Henry Moore Sculpture Garden.

Belonging to ADFAS Brisbane is a great way to discover new ideas, artists, sculptures – things of a Fine Arts and Decorative Arts nature.

https://www.adfas.org.au/societies/queensland/brisbane/

At a lecture a few years ago I found out about two sculptors I had heard of, but hadn’t seen their work – apart from in books.

Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Being near the Moore house and garden was an opportunity not to be missed. I’m so glad we went.

http://www.henry-moore.org/visit/henry-moore-studios-gardens

It’s about an hour from Cambridge and and hour and half from London in a little village called Much Hadham.

We wound around country lanes, past churches and houses like out of a tv series. In fact it is close to Grandchester – which is a tv series.

We pulled up at the gallery and garden with the house ‘Hoglands’ next door.

We spent the next few hours wandering around the large garden and sheep fields with its massive sculptures.

They are scattered around the green fields – the furthest about a 15 minute walk.

There are also several studios and a barn which houses some massive tapestries done by local master weavers to Henry Moore’s sketches and colour design. They are beautiful and something I hadn’t seen before.

In an adjacent studio there was an exhibition of his drawings over a long period of his life. Again wonderful. In the years during the second war he was commissioned to do some drawings reflecting the life of people in London. He chose to do a series in the bomb shelters.

The tour of the house, in its original state, as left by his daughter after Henry died and three years later his wife Irina died.

This is where we found out about the man. He seems to be not only talented but also very warm and kind.

The studio with the marquettes is fascinating. It’s full of models of the sculptures. Henry would prepare them and with the help of other sculptors they would be built to scale.

If you get the chance to visit this wonderful part of the world don’t miss Henry Moore House and garden.

Cambridge and College life

Leaving the island was difficult. It’s so beautiful and we had such a ‘jolly time’ as the Famous Five would say!

Cambridge and the punts beckoned, so after lunch at the pub we packed up and headed off.

Arriving in the afternoon around 4 it was still very warm, so after checking into our accommodation – Newnham College –  we headed off.

Accomodation in Cambridge is quite expensive and we had a car to park so this College, just over the river from the town, was perfect.

Steve did some study here a while ago and remembered the layout. So we started walking and opted to jump on a punt for a close-up view of the Colleges that line the river.

They are beautiful. Our guide and pole master, Charity, was very good at storytelling and brought alive some of the history behind the establishment of these famous Colleges.

Kings College, Trinity and St Johns are big, imposing and rivals!

We glided along – sometimes ducking the poles of the punters who thought they could ‘do it themselves’ and obviously couldn’t!

After river excitement it was beer and Pimms time. Very traditional to have a Pimms before, after or during punting.

Dinner in a pub on the river then a walk back to our College. It would be great to be a student here for awhile.

The next morning we bought tickets to view the Kings College Chapel – a must. It’s huge. Hardly a Chapel and has an interesting history to go with it.

Read about it here.

http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/kings-college-chapel

From here we went up the Wren Library in Trinity College. It’s a must for Library lovers. It opened in 1695 and is still a working library.

https://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/library/wren-library/

They have a wonderful collection including a hand written copy of Winnie the Pooh! But no photos allowed.

I loved the little brass motifs all along the footpaths.

Then it was off to the countryside to visit the Henry Moore Sculpture Garden.

I’ll have to blog about that separately. It’s that wonderful.

Camping on an island in the River Thames!

We’ve met some wonderful people on our swim trek holidays and Bill has become a firm friend.

He visited us in Caloundra after Christmas last year and now we have visited him at his summer get away.

He’s very fortunate to have the lease on a camp site on an island in the River Thames at Shiplake – not far from Henley.

We arrived in a little laneway with a ridiculously cute name and were met by Bill.

He led the way and we walked over the bridge to the island carrying a small bag for our overnight stay.

We passed the lock keeper’s cottage

And walked past the other 13 tents to the second last one.

It’s really quite civilised! A little more glamping than camping. There are beds and rugs on the floor, even a little kitchen. Just no bathroom. There is a toilet block nearby.

We settled in and had a swim before lunch. The river is cold and beautiful.

I didn’t actually swim! I watched and took photos. It was a little too cold for me after the warm Turkish waters.

After lunch we …

We set off in the row boat. I got to steer the rudder and Bill and Steve rowed. It was so lovely gliding down the river.

Quite an adventure!

