Thank you Adelaide.

Adelaide really turned it on for us.

This year has been so hard with covid. Restrictions, closed borders, no live shows, restaurants and businesses closed.

Living in Queensland has been better than most states. We’ve had very few local covid infections. We’ve been lucky.

Now we are able to move around between states and things are opening up.

These past 12 days in Adelaide have been a return to live music, concerts. A Festival – probably the first in the world to go ahead.

Today Tuesday was our last day. I had one last long walk. Beautiful homes and gardens.

A favourite is in Avenue St. The house is beautiful. Not overly big or grand but just lovely. Pale sandstone, bricks, little Juliette style verandah, a sunken pond, a gazebo and best of all – a fairy garden.

Then, a new coffee shop. There are lots of great little coffee shops nearby. But today we visited a beautiful one in Norwood. Along with a bookshop.

I had to visit what is probably the best – certainly the biggest bookshop in Adelaide. Dillons Bookshop in Norwood is amazing. Don’t miss it. Norwood is a great area for shopping. The Parade is the High St shopping area with lots of great shops and beautiful buildings.

In the afternoon we head up to the Adelaide Hills to visit niece Vashti, Jeremy and their four children. They have a small farm with chickens, alpacas, dogs and a dam. The children had gone blackberry gathering so we had them along with champagne and little sausage rolls Marg made. They are really nut, oat, feta rolls and so delicious.

We sat around the fire pit – but the weather was so nice. No fire needed.

Our last night we went to our last Fringe show. But before it we had dinner at a very popular Afghan restaurant called Pawana. You may have heard about it. Run by a couple who migrated here in 1987. Please click on the link and read about the family and the restaurant.

https://www.parwana.com.au

Read the story. They welcome you to the restaurant like into their home.

The owners of the restaurant receiving an award from the Afghani Ambassador.

We had a beautiful meal – delicious dumplings and an eggplant dish so delicious I could eat it every night.

The cook book from the restaurant

Following dinner we moved onto the Grace Emily Hotel. It has seen better days, is a little moth eaten but is a small hotel full of charm.

An eccentric little nativity scene! I think! Look closely.

We saw The Ukulele Death Squad. Mmmm some very strange named Fringe shows. We thought it would be more of a ukulele band but it was two ukuleles and three other singers. They sang Nick Cave songs. Quite well actually and we enjoyed it.

So my ten days in Adelaide is over. It’s been great.

I recommend a visit to the Adelaide Festival. Writers Week. The Fringe, Womad. Take it all in.

I know I’ll be back.

The Adelaide Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

The day started with a long walk up and down the streets of Fullerton and Unley.

I choose a different route each day. The walking is tree lined and flat. Ideal.

Today I looked at the furniture people place on their verandahs. I love the variety.

Four types of seating.

There is also a walking trail you can follow.

Great for exploring

An old barn and community garden.

Little bits of history everywhere
A street library. Very popular in this area.

The old and the new.

Which do you prefer?

I stop at a different coffee shop on Duthy St. This time I did see Lycra! Two men arrived on their bikes and sat near me as I perched on a stool in the sun. They apologised for ruining my view!

I returned to our house and we had lunch with the family.

Then off we set for the Adelaide Hills. Ukaria Cultural Centre is perched in the hills near Mt Barker. It is a purpose built 220 seat theatre for chamber music. It hosts concerts and recitals all year. It has the most beautiful setting.

You arrive looking up to the Centre through beautiful gardens.

In 1985, Ulrike Klein AO co-founded the internationally acclaimed skincare label, Jurlique. The state-of-the-art and environmentally sustainable UKARIA Cultural Centre, which opened on 29 August 2015, was funded by the Klein Family and built on what was once the Jurlique Farm, where many of the herbs, flowers and plants were grown for natural skin care products.

Today we were here for a 4.15 composers talk and concert at 5pm. There have been concerts all weekend as part of the Adelaide festival.

We listened to Elena Kats-Chenin, a Russian born Australian composer. Her music is beautiful. Modern but still tuneful!

She is a colourful lady in style as well as music.

She autographs with a few bars of music.

Inside the auditorium it was quite light when the concert started and we sat looking out at the beautiful hills and gardens.

By the concert end the light had changed and light rain had started. Very beautiful.
The art through the centre reflects its aboriginal heritage.

Another lovely cultural day.

