My Thoughts on the Royal Wedding

Watching the Royal Wedding Alone

I am house sitting and knew I would be home alone last night watching the Royal Wedding. But I was ok with that.  I thought if I went out somewhere – even to nearby friends, I’d have to drive myself home late at night.  It also meant that I would not be able to have a drink, and I thought champagne would be a good way to celebrate.  And at home, I could retire for the night if I got sick of it all.

Being alone doesn’t bother me.  I’m free then to do what I want.

Windsor Castle and Ceremony

Recently I was in London, and I had planned to visit Windsor, but the “Beast from the East” curtailed some of my sightseeing.  Maybe one day I will get back there.  I had to be satisfied with the wonderful images on television.  I love the pomp and ceremony, and I confess, sometimes I get teary.  And I did last night during the Royal Wedding.  In fact, I had quite an emotional roller coaster.

Some of the ceremonial parts did make me cry.  Even watching Meghan arrive – it was exciting and I felt for her.  She certainly managed to cope with it all – at least that was my impression.

I loved the uniforms, the amazing chapel, the wonderful music – and I joined in with the hymns that were familiar to me.   It made me  laugh at the facial expressions, especially when during the “sermon”.  I think the Poms were a bit surprised by the enthusiasm of the Reverend Bishop Michael Curry during is slightly long-winded speech.    Elton John’s facial expression was awesome.

There’s no doubt that a lot of people would whinge about one thing or another, but overall I thought everyone did a wonderful job and from what I saw, I could not complain.


Here comes the band.










Loved Dress No 2

I have read comments that Meghan didn’t do much about makeup – she was just natural and naturally beautiful.   I was not a fan of dress number one and would have liked her to have had a necklace on as I think it would have improved the look of the dress.  Just loved dress number two, though.

So I drank my champagne – at least one and a half glasses and enjoyed the wedding and the tour around Windsor by the bride and groom and the military folk on horseback.

Then it was time for bed.

I was pleased I had seen so much of the Royal Wedding.  I wish them both a very Happy and long Marriage.



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Ooops, I Forgot My Phone.

Rock Photography Expedition

This morning, I set off on a photography walk. I had decided some weeks ago to revisit some interesting sandstone cliffs and take photos at Sandstone Point.  I am house sitting at the moment nearby. What difference does the sunlight make?  Any?  It is the second time  I have taken photographs there.

One has to go at low tide, otherwise, it is rather difficult and dangerous to get to the cliffs.  I checked the tide times and found that around 7 am this morning would be best. It would be very low tide, so with a camera and my special sand-walking shoes, I set off.  Taking my phone just didn’t occur to me.  In fact, I didn’t even have it in the car.

Walking to a place that I had been before, I took quite a few photographs, and, as was my plan I set off for further cliffs.  The rocks were slippery with mud, so I chose to walk towards the shallows and wend my way through rocks, sand, mangroves, and seashells.  It was a bit scary – as on a couple of occasions, I sank in the sand.  My shoes tried to slip off.  It was then that I realised that I had put myself in danger.

Some of the rock formations.








Here I was, well away from other people, slipping and sliding in amongst rocks and sandy pools, and I didn’t have my phone.  Two light planes flew overhead, but I am sure they would not have seen me!

Seagrass, oysters and slippery rocks.

Close to the narrow sandy beach are small rock holes full of water and seashells and on many of the rocks, oysters cling.  I don’t like oysters (except smoked ones), and I didn’t have a tool to remove them from their homes, but I am sure that there’s a good food or three out there.

There is plenty of seagrasses too and interesting shells and other marine critters.  In fact, I touched a whitish thing in the sand and it moved and shrunk as I looked at it.  There’s plenty of mangrove trees too – mostly on the edge of the sandy beach, but there are a few further out in the sea.

Very low tide

As I walked through the muddy sand, I took a bit more care and carefully made my way back to the sandy beach and safety.  Mmm.  Made it.

