Thursday, 28 February 2013


A group of us had dinner on a weeknight at Sapore.   The food was really good;  I had the chicken dish (which was on "special"), but the pork belly and veal cotoletta alla Milanese also received favourable comments.  The tiramisu and cheesecake deserts were both terrific!  The service was excellent, being professional but not too pretentious, the room is nice and the prices not unreasonable for what you get (especially having regard to the ratings that this restaurant has - although seemingly down a little recently?)  You can even BYO, but corkage is $15 a bottle.

Only catch is that it's in Fitzroy Street, so parking is something of a "challenge", and for this reason Sapore is likely to remain on our "only in special occasions" list.  Yes, there is a tram stop at the door, and one of the trams that goes down Fitzroy Street also passes the end of our street, but it's a circuitous route and tram frequencies in the evening don't encourage this mode of travel.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Princes in the Tower

My first lesson in the processes of historians - as distinct from history itself - was a study of Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time.  This was prescribed reading for one of the history subjects in my university course.  Until then, I had accepted that history was really just a matter of fact, so the discovery that history could be spun - and that Shakespeare may have done this -  was a something of an eye-opener for me. Perhaps this says something for the standard of teaching in those days.   Ever since then, I have been in a state of uncertainty about the fate of the Princes in the Tower:   is the story that they were murdered on the orders of Richard III just Tudor propaganda made up to reinforce Henry VII's claim to the throne?

More importantly, the lesson that history is often subjective is one which we can all do well to remember, especially when we see reports in the media about the curriculum to be taught in schools.
Memories of this were brought back by the recent discovery of what are believed to be Richard III's remains (one report here).  I see that they're still working out where he is to be finally buried.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


I really enjoyed Summertime by J. M. Coetzee.   It's basically a series of engrossing interviews (well, these are often recorded as discourses) purportedly by a biographer of a deceased author relating to a 5 year period when the biographer senses the author was 'finding his feet as an author'.

The interviews are with a number of people who knew the subject in South Africa in the period 1972-77, including a married woman with whom he had an affair, his cousin, a Brazilian dancer who the subject was 'keen' on but who rejected him and a couple of former colleagues.    As the interviews probe and analyse, a fascinating picture evolves of the subject, as a person who was quite awkward, yet had strong views about a range of matters, including in particular the racial issues in the country at that time. 

The dustjacket describes the work as a 'fictionised account' - yet the subject is in fact identified as John Coetzee!    References are made to several of his books, and to the fact that he is a Noble prize winner, and many of the events described in the book correspond to events in his life (see Wikipedia).     Nevertheless, in the book, Coetzee is referred to as having died!   Thus, the intriguing matter for the reader is to try and discern what is fiction and what is autobiographical.      To the extent that the book is biographical, it certainly displays a great ability on the part of the author to analyse himself through the eyes of others, to an extent that I think very few people would have.  In fact, one wonders how it can be that the Coetzee that the interviewees describe can possibly have this level of perception. Of course, Coetzee is, it seems, an unusual person.

I read the Guardian's review only after I had finished the book, and was interested in the comment that the book is "flagrantly autobiographical".    Admittedly the review goes on to say that you mustn't assume that anything stated in the book is necessarily factual.    But, to the extent that the book is autobiographical,  the issue arises as to the existence and identity of the "interviewees", as in many respects they, too, are explored and probed, and the reader is left to ponder how they would regard this book if they were to read it.   Perhaps it is in the descriptions of the interviewees that more of the fiction comes in?

Monday, 25 February 2013

Tea drinkers

Bernard Salt's item in the Weekend Australian about tea drinkers attracted my attention.  He said that tea people have been conditioned to expect less than coffee people.  Apparently, in an earlier piece he used the expression "second-class citizens". The direct link is mostly behind the paywall, but you can also see a summary of the recent item on his Facebook page.

He's right, of course.    You get swirly designs on the top of your flat white, but tea drinkers are lucky if they get a coloured tea-bag tag dangling over the side of their cup.

And coffee drinkers get attention from "caffeine dealers" (see image)! 
I usually drink coffee (although these days, not after 6 pm because it seems to affect my sleep), so I'm not a tea drinker.  However, it seems to me that things are a bit out of balance here.   The wide choice of flavours offered to tea drinkers hardly seems adequate to redress the balance.

Salt says that he has recently been lured into drinking coffee, at least in public.  In other words, he is now bi-drinkual.   This sounds like capitulation, although Salt claims the reason is that he found he liked coffee after all (while visiting Cuba).  

Saturday, 23 February 2013

More reflections on "Speechless"

I've previously mentioned James Button's book, Speechless.  This book rambles around a little, but in the process it delves into a number of interesting areas.

At Ballarat
The reflections about Kevin Rudd are obviously good reading, although I can't say that anything that's said came as a big surprise (although I wondered whether there was a conclusion to be drawn from Button's openness).  The comments about the role of political  advisers give an insight into their role.  I was interested in the story of one of Rudd's advisers, who is quoted as stating that he could foresee a day of reckoning, and who said - at a stage when Rudd was near the peak of his power - that, "This may all end peacefully.  But I see a mushroom cloud".

Button reflects on the speech-writer's craft, especially the challenge of getting into the speechmaker's mind, and the frustrations of not having his material used (the similarities between this and that of the commercial lawyer whose carefully drafted agreement is put to one side did not escape me).

The author only spent a few months directly engaged as one of Rudd's team of speech-writers, and thereafter worked in the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet.   Deriving from this time, he makes some interesting observations of the thought processes of bureaucrats.  On the whole, he is complimentary about them, and refers to the public service writing style "that was clear, understated, often wry".  But he does mention that one of his speeches stated that the economic crisis would "ravage the balance sheets of Australian business".  A public servant quietly changed this to "hurt the profitability of Australian business".

Some of the jargon is explained, too. Various examples are given, but just a few will suffice here.  These are Washington Monument strategy, which occurs when a department is told to make cuts it does not want to make, threatens to cut something untouchable (such as the Arts Department proposing to close the National Gallery).  And a department (or government) that seeks to do everything, without clear pro\iorities, is trying to boil the ocean.  An analysis of which groups might be hostile to a certain policy is stakeholder heat mapping.

Later in the book, he makes some observations about his father (Senator John Button), which lead to him reflecting on politics "now and then" - along with similar thoughts about the ALP and the media (and the impact of the rise of the 24 hour news cycle).  He turns to the coup against Rudd in the last chapter, including the way it was received in "the People's Republic of North Fitzroy"!     He also sets out his reasoning for writing the book, which he describes as "a personal account:  my brief life in the belly of the beast".   Well, it does describe that, but it goes further by putting his experiences in the context of his background and also the broader context of how the political and bureaucratic "beast" functions and the pressures to which it is subject.   All in all, very interesting in the current political environment.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Contaminated milk?

No, keep eating your muesli, it's not a problem here.   But in Serbia (and other Balkan countries) there's currently a big issue about high levels of aflatoxin in the milk supply:  see here and here.  It's all over the Serbian news on SBS, too.

Apparently recent climatic conditions have led to problems with the corn fed to dairy cattle.

And this is just after the horsemeat issue!

Our dairy farmers may have problems with milk pricing, but hopefully so long as their cows continue to graze on grass, this won't be an issue for them.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Letters of complaint

Writing letters is said to be a dying art, and it seems that this particularly applies to letters of complaint.  In days gone by, I wrote the occasional letter to the "powers that be" expressing concern or even a complaint, and generally received a considered response.   You gained the impression that the matter had at least got somewhere near a person with knowledge of the relevant area.   Once or twice, the authority I wrote to actually did something useful as a result.

However, with the development of the internet (with its forums and blogs), email, the provision for comments on news articles, Facebook and the like, there seems to be so much "clutter" around that no-one in authority feels the need to take complaints or concerns, no matter how carefully formulated, seriously.  At best, they get sent off to a "media person" or minder to compose some generic response.

Hence, I've given up writing letters regarding issues in the public arena.   In spite of this, I was so frustrated by a particular issue on the trains a few weeks back that I made an exception to my no-writing principle, and wrote a letter to our local MP.  Part of the reason for writing was that I wanted to make a number of related points and to draw attention to some broader issues, rather than make a simple statement along the lines of, "why are trains being cancelled?" or "I'm annoyed because I was delayed today".

Well, composing the letter had one positive outcome - it allowed me to get the matter off my chest.

But apart from that, it was a waste of time.  The MP forwarded it on the Minister for Transport, and eventually I received a response clearly written by a minder who obviously hadn't understood - or chose not to understand - at least one of the points I made, and which was otherwise pretty much full of platitudes and assertions.   All I can hope for is that my letter made it to the statistics of complaints about the issues concerned.

