Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Fijian skies

July 15, 2011

We got back last week from a week at Maqai Beach Eco Resort on Qamea island (east of Taveuni) in Fiji. It was wonderful despite the cold showers (no hot water) and the open boat crossing between the islands in driving rain to get there (no lifejackets!!)  No shoes worn for a week (‘cept reef shoes or fins in the water and I donned my hiking boots for the “jungle walk”), the food was what the amazing ladies in the kitchen cooked (and it was superb – organic vegies from the garden and fish caught that day), snorkelling, crab catching (to feed the baby turtle), lazing, reading, table tennis, bird watching, kava drinking, fun, new friends, hammocking and just being transfixed by the unbelievable beauty of the views… it was heaven.  We were restored.

Click on photos to get a larger view. You can enjoy hundreds of other gorgeous sky photos here.

Jude 2


What she wears, what she wears…

June 17, 2011

Today I am wearing:

green bead earrings bought in South Africa (2002)

green (dark khaki) cardigan bought in Positano (1999)

apple green top bought in Sydney (at my favourite-but-no-more-the-same-shop Von Troska) (2006)

blue jeans bought in Shanghai (at the fake designer centre on East Nanjing Road) (2009)

brown shoes bought in Hong Kong (2009)

My clothes tell of many amazing trips.  We like to travel!

I am so very thankful for the travel opportunities we have had, the places we have been, the memories we share.

Jude 2

Skywatch Friday – a cold Mount Wellington

April 15, 2011

We spent 2 weeks in Tasmania in December and loved it. On our last morning in Hobart we drove up Mount Wellington, were amazed that we were almost IN the cloud and that there were bits of snow at the top.  We enjoyed the view (that’s where the Sydney to Hobart yacht race ends, folks) and tried to keep our hands from freezing  before driving up the coast to some beach. It was COLD up top.. probably about 3C at 9am. This is mid summer!

View from Mount Wellington

View from Mount Wellington

and here am I…

Wendy and Hobart from atop Mount Wellington

Wendy and Hobart from atop Mount Wellington

Click on photos to get a larger view.  You can enjoy hundreds of other gorgeous sky photos here.

Jude 2

Skywatch Friday – sunset @ Freycinet on Christmas day

January 15, 2011

A new year, and a resolution to blog more frequently!

And what better way to begin 20011 than with a Skywatch Friday photo or 2… or 4…

Sunset @ Freycinet, Christmas day 2010

Sunset @ Freycinet, Christmas day 2010

We spent two weeks in Tasmania in December – our first visit.  It was special for many reasons, not least of those is that we nearly cancelled the trip 2 days prior because of some health issues I am dealing with.  But – we went, it was wonderful and we hope to visit again soon.

As well as Hobart, Cradle Mountain and Barnbougle golf course, we had 4 nights at Freycinet Lodge in Freycinet National Park.  On Christmas Day we drove up the coast (in the hopes of getting mobile phone reception so that we could call MissN who was in China on exchange) to picnic at Binalong Bay at the southern end of the Bay of Fires.

Binalong Bay

Binalong Bay

Our lunch was a picnic comprised of fruit and pastries from breakfast, cheese and a bottle of pinot noir we had bought at Freycinet Vineyard a couple of days before, and chocolate from the Christmas stocking (we didn’t exchange gifts this year).  We watched some locals dive for crayfish and abalone and later drove as far north as the Gardens.  (This area has been affected by flash flooding – the same weather system that has devastated SE Queensland, northern NSW and western Victoria – this week).   We did manage to get to speak to MissN on our way home (there is reception at Bicheno).  She was waiting (in the cold – it was about -2C there) to get a table at Pizza Hut in Tianjin with her exchange buddies.  A very different Christmas for her too!

Dinner was at the Lodge – a rather uninspired buffet.  But we had the view.. and the sunset.

Here are a couple more.

Sunset Coles Bay, Freycinet

Sunset Coles Bay, Freycinet

Coles Bay

Coles Bay

A blessed day.

You can enjoy hundreds of other gorgeous sky photos here.

Jude 2

Skywatch Friday – Parliament House, Canberra

September 10, 2010

It’s been a long while.. but I’m back blogging with a Skywatch Friday photo or 2.