We stopped for an afternoon G & T at the Bull a charming pub at Sonning not far from the river bank. We had to go through the church yard to get there.

Then it was back into the boat for an adventure. We went via The Patrick – an overgrown small river. I felt like I was in an Indiana Jones movie.

It was great fun. Bill sure knows how to entertain us!

Dinner, cooked by Bill was a bbq. Perfect sitting on the deck beside the river.

Sleeping in the comfortable bed was delicious. The noise of water splashing over the weir lulled us into a long peaceful sleep. It was cool but so cosy under the covers.

The next morning was overcast but that didn’t stop the boys from swimming – though even Steve said it was cold. Brrr.

Breakfast followed by a swing or perhaps table tennis. Or even some gardening!

Then it was back in the row boat heading up the river to another pub. This time for lunch. But not before we went under a low bridge or two! And past some very posh houses.

After lunch we meandered back to the island and reluctantly packed up.

We headed for Cambridge. Arriving at around 4 it was warm and the river looked inviting so we went punting. Such fun.

The Colleges along the River are magnificent.

We were entertained by those who thought they could punt on their own. Some were dangerously close to falling in. Others hitting people in other punts with their pole or simply not going anywhere!

We enjoyed a Pimms at the riverside pub as we watching the punting. Some good some not.

Tomorrow a bit more exploring – hopefully a visit the Wren Library.

Come along with me!

Sunday in London

We finally had a sleep in! We’ve been so busy – up and swimming and running around.

Today we had a slower start. We heard the Church bells from St Mary Abbots, a very old church at the back of our place. They got us going. We wanted to investigate.

Coffee at the same cafe as yesterday. When you find a good place I think you should stay with it. This place is great.

Then a wander down the street to look at the Church. We went in and chatted to a lady there about the history of the place. Steve’s sister nursed at the nearby hospital of the same name when she lived in London in the 70’s. It’s gone now – turned into luxury apartments!

Our good friend from our first swim trek, Chris invited us to lunch today. It’s nearby in Kensington. We really looked forward to going there and meeting his French wife, Cecile. She doesn’t do the swim treks, so hadn’t come to the various swims since we met Chris back in 2013.

We bought some gorgeous flowers and headed to their house. It’s a lovely 4 level house with a garden and sun terrace. Very special in this part of London. I didn’t like to whip out my camera so have very few photos.

The sun was out so we sat on the terrace and their daughter Susan was home from Paris where she works for a fashion company. She’s very sweet.

Then their eldest son Tim arrived. He’s been living in NY but is transferring back to London with his Australian girlfriend.

They are a lovely family. Cecile was a teacher Librarian like me! But works now as a careers advisor at the French Lycee.

Later in the day Steve went to the Science Museum and I went walking and window shopping in the area. It’s so nice around this part of London.

The blue spot is where we are staying. Quite close to Kensington Palace.

Later in the evening we walked to The Ivy Kensington Brasserie just down the street. We just had one simple course – but it was very nice. I had a fish curry and Steve had Shepherds Pie. Both little serves and quite delicious.

Now we are packing to leave this little Airbnb. Tomorrow we head towards Henley. Our friend Bill – yet another friend from our Galapagos swim trek – has a ‘camping’ spot on an island in the Thames! Yes. We are camping tomorrow night so that will be a change of pace. And the temperature is dropping.

Apparently we’ll be swimming in the Thames, perhaps a little rowing and hopefully a Gin & Tonic!

Ephesus: a look back into the past.

We slept well but the call to prayer at 5am and the local roosters crowing made it an early start.

Breakfast of ripe tomatoes, an egg and delicious fruits in the lovely garden was a good start to our day. It’s such a healthy breakfast.

We got a ‘taksi’ to the top gate and started our tour. We decided we wanted to move at our own pace and had an audio guide – which is always a good way to go.

Amazing view of the ancient city

There were a few tour groups there but not enough to bother us. It got very hot as we moved around so we hovered like cows under any available tree as we listened to history being brought alive.

What a story is Ephesus. It’s truly amazing to see. The Temple in Agrigento Sicily was great, as are the Roman forum, the Parthenon, Pompeii – but this is altogether amazing. A walled city being rediscovered. The way people lived was described and you could see evidence of the houses, the spa, the latrines, shops, library, amphitheatre, workshops. Everything.

This was one of the most important cities of the ancient world. It was on the Silk Road which made trade so important. It was ruled by Roman, Greek, Byzantine and taken by the Arabs who destroyed it.

