Sunday, July 23, 2017

Scotland to Tasmania - a very long journey!!

Hooray, our holiday to Australia finally arrived! Cookie and Bramble might not be cheering so loudly about it as they both have to go on holiday as well. Bramble is staying with a family who have got a nine year old cocker spaniel and a ten week old cocker spaniel - they must be having a lot of fun with the three of them. Cookie has gone to a cattery that is like a five star hotel - it's fabulous and I'm sure she's having a nice time. We miss them both but it makes it easier knowing they are being looked after by nice people.

Our flight to Australia left from Glasgow, so before we even got on the plane we had 190 miles to travel by car. Because of how far it is we drove down the night before stopping regularly for a coffee break.

We stopped at the Kitchen in Carrbridge and I really liked these little people that marked the toilets - very cute.

After a very restful night in the Premier Inn next to Glasgow Airport we awoke to a very dreich day (wet & miserable) - I think mother nature was preparing us for winter in Tasmania. At least my luggage is bright and cheerful.

Ken was loving this old van inside the airport - advertising Tunnocks which is a company that makes very yummy biscuits in Scotland.

After the 7.5 hours to Dubai we then had nearly eight hours to kill, so after something to eat we found a couple of loungers and tried to get a bit of sleep - I think my beloved was more successful than me. We arrived in Dubai after midnight their time, and it was 38 degrees Celsius - when we stepped out of the plane to get on a bus it felt like we were in a furnace. During the day it had been up to 46 degrees - that's way too hot.

For the sixteen hours from Dubai to Sydney we were flying in an Airbus - they are very big planes. When I commented that I don't know how they get off the ground, my very reassuring husband (who used to be in the air force) replied "with great difficulty".

During the flight to Sydney we had a very brief stop in Bangkok, literally getting off the plane, walking what felt like miles, going through security again, and then getting back on exactly the same plane. This is the view out the window as we came into Bangkok.

Inside the airport.

We had one night in Sydney to spend with my bestie Kierstan - not long enough but still good to have even a brief catch up. It doesn't matter how many years, we're always the same and I know it always will be.

My very gorgeous goddaughter Molly with their very silly dog Nelson - he won't let go of the ball and walks around with it in his mouth for ages. Very, very cute.

A photo with my two godchildren which only happens when I'm in Sydney - Jake is my nephew and Molly is my best friends daughter - love seeing them and wish it could be more often.

Whilst Ken went and had a sleep (jetlag was catching up with both of us) Kierstan and I drank champagne and watched the film Bad Mums - it was so funny that there was no fear of me falling asleep.

The next day before we went to the airport Kierstan took us for a drive down to Dee Why beach as I used to live there (not on the beach but very near). The weather didn't disappoint with a glorious clear blue sky and 21 degrees. This brought back lots of memories of the three years I spent in here - lots of fun times and making very good friends.

Sunny selfie - me, Kierstan, & Ken
 We had a couple of hours in Sydney airport so found a great juice bar to give us a bit of a boost - anyting to overcome the overwhelming tiredness that strikes with jetlag.

After a flight of just over an hour we landed in Melbourne where we had another couple of hours to kill before the final leg of our marathon journey. By now I was needing a top up of my caffeine and sugar levels so we had a cake break.

I really like this decorated ceiling in one of the airport shops - it's lots and lots of bottles suspended from a wire net.

In the departure lounge - we had already headed out to the plane once but got turned back because they were worried about fog in Tasmania. After a bit more of a wait, everyone in the lounge cheered when they finally let us out to the plane - it's a twin propeller plane with only 33 seats and the final flight is just over an hour.

So nearly three days after we left home we made it to Wynyard, Tasmania. After a much needed sleep we went for a wander down the street (there's one street with shops) and found these lovely photos that have been put up along one of the walls. They're modern photos with vintage photos superimposed on them - such a nice way to remember our heritage.

We also found a great new cafe called Umami Cafe, so the two of us with mum headed in to try it out. It's really funky looking with interesting art inside and fabulous (healthy) food based loosely on the paleo diet which is food that our ancestors could either hunt for or harvest.

Mum & Ken
 Very scrummy Thai pumpkin soup - the food was very colourful.

Ken had a pumpkin and feta tart with salad that included petals from a blue flower - it really was pretty as a picture.

Now I have to admit to something - I'm a bit mean to my beloved in that I keep taking pictures of him when jetlag takes over. It's the naughty little pixie on my left shoulder that keeps getting me into trouble. I can't not share them with you but rather than putting them all separately here's a collage of some of my favourites - sorry darling.

Now that we're here it's time to have many lovely days of fun which I'll share with you over the next few weeks. Until then, be good, stay safe, and if you have a nap, make sure no one is around with a camera.

Pamela & Ken

Friday, July 21, 2017

Flashback Friday: National Memorial Arboretum 2015

The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire was opened in 2001 and is a place to commemorate all those who have given their lives in service to their country since the end of World War Two on the massive walls at the top of the hill in the arboretum. There are also memorials to lots of other conflicts throughout history.  It is a peaceful place that merges nature with remembrance.

On Anzac day 2015 we decided to go to the arboretum to take part in the service that was being held there. As an Australian I think it is important to remember the sacrifices that our armed forces made no matter what your opinions of war may be. Especially the first world war as so many of the men that died had no choice due to conscription.

It was a lovely service where someone sang 'And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda' and then representatives from Australia and New Zealand forces (Army, Navy, & Airforce) laid wreaths.

This memorial is to the people that died when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, with the stone on top being from Hiroshima.

I love the sentiment behind this memorial, especially the last paragraph which is something we can all wish for.

It's a lovely place to walk around and by the river there was an interesting art installation - we couldn't find a description but to us they looked like they might represent seed pods.

Throughout the arboretum there are over 30,000 trees, many which have been dedicated by families to their loved ones who have died.

One of the many walking paths around the site with seats so that people can sit in quiet reflection.

This is the Shot at Dawn memorial, which I think is one of the saddest ones at the arboretum. Every post represents one of the 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers that were shot for desertion or cowardice during World War I. Now, it is acknowledged that the majority of these soldiers, many being underage, were suffering from shell-shock. The statue is Private Herbert Burden who was only 17 and was shot at dawn in 1915 - in 2006 he was granted a posthumous pardon.

There are so many different memorials on the site and I really liked this carousel horse which is part of the memorial to the Showman's Guild of Great Britain which is for members who have died in conflict.

This beautiful depiction of Bellerophon riding Pegasus is the memorial to the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces - Bellerophon was the son of Poseidon and he captured a Pegasus.

These beautiful words are attributed to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and are on a plaque near the Gallipoli memorial:

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives ... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours ... You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

This is the memorial to the Land Army - those women that kept Great Britain going whilst all the men were at war, by working on the land and producing the food needed by the country.

Thirty years after the Falklands War this memorial to the 255 British Servicemen who lost their lives was unveiled at the Arboretum. It's a simple memorial with rocks from the islands being placed there.

This beautiful coloured glass memorial with the lone figure bowing their head is for past, present, and future navy personal who have lost their lives.

The wreaths that were laid during the ANZAC day service.

These next few photos are taken inside the Millennium chapel which holds a remembrance service every day at 11am. I love the symbolism of the wooden crosses with the open handcuffs hanging off them.

A rifle topped with a helmet is what is known as the battlefield cross and is used to mark a fallen soldiers grave so that bodies can be recovered. It's believed that this was first used in the American Civil War.

There you have it, a brief look at the national memorial arboretum - if you're ever near Stafford call in and have a look around.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and be kind to yourself this weekend.

Pamela & Ken