Monday, 25 November 2013

Full Blue Monday

Happy Blue Monday

It's that time of the week when I am searching for something... 
                                   and above all blue
                                                            for my Blue Monday post. 
But nothing quite springs to mind...
In fact, it appeared that everything I thought of was going to be a load of rubbish. Ah ha, I could do the trash, as Monday is our bin day and our recycling bins are blue...

Any one for Cricket? 

The bin reminded me of the cricket. Australia beat England in the Test Match, which is a rarity these days, and something to celebrate (depending on who you support, or whether you care!). 

There is however quite a furore over some extremely blue language overheard on pitch between our Aussie Captain, Michael Clarke and an England bowler - hmmm maybe not quite the blue I was searching for. Anyway this sort of behaviour is just not cricket! So moving swiftly on...

I could take you to the beach, but the weather's been shocking, so you'd need an umbrella and gum boots. Even the Crazy Poodle has had enough, forced to wear his winter coat just to keep the rain off. His unimpressed look says it all.

Mutt - 'C'mon hurry up, I feel a prat in this coat'

Melbourne spring is delayed, and about a month behind. It been raining 'cats and dogs' last week, and given that we are having the coldest November in ten years you might prefer to stay in the city?

Yes, this photo below was taken a few weeks ago, and let's just say it has been worked upon!

Rye ocean beach Mornington Peninsula, Victoria - remember the sun?
I have been back through all my blogs in the pipeline, searched through all my photographs, went back over the week thinking what could I post, but it's just not been a blue week!

It's been a busy week, and I have a lot to blog about. Like when I went ballistic when they bulldozed the house over the road and didn't tell us about the asbestos removal. Apparently there was a clue as the house was crawling with men in white suits, looking like they were about to face Armagedon

Ermm, I don't think I'm going to be invited to join Neighbourhood Watch, as that one passed me by... Maybe  a whole blog in it's own right... ? 

Rainy days and destruction - not a lot of blue here...
Or my champagne and paella trip to Venus Bay - another blog coming soon, but again not much blue!

And then it came to me, look what I found lying there on the kitchen table. The perfect Blue for a Monday morning - a Full Blue!

My daughter's certificate from the University Sports Awards presentations on Friday night. Which was a grand effort (says her Mum!) considering the earlier  Blue Monday post with the pink physio tape!

Apparently awarding a Blue is a tradition which originated at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Aussie student sportsmen and sportswomen in can be awarded a Half Blue or a Full Blue for outstanding sporting performance at the Australian University Games and Championships.  It is awarded at British, Australian and New Zealand universities.

Now is that perfect or what, for a Happy Blue Monday?! Phew!!
Linked to Blue Monday

Please pop over by to see Sally and the other Blue Monday participants if you can!

Smiling Sally

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Himalayan Necklace - Oh the stories it could tell!

Do you ever wonder...?

I bought a necklace in India last year... 

It is well travelled. Oh the stories it could tell! 

Where was it made? 
(I was told it was local from the foothills of the Himalayas...)
Who made it? 

Does she 
(In my mind it was made by a lady, 
hopefully not a child... and certainly not a man.
Ever wonder who bought the jewellery? 
Or think

'Where in the world will it will end up?'

I fell in love with this necklace, 
seeing it as a connection to our 16 year old son, 
who was on exchange at an Indian boarding school, 
and as a memory of 
my Indian Adventures...

Like the crazy twenty hour journey I took just to reach him... 
On an overnight sleeper train from Jaisalmer to Jaipur
leaving my girlfriends,
 and travelling solo, 
for a six hour train ride to Delhi.

A mad taxi ride across Delhi, to the Airport, 
popping my anti-nausea pills to stop disgracing myself,
 like an over indulged teenager, 
after a night on the booze...

A flight to Dehradun on some obscure Indian airline, 
with a load of school kids 
wondering whether any of them were friends with my son, 
but then remembering he didn't yet have any friends in India... 
Or so he said,
(not entirely accurate as it turned out!)

Hitching a lift from the airport
with an incredible Canadian Woman 
who was teaching English to street kids, 
and welcomed me in her taxi, 
when mine was nowhere to be seen. 

