hot air balloonG’day from down under where the weather is now quite beautiful, with  bright sunshine and gentle breezes and perfect surf at the beach. What more could you ask for?

Spring has certainly arrived at Canberra our capital state where Floriade, Australia’s biggest celebration of this romantic season is now being celebrated for the 27th year.  Showcasing one million flowers in bloom throughout Canberra’s Commonwealth Park, and it is free to all.  Exquisite blooms of tulips, hyacinths, poppies, daffodils, pansies, in fact all manner of spring flowers, and trees heavy with bloom.  The air is heady with perfume and a good time is had by all for thirty glorious days. There is a feast of entertainment and night markets with something for everyone to enjoy, with a special ‘Nightfest” lasting five days.  Originally based on the famous ‘Keukenhof’ Garden in the Netherlands, Floriade has long since made a special niche of its own, and each year brings new inspirations for its thousands of visitors.

Affectionately known as “Thunder From Down Under” the group ‘Manpower’ is returning to Oz after wowing them at Las Vegas.  These gorgeous hunks of muscle men have been performing for women across the globe for two decades. With dynamic dancing and state of the art lighting they put on a show not forgotten in a hurry, and will be performing at Airlie Beach on the Gold Coast “Their Girls Night Outback Show” for another sell out tour.  Catch them if you can.

The inimitable Shirley Maclean is coming to Australia in December.  Actor, Dancer,Director, Author, Activist, she has done it all. With fifty films, countless television and stage shows, plus fifteen books behind her, Shirley Maclean’s eighty years on earth is a rich tapestry of Hollywood.  An intimate evening with with this legendary lady will be a head spinning journey, as she tells her tales spiced with her inside knowledge of the entertainment world. Performances are for one night only at Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Auckland.

The 2014 Royal Melbourne Show is now on until 1st October, coinciding with school holidays.  Victoria’s largest annual community event linking industry to consumers, there is something for everybody.  For dog lovers Royal Melbourne Championship Dog show is the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. With more than 4,000 dogs on display all breeds from the smallest Chihuahuas to the largest Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds. There will also be champion horses across 250 classes and $80,000 in trophies and prize money to be had.  Together with Art, Craft, and Cookery, everything from Photography, to fashion, Embroidery to Preserves, Decorated cakes, plus the ever favourite show bags galore. With sideshows and hu’rdy-gurdy this is a show not to be missed.

“Ships Ahoy” as the cruise season begins.  The 12-Deck “Carnival Legend” sailed into Sydney Harbour this week packed with excited tourists. The harbour was at its sparkling best with the sails of the Opera House beckoning, and the Harbour Bridge welcoming. The 88,500-TonneVessel was the first of at least 290 cruise ships to visit Sydney this summer. Included in the line up will be the luxury Yacht L’Austral in January, and a Royal Rendezvous by “The Queen Mary 2” and “Queen Victoria” in March. Cruising the South Pacific is a favourite pastime for some, and a fulltime occupation for others.

There is no bigger day on the Melbourne sporting calendar than the Australian Football League Grand Final. The 2014 game will be held on Saturday 27th September, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground between Sydney – V – Hawthorn. With a distinguished line up of entertainment before the game commences. Sir Tom Jones and Ed Sheeren are ready to rock on and each will perform three songs. While Mike Brady AM will sing “Up There Cazaly” and “One Day in September” songs which are synonymous with Australian Rules football and traditionally sung on Grand Final Day.  Also on the list is the favourite and Melbourne born, Australian music icon Olivia Newton John who will perform the National anthem. Footy fever has taken over with the chance to meet the game’s biggest stars.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has spent a week in deepest Arnhem Land in the Northern Territories, a commitment made on election to Government.  He took part in activities alongside Yolngu men and women, and was welcomed by painted dancers from the Rirratjingu Clan.  He also visited Buku Larrnggay Mulka arts Centre at Yirrkala, famous for its painted church panels in the 1960’s and precursor to the Bark Petition and the Land Rights movement. Clan Leader Djambawa Marawili said the trip was a great success for visiting politicians and regions local communities.

Here at Shelly Beach the jasmine and port wine magnolia is out in full bloom, both with beautiful perfume. The Lorikeets are happy as is the pair of Crested Pigeons, and we had a flying visit from a crimson headed Rosella. The beach is packed with school holiday makers and the sun is warming up, so everyone is happy.

If you are planning a trip to U.K. you might like to avail yourself of my book “Letters of a Travelling Lady” a visual feast of lush countryside and


architectural delights.  The armchair traveller can accompany Priscilla on her romantic ramble as she travels through The Cotswolds, Sussex, Suffolk, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Oxford, Cambridge, Wales, Paris, and Switzerland, accompanied by outstanding photographs taken by Reginald J. Dunkley. Available on Amazon, Xlibris, and all leading bookshops, also on my website


Photographs by Reginald J.Dunkley