Sydney Harbour Bridge at nightGreetings from down-under. With the weather still rather chilly and the August winds prevailing, many folks are still swapping snow for sand at Thredbo and other ski resorts.  However, more than 80,000 people ran in this year’s City2surf running race, starting from central Sydney and finishing at Bondi Beach, with Olympic long-distance runner Craig Mottram crossing the finishing line in 41 minutes and 56 seconds. The first woman to finish was Casey Wood from South Australia in 47 minutes and 59 seconds.  Congratulations to all who entered the event as it raised more than four million dollars for charity.   

A national day of mourning was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, where a multi-faith service was carried out to remember the thirty eight citizens and residents who were killed on July 17th when Malaysia Airlines M.H.17 was downed by a missile. Yellow Wattle seed branches were placed on a wreath in remembrance, church bells chimed and flags flew at half mast across the country in respect for all those who had lost their lives. Meaningful tributes were made by leading dignitaries including the Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove.  Meanwhile, five months have passed since the disappearance of flight MH370, with no sign or trace of the aircraft.  Dutch company Fugro Survey will scour the ocean floor focusing on the Southern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Western Australia where it is cautiously hoped for answers.  Scanning will commence in September and could take nine l0ng months to complete the new mission.

Myer’s Spring and Summer 2014/2015 Collection was launched this week with Jennifer Hawkins turning up the heat on the red rug by opening the show in a sexy lace dress and pink hair.  Joined by sixty four models strutting their stuff down the catwalk, all with candy-coloured hair spray painted pink, blue, and mermaid green, the scene was set.  Scanty neon-bikinis, sculptured cocktail dresses, bustiers for the BBQ’s, beach dates, and dinner parties, had the audience swooning and were early favourites.  Spring shapes were long and lean in wild tropical print combos, satin suits and preppy dresses perfect for the office, with washed-out pastels still a big theme.  Mini and midi lengths plus plunging necklines, saucy thigh slits, together with strappy, slinky, high heeled shoes to pine for, it was all there ready for the asking. White-on-white dominated the end of the show.  The guys looked good too!  Roll on summer.

An amazing and very unusual sight at Perth’s Stirling railway station W. A. was seen when ‘People Power” performed a miracle. Scores of passengers together with staff managed to push and tilt the train carriage sufficiently, so that a man could free his leg which was wedged between the platform and train.  Once completed everyone got back into the carriage mission accomplished.

August 2014 marks the centenary of WW1 the “war to end all wars”. Australia fought under its own flag for the first time and lost 60,000 and more than 100,000 to injury.  The war defined its fledgling sense of nationhood.  Honouring this important anniversary and that of the Gallipoli campaign, the Sydney University Graduate Choir together with a Children’s choir and five soloists, with orchestra under the musical direction of Christopher Bowen OAM, and Libretto by Pamela Taylor, performed an Australian War Requiem at the Sydney Town Hall. This very moving tribute to our service men and women was received to high acclaim, as letters between soldiers and mothers at home were read out painting a picture of sacrifice and honour in a truly universal way.

Finishing our tour of ‘The Rocks’ Australia’s oldest street was first called Sergeant Majors Row, then Spring Row, later lower George Street, and named after George 111 the reigning monarch of the time by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. It begins near Sydney Harbour Bridge and extends to the southern end of the city. It is one of the busiest streets in the city centre passing through all the major precincts from south to north. Railway Square, Chinatown, Cinema District, Town Hall, Wynyard, Martin Place, Sydney General Post Office, Circular Quay Railway Station, St. Andrews Cathedral, are just a few of Sydney’s landmarks and the hub of  the city. Sydney’s oldest pub “Fortune of War” built in 1828 and David Jones the first department store built in 1887 both in George Street and still going strong. It was the site of the first General Hospital in 1788-1816 along with warehouses and Terrace houses. There are still smaller streets to explore, Trinity Avenue, Longs Lane, Playfair Street, Atherton Place, Gloucester Street, Rhodens Lane where ‘The last of the smithies’ had their blacksmith shop serviced by the Macdonald family for three generations. The whole region is an artist’s Mecca and not to be missed when visiting Sydney, pick a sunny day and go walkabout. Enjoy!

Bird Lorikeet feeding 3Spring is everywhere in the garden with five beautiful orchids in full bloom, and a few calla lilies which I adore. The birds are still eating well and the cheeky ones are feeding from my hand as you can see, they are truly beautiful.

If you fancy a good read with stunning photographs of English countryside, do take a look at my book “Letters of a Travelling Lady”.  It can be readily found on Amazon or Xlibris and all leading bookshops, or visit my website  to discover what is on offer.

Cheers. Patricia.