Port of Adelaide & then, Lizzy from Brissie!

A change of pace today. Marg had given Steve tickets for a visit to the Adelaide – an 1864 clipper ship. It’s down at Port Melbourne about a half hour drive from the city.

It’s still undergoing renovation but is open for tours. Only problem …..today it was closed. So, we shall return to visit – another time.

Instead we walked through the historic port area. There are some lovely old buildings. Sadly many shops are closed – probably a result of covid last year. Hopefully, things will get back to normal soon.

The lighthouse. Originally at the entrance to Port river built in 1869

Next , a visit to the railway museum. A great museum with many examples of the early trains. Also a bonus! A little train to tour the whole museum site.

A model railway with amazing scenes

Then a visit to nearby Semaphore where we saw not a lighthouse, but a semaphore signal house.

A beautiful little seaside place ideal for a fish & chip lunch out of paper by the seaside.

We headed back to Margs house via Bunnings! What’s a Saturday without a trip to Bunnings.

Around 7 we set out in an Uber for the Fringe. Half of Adelaide was there.

We arrived at The Garden of Earthly Delights! part of the Fringe. It’s a parklands type venue with lots of colour , movement, action & people.

Covid. We have you covered. It’s a covid safe venue with phone app check ins, hand sanitizer, social distancing! But loads of people and fun.

A bit like the Ekka, or the Royal Easter Show. There are food stalls, drinks, play areas and tents for entertainment.

We checked in at Babylon. We’re here for Chicksal 500. Four women comedians. Denise Scott, Cal Wilson, Geraldine Hickey and Lizzy Hoo.

There are so many comedy shows in the Fringe. Hard to know what to choose. I heard about this show from Barbara, a friend who follows this blog . Hi Barbara!!!!

She told me her lovely daughter Lizzy was now a comedian. I remember Lizzy from the days when my son Peter played rugby with her brother Damian at school. It’s been a lot of years!

Cal, Denise, Lizzy & Geraldine

But what a great show. All four were terrific and we all thought Lizzy was great. She talks about her mum and dad Chan with such funny warmth. She’s sharp, witty, delivers in a conversational way, and giggles! Well done Lizzy Hoo.

Each of the comedians told stories – usually about themselves & their family and had the audience rocking with laughter.

We walked back out through all the people enjoying what Adelaide has to offer. What a festival .

Adelaide you charmer.

Today I spent an hour walking around the area.

Lots of beautiful houses and a lovely coffee shop on Duthy St. No lyrca in this cafe. It’s favoured by locals mostly walking there meeting friends. Not a bike in sight.

We spent the rest of the day at home playing with 3year old Florence – Florry and waiting for the other children to return from school.

Marg had invited very old friends to afternoon tea. And to enjoy the remainder of Florry’s birthday.

There was home made pinata to crack open.

Gideon has a go
But Florry hits the jackpot!

Later that evening we left all the children with Marg and headed off with Vashti for another Festival treat.

We parked opposite the Festival centre and walked across the pedestrian bridge. I live this city. So easy to get around.

7.30 and beautiful light

We had a bite to eat & drink at the Taphouse brewery on the river and went to the newly erected Summerhouse. Built for the festival it’s open on the top and has just curtains for walls. It’s like being at an outdoor venue with wooden bench seats.

Tonight we are seeing the legendary jazz musicians Paul Grabowsky on piano and Vince Jones, singer and fluegelhorn player.

A great mellow sound.

I loved the laid back restrained performance.

Our Town

Starting at 9.30 it was another late night. Thank goodness we don’t have to hurry in the morning!

Last day of the Writers Festival. But there’s more….

I have thoroughly enjoyed my week at the Writer’s Festival. The line up, the talks, the books and the magnificent setting.

So low key – set under the trees in Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens. How lucky I’ve been.

In these days if covid there have been so few activities to go to. I think we’re a bit over being inside, being on zoom, seeing things on line.

Now is the time to attend things. Get out and support the arts. In covid safe ways……. we can attend. And I’m making the most of it.

Vashti, Marg Steve and three year old Florence went to a session on our relationship with China.

Former Australian Ambassador to China Geoff Raby explores China’s newly assertive place in the world and the implications for Australia in his new book, China’s Grand Strategy and Australia’s Future in the New Global Order. He is joined by Chongyi Feng ( an academic in China studies) to discuss what – if anything – can be done to repair this critical geopolitical and economic relationship.

