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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Views from the Air

When travelling during daylight hours I always try to get a window seat on my flight. Clear days are the best as the views are great. Here’s some from my last flight.


Adelaide, flying north. The scene is out to the sea, showing the port area with the entrance to the inner port. It’s possible to see the saltflats with water in them, the sea water evaporates and the salt is harvested. On the right is Adelaide's first airport the Parafield airfield now used for small aircraft as well as training.



Outback South Australia, flying over the salt lake, Lake Gardiner, with some other small lakes.




Saying goodbye to Australia for a few weeks, crossing the coast at Western Australia, north of Broome.




Flying out of Singapore, the Singapore Strait. All the cargo boats waiting to be piloted through the strait.


Pretty sure this is Amsterdam, there's a curved area that works as central Amsterdam.


If you're sitting on the righthand side of the plane flying into Heathrow, generally you get some great views of central London. It's possible to play 'spot the landmark'.

Daytime flights, get a window seat, it's worth the hassle of climbing over people every time you want to get out of your seat!


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Stangate House, Aldgate South Australia

A delightful house and garden in the Adelaide Hills



Just ten minutes up the Freeway from Adelaide is the National Trust property, Stangate House. It wasn't one that I was familiar with, but thanks to the most recent National Trust magazine I was made aware of the property, and went to have a look the last Open Day they had.

The house and garden were gifted to the National Trust by the Reverend Raymond Cornish and his wife Gwenyth Cornish. The land had belonged to Gwenyth's family and when she and her husband returned to Australia from England, they built their retirement home at Aldgate. The house was built in 1939 and the Cornishes then went about creating the garden with the help of Raymond's sister Elsie Cornish, who was a garden designer.

With the cooler temperatures in the Adelaide Hills they were able to create an English garden with deciduous trees, bulbs and a profusion of camellias!

The National Trust received the property in 1970 and from 1977 the Camellia Society Adelaide Hills, has managed and further developed the garden.


The garden covers an area of about four acres and there are paths to walk around and enjoy what it has to offer.


Grasshopper on a camellia.



The Camellias were just stunning and some varieties were huge!


There is a creek that flows through the property and the Cornishes planted bluebells on its banks. Just a bit too early for them when I visited in late August.




My favourites, red and double petals.


Looking across the lawned area to the house, the bank of azaleas were just beginning to flower.







The National Trust have maintained the house, it now has a new roof and air-conditioning and it is used for different events. On their Open Day, afternoon tea was being served in the main room. The house isn't particularly grand, it's a 1940s house with some period furniture and items.


The Reverend's room, complete with old organ! This room overlooks the garden.

The garden is open every Sunday in September by the Camellia Society Adelaide Hills. The National Trust also has Open Days and the property is a popular location for weddings and and other community events. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Temples and Shrines

Interesting insights into non-christian religions.


Meiji Shrine (Meiji jinja) Tokyo Japan


Gate (torii) to the Meiji Shrine, it was built to honour Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. The circular gold coloured shapes is the chrysanthemum seal of the Imperial Family. It was built in the early twentieth century, but was destroyed during the bombing of Tokyo in World War II, what's there now was rebuilt in 1958. 

The shrine, the security officer in the picture was stopping tourists from taking pictures up where the door are. That's where the people visiting the shrine were praying, during the New Year period when Japanese people visit shrines to pray for a good year. A million people come to Meiji Shrine, it's packed! The only way to move is to shuffle with the crowd!

Barrels of sake.

The Meiji Shrine covers a large area of central Tokyo, it's 70 hectares (170 acres) and the trees were all donated at the time the shrine was constructed. The row of sake barrels are the first thing you come across as you enter the park, the barrels are offerings to the gods. Different sake breweries have donated a barrel and their names are on the barrels.

Meiji Shrine is very easy to visit, it's near Harajuku and the Harajuku station, so most tourists include a visit to the shrine with a stroll through Harajuku.


The Big Buddha, Phuket Thailand


It's a landmark that all can see on a visit to Phuket, the Big Buddha sits on top of a mountain, it's still being constructed so parts are a construction zone.


Monks offering blessings, there's an internal part to the Big Buddha statue where you can sit and hear the monks chant.

Bells under the Big Buddha statue, I liked the sound of them swaying in the breeze, being that it was on the top of a mountain, it was very breezy!

Visiting the Big Buddha you get fabulous views over the surrounding area, there's no public transport to get up there, I just got a driver and then got them to wait while I looked around.

The Temple of Heaven, Beijing China


It's a complex of buildings and the most well known is this circular building. It's the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. The building is wooden and constructed without using nails (so just dovetailing) it was restored for the Beijing Olympics and the colours are just stunning.

Inside the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.

The temple is Taoist, and the temple area covers 267 hectares (660 acres) there are numerous buildings and a large park. The whole area is a UNESCO Heritage site, this was probably my favourite place to visit in Beijing. It's in the southeastern part of central Beijing and can be reached by subway, I caught the subway there and back with no problem. Although it did involve a lot of walking as the complex is so big!

Wat Putta Mongkon, Old Phuket Town Thailand


This temple is another location I'd list under the "Places I stumble across as I never over research where I visit". I went to Old Phuket Town because I wanted to visit the colonial Sino-Portuguese houses, I walked down Soi Romanee which is the oldest street in the area. Then came across this gorgeous temple.

Inside the temple.

