
Byron Bay Lighthouse
Byron Bay Lighthouse
Julian Rocks Gazing out at Julian Rocks, I couldn't help but think back on that first year in Byron when I was a plucky dive moll, hanging out with Diver Jeff and his band of merry men at the dive shop. I thought back to the fatal shark attack near Julian Rocks in 2003, when a couple's honeymoon ended tragically and shortly thereafter I lost my diving nerve. My wetsuit, boots, gloves, snorkel and fins have languished in my dive bag ever since.

I also thought about my joyful days presenting Debbie Does Breakfast on BAY-FM, and my Julian Rocks Discs segment, which brought a colourful array of local personalities onto my show to play their favourite songs for me.

So much history, so many memories... And now a new phase of my life in Byron Bay.

Tallow Beach
bliss... bliss... bliss...
Through all the years of living in Byron, I have always preferred to be a little inland, with acreage around me. I don't know where this innate desire for green pastures and space came from, as I grew up a suburban girl from the city, and have always adored the beach. But as much as I love lying on the beach for hours on a warm day (yes, I use sunscreen), I am always blissfully happy when I drive out of town, along my country lane and over the cattle grid through my driveway entrance. With Morgan waiting for me faithfully, of course.
Driveway entrance
Stepping outside my driveway and looking east, I can see the Byron Lighthouse off in the distance, and my neighbours' cows grazing and mooing contentedly. Well, some moo somewhat manically, especially during calving season.
My bovine neighbours
When I moved back in October 2006, I was delighted to meet the new inhabitant of my paddock, Cody, the sweetest horse I've ever seen. If you call his name, he comes trotting over, hopefully, expectantly. Oh that life was just a matter of grass, apples and carrots! Mind you, I wouldn't fancy standing around in howling northerly winds, rain and lightning storms, which we had our fair share of during my first couple of months back home. Cody the horse
Not ever having been a horsey girl, I have no temptation to ride Cody. I just love having him there, so whenever I go out the back door, he's standing nearby, keeping an eye on things.

Cody again
Cody in the afternoon light
Tunnel of trees Back out on the lane, I am particularly fond of the tunnel of trees that I drive through just before approaching my house. An abundent source of kindling, a shady end to a long hot walk on a summer morning, an idyllic thoroughfare... but for the eyesore of the power lines going directly in front of the trees.

Ahhh, power lines in the country. Fabulous when all your electricity is working, which is most of the time. Unspeakably inconvenient, not to mention frightening, when the lines come down on your property... just meters from your bedroom window even.

This was one of the dramatic incidents that welcomed me back to Byron only a couple of weeks after I arrived home, while the house was full of unpacked boxes and I was sleeping soundly at 5am. A loud bang, a series of buzzes, and my garden was on fire.
In the pitch black of a daylight saving morning in late October, this was a scary sight. When the sky grew light and I could see the situation clearly, it was less scary, but still quite alarming. The Mullumbimby Volunteer Fire Brigade turned up, assessed the scene, shrugged, and made themselves some tea. We all waited for Country Energy to show up and turn the power off so my front yard was no longer a danger zone.
Fire in the garden

Electrical fire

The poor frangipani tree survived, and my grass is fine other than some strange crop marks that look like aliens visited.
The burning bush

All was well and my electrical fire was but a recent memory, until a similar incident happened just two months later, at 1am on Boxing Day. The second time there was no fire, except for the burning of my phone line which made a mess of a few cords – good thing I had a surge protector – and rendered me phoneless for four days. Oh, and the poor barbecued flying fox that was the unfortunate culprit. Different lines but same power pole. It would be nice if Country Energy would move the pole off my property. Even nicer if they placed all power lines underground.
Washing on the line The bats are enticed by all the fruit trees in the area. I have but two avocado trees, and a mango tree I planted ten years ago that still has not produced any fruit. My avocado trees are enormous and by the autumn there will be more avos than I will know what to do with.

