Category Archives: Travel & Holiday News

Take 2 – in the State of the big Coathanger

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Image:Sydney Misty Evening filtered.jpgI actually posted to you all last night a lengthy post with pics & artwork & flick – the internet cafe I was using lost power.  I subsequently lost my post & for some reason couldn’t log back in to post again.  We are away for a couple of weeks, interstate – it was kinda a last minute thing & we even ended up leaving a day earlier than I anticipated.  I have lots to tell you & I am still ‘faithfully’ (wow – for a week now!) drawing a face a day…….but again, I am at an internet cafe & after last night loosing my long post with lots of pics, I thought that I’d at least up load this message so that you all know where I disappeared to!@  LOL!!

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Down on the Farm

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Img_0095_resize this is my w.i.p. (work in progress) from the weekend.  I have 2 other completed canvases to show you, however, I haven’t photographed them yet, so I can’t show you those.  As soon as I saw this image of a tree I was mezmerized by it.  It is solitary – & lonely, but serene & peaceful all at the same time.  I have Img_0097_resizeattached some nice papers to the piece as well, but I am not sure which direction to take it just now.  I gessoed over everthing & then rubbed it back……Jenene says snow, but that wasn’t really where I was heading with it (although all of the crisp white does give that impression)……..my daughter says she will cut my fingers off if I add or take away anything from it, because she loves it just as it is……hmmmmm not sure on this one.  Now that I am back home, the country magic of the moment has broken & it’s very possible this one will sit for a while with no direction.   Here are some of my ‘captions’ & inspirations from a special artistic sojourn in country Victoria.  One of my lovely surprises was how incredibly lush & green everything was.  We have been in drought for such a long timDsc_0014_resizee & waterImg_0027_resize has been (& still is in short supply), obviously it is doing it’s job down in this area (though our over all water storage for drinking is quite low) I HAD to take a pic of Jenene’s fabulous bird house – it’s a work of art in itself!…. Img_0106_rosellathen there were the new alpaca guests being housed in the

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side paddock & early morning Rosellas (which is the reason that the rest of my canvases aren’t photographed – I got distracted!) One of my great joys was seeing the sunrise – as we don’t have a clear eastern perspective at home, (it’s a mountain) we don’t see the sunrise…..spectacular sunsets (off our front verandah) – but no sunrises….. so seeing this was VERY special.

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(as usual, I have to apologise for the formatting of the pics – sorry they are all over the show, I can’t seem to get them where I want them to be, but my friends at Typepad assure me that some new tools are on the way to assist with this)

Away to Play

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I have been away a couple of days in the country with my special friend Abby, at my other special friend – Jenene’s house (who HAPPENS to be Abby’s mum!)….what a lovely, restful & peaceful time I have had……such solace for the soul…..Img_0093_resize(thank God for precious friends) I made several 16" x 20" collaged canvas boards….this first one showcases my new collage sheets (that will be available from Alpha Stamps soon) called FishTales.  I have used acrylic’s watercolours & pearl & metallics….it’s really difficult to tell from the pic, it is soft water tones with slithers of bling all over.  This is made from all of those hand cut stamps that I made a while ago….the text on the piece reads… only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been posioned, only after the last fish has been caught, will you realize that money cannot be eaten.’

I have an early morning tomorrow – so I am off to bed, I have heaps more to show you from my time away, but I thought I’d just quickly post you a little sample of what we got up to.

An Unexpected Road Trip

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We have taken an unexpected trip interstate to our nation’s capital city – Canberra – over the last few days to meet with a client – hence not much art happening.  It’s a while since I have been there & I had forgotten just how lovely it is. Canberra was designed by a Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin & his wife Marion Mahony Griffin is a beautiful city that has wide roads & a combination of native & European trees.  Marion was the first registered female architect in the world.  They were both from the ‘Praire School’ of architecture & Img_0256_resizebelieved that it was 606pxcanberra_planwbgimportant to integrate the natural environment with the built environment in a seamless way.  It is a configuration of circular boulevards & connecting sightlines that are incredibly beautiful. It being Autumn (Fall) in Oz means that we saw magnificent vistas of amazing colour, framed with our evergreen natives.  IImg_0266_resize also Img_0183_resize had the opportunity to visit a current exhibition at the Australian National Gallery called Turner to Monet, a collection of 103 landscape paintings that were just magnificent.  The depth that Turner achieves just with tonal change in colour is a wonder to behold…….other artists, whose work I was not familiar with were impressive as well. This one was my fav.  The colour & tones of the sea were just indescribable.  Tiny nuances of change in tone that created a whole shape of itself.  VERY beautiful. 