I have yet to go through the photographs I took and determine which, if any, I will submit for the photography competition.

Note to self:  Don’t forget to take the mobile phone on next adventure.



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The Aged Care Revolution

Well, I hope there is a “revolution” in Aged Care.  I can remember back in the 1960’s when older people who were no longer able to stay at home were put in hospitals.  Then for many years some rather primitive places.

Old Version of Aged Care

My own mother who died in 2014 at the age of 98, was in a home that our family were not happy with – but we could not find any better alternative.  She shared a room which had limited space.  She had a single bed, a small bedside locker, an armchair, and a narrow cupboard which was closer to her roommate than to her.  The area near her bed was so small, that there was no space for visitors.  Nursing care left a lot to be desired!

I have in my work been to a lot of nursing homes and could see that there were slight improvements over the years.  Still, I was not happy with the facilities.  In any nursing home.

Regis at Chelmer

Yesterday, though I visited one that was pretty awesome.  It is a new one at

(Brisbane Western suburb) Queensland, where a family member has just relocated to.  It was opened in Nov/Dec 2017, and still does not have full capacity.

Everyone has their own room.  And what a room!  The room was quite big and there was room for a TV and other electronics (e.g. DVD player etc), plenty of cupboard space, and the bed was a big single bed.  Not the narrow, short beds that were the norm in previous times.  (As a tall person I found them too short for me in a hospital!)

The bathroom was amazing – even to automatic lighting when one walked into it.  So much easier for people with limited ability.

There were amazing loungerooms, a Cinema, a coffee lounge with an automatic machine spitting out cappuccinos and other coffees, and cake, biscuits and other snacks.

There were indoor garden rooms, plenty of space outside, great sitting areas inside and out,  and very sophisticated electronics to assist the staff.  Even to an amazing feature – which was screened onto a wall of fish in a pond, and one could interact with it by touching the wall.  There were security cameras everywhere and much more.

I could go on and on.  It is one of the Regis group.  Perhaps they have set the bar for all nursing homes in the future – and perhaps they can even get better with technology.

Aged Care shouldn’t be so scary any more.

This is a photo from a video. The young folk were moving their hands on the wall, making the water bubble and change. Wish I could add the video but it is too big.

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The Death of My Crochet Hankie

This is quite a sad day for me – as a piece of crochet that I created back in probably 1970 was destroyed in the wash today.  It is a handkerchief – one of the many that I did way back then –  had survived until today.  This morning I dropped it into the wash with some towels, not thinking that it had become delicate.

The good and the, well, damaged.


I remember that around 1970, when we were living in Seaford in Victoria, that I had crochet lessons. The biggest project I remember was that I crocheted a skirt and jacket – which I recall I donated to an op-shop. I also crocheted a “poncho” – they were all the rage around that time.

The old poncho

Recent Crochet

I’ve not done any fine crochet work recently – in fact, all the work I have done has been with 8 ply wool – mainly decorating trees as part of my occasional obsession with yarn bombing.  I have crochet all sorts of silly items for trees.  In fact, I found an article about one of my displays at the Caboolture Historical Village some years ago.  You can read it here.

Doing this sort of crazy knitting and crochet is not something I do during the warm months, but I might just do some in the cooler months.  Meanwhile, I am going to see what I can do with my damaged handkerchief.  I have looked at it and feel I might be able to repair it – just by cutting off the crochet and attaching it to one that has no edging.  I wonder if that will work?

Meanwhile, I will slip into a plastic bag, and when out and about I will try to find a plain hankie – which must be the same size as the damaged one, and then work out how to repair it.  I think cutting off the edge and stitching it – either by hand or machine, it will look good as new again.


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Beast from the East

What?!! The Beast from the East!?