The northerly winds in Byron are ferocious at times, and at my place it makes hanging the washing a challenge, but I can't tell you how lovely it is to be able to dry my linens and clothes in real fresh air again, after six years of inner-city air or tumble dryers.

bliss... work... bliss... work...
Meanwhile, my PR work was continuing throughout the big move from Sydney back to Byron, and so setting up my office needed to be a priority. As Kruger PRofiles was originally established in Byron, it was gratifying to finally bring it back here and continue to work on projects with a local and national focus. Details on what I do in my PR business are on the Kruger PRofiles page. Kruger PRofiles office
Rob and Deb on the green green grass of Bangalow
Photo by Jeff Dawson
Within weeks of my return, I was involved in the inaugural Bangalow Pacific Songwriters Festival, for which I provided publicity services and industry liaison as well as presenting two Q&A sessions with prominent Australian songwriters. It was great to catch up with Rob Hirst, whom I hadn't seen since my Byron Writers Festival launch for my book, Songwriters Speak.
The session with Rob was standing room only in the Bangalow Scout Hall on a really hot day. Rob entertained with anecdotes from his Midnight Oil days, demonstrated how songs like "The Dead Heart" came together musically, and described the differences in writing for an international multi-million selling band and small projects with far less commercial viability. The audience was enthralled.
Deb and Rob do the Q&A thing
Photo by Jeff Dawson © Byron Echo
Deb and Tex hamming it up
Tex and Deb ham it up for the Byron Echo
Photo by Jeff Dawson © Byron Echo
Tex Perkins also submitted to a Q&A with me, and treated the packed audience to a world premiere performance of his new football theme song. As Tex had not been in my book, it was a new challenge for me to discover his work with Beasts of Bourbon, The Cruel Sea and solo. He was a good sport, and both he and Rob performed at the Festival Showcase Concert that night.
I was also lucky enough to hook up with a new client as soon as I arrive back in Byron, a hugely talented singer-songwriter by the name of Lou Bradley, who also lives in the Byron area.
For Lou's publicity photos I called in my good pal John Elliott, from Toowoomba, and we did two shoots – one on the sands at sunset near Lou's house at South Golden Beach, in the very northern part of Byron Shire...

Lou's photo shoot on the beach
Lou and Deb on the beach
... And the other out in the hills hehind and above Mullumbimby, where Lou and her family have a very funky house. We drove up there very early one morning for some gorgeous photos, which you can see at Lou's website.

Lou and John in the hills

Lou and John
Lou and John at waterfall
Deb, Lou and donkey
The glamorous world of a publicist and her client
Meanwhile back at the homestead... getting house and home into shape involved a bit of handywork, and some new furniture.

This is a big plug for a wonderful handcrafted furniture design shop in Melbourne, Wilkins & Kent. I had stopped in there on one of my business trips to Melbourne when I was working for APRA in the early Naughties, instantly taken by their CD cabinets. I had only been back in Sydney for a year, maybe less, but I promised myself, there and then, that when I moved back to my Byron home, I would have one of these CD cabinets made for me.