We walked for around 2 hours and exited along the promenade of trees to the car park.

Back to Selcuk and the bus station to plan our trip to Canakkale tomorrow when sadly Betty leaves us. It’s been wonderful having her along on this swim trek adventure but she’s heading home to LA.

We returned to yesterday’s restaurant for lunch as it was so good.

Then the Ephesus museum gave respite against the middle of the day heat. It’s a wonderfully curated museum with many examples of the items people of Ephesus used in everyday life – pottery bowls, utensils, weapons, coins along with statues and busts of famous people.

The carpet men of Selçuk.

Walking back to our hotel we passed a carpet Emporium. It looked good and quiet so we went in and met a very nice man who explained the techniques of weaving – .they are keeping these traditional ways of weaving alive as they are a centre for weaving workshops. It was so interesting.

We got talking about styles – Kilams, wool on wool, wool and cotton, silk.

I started thinking about our house and where I could put a Turkish rug. We have one already but to buy a beautiful one here and get the story would be special.

Betty has a kilam hanging on her wall at home. She’d bought it for $US259. She had a photo of it and the master historian was able to explain the meaning behind the symbols.

We ending up loving a hall runner. It has stripes, running water and tree houses – which really appealed as Steve is about to build one for Oliver! It also has tied off fringing which indicates it’s a dowry rug.

So we bought it – to be shipped home. Hopefully it arrives. But I did feel confident. The men were not at all pushy. – not like when we’d been in Istanbul! We accepted their hospitality and had drink with them.

We had another BBQ in the garden at Paradise. Such a great day, our last with my wing woman Betty.

From Kas to Ephesus

Our last breakfast was more a series of goodbye hugs than food. Hard to grasp that it’s all over!

Those not leaving early went for a last swim and arrived back for final goodbyes.

The staff at the Hotel Linda were great. It’s a good place to stay with a group like ours though there’s no shortage of hotels in Kas.

I left a note and small gift for our friend Yves who arrives at the end of the week. We met him through swim trek a few years ago and have stayed friends every since. He took us to Vanuatu last year (check back here for posts on that trip.)

Into the van with Steve and Betty for our 5hr trip to Selcuk – our base for visiting the world heritage site of Ephesus. I’ve wanted to visit here for ages so this is our chance. A change of tempo! No swimming just walking in the heat no doubt.

Our driver Ali from Wilsue travel had some French and enough English to make communication good. We were going to get the bus but decided as we were 3 we would cut some time and get a car transfer.

We made one stop for coffee and made it to Selcuk by 1.30.

The scenery along the way was great and it was interesting to see the huge areas devoted to growing produce. Large covered areas growing all sorts of veg and fruit.

We did a detour winding up the road just before entering Selcuk . We wanted to visit Holy Mary’s house now a Chapel. History tells us that Jesus had asked his St John to take care of his mother and when he moved to Ephesus she came with him.

We arrived at the top and and walked the path to the Chapel. It’s touristy but really very simple. We took the holy waters, saw the wall of prayer intentions and wondered if history was correct. Several Popes have visited the area which seems to give it authenticity.

Our small hotel – the Ephesus Paradise – came highly recommended by Booking.com

It was perfect. Lovely old style house. Big rooms, aircon! , nice manager and a lovely garden to have a drink and the house BBQ dinner in the evening.

Also close to the things we would visit.

We headed out for lunch – we’re getting used to delicious Turkish mezze plates and salads and the Efes beer is easy to drink on a hot day.

Discovering Selcuk was easy. We found our way to St Johns Bascillica – set in a walled area overlooking the town toward Ephesus. It’s being reconstructed stone by stone – it would have been one of the biggest churches in the world.

We climbed further up the hill to the fort. It is also being restored and the walk up and back was a little rough walking over slippery marble. The views were magnificent and the breeze cut the high temperatures.

Outside the gates we met (yet again) a man selling ‘ancient coins’. He identified us as Australians and sent up the cry “Aussie Aussie Aussie” – they truly love Australians here.

We headed down hill towards the mosque and were rewarded with a photographer capturing a bride and groom on the entrance steps. She looked beautiful. And so composed in the heat.

Entering the mosque not only did we have to cover our head but cover our body in a a long and very hot robe.

We were given some free information on discovering Islam and Steve struck up a conversation with a lovely young man – a former Turkish AirForce helicopter search and rescue team member.

