Patricia Newell-Dunkley with photographs by Reginald J. Dunkley.

Flatbed-004Greetings from down under where the weather is hotting up and bushfires have already started in the Blue Mountains, a total fire ban is in place. While here on the coast this week we have been fortunate to see a pod of 50 dolphins riding the waves like surfers, plus six whales all heading back from Queensland.  It seems people and dolphins have at least two things in common fishing and surfing.

The country has been alive with the sound of Politicians with the G20 being hosted in Brisbane, Queensland, where the temperatures soared while entertaining Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan,  Republic of Korea,  Mexico,  Russia,  Saudi Arabia,  South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. This International Forum and Bank Governors were formed in 1999 primarily for global prosperity. It was interesting to see that in turn they were all bewitched by Jimbelung the Koala, who freshly shampooed and blow dried was passed around like a football between Abbott, Obama, Putin, and Co. as they all cuddled and kissed the animal with great pleasure. No doubt about it Jimbelung was the star and may be the biggest thing to come out of the G20 in the United States, Koala diplomacy wins the day.  The name Koala is an ancient Aboriginal word meaning “no drinks” because being tree dwelling; it receives 90% of its hydration from eucalyptus leaves and only drinks when ill or during droughts.  The G20 Leaders’ wives visited a Wildlife Sanctuary, where they too embraced Koala’s, met their closest relative the Wombat, and fed the Kangaroos.  A good time was had by all and hopefully The Australian Koala Foundation will ultimately benefit, looking after this endangered species.

Angelina Jolie and husband Brad Pitt made their first red carpet appearance as a married couple at the world premier of “Unbroken”.  The 39-year-old beauty looking radiant in a strapless, fishtailed Gucci dress greeted thousands of fans who lined the streets by Sydney’s State Theatre. Together they obligingly worked the crowds as fans and stars took “selfies” before the official opening. The movie “Unbroken” is based on the best- selling book by Laura Hillenbrand and it tells the true story of WW11 hero Louis Zamperini- an Olympic sprinter who spent 47 days on a life raft after his plane crashed into the Pacific, and was then held for two years by the Japanese. The following day Angelina glamorous as ever, striking a pose in a Atelier Versace grey dress with a deep V-neckline- appeared relaxed and beautiful standing together with her cast, in front of the Sydney Opera House with the backdrop of the Harbour Bridge.

For all of the Opera fans of Dame Nellie Melba, D.B.E. and G.B.E. her grounds Coombe Cottage Estate at Coldstream in Victoria, Yarra Valley, is now open to the public. The 30-hectare property has been updated by her great-grandsons Lord Samuel Vestey and the Honourable Mark Vestey. The estate boasts an Elm Tree Avenue, a glorious 19th century Oak Tree, and a 2- 8 hectare garden designed byWilliam Guilfoyle, plus a 1913 Swimming Pool, and is surrounded by thick Cypress hedges. The motor house where Melba once parked her de Dion-Bouton and Rolls Royce cars has been converted into 150-seat restaurant where homage to the Diva by French trained chef Tony Milto is paid serving, Peach Melba, Melba Toast, and Melba Sauce, which French Chef Auguste Escoffier created.   Paintings by Hans Heyson, Arthur Streeton, and other divine artefacts will be on display including a 14 – piece Louis Vuitton luggage set, Hermes Riding Boots, Cartier Handbags.  Rich in history stories abound of Melba christening her granddaughter Pamela in a Bird Bath, hosting parties for the Prime Minister Billy Hughes, and Ellen Terry, and many other celebrities of the time.  Dame Nellie Melba was the first Australian to achieve recognition as a classical musician, and was once the most famous woman in the world singing for Tsar Alexander III, King Oscar II, Emperor Franz Joseph, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Queen Victoria, by request. The National Gallery of Victoria holds the full-length portrait of Nellie Melba painted by Rupert Bunny in 1902, while the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra holds a portrait sketch of Melba by Hugh Ramsay.

Celebrity spotting is the favourite pursuit at the moment. With his cap pulled low and sunglasses on, Robert Redford was hoping not to be recognised on a trip to the Sydney Opera House. Nevertheless, it did not stop him from enjoying a performance of The King and I.  He has also been spotted at Rose Bay and swimming at Bondi.  Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian confuses Jervis Bay with Sydney as she posted a photo on her instagram. The T.V. Star closed the beach for a secret photo shoot of?IMG_9650 (2)

Here at Shelly Beach the birds are still being fed and watered as the weather warms up. With Christmas around the corner you might consider “Letters of a Travelling Lady, The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain, Wallis The Woman I Love” as special gifts.

Cheers Patricia.