Thursday 21 February 2013

Overseen: Photogenic Cows

Overseen on the Daylesford-Ballarat Road, Victoria, Australia; February 2013.

I found these cows to be extremely obliging.  Look how willingly they posed beside one of my favourite subjects - the iconic Australian windpump.

Oh, happy photogenic cows: may you be the kind they keep for milk and not for beef.

Monday 18 February 2013

Right Turn From Left Only

On Sunday, I passed a particular rite of passage when I negotiated a Melbourne phenomenon: right turn from left only - aka the hook turn.

Photo taken through the windscreen, just before turning -
which is why it's not very good.
This instruction to drivers in Melbourne's CBD is bewildering to outsiders and seemingly quite confusing for locals too.  Its purpose is to prevent right-turning cars from blocking tramlines (which run along the centre of the bigger streets in the city).

So here's what you do.

1. Think ahead, because you'll need to be in the far-left lane if you want to turn right (counter-intuitive, I know).
2. If the lights are green as you approach the intersection, proceed into the little box conveniently marked on the road in the centre of the intersection.
3. If there's already a car/cars in the little box, you have to wait for the next cycle of lights.
4. Once in the box, stay there until the flashing 'wait' on hook turn signal (yes, special signal) disappears (or wait until there's a green light for the traffic on the street you want to enter).
5. Ignore all the drivers honking at you.
6. With turn successfully negotiated, breath a deep sigh of relief.

Melburnians are strangely proud of the hook turn, and the sign adorns posters, tea towels, cushions, t-shirts.  But then I've noticed, more widely, that Australians are oddly proud of the many native features that can kill you in an instant (the Box Jellyfish, Redback Spider, Fierce Snake, to name but three) - perhaps there's a correlation?

Friday 15 February 2013

Making Lemonade

It's Friday, the sun's shining, the fire's out (thanks to a thunder and lightning storm yesterday afternoon there was a small grass fire near us; no danger but everything stank of smoke) and, remarkably, I find myself with a clear head and an urge to post.

Except - the only photos I've taken in the past week are of museum showcases in various states of readiness.  Digging through all of the photos on my phone, the only thing I could find that was remotely appealing as blog fodder, was this:

So I decided to turn it into a hint.  When life places lemons (in the form of a lemon tree in the garden of the cottage where you're staying while installing a museum), then of course you should make lemonade.

Lady Traveller Lemonade
Cup of sugar
4-5 lemons

Put the sugar in a saucepan with a cup of water (approximately 250ml) and bring to a gentle boil, then simmer on a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Add another cup of water and leave the mixture to cool.
Squeeze the lemons (should yield about 500ml juice) and when the sugar syrup is cool, combine the lemon juice with it.  I like to throw in some lemon wedges as well.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Overseen: Black Swan Event

Overseen Victoria, Australia, February 2013

Q. Lady Traveller, where have you been?  Why no posts?
A. 1. Helping to install a new museum.  2. Sleeping.  3. See #1

Q. What is a Black Swan Event?
A. Something that comes as a surprise (that may even have been postulated to be impossible) but, once observed, makes sense in hindsight.  For example, for centuries Europeans believed that it was impossible that a black swan could exist ... until settlers came across the birds in Australia.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

French Weekend

Why, yes, I am in Australia and will shortly commence posting about my adventures here, but in the meantime here's something I wrote but neglected to post last week (I was overcome by packing).  It's about France and what it has in common with my current surroundings are the blue skies.  I know, it's sickening.


I frequently praise my sister and brother-in-law for having had the excellent taste and foresight to move to the South of France.  The perfect pick-me-up after Christmas was a weekend in the Provencal sunshine.  Stepping out of Nice airport, putting on my sunglasses (which hadn't been worn for months), the sight of the palm trees just lifted my heart:

We drove inland, George obligingly explain quantum mechanics to me on the way (I have an enquiring mind) and reached chez eux just as after dark.  As the small boys ran around reclaiming their stuff and their papa turned on the heating, Ro and I went to the supermarket where she bought groceries and I amused myself by marking, once again, the delights of the French supermarket experience.  (Nine kinds of chocolate mousse.)

Next morning, bright but cold, we pushed the boys (one in a pram, one on bicycle) into the centre of the village.  I always love seeing the church perched on top of the village.

We bought the papers and a selection of pastries and then sat at the cafe in the village square for our coffees.

Why, yes - that is my sister looking very glamorous and sitting outside, OUTSIDE I say, at the beginning of January.