Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This is my new blog

Please follow the Days of My Life now at www.snippetsnscraps.blogspot.com

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Postscript

I actually wrote this entry three weeks ago, when we were almost home, but was distracted by domestic matters and didn't get around to posting it. However I was prevailed upon by family members, over Christmas dinner today, to complete my account of our wonderful trip. So here I go....

Our Singapore stopover has refreshed us, and as I type this we are on the last leg of our homeward journey, just 5 hours from Sydney. I’ve packed and repacked my suitcase and worried about excess baggage for the very last time – whoopee!

We did spend a good deal of yesterday lazing by the pool at the Shangri La Hotel, but there was very little sun. Indeed, we had to wait for a passing shower to clear before we went down to the pool to swim – we might have got wet….

A garden wedding, just a few metres away from the pool area, provided us with some musical entertainment as we lay reading, and helped us to stay awake for a little while. Heaven knows what the elegant guests thought of the two Aussie “white whales” popping their heads up over the backs of their sun lounges from time to time to watch the spectacle.

Eventually, though, we gave into the overwhelming urge to drift off, and came up to our room where Boak curled up on the bed and I revived with a shower and set off on foot for a couple of last minute items I’d been planning to buy from the lovely little boutique at Raffles Hotel.

Our hotel was slightly out of the hurly burly that is Singapore’s Orchard Road, so it was quite delightful walking past gardens and trees, notably those wonderful travellers’ palms. I always associate lush plant life with Singapore. You can almost hear the vines and glossy leaves breathing – and they give off a distinctive fragrance too. One can imagine that if the numerous men employed to trim and prune the public areas of Singapore went on strike for a year, then the entire city could easily succumb to the steady creep of these sinuous eager-beaver plants and become like Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

We ended our day drinking Singapore Slings on the 24th floor of our hotel, taking in the view across Singapore as fairy lights winked from shopping towers and hotels.

We had spent our last day in the city where we had spent our first on this Grand Tour. Little did we know then, on Day 1, as we excitedly contemplated this wonderful trip, that only 10 days later we would both be so ill.

We’ve avoided crises like the riots in Paris (the only sign of any unrest being an increased police presence), and a suicide bomber who blew himself up in our Amman hotel, just a few weeks after we’d stayed there and felt so safe.

We’ve recovered from potentially life-threatening illnesses, dysentery requiring me to spend 3 days in Intensive Care in a Cairo Hospital.

Still, it’s been a trip full of very special experiences for both of us.

Afternoon tea at Raffles.

Striding out on the walking track of the ancient stadium at Olympia in Greece.

Visiting the monasteries at Meteora in Greece, perched high on top of impossibly rocky pinnacles.

A romantic felucca ride at sunset on the Nile.

Our first sight of the Treasury building, and riding camels along the route traveled by caravanserai when they passed through the rose red city of Petra on the trade route of old.

Sitting on the hilltop at Angela’s villa in Tuscany and hearing nothing but the birds, as I stitched Lachy’s and Merry’s wedding quilt.

Venice veiled in mist,and drinking Bellinis in Harry’s Bar.

Our view of the Eiffel Tower bathed in twinkling Christmas lights as we emerged from the Metro on our way to dinner at Maxim’s – and the dinner at Maxim’s itself.

Visiting the battle field in the Somme where Ian’s uncle was killed.

Christmas shopping in London’s Regent Street.

Meeting fabric designer Kaffe Fassett at the Liberty store.

Taking long walks on frosty days in Oxford – and warming up with hot chocolate in the café in Blackwell’s bookshop!

Really, it’s just been wonderful – but just as delightful will be our homecoming!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ive joined the Mile High Club!

I’ve joined the Mile High Club!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am behaving myself – It’s just that I’m sending this blog entry from high in the sky over Siberia, courtesy of Singapore Airlines’ new wireless internet connection.  

We’re on our way home now (or to Singapore, at least, for a day’s rest before the last leg) and enjoyed our final day in London steeping ourselves in all things English.  Tower of London in the morning, wandering around Westminster and Whitehall in the afternoon, and afternoon tea at Fortnum and Masons.

