Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I've left the best till last

Heaps more photos today and then I will probably be quiet for quite a while!

 I met up with my friend Doreen in Canberra.  We see each other whenever I go to Canberra.  This time the Embroiderer's guild was holding its annual exhibition, which had some beautiful exhibits.  Unfortunately photography was not allowed, but check out Doreen's blog, she has photos of lots of the exhibits taken before the show opened.  Doreen had some beautiful pieces she had made for the exhibition.
We had a hire car and drove from Newcastle to Canberra, via Orange, and we took the scenic route, much nicer than major highways.  The country looked lush and so pretty with rolling hills and green pastures for most of the way - very different country from the tropics.
 This statue of the rotary hoe in Crookwell and the description underneath interested me.
 I was in the back seat for the drive - Bill Drove and my sister could read the satnav much better than I could (better eyesight)  I spent my time trying to take photos through the window while we were travelling at 100 km per hour - not always very successful.  Nearly all the cattle down there are black angus, looking very healthy.
 The country between Orange and Canberra is top rated Merino sheep country, growing fine wool.  If you click the images should enlarge to give a better view.
 While in Canberra we drove out to the Cotter Dam which Bill and I had visited on our honeymoon - a long time ago.  The river and park looks lovely now, but when we visited on our honeymoon, it was very hot, full of flies and so droughty there was hardly anything to see!  I was not impressed that day.

 These photos are out of order.  Barb and I went to visit the Syd Long Spirit of the Land exhibition at the National Art Gallery.  He was an Australian painter with wonderful Art Nouveau paintings from the 1890s and 1900s - no photography allowed of course.  There were some lovely paintings of brolgas dancing and also flamingo paintings.  I really hope the photo above enlarges so you can see the fascinating orb apparently floating in mid air!  The gallery building is very impressive, then we walked across to the nearby National Portrait Gallery, also a magnificent building.  The biggest drawcard there is the latest portrait of the Queen, a Diamond Jubilee portrait by Australian artist Ralph Heimans.  It is very large and very luminous.  He only had a twenty minute sitting with the Queen and did the rest from photos!  I am sure if you google you will see it.  There were many other interesting portraits there as well, some only interesting because of who they were, and some lovely paintings in their own right.

 We drove out to the Deep Space Tracking Station at Tidbinbilla, hoping Bill may be able to walk far enough to see it, but that was definitely not on.  He would have had to walk further than you do at any airport, so I took these  photos of two of the giant telescopes (or radioscopes or whatever their technical name is).  At least we had a very pleasant drive in the countryside.
All in all, we are very glad we went, even though Bill could not join in much.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Home again - for a while

We came home a couple of days early from our holiday as Bill is still not a whole lot better and needed to see the doctor again.  The upshot of that is that we will fly back to Brisbane to see a spinal surgeon on Melbourne cup day - there goes the prawn and wine lunch, darn!  We don't think he will need surgery but probably some fancy injection into the lower back.

We did manage to have lots of fun, despite Bill spending lots of time on his back.  My sister was there so went of on our own to various places.  If you don't want to see lots of photos stop right here.

 We stayed with Bill's cousin at Marks Point, Lake Macquarie, just south of Newcastle and struck wonderful weather - the day before we arrived the maximum had been about 9 and they had sleet, we came in sunshine and max 24 - crazy weather.  This is the view we woke to.  They have a very beautiful property right on the lake with the most horrendous stairs imagineable!  The blocks are extremely narrow and go from the water's edge up a very steep slope to the street.  Only one building is allowed on each property, except for Pat's where there have always been two inhabited dwellings. 
 This used to be a boatshed on the water, built about 1920, now renovated into a B&B cottage.  It is lovely, but there are nearly 80 steps down to get to it, and they are very uneven,