Stopping at her house 
meeting her Indian housekeeper's children
who she was paying to attend an English language primary school, 
then travelling on, 
up into the clouds, 
for a further hour into Mussoorie: 'the Queen of the Hills' 
and finally arriving at the hotel...

Rokeby Manor was a very welcome sight. 
Our room (my son was allowed out to stay with me) 
was filled with lovely Himalayan decorations.
We got him a haircut, at the hotel salon, 
he had been there eleven weeks by the time I arrived 
and was like a shaggy dog!
The food at Rokeby's Emily's cafe was amazing, 
not like this was the best food ever, ever, ever 
but this was a welcome mixture of Western and Indian food
you know for those moments when you never want to see a curry again, 
and I was assured, safe to eat...

I was still recovering from a good dose of Delhi belly 

(As I did the entire month in India!)

So I bought the necklace from the hotel giftshop.
I loved it's bright colours, 
the rough stones 
and the fact that buying it, supported the local community.

 It came with me on the rest of my travels.
Would it's creator be pleased to know that in the UK
I wore it to Kensington Palace, 
hidden deep under layers of clothes for a cold Christmas carol service?

Or that this was the necklace I was wearing when I sang 
"The hills are alive with the Sound Of Music' in Switzerland,
or that I wore it cycling in The Netherlands?

It came to the Czech Republic and visited the nuclear bunker museum
It rose to the occasion at Barcelona FC, 
when we cheered on Messi to score three goals 
Oh yes, that was a good trip...

And when the holiday was all over,
 it came back to our routine life in Australia, 
and joined me on the school run, walking the dog, 
watching sports, and at the supermarket...

I do wear it a lot!

It seemed to go with everything, 
or maybe I should say in Melbourne, 
everyone wears a lot of black 
and it often seems the perfect jewellery to brighten a dark outfit...

BUT then it broke!
I was left with a whole load of happy memories,
 and beads all over the place!

In a previous life this would have been no drama, as there would have been a lady at the Jade Market in Hong Kong, or across the Chinese border in Shenzhen, who would restring and mend, 
good as new,
 for next to nothing!

But in Melbourne? Where to go?
If I had needed to have some high quality pearls restrung, 
or maybe it was made of precious stones,
that would not be an issue, 
but a whole pile of artesian beads?!!!

Time to call in an old friend, 
visiting from Hong Kong, 
used to my strange requests 
to help me fix things in Australia 
that once seemed so easy in Asia...

So my necklace flew to Hong Kong ...
And was fixed by a little lady somewhere in HK or China, 
I'm not sure!
My friend sent me a picture of herself wearing it for a night on the town, 
maybe Lan Kwai Fong 
or maybe the Kowloon Cricket Club, 
I forget where. 
 Then she returned it home to me!

So now my necklace is back on the supermarket run again...

Oh the stories, it can tell!

I do wish it would tell me about when it was made, 
and who made it...

'Would they be surprised to know that it has travelled around the world and now
 Lives in Australia?

Would they be thrilled to know how many many people comment and say
'Nice Necklace?'

Last Sunday I wore it to an Art Exhibition, 
over champagne and canopies, 
a lady leant over

'Nice Necklace' she said!

'Did you get it in Nepal?'

Nepal?????, I replied, 
'No, I got it in India...' 
and told her the story...

'Well, I have some earrings that would match perfectly, 
I'll give them to you!'

I can't wait to meet these new earrings from Nepal
I wonder what stories they could tell?!

Have a lovely week!

PS Update from Rokeby Manor (click comments below to read more)

I'm Monish, the Guest Relations Manager at Rokeby Manor-Mussoorie. This necklace was bought from a local Tibetan handicrafts store. I was told by the lady who sold it to us that they buy the beads individually, an assortment of beads and semi precious stones, and then they are beaded into beautiful necklaces such as yours. She must have been in a very pleasant mood when she was beading your necklace as it is very beautiful indeed.
Hi Monish
Thank you taking the time and trouble to contact me. I am very happy to know more about my beautiful Tibetan necklace. I always feel very happy wearing it and it is often admired.
I hope you have been able to pass on my grateful thanks to it's maker at the Tibetan handicrafts store. Perhaps hearing my story will put her in a very pleasant mood to create more wonderful necklaces?!
I hope to visit Rokeby Manor - Mussoorie again in the future.
Have a wonderful day!
Wren x
Read more
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Thanks to all the hosts.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Life In The Fast Lane - Public Art on the road.

Today I thought I'd take you on a little DRIVE.  
Let's take Eastlink, then the new Peninsula link, 
one of my favourite trips...

Sorry it's a motorway and we can't stop.
I mean it's called a freeway here, well actually it's a tollway!
What do you call these roads where you are in the world?

These roads have Australia's longest sculpture park.
 Do your roads have Public Art to enjoy along the way?

These sculptures are designed to be viewed on the move 
but forgive me if the photos are a little blurred.

The reason these are my favourite roads 
is not the actual roads, but where they lead to... 

The Tree of Life Phil Price 
The Tree of Life is a 10 metres high wind-activated kinetic sculpture. 
The movement is gentle and rhythmic, echoing the rhythmic flow of branches in the wind. 
The large tree-like form makes reference to the eucalypt and evokes the natural beauty of the peninsula. 

Oops sorry no, I don't mean the hospital...
I've just come off the freeway to get you closer to the cool art
The leaves in the tree behind the car move
It's really clever, 
hmmm, maybe I should have taken a video?

It leads to Happiness!

I love these signs on the side of the road, 
they are the names of local places, 
The Pines written twice when you drive past at 100 km/hour (the maximum speed limit) appears to say HAPPINESS to me.

Just look at some of these sculptures

Here we have the famous Aussie Car Eating Bird...

Standing 13 metres high, the painted steel sculpture depicts a giant black bird ominously contemplating a worm. Drawing on aspects of the most famous outdoor sculptures, the piece describes Melbourne through its public art. 

Below is the hotel where the lights are on, but no-one's home
This one is really clever... 

HOTEL Callum Morton
Constructed of steel, concrete and glass, at 20 metres high Hotel is a large-scale model of a high-rise hotel. Positioned out of context, with no surrounding structures, the artwork appears out of place, 
as if belonging to another time and place. 
Hotel is effectively a giant folly. 
Its generic form looks like a number of places simultaneously, 
as if its identity is unstable and still moving, but never quite of this world. 

Now where we're we? 
Oh yes on the road to happiness 
and my favourite Melbourne beach escape...

I know, I know, all the best motivational quotes tell me...

It is good to have an end to journey toward; 
but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” 

Desiring Machine lies as a fallen tree beside the roadway, putting new roots into the ground. 
Its silhouetted filigree lies like a decaying piece of obsolete agricultural machine, 
a relic of the human struggle to co-exist with nature. 
Designed using a Victorian floral motif, the branch-like stems are mechanical 
and perfectly symmetrical rendering them unnatural. 
This opposition of nature and machines describes our desire to control nature. 

Phew, you have no idea whizzing along saying 'What's that?' 
Now I can reply 'it's a silhouetted filigree' (....if I remember!)

You can't help but enjoy the journey when you have all these interesting things to admire out the window.

“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what's in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.” 

I mean what is this one?
It always reminds me of a woolly mammoth's tusk!

Rex Australis Dean Colls 
Rex Australis explores the transience of existence and the passing greatness of the sheep industry in Australia. The sculpture made from corten steel measures 7 x 14 x 6 metres.

These roads lead to the Mornington Peninsula,
 just over an hours drive for us. 
As soon as we get beyond Frankston, we're in holiday mode. 

I'm thinking ocean beaches, vineyards, fantastic walks, good food. The word is ESCAPE... from city life.

So when we fly pass this space rocket of a sculpture on the road,
It is exciting as to me it always signals blast off to my holiday.
We no longer have to do battle with Frankston's endless roundabouts and traffic lights...

Panorama Station resembles a space-station, a rocket launch-pad or a futuristic engine.

So keen as I am to get to the beach, 

I will leave you with one more quotes...

“Sometimes it's worth lingering on the journey for a while before getting to the destination.” 

Linking with - Our World  and Blue Monday.

 Thanks to our hosts: Sally our host of Blue Monday and to the hosting group of Our World Tuesday: Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia, Sandy and Jennifer. 
 Have a great week!

