SHELLY  BEACH  SNIPPETS  No. 110  May, 2019

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Patricia Newell-Dunkley- Photographs by Reginald J. Dunkley

Website:  www.patriciasartworld.com

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A greeting from down-under where the weather is still very warm for this time of year, and it is an ideal season to visit the outback.

The Red Centre is at the heart of the Australian outback, and is the home of the magical Uluru and Kata-Tjuta formerly known as Ayres Rock and the Olgas.

This enchanting location is more than just vast desert and a pile of rocks; it is an incredible thriving eco system that is spiritually entwined into the ancient indigenous culture of the Aboriginal people. This place is highly significant to the Anangu people and here you can learn about their ancient ways and experience the magic of this landscape through the eyes of the world’s oldest living culture.

There are many ways to discover and explore the outback – for the adventurous you can take off on a quad bike tour, go mountain-bike riding, trek along the Larapinta trail, four-wheel driving, bush camping, and swimming in lush waterholes are all popular activities in the Red Centre.

Yum YumDisplays and museums offer a glimpse into the lives of the early settlers in the remote Alice Springs area, and interactive cultural activities that add authenticity to your Red Centre outback experience. These displays, performances, activities and tours have all been specially created to help visitors understand the heritage and culture of the region.

Alice Springs is the main hub of the Red Centre and it is a fascinating town, embracing a mix of many diverse cultures, Australian Indigenous, Pacific Islanders, American, European, African, Indian, and Asian all living harmoniously.

Surrounded by red soil and beautiful mountain ranges you will find ‘Alice’ a surprising city full of arts and events.  Aboriginal Artworks are displayed across Alice Springs, together with traditional basket weaving; the Albert Namatjira Gallery and the Museum of Central Australia are extremely popular and well supported.

Explore the MacDonnell Ranges, with incredible views, freshwater swimming holes and camping spots. Discover Simpson’s Gap which is renowned for its towering cliffs and resident wildlife including black footed rock wallabies. This is also an important spiritual site with dreaming trails and many stories. Dine under the Milky Way Stars.

Uluru is without doubt one of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks set in the dusty orange outback, the scenery is a sight to behold. As darkness falls, the clear blue sky turns an inky black and the Milky Way appears in all its glory, and star gazing becomes a unique opportunity.

Water Dragon Big Boy

Water Dragon Big Boy

With no artificial light in the outback to interfere with the night sky, you can see the Milky Way in the clearest way possible. You can also catch a glimpse of other sky objects like the Magellanic Clouds and the famous Southern Cross Constellation.  Wait for the sun to rise over Uluru, watch the landscape change from inky black to vibrant pinks, oranges and reds. Enjoy this magical moment and a start of a new day in this special part of Australia.

This is adventure travel with a capital A.

Here at Shelly Beach all is well with extremely warm weather, the surfers are out in full and everyone is taking advantage of the perfect conditions.   The birds are flying in for breakfast and also afternoon tea. The Brush Turkey has definitely taken up residence in the garden, which is unusual as they really like the bush where they can build their nests, which are mound like and three feet high.  I just hope this one does not start building although at the moment she is always digging holes.

Princess Pixie the Pomeranian is happy trotting around and checking for the blue tongued lizard that is due back any day soon.

My books “Letters of a Travelling Lady, Wallis the Woman I Love, The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain,” are available on Amazon, Xlibris and The Crowood Press.

Cheers.    Patricia.

Subaru’s ‘give-a-dog-a-bone’ theory works with Forester perfection

IAIN ROBERTSON

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Boasting a brand image that was once at a lofty level, reports Iain Robertson, as Subaru has returned to earth, it has lost none of its original bite and, in its Forester model line, its excellence is confirmed in its unbeatable symmetrical 4×4 drivetrain.