Looking forward to seeing friends and family soon!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Merton and Christ Church Colleges from the path where I took a walk a couple of days ago. I hope you enjoy looking at these photos I took. It was so peaceful - but very cold. So cold that after a while my camera froze so I had to stop shooting. Posted by Picasa

My walk took me along the river at the bottom of Christ Church Meadow. Posted by Picasa

Ducks on the river bank. Posted by Picasa

You lookin' at me???? Posted by Picasa

Trees on the opposite bank of the river. I really love this one! Posted by Picasa

Autumn colours. Posted by Picasa

A pretty scene... Posted by Picasa

Christ Church Oxford, where Charles Dodgson (a member of the academic staff) and Alice Liddell (daughter of the Dean) lived. This was the location where Dodgson told and wrote his famous stories "Alice in Wonderland" and "Alice Through the Looking Glass". The following pictures show just some of the places and things in Oxford that have links with the Alice stories. Posted by Picasa

Statue of Dean Liddell, father of Alice. Posted by Picasa

The chestnut tree in the Dean's Garden (all that we, the public, are allowed to see of it) where Lewis Carroll imagined the Cheshire Cat sitting. Posted by Picasa

Christ Church Library. From here, Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Dodgson) would have seen the Liddell girls playing in the Dean's Garden over the wall nearby. Posted by Picasa

The Alice Shop in St Aldates. It appears in the Alice books as "The Old Sheep Shop" and it's said that in Alice's day it was owned by an old woman who spoke in a bleating voice like a sheep! This shop is opposite Christ Church and Alice used to go there to buy her sweets. Today it sells Alice memorabilia. Posted by Picasa

The path through Christ Church Meadow down to Folly Bridge - a path often taken by Alice and her sisters. Posted by Picasa

Salters Boat Sheds, by Folly Bridge, where Dodgson hired a boat to row the Liddell sisters down the river. You can still hire rowing boats here. Posted by Picasa

The meadows where Dodgson, his friend Robinson, the Liddell girls and their governess Miss Prickett, had their picnic and Dodgson first spun the tale of Alice in Wonderland. Posted by Picasa

These brass "firedogs" in the dining hall at Christ Church have long necks - rather like the illustrations in the Alice in Wonderland books. It's thought they were models for the illustrator. Posted by Picasa

The Oxford Museum of Natural History - Dodgson would have taken Alice and her sisters here often. Unfortunately the stuffed Dodo that the museum had held long after the bird's extinction was found to have lice in the 1770's - so it was burnt (lest the lice infest other valuable specimens in the Museum), all except its feet and head, which were mummified for posterity. Shame! Posted by Picasa

Dinosaur skeleton inside the Museum of Natural History, a wonderful neo-Gothic Victorian building. Posted by Picasa

This display case in the museum has examples of all the animals mentioned in the Alice books including the dodo, white rabbit, mock turtle, eaglet and walrus. Posted by Picasa

This painting of the extinct Dodo was first hung in the Oxford Museum of Natural History in the mid 1800's and excited great interest in Oxford. Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) would have taken Alice and her sisters to see it. Dodgson had a speech impediment, apparently, so said his name as "Do-do-dodgson", hence his nickname for himself in the Alice books,"The Dodo". Posted by Picasa

Reconstruction of Dodo skeleton (on left) and Dodo (on right) - in Oxford Museum of Natural History. Posted by Picasa

Cast of Dodo head in the Oxford Museum of Natural History. Posted by Picasa

Casts of Dodo feet in the Oxford Museum of Natural History Posted by Picasa

A white rabbit! Posted by Picasa

Dining room at Christ Church where Alice's father, Dean Liddell, presided nightly at the High Table in the mid-1800's. Boak and I were privileged to be the guests of the Sub-Dean at High Table here in April 2003. Paintings of famous past members of Christ Church are hung on the walls.  Posted by Picasa