Can’t believe it – Tuesday 17th April 2012


So that’s it then!
The last full day of traveling.
Six months on the road, what an adventure.
When I started out, I didn’t even know what a blog was. Now it feels like part of my existence to write about my day.
The plan, initially was to record what I do, so that, when I am really old and may have Alzheimer’s, someone can read this back to me.
Forward planning, I call it!
So many new activities, sights, places, flowers, animals, birds…memories!

And, today it is raining! The shops are full of plum, amber, chocolate and russets to compliment autumn, and I am about to go back to Spring. This will be my longest summer ever! Three back to back.

We hang round much of the morning, waiting for the rain to ease. It is no hardship, I have loads of blogs to catch up on. Finally, we brave it, walking down the pavements to the Strand. Here we began our journey in October, forcing ourselves to have lunch when our body clocks shouted for sleep after the 24 hour flight. Then, as today we ordered Turkish Raisin Bread and Cappachino.

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We make our way through familiar streets and shops, commenting on changes occasionally. The New South Wales art gallery is just by the botanic gardens. We had noticed it in December. We enjoyed the galleries in Brisbane and in Melbourne.
There’s a wonderful floor of aboriginal art, none of which you can photograph. But a great collection of bark painting, of traditional stories and some modern takes in a naive style which is very appealing with bright colours and bold strokes.
Picasso, Rubens, Constable, Van Gogh, and hundreds of other artists are represented here. Yet I did not feel the thrill of their collection. Sadly it was rather trying to cover the range of styles and periods, in some way, instead of finding the best examples of each artist. That sounds very stuck up, and I really don’t know much about art! Anyway, we had a brilliant time, wandering through and pointing out our likes and dislikes.

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On the way home, a spider caught our eye.

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Funny thing about spiders: in England we say “if you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive”, I bet they don’t say that in Australia. Poisonous things!
In the apartment, we begin the tedious process of throwing out. We need to get our baggage weight down, and we have so many clothes which are more or less worn to shreds. After the first bout, John took a plastic bag of old clothes and began sidling up to bins to pop a pair of sock here and trousers there, until we found a wheelie bin that would hold the whole bag. Good job too! It felt worse than seeing people sidle up to bins and take out things to keep!
Now we start the thinning process again, debating taking home parcel tape, shampoo, olive oil and the like.
The fridge was next. All the vegetables were amassed and cooked into a meal that heaped high on the 12 inch dinner plate. John is frugal by nature, and hates to see waste, so it was no problem for him to eat all his!
And here I am!
Only the flight to go.
When I get home, back in London. I want to re-read the page, “how travel enlightened my view on retirement.”
It has…
I need to add to it.

I guess I need the next stage of the plan now.
Moving house!
I’m still not at all decided if that should be blog worthy. If you have an opinion, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading me.

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Melbourne Art Gallery – Monday 26th December 2011


Melbourne has a great arts centre with two galleries, one for international artists and the other for Australian ones. Today we went to the main gallery. After such dreadful weather the entrance water feature made us feel cold!

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There are so many wonderful paintings and sculptures it is hard to know where to start. Picasso’s Green lady, several Constables including a wonderful oil sketch on cardboard of sky. Turner, his light sizzling through the canvas, but I was disappointed to learn he sometimes painted a light scene and then used it as a background to add features to order on. This made me feel slightly cheated by him!

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The Pre Raphalites were well represented with several Hughes, including his son’s work, and Bruce-Jones including a stained glass window from a hospital in Salford.
Pisarro’s Boulevard de Montmartre, several Manet which look clinical against the Monet exhibits and lots of Rodin sculptures.
But the exhibition I enjoyed most was inspired by biology, called Dewdrops and Sunshine by Ranjani Sheetar. Look her up on YouTube to see how they had to place hundreds of different length pins into adjoining walls. My photos do not do it justice.

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Two nets with beeswax globes such delicacy threaded from floor to ceiling to wall and, its shadows created a gossamer pattern that had incredible depth. The photos I took of this so understate the beauty of it, I will not share them!
Steel, muslin, tamarind paste sculpted together in almost birdlike shapes fly through the air with incredible grace, but are inspired by the unique patterns created by the mucus of a sneeze.

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I just loved Ranjani’s work and urge you to seek it out because the 3 dimensional quality of this art is essential to its appreciation I feel.

Also in the gallery on the third floor was an exhibition of Pacific artists, mostly modern but all touching back to their ethnic cultural heritage. Masks, animals, shields of great colour, nearly all using natural materials. A most impressive room and the kind of thing we rarely see in England, more is the pity.

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