Saturday 29 January 2011

Melbourne When It Sizzles

The temperature today is forecast to reach 40 degrees.  I confess I'm scared.  Will my white Irish skin melt on contact and leave me as a puddle on the footpath in the style of the Wicked Witch of the West?

At ten o'clock in the morning, it's already over 30 and it's very quiet ... everyone must be hiding indoors and even the birds are quiet.

PS it's not that I was aiming to be coy, but just that I try to avoid talking about work on this blog.  But for anyone who's wondering, I'm back in Melbourne for a few months working on a project.  I miss my family and friends in Europe but I have to say that blue skies and sunshine are a welcome antidote to the general doom and gloom of my hometown at the moment.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Burns Night

In honour of Robert Burns's birthday (he would be 252 today) here are four photos of monuments to him I spotted while travelling the world.

Cape Town:




If you're seeking your own Burns monument can I suggest you visit the NEWLY-OPENED Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.  That I helped to create it is only one reason I think it is  BEAUTIFUL.  Go now.  Tell them I sent you.

Friday 21 January 2011


Lady Traveller's Little Sister and I took took a trip to Avignon the other day.  It was very misty as we drove along the Autoroute du Soleil (ironic) but happily the sun came out when we got to Avignon and its beautiful walled-cityness.   Although I don't look very happy in this picture ...

I told LTLS that we had to go to the Palais des Papes because once upon a long, long time ago I wrote essays about the popes' relocation to Avignon.  We wandered around with our audioguides and learned lots about a) popes b) popes' courts c) popes' linens d) popes' banquets (the pope sat by himself at a little table at the top of the room).  We concluded that the popes must have been very cold because, well, we were.  (You could see your breath in front of you - inside.)

I liked this statue of St Catherine of Siena, who is 'my' saint because my confirmation name is Catherine and I had to write out her biography from the musty Lives of the Saints in our school.  She had stigmata, from what I remember, and went on lots of fasts, but more importantly she was very clever and went to Avignon to try to mend the Great Schism.  (Which I still, despite writing essays about it, don't really understand.  Though I think it has something to do with the Guelfs and the Ghibellines.)

Here's LTLS pretending to be a pope, distributing largesse:

The other famous thing about Avignon - more famous even - is the pont where on danse(s):

Lílí danced:

I danced:

The elephant danced:

It was a good day.

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Nice: Charmante, Elegante, Chouette, Super - and, yes, nice.

A SELECTION of nine things to do in NICE on a sunny Monday afternoon in January.

1. Check out the antiques market in the Vieux Ville.

2. Lust after a yellow-painted (and oh-so-elegantly distressed) villa.

3. Drink a café.

4. Photograph the Roman/Italianate buildings.

5. Walk along the seafront to the Promenade des Anglais.

6. Have champagne cocktails at the Hotel Negresco.

7. Pose with the lady stationed at the door of the toilets in the hotel.

8. Enjoy a kir (while your designated driver looks on.)

9. Pout.

Monday 10 January 2011

Happy New Year!

As you can see (at least I hope you can see, otherwise that's a lot of work down the drain) I've been giving the blog a makeover for 2011.  I'm still tweaking it here and there so it may take a few days for it to settle.  The images and inspiration come from the children's book Abroad, by Thomas Crane and Ellen Houghton, published in 1882.

I have one New Year's resolution for the blog which is: if you comment, I will respond.  (Unless you're one of my immediate family, whose comments I reserve the right to ignore.)

As for posting; despite remarks from my nearest and dearest (in tones shading from plaintive to aggrieved to sarcastic) I felt no urge to blog over Christmas. Blame it on an excess of travel (too many miles, too many planes), killer jetlag, an excess of food, delight at being home, snow, flu ... or a combination of all of these.

But now that my blog has a new look for a new year, I think my muse might be waking up.  This morning I received in the post my very own copy of I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson, complete with zebra-print covers.  If that weren't enough to get me writing, I'm getting back on a plane this week (to London) and another next week (to Nice).

In short, I'm back!