Why was it so cold in London?  I knew when I planned my trip that it would not be warm like Brisbane – and I thought I had prepared for it.  I needed summer clothes for Dubai and winter ones for the UK.  That’s what I packed.  But I didn’t know that “the beast from the east” would impact on my trip.

I don’t like cold weather.  That’s why I live in Brisbane!

Initially, it was just the cold, but soon the snow started to fall.  Now, I am not experienced in walking in the snow – but it is something that I did in London.  The light snow disappeared as it landed on me, but as it got heavier it stuck to my clothes and I had to flick it off.  But I was about to learn about “the beast from the east”.

But it made for some good photos.

Photos of the Snow

On my first day at New Ground, you could see the green lawn in the centre of the property.

The lawn is visible, but the snow has started.

The snow gets thicker

More snow

Unions Street – near New Ground

To Church in the Snow

Coffee Anyone?

What???  No taxi?

I had booked a hotel near Heathrow, as my flight out was around 9 am on the Saturday, so on the Friday I needed to get to the hotel.

Public Transport was in chaos, and a friend phoned for a taxi.  She was told no taxies would be working.  However, on the same phone call – there was an update.  One driver had called in to say he would be available from 11.30 am.


So he drove bravely through the slush that was on the roads all the way to Heathrow. We saw lots of emergency vehicles on the roads too.

The Afghan Story

The driver was a man from Afghanistan, who had been recruited into the Taliban when he was at school, 14 years of age.  He was taught to shoot a gun and put on the front line, where he saw so many of his peers shot and killed, so he escaped.

Somehow he managed to make his way to Germany, and then later on to the UK.  He is married now with two small children. He has not seen his family – only a brother and his father remain in Afghanistan – for over 16 years. One thing he knows is that he cannot go back to his home country as he will be killed for being a deserter.  He may never see his father again. Sad story.  But the conversation was very interesting, particularly about his religion.

This lovely man delivered me safely to the hotel, where I was able to rest up and prepare for my early start the following morning.

It did not snow overnight, and the roads were much better the following morning as I made my way, in another taxi, to the terminal at Heathrow.

The departure was delayed as they had to remove ice from the wings of the plane and the vehicle responsible for doing that broke down.

So London to Dubai – and a quick plane change before heading on to Singapore.

If ever I hear of the Beast from the East – it will remind me of the negatives of my trip to London.



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Visit to Hampton Court Palace

King Henry and Hampton Court Palace.

One day, yes, one of the cold “beast from the east” cold days, my cousin and I went to visit Hampton Court Palace.  It was a short train ride from Surbiton and another short walk.  I’d not been IN a palace before and had not had time to research it.  I do know it was the palace of King Henry VIII.  You can read more about it here.

I was somewhat overwhelmed by the size of the castle.  I knew it would be big but it was super big and so much history to explore.

Approaching the palace


There was plenty of information about each room – and one was free to walk around (after we had bought our tickets!)

King Henry was obsessed by tapestry and there were some 2000 huge tapestries in his collection. Many were on show.

One of the many tapestries that takes up a whole wall.

We spent several hours wandering around the castle.  There was so much to see and learn.  Every room had a wonderful display.  The huge kitchen was interesting – so much effort has been made to re-create what the place might have been like way back in the 16th Century.  Even to fresh vegetables, which apparently are grown in the gardens of the palace.

In the Butchery

Pies for Lunch?


Clothing Display

The Chapel and the Gardens

One of the places where photography was not permitted was in the Chapel – a place that apparently Queen Elizabeth visits from time to time.  I’d love to have broken the rules and taken some shots – but did the right thing.  Certainly very beautiful and delightful volunteers and staff giving some explanations.

The Courtyard





Right in the middle of the castle was a beautiful courtyard – complete with pond.  There was also a couple of shops selling wares as souvenirs – I looked but didn’t buy.  The amazing gardens outside right down to the Thames is worth a close look – but we chickened out – it was too cold.



