Sunday, October 16, 2016


September was crazy busy, with work, travel, illness, and challenges.
It started beautifully with J and I attending Lizotte’s to see Vince Jones. My friend V had tickets but was sick, so J & I went for him. What a sublime evening that was. Jazz and red wine, and great company...what more do you need! Vince may have aged (I didn’t recognise him), but his voice certainly hadn’t, rich and smooth, with a divine backing band, this was perfection indeed!

My nephew had his first ever Grand Final for Soccer, and what a match it was. They went down by 1, but fought hard, and that is all you can expect.

 attended my school reunion, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, lol! Caught up with some lovely people I hadn’t seen in years. I am glad I went, as the evening progressed it was interesting from a sociological pov, as some seemed to revert back to the school yard behaviour. I try not to judge, you don’t know what fresh hell people are walking through to revert like that. But nonetheless, it was a far less stressful evening than I thought it would be.
I did wake the following day with a horrendous headcold, who knows from where, the wind and shouting at the soccer, or kissing too many people at the reunion. It came quick and fast and went down hill fast too...sigh. It  was Father’s Day though, and we gave Dad and my brother-in-law a great day at my sister’s property!

The following week, my headcold turned to bronchitis and a strong chest infection.
And the following weekend I flew to Melbourne for a long weekend break. I was pretty sick most of the trip, but I managed.

I had flown in especially to see the Scorsese Exhibit and you can read about the rest of the trip here.
I flew back a little better than when I left but not much. I had one days rest before managing a two day whirlwind visit from the lovely author (and friend) Anita Heiss. I collected her from the airport and we had a chance to catch up. The Friday evening we had a lovely girls night out dinner with her in conversation with Carol Duncan at Custom Espresso at Speers Point. What a great night we had, the cafe were spectacular. After we headed out for drinks and dancing, and a good time was had by all.

The following day Anita came to my lovely Swansea Library for a well attended talk and we had a great lunch after at Caves Beach Hotel before I took her back to the airport. What a delight, and inspiration Anita it, I adore her so.

Despite still feeling poorly I soldiered on.
E, C, and I had pizza at Foghorn before being blown away by Eight Days a Week: the Beatles documentary and concert. I cannot speak highly enough of it, what pure joy it gave me!!!

A, L, and I took a trip to The Regal to see Hello, My Name is Doris starring the eternally youthful Sally Field. What a delight this film was, about an aging woman dealing with life after her elderly mother dies. 

The third film I saw this month was Bridget Jones Baby with my gals at gold class. I enjoyed the movie, it was fun, but felt the storyline had strayed from the original character we loved so much!
I finally caught up with the lovely J for a sublime lunch at Rustica. Oh my, the food was great, but the company better and fun! 

My lovely niece turned 9 and we had a large family celebration at the restaurant of her choice...she choose the all you can eat at East Maitland Bowling Club, bless her little socks, that way she could have pizza, and chips, and all the foods at once!
Despite work still continuing to be challenging on one small but very time consuming aspect, we managed some great work, with school holiday activities, Goosebumps Party, Tai Chi for Seniors, Shelving changes, and of course the visit from Anita Heiss.


The month ended with fun at The Edwards for their inaugural Gilmore Girls event, where a group of us watched episodes, ate up big, and played bingo and trivia. What fun!!!!! 

And as always some pics from around and about!

Sunday, October 9, 2016


What I’ve Been Watching
The Rewrite – Hugh Grant plays an Oscar-winning screen writer down on his luck who goes to the east coast to teach writing. This was an ok romantic comedy, and Hugh was back on form. Marissa Tomei stars as his love interest, and she is always lovely on screen.

Miss You Already –  is a good little dramedy about two friends, Toni Colette and Drew Barrymore. Both are great onscreen, but it is not the best movie I have seen. A nice light, leave your brain at the door flick.

