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.

Sunday 28th. Day 2 of the Writer’s Festival

A slower start this morning.

One of my favourite authors, Maggie O’Farrell is on first – but live streaming from the UK. You could pay a small fee and watch from home. So that’s what I’ve done.

Tonight we’ll watch from the comfort of the lounge with a glass of wine in hand.

I was on the bus by 9.55 for the 20 minute run into town. Marg lives in Highgate and it’s a quick run into the city. It’s a lovely area. Lots of trees, parks, sturdy houses with stone work and great gardens.

Again, a good choice of speakers. I started with Dr Julia Baird. She’s on The Drum and is a fine author. I read her biography of Queen Victoria but it’s her book Phosphorescence she was talking about today. It’s a memoir of finding joy when your world turns dark. It’s been described-as a book of wisdom and wonder when things don’t go right.

I’ve read it and loved it. So much to think about. It’s a book you would return to over and over.

Julia presents as a down to earth woman, obviously intelligent and a survivor of a terrible illness.

I loved her talk.

Next up was a choice of Malcolm Turnbull or Meg Mason.

I thought I’d heard enough over the years from Malcolm – though he is a fine speaker. I wanted to hear Meg Mason.

I’ve just finished her book Sorrow and Bliss. I’ve chosen it for BookClub so was keen to hear her speak.

Meg Mason on the right

She and fellow speaker Luke Horton spoke about their books where their main characters have mental health issues.

Luke Horton’s book The Fogging is about the disintegration of a relationship where the main character suffers from anxiety.

Megs books character, Martha has an undiagnosed mental health illness. She’s a complex character who is likeable but frustrating.

Meg read aloud from her book. It’s funny despite it’s subject. She talked about her character Martha, and I understood a little more about her.

Play this video.

The next session was about words. I read Pip Williams book The Dictionary of Words and loved it. It’s about Esme who is present in Oxford while her father and other lexicographers prepare the very first Oxford English Dictionary Set in 1901 it’s a fascinating tale of what goes into the dictionary and what is left out.

The other speaker Sue Butler worked for many years as editor of Australia’s Macquarie dictionary and saw the inclusion of many new words.

Under the trees… a world of words.

A great discussion. I should point out I regularly listen to a podcast called A Word in your Ear with Brisbane’s Roly Sussex. It’s a great discussion of words.

By now my afternoon of books was over. I was off to The Spire. My niece Vashti was performing in Saxism, a saxophone quartet. We had an hour sitting in a beautiful church in Beulah Park listening to great music. From Bach to John Denver.

Talented Vashti with her bass sax.

A great afternoon. Then home to listen to the live streamed interview of Maggie O’Farrell. Her book Hamnet, a story of Shakespeare and the son he lost in the great plague. Such a wonderful book. And the discussion with Maggie led by Anton Enus a newsreader from SBS was great.

More tomorrow.

Adelaide Writers Festival

Day 1 of the festival was off to a flying start. Early into the city by bus to the lovely Women’s Pioneer Memorial Gardens for the first talk at 9.30.

There are trees, so lots of shade and a big book tent for sales and of course lots of coffee.

The daily program is posted on a board. It changes depending on people’s travel and covid restrictions.

So much to choose from. I started with Kate Mildenhall, a lovely Melbourne author. She has had her second book The Mother Fault published and was speaking about it today. I haven’t read it – it’s described as a fast paced thriller! It’s her first one I’d like to read. Skylarking. An historical fiction novel set in 1830.

Next up was a session with Emily St John Mandel from NY and Laura McKay from NZ. So it was in the big screen. I was keen to hear Mandel. I’ve just read her book ‘The Glass House’, an unusual book about a Ponzi collapse and a missing woman! I enjoyed it. now I want to read her book Station Eleven about a Pandemic.

Laura McKays book The Animals in that Country. Both authors have written about a pandemic. Written before covid had started it provided lots of discussion. Both interesting speakers.

I took a break and walked up the hill past Government House to the State Library, Museum and the Art Gallery. Beautiful buildings.

Next up. The hugely popular Julia Gillard. Her book on Women in Leadership would be a good read. Since stepping away from politics. this former Prime Minister of Australia is making an impact in the area of Women empowerment. She spoke extremely well and had the huge crowd on their feet.

Fans stood in line for over an hour to get an autographed copy of Julia’s book.

Richard Fidler was next. I feel I know him , though I’ve never seen him live! His Conversations program in ABC radio is a favourite – he is a fantastic interviewer. Our own David Frost.

He was a band member of the Doug Anthony All Stars a very popular musical comedy band in the 80’s. He now writes books. Good books about places. His first two books , Saga Tales, is about Iceland, Ghost Empire, about Constantinople and today he talked about The Golden Maze about Prague.

Richard Fidler had the audience in the palm of his hand

As the sun moved I did too. Up closer to the stage. I’m amazed how many people are here. And with covid we are supposed to be social distancing but it’s difficult and many are left standing as seats have to be left vacant.

The last speaker – at 5pm is the energetic, enthusiastic, likeable Trent Dalton from Brisbane . What a down to earth charmer. A journalist now author, readers loved his first book Boy Swallows Universe. His new book All Our Shimmering Skies is receiving slightly mixed reviews from people I know who have read it. So I have put off reading it so far. I love his writing so much I want him to talk about it and then ………

The likeable Trent Dalton

Well, he has persuaded me to read it. He talked about the characters. How & why he shaped the story as he did.