A very interesting discussion. They agreed on some points. They disagreed on others. Our relationship with China has deteriorated and we have to somehow restore it.

We made our way up to Rundle Mall making a stop at Haigh Chocolate shop. An institution in Adelaide Steve popped in for a purchase and we admired the Easter window.

Further along the Mall , past the buskers we went up to the Fringe installation- The Plastic Shop. Celebrating the last of the single use plastic bags

All kinds of buskers

The Plastic Shop is set up like a mini supermarket and everything is made out of plastic!

All covid safe we entered and three year old Florence was intrigued!

Read some of captions on the plastic magazines.

A walk down the hill past Adelaide University, a stop at a Vietnamese bakery and home in time for the other children to arrive from school.

Then it was out for an early dinner at a little Italian restaurant before a big band concert.

We drove through Norwood a lovely suburb with wide streets, lots of roundabouts, beautiful big houses and a great street sculpture.

By day and by night.
A story lights up in the sculpture.

The Norwood Hotel is a beautiful old pub and has a room where lots of Fringe activities take place.

The K&N brass band originally formed in 1898. They have played at Australian band championships and won medals. So they are good!

They played the music from ‘Brassed Off ‘the movie. A narrator gave an outline of the story before each piece.

What a great night!

On the way home we stopped at the street sculpture to read the story – about an Italian woman who lived in the Norwood area during WW2 and about her family growing up there.

Notice the story in coloured writing.

Back home we decided to finish off the night by re watching the Brassed Off movie!

Wednesday Day 5 at the Adelaide Festival.

I walked a different way to the bus stop today. That’s what I love about visiting a new city. Discovering.

I walked the leafy streets of Highgate towards Unley. The houses are a style so different to the timber houses of Brisbane. They are stone, solid, traditional.

The gardens are lovely though dry. The grass out front only green when lovingly tended & watered. Front fences are a mixture of brush, picket and stone. Except for my sister in law who has created a very Australian style using corrugated iron.

I walked along Unley past Waldorf College where my niece Vashti teaches instrumental work.

This is the city of churches and in a few blocks I passed several.

Some beautiful Memorial gates.

I arrived at the Writers Festival marvelling at the glorious weather. I sat under the trees listening to Sigrid Nynez.

She wrote What are You Going Through ? A book about a woman who helps her friend prepare for death after a cancer diagnosis. Not an easy topic but obviously written with feeling.

Next up was Australian Steven Conte. Author of The Zookeepers Wife – which was also made into a movie but today he spoke about The Tolstoy Estate his book set in 1941 in Russia.

I caught the bus home and got ready for a 6pm start of the Opera Midsummers Nights Dream. Shakespeare set to music by Benjamin Britten.

Directed by Neil Armfield a wonderful Australian director we knew this would be different.

The costumes were wonderful as was the staging. I thought the first two acts were way too long ! The individual singers were great but the music by Britten was not tuneful enough for me.

The theatre was great. Big foyer and everyone had to wear masks from the moment you set foot inside.

This included during the performance. You could only remove it to sip a drink.

So another great day in beautiful Adelaide.

Tuesday Day 4: Adelaide Writers Week

The pace of Writer’s Week starts to catch up ! A slightly slower morning before heading off to hear a few more writers.

What a line up. And the crowds continued to arrive. The weather is still beautiful. A little windy but sunny and no humidity. Such a treat for a Queenslander.

Statue honouring the Vietnamese boat people

We parking near the river and walked back to the park. We found seats in a dappled shade area and enjoyed listening to Irishman, Colum McCann streamed from NY. His novel Apeirogon is about ……An Israeli, against the Occupation. A Palestinian, studying the Holocaust.” United by the devastation of losing a daughter to political violence, Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan together tell their daughters’ stories over and over, to anyone that will listen, in an attempt to bring a peaceful resolution to the endless conflict.

I love listening to the Irish lilt. They know how to tell a story. So this one will be added to my ever growing list.

Then it was time for Christopher Pyne. A local, people love listening to him no matter what side of the political fence you sit.

He’s a very funny man with a deep knowledge of politics and a wit to tell the stories. I’m enjoying his book The Insider. The Scoops, the Scandals and the Serious Business within the Canberra Bubble,

Christopher looking dapper

Interviewed by Sally Warhuft, she seemed more interested in talking about the present dreadful happenings in Canberra. He commented but was keen to talk more about Canberra and its workings and the personalities.