As for me, I re-learned the lesson that there's not much point in trying to write a careful letter - and certainly not to politicians.  If I want to get something off my chest, I may as well save the postage stamp and just mouth-off in an on-line forum - like everyone else!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Global integration

I went to a presentation to update the staff of the organisation with which I am associated as to the progress being made on merging the hitherto separate firms based in Europe and Australia respectively.
I'm sure it's a massive task and everyone involved is no doubt working hard.  The presentation included a slide identifying a myriad of separate areas in which work was required.

The powerpoint presentation was more-or-less predictable, but I particularly noted (a) the need for 45 of the Australian partners to attend to the annual conference of the European firm which just happens to be in Paris (it's tough but I guess someone has to do it!); and (b) the acknowledgment that conference calls involving people on the other side of the world necessarily involve someone being inconvenienced from a timing perspective, and that the burden in this regard should be split more-or-less equally.

I guess if a degree of even-handedness can be achieved in relation to the timing of phone calls, then there's hope that the outcome on issues that matter might be similar?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


James Button is a journalist, and the late Senator John Button's son.  The sub-title to his book Speechless is "A Year in my Father's Business".

The book covers a good deal of ground.  For a few months Button was one of Kevin Rudd's speechwriters (although based in the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet), but after that he moved on to a position  in the Strategy and Delivery Division.

He offers some interesting insights into Rudd, although nothing that would come as a great surprise to those who have followed Australian politics in recent times (surely,  most of us?).  The title of one chapter - "Kevin, Use my Stuff!" - provides a clue to his feelings during this time.

His description of his time in SDD contains many insights and observations about the bureaucracy's relationships with politicians, the public and indeed with each other.   The book then turns to the impact of politics on those involved in it, and includes a chapter or so primarily concerned with the author's relationship with his father, and in turn Senator Button's relationship with his own father, as well as the way in which the author and Senator Button handled the death at an early age of the author's brother Dave, from a drug overdose.

Towards the end, there are a number of frank observations about the current state of the media in Australia today as well as quite a lot of comment on politics in general and the state of affairs within the ALP.

While the author isn't a long-serving "insider", his position as an informed observer pretty close to a lot of the recent political "action" (including the removal of Rudd and Brumby's loss in the Victorian election in 2010) means that this book is interesting reading.

Monday, 18 February 2013

The Edict of Milan

February 2013 represents the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan.

This granted all persons in the Roman Empire freedom to worship whatever deity they pleased, assured Christians of legal rights (including the right to organize churches), and directed the prompt return to Christians of confiscated property.  Previous edicts of toleration had been as short-lived as the regimes that sanctioned them, but this time the edict effectively established religious toleration. 
Statue of Constantine at York Minster

Geoffrey Blainey regards the edict as one of the great turning points in the history of the world.  Lord Norwich ranks this decision, and the decision to establish Constantinople as capital of the Roman empire (dedicated on 11 May 330), as decisions which "changed the future of the civilized world".

Constantine's decision was influenced by the vision of a cross of light in the heavens he is said to have seen on 28 October 312  just before or perhaps during the battle of the Milvian Bridge, against his brother-in-law Maxentius.

In February 313, Constantine I, emperor controlling the western part of the Roman Empire and Licinius, controlling the Balkans, met in Milan and, among other things, agreed to treat the Christians benevolently. Wikepiedia states that it is debatable whether or not there was in fact a formal 'Edict of Milan', but that it took the form of letters by Licinius, a pagan, to the governors of a number of provinces.   However, John Julius Norwich (in A Short History of Byzantium) quotes the text of a joint edict.

Constantine's policy went beyond tolerating Christianity: he tolerated paganism and other religions, but he actively promoted Christianity, and he ordered the building of St Peter's basilica in Rome.     Laws such as one made in 319 prohibiting the murder of slaves and one in 321 proclaiming Sunday, 'the venerable day of the sun', as a day of rest appear clearly to have been influenced by Christian values.

Constantine was born in  Naissus (now Nis), in Serbia, and Nis proposes to celebrate the event this year.  His connection with York (see image) is that he was made a Caesar there when his father Constantius died there in 306, and he ruled Gaul and Britain for the next six years before marching against his adversary Maxentius, who held power in Rome and who he defeated at Milvian Bridge.

(Image from

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Barca (2)

We again had lunch on a weekday at Barca.  The food here is always lovely, and if - like us - you have the lunch special, it's good value (main + glass of wine for $25).  There's always shepherd's pie (which I had), and the pasta was a nice linguini.   Once you venture off the special menu, things are pretty up-market, so then for us it's a "special occasion" venue.