Empty CD cabinet
CD cabinet in lounge Fast forward to August 2006, and my last trip to Melbourne before my return to Byron. In I walked to Wilkins & Kent and duly ordered my CD cabinet. Three months later, it was in my house and loaded up with CDs. Gorgeous, don't you think?
My old school pal Simon came up for a four-day visit while I was still settling into my house, to help with some of those jobs you need a man for. Like putting together my front patio bench and pouring the concrete that my new letter box was placed in. He also did some masonry drilling, helped me clean out the garage cupboards, moved bookshelves, replaced outdoor light fittings and supervised me while I scrubbed bird poo off window ledges. The perfect handyman.
Simon on the bench Simon and the mailbox
bliss... bliss... bliss...
Just after Christmas 2006, my friend Vanessa came up from Melbourne for a few days of R&R. We went for walks on my country lane, relaxed on the beach, ate and drank at various Byron eateries – Raw Bar at Dish, The Balcony, Bistro Byron, Mongers – and chilled out at home, reading and snoozing. Vanessa made herself comfy on my back porch. I really must get a decent day bed out there. It's on the list. Vanessa on the back porch
Vanessa and Debbie
Vanessa and Debbie at The Balcony in Byron Bay
Trevor, Jan and Debbie Trevor and Jan Smith are long-time music and radio industry people who recently made a permanent move to Byron, and we've been having fun on the party scene during my first summer back in Byron. This photo of me with Trev and Jan was taken in January 2007 at a living wake for Byron identity Tony Naracott, who has a terminal illness and wanted to be present for the eulogies. The party was at the Byron Golf Club and it was quite a night!
Easter in Byron Bay means Blues Festival time, and without fail, the weather turns on its most atrocious wet cold autumn weather. Add to that the influx of mega thousands of Bluesfest tourists with resultant traffic chaos, and you can have a mighty unpleasant five days in paradise. But... with a VIP pass in hand and music industry friends in town for the festival to catch up with, I braved the weather and crowds on a couple of nights to enjoy some great local acts like Sara Tindley and Will Conner, and overseas legends such as Bonnie Raitt.
The supremely cool Jack Johnson, while not officially on the bill, turned up as a surprise guest during Will Conner's lovely set. Jack doesn't know me from a bar of soap, and I don't even own any of his CDs, but hey, I was backstage and he was ever so amiable, so a photo was in order! And in the pic below, I am hanging out with my pal Thomas Heymann, then a bigwig at Warner Music, and his gal pal Jenn.
Deb with Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson and Debbie backstage at Bluesfest 2007
Deb, Thomas, Jenn
Debbie, Thomas and Jenn in bluesfest mode
rainbow Meanwhile back on the lane... a magnificent rainbow on the not too distant horizon made me feel uplifted in the middle of the bleak Easter weather. I was to be absent from Byron over much of the remaining autumn and coming winter, and this image stayed with me through some difficult months ahead. As Don Henley wrote in the classic song "Desperado", "It may be raining, but there's a rainbow above you..."
Now here's something I absolutely love about being in Byron... the weekly organic farmers markets in Byron Bay and Bangalow. When I brought home my purchases one day in August I thought it so colourful and picturesque I just had to photograph it. The wonderful array of herbs, leafy lettuces, magnificent plump tomatoes, earthy mushrooms, fragrant cuts of Jap pumpkin, gorgeous roses and Monte's juicy strawberries... It's enough to make you stay at home eating all day every day! market produce
koala The day before my birthday in August 2007 a magical thing happened only metres from my front door. Scurrying across the grass and then up my gum tree was the most gorgeous, huge furry fellow. Can you see him there, leaning on the branches, taking in the view?
Okay, then, here's a close up...
I'd heard him stomping across my roof the night before and after reasoning with myself that it probably wasn't a human intruder, I figured it must be a bush possum. So imagine my surprise and delight when I saw this wonderful koala in my garden in the bright light of day, looking very much like king of the gum tree, stoically ignoring the belligerent squawks of the resident butcher birds, clinging confidently to his terrain.
I love him! What a gift!
Debbie and Karena Not as furry as a koala, but loveable in her own way, is my friend Karena, a fellow-Leo, who helped me celebrate my birthday over lunch in relaxed fashion at The Balcony in Byron on the princess couch, which all who come to this restaurant covet. A glass of pink champagne and all was well with the world.
Also coming along to offer birthday greetings was my friend and sometime client, Sara Tindley, one of the most wonderful singer-songwriters in the Byron area or anywhere in Australia today. You can find out more about her at my Kruger PRofiles page.
Debbie and Sara
Trevor, Debbie, Murray Birthday fun continued the following night with a dinner at Byron's best seafood restaurant, Fishheads. Here I am, at left, sharing the birthday lurrrv with Trevor and Murray. That's Murray Burns, formerly of Mi-Sex, who co-wrote "Computer Games".
And here I am with Jan and Brad and some beautiful hibiscus. The food was wonderful, the champagne and wine were perfect, and the company warm and supportive. Just what I needed to cap off a really special birthday this year. Jan, Debbie, Brad
Trevor, Jan, Murray, Brad, Debbie
L-R: Trevor, Jan, Murray, Brad and the birthday gal

In December 2007 there was a reunion party for staff of Sunspirit, the aromatherapy company I did PR for in 1999-2000. Anyone who had worked for the company in its 30-year history was invited; as I'd only been with them for seven months, I can't say I knew a lot of the people there, but it sure was fun catching up with those I did know.

