Sensual Blogging Award

I couldn’t help accepting this award. I’m sure it’ll be the only time the word sensual is associated with anything I do. A big THANK YOU to Cathie for the nomination.

Cathie’s wonderful blog can be found at

Rules for the Sensual Blogging Award

  1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you
  2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back
  3. Answer 7 sensual questions
  4. Select some nominees and notify them on their blogs
  5. Copy and paste the award on your blog

Questions and Answers for the Sensual Award

  1. Most romantic memory – Going to my first ball at Uni
  2. Most sensual music – Schubert’s Serenade
  3. Most sensual season – Summer with it’s perfumed breezes 
  4. Favorite flower – Jasmine
  5. Favorite fruit – Mango
  6. Best gift received – Conception of my only child after years of trying!! 
  7. Love is – a two-way street and enables us to compromise without resentment

Awards are a great way to show appreciation for the work of others who have inspired  or encouraged us on our own blogging journey. It’s with great pleasure I nominate the following blogs (in alphabetical order) :

Congratulations…..and happy blogging!

Warm regards


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Reality Blog Award

I must begin with a genuine THANK YOU to Cathie  for nominating my blog for this award.

You’ll find her inspiring blog at

No doubt, a lot of  you who have been blogging since long before I knew the meaning of the word, have become a bit blasé about awards but for a relative newbie such as yours truly it’s a veritable shot in the arm to be recognized by some very generous-spirited members of the blogging community.

These are the rules for accepting the award:

Rules for the REALITY Blog Award

  1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you
  2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back to them
  3. Answer the 5 questions presented
  4. Nominate up to 20 blogs for the award and notify them on their blogs
  5. Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere

Questions and Answers for the Reality Award

  1. If you could change one thing what would you change?  I would like the Alexander Technique to become part of the school curriculum.
  2. If you could repeat an age, what would it be? Age 30.
  3. What one thing really scares you? Possibility of shark attack while surfing!
  4. What is one dream you have not completed, and do you think you’ll be able to complete it?  It would be wonderful to sing in the Albert Hall in London. (Last night of the Proms, perhaps). It may be a bit late now…but…you never know!
  5. If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be?   Renee Fleming (soprano)

Now, it’s my pleasure to nominate the following blogs for the Reality Blog Award. It is a joy to visit these blogs and, in alphabetical order, they are:


Congratulations to you all……and happy blogging.

Warm Regards


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Season’s Greetings!

Our Christmas Tree in the holiday unit.

Our Christmas Tree in the holiday unit.

Well, it’s great to be back in the land of the living….er….blogging. I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season and getting to spend time with your loved ones. I had a wonderful holiday but was surprised just how much I missed blogging! I managed a few minutes of internet occasionally, just enough to keep up with my replies and, initially, to post a Weekly Photo Challenge article. Then….kaput!! No internet access for days…even though I’d paid for it!!

Cranky is not the word!

View from our balcony, Caloundra

View from our balcony, Caloundra

Had plenty of time in the surf though so I can’t really complain.  This photo shows the light from the hot, hot sun shimmering on the ocean off the point not far from the beach  where we go surfing. We had marvellous weather most of the time….average temperature was 30 degrees.

Now …….. I  must stop talking and get on with some work!

Best wishes for 2013 🙂

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

Finding some pictures for this week’s  Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate was not too much of a challenge provided  I limited myself to flowers. So my first post on the subject is floral. I  found a couple of other interpretations which I’ll put in a second post.

RTaken at The Chelsea Flower Show, London

‘English Rose’ – taken at the Chelsea Flower Show, London

Taken at the Tropical House at Kew Gardens, London

Clivia – taken at the Tropical House at Kew Gardens, London

Taken at THe Chelsea Flower Show

Orchids and moss – taken at the Chelsea Flower Show

Taken at the Chelsea Flower Show

Orchids – taken at the Chelsea Flower Show

Taken at the Chelsea Flower Show

Rhododendron – taken at the Chelsea Flower Show – positively fluffy!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

Poinciana Regia - showing the spread

Poinciana Regia – showing the spread.  (Click on a photo to enlarge it)

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons is quite different down here in the Southern Hemisphere where Summer has just begun.

In Brisbane we’ve had a spell of temperatures in the high 30’s. Last Thursday it was 39 degrees C in the shade on my deck. For those of you on the northern half of the globe that’s 101 degrees F. Mind you, in the south of Australia, snow fell in 2 states on that same day last week!!!!