The ambiance is really good and the service is friendly and efficient. My one suggestion would be that the lunch menu could be varied a little, as apart from the pasta, it doesn't seem to change.   Perhaps the regulars like it that way?

Friday, 15 February 2013


Sadly, Jim Armstrong died last week and we attended his funeral today at the Carmelite Monastery, Kew.   He was 82.  There were a number of eulogies, and they certainly summed up the Jim that we knew:   a person with a strong set of values who held firmly to his principles and who was always determined to do the right thing.    In particular, he had a great sense of loyalty to those around him including those who worked with him.   He had a great collection of  (neck) ties - as we saw during the service - and he was certainly "into" technology, although it baffled him at times.  We were told that at one stage he had four mobile phones but struggled to send an SMS!

Jim - about to have lunch!
He liked eating out, and we were reminded that he was usually the last person at the table to order, and only then after discussing a number of options with the waiter. His order often included some minor modification to the item on the menu.  He would have a sweet "only to keep you company"!

He had not been well for quite some time, but those of us who had been in touch with him recently know that he continued to be as active as possible for as long as he could.  We would expect nothing less!

Lovely church and grounds, pity about the acoustics.

Rest in Peace, Jim.


Thursday, 14 February 2013


Unfortunately, we get lots of graffiti round here, especially along the railway line. 
It's very tiresome, but recently it has reached a new level - 3 dimensional!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

We will get you.....

I've read about the Sheriff's office's program to collect outstanding fines by wheel clamping vehicles, but until a day or so ago, I hadn't seen signs of it in action.  However, it seems the team visited our area recently!    As it seems that this action is taken as a last resort, generally I don't have a lot of sympathy for those caught up in the process - although perhaps there are sometimes cases of genuine hardship (for example, where cars are driven by different members of the family - been there!) 

I'll be interested to see how long it is before the cars go on their way.  I see that if you don't bother to do anything about the issue, the car can be seized and even sold.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


We ventured out Warrandyte way to visit a family member.   It's many years since I've been out there, and the roads have changed a bit.  We had no real issues getting there but it was just via a different route to the one we used to take when we went out there for Sunday drives when young.

One thing that hasn't changed is the proximity of some of the houses to the forest.    Lovely outlook, of course, and great for most of the year, but could be a bit worrisome for a few days each summer?


Monday, 11 February 2013

Chinese New Year

We weren't involved in the celebrations to welcome the Chinese New Year (the year of the snake, more particularly the water snake), which began on 10 February.

However, we did watch some of the colourful celebrations on TV.
I notice that one of the traditions associated with this event is to thoroughly cleane the house before the new year, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck    Apparently, it is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes the home ready for good luck. Brooms and dust pans are put away on the first day because you don't clean the house once the new year starts, to avoid sweeping all your good luck out the front door.

The traditional practices of lighting fireworks and burning bamboo sticks is to chase off evil spirits.

Some believe that the second day of the year is also the birthday of all dogs and so they remember them with special treats!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Tsunami in Solomon Islands

Cath is working on an aid project in Vanuatu.   She has told us that all is well in Vanuatu with no damage after the earthquake and tsunami in the region last Wednesday.  There was a tsunami warning in Port Vila, but very little if anything came of it.

However, the Solomon Islands did suffer damage and she sent through the images below taken by Impact Assessment Teams that visited affected areas shortly afterwards.  I haven't attempted to edit the captions.

Photos : Tsunami hits Solomons
After the house was swept away by a Tsunami, the foundations mark the spot where a home used to be, seen Wednesday Feb. 6, 2013, following a Tsunami at Lata, Temotu province, Solomon Islands. The damage seen is part a survey by the assessment crew of the aid organisation World Vision. Solomon Islands authorities say at least four people are missing and presumed dead after an earthquake triggered a tsunami. Waves of up to 5 feet hit the western side of Santa Cruz Island and damaged up to 80 properties. Dozens of aftershocks have followed. Other tsunami warnings are canceled.

A badly damaged home is seen Wednesday Feb. 6, 2013, following a Tsunami at Lata, Temotu province, Solomon Islands. The damage seen is part the survey by the aid organisation World Vision assessment crew. Solomon Islands authorities say at least four people are missing and presumed dead after an earthquake triggered a tsunami. 

Debris litters the partially destroyed Lata Airport, Solomon Islands, following a Tsunami Wednesday Feb. 6, 2013. The damage seen is part of a survey by the assessment crew of the aid organisation World Vision.