Sunspirit girls reunite.
Back row L-R: Debbie, Kathy, Anita, Mel, Lauren and someone I don't know.
I don't know the girls in the front row, either!

Elsewhere on the Debsite I talk about the terrible losses I endured in November 2007, with the deaths of my mother and my beloved dog Morgan. After completing my business in Sydney related to my mother's passing, I made the final long journey home to Byron Bay in mid-December.
Debbie in Buladelah Fortunately I didn't have to make the journey alone, as my cousin Cyndy from London had flown out to spend some time with me and, after some time in Sydney together, she accompanied me on the drive home.

A usual stop for me is Buladelah, where Morgan and I used to get out and stretch our legs. I thought it would make a good place for our lunch break.

I never thought Cyndy would come to Byron Bay, so it seemed quite miraculous that she was here – that she was even sitting at a picnic table by the river in Buladelah. But she was.

Or sitting at my kitchen bench once finally back home, surrounded by my things, especially my homegrown avocados. But she really was!

Cyndy in Buladelah
Cyndy in Deb's kitchen
Debbie on Main Beach at sunset Ahh... home. The beauty and the tranquility and the warmth of summer in Byron Bay. A bittersweet return, but a welcome return nevertheless.

Sunset on the beach, before a hearty seafood dinner at Mongers. Heavenly bliss.

Main Beach at sunset
The light fades over Main Beach, Byron Bay
The site of Mongers in Bay Lane used to be where the Byron Bay Dive Centre was. It was now 15 years since I had first come to Byron and spent some time as a dive moll.

When the Dive Centre was relocated and the lane redeveloped into Byron's restaurant row, there was a fabulous pizza and gelato bar called Pompeii's on this site. When Pompeii's reputation spread far and wide, the owner, Georgio, decided to relocate to Bondi Beach and we lost the best pizza Byron residents had ever tasted.

And then Mongers arrived. Mongers now has outlets in Bondi and Manly, but thankfully the owners have not forsaken their Byron flagship café. They do seriously great seafood at very reasonable prices. Best deal: a generous box of salt and pepper calamari for $6!

Cyndy at Mongers
Cyndy ponders how life might have been as a Byron dive moll
Rowena and Debbie at Mokha Since coming home to live in late 2006 (albeit with a nine-month leave of absence while back in Sydney in 2007), I've been looking for the ideal breakfast café. It had been some time since the Byronian had been my café of choice, and for the most part, I prefer to make my own breakfast at home, so there has to be a good reason to go out to eat the first meal of the day.
Mokha in Lawson Street gets my vote at the moment, especially for its one-of-a-kind bircher muesli. I've tried to replicate it at home with absolutely no success, so I figure once a week I should treat myself to this yummyness. That's me and Rowena above, and me and Cyndy on the right, sharing bircher muesli and strawberry kisses (that's the juice).
Debbie and Cyndy at Mokha
Karena and Cyndy in garden I took Cyndy up to Bangalow for a look around and afternoon tea at Peter and Karena's house. Karena was happy to give Cyndy a plant by plant, leaf by leaf description of her fantastic garden, which she and Peter have laboured lovingly over since they bought the house two years ago.
I'm always a happy recipient of any herbs Karena hand picks for me to take home. On this occasion it was a selection of mints... chocolate mint... lemon mint... gorgeous fragrances.
Debbie and Karena in garden
Paella at The Balcony Peter and Karena also joined us for dinner at The Balcony, where they consumed this paella.

Cyndy and I consumed exotic cocktails and very nice snapper dishes. The Balcony still has the best buzz of all the Byron restaurants.