I must say he’s a very entertaining speaker. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We decided that was enough and walked a block up the hill to the Art Gallery. The Clarice Beckett exhibition is on at this lovely gallery and I was keen to visit.

It’s a large exhibition 130 paintings and beautifully curated. Her work has a mystical look and is divided into time periods of the day.

Daylight-the beach. Painted around the Sandringham, Beaumaris beach areas of Melbourne, they capture the misty early morning beautifully.

Her water reflections and wet sand is a feature.

The exhibition moved through Sunsets, Moonlight, Nocturne and Lights

She had some solo exhibitions in her lifetime but didn’t sell much. She didn’t travel overseas but studied with Max Meldrum in Melbourne who himself had his critics.

It was until many after her early death at 48 that her paintings were discovered. Read in……

A great reduce indeed.

A beautiful exhibition.

I left via the fun room for kids activities.

Home via the shops on Fullerton Rd. I’m cooking dinner tonight as we’re taking the night off.

I’m doing the vegetarian dish made popular on tic tok! Not that I’m on tic tok ! I found it on Instagram.

It’s lots of little tomatoes, a red onion, garlic, a block of feta, pepper, roasted for 40min in a hot oven. When roasted mix in pasta – bows or shells. Add lots of fresh basil and mix up. The cheese melts and softens through. Top with Parmesan and have with crunchy bread and a glass of wine. Delicious.

Adelaide Writer’s Week : Day 3

Today Marg came with me to the Writer’s festival. Over the years she has been many times and has given me all the tips for a good visit.

We walked down past Government House and the Memorial walk.

A beautiful Government House right in the city.

It’s surprising how busy it still is – for a Monday. But book lovers are passionate lot! I love observing the crowd at festivals and events like this. Definitely there are people of a certain age! Comfortable walking shoes, pants, hats, little backpacks. I cut a different figure. Each day I’ve worn a dress! With sandals. The weather has been beautiful so I’m taking advantage of no Queensland humidity.

We arrived in time for coffee and to find a shaded seat for our first session. Robert Dessaix’s new book is for those pondering how to age well, The Time of Our Lives: Growing Older Well. He claims that we need a rich inner life is key to both

Robert is of an age where he doesn’t care about what people think about him. So he says what he thinks!

Think about friendships

Loneliness is the worst thing about aging.

Be animated. Invigorated. 120% alive.

Develop an inner life.

Love English, Music, concerts, read

At the end of the day it’s not about what you achieved it’s ….were you happy.

All good advice for those of us lucky enough to be living a long life. Chaired by the very funny Chris Flynn, an Irish Australian.

After the session we met up with Margs friend from her early school days. She met Jane when she was 9 and had arrived in London. Then again at 14 in Canberra. They have been friends ever since.

After our long chat I listened to Debra Adelaide and Tegan Bennett Daylight. They talked about their love of reading. How they became readers. What they liked to read and ultimately how they became writers. But it all starts with books and reading.

When I worked as a teacher Librarian I often said to the children – you’ll never be lonely with a good book.

Next up

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai. She wrote….The Mountains Sing is the epic, multigenerational tale of the Tran family, set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Spanning the French colonial period to the present day, it follows the lives of matriarch Diệu Lan and her granddaughter Huang.

I haven’t read it yet. But it’s high on my list. She’s a beautiful funny intelligent Vietnamese woman. With a huge talent.

I moved across to the East stage for Craig Silvey. He has written the most moving book – Honeybee. He spoke so well about this book and it’s character Sam Watson, a young trans boy. It has such insight and sensitivity. A must read.

By now I’m ready for a change. So it was off to the Wheatsheaf hotel for some jazz.

The hotel is old, with many rooms where friends gather for a drink. A food truck – tonight a taco van was outside and people were tucking into the delicious smelling tacos and retried beans dishes.

One of the art works on the hotel wall.

Steve arrived from Brisbane, Marg brought Soraya, my niece’s 13 year old and we gathered in the courtyard at the back for the Alex Moss big band. A Fringe Festival act.

It just happens my niece, a freelance musician is also in this band. Her main instrument is bass sax but she also plays clarinet and flute. Lots of talent.

Great music.

Another full fun day at the Adelaide festivals.