 Toppled power lines lay in pools of water following a Tsunami Wednesday Feb. 6, 2013, in Venga, Temotu province, Solomon Islands. The damage seen is part the survey by the assessment crew of the aid organisation World Vision. Solomon Islands authorities say at least four people are missing and presumed dead after an earthquake triggered a tsunami.

The destroyed Venga village following a Tsunami Wednesday Feb. 6, 2013, in Temotu province, Solomon Islands. The damage seen is part the survey by the assessment crew of the aid organisation World Vision. Solomon Islands authorities say at least four people are missing and presumed dead after an earthquake triggered a tsunami.

 In a photo provided by Work Vision, a school is heavily damaged in the area of Lata, Temotu province, Solomon Islands after a powerful earthquake off the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 generated a tsunami of up to 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) that damaged dozens of homes and left at least four people missing and presumed dead in the South Pacific island chain.  [Edit: "Work"?   Surely "World"!]

In a photo provided by Work Vision, a village is destroyed in the area of Lata, Temotu province, Solomon Islands after a powerful earthquake off the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 generated a tsunami of up to 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) that damaged dozens of homes and left at least four people missing and presumed dead in the South Pacific island chain.  [Edit, as above: "Work"?   Surely "World"!]

Friday, 8 February 2013

The sign in the park

Signs recently appeared at each of the entrances to the nearby small park.    The issue was all about a tree that the Council considers necessary to remove (with a vague undertaking about replacing it).

My initial reaction was - it's nice that the Council is keeping park users informed.   But, on reflection,  this relates to a single tree, albeit a mid-sized one, but it is looking pretty sickly.  Where do you draw the line?   Seems to me that this is getting close to the TMI (too much information) category - in other words, can our ratepayer dollars be better spent than on notifications of this type?  I guess it's all about where to draw the line.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

One country - or not?

Travel interstate reminds us that, even though there are many things that are the same throughout Australia, there are a few - perhaps small - details that vary from state to state.

We can start with the language.    Victorians say "nature strip", but in most other states, it's  "verge".
Then there's the notorious rule about doing a u-turn where the traffic lights give you a right turn arrow.  Quite permissible in Victoria, but (unless expressly permitted) illegal in most other states.  Perhaps it's revenge for Melbourne's "hook" turns?

Another driving related issue is the matter of reversing into on-street angle parking spots.    This is obligatory in certain places, particularly in country towns in NSW.   I haven't quite worked out the criteria for this requirement, because sometimes it's required, in other places it isn't -  at times it seems to vary even in the same street!

Melbourne's revenge on the rest of the country!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


The local paper had an article about visiting wineries.    It addressed some issues that on reflection are probably obvious, such as,  you don't have to taste all the wines, nor do you have to drink the whole sample - it's fine to tip out anything that you don't taste.  It also stated that it's OK to ask for a second taste.

What the article didn't address is the touchy subject of, do you have to buy?

We've certainly been to wineries where people - especially tour groups - have arrived, tasted most of the range and left empty handed.  No doubt that's why some wineries have signs stating that tour groups require prior arrangements.    After all, it's hard to stack a couple of dozen bottles under the seat on a mini-bus!

Morris Wines
However,  we find it hard to walk out completely empty-handed, especially if it's a quiet day and you're the only ones present.  Yes, we have done so, but if it's obvious that the wines don't appeal, we consciously try and restrict our sampling in terms of both range and time.

On our recent trip, we put these principles into practice.    We visited All Saints (Wahgunyah) with its lovely grounds and interesting glimpse into the winery and Morris Wines (Rutherglen) with the galvanised iron character of a previous era and a couple of wines that we liked. 

On the way home, we called in at Fowles (Avenel, conveniently located right on the freeway), mostly for the coffee, which we preferred to the wine.

All Saints

All Saints

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


I have been trying to diversify my list of authors of crime fiction, so I had a look at the Ned Kelly awards.  Hence, I came across Peter Temple, who writes in Truth about Inspector Stephen Villani, head of the Victoria Police Homicide Squad.

Villani is definitely an "old-style" police officer, and there are a lot of issues in his life.    This is rather a familiar approach to detective fiction, along the lines of what I understand is referred to as the "hard-boiled" detective.  In particular, Villanu reminded me at times of Michael Connelly's Detective Harry Bosch.

