Monday, 31 August 2015

Spring is just around the corner

... and we're practically cooking on gas!

Spring is such a tease this year.
After we've shivered through the coldest Melbourne winter 
in twenty-six years, we're looking forward to welcoming her.

She's proving a tad elusive.

Yarra River, Studley Park, Melbourne
 One minute the sun cautiously peeps out, 
and we take the opportunity to warm our backs
walking along the Yarra river, in glorious sunshine.

The next we are rushing home to warm our toes
in front of the gas fire!

Our garden shrubs bless 'em, used to Melbourne's infamous
'four seasons in a day' climate, bloom full of hope.

Spring flowers too, 
ignoring our yo-yo temperatures, burst forth with a bright ta-ra! 

However, it is perhaps the Aussie natives which have the biggest crescendo. 
Awakening from their winter rest,
a symphony of yellow wattle seen here at the Yarra's edge,
creating it's own joyous sunshine...

And once again we're full of hope for the warmth ahead.
Native wattle at Bulleen Park, Bulleen
It only takes one day of sun, and we're off to Barbeques Galore 
There's no time to waste to get ready for summer!

The salesman approaches with a pleasant 'Can I Help?'
Hearing our discussion on the various merits 
of a Weber over a Ziegler & Brown
'Hey, we're Brits' I say to the salesman
'We just needs a small grill to burn the sausages!'

It appears replacing the barbie is not a straight forward decision.
We only want a gas barbecue to cook some meat...

Yarra River, Studley Park Boathouse
It doesn't need to be that flash. 
We don't need a pizza dome, a wok or sixty million burners...

We rarely cook anything ourselves on the barbecue anyway!
You see once a Brit, always a Brit 
and in the eyes of most Aussies wholly incapable 
of anything other than burning the snags (sausages!)

Yarra River, Studley Park, Melbourne
Mr Wren is happy about this.
He thinks it's utterly perfect to have a succession of mates 
eager, ready and willing to take over the BBQ tongs!

So that's the real reason why 
new Barbie or not, come hail or shine
you're going to find us 'Cooking On Gas' this summer! 

  URBAN DICTIONARY: When everything is going well, and nothing is going wrong!

Linking with the following
Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Our Lemon Tree

Our lemon trees are enjoying a spectacular season.
This has been the coldest, wettest Melbourne winter for decades 
and our lemons are loving it !

The good things about plenty of lemons
is that Mr Wren leaps into action to make lemon curd!

Grannie's lemon curd recipe is very popular
and has been handed down for the next generation to enjoy.

I have previously posted our Lemon Curd recipe
For further details, click here!

We even made it a prize at one of our recent 
Womens Premier League soccer matches.
It puts a whole new meaning to the golden boot award!
I offered a jar of lemon curd to be awarded to our player 
who scored the most goals.

It was first playing second in the League
Our opposition had the Australian Matilda's co-captain
just back from playing in the Women's FIFA World Cup.
We won, but it was close 1-0.

Mr Wren was not too impressed by my lemon curd incentive
and so we were all pleased when the prize was 
taken home by our Miss Canada, 
who is living with us at the moment!

But look carefully at our lemons below
Can you see we're not the only ones to be enjoying the lemons?

Yes the Possums are having a right feast in our backyard.
It appears they are mostly, but not always, leaving the fleshy parts for us.
They come in the depths of the night and have a right party at our place!

Linking with Our World Tuesday

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Tropical Cyclone Pam, Vanuatu

Just returning to Vanuatu as many of you have asked what is it like after the cyclone...?

We wander amidst what used to be a luxury resort.
The damaged pandamus leaf roofs look woeful and forlorn.

Someone has written the words
'Pam cyclone' beside the door.
It makes me smile.

Such is the tremendous spirit of the Vanuatu people.
They want you to make no mistake 
the miserable, sorrowful sight is not neglect...

Oh no, these two words of explanation
'Pam cyclone' yell proudly
'this is not our norm, nor our reality'...
It's sad, but not somehow not depressing.

 A massive clean-up operation is underway,
the sound of chainsaws in action ring out across the islands, 
and the tourists are slowly coming back.

Next door at Brekkas Resort, it appears business as usual
The inviting hammocks, gently rocking in the breeze.
Waiting, waiting for the tourists to return.
The sea is still ridiculously blue,
the fish still amazing!

Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through the islands of Vanuatu
on March 13th 2015, leaving a trail of destruction.

Pam was declared the 
one of the strongest cyclones ever to hit the South Pacific.

The ensuing widespread havoc left 75,000 people 
in need of temporary tents and shelters across the islands.
Remarkably, there were just 11 confirmed fatalities.

We walk beside homes with no roofs, their flimsy structures 
made from local timber, bamboo and pandamus stood no chance,
flattened like a cruel game of kerplunk.

Following the storm, the Aid Agencies came to help.
The likes of Red Cross, World Vision, Samaritans Purse, 
 assist with support, housing and aid. 
Across Efate we find many of these temporary homes.

In those initial days after the storm, 
which badly hit the capital of Port Vila
 they estimated up to 80% of the power lines were down
 and 96% of the food crops were damaged.

Schools disappeared, 
with 50% of the countries education infrastructure
either being badly damaged or destroyed.

Our walk takes us past bags of sugar
beside the road, there is no place left to store it!

At Secret Beach, we see what wind gusts of up to 320kmph
can do to the trees which remain stripped of their leaves, 
broken, bent and battered...

Three toilets are recovered, waiting...

They say much has been achieved in the way of rebuilding
and Vanuatu is very much marketing itself as 'open for business'
Even if you may have to be a little careful which resort you choose.

is a Vanuatu Tourist Board initiative to attract Holidaymakers to visit.

Whilst homes and businesses have been destroyed,
we find a surprising amount of business as usual.
We can see the cyclone damage, but it does not impact greatly on our holiday.
We encourage others to holiday in Vanuatu.

The Melanesian spirit of a Vanuatu nation twice voted 
the happiest place on earth, has been tested this year, but not destroyed.

We were happy to have chosen Vanuatu for our holiday
and hope that in some small way to have contributed.

For more from Vanuatu please see these previous posts
Linking with the following with thanks

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Honey I'm home!

I'm done chasing summers!

Time to regroup, reconnect with family, friends and life back in Australia.

Of course he remembered me.
His little heart beating so strong and his tail wagging so fast,
he was practically in orbit!

Here he is, the Crazy Poodle, slightly more unkempt than when I left
but still as adoring as ever!

Mind you, I've noticed some new habits that have crept in
whilst I was off on my wanderings...

He seems to have forgotten all manners, 
to upgrade himself at every opportunity in my absence.

Seeking out any elusive sunshine 
on the once forbidden spots like the lounge sofas. 
Or abandoning his doggy day bed in the garden, 
for the strictly 'off limits for dogs' garden chairs.

Just a few ways he let's me know 
he's not impressed by my gallivanting.

But I'm obviously going to have to lay down the law 
BIG time to get him back on track!

It's been rather a chilly shock being back in winter, 
Melbourne's wet winter has been the coldest for decades.

Whilst long and wet by Aussie standards
waking up to a 5 degrees Celsius morning
 would be considered positively winter balmy elsewhere...
But here our designer mongrels flaunt the latest in 
Aussie doggie fashions, as if they are living through a Siberian winter !

Still I can't complain, my idea of chasing summers
has largely worked. Only two weeks till spring Woo Hoo!
The yellow wattle trees are already in full bloom
Which gives all us little Aussie birds something to sing about.

It has been fun returning to favourite haunts,
meeting friends for a coffee and to catch up on everyone's news.
Hot drinks have been the order of the day.

We seemed to move effortlessly from brunch at Snow Pony to a Show Pony.
Here she is, the latest new addition to our family: Little Miss Pebbles...
She's a two year old racehorse in the making.

We only have a teeny, weeny bit of her,
I've bagsied the nose because as my good friend 
Neesie tells me, they win by a nose!

It has been lovely regrouping as a family.
although I use these terms lightly 
as numbers in our household go up and down like a yoyo.

We are like revolving doors here.
The day usually starts with someone asking "whose in?"
and when we say whose in, 
we mean whose in the country!

Daughter No 1 has now returned from the UK
but our soccer playing Daughter No 2 remains in Europe and 
has been replaced by a lovely Canadian soccer player who is staying with us
She also scored the winning goal at the weekend, 
so she has been a very good transfer!!! 

Last week I took the three International players 
in the soccer team, to the Mornington Peninsula.

I enjoyed showing off winters at the beach
but I think they enjoyed the Hot Springs the best!

I have always been of the opinion that if 
I can't travel the world, then let the world come to us!

Thank you in advance for your visits and comments they are much appreciated!

Linking with thanks to Mosaic MondaySaturday's Critters and Camera Critters