I discovered the work of Ivan Shishkin (a Dutch Russian painter) from 1880’s – hauntingly beautiful work on treescapes.  The ones that I saw in the exhibition are not pictured in the link, they were deep moonlit night tones & hauntingly beautiful trees in beach scenes with deep paynes grey skies.

Coincidentally we visited at the time that our natiImg_0051_resizeon commemorates the service of our armed forces – called ANZAC DAY  It has been quite a few years since I visited our National War Memorial & I was amazed at how much money & work had been applied to create appropriate representations of Australian service in the various conflicts we have been involved in.  There is a big wide boulevard with intermittent reflection points, each of which have a monument to either a particular war, or to one of the branches of our armed services.  At the top of the boulevard is the War Memorial building which houses artifacts, interpretive info & original multi media that you can view.

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The

memorials were huge edifices……it fascinated me that we always choose art to soften the blow of the terrible reality.  Their forms were all hard surfaces with primarily angled & harsh shapes, there is nothing kind about war, other than the mateship & friendships formed that for some, last a lifetime.

Gothic Arch – Transition

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Img_9292_resize We are in a glorious transition between Summer & Autumn – although the days are shortening, & day light savings has ended, we are having some wonderful sunny days. The sunset this evening was simply spectacular, this is the view off our front verandah……it lit the sky on fire…..I never tire of the beauty found in the colours in the sky.  Moving on from there though, I have decided I CAN be a bit obsessive!  Last week rubber, the week before catching up on skinny book (which I haven’t touched since) and THIS week, it is gothic arches.  I just didn’t realize that I had missed these little beauties!!  I am SUPPOSED to be creating something else, but I am TOTALLY stuck with it, so I am arching away – catching up on all of the topics that I have missed between a trip to NZ & a torn ligament in my knee!  OH how I HATE being so debilitated, EVERYTHING is an issue & it is 14 steps up to our front door, so especially going out of the house is an issue!  Transition_web This topic was called ‘Transitions’ & I think that many of the  artists were concerntrating on the turning of the seasons we are currently experiencing.  That is fascinating me as well, Autumn is one of my favourite seasons because of all of the stunning colours everywhere you look.  I have already done an Autumn arch last year, so I wanted to do something different.  I have created art around the transition a car makes from a new shiny ‘city slicker’ to a rusty old wreck in a bush paddock.  (AND what a discovery they are for those interested in photography when you come across one – MORE about that later!)  I painted the arches with black gesso, then on the front, made stripes of oil pastel that I blended together.  Then with a stylus, I scraped a city silhouette in to the soft pastel.  The car is one of my favs…….the new beefy looking Chrysler………….I have ‘doctored’ the pic on the back using Golden paints to accentuate the rust & ‘forlorn’ look of the scene.

I am not sure where in the world you are viewing this from, so I just wanted to explain a ‘paddock’….a paddock is a vacant block of land that is relatively unworked,  these are some of the things I have found in paddocks on my travels.  All of these shots were taken in Australia.

SAVING THE BEST UNTIL LAST

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Again, thanks for the warm wishes & your lovely comments & emails regarding my traveller’s tales. I have had some good opportunities to be arting over the last week, & I have created a whole village of little houses using Collections chipboard houses & some that I have made myself.Hearts_resize  This will probably be my last post from NZ, as we travel home in a couple of days. The predominant motif that I have noticed are hearts, showing up in all forms in artwork, & the colour that seems to be quite current is a strong cherry red. That’s not to say that it’s everywhere you look, but it is a lot more prevalent than we would typically see it in Australia, whereas the last time I was here (2000) I would say that the water blues & greens were most prevalent. I expected this seeing as you never have to drive much more than half an hour in any direction to be at either river or sea & the boat is the most common accessory.

It has been a good trip, not without it’s challenges, but over all good. We have indulged in a single Swimmerduskiesjumping treat for ourselves while we were here & it has co-incidentally turned out that we could only get a booking for our last day here. So, tomorrow, in the ‘wee hours’ of the morning (5.30am); we are going to swim with the dolphins off Kaikoura beach. (THIS IS NOT MY OWN PIC – it is from the website – looks great fun) We are both really excited about it – apparently it is one of the few places in the world that you can do it & it should be an adventure to remember! Then in the afternoon, we will drive down to Christchurch, & we fly out early the next morning.

Img_6877_resizeOne of the passions my DH & I share is a love of hot cars & we have seen lots of them here in NZ & encountered several ‘street meets’ where people with hot cars gather together in the one place & you can look over their cars. We have both loved this & that’s how we spent our last night at Wellington’s Oriental Bay precinct.

We have stopped the ceaseless wandering that we did in the North Island (mostly precipitated by limited accomodation options) and travelled by the Inter lslander Sea Ferry to the South Island. Img_7120_resize It was a really rough sea trip, but both DH & I love the sea & revelled in the trechory of it, as huge 4 – 6 metre waves crashed repeatedly against the boat & people were turning green & calling for ‘…raaaal -phhh’all around us.Img_7102_resize_2

We have been settled in the seaside arts precinct at the top of the South Island. We have found the best accommodation we have stayed in at the back of a pub. It’s cheap, because of the proximity of the ‘rowdy’ night time crowd – but it’s fabulous! It’s beautifully presented, has a great king sized bed & little kitchenette. It’s MOST fabulous feature (not counting the tressle that Img_7533_resizethe landlord bought in especially for me to set up a little studio!) is that it has huge bi-fold windows that open out to a little stream literally only feet away! Our dawn & dusk companions are these little fellows……….& it is such fun to feed them & watch their antics.

Having wanted to make a home out of recycled materials for ever I am continually amazed as I see time after time, these ingenious people creating fabulous things out of very ordinary everyday waste. I discovered a Img_7307_resizestationary range Img_7305_resizecalled ‘I could have been Landfill’ which has note books, paper, storage boxes etc all made from recycled PET & paper. We visited a gallery in Nelson called Re finery which had an Aztec looking façade made from old car hub caps & steel from cars (that’s what they used to make cars from, for you younger readers!)
  I especially loved the door handle made from an old wrench, but the light fittings were also a treat. This one is made from an Img_7310_resizeold food mixer, another was made from an old domestic fan with the steel blades folded down into what looked like a ballet skirt (the pic didn’t turn out of this one)

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The Road Thru NZ continues

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Moo_card_red_nurture_web Thank you for your lovely comments & emails regarding my Moo Cards & my Traveller’s Tales.  It is an illness with me, I have to write!  When I am away from my work-a-day world is when I feel the need most strongly, I have the time to reflect & observe & want to create a record of what I am experiencing. I guess it’s another form of art.  As far as the other kind of art goes – I have had lots of inspiration but not much opportunity……so that’s a little neglected…so here is the latest of my Moo Cards, inspired by the red that I am seeing everwhere I look here – created again in Adobe Photoshop.

TRAVELLER’S TALES

We have travelled on now, after spending several days in AucklandJudder_bars, taking a leisurely drive down the west coast of the North Island.   The great thing that I have found travelling through this lovely country is that there is plenty of fresh, moderately priced food available and regularly dotted, clean public toilet blocks.  (As an aside, not only are the toilet blocks clean & well supplied, they are very interestingly designed, each town different than the other).  We have discovered some new words like: Trundler (which we know Img_6739_resizeas a shopping trolley); Jandles (aka Thongs or ‘Flip-flops’), Judder Bars (speed humps) & Kyp (or sleep, not that we were wholly unfamiliar with this one).

Another Auckland discovery that I made in Auckland was Tile Studio called Middle Earth.  What originally attracted me to the shop were some organic shaped lamp columns made from honed marble.  They were wired for standard lamps, however they glowed like alabaster, they had such an ethereal look about them.  Lights01 2019edited_resizeThey hand makes the most beautiful tiles I have ever seen.  The range of colours had a brilliance that can only be achieved by hand glazing.  There was a whole ‘New Zealand’ style, but they also had a stunning range of gothic & Italian tiles…….it was an interior designer’s nirvana, believe me!  They are works of art & some of them look like the wall plaques of Sid Dickens. 

