Shelly Beach moonlightG’day from a very wet down under in New South Wales, rain, rain, and more rain as trees uproot, and rivers flood up and down the coast, Cliffside houses are slowly sliding away as the tail end of winter blusters its way out.  Even the top end of Oz has the coldest August on record.  Let’s hope it doesn’t mean we are in for a scorching summer.

Victorian schools can now start in the morning as early as 7.15 am- 1.15pm 8.50am -3.30pm and 10.30am -5.15pm.  Apparently the teachers are happy about these arrangements and likewise the students, those that want to sleep in can do so, and the early risers are also catered for.  Sounds good and remains to be seen if it is a success with other states following suit.

Victorian policeman Tim Spiter and his crew have taken less than two months to row 8600 Kilometres across the Indian Ocean, breaking two world records in the process.  They left Geraldton in Western Australia on June 11th with the aim of reaching South Africa in less than 57 days, finishing in the Seychelles after piracy problems. The charity row was to aid multiple sclerosis and all funds will go to MS Australia.

The Billabong ProTeahupoo professional surfing competition is well under way in Tahiti, with Aussie surfers soaring, thrills, spills and wipe-outs.  As the world’s best surfers compete, defending champions Ace Buchan and Mick Fanning lead the way for Oz.  Round 2 is under way with Aussies making up half the field in the next section.  Good luck guys!

The fishing community were in shock when a man was snatched from his boat by a salt water crocodile, while fishing at Kakadu National Park in permit-only Arnhem Land. He was apparently emptying a bucket at the time of the attack, when the family heard splashing sounds and turned around but were unable to save him. Park Rangers later shot a 4.63 crocodile and recovered the body of the man.  However, it doesn’t seem to stop fishermen from going into man-eaters territory to wet a line in their desire to catch barramundi, which is a favourite fish with a mild buttery flavour and a dense meaty texture. A high price to pay I would say!

The Barossa Valley wine region of South Australia is a must for a visit, and a great romantic escape, just 60 km Northeast of Adelaide among the scenic hills and valleys a true inspiration for artists. With more than 80 cellar doors and 150 Wineries, take a couple of hours and be immersed in the history at Seppeltsfield Wines founded in 185l and the producer of the 100 year old Para Port – a drink for the gods.  You can have a picnic table and relax among the gum trees, with a produce platter from Lehmann’s wines. “Liquid Sunshine” is the name for the

fortified wines which Barossa is famous for.  You can also get fortified chocolates, fortified jam and rich fortified fruitcake.  Occasionally, Turkey Flat Vineyards opens wines not normally offered for tastings.  They also take you through the local cheeses to match your favourite tipple. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Moselle, Chardonnay, Claret, Sparkling Rheingold. It was here that the first ‘Bag-in-a-box” wine container was invented in l971. The Barossa Valley is compelling but make sure you have a chauffeur to take you home, alternatively book yourself into one of the many luxurious hotels and stay a while.  Why not!

A once in a lifetime experience for fans of Queen and Adam Lambert, as the    legendary superstar band tours all states in Oz for just one more time. Opening to rave reviews and favourite tunes the band is on a high.  Rock on Queen!

Sydney man Ben Britton is raising three African lion cubs in his home after they were rejected by their mother at birth. The trio of two males and one female cub happily watch television curled up on the couch with their keeper, who maintains they will remember him all of their lives. National Geographic has been documenting their progress since birth for a special series to show the public. Mr. Britton’s aim is for the lions to be ambassadors for lions in the wild and spread awareness about the plight of the species.  A former zookeeper and now Director of Wild Animal Encounters, Ben is at home with all kinds of animals and is very happy with his three lion cubs.

Now is the perfect time to escape to Magnetic Island and blow away those winter blues.  “Maggie” as she is affectionately known is 8km offshore from Townsville, a quick and easy trip by ferry and a perfect setting for that special getaway. With 320 days of glorious sunshine per year, more than twenty beaches to explore and half of the Island covered in National Park, you are spoilt for choice.  You can swim in crystal clear waters, snorkel, and hike, play golf, bowl on beautiful greens, horse ride, take a trip to the Barrier Reef, or simply sail around the Island. Spoil yourself with a choice of massages and indulgence packs, as you sunbathe under palm trees. “Maggie” is also famous for her ‘Moon Parties’, with romance in the air.  A wide selection of hotels, restaurants, boutiques, craft shops, awaits you.  Enjoy!

Here at Shelly Beach the sea has been fantastic with exotic blue waves glowing in the night, lit up by bioluminescent creatures with the sign that spring is coming. This unusual event occurred coast wide in Sydney and photographers were quick to catch the phenomenon, which some thought rather eerie while others called it beautiful.  Our surfers are happy with massive waves and we


even had a beautiful rainbow.  The lorikeets are happy and still visiting early morning and afternoon, along with their various friends so all is well.  My Butcher Bird has been missing but hopefully he will return soon with some little ones.

For those who follow Royal Romance my book “Wallis The Woman I Love” is a good read, this love story still has great appeal especially to Americans the real romantics. It is available on Amazon, Xlibris and from all leading book shops, check it out on my Website along with “Letters of a Travelling Lady” and other works.

Cheers.  Patricia.