 This heron was poking about in the water feeding only a few feet from us.
 This is a view of the boatsheds along the waterfront, some restored, some very decrepit.  I think the owners are working out if they want their home at the  top or the bottom of the property!
 Bill insisted on struggling down to the bottom, then considerably later, back to the top.  He was on very strong pain killers so could not even celebrate with a wine!
 This is a view of the Blue Mountains on our way to Orange.  The mountains really do have a blue haze from all the eucalyptus oil in the air, and it is easy to see how dangerous the fires in the summer months can be.  Fortunately none to see that day, but a different story when we were flying back to Sydney from Canberra, smoke haze everywhere.
 Orange is a beautiful city, we probably made a mistake in visiting mid-week as most wineries and galleries and country restaurants are only open from Friday to Sunday.  This winery above was open for sales but not the cafe and we were starving!  I think we ended up with Subway rolls instead, a bit of a come down,
 My sister and I walked around some of the very extensive Orange Botanic Gardens.  There is a lovely apple orchard which was in full flower.
This photo of the billabong was taken from the rose garden which had only a few buds, still too cold there for the flowers to open.

 This was another lovely park in Orange, mush older than the Botanic Gardens -  many of the trees are over 100 years old.  Elm trees everywhere, thank heavens they haven't been affected by the disease which wiped out the European trees.
 We couldn't find out a lot about this fascinating sculpture and the cultural centre behind it, library, gallery, visitors centre and theatre all in one complex.  The exhibition in the gallery left much to be desired as far as we were concerned.  Bill would have been horrified - almost blank canvases with a long winded artist's statement!
 I had to take a photo from Mt. Canobolas - just so I could write the wonderful sounding name, if for no other reason.  The mountain is not far out of town and you get a 360 degree view, which also includes strong winds, hence the bent and twisted trees.
This photo is out of order, but at least it is there.  This is the sensory garden in the Orange botanic Gardens.  I think most of the work must be done by volunteers, and at the weekend.  There was no sign of any worker there while we were around.  I hope they have lots of volunteers as the garden area is massive,
Time is marching on, I will post some more photos tomorrow (I hope), there is lots more to tell.  All the photos should enlarge if you click on them.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

More from around our garden

I very much dislike this new system!  I have just lost a whole post when I  tried to put up some photos - why on earth doesn't blogger leave well alone.  This change seems to have happened in the last ten days since my previous post.  My next post would have been sooner but we have had some high drama around here.  Bill woke on Saturday morning (of course it was a weekend) with acute lower back pain and took almost three hours before he could manage to get out of bed and sufficiently dressed for our son to drive us to the casualty ward of the base hospital - not somewhere we would normally frequent but the only place where you can get XRays etc on a weekend.  They were very good, but by the time we finally came home 8 hours later all we knew was that he had acute muscle spasms in his lower back - but the Xrays thankfully showed no nasties like tumours etc.  Several days later we have racked up large bills from numerous doctor's appointment, an MRI, visits to the physio and chiropractor and he is little better, filled with painkillers and totally disgusted with himself.  We were supposed to be flying to Newcastle in NSW on Saturday, staying for a few days, then driving to Canberra via Orange - and area which we have previously passed through but never stopped to explore.  My sister was to come with us and I told her it is all her fault, these plane tickets have a curse on them!  This is the replacement trip for the cancelled trip to Bali in January.  We may still be able to change bookings again (at a cost) and fly to Canberra next week sometime.  Who knows........but old age seems to have caught up with us with a great big bang!

Now I shall attempt to load some photos again.  That is where everything disappeared last time.

 I hope these photos enlarge when you click on them.  This native orchid thankfully looks after itself most of the time, but does look great when it flowers.
 All the noisy rainbow lorikeets are in the flowering trees again,
 also the blue cheeked honeyeaters who are even more aggressive than the lorikeets.
We also have helmeted friar birds - very ugly but very interesting to watch.  These three honeyeaters seem to chase away all the smaller honey eating birds when they are in the trees, but the others com back eventually.

I have loaded these in firefox, which seems much easier than Internet Explorer to manage.