ANGLICAN HOLY TRINITY CATHEDRAL

Img_6775_resizeBefore we left Auckland itself, we visited Auckland Anglican Holy Trinity Cathedral & St. Mary’s Cathedral.  They are both on the same site & both varied examples of Gothic architecture – the first is a modern adaptation in magnificent formed concrete that has the look & feel of Santiago Calatrava’s work – with wide open spaces, simple lines & forms.  The roofline is a huge A frame & has beautiful modern leadlighting including Maori motifs & designs & wide open seating arrangements & plenary spaces.Img_6777_resize

Img_6786_resizeThe older building – St. Mary’s is Auckland’s original Cathedral built in 1886 & was visited by the Queen on her Coronation tour in 1953 for Christmas service.  Although unmistakably Gothic in style, it has a heavy, rusticated feel about it that you don’t see in the old Gothic Cathedrals of Europe.  When the newer building beginning to be used & nearing completion in the mid ‘70’s, St. Mary’s (situated across a main road) began to be less used & fell into disrepair. 
An ambitious proposal was adopted in the early ‘80’s to integrate the two buildings onto one site by moving St. Mary’s across the road (some several hundred metres).  This is all pretty phenomenal to contemplate when you see the enormity of the building.  It oooosed the presence of God.  It was so beautiful. 

Apart from the amazing architecture, a treasure that I encountered was a huge ‘Vinegar’ Bible that was printed in 1717 by the Royal Printer, John Baskett.  A very rare treasure, it is so called because of a printing error that calls the Parable of the Vineyard in Luke 20, The Parable of the Vinegar.  It is a massive thing – weighing 20kg (40lb) & measuring 600mm long x 350mm wide x 150mm thick (24” x 14” x 5”)

ROAD TRIP

Img_6847_resizeWe travelled many kilometres to take us all the way to New Plymouth.  We have seen amazing countryside, with fern gullies, little brooks, wide sweeping coastlines & huge mountainous rock faces that look like Mt.Rushmore.  We have literally seen ‘mountain goat country’; (almost vertical slopes with spindly goats on them) which to date has just been a colloquial term we have used to describe hilly land.  The other surprise of a drive through New Zealand is the way that colour is used so whimsically.   I found this Murano looking glass chandelier hanging in a little road side café deep in the mountains where we stopped for icecream.  It had two lime green walls & two aqua walls & the rest of the light fittings were colanders turned upside down, painted red!   In fact, a deep cherry red is probably the most prevalent colour that I have been noticing here.

Last night we went out to the beach & had a walk, the beach at night was amazing, the sky so black & clear it was mesmerizing – but the search for a decent bed in budget accommodation continues! 

 

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News from Kiwi Land

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Img_6073_resize_2Here we are in the land of Kiwi’s. The day we were leaving we had some news that will impact us greatly for the future & we were on the verge of cancelling our trip. After some discussion we decided to go anyway & use the time to reflect & plan & work out a way forward. One of the big disappointments, due to the financial implications of this news was not being able to get the new camera that I have had my eye on, which I had hoped to buy duty free before we went…..so I am limping along with my old one – very disappointed with some of the results. It was the right thing to do, we were both exhausted (having missed our normal Christmas break) & already in just a couple of days we have been refreshed & invigorated from meeting some fascinating people, seeing some inspiring things. Before we even left, just waiting at the airport, I was inspired by the amount of art I saw, everywhere I looked……..

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Already, there is a theme emerging in my art & expressions from this trip despite only being a couple of days into it…….the importance of nurturing my heart & allowing it to express grief & loss, but leaving it room to experience joy & new growth. If you have the time to read my journaling below, you will notice there has been a big emphasis on homes & accommodation. One of our original motivations to come to New Zealand was to do some investigating into their ‘Sustainable Building’ methods & broaden our understanding of Eco friendly building materials. We normally like to stay in middle to higher end accommodation when we travel & due to our ‘pre-holiday’ news we needed to drastically cut our holiday budget. Consequently we are staying in VERY ordinary places, which has made the emphasis on nurture & home even stronger in my psyche. Consequently, ALL of the art that I have produced so far has been around those two topics – nurturing your heart; & homes & houses. Using MS Photoshop I have created a range of Moo Cards & a whole series of tiny little houses using Collections chipboard houses which are great fun to do……….unfortunately, the little houses aren’t photographing very well, (ditto about the camera) so you will have to be content with my Moo Cards & travel photos.

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TRAVELLER’S TALES

We arrived in New Zealand at midnight local time & we were both so numb from the goings on of the day that neither of us wanted to sleep. We hired a car & just drove into the early morning. We had made an appointment with the fabulously inspiring Mosaic Artist & adobe builder Dhaj who was located about 6 hours drive North of Auckland. We slept for a bit in the car, then kept driving on, heading up into the Northlands, mountainous sea coast North of Auckland. The coast is beautiful, the people lovely & friendly.