He told some great stories Both about his book and people who have encouraged him. A great one about a mid 60’s pocket rocket at a book signing in Adelaide. During his book chat he said he was doubting his ability to write another book after Boys Swallows Universe. The lady stood and said ‘I have no questions. I just want to say get on with it. You can write. Just do it’. He later found out it was Mem Fox !

The session finished and I walked from the gardens along North Terrace to the area where the Fringe Festival takes place. Two separate park areas. One called Gluttony the other the Garden of Unearthly Delights.

Entrance to the Gluttony area
Delights! There are …..

In theses area there are lots of tents , small and large where a huge range of artists are performing. Amateur singers, comedians, burlesque dances……. you name it they are here. We needed tickets to a show to enter and most were already sold out. So Marg, my sister in law and I got the last two tickets for Evan Demarais. His show called ‘ A Canadian stuck in Australia’.

Aren’t we all stuck in Australia? He came out last year for the festival and has been here ever since! The first 29 mins were funny but after that he needed fresh material! Lots of fun poking at the audience!

Performing out of a shopping container!

After the show we sat in the garden bar / eating area and enjoyed the music and the atmosphere.

By now I was more than tired so headed home. I’ll be repeating it all tomorrow. Lucky me.

Adelaide here I come.

Exciting to have a ticket

My blog has suffered during covid!

I only blog when I travel and as there hasn’t been much travel in the past year I haven’t written much.

So here we go readers.

Today I fly to Adelaide to stay once again with my sister in law Marg. She has a lovely house in Fullerton and makes us very welcome. So welcome in fact, that when we went there for Steve’s birthday in October we invited ourselves down for the Festivals!

The Adelaide festival, the Fringe Festival and the Writers Festival. https://www.adelaidefestival.com.au

Checkout the website

There is so much on its hard to know where to start.

The Adelaide Festival has lots of music , theatre, dance. The usual line up of overseas artists will not be there. But there will be lots of wonderful Australian talent.

The Fringe Festival goes for a month and features a huge variety of talent. Have a little read below.


Then there’s the Writers Festival. Being a keen reader I’m looking forward to seeing and listening to this line up. Go to the link to see the day line up.

Tell me in the comments who you would like to see. https://www.adelaidefestival.com.au/writers-week/writers-week-schedule/

I recently read Honeybee by Craig Silvey. A terrific moving read.

Trent Dalton has been a favourite of mine as a feature writer for years. His All Our Shimmering Skies follows his very successful Boy Swallows Universe.

Kate Grenville’s A Room made of Leaves, I loved. And Meg Mason’s Sorrow & Bliss was very good. A mixture of sadness at the mental health of the main character and the wit that linked the characters.

I’ve only named a few here but I’m very excited to be going. We thought we’d be at the Edinburgh Festival last year but that was off. This is going to be just as much a treat.

So look for my updates and come along with me.

Meeting the Police in Beautiful Bargara

We farewelled Bargara with a small hiccup and a run in with the Police.

But in the nicest possible way.

Another sunny day and I didn’t want to miss out on a swim. The little lagoon was chilly at 7.30! But in we went and loved it. So good on my still swollen knee.

After breakfast and pack up we headed to The Journey coffee shop. I was all a fluster. I couldn’t find my credit card. I keep it in a pocket on the back of my phone and it was missing. I searched in the car and my purse and from the coffee shop rang last nights restaurant & then Carmel asking her to search the unit. No luck.

So off went went deciding not to panic.

We drive in convoy to Tinaberries.

A lovely strawberry farm.

As we arrived Steve received a phone call from Rob at Bargara Police Station. My card had been found in the street just near The Journey coffee shop. I must have had it in my lap and dropped it. We would have to go back in Bargara to collect it. After our ice cream.

The strawberry farm encourages picking your own. We didn’t.

But we did buy their delicious ice cream and sat in the gorgeous garden. And had a brain wave. I rang Policeman Rob at the station and said could they cut up the card to save us returning and I’d just get a new one. He said he couldn’t do that as he’d done the paper work!

So he’d send a police car out to deliver it. He knew where we were ! I didn’t want to inconvenience them so said we would return but he insisted he send a car out.

15 mins later, Poiceman Rick arrived with the lost card. I signed and presented him with a box of strawberries as a thank you. He was delighted. I hope it’s not seen as a bribe.

What service.

Drama over. Lucky me.

We got to stay with the group and head off for Gin Gin & onto Goomeri for lunch.

The Bakery in Goomeri is famous. A local lady decided to go to Paris to learn all about baking. She learned how to do it so well when she returned to Australia she opened a bakery in her home town. It’s a huge success.

The pies , sausage rolls, pastries , cakes etc etc are world class. I had a delicious savoury pastry with tomato , basil and cheese.

Decision time in the Goomeri Bakery.

From Goomeri we made our way past the Everything shop in Wondai to Kingaroy. This shop is amazing. So much junk!

We’re staying at Room Motel. New, stylish , comfortable and all prefab. Great idea.

Now for champagne and a little mahjong game with the girls before dinner.