Temple's writing style is what I suppose you might call "fast moving".   The Guardian's review called it "compulsively paced".   There's a great deal of dialogue, and much of it is pretty cryptic (and coarse).   It's a very, very Melbourne-oriented book, and the reader who is familiar with Melbourne is at a definite advantage, as there are numerous references to locations with no real explanation given of their significance.  For example, there's a passing reference to someone having "received a ticket on the Tulla", which is full of meaning to those of us who love to hate the Tullamarine Freeway, but would be meaningless to others.   Likewise, there are references to places such as Bromby Street (in the context of being over the road from Police headquarters), the "Western Ring",  Brunswick Street, Preston, Oakleigh, Kew and Docklands. The full significance of these would only be apparent to someone familiar with the "territory".

The book is full of grim themes:  corruption, violence, obstructionism and flawed personalities.  In relation to the last, the story is as much about Villani's considerable "baggage" as it is about the solving  the various crimes.    As the Guardian says, there's an  "unrelenting ugliness of vision".   Even so, I got drawn into it, and persevered with it.  But perhaps there are too many issues?  At the end, I still didn't "get" how some of the numerous threads hung together.  Perhaps if I re-read it, more of the pieces would have fitted together, but by then I was ready to move on.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Enthroning the Bishop

One of the main reasons for our trip to Canberra was to be present at the inauguration of the new Bishop of the Free Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.    The event was reported in the Canberra Times complete with better photos than I took, but in my defence, the reporter did have some impressive-looking photographic gear, and she did venture to locations that I had reservations about!

The new Bishop Ambrose was made very welcome by a large crowd (I think the Canberra Times only took account of the people actually inside the Church).   He's actually a Scot, and is a bishop of the Old Calendar Greek Church, based in Athens.    Perhaps this gives a hint of some of the political undertones here?

The ceremony was mostly in Serbian, although the new Bishop's address was in English.   It was conducted by Bishop Auxentios (from the USA) and included blessing the Church from each direction.

The week-end's activities also included the St Sava Festival, so there was lots of music, dancing, eating and drinking all round!




Saturday, 2 February 2013

Norman Lindsay

I can remember really enjoying The Magic Pudding as a child!   However, at that time, I didn't know very much about Norman Lindsay, and in particular wasn't aware of the fact that he liked to paint voluptuous nudes!    Even though this particular omission was rectified in later life, when we visited his former house at Faulconbridge - now a museum  -  I was able to fill in some of the remaining details of his life and work of which I had previously been unaware.

The house contains an impressive collection of his works, especially his paintings.    It also contains a number of large model sailing vessels, which he built for relaxation.  The meticulous detail of these is really quite amazing.  

Outside are a number of his statues.   The painting studio was closed, but we joined a short tour which included admission to the etching studio.  This left us with a great respect for the time and effort that Lindsay put into the creation of his etchings (consistent, I suppose, to his approach in constructing the model sailing ships) and just as much respect for the efforts of his second wife, Rose, who laboured long and hard printing them - a task in which Lindsay himself apparently didn't participate.

We finished up with coffee and scones at Lindsay's Cafe, which is within the grounds.

Friday, 1 February 2013

And so to ..... Corowa ....

We farewelled M and G at the Fairmont after a great couple of days.   We were aware that it would be a long haul from Leura to Yarrawonga, or perhaps Rutherglen, or maybe somewhere else in that general area!    And so it was.   Fortified by some nice food and coffee at "Breakout Cafe" at Cowra and coffee at Wagga Wagga, it was nearly 7 pm by the time we hit Corowa after seeing lots of wheat/sheep country and some towns that I hadn't even heard of.
We were pleasantly surprised to find a stylish cafe at Cowra!
I was all for checking in at the first motel we saw, but Sue said, no, let's find a club so that when we get out of the car, we stay out.   There are quite a few motels (and cabins etc) in Corowa - I lost count of how many - and we went past a lot showing "vacancy" signs.   We even went past a sign to the "Murray View Motel" (a view - what more did we need?)
The golf club's motel units are on the river bank
It turns out that the golf club is at the other end of town to the road we came in on, but we ended up there in an acceptable room on the banks of the river with a great view up and downstream, surrounded by the greenery of the golf course.  I think we may have been the only paying guests (but apparently a group was expected for the weekend).  The bistro had a $20 buffet night, and for $24 we got a very nice bottle of Morris shiraz.     We went through the whole bottle, so it was indeed as well that I only had to find my way across the carpark back to the room.

Pity that the motel units presented an unattractive  view from the Murray!

EDIT:   The only downside was that the internet access out there was slow and dodgy, so I didn't attempt to include images in the original post.  I have now added some.