The grounds are quite large and there's a school for monks there as well. I took a taxi to Thalong Road, which is the main historic street of Old Phuket Town and then found this temple by walking in the area. To get back to my resort I came back to this temple, taxi drivers park in the grounds while waiting for a fare, it just made life easier than trying to flag a taxi down in the street.


Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore


This temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore and can be found in Chinatown. It's at one end of the pedestrian street where tourists can find restaurants and shops, the original businesses were placed there to sell to the people coming in and out of the temple. The other end is the RMT station Chinatown, so this temple is very easy to find.


Walking into the temple area, again lots of colour.


Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Singapore


This particular Hindu temple is located in Singapore's Little India. The original building was built in the late 1880s and was a place for immigrant workers from southern India to worship. During World War II, people used it as a refuge and it escaped the bombing of Singapore. I found it by just walking past! I loved all the detail of the sculptures, it was all so colourful.



These are some of the non christian religious buildings I've visited, and there are so many more to explore!


Sunday, 3 September 2017

Wallaroo Heritage and Nautical Museum, South Australia

A delightful little museum on the Copper Coast.



I loved my visit to this little museum, it had such a country museum feel to it. The museum is a National Trust property (so free entry if you're a National Trust member!) and run by volunteers. It was established in 1975 and not a lot has changed inside, which is part of the appeal for me. Even the information cards are the original 1970s cards done on a typewriter. The Heritage part of the museum is in this building which had been the Wallaroo Post Office and then the Police Station until 1975 when the building was turned over to the National Trust. You just wander in and out of the rooms seeing all the different displays of heritage and antique items.



The building still has the original post office window counter where the locals could collect their mail and send telegrams. It was a post office from 1865 to 1910.


The room the other side of those windows has a display of all things postal, stamps, scales, mailbag, all in an old display case on an old desk.


Mail sorting boxes for the addresses in town.



A Morse Code set for the sending of telegrams, with some examples of telegrams on the right.


A selection of old telephones, the one on the end is quite ornate!


Absolutely loved this old cash register, it was built to last! Used in one of the stores in the town and donated to the museum. People's maths skills were better then as Pounds, shillings and pence were used and you couldn't add and subtract in base 10. Decimal currency (dollars) was introduced in 1966 and totally up your shopping was so much easier!


An old wheelchair, which I'd only seen in movies, the person in the chair could make it move by pushing the handles on the side backwards and forwards.

Next to the Heritage Museum is another building which is the nautical part of the museum. It was purpose built to house displays so not as interesting a building, but more spacious.


Bunk beds from an old tug.


George the Giant Squid. He was found in the stomach of a whale caught (and killed) in 1974 in Western Australia and was donated to the museum in 1989. He's a deep sea dwelling squid and is preserved in formalin, he's 8.5m long when his tentacles are stretched out.  


Model of the Wallaroo jetty during the time that copper ore was smeltered in Wallaroo and then shipped elsewhere.


A Wallaroo resident make these detailed models and they were then donated to the museum. The bike that's hanging was used to deliver mail.


Outside the museum is the 1877 Tipara lighthouse, it was moved here when it was no longer in use.

The Copper Coast towns all have their historic museums, I liked them all. The Wallaroo museum just had an extra layer of charm in the way that it was an old style museum, not updated to appeal to modern tastes (and often short attention spans!) 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Clarendon, South Australia

Day trips from Adelaide


The view from Chandler's Hill, the Happy Valley reservoir and Gulf St. Vincent beyond.

Having done a few day trips to regions south of Adelaide, I had driven through Clarendon but didn't have time to stop. With the weather warming up (slightly!) and a sunny day forecast I set off, and rather than taking the main roads to Clarendon, I went the 'back way' through the hills and was rewarded with this gorgeous view along the way.

The town of Clarendon was established after the land was subdivided for agricultural use in the 1840s. It still has a nice little colonial feel to the town and many of the heritage buildings have been restored. 


The Methodist Church built in 1875, now part of the Uniting Church and still being used.


A rustic little main street cottage.


The main street sloping down to the Onkaparinga river, with the General Store and Post Office. The red branding of Australia Post not quite in keeping with the more subtle colouring of the town!


The Clarendon Institute, with old style red telephone box. This looks as it's now a private home, but along with many other country towns, the local population built an Institute as a place of learning.


Picnic area with creek that flows into the Onkaparinga river, as it was a nice sunny days there were families picnicking nearby.


Just next to the creek was the kindergarten.


Just up the road from the kindergarten was the Clarendon Primary School. The campus does have modern buildings as well, but I really like old school houses. This was the original Clarendon School building, still being used by the school.




Houses in the main street.


I originally thought this had been a church with the residence attached, turns out it was the Courthouse. Beautiful, and shows the importance of the town that there was a courthouse with a local police station as well.


Next to the Old Courthouse, the building that had been a church, it was then the local council office. Which probably explains the flagpole and the stone plinth that has the name of the locals who died in World War I. A newer memorial has been build directly across the road. The old church is currently being used as a local history museum.


Like all good country towns there's a pub and I came for lunch so joined the crowd.

And next door there's a small gallery and coffee shop, so just the place for dessert.

Perfect little outing from Adelaide, going through the smaller back roads is nicer and it's quite well signposted. Clarendon is on the Onkaparinga River and there's a weir which is scenic but I was hungry and didn't make it that far down the road!