The tree has few leaves when in bloom.

The tree has few leaves when in bloom.

These beautiful poinciana trees herald the arrival of summer in Brisbane and they are at their most spectacular right now.

Wonderful shape

The tree, a native of Madagascar, has a lovely  shape

The trees tend to be wider than they are tall – providing lots of shade in our hot weather.

The flower has 4 plain elongated petals and the colourful fifth is known as the standard.

The flower has 4 plain elongated petals and the colourful fifth petal is known as the standard.

Red petals everywhere.

Red petals everywhere.

Later on the flowers are followed by enormous 60-70 cm long black/brown woody bean pods (ie 24-28 inches long) which are decidedly unattractive and the trees are less picturesque at that stage. It’s a small price to pay though for these delightful flowers.

A wonderful flower.

A wonderful flower.

This last photo is courtesy of Berthold Werner who has kindly released this photo into the public domain.

If you want to participate in the Weekly Photo Challenge visit this site

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

Reflection of ceiling of Waterlily House in the lily pond.

Reflection of ceiling of Waterlily House in the lily pond.

This week’s Photo Challenge sent me darting back to the lily pond (whence I came??) for another picture of reflections from the Waterlily House at Kew Gardens! I like this picture because you can see the opaque glass of the ceiling reflected so clearly, as well as the wrought-iron work that supports it.

Waterlily House, Kew Gardens, London.

Waterlily House, Kew Gardens, London.

Can’t resist another picture of that giant lily pad – the vertical wall is amazing…… especially so with the reflection included.

Vertical walls of Victoria cruziana.

Vertical walls of Victoria cruziana.

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This week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE : THANKFUL is quite a challenge because I’m so very thankful for much in my life – my family, good health, ability to travel and stop and take a photo whenever I want and, of course, the chance to write. Also I’m thankful for having a lovely spot to live.

I notice I’m very influenced by my surroundings and chose where I live because I could look out and see trees on all sides. Although my house is in a suburb of Brisbane and there are houses close by I’m fortunate to live amongst so much greenery.

My barbeque in the branches – two floors up!

Aussie trees and view to the mountains.

Even the garage has a green (if messy) outlook

That’s the edge of a lemon myrtle tree on the left – heavenly.

Reasonably clear view through the screens. It’s clearer in real life. The brain must make allowances for the presence of the screen. The camera cannot do so.

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28. In the Wilds of East Anglia!

While in Suffolk I had great fun following many of the meandering country roads in the district – around every corner there’s always another wonderful sight to admire and photograph. Remember to click on a photo if you want to see more detail. (Takes a few seconds to load).

A cottage in Suffolk – what an amazing thatched roof!

An everyday cottage looking like something from a fairytale – near Lavenham.

It was on one such road that it dawned on me why the English love the TV program Top Gear. Sitting in my comfy lounge back in Brisbane I could never understand why the English would be so interested in the facts and figures re brake horsepower, 0 to 60 in less than 6 seconds etc. They only have tiny roads, I reasoned, why are they so interested in figures that would only apply if you frequented a race track or the autobahn?

A driver’s-eye view of the road ahead on a typical English country road.

The answer – they drive like rally drivers, especially on the country roads. You come round a tight bend and there slap-bang in the middle of the road is a maniacal English driver going like the clappers determined not to lose a millisecond of travelling time by slowing down or moving over to make room for anyone else while taking the corner. There’s a lot of engine noise and changing of gears as they roar past you and you’re hoping all the while that the branches sticking out from the hedge that you’ve swerved perilously close to aren’t causing too much damage to the paintwork on the side of your car.

The roaring sound reminded me of many a night watching Top Gear at home. I remember the first night my son asked if I wanted to watch the show – he said he thought I might enjoy it. I can still picture the look of utter disbelief on my face as I turned to him saying ‘But isn’t it a car show? Why would I want to watch a car show?’ I also felt a little disappointed that my son knew so little about me that he actually believed I might want to watch a show about cars. Oh well, that’s life.

Over a number of weeks I became vaguely interested in discovering what actually went on in the show as it produced as much laughter as – if not more than – any comedy show we watched. Firstly, the humour. Secondly, the wonderful English countryside, villages and cities were on show – I couldn’t resist that. Thirdly, add to that the personal characteristics of the hosts and I was sold. I’m sure you’re familiar with them. ‘In no particular order of importance’ they are Jeremy – tall and gorgeous; Richard – not quite so tall and gorgeous; James – a little untidy and gorgeous.