Monday, 4 November 2013

It's all go in Bendigo.

We're on the road again - anyone for Tennis?
 We're off to watch some International Pro Tour tennis in Bendigo.

'Whaaat?' I hear you say. 'Why Bendigo?' 

Or maybe, if you're reading this on the other side of the world 'Where's Bendigo?'

Australian protour flags and blue skies!
Bendigo is a regional city, two hours out of Melbourne, right in the heart of Victoria. The city's beautiful architecture remains a reminder of it's rich history and prosperity from the 1851 gold rush. It is a great place to visit, but not necessarily one that springs to mind as having one of the top Women's tennis tournaments in world last week ($100,000 in prize money was on offer over the two weeks of tournaments). 

Bendigo is also one of thirteen transit cities in regional areas identified by the Victorian Government as part of a 30-year strategy to help accommodate Melbourne's future population growth and manage the ever increasing demand for housing and transport. 

This push for regional development has impacted on all aspects of life. We notice it particularly with sports, as we ferry kids further and further afield out of Melbourne. Different Sports Federations are keen to embrace and encourage regional sport for all. Our football gala days are one example. We are impressed by the desire to push for more regional competition and the facilities are often awesome when we get there. 

So we are not surprised to find some pretty flash looking tennis courts when we arrive at the Bendigo Tennis Association's Nolan Street complex, with it's welcoming, fluttering flags and bright blue plexi cushion courts. Nice we think!

Bendigo Tennis Association, Nolan Street.
Double nice, when we get a park right outside the entrance and find that entry is free. Now thank you Tennis Australia, because this, is a complete bargain. This years events features 15 of the top 20 ranked female Australia players, including Casey Dellacqua, Ashleigh Barty, Olivia Rogowska and Sacha Jones.  And I might add, some talented and very lovely International players.

In a few weeks time when our Aussie Summer of Tennis kicks off, we will be paying big money to watch tennis. Last time I watched Dellacqua and Barty play, it was in Rod Laver Arena in January, on their way to the 2013 Australian Open Women's doubles final. Dellacqua is on court when we arrive, having already won the previous week and she's hitting well.

Here in Bendigo we stroll up, choose a seat in the shade with a great view of all the on court action and the players mingle with the crowds afterwards. Well let's not over egg this, the beauty of this event was, there were no crowds.

There was something very charming about the tournament. It was polished, but not to perfection. We noticed the Ball Kids were not in the matching uniforms (shorts and shoes) and had not been drilled to perfection, as is necessary for a Grand Slam. There was a wonderful moment when the Court Umpire had to request  'Ball please'

The offending ball kid momentarily having zoned out, or perhaps was so star struck that they forgot the routine... 

Another ball kid gets our attention, with an impressive overarm bowling action that goes on every time a player needs a ball. We think that perhaps they should be quietly but enthusiastically redirected into cricket, although the players are unfazed and swiftly and cheerfully, learn to manage to catch the high flying tennis balls! 

We have a lovely afternoon watching the tennis and enjoying the sunshine, it was grey and miserable when we left Melbourne... This will be one of the last tournaments of the season and the standard of play was high. Whilst it was relaxed in Bendigo, players are competitive and keen to gain vital last WTA world ranking points before the end of the season. 

It's a long gruelling season on the road, and the upcoming few weeks without tournaments are a welcome break and much needed time for rest and relaxation. However, with the Aussie Open only weeks away in mid January, the clock is ticking, and most professional tennis players, do not take much of a Christmas break (if any). Ending the season playing well in Bendigo, gives a tremendous encouragement for the next year and it shows on their faces as the players battle it out on court.

Bendigo was perfect. Warm and sunny and for the record Australian Casey Dellaqua goes on to win her second Bendigo Protour tournament, having won the previous weeks as well. 

After the tennis, we head into town to find Bendigo is full of race goers. This is where the crowds are. Today is also the Bendigo Cup. A highlight in the local area, a significant day for Country race goers, and even a days holiday in the local area. It's all go in Bendigo!

The Australian Open starts Jan 13th 2014. Can't wait!

Linked to Blue Monday

Thank you to Sally! 
Please pop over by to see Sally and the other Blue Monday participants if you can!

Smiling Sally