MissN and I had a trip to Canberra (3 hours drive away) in July with Amy, her exchange sister, who is from Tianjin (near Beijing), China.  Of course, Parliament House was on the itinerary.  It was a grey, chilly day but there were patches of blue from time to time.

Here are the girls in the House of Representatives. I love the colours in the two houses. The green symbolises the eucaylpts, Australia’s dominant and defining tree.

The Senate is rose-pink – the colour of the new growth.

Parliament House is a remarkable piece of architecture.  I love it,  This is on the roof looking south.  The vertical lines are part of the huge flagpole which can be seen from many partsof Canberra and acts as a guide to which direction to go when you get lost on one of the many circuits or roundabouts!

This is from the forecourt looking towards Old Parliament House and Mount Ainslie.

And here are the girls – dressed in grey for a grey day (apart from MissN’s socks!)

You can enjoy hundreds of other gorgeous sky photos here.

Tea is the new coffee?

April 24, 2009

22 April was the first anniversary of my blog.  I missed it!  We were in Shanghai and Hong Kong from 8-18 April, I’m still dealing with laundry/putting things away, and I have had a bad headache since we got back.  I thought it was a migraine but now think it’s a virus.  I am slowly feeling more “normal”.  Whatever that is.  From time to time my pc refuses to recognise my camera when I try to upload photos and this involves reloading drivers.  Which is a palaver.  It took me nearly 2 hours yesterday and 4 installs.  But I now have about 850 photos I took in China which I can use.  I didn’t want to blog before I could use some China photos.  Yes, I am a bit of a perfectionist. I have no idea how many photos C and MissN took – not quite as many as I did.  They have better cameras (C has a digital SLR) so they get better shots.  I take more to compensate for my blurry ones or the “dreaded black spot” which appears on my shots from time to time.  Yes, C, I SHOULD have let you buy me a new camera.

Anyway, I began my blog a year ago with a post about coffee and chocolate, so it seems appropriate to celebrate this blogaversary with a new header photo.  Tea.  The new coffee.  My overseas shopping indulgence was tea. I won’t tell you how much I spent (but assure you it was much less than a camera would have cost).

We spent a lovely day in the Old Town of Shanghai on the Friday we were there.  Late morning after battling the crowds at the Yuyuan Gardens we had a 40 minute very relaxing tea tasting (ie sales talk) at a shop in Old Street (Central Fangbang Road) and bought 100g of new season green tea – our new morning drink  (other green tea tastes dusty by comparison now), 50g of fruit tea, 50g of ginseng powder,  250g of Tie Guan Yin oolong tea and 6 tea flowers.  You can see an opened tea flower in the glass in the centre of the header photo.  These are amazing – balls of tea which open to reveal a flower and they can be used up to 10 times each.


I bought myself a terracotta tea pot (for oolong tea – one uses different types of pots for different types of tea!) from the Dongtai Road Antique Market.  It’s probably not antique but I like it.  It is just big enough for one cup.    MissN got herself a gorgeous noodle bowl.

I’m sipping oolong tea as I type (just one I bought at an Asian supermarket here in Sydney).  And loving the exotic calmness it provides.  I loved tea before we went to China.  But I will remember Shanghai and our wonderful time there every time I drink Chinese tea for the rest of my life.


MissN drinking dragon well tea (tea of longing) in Tongli last Monday (but “tea in Tongli” is another post…)

Agnus Dei

April 6, 2009

Worthy is the lamb!

We will be in Shanghai for Easter.  I don’t think we will be celebrating Easter.  Definitely no hot cross buns or chocolate.

But this song will keep me focused on the good news of the Resurrection.

Skywatch Friday #26- New England country skies

January 9, 2009

We travelled back from Brisbane (where we had spent Christmas with my brother and his family) to Sydney on 30 December.  We chose to to miss the vacationing crowds on the Pacific Highway by taking the inland route and I was curious to see the New England region, even if fleetingly.

dec2-08-545I took these photos through the car window as we were travelling (hence the blurry fences), and was quite pleased with them.  I have no idea where they were – somewhere between Glen Innes (where we had lunch) and Tamworth (where we had afternoon tea).  dec2-08-546They seem to capture a mood which for me is quintessentially Australian. Cleared bush, some native vegetation remaining, a farmhouse now and then, livestock occasionally,  a wedge tailed eagle or eastern grey kangaroo if one is lucky.  It’s the kind of scenery that makes me want to put Wallis and Matilda or John Williamson in the CD player and sing along.