Img_6126_resizeEUTOPIA Heading up the coast we encountered a little town called Kaiwaka where we came across an AMAZING organic structure in the form of a café called Eutopia created by the artist Peter Harris. A ‘Gaudiesque’ (*notes below) organic shaped structure, it was a fascinating arrangement of little domes in a courtyard, with a huge plenary ‘tented’ dome form & the tiniest working kitchen you could imagine. I am not sure how well it would function as an actual café, but I think that the ethereal appeal of the place would be enough to make people go there regardless of how inefficient the service was (due to poor operational facilities) or what the food tasted like (we didn’t eat there). You would just WANT to have coffee sitting in one of these little domes, or order at this quaint little kitchen window…….the structure has an visual intrigue all of it’s own.

HUNDERTWASSER Continuing to drive into the Northlands, our next exciting encounterImg_6267_resize was a town called Kawakawa. This town was adopted by the internationally renowned architect & ecologist Friedrich Hundertwasser who settled there in 1975. Hundertwasser was also a painter & philosopher & in 1997 accepted a commission to design the public toilets in the town’s main street. The Kawakawa toilet block has ceramic columns, a garden roof & a cacophony of colour grounded  in a black & white scheme. It is organic in shape & style & integrates interesting bits & pieces to create a whole picture. Tiles were made by students of local schools, bricks were recycled from local buildings & windows in the block were constructed using old bottles from the district. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, however, it’s a pretty spectacular sight & I think because of it’s artistic value, there is no vandalism or graffiti, which is refreshing.

Still continuing North we moved went up as far as Cable Bay, up past the Bay of Islands, where we saw some breathtaking coastline beaches & spectacular view. Trying to keep our expenditure as low as possible, this time we dipped out badly – our budget accommodation was just plain AWFUL & included an infestation of grasshoppers & a cold morning shower. From here we went to visit Dhaj

THE HOUSE THAT DHAJ BUILT This incredibly inspiring mosaic artist & painter built her own in situ adobe brick house when she was 62 years old! (YES – SIXTY-TWO; that’s not a typo!) Again inspired by the work of Antoni Gaudi, she has liberally decorated every stationary surface with elaborate mosaic detailing. The home has bulbous, curvaceous walls, there is furniture integrated into the structural elements & includes non conventional uses of space. ComingImg_6445_resize
from a building background, I could see some technical improvements that could make functional differences; however, the house really was a wonder to behold. As we left, my pretty straight, conventional hubby turned & said to me ‘Let me guess, you want to make a Mixed Media house right???’ Oh I love him!!!! He is SOOOOOOOO flexible (which is NOT always good) He trusts my sense of style & HE has the SKILLS – so viola – it’s a great team – we just have to learn to handle our frustrations with each other better. I swear it was easier when we were both worried about what example we were setting for our children! LOL!!!

KOANGA GARDENS One of our stops was an Img_6627_resizeEcoVillage called Koanga Gardens. This is an fabulous little community complete with it’s own group of Eco built houses. It also has an organic fruit & vegetable garden & nursery that protects, conserves & develops heritage plants (specialising in food producing plants) Here I encountered what I originally thought was a ‘mutant bee’ – you know, HUGE from feeding on all that good organic stuff – BUT in reality it was a Bumble Bee. I hadn’t seen one before, so I didn’t realise how big they were, it was about 2 inches (60mm) long!! You don’t get any scale from this macro shot, but it was lovely to see.

PROFESSOR YOSHIMASA SAKURAI

We had been highly recommended, if we had the time & were able to, meet with Prof. Yoshimasa Sakurai, former head of Architecture of a Tokyo University, Prof. Yoshi has had funding to develop an ‘The Experimental House’ which is a house that had been made to perfect zero environmental impact housing. This means that all waste is regenerated or neutralized & that the home is naturally warmed & cooled through ingenious ducting systems & airflow & that much of the food required is produced off the land. It seemed, in summary, that granted, everything was home grown & energy efficient, DH & I felt that neither of us would actually keep this up & that we didn’t want to return to a feudal lifestyle of the 1700’s in Europe where your whole day was spent to work to feed yourself & keep yourself warm & cool. If you are interested in reading more about Prof. Yoshi’s work it’s at http://www.ecohouse.co.nz

NEXT STOP – AUCKLAND We are currently in Auckland, we arrived late last night & since we have practically been driving, ever since we arrived here (we have already driven 1500kms – I don’t know what that is in miles – but a long ways!) we have had a pretty slack day – last night, though, just before we got here, we encountered this little fellow.

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We had pulled over on to the grassy strip at the side of a major road on the outskirts of suburban Auckland to make some phone calls for accommodation & find our way around the map a bit. As I was on hold on the phone, I looked across in the grass & saw this little ‘ambling’ body about the size of a rat slowly making it’s way through the grass. It didn’t look like a rat, we got out of the car to look closer & found it to be a little baby echidna. It was SOOOO cute………….a little scared when DH picked him up, but obliging for photos, never the less!!!

Today I have been able to download heaps of my photos & play around with those a bit this morning & this afternoon we have done our MOST favourite thing – being lost in a book shop for hours. At one point it was my turn to move the car (due to car parking restrictions) & in the process I met yet ANOTHER kind generous souled New Zealander called Libby & discovered her FABULOUS shop called Trees. I could have EASILY just moved the WHOLE contents of her burgeoning ‘warehousy’ shop into my home were there not a plane trip between us. She had a tasteful mixture of new, old, repo & shabby chic bits & pieces. We got chatting & she invited me downstairs to her workroom to fossick through her bits ‘n’ bobs. WELLLLLL…………….. at this point……….. I was THERE for the duration……..DH was lost in book heaven (with, mind you, no idea whatsoever where I was) & I was like a pig in mud as Libby pulled out drawers, boxes, jars & spools to see if there was anything that she could ‘bless’ me with. I have come away with a bower bird collection of book pages, ledger entries, buttons, trims, drawer handles, old bakelite bits & pieces & fabulous trinkets.

Gaudi – Antoni Gaudi was a Spanish architect who specialised in organic forms extrapolated from Art Nouveau styling & you can see much of his work in Barcelona in Spain.

Sheets of Egyptian Cotton

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Cotton_sheets_webI think the text on the page says it all – DEFINITELY an ephemeral moment – pulling back the covers to get into a bed covered with luscious, new, crisp white cotton

sheets…..YUM!  Only 2 more sleeps till we are off to the Land of the Kiwi….. where I will be experiencing all kinds of sheets & beds – always a concern for travellers – an uncomfortable bed.  It is only when you are travelling 5 star all the way that you can be pretty confident that your bed will be ok and your sheets will be fresh.  At home we have a fabulous bed & lovely sheets – an indulgence to help with my sleep problems & I always miss it when we go away.  My tradition, last thing before we go away anywhere is to change our bed & put fresh sheets on it to come home.  The first night back at home with fresh sheets is something we fantasize about when we are on our way home!

Day_award_2 I have been blessed with the same award several times this week, which is both an honour & a priviledge.  I never quite know what to say –  I am glad that you appreciate my art, however it is somewhat self serving in that I do it as much for my own health & wellbeing as any of the lovely responses from you guys.  (Obviously, your kind words are appreciated though)  I now need to nominate 10 other people who make my day – an easy task to be sure – there are SUCH fabulous artists & artwork around in blogland it is more difficult to restrict it to 10.  These people would be all of my special friends listed in my side bar – I can’t pick & choose between them, they all are skillful artists with special talents.  Debbi does lovely compositions; Anne, Kelly Rae & Gaby all have a fabulous sense of colour & drama; Jo’s beautiful work always has an element of sparkle & mischief about it, I ALWAYS learn something deep & meaningful from Kelsey & her art using quotes……..Cynthia’s artwork amazes me – seconded only by Abby & Jenene (who don’t have blogs right now) –  I am happy & contented in the knowledge that in a busy throw away world the ethos of art for art sake flourishes & is alive & well. 

Airports are Essentially the Same

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  Airport_2                                                                                                                                               across the world over………..Voluminous echoey halls with hard floors, cool lighting & weary, foot sore travellers.  I am having a couple of days away with my DH & I thought I’d share with you some of my ‘traveller’s tales’ from China………….I spent alot of my time in China, it seemed waiting, waiting, waiting……….so I wrote……this is a ‘traveller’s tale’ from my last day in China leaving from Beijing to go to Hong Kong for my flight back to Australia………my flight yet again delayed……waiting for the fog to clear, waiting for the plane to be ready, waiting for the rest of our party to catch up, waiting for a missing passenger’s luggage to come off the plane…….waiting, Sore_feet_2 waiting, waiting!  The third time this week I am in the press of wall to wall people.  As I look around me I realize they are all the same people.  I have met them a hundred times.  There’s the business man/woman whose work day has been thrown into chaos by the delay, impatiently pacing up & down.  On the phone to someone, explaining, apologising, juggling, harrassing staff for an answer………demanding options………. Across the way is the toddler’s mum, trying desparately to settle her little one.  She is attempting to think of yet another thing she can transform into an amusment as she tries to entertain her little one & keep them from causing a disturbance.  To my right are a retired couple.  They are patiently & serenely taking it all in their stride.  They don’t particularly have anywhere to be in a hurry – this is all just a part of the adventure of what’s left of their life.  All that they have now is a time clock ticking down, which seems to be advancing at an alarming rate – any delay is a good thing for them. (Ewwwwwwwe……AND I do wish the guy with his crutch practically in my face would stop groping himself!!)………….moving on……… Beside the old couple is a teenager, lost in his Tired_of_waitingown cyber world via the earbuds that have fused with his anatomy.  The Group Tour people are chattering & laughing like anxious monkies.  Their matching hot pink peak caps & name buttons exhort us all to ‘have a nice day’.  With a change of attitude I am sure it could actually BE a nice day, however my day is already five hours old at ten in the morning & the way the day began has set the tone for it…….and it hasn’t been ‘nice’ so far!   Beside me are a family………all of them sleeping and snoring.  Leaning on each other, then getting uncomfortable, and leaning on me, then drifting dangerously toward the front of the seat……….waiting, waiting, waiting……..there is the late 50’s ugly Anglo Saxon guy, with the quintesential 20ish beautiful Asian (pregnant) wife…..he is mauling her like a salivating dog…….. THAT just creeps me out!  Oh, and I forgot to mention the bags – the more flights that are delayed, the more people thereBaggage are waiting, the more people there are, the more baggage there is, really, there is hardly room to breath……..but then it’s China – all I have wanted all week is to take a deep breath of clean air!!  And still – we wait! 

About an hour after the scheduled time of departure – we are shuffled on to a bus, & then eventually onto the plane….however, it was a ruse!  The terminal was getting so full that the only way to clear it was so put people into planes, so here we are on the runway being served morning tea…….(it WAS a 9.30am flight & it is now 11am, so that’s probably reasonable!)  The whole meal serving process takes ages, & this worries me, because obviously there are no signs of us taking off if ‘Miss China Air’ keeps coming up to people offering morning tea & drinks & we are all still allowed to use our cell phones!  One and a half hours go by sitting in the plane on the run way.  This is CONSIDERABLY less comfortable than being in the terminal…….apart from the ongoing challenge of me being claustrophobic……..my generously proportioned body isn’t too comfortable fitting into the cattle class seat created for someone who’s hips are the size of my upper arm!  The 2 year old has lost it.  He’s just screaming & sending things flying skyward…….people around are tutting & complaining, some offering words of distraction or encouragement but the littlie is on a roll…….he’s screaming for all he’s worth……..I’m over feeling taxidermed to my seat, so I get up to use the bathroom…..only to find Miss China back on her way down the isle………..this time serving LUNCH!!!  I slump back into my seat with a slow groan, firmly convinced we were being used for some twisted sociological experiment I am begining to think we are NEVER going to get out.  I at least have some interesting conversation – that is a redeeming part of the delay – I am seated next to a young finance professional based in Manilla, so there is some interesting discussions about climate, economic development & architecture……. & so a late morning tea rolls into a 1pm lunch………..now 3.5 hours past our scheduled take off, I now am beginning to worry that with a 3 hour flight ahead of me, my return flight back to Australia, scheduled for 7pm tonight is now in jepody.   I can’t stay here another day.  I must make that flight!  (says SHE who has NO CONTROL what so ever over these circumstances)…….and so….again….I wait…………….

post script……..we did not arrive in Hong Kong from Beijing until 5.45pm (instead of the scheduled 12.15pm)………..it was a mad scramble to collect luggage (DON’T even ask WHY I was collecting luggage – that’s a whole other drama!) go through customs & get on to an international flight…………..I got on at 7.10pm for a 7.15pm departure – they closed the door, I sat down, put on my seat belt & we took off………to home, lovely home…….I didn’t kiss the ground……..but the air smelt like sweet purfume when I drank it in for the first time after landing.