Subaru sales performance in the UK has been stymied by a raft of management inconsistencies, poor public and media relations and a lack of involvement in high-profile endeavours. At various stages in its existence, it has been bolstered by associations with other brands. Linked to Toyota and Daihatsu (its oriental sibling) a Justy model emerged in the early-1990s as one of the most compact 4x4s available at the time. It is fortunate, in some respects, that Toyota now owns a salvation stake in the business. However, its GT86 variant of the brilliant BR-Z rear-wheel drive sports coupe sells ten times more and scant additional fruits appear to have emerged from the collaboration.

Yet, it was during the GM years that the most damage was inflicted on the brand. The American giant also owned Saab and Suzuki at the same time. The resultant ‘Saabaru’, effectively an Impreza estate sold in the North American market as a 9-2, with a Saab radiator grille, was little more than an insult. When GM writhed in corporate agony a few years ago, shedding its relationships with Fiat and Suzuki, while inflicting intense destructive pain on Saab, Subaru became a ‘partner’ without a partner.

DSCLong before the McRaes, Burns and Solbergs of the world rallying scene turned Subaru (rhymes with kangaroo) into a household name, the Japanese carmaker demonstrated that flat-four, horizontally-opposed cylinder configurations could work in cars less illustrious than a Porsche 911. The characteristic ‘washing-tub’ beat of this engine format was important but so, too, was Subaru’s in-line four-wheel drivetrain.

In fact, known as ‘symmetrical drive’, it remains as one of the simplest, yet best of all 4×4 systems bar none. Its key difference lies in its inline configuration, by which a direct feed from the crankshaft of the engine enables an inline connection to the rear axles, with the front axles being driven directly off the gearbox. Equal length driveshafts also help with transmitting power equally to each wheel under normal conditions, allowing the system’s active torque split to intervene, when needed. Such technical symmetry means that no single wheel is disadvantaged, which equates to perfect 4×4 traction and drive stability regardless of climatic, or geographical demands.

DSCForester’s array of enhanced 4×4 technology includes ‘X-Mode’, which features an automatic 4.3-inch upper-screen (of the two) scrolling through its drive-apportioning capabilities, aiding the driver to tackle technically impassable ground, with minimal intervention. It is little wonder that most current Subaru models find great favour in nations blighted by severe winter weather conditions, a factor noticeable by the defrosting heater elements located below each wiper blade. Unsurprisingly, when the going gets tough in the UK, there is usually a kindly Subaru owner rescuing other stranded cars and their occupants. Thanks to a towing capacity of around two-tonnes (although a tough Subaru can always exceed its stated safety margins), very few tasks fall out-with its immense capabilities.

Having driven various Subaru models around gravel pits and forestry sections, I can assure you that a Subaru will go where other 4x4s dare not venture. As the consummate, Freelander-sized SUV, the Forester model is named aptly. Featuring a taut estate car body construction, reinforced by Subaru’s ‘three-ring’ safety cell, the car’s carefully tuned suspension system works both compliantly and confidently on whichever surface it is asked to traverse. The engine and transmission (a constantly variable type) create a lower centre of gravity than any of its rivals, which translates into market-leading on and off-road stability and agility.

DSCYet, Subaru manages its tasks with sublime, driver-supportive ordinariness. Lacking the design scoops and scallops of many of its competitors, preferring to rely on a principle of simple ‘practicality-first’, the square-rigged Forester provides a generous 505-litres of boot space, a volume which can be expanded three-times by folding flat the split-fold rear seats. Perhaps it is that same lack of visual flair that leads to potential buyer ignorance? All the same, its cabin is leather-clad and exceptionally comfortable and accommodating for up to five adults. The driver’s electrically adjustable seat and manually adjustable steering column create an SUV-high driving position that makes access and egress easy, while enabling a commanding view of surroundings, when punting around. Strong but slim roof pillars also aid a tremendously safe all-round view that many of Forester’s more style-conscious rivals ought to learn from. However, the Forester XE is also very well equipped to a high standard of detail finish.