Love The Coopers – another big star, Christmas movie, about a family coming together over their issues for Christmas! Diane Keaton and John Goodman were great as the Mum and Dad, whose marriage is falling apart. It had it’s moments, but ultimately was only just ok.

Sisters – with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. This was awful, why did they bother, they are talented, classy comedians, but this showed neither. I just do not understand!

Zoolander 2 – this was a lot of fun, not at good as the first, but still pretty good. Stiller and Wilson were as good as ever, and the supporting cast, large and superb. I loved the clever little bits with Sting, that made me crack up. Funny and silly, clever and ridiculous!

Everest – is another blockbuster, that was ok. I guess you know the outcome, but it was well acted, and had a great cast.

The Lobster  - is my movie of the month. Very unusual and difficult to explain, but basically single people are sent to a special place to meet other single people but if they do not by a certain time they are hunted (by the remaining singles) and turned into animals. It is a little bit more complex than that, but unique and clever, and I was mesmerised, especially with Colin Farrell’s lead performance. Great supporting cast too.

The Durrells – this was a lovely 6 part remake for tele that encompasses all three of the The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell. It was perfect in casting, set beautifully on Corfu of course, was funny and glamorous and enchanting. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading The Corfu Trilogy you must, there are the memoirs of Gerald and his family moving to Corfu between the wars and after their father passed. As young boy, he was in his element, collecting animals and exploring the island, all the things that obviously led him to be the great conservationist he ended up as. 

Offspring – the new series of Offspring was a slow burn, without the original people behind it (creators, writers etc), it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. BUt as the series moved it did build to a lovely crescendo. Most of the cast was back, but it did that awful jump the shark thing of adding new cast members that just did not work. It was still good, but not quite at it’s height.

The Affair S2 – this followed the first season. It’s a complex story with great acting, but really no redeemable characters. I think I just enjoyed the cleverness of the story and they unique way they presented it. The show’s premise is an affair, but there is much more to it than that, including an intriguing mystery. It looks like there will be a third series, but to be honest I think that is stretching it!

The Code S2 – I’m not as into The Code as I was the first season, something is lacking in this season and I cannot quite put my finger onto it. Maybe too many cast members, too much subterfuge, it’s good, but S1 is great!

Ahn Do’s Brush With Fame -  this lovely little doco series shows Ahn’s incredible genius at painting portraits, mostly in oil. Incredibly gifted, not only as an artist, and a comedian, but as an interviewer, getting the most out of his subject. Essential viewing!

Great American Train Journeys – really enjoying this SBS series, of travelling the east coast looking at the old railway journeys of the past and how the lines have changed over the years. Not just about railways, but more about the areas, starting in New York and moving down the coast.

History Docos – I’ve been watching a range of docos on tele, The Romanovs, Tsars, and Versailles. All beautifully presented and interesting.

What I’ve Been Reading
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – I listened to this on audio book, read by the author, and it is one of the best books I have ‘read’. I knew it had won a lot of awards and was a book of note, and it happened to come through my hands at work not long after finishing The Lacuna. It is the story of a southern family moving to The Congo as missionaries. It is told from the story of the minister’s wife and their 4 girls. The story was compelling, the characters remarkable, the sense of self/voice utterly unique, and just a commanding package. It is funny and heart breaking, and complex and frustrating, and the story spans over many decades. This truly is a must read if you love books and great stories. It will probably enter my top all time favourite stories.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence – well I had never read this and whilst I knew it was known as a spicey book, I did not expect it to be as spicey as it was. Oh My! This was another audio book, and I don’t mind saying there were times I was lucky I didn’t crash my car. It is definitely a melodramatic story, but well written and an eye opener for the time.

Talking to My Country – Stan Grant – this is a must read for all Australians, part memoir, part commentary of indigenous life today. Stan writes with a deep, open heart and considerable passion about the stories and challenges of his family and about his own life and the change he wants to see within his country.

Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss – This is a different style of novel to what we have come to expect from the wonderful Anita Heiss, and it is a great surprise. I’ve always enjoyed her chick lit and sense of humour, and whilst that is still evident, she has moved to historical fiction with romance at the centre of the story with this one. I enjoyed this change of direction thoroughly. Set against the backdrop of the Cowra Outbreak, it also tells the story of the aboriginal settlement there, and Mary a young aboriginal girl who helps look after one of the Japanese POW who escaped. A romance forms, and whilst this is at the heart of this story, it is the history of the area that forms the real strength of the story.

What I Have Been Listening To
A Version of Now – Peter Garrett – this is the first solo album from Garrett and its good, but it does lack the oomp of MIdnight Oil, which shows what collaborating can achieve. But it is worth listening to.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Melbourne 2016

I’ve written so much about Melbourne, you all should know the drill by now!

It’s my favourite place to holiday in Australia and if I do not get there at least once a year I get very antsy.

I have a month off in November and had planned a week down there but I realised there were a few things I really wanted to see and they would be finished by Nov.
So I just had to do a little long weekend run down.
For the past decade or even longer I have always stayed somewhere around Collins Street near to Flinders Station and Degreaves, and in private apartments. This year I got a deal on a newish boutique hotel at the top of Little Bourke Street right on Chinatown and around the corner from Parliament and The Princess Theatre.

How could I resist!?!
And what a great spot it was, in the midst of way too many eateries, and that was before Chinatown!!! Right near my fave bookstores, and I could even see Madam Brussells from my view.
I flew in on the Saturday late afternoon, and was still very sick with a chest infection. I had a wander and got my bearings, and then grabbed some amazing Chinese takeaway for dinner and had a big night in.

Sunday I walked to Fed Square, not far at all, to meet my lovely friend M, who was my ‘date’ for Scorsese. You can read about our experience here. We caught up properly over lunch at Taxi Kitchen and then I headed back to my hotel for a rest before the evening’s proceedings.

It took me one whole minute to make my way to The Princess Theatre from my hotel. I was seeing Matilda and just loved it. It was a great adaptation of a favourite childhood book, I believe that Dahl would have been thrilled with it. The acting (mostly kids...urgh!) was superb and Minchin’s soundtrack was perfection. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, you must. Very funny like the book and not just for kids!

I had a lovely sleep in on the Monday and then grabbed a tram to NGV to see the Degas exhibit. I don’t know much about Degas, except his lovely Ballerina paintings. Well I found out he is so much more than that, he etched, drew, painted over a long time and therefore many varying styles, and ended up a photographer late. He even sculpted, and they were spectacular. It was a very large exhibition and I was totally in my element.

Also a cool, drizzly, typical Melbourne day, which meant I spent a fair amount of time in the gallery. Firstly daydreaming, meditating under the cathedral window ceiling. Then I quick dash upstairs to see my fave gal, The Weeping Woman.

Afterwards it had cleared a little so I made a dash for Degreaves for a late lunch and zigzagged through the laneways to the mall having a lovely browse at the shops.

That night I had some more Chinese, when you are that close to so much amazing Chinese, how can you not!?

My final day was a bit of a washout, raining heavy and I was still unwell. BIg sleep in and just enjoying my lovely room before heading across the park – or rather around the park by tram – to the Melbourne Museum. This time I was seeing the Jurassic World Exhibit, mostly for kids, it was fun though. Animatronic Dinosaurs that were almost realistic. It was all over fairly quick, but still worth seeing. 

I spent some time wandering the museum before heading back to the city for a late lunch at The Elephant and Wheelbarrow pub. I had a little shop but ended up back at the hotel for a nap. I was exhausted after a hectic couple of days fighting this chest infection. That night I ‘discovered’ a great Italian cafe, that did the best pizzas, and everything else from what I could see.

I slept well, had a great breakfast in the hotel, and then made my way to the airport to fly home.