Cyndy and Debbie do cocktails at The Balcony
Cyndy came with me to both the Bangalow and Byron farmers markets and she was fascinated by my very particular way of choosing produce and then using it at home. Here I am at the Byron farmers markets waiting to buy my weekly supply of lettuce, rocket and basil from the Fossil Farm growers. Byron Farmers Market
Debbie at farmers market And here I pose for a happy snappy with my purchases in front of me, including gorgeous bunches of roses at only $7 each, juicy tomatoes, flavoursome mushrooms, cucumbers and capsicums, the best blueberries in Australia, a kilo box of cherries... a veritable feast of organic produce!
Cyndy's visit to Byron preceded the big Christmas/New Year downpour. We had a mix of weather while she was here but fortunately we got some good beach days in. Here's the happy London girl on Clarkes Beach after a long sunning session. Cyndy on Clarkes Beach
Debbie on Clarkes Beach And me shaking and folding my favourite beach towel on the same day. Don't you love how I take you with me every step of the way? I never look good on the beach when I'm there for sunbaking and swimming, and having my photo taken is not something I relish, but Cyndy was snapping away as always.
Of course she had to take the mandatory tourist trip up to the Byron Lighthouse. We had a sunny but windy afternoon for it. My plan is to get fit enough to actually walk up to the lighthouse regularly in 2008. Watch this space.

Debbie and Cyndy at the lighthouse

Cyndy at Byron Lighthouse
Cyndy at most easterly point
Debbie does phone at lighthouse
"Can someone come and get me?
I'm too tired to even walk back to the car!"
Cyndy enjoyed getting to know Cody, my surrogate horse. Here she is with Cody on the left and the horse next door on the right. I don't know the horse next door's name... must find out. This pic was taken on one of our morning walks, where the eastern point of my land meets the property next door and the road.

I've actually been wanting to capture a series of images from my morning walk along the lane, so we did that on Cyndy's camera. Now you can take a cyber walk with me and see meandering driveways, fanciful letter boxes, a disused meat co-op and more. And check out all those fabulous cows that I say "moo" to each morning!

Cyndy with horses
Along the lane
A neighbouring property
Along the lane
The tunnel of trees
Along the lane
Any way the wind blows...
Letter boxes on the lane
Mount Chincogan in the distance behind
colourful mailboxes and an empty honesty box
Letterbox on the lane
A most inventive mail receptacle
Tyagarah Meat Pool
The door is actually covered in graffiti so I had to fix the photo
Cows on the lane
The answer, my friend, is mooing in the wind.

Cyndy and Debbie at Beach Cafe On Cyndy's last night before flying back to the UK, we had dinner at the newly rebuilt and re-opened Beach Café. Excellent food, nice service. It was the first night of the big wet and we watched the rain and wind swirling outside. The next day I took Cyndy to Brisbane and she flew home for an icy cold Christmas.

I wish she was still here.

If you haven't been to the Sydney Style section lately, you can see what else I got up to with Cyndy during her visit, on both the These Days and Beach Baby pages.

Christmas time 2007, and thank goodness I'm Jewish! Who needs all the stress of shopping for gifts and food and all of that family stuff...? And on that note, no longer having parents, it was a good thing that Christmas holds no significance for me. But it's always nice to join in the festivities for a bit, so I went along to Bangalow on Christmas Eve for the annual street festival and parade, and to join friends for dinner at Fishheads new Bangalow restaurant. Christmas Eve on Bangalow main street
Friends on Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve 2007 at Fishheads in Bangalow
L-R: Janelle, Jürgen, Peter, Karena, Debbie, Allen, Louse and Kinto
Jan, Lauren, Andrew, Tess, Pia and Cody
Jan, Lauren, Andrew, Tess and Pia meet Cody
Apart from Cyndy's much-enjoyed visit, I have had various friends drop in on their way through to holidays in Queensland this summer, particularly Killara High friends dropping into Debsville, which has been fun. Here are Andrew, Jan and their three gorgeous girls in what has become an obligatory photo opportunity with Cody. It had been eight years since their last visit and the horse in residence had changed.
When Simon came over just before New Year with two of his daughters, Elloise and Jasmine, Cody was waiting again. Jas dropped the apple but Cody wasn't fazed.
Jas, Elly and Cody
Elly and Jas meet Cody
Jasmine and Elloise I was baking rosemary polenta bread to go with my home-made guacamole to take to a New Years Eve party, so we sat around the kitchen chatting and eating biscuits. Yumm.
Simon, meanwhile, went exploring around the avocado trees, which have been dropping fruit at a rapid rate. With all the wind and rain we've been having since October, the ground can sometimes be blanketed with avocados. I'm forever trying to give away bags, boxes of big beautiful ripening organic avos. Back in the '90s I used to sell them to the Byronian Café, or do contras for my breakfast. Now every second person up here seems to have a surplus of organic avocados, so I'm not sure mine are in high demand. Maybe I should call my place Guacamoleville.

Simon had been up just over a year ago to help me fix up some things around the house and I have been waiting for him to come back and plants some trees with me. This was just a flying visit, but a longer return is anticipated soon.

Simon in the avocado shade
James, Nick, Darelle and Isabella
James, Nick, Darelle and Isabella meet Cody
James and family had never visited me in Byron before so it was good to have them come through on their way to the Gold Coast. After acquainting themselves with the horse and inspecting the avocado trees, we all went down to the beach for a bake and a swim followed by lunch at the Beach Café. It's nice to be on holidays.
James and Nick and avocados
Debbie learns coffee from Trevor In December 2006 at the Byron United Christmas Party, I bought one $2 raffle ticket and won a very swish DeLonghi espresso machine. Not being a coffee drinker myself, I resisted the pleas of friends who wanted me to give it to them, and put it on display in my new kitchen thinking how nice it would be to make espresso for visitors and have that lovely aroma wafting through the house.
Trevor promised to come up with freshly roasted coffee beans, a grinder and good frothing milk, and teach me how to use the machine. But he and wife Jan were busy all last summer, and then I was needed back in Sydney all through 2007, and before I knew it the machine was out of warantee and had never been plugged in! It made a nice ornament, though.
But finally between Christmas and New Year 2007 Trev made good on his promise and came up to give me a lesson. Flick this switch on here, that one there, water here, coffee there, and voila! Espresso. Re-heat the steam and start frothing that milk. And now a latte! Too easy. Wish I was a coffee drinker.
Debbie and Trevor do coffee
Trevor and Jan
Trevor and Jan with a damn fine cup of coffee
David with coffee machine
David with a damn fine shot of espresso
So when David came through on a viciously rainy day in the new year, espresso was on the lunch menu. Now all I need to do is learn how to make cappuccino with swirling pictures on the top of the froth.

Now as I write this update, it's the second week of January 2008, the weather is wet and humid, the grass is growing too fast and too high, the avocados continue to drop, I think I see Morgan standing on the front porch wagging her tail looking hopefully at me wanting to be let in, but it's just a bird twittering past... I miss her so. I am so fortunate to have this haven to call home, to rest and take stock before I decide what I'm going to focus on this year. Keep checking in and I'll let you know.

bliss... bliss... bliss...
You've gotta love a guy who goes out for dinner with you wearing a shirt in a colour that matches your own outfit! This is me with my dear pal Gerry, a longtime Byron friend – although he actually lives in Clunes and works in Lismore – and former BAY FM presenter. We caught up in March 08 to try out the new Bayside Bistro in Byron Bay and thought it was okay. I prefer Fishheads or the new Pacific Dining Room. Debbie and Gerry
Malcolm and Debbie at Byron's Main Beach The weather all summer and through autumn 2008 in Byron was atrocious; not only did it rain constantly and cause everything to go moldy, but it washed away much of our beaches. When I returned from Hawaii in May I wanted to grab whatever beach time I could get, even if the sand was thin and hard. My Sydney friend Mal visited for a weekend and we were able to strip down to swimsuits to enjoy the late autumn sun.
FEHVA is a festival for artists and lovers of art, that takes place in Bangalow every May/June. I was invited to chair the final panel session of the 2008 festival, on "The Struggle To Create". Nice to put my interviewing skills to use again after a long break from work, and to meet some very interesting and talented artists.
FEHVA panel
FEHVA panel
L-R: Peter Powditch, Lulu Serious, Sally Swain, Sally Harrison,
Peter Sharp and chairperson Deb
Sunset In preparation for some major landscaping and building work, including the long dreamed-of installation of an inground swimming pool at my place, some tree removals were necessary and a local arborist made swift work of it during winter 2008. I was amazed by what the clearing revealed. Breathtaking sunsets... and wisftul blankets of fog in the early morning.
Morning fog
Simon plays guitar My great pal Simon, he who ventured north when I first moved back to Byron in late 2006 and built me a mailbox, a bench seat, drilled holes in walls et al, came back for a winter visit in July 2008 to watch the rain fall with me, sit by the fire, massage my feet and beat me at consecutive games of Scrabble and Battleships. And serenade me, too. Now that's what I call a good friend.
We dined at Olivo, one of my favourite winter restaurants in Byron, and took happy snappys of each other. Simon was genuinely happy. I was masking my despair. I suffered through this winter, long and cold as it was, and couldn't wait for August, when I was flying to LA for a month.
Debbie at Olivo
Simon at Olivo