Packed with active safety, including the innovative, twin-camera ‘EyeSight’ technology, its range of driver aids is market-leading, while connectivity is also on par with the rest of the market. Sadly, I became increasingly annoyed with the lane-change audible warning that ‘bing-bongs’ merrily with every centre-line transgression. There is a way to stop it, by using the indicators but, as I do not want to use them when straight-lining a traffic-free series of bends, its insistent warnings were little more than a nuisance. Two screens (the lower of more generous 7.0-inch dimension and touch-screen capability) provide copious driver and car status information, while the main instrument pod is also clear and concise. The Forester is a very user-friendly machine, without bombarding occupants with largely unnecessary information.

DSCPower is provided by a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre ‘Boxer’ (the name provided to horizontally-opposed layouts) engine that develops 147bhp, 146lbs ft of torque, 0-60mph in around 10.7s, a top speed just shy of 120mph, 168g/km CO2 and a fuel return of 38.7mpg, which matches the WLTP stated maximum. The standard seamless CVT transmission can be operated manually using the shift paddles.

To be frank, the engine would benefit from a bit of extra grunt but it is more than capable of keeping-up with the rest of the traffic, carrying out safe overtakes and cruising at 60mph with little more than 1,500rpm showing on the rev-counter. Tolerating the high revs required when pressing-on a bit, the CVT transmission could be more annoying, were it not so well insulated, although using the manual paddles introduces a more gear-like progression (bearing in mind that CVT has NO gears at all).

It is a pity that more people do not recognise the true values of the Subaru Forester, which is priced at a comprehensive £30,015 (pre-dealer discounts) and is only Group 16E for insurance purposes. I rate the car very highly indeed.

Conclusion:     Subaru makes tough and uncompromising motorcars and its SUV range is renowned for high attention to safety, comfort and driving dynamics. While moderately rare, the Forester is an SUV that is above and beyond reproach in my eyes. It is a model I would have in preference to around 90% of its potential class rivals.

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Harry’s Ramblings – Eastbourne’s poor people

Traditionally, which part of Eastbourne do the poor people live in?

When the railway came to the south coastal town of Eastbourne in 1849, within twenty years an extensive building programme was in progress. Builders equals housing for artisans, which was not necessarily of the same standard for those wealthier.

Poorer people would have a basic two up two down house with reasonable size back yard for the washing and coal storage, in Eastbourne usually miniscule front part with wall to divide the basic property from the pavement.


Lyn houses

 

There is a strange anomaly unique to Eastbourne whereby the original land was for centuries owned by two wealthy families, one landed gentry based in Derbyshire some two hundred miles away, the other more local. They were fortunate, because when the building boom started, they had the financial resources to fund, so the people who came to live in their homes had to pay rent, thereby making the owners more money. Simple economics.

Even now the area to the east of Eastbourne town centre is referred to by some as the artisan area, and is the most deprived with Government subsidies and high immigrant population.

Alcohol and social deprivation traditionally go hand in hand, Eastbourne poor were no different. Public houses abounded, many serviced by illegal breweries that sprung up around the River Bourne, natural spring water ideal for making beer. A factory was erected over where the river naturally found its exit, so the water could be channelled into commercial operations.

 

Lyn water carts

water carts

The houses for the poor had no water connection, relying on it being either delivered or collected. The water factory had a large horse drawn cart, just like a brewers dray, which would deliver by the bucket full for a nominal sum. It was also possible for a large family to send the youngsters round with their own family bucket to be filled. This water source was used for almost fifty years, until more houses were connected to the main supply, so the water carts were moribund.

The houses had no electricity, only being connected around the time of WWl. Previously, candles and oil lamps were the only source of unnatural light. Poorer people could only afford the cheaper tallow, which burned the candle with a foul odour.

A lot of cheap housing has the front door opening onto the pavement, but a feature of the majority of the Eastbourne variety involved the front door opening onto a hall, with the front room separate, likewise the back. The paved back area could easily be ten feet long, with some half as much again, so a lot over the past few years have had extensions added with still area left for recreation. Of course, the coal bins have long gone. Some additions have a wet room, others kitchen, some larger a combination, so upstairs a lot of the time there could even be a box room, converted to a small washroom.