By now it was nearly 6 so made our way back to the Paradise Hotel, a cool shower and enjoyed a drink in the garden. We met fellow guests from Holland. The tall man sported a freshly broken leg! He had slipped on the steps at the St Johns Bascillica. I thought they looked dangerous!

He’d had to visit the small local hospital. Luckily it was a clean break and he didn’t need surgery- well not yet. He had a cast and was waiting on his insurance company to get home home. End of holiday.

Tomorrow at Ephesus we shall be extra careful!

Day 5. Last day in Turkish Paradise

The heat was fierce as we walked to the boat on our last morning. We were a little later than usual and we felt it.

Ten minutes on the boat and we were ready to jump in.

We swam a short distance and came to a cave opening. Eoin went in with the torch. Five at a time we followed. It was dark, eerie somewhat scary. But looking back out the water was blue.

The water colours here are amazing aqua, turquoise, cerulean, aquamarine, azure. When they invented paint charts they got the blue colours from the waters here.

We swam along as a group and found a tunnel. Diver Diana was the only one to swim down and through. She has the scratches to prove it.

Nearly 3 km later we swam into a gorgeous blue bay and boarded the boat for our usual tea ceremony.

Waiting for lunch gives a chance to relax and chat but some, notably B1 & B2, got back in the water for more swimming. A few butterfly strokes, a bit of backstroke a dive or two. Boundless energy.

Once again a delicious lunch. And then siesta time. After lunch activities include Noirin giving Eoin some Pilates instruction. Some muscle work. It was interesting to watch that’s for sure. Eoin is a Brad Pitt type ( in his younger days) and was putting on quite a show. Sweetie Helen, fish spotter Ali and I watched. Mmmm

The energetic took to diving – off the top of the boat, the walkway, the front of the boats. Screams of laughter and encouragement led to a competition and videoing session. All was good until ‘they broke the boat’.

The ropes holding the walkway with the shower pulled away. Mustafa, Zeynap and Effie came running and the show was over. No more silly antics!

The last swim on a trek is always rather special. We cruised along. Everyone was very pleased they had made it to the end.

The traditional swim trek awards were made. Each swimmer gets a tailor made comment on something noticed about them during the week. I got the ‘Blogtastic’ award, Steve the Jolly Swagman, Betty the American Nightingale, B1 the Clown Prince, B2 the arrow ( swims so straight!) Noirin Drama, Rachel the most improved , Pam the Mother, And so it went. Lots of laughs. Steve spoke for everyone to thank the boat crew, Mustafa, Zeynap and Effie. He did it in Turkish!

And we all sang Happy Birthday to Zeynap.

It was bittersweet saying goodbye after a week of fun swimming and making new friends.

We did the ‘fit the smallest person into a bathing cap trick!’ Poor Betty was lifted into a water filled cap. Then it broke!

The last afternoon saw us having a cocktail, visiting room 211 for a G & T and finally heading to Pebble Beach for dinner.

With our singing nightingale Betty.

Sunset at Pebble Beach Steve, George and Vanessa

What a way to finish! Magical.

Special thanks to our wonderful guides Eoin and John. They made a team from 16 swimmers from different places with different abilities.

And to our fellow swimmers – thank you.

Lovely London

The first day of any holiday is exciting. Things to discover, sights to see.

We had a good night’s sleep on the 8th floor of the Victory Services Club – off Edgeware Rd near Hyde Park Corner.

It’s a big old club, quite grand from the exterior with good sized rooms and a very good breakfast for about 150 pound – quite a bargain in expensive London.

Steve headed off early to find a laundry to wash our travel clothes and I went walking. We are staying near Connaught Place and the little village nearby had some beautiful shops and fortunately the summer flowers still remain.

After breakfast we crossed Edgeware Rd and explored Marylebone and Fitzrovia before heading toward Regent St and popping into Liberty.

This is always a must when visiting London. We found the coffee shop on level 2 and thoroughly enjoyed our $15Aus cup of coffee each!

London is looking good. It’s clean and despite the woes of Brexit and the cricket not going well, it seems happy. Lots of tourists.

At midday we made our way to Rovi.

https://ottolenghi.co.uk/rovi

Check it out.

It’s an Ottolenghi restaurant- one I’ve been keen to try.