As soon as I returned from my fabulous trip to Los Angeles, the Byron social scene offered up a few early spring parties to attend and show off some of my new Roberto Cavalli frocks.
The very day I got back to Byron after the long drive back from Sydney, after the long flight from LA, I found myself at the launch party for La Vista, an elegant new retreat in Ewingsdale. I had a good catch up with Jan Barham, the mayor of Byron Bay, who I've known since I first moved here. This was just one week from the council elections and she was a tad nervous, but had no need to be, as she romped home in a landslide victory for herself and the Greens.
Debbie and Jan Barham
Photo courtesy Coast Magazine
Debbie at Tony's Bash A little over 18 months since the living wake for Byron Bay identity Tony Naracott, the community was honouring him a year after his death. Back at the Byron Golf Club (Golfo) we were instructed to dress up for Tony's Bash, and it was my great pleasure to do so. My friend Jan Smith took this photo and I feel this compulsion to caption it as follows: Dress - Just Cavalli; Shoes - Giuseppe Zanotti; Bag - Anya Hindmarch; Pashmina - Harrods. But I wouldn't be so indulgent.

My date for Tony's Bash was the equally glamorously attired Bek Park. That's us, below, avoiding the Golfo's dreadful fried finger food but enjoying the chit chat.

Bek and Debbie at Tony's Bash
I was back at Olivo a couple of weeks later for dinner with Jennifer and Kathryn, my two friends from my APRA days in Sydney, who came to spend a weekend with me and see Byron in the spring. Jennifer, Debbie and Kathryn at Olivo
Kathryn and Jennifer at Byron Lighthouse Of course they wanted to see the lighthouse, and dragged me up there on the hike with them. You won't see photos of me on this hike because so unfit was I that I barely arrived at the top in one piece!

It was nice to see Byron's beaches sparkling and more like the Hawaii I was still pining for after my visit there in May.

Jennifer and Kathryn look out at Tallows
I was glad to treat my friends to a lovely baked dinner using all organic produce from the Byron Farmers Market. Chicken from Matthew the Organic Poultry Man and the best and most colourful vegetables available. Yummy. Roast chicken dinner
Debbie and Beach Cafe teapots Speaking of colourful, we were most amused by the colour schemes at the Beach Cafe where we breakfasted the following morning. The teapots miraculously matched what I was wearing – and we noticed that at every table where tea was ordered, a teapot would come out that perfectly matched what the customer was wearing. True.

We loved the rainbow of colours in the juices we ordered, too.

Beach Cafe drinks
And then another walk, briskly along the beach in one of those relentless sprintime northerly winds, where Kathryn enjoyed the view from the lookout at The Pass. It was great to have the company of such great friends for the weekend and I'm looking forward to having them back at Club Deb when the building works are complete. Which is another story, for another time, in another section of the Debsite. Kathryn at The Pass

This page will be updated as new developments or events in Byron come to hand... or even if it's just the same old stuff, I'll be here to report on it. It's a hard life, but someone's got to live it!

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