As well as cheap alcohol, religion and abstention were popular. Large churches were built, congregations preached to absteme, which is where the Salvation Army came in. The citadel was erected in 1890, with Major Booth’s sisters attending, the ladies came a couple of times in the ensuing years. However, there was a little-known local bylaw which was to prove problematic for the Salvationists.

Eastbourne council had only been in existence for a short number of years, town hall erected in 1886, and the worthies had decreed that no band could march and play their instruments at the same time. They could stand and play, they could march silently, but not both at the same time.

This coincided with the Skeleton Army.

They were a group of men always based at a particular pub renowned for antisocial behaviour. The Salvations Army were fair game after the Skeleton Army had been in the pub for a while, the beach had a plentiful supply of ammunition. Despite the fact that Salvationists are pacifists, they could not contain themselves when they were regularly attacked. Fights ensued, even lady worshippers became involved, the authorities deemed the Salvationists at fault because they had been the instigators, initially transgressing the law. If they hadn’t marched and played, then there would have been no illegal act.

Women and men were prosecuted, with custodial sentences between three and six months hard labour at nearby Lewes Prison imposed. It was a state of affairs that could not be allowed to continue, so the bylaw was rescinded, offenders released to much acclaim, and the Skeleton Army had no purpose, so within five years had disbanded.

The poor of Eastbourne continued in their poverty

 

 

 

 

Ever wondered what goes wrong on funerals? Harry Pope has been involved in the profession for well over forty years, writing a successful anecdotal account called Buried Secrets.

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a family owned hotel? Harry and Pam owned one in Eastbourne, he has written an hilarious account called Hotel Secrets.

Harry is an accomplished public speaker, as well as a cruise ship lecturer. For six years he was Eastbourne’s sight-seeing guide. You can always write to him on harrythewriter@btinternet.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visionary Tourism & Robotic Concierges

Burj Al Arab Aerial

Burj Al Arab Aerial

Where would you hear of robotic concierges, visionary tourism plans, mega projects, even giga projects transforming regional tourism landscapes, disruptive technology and Expo 2020, all under one roof?

 

Enter centre stage, The Arabian Travel Market (ATM), held in Dubai, an annual travel & tourism trade show. With fingers on the tourism pulse, the Arabian Travel Market each year uncovers the plots and trends, the key developments and tourism visions of the Middle East and North Africa region.

Panorama rev

Panorama rev

Over the years, the United Arab Emirates has become one of the great success stories of global travel and tourism with Emirates and Etihad Airlines changing the face of global aviation, Dubai International Airport recognised as one of the world’s best hubs and Dubai, now the fourth most visited city in the world.

 

And the UK plays its part. The UK is one of the top three countries travelling to the region. So what is that that attracts us and what’s on the horizon to persuade us to return again and again?

Dubai Canal Burj Khalifa View Before Sunrise

Dubai Canal Burj Khalifa View Before Sunrise

For a start, take accommodation.  Growth is going through the roof.  Guests are spoilt for choice especially as hotels come in the form of architecture splendour, laced with chandeliers and gold trimmings – a reflection of the corner of the world we are choosing to lay our head. Brands compete for individuality to attract new markets such as Millennium Place, the happier hotel brand that has been introduced which strives to deliver a smile to its guests through different touch points in the guest’s journey. Millennium Place Marina and Millennium Place Barsha Heights are due to open is 2019 with eight more to open over the next two years in the region. In total, Millennium Hotels & Resorts is opening 14 new hotels, adding to its existing portfolio of 40 hotels throughout the Middle East & Africa

 

Similarly, the Jumeirah Group is expanding in Asia and Europe. This Dubai-based luxury hotel company is opening in China and Indonesia while the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London is undergoing renovation this year. Work is also progressing on a new hotel near Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the landmark Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. This will be a 400-room property on the beachfront.

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Ferrari World one year, Warner Brothers World this year. Yas Island will be opening a new sports facility to feature the world’s widest indoor skydiving flight chamber and highest indoor climbing wall.

 

A luxury Camp is currently under construction atop the highest mountain in the UAE, in Ras Al Khaimah. This glamping site will house 47 luxury tented units, a health club, heated pool, spa and wellness centre, kids area, fire pit and restaurant.