You can see more Skywatch Friday pics here.

Malaysian inspired tofu curry

September 10, 2008

I have a lot of cookbooks.  Over 200, I think (and that’s without the magazines).  I haven’t had a less than delicious experience cooking from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and I have made quite a few of the recipes recipes.  It’s the most amazingly comprehensive recipe book, with over 800 recipes and won the some prestigious awards, including the Julia Child Award for the best cookbook of the year.  I was first introduced to Deborah Madison’s recipes in the magazine Eating Well, and I still make a few of them.  I subsequently bought (all on ebay) The Greens Cookbook and The Savory Way, as well as Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  Deborah Madison combines flavours and spices you would not have thought would work – and they do!  And she has some very simple combinations that astonish.  She isn’t a vegetarian herself but is the author of the best veggie book I know of (and I have a few vegetarian cookbooks and have a few more on my wishlist.)

This meal has it all, it’s quick, easy, frugal, delicious, healthy…  and exotic.   All the things I value in food. Some of you would have gathered that I like exotic.   If I find an exotic ingredient, I buy it and then search out a recipe.  But there is nothing too elusive in this one – tamarind paste can be found in most Asian stores, and HP sauce can be substituted if tamarind paste is not available.

I have spent time in Kuala Lumpur airport on the way to Europe and back, but that is my extent of a Malaysian experience.  Way back in 1982 (when South Africa was persona non grata to much of the world) C made a business trip to Singapore and Malaysia from South Africa and I wasn’t able to go with him on my (then) South African passport.  (He had a British passport – we are both now Australians).  My not being able to go made Malaysia seem all the more exotic and glamorous.  C doesn’t remember much except that it was VERY humid.  He did make a trip to the Cameron Highlands which he enjoyed.

Malaysian food is often overlooked for the more popular Thai or Vietnamese cuisines here in Australia.  But I love the combination of influences that make up Malaysian food, and nasi lemak and laksa are two of my favourite dishes.  Be brave and try this one – even though it’s not a traditional dish!

Malaysian-Inspired Tofu Curry


350g firm tofu
400ml unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp light brown sugar (10ml)
1/2 tsp salt (2.5ml)
1 tbs ground coriander (15ml)
2 tsp curry powder (10ml)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne or to taste
1 tsp tamarind paste (substitute HP sauce if tamarind paste is unavailable)
2 large cloves garlic; finely chopped
1 tbs finely chopped fresh ginger
4 roma (egg) tomatoes; seeded and diced
4 spring onions; including the firm greens, chopped
1 lime; juice of
cilantro (coriander); chopped


1. Drain then dice the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Combine the coconut milk, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, spices, tamarind paste, garlic and ginger in a medium pan. Boil for 1 minute, then add tofu. Lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and green onions and simmer approximately 10 minutes more. Add the lime juice and salt for taste.   Vegetarian oyster sauce makes a nice addition here too.

Serve garnished with chopped cilantro (coriander) over Chinese egg noodles, linguine or rice.

Serves: 4-6
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Skywatch Friday – Portimao

September 5, 2008

Skywatch Friday is hosted here.  Today’s pics are some I took in Portimao on the Algarve in Portugal in 2006.  I love the colours and the contrast of the solid 16th century church and the ethereal sky.

C was playing golf (the trip to Portugal was made to play golf with his mates – a group of 24 of us had 12 days in Portugal in Cascais, near Lisbon, and the Algarve with 6 days golf) so MissN and I spent one day walking around Portimao.  We were staying at Praia da Rocha and Portimao was a quick bus trip or walk away.  The Algarve IS touristy  but has great charm, wonderful cheap food, great beaches, golf courses, weather…  It was cool to visit the sw tip of Europe at Sagres!

Here is MissN.  We had done some shopping! Actually everything she is wearing we bought in Portugal and the bag had been bought not half an hour before!

Some more Portimao photos.  Run down never looked so picturesque!: