Greetings from down-under as the weather slowly warms up, this is the month for stunning sunsets over the lake with bright orange skies and slithers of blue, with the promise of a hot summer.

For those wishing to escape the last of the winter weather, Norfolk Island is the place to head. This small Island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia and New Zealand, and New Caledonia, approximately 900 kilometres from Lord Howe Island, is part of the Commonwealth of Australia. Originally settled by East Polynesians and colonised by Great Britain as part of its settlement of Australia in 1788. The Island served as a convict penal location until 1855. Permanent civilian residence began when it was settled from Pitcairn Island in 1901. The evergreen Norfolk Island pine is a symbol of the island and is pictured on its flag, with the pine a key export industry for the island. Captain James Cook sighted the Island in 1774 and named it after Mary Howard, Duchess of Norfolk. It has a rich history being used as a penal settlement for many years. In 1856 descendants of Tahitians and the H.M.S. Bounty mutineers, including those of Fletcher Christian settled on the island and established traditional farming and whaling industries. During World War 11, the island became a key airbase and refuelling depot between Australia and New Zealand.








Today Norfolk Island is a favourite tourist resort less than three hours flying time from Sydney, Brisbane, or Auckland. It is a lush beautiful island with sandy beaches, jagged cliffs, and tall pine trees a pristine environment with a sub-tropical climate. Supported by a local community with a simple, laid back way of life, it certainly is a green paradise in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. Holidays on Norfolk Island are an escape from the rest of the world. There are no railways, port or harbours, or busy roads and the cows still have right of way. With over 170 native plants and ferns, and many types of sea birds that come to the island to breed. World Heritage listing in 2010, National Parks and Reserves dotted with iconic Norfolk Island Pines. It offers a myriad of sights and activities, culinary delights, and wonderful accommodation. And for those interested in history it is an opportunity to look into the past way of life, a most fascinating location to spend some quality time.

Cricketer Michael John Clarke Australia’s 43rd Test Captain and fourth highest Test run-scorer, will retire from international cricket after losing the Fifth Ashes Test to England at the Oval by an innings and 78 runs at Trent Bridge. Acknowledged that he had not played as well as he would have liked, it was the right time to give the next Captain the chance to prepare for future Ashes Series. Clarke has played 114 Test matches for Australia and Captained them in 46 matches making him the 6th most capped skipper of his nation. With an illustrious career and the only Test Batsman to ever achieve four double centuries in a calendar year. Clarke who burst on the scene as a 23-year old with a century on Test debut has matured into the top position of Australian Cricket and will be sadly missed.

The City2Surf run was held on the 9th August with Australian distance runner Brad Milosevic winning in 42 minutes and 15 seconds, hot on his heels was second in the men’s Stewart McSewyn from Tasmania in 42 minutes 24 seconds. Women’s first place winner Cassandra Fien from Queensland in 46 minutes and 39 seconds, Danielle Allen from N.S.W. was second place in 47 minutes and 40 seconds. This popular road running event held annually in Sydney and known as the “Fun Run” attracts competitive runners and community participants including the Prime Minister the Honourable Tony Abbott . The route passes through East Sydney, Kings Cross, Rushcutters Bay, Double Bay, Rose Bay, Vaucluse, Dover Heights, and Bondi Beach all beautiful and prime locations, and is a fundraiser for Barnardo’s Australia.

EKKA- the Royal Queensland Agricultural show is now on. This once a year celebration which is held in August draws people from all over the world. It showcases Queensland culture, produce, resources, and initiatives, with exhibitions, displays, animals, and performances. Sideshow Alley and Show bags are all part of this event. The first show was held in 1876 and a spin-off from the famous International Exhibitions being held in Britain, and worldwide dating from the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851. Today’s favourites include the Strawberry Sundae, a fundraising initiative of the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, and 42 competitions from Agriculture to Quilts across Queensland. There is something for everyone, Sheepdog Trials, Woodchop and Sawing, Country Music, Poultry Pigeons and Birds, Fruit Wine, Canine and Cats. This spectacular State Fair in its 138th year is held in Brisbane’s Exhibition Ground and runs for ten days.

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 is back in the news when debris was discovered on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. The Boeing 777 Wing Flap found has cautiously been confirmed as belonging to the missing plane. Reports that aircraft seat cushions and window panes have also been discovered washed up and are to be verified by France. There is still much speculation and conspiracy theories regarding the debris. Was it planted by those responsible for the plane’s disappearance? The CIA – Terrorists – Extra Terrestrials – the list goes on as fresh speculation about the bona fides of the debris continues. Meanwhile Australia is in charge of the underwater search for Flight MH370 in the Eastern Indian Ocean, thousands of miles from Reunion Island and continues with the job.

Here at Shelly Beach all is well, we had a visit from a beautiful crimson headed Rosella who flew in and ate with the Lorikeets for a few days. My Yellow Wattle-bird now sits on the back doorstep if I am running late with the food, and the Butcher bird is in full song.   In the garden my orchids have bloomed and the bougainvillea has been cut back for spring. Pixie celebrated her tenth birthday with special treats and a trip to the beach. “Letters of a Travelling Lady, Wallis the Woman I Love, and The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain,” are available on Amazon or www.patriciasartworld.com

Cheers. Patricia.