Mt Agung holds us in Bali

If you have to be held hostage somewhere Bali isn’t a bad place to be.

We’ve spent the day just lounging in a cabana by the pool. With the pool in front and green lawn and the beach behind it’s pretty good.

There has been a little to and fro from the reception trying to organise rooms in case we had to stay another night.

So it seems the Qantas flight is going tonight ( or early tomorrow) at 12.30am. This is a surprise to us as the Virgin crew flying with me to Brisbane have been partying by the pool all day and said ‘if we don’t fly then Qantas won’t ‘ seems she was wrong!

So I’ll be here alone night and tomorrow after they all leave the hotel at 9.30 pm. Then the dreaded overnight flight.

The kids have been in and out of the pool all day. Great fun.

We had a little walk along the beach and chatted to a few locals offering manicures, massage and a chat!

So people who come to Bali should not complain if they get held up here due to volcanic activity. The airlines don’t like it , the locals don’t like it, but there’s nothing you can do.

There is no insurance to cover the hold up, so plan for it or perhaps don’t come to Bali.

Safe travels everyone.

From the High Line to the Beach.

This morning we allowed ourselves a little sleep in. Walking in this big city is hard work.

We had coffee and made our way to the start of the High Line. We thought we’d call into the Whitney Museum – but it was closed. So as we waited for our friends to arrive we watched the passing parade.

Even in this big city people like their dogs. All types of people were out walking and it was difficult to walk the street. There are some very big dogs living in what I’m sure are quite small apartments.

Bill and Betty arrived, the weather was perfect and we set off. Thank goodness dogs aren’t allowed on the Highline. It’s crowded enough without dodging leashes.

It’s a really pleasant walk, although our New York friends are not as embracing about its existence. They were a little against all the fundraising with locals to get something that is essentially for tourists. But I loved it.

It’s interesting to walk along above street level and see some of the great buildings in the city. New York is constantly changing  some amazing new building designs.

You may be able to see the sign behind Bill. It’s about Galapagos where we all met!

The gardens, as you walk along the curved and angled walkways are quite beautiful. We spoke to a few volunteers, including a mum with her young baby strapped to her.  Where would the world be without volunteers?

There are apartment blocks sitting next to the walk track. How could you relax with so many people nearby? Thank good it is closed at dusk!

This amazing apartment block was designed by British architect Zara Hadid. 

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail. It was created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan in New York.


By now it was warm and Betty and Bill were the only keen swim trekkers ready to have a swim. So off to Brighton beach near Coney Island.

It was quite a trek, but troopers Lynn and Lois drove us out through Brooklyn to the beach.

I can only imagine how crowded it gets in summer.

We found a carpark and made it past all the Russian restaurants filled with Russians eating and drinking. You could forgiven for thinking it was St Petersburg.

The beach is wide and the sand almost white. There were a few walkers and mums and bubs. But no swimmers. Bill and Betty braved the cool water and in they went.

Coney Island in the background.

They swam for about 15 mins and the current was super strong. What champions.

By the time we left the beach storm clouds had gathered and we knew we needed to get back to Manhattan. Lois (who is over 79!) drove us back. The rain poured, the thunder rumbled , the wind blew and Lois chattered like there was no problem. It got crowded on the road and about an hour later we arrived back at our air bnb. Exhausted.

An hour or so to recover and off to dinner with Jordan and Rob to Carbone at a very up market Italian restaurant.


A lovely night with the newlyweds.

Morning walk in Santa Barbara

It’s Anzac Day in Santa Barbara and as usual Steve led the ceremony.

Then it was a walk through the streets before the sun came out.

It was quiet and the architecture was interesting.

There is an enormous Moreton Bay fig tree brought as a seedling by a sailor in 1876. Read the story below.

We found an amazing house in a back street – it helps that John Donati was born here and knows Santa Barbara so well.

Back to the hotel where the lobby had become a meeting point for our guests arriving. This morning the Brannocks and nephew George arrived tired but ready to go to lunch.

Therapy lunch had its own post but after lunch we wandered the picturesque streets if Santa Barbara.

Come along!

Live turtles in the fountain!

This plaque to Orella is Jordan’s great, great, great, great grandmother.

We finished the walk with a visit to a beauty salon where Antonio gave us eye lifting treatments. It was an hilarious half hour and worth the sales pitch he made. Here I am up close!

You be the judge. Have the bags under the eyes decreased! No before photo though.

Family reunions reunite 

What is it about families that unite us?

Do all families get along?

Two weekends ago my sister and I attended our family reunion on the Gold Coast. Our father was one of 8 and most of those siblings had large families. So I have about 48+ first cousins!  So many different personalities but somehow on the few occasions we all come together we have fun.


my Father’s wedding with his parents and 5 sisters and 2 brothers

Lots of stories, laughter, singing ( some of it bad) and planning to catch up more often- even if it doesn’t happen. Of the 8 original McGann family there are two siblings left. Eileen the eldest and the lynchpin of the family and her younger sister Dorothy. Both retired to the Gold Coast where several members of their own families are now living.  

Aunty Eileen 93 and Aunty Dorothy 87


We started the weekend at the Coolangatta Bowls Club. This is significant because all the McGanns were keen bowlers and had many weekends away together playing tournaments and no doubt playing up!

Celebration dance with Natalie and Lizzie and my sister Catherine

So after we had lots of kissing and telling lies about how wonderful we all still looked we formed teams and started our own competition. Some were more competitive than others. Some of the McGirr and Fisher boys actually bowl so had a head start on the rest of us I was with some of my girls cousins Natalie and Liz Fisher, Liz McGann, Kevin, Tracey and Marion McGirr and my sister Catherine. Well we bowled and laughed and told stories until time was declared.

Then we all stood in a large square around the whole rink and on the signal GO all bowled together –  the closest to the jack won a bottle of rum. Of course the non drinker of the family  ( and the only one I think) won. Her 9 brothers and sisters were pretty pleased though.

After a swim, rest and quick repair to the makeup we were gathering at the Coolangatta blows club for a “dinner dance” organised by the Dunn family – mostly Alison – whose turn it was to plan the whole reunion. Well done Alison.

 We had our own family band courtesy of Andrew Fisher , Jim McGann, Michael McCarthy and various other talented or otherwise musically challenged cousins. They did a great job and after some speeches we were all up dancing and singing.

 The speeches were many and varied as the eldest of each family introduced and said something about the  members of their own family.

We all prepared our own family tree with photos to put on display and it’s interesting to see likenesses between various members of the different family and their children. Of course Catherine and I had the best display! So we thought. But with many teachers in the family ( 2 are school Principals) the competition was stiff. I think there are 10 girl cousin teachers. 

Feeling ‘talked out’ we slept in Sunday before the family gathered with our 2nd  cousin Father James McCarthy who said Mass,  before their 10 children lay the ashes of their parents – our Aunty Eileen and Uncle Frank in the memorial garden at the church. A very moving memorial for all relatives we have lost.

So what is it that bonds?

We are quite  different. We have different personalities, careers, lifestyles but the link that is family is strong. Everyone talks to each other. There are no fights or cruel comments. Not that I heard !  We all share a tolerance, understanding and caring that should be bottled and distributed to people and countries of the world. World peace McGann style. Our parents would be proud.

Happy Family to all readers.