Back in 2012 we were in London staying with friends in Islington. We went to dinner at their ‘local’ restaurant. I hadn’t heard too much about Yotam Ottolenghi then. But I loved the restaurant, the food, the atmosphere and have been a fan every since. He’s from Israel and does fresh Mediterranean style of cooking.

He now has several restaurants in London and ROVI is in Fitzrovia. It’s very stylish. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and the food is designed to be shared.

Today we were sharing with Nick and Yumi Young. We’ve known Nick since he was a little boy – he’s the son of good friends in Brisbane.  He and his lovely wife are living in London after a few years working in banking in Oman.

We started with a cocktail – for me a Rovi with Pink Gin and a few lovely ingredients. Then it was onto the shared plates. Mussels with chilli, beef carpaccio and burrata – all done well and so tasty.

Next it was a lovely Pinot to accompany a shared beef and a salmon dish. All delicious.

The afternoon slipped by until it was time to walk! And we did ….. down to Covent Garden, which was hopping. I checked out The Petersham – a superb garden shop and cafe. Beautiful things everywhere.

https://petershamnurseries.com

We wandered across the Enbankment Bridge to The Archduke and met up with swim trek friends Bill Murie, Lexie and Betty – my swim buddy from LA who is coming to Turkey with us for a week of swimming.

Here we shared some wine and lots of stories and felt pleased that our swimming adventure in Galapagos, a few years ago, has given us such wonderful friendships.

By now quite late we felt we’d had a great first day of our holiday. No time for jet lag. My advice …. Just hit the ground running. Preferably taking in a little sun!

First Stop Doha

We landed 🛬 in Doha at around 6am after a 15 hr flight. We were pretty comfortable in business class and Qatar Airlines was very good. I’ve decided it’s probably better to get the long haul over with first and then do the shorter haul second. But it will still be a long day.

We made our way to the lounge and it is huge. After a shower and a cup of tea we went searching for the Qatar City Tour desk. It had been recommended as a good way to fill in the hours of waiting.

It meant leaving the airport and joining a group to explore this big, new looking city.

Like Dubai it’s full of big shiny buildings, lots of palm trees, oversized public buildings, sand coloured public buildings and a distinct lack of people. They are all inside out of the cruel heat.

We arrived on a Friday which is like a Sunday over here. Everything in the city seemed to be closed. We didn’t get to go inside the Islamic Art Museum or the big mosque. We did get to the bazaar but it was mostly closed and had no atmosphere. And the heat!

Us in the heat with the Islamic Art Museum behind.

It was 40 degrees plus! Way too hot to do anything much. Our air conditioned coach took us to various landmarks and we wandered in the heat trying to be interested. I failed I think. I walked around with a scarf over my head to provide shade.

Doha was renowned for its pearls.

A small mosque in the cultural part.

The massive amphitheatre in the cultural village. Seats thousands. In the sun!

I don’t know how the city will cope with the Soccer World Cup here next year. It’s going to be at this time of the year. Our guide said they were going to roof and air condition six stadiums! There is plenty of money around, thanks to oil and natural gas. So it will happen, but the poor tourists getting out and about in the heat will be a challenge.

We continued onto the the souk. Very interesting but as it’s their holiday very little atmosphere and people and nothing much open.

We arrived back at the airport by lunch time and only have another two hours up wait until our London flight.

We’re looking forward to meeting up with friends and enjoying our few days there before the Turkey swim trek.

First stop Sydney

Welcome back to my travel tales.

We’re off again!

This time London , Turkey and back to London.

But first a mini stay in Sydney as Steve has a board meeting before our flight tonight.

Last night we met up with my sister Catherine and David, nephew George and niece Helen.

Today a gorgeous ferry ride to Double Bay to visit my sister at her school, Double Bay Primary, where she works as a teacher librarian. So no lunch with her!

Then lunch with nieces Pip and Clare and little Max. We were so busy talking I forgot to take a photo.

But the ferry ride was wonderful so lots of photos. It’s a world beater ride. The views in the sunshine are breathtaking.

I haven’t been to Double Bay in years. It’s still has it’s Village feel but there are as many Beauty bars as espresso bars.

The little beach next to the ferry wharf is a beautiful place to chill.

The public Library is another place to spend time. It’s so inviting. Libraries are not dead!

I’m waiting on the ferry back to Circular Quay , meet up with Steve then out the airport. A Qatar flight to London.

So follow along for the next few weeks as we rediscover London and swim along the coastline of Turkey. Another swim trek based in Kas.