 

In Dubai, the Museum of the future, scheduled to open next year, will showcase cutting-edge technology and innovations that are designed to change the way we live. It will present solutions to climate change, energy production, healthcare, transport, education, housing and security. Also in Dubai the Dubai Creek Harbour will become the location for the next city’s tallest building, the $1 billion Dubai Tower when it is completed next year.

 

However, Saudi Arabia caught the limelight this year at the Arabian Travel Market with its eye-watering ambitious plans to become a tourism destination of the future. E-visa rules for international travellers will be the game-changer. The Kingdom will be open to all. Tourism is Saudi’s new “white oil” spanning a destination offering culture and history, coastlines and desert. Rumoured to be funded with half a trillion US dollar investment, tourism is the ingredient of the government’s Vision 2030 economic diversification strategy. This in turn will attract new hotels and innovative hospitality concepts, operated to international standards, particularly high-quality budget hotels. New mega and giga projects include Neom City, Amaala, an uber-luxury wellness tourism destination, the Red Sea Development reshaping the coastline and Qiddiya offering leisure, entertainment, sports, wellness, adventure and cultural destinations.

 

Winter sunshine, family leisure, adventure, flight convenience and glamorous hotels maybe the key attractions for travel to this region but Expo 2020 is set to attract  more visitors next year. This global event aims to deliver one of the most sustainable World Expos. Expo 2020 in Dubai seeks to inspire us all to live in better balance with the world and to build a brighter and more sustainable future together – a unique opportunity to see tomorrow today complete with robotic concierges and visionary tourism in reality.

 

For more information on tourism in the Middle East read here

 

 

 

Jane Wilson, editor of TheHealthcareholiday.com and TheWellnessTraveller.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food review: Best burger in my life?

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Everyone likes burgers, right? A good piece of meat inside the buns together with sauces and vegetables or other ingredients. Or do you prefer a vegetarian version where tofu or camembert is found instead of meat? Either way, at the American burger restaurant in Jelenia Gora, Poland they will fulfill your wishes!

 

When we and my friend spent a weekend in the Polish wellness center Wojanów, we only had breakfast and lunch at the hotel. We decided to have lunch outside the hotel resort and dine in the nearby town of Jelenia Gora. TripAdvisor has been very helpful in choosing the right restaurant. (I highly recommend downloading it when you travel! Saved me many times.) After considering the different options, we decided on the restaurant called American burger, which, as the name implies, specializes in burgers of all kinds.

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The restaurant is quite easy to reach by car. There are also parking spaces, which is great. The restaurant is located on the first floor of a two-storey building. You can get there by the outdoor stairs in front of building.

 

What impressed you on the first impression was the design in which the interior is decorated. It is a very pleasant environment. Most personally I liked the ceiling that was covered with old newspapers. As for the place, it’s neither small nor big. But don’t expect much privacy.

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The way of ordering and choosing food is also interesting. You have a paper menu where you check what you want. You can choose whether you want a dark or light bun (or no bun at all), whether you want beef or chicken or whether you prefer a vegetarian option. You have the choice of size – whether you want a standard size, a large or three pieces of small burgers. You can choose from a permanent menu of burgers. All ingredients are written on paper. Or you can build your own burger. And that’s what I did.

 

When it comes to the menu, another clear plus is that they have English menu in addition to a Polish one. The English menu is the same principle as Polish, so you are not deprived of anything. Waiters also speak English. Other technical info that is good to know is that you can pay by card here. The place is quite visited, so I recommend making a reservation in advance if possible.

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But back to the burgers! The most important thing in the restaurant is food! (But other components must be good too.) To be honest I never had a good burger like this. What will it be? I think it’s about the quality of ingredients and their correct ratio. The portions are also big enough so you don’t have to worry about going away hungry. On the contrary, I was overrun.

 

And what shows that we enjoyed the food more than the fact that the next day we went here to lunch again? So if you have a way around, definitely stop by for lunch!

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