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To London to See the Queen

Dubai to London

The flight from Dubai to London to see the Queen (that is what I told myself)  left in the afternoon – around 2 pm.  It was a pleasant 8-hour flight, and on landing, I was soon in a taxi on my way to the hotel near Heathrow.  I didn’t expect to see the Queen in London.  I didn’t expect to see the Queen at all. I figured it was easier to do this rather than find my way to my cousin’s place, especially at night.

The next morning I ordered a taxi and set off for her place at Surbiton. I had been given instructions on getting there by public transport and now I know how I could have done it. However, I am a bit shy about finding my way in a strange city until I get my bearings.

My cousin is from Western Australia – but has lived in the UK for many years.  The last time I saw her, was in London in 2005.   This time I stayed in the guest room at the Seniors Accommodation where she lives.  It was convenient for me – I could do my own thing – with me on the 4th floor and her on the 1st floor.

No sight of the Queen in London.

The following day we went on a Hop On Hop Off Bus around London.  It was a lot colder than I had expected, but worse was to come.  We walked through the park to Buckingham Palace.  There’d been some sort of event there, so plenty of people.  Sadly we didn’t see Her Majesty, but at least I can say I have been outside the Palace.

Parliament House on the Thames

Buckingham Palace with the crowds

We also went for a short boat ride on the Thames – but it was so cold we were glad to get back to Surbiton.

The next day I caught the train from Surbiton to Waterloo Station on my own – found my way to the bus and continued the tour of London. I was pleased with myself that I could go on my own!!

Love the old buildings……

Tower of London

It was so cold. I thought I had brought warm clothes and I had layers on, but somehow the cold wind managed to creep in every nook and cranny and freeze me. I found it hard to take photos with gloves on, and when I took my gloves off my fingers froze.

I was happy to get back to the guest room. I had to buy a hot water bottle – which I filled with very hot water and stayed under the doona!!!



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Why visit Dubai?

Why Dubai?

Why not visit Dubai? My decision to go to London was made rather hurriedly.  I had the money and I wanted to see more closely the co-housing project at Barnet, in north London, and I had some “free time”.  I had no house sits for the period.  I set about checking flights online and it was then that I worked out that I could do a stopover in Dubai.  I had never been there, so why not?

Along the Dubai Creek

More Dubai Creek

I didn’t know a lot about the country – I guess not much more than it was a modern and growing place, and that it was the home of Emirates Airline – which I had heard good reports about.  As it turned out I was booked on Qantas – but flew with Emirates for most of the trip.  I was impressed with Emirates – especially their entertainment system.

Rest on a Long Trip

One of my things I wanted to do was have a break in a long trip – and I chose to spend four days in Dubai.  What a good idea.  I knew it would be hot in Dubai and cold in London so was essentially prepared for both kinds of weather.  How hot Dubai was though!!

Advice: when in Dubai in hot weather, make sure you spend the middle of the day in air conditioning – be it one of the massive shopping malls or in your hotel room!!  

Try the bus

I spent two days on the Hop on Hop Off bus – I always like to do that when in a city, so that I get my bearings and it helps me determine what places I want to visit.  Usually, I join the bus around midday and do one circuit first before getting off.  Then I can finish my 24-hour ticket, the next morning.  I like sitting on the top level so that I can take plenty of photos – but that depends on the weather.  If it is too hot, too windy, or raining – I stay downstairs.

It certainly gave me a “taste” for the place.  I wish I could have stayed longer – and hope to get back one day.

What did I like about Dubai?

  • It’s a modern city with amazing buildings – great architecture
  • The Dubai Creek is most interesting and well worth exploring.
  • There are amazing hotels – up to $28,000 a night.  I chose a cheaper one which was clean and adequate.
  • I didn’t need to take a translator – people spoke English
  • The Dubai Museum was most interesting – and the history was captivating with great displays
  • The Souks are worth visiting – and it appears to be a very safe city for wandering around
  • The awesome shopping malls – even if you don’t want to spend money – are worth exploring
  • A tour of Dubai Creek on one of the dhows is a must
  • Food is great
  • People were friendly

A camel in the Museum

(I had promised to bring a camel home – which I did.  It was one of these.  Click here.)




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Souks in Dubai

I wanted to explore the Souks but my visit to Dubai was not about shopping. I had no intention of spending much money.  I’m not a shopping addict!!  I’d rather look than shop – mostly.  The huge shopping malls are just the place to visit if you have plenty of funds – but the local Souks are well worth a visit.

A Souk Visit

One of the most famous ones is the Gold Souk – the place to go if you are on the hunt for golden items.  It is a spectacular place – the Arabs love their gold – and there is plenty to see and spend your money on.

I did walk along one which seemed to be more about souvenirs and fabrics from India, but quite a few of the little shops focussed on herbs and spices.

The Souk Opposite the Dubai Museum

My destination was the Dubai Museum, but across the road was a Souk, which looked interesting. I had only walked a few meters into ir when an Indian shopkeeper and approached me and said: “I knew you’d come back.”  I laughed and replied “I’ve not been here before.” but he claimed that he remembered me from a few days earlier.  Nope.  Was this his sales technique or was their someone wandering around Dubai that looked like me?

Shoes, Shoes and more Shoes




It certainly was an interesting place to explore and I did spend some money. I bought three “bejewelled” small bags with a camel on the front for my three granddaughters.

Herbs and Spices

There are quite a few souks in Dubai.  There’s a great one in the Dubai Mall, and as well as the Gold Souk, and Spice Souk, there is the Perfume Souk, and the Textile Souk.  Can you see why I want to return?  Check here for more details of souks.

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More on Dubai

A Break from a Long Flight

Since my return to Australia folk have asked me about my trip to Dubai and London.  I have really not updated this blog with the posts and photos that I had planned.  There’s been too much happening in my life since my return.  However, I will update some information. To break up the long journey from Australia to London, I had four days in Dubai.

I loved Dubai.  Now, I know there are issues.  The heat is one challenge.  OMG – I have never experienced such weather – it was almost breathtaking – in that it was hard to breathe.  I learned on day one, that I had to be in air conditioning at the hottest part of the day.

Dubai – Great for Shopping

That is why the shopping centres are so popular!!  They have amazing shops, are air-conditioned and many have entertainment.   The Dubai Mall has many shops, an exhibition of photographs, and the huge icing rink, and there was more.

The photography exhibition below

Playing on the ice rink

More of the Dubai Mall

Really one needs a few days to take in all that is in the Dubai Mall, and the same goes for the other major shopping malls. Just go in the middle of the day – avoid the outside heat.

I stayed at a hotel near the Dubai Creek in a suburb called Deira.  It was an interesting area – plenty of small shops, a park opposite the hotel.   McDonalds and KFC were nearby – not that I went to either.  I had asked at the hotel travel desk about interesting places to go to within walking distance and was told that there was nothing.  Wandering around on my own,  I was thrilled to find that there were interesting places around – including the Dubai Creek.

Tour of Dubai Creek












On the Creek

I walked along the waterfront – there was so much to see. I loved the wooden boats (dows) – there were heaps of them and I went for a short cruise on one of them. The boat driver was a Pakistani guy – who had lived in Dubai for many years. I got the impression that he lived on board the boat too.  It was only a short tour – but enough to learn about the road on floats, to see the rulers property, and see the amazing buildings going up all around.

This was the view from my hotel – on the 5th floor.  No trees to see in this area – it was all desert.  There were a number of mosques too – so five times a day you could hear them praying.

From the hotel window

The Doorman at the Dubai Mall

I’d love to go back.  Maybe one day.  I would like to go out to the desert and perhaps to Abu Dhabi.  And go out to the amazing man-made islands, and up into the tallest building.  There’s so much to see.

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