The Top Gear team in 2011.   Richard, Jeremy and James.

I’m still not especially interested in the car info they seem to thrive on but they’ve put together a wonderful package. I wouldn’t mind racing a car but I have to be honest and admit that all those facts and figures are lost on me. To tell you the truth I can’t tell my big end from my differential!

Nevertheless, I digress.

Where was I?  Oh yes…in the wilds of East Anglia.

On this particular afternoon after leaving Lavenham I was minding my own business tootling along yet another quiet, exceedingly narrow country lane deciding what time I should strike out for London on the A12. I was on a reasonably long stretch of road (by English standards ) – that is to say I could see a car approaching in plenty of time for us to get out of each other’s way without the need for elevated blood pressure.

Narrow road made worse by high hedges. (and oops…reflection again!)

As the car approached, rapidly, I was starting to brake in preparation for both of us to slow a little, give a little ground and pass in a somewhat courteous manner.  It seemed however that the other driver had different ideas and was coming fast and in the middle of the road.

Instead of taking an adult approach to this situation I instantly gave in to my baser instincts and thought to myself ’Right. We can both play this game.’ And I floored it. Approaching each other at quite a speed and giving only minimal ground (I thought my door handle might get ripped off!) we flew past each other and I glared murderously at what I assumed was some young hoon, trying to be smart. I was quite shocked to be staring into the face of a woman who looked like someone’s kind old Grandma. I guess she saw much the same thing!

Well I never!

It was those few days driving through East Anglia that helped me see the light.

The manoeuvrability of a car relative to its size and how well it corners and brakes are much more important when driving on English roads than on our wide roads back home.

With such thoughts in mind I decided it was time to head back to the big smoke  as it was close to 6pm. My cunning plan of leaving Suffolk late in the day so as to miss the peak hour traffic worked a treat until just after reaching the A406 in North East London. About 10 minutes after joining the North Circular the traffic ground to a complete standstill. So much for avoiding the rush hour!!

Posted in 'A' road, driving, England, narrow streets, Suffolk, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments


Flamingoes in the grounds of the Whitgift School, Surrey, England.

I forgot to include this in my Weekly Photo Challenge: Green  gallery posted a few days ago. (Visit it here.)

Aren’t the birds gorgeous?

I went to the Whitgift School just south of London to see an exhibition of artifacts from the Mary Rose – a ship built for Henry VIII. It sank just off the English coast in controversial circumstances (which I’ll go into in a soon to be finished book chapter).

Imagine my surprise when I came upon these delightful creatures strolling around the grounds. They have quite a large area to themselves as the pictures show. Hope you like them!

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Well, for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Green I decided to go with…..yes, you guessed it…..GREEN.

The giant waterlily Victoria cruziana in the Waterlily House
at Kew Gardens, London, England

Not for me such hollow protests  as

  • I don’t have any green photos apart from plants,
  • blue/red/yellow is a spiritual form of green,
  • green is boring

……need I go on? No! I’m taking the bull by the horns and going totally green. Except, of course, for the DELICIOUS STRAWBERRY CAKE which is present to lend a little variety…. not to mention the fact that I could spend all day looking at it while quite possibly drooling a little bit if I’m not careful.

Right, enough talk! Back to the subject at hand….GREEN. (I know, still not the proper format…… One of these days, perhaps)

Tree fern and spiral staircase in the Palm House
at Kew Gardens, London

Sweet little plant at the edge of the waterlily pond.
Kew Gardens, London.

Please let me know if you know it’s name (botanical name, that is!)

Leaf of a Plane Tree

As I was waiting at Ealing Common Station to catch the train to Kew Gardens this lovely leaf fluttered down onto the tracks just in front of me. I could hear the train coming and scrambled to find my camera just in time to snap a photo.

My lettuce and chives growing in a green Greensmart pot!

The early tomato crop –
eaten long ago!

The manifold of one of the old engines that used to raise
the halves of Tower Bridge, London.
This is on view in the base of the bridge’s southern tower

OK…you’ve been patient enough…..CAKE TIME!!

My niece’s birthday cake – made by my sister. Note the green grass, green chairs,
green party poppers and green strawberry leaves. Enjoy!

Posted in England, gardening, London, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments