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Life has been a bit tough around here, NSW and Canberra.

First, in December, we had a death in the family and that was sad and stressful and then the bushfire smoke came in thick. It seemed like for days on end you couldn’t go outside, you had to tape the doors to stop the smoke getting in and you needed a mask to go outside. This, as you can imagine, impacted on my mental health. People I knew lost houses. I haven’t lost my house so I’ve no excuse to feel so affected. Maybe.

It was hot too and I felt like it was another summer that I wasn’t going to experience, that I was going to be stuck inside with the airconditioning. We’d built up our deck furniture but there was no point in going onto the deck, there was too much smoke.

But going outside, going to university or just out and not being able to see for more than 300 metres I started to ask myself, is this it, is this what life is going to be?

Then one day we had mustard coloured smoke. It was thick, pervasive and threatening. It was then I began to believe that I wasn’t really set up to survive the apocalypse. I’d been optimistic before about that, about surviving, about seeing humans living beyond.

At New Year we escaped the smoke and headed to Melbourne. It was great to see blue skies for a change. However, at home the smoke was getting worse. Canberra had run out of P2 masks. When we got messages about that we decided to buy a supply in Melbourne and by air purifiers. We had so many orders we really couldn’t buy more as there was no room in the car. We can back with seven of them. As we were leaving the smoke was heading to Melbourne and that big city got to experience the downside of the most massive array of fires ever.

We had a few days where the smoke haze was less and maybe life could be normal. We still took masks with us everywhere in case the wind changed and it got bad.

Then on Australia Day weekend, on the last day of a writing get together we got news of a fire starting in the Namadgi National Park, within Canberra’s borders. It came out that a defence helicopter had started the fire accidentally with its landing lights and poof up it went. The Orroral Valley Fire. Then next day it was 20,000 hectares big and we were on emergency warning level. I could see flames from my deck. I was freaked out. We evacuated ourselves early. I think the speed and the ferocity had the emergency services scrambling that first big day on Tuesday. There were regular updates about what was happening. The communication was great. Really great. We came home but we knew there was bad weather ahead. On Friday we had a record 42.7 degrees C. I evacuated us again, early. I was too stressed and freaked out to stay.

But the wind was in our favour. It didn’t come marching towards southern Canberra. Instead it spotted badly over the border into NSW, into the Clear Range. Matthew’s has a farm in the Clear Range and our suburb was on alert too. On Saturday though the wind was still favourable and predicted storms did not do any harm to the fire. We did house preparation in case there was an ember attack.

In the evening, emergency services broadcast that they had a plan. The fire was due to hit the grasslands and they said they could handle that. They bombarded with fire retardant and firebreaks and I went to bed less stressed and confident that they had it in hand. The first time in nearly a week. Sunday we listened to the emergency broadcasts and relaxed. The fire is still burning. It will burn for weeks, unless we have a week of rain. The farm is still in danger if the wind changes, but I feel better looking forward.

I write post apocalyptic fiction and I love reading it, but now I think I feel differently about it and my longer term outlook. If you aren’t prepared to survive, even a week of disrupted food and water supplies or leaving your house, then you aren’t likely to survive if society breaks down. I had a real think about this. Given my age…I turn 60 this year, maybe I shouldn’t try to survive. My efforts should go into helping my children and grand children survive. This is rather a profound thing for me. This brush with the apocalypse has shaped me, changed me.

Maybe when this crisis passes that will change, but I think not. My son lives in China with my granddaughter. With the coronavirus outbreak we were lucky that Madelyn had come here on a short holiday. She can’t go back. My son is stranded in the Phillipines where he was scuba diving. His flight was cancelled. The new flight was cancelled. His firm is thinking of sending him to Europe to an office there as who knows how long this crisis will last. My granddaughter was tested for the virus and is negative. They are not living in the the affected area and had recently moved from Shanghai.

Did I mention the hailstorm that sort of broke up the boredom of smoke filled days. Both our cars were damaged but still drivable. Thousands of cars locally damaged and undrivable.

 

And then there’s Brexit and Trump impeachment, like some sort of weird aperitif to make you vomit up your dinner instead of settling your stomach. Our own government is pretty shite!

This is a screen shot of the NSW Fire Services Fires Near Me app. You can see how many fires there are in NSW and around Canberra.

This next screen shot is near us taken last night. About fifty percent of the Namadgi National Park is gone and it’s burnt twenty percent of the land area of the ACT (Canberra). My house is near the B23 marker, about 12 kilometres from the edge of the fire. Orroral Valley fires is 56, 264 hectares in size as of today.

 

On Tuesday I left uni early because I started getting messages about offering me a place to go. I’d been working and didn’t realise the fire alert had been raised to emergency level. I started to cry on the bus seeing the fire smoke. The shot below is the smoke at the major shopping centre in Tuggeranong.

I was crying when I got off the bus. (By the way this shocks me that I totally lost it).

This was the view on Tuesday from my deck when I got home.

Later I could see flames and that’s when I decided I needed to evacuate and asked Matthew to come home from work. It was coming in fast and hard. I don’t think the emergency services were ready for this but they did a good job. And with the drought all that bush is bone dry.

The emergency services released a worst case scenario map for the weekend. It was pretty freaky. We didn’t know what the parameters were but obviously they didn’t eventuate. What did happen was the fire leaped over to NSW.

 

What started as a spot fire grew so quickly. Houses were lost and it’s still going but due to quiet winds not as badly as it could have done.

The shot below was Friday, when I was home alone and decided to get out of there. No magnification here.

 

The next is what the spot fires looked like on the app on Saturday.

It grew quickly.

Then it started to spread across the highway on Sunday. The Clear Range fire now listed as being 11,470 hectares.

 

This is why I have had a disrupted week and life. I am not sure when normal transmission will resume. It might be a new normal. I just don’t now.

 

 

 

I’m sorry it’s taken a bit to get this third post together, but life!

We spent about four days in London, mostly so we could go to the Harry Potter Experience, which was very fab. At the beginning of the tour they asked the audience if anyone had been before. One woman said she had been 53 times. Wow! The cost alone must run into thousands of pounds. The exhibition was fantastic, which lots of displays from the talented people who made the costumes, sets, prosthetics and make up.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Gringotts bank set was amazing. I took lots of photos and video of it. We had a nice lunch there and drooled over the merchandise. I’d totally do it again, but not 53 times.

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We had an accommodation issue in London which soured our experience somewhat, and then we headed off to Ireland. I was there for three weeks, including Dublin Worldcon and a workshop with David Farland. So I went between Donegal and Dublin a little bit.

Warning: there are images of a bog body here, that is a corpse that is thousands of years old so look away if that does not appeal. We stayed in Westminster so these are a few along the river. We wished we could fossick on the shores of the Thames but you need license now.

Then we did a tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, which included a Queen Victoria exhibition. Unfortunately no photos but we did get some of the grounds and the back part of the palace that you don’t see from the street. I love the lake in Buckingham Palace, not that we got to walk around but it was visible on the exit path.

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Then we went to the British Museum. I’ve been a few times and it is so big I’ve not see all of it.We were focussed on early Britain this visit. It was incredibly busy and the food was so expensive.  The following shots are of the bog body. I saw more of them in Ireland (in a museum, not the wild).

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These are some roman hoard. The quality of manufacture was amazing. And the  head, early Christian I believe.

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I am going to keep Ireland for the next post. Sorry, I’m out of time.

I don’t comment on politics often but this has been on my mind.

We have protests. We have affirmative action from the people. We have solar power and wind power. Why does the Australian government not understand or seem to act?

It comes down to economics and coal. Coal the core of our trade and how can the government say coal is bad and keep selling it? Basically it can’t. If they stopped the coal industry tomorrow our economy would collapse.

I get that but I’m not happy about it.

What the Australian government needs to do is look for new industries for Australia to have at its core and start the move away from coal. That might take fifty years but we should start now. Successive governments have had decades on decades to more our economy from a commodity base to more dependable footing say manufacturing, finance, technology and ideas. But I can’t see any attempts at that. Now, we have our backs against the wall. We have a lot of coal but soon we aren’t going to be able to sell as much of it as we used to. Coal creates greenhouse gases and as other economies get on board with this, they will change and we should be changing ahead of the game. For example, China buys coal and burns coal. In Shanghai you have to wear a mask in the winter due to the coal burning power stations and I believe Beijing is the same. China are investing in solar energy and that’s probably where my solar panels were manufactured.

What I’d like to see is for the Australian government to support climate change action. Listen to the voices of the people who want recycling, who want less waste, who want less plastics in the environment. We want support for electric cars so we aren’t contributing to more greenhouse gases. Supporting climate change action doesn’t have to mean economic loss, but it does mean the government acknowledging the will of the people when it comes to climate change action.

The government talks about banning protesters and Morrison PM says that kids are too young to worry about such things. Scott Morrison you are being an ass and Dutton, your dopey comrade, is just too ridiculous for words, calling on the police to sue protestors because the courts won’t punish them. Cue eye roll. Ever heard of the separation of powers?

Australian government start talking about a positive future and about where Australia will be in fifty years or even one hundred years’ time. Plan to have a no coal future and build us an economy that can support us and where we can actively reduce greenhouse gasses and still live.

Not all Australian governments are blind and stupid. Canberra is moving to phase LPG (gas) out by 2030, I think. Besides being pricey LPG  contributes to greenhouse gases. Canberra is set to achieve 100 percent renewable energy, which is great but there’s more to be done obviously.

The Australian Government missed the boat on a future fund based on the mining and petroleum sectors. I mean the then Labor government did try, but it brought the government into disarray. Rich mining moguls have way too much money and power! One day all those minerals will run out and Australians will be turning out their empty pockets and will need to go begging. But that’s the greed culture for you.

I have included a few links. The one in the Conversation talks about how the statistics say one thing but if you include the downstream industries that mining is fifty percent of the economy and is pretty interesting about economics generally.

Warning the Mining Council can be a bit right wing.

https://minerals.org.au/coal-community

https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/5204.0Feature%20Article12017-18?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=5204.0&issue=2017-18&num=&view=

http://theconversation.com/australias-five-pillar-economy-mining-40701

Conflux 15

We had a long weekend in Canberra last weekend and I went to Conflux 15, a local SF convention. For the first time we had it in a library, Gungahlin Library to be precise. It was a nice space. There were logistical issues with the door when the library wasn’t open, but overall not too shabby.

It seemed to be a smaller convention than usual. It takes a few people to not turn up to make it seem that way. I heard that the committee had issues and that Karen Herkes was in hospital and that left just a small core of people to do all the things. They and the volunteers did a great job. The program was an awesome thing to behold. Well done, Alistair. I also hear that Karen is on the mend so that’s great news too.

Thoraiya Dyer was the guest of honour and her guest of honour speech was moving and funny. It was very well done. Les Petersen was the artist in residence and his talk about his puppets and animation was interesting. He talked about his career making book covers and how book covers should tell a story. Russell Kirkpatrick was the MC and he put on a schoolmaster role that had people laughing their heads off. Special bonus was a visit on the Sunday by John Scalzi, who did a walk around chat in the dealers area! A kaffeklatch and a question and answer session. It was so fab! John Scalzi was very generous with his time. His books are good too. I’m waiting on The Last Empero that he’s writing right now.

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Me with Thoraiya Dyer at the banquet

 

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Les Petersen during his talk

I have to admit to being the mastermind behind John’s thank you gift. I noticed when I met him in Perth at a Swancon a few years that he had a little sugar addiction going. He’d flown 40 hours to get to Canberra and would need a bit of sugar to get him home. We gave him a bag full of Australian sweets, with some vegemite flavoured peanuts thrown in. He has youtubed the tasting of said sweets. I laughed. Musk sticks scored the lowest and I love those lollies. I can’t keep a pack in my house because I’ll just keep eating them. The link to John’s youtube tasting is below.

A few days before, I was lucky enough to catch John Scalzi’s keynote at the Dept of Defence seminar on the future of war through the lens of SF. A great day full of great talks by the lights of Australian SF: Jack Dann, Janeen Webb, Russell Blackford, Cat Sparks, John Birmingham and other international speakers. I even got an idea for a novel out of that day from an unasked question.

The con kicked off at Siren’s on Friday night with a get together, with pizza and meat on skewers and it was low key but a nice way to warm up with everyone. Well everyone who came. It was free and put on for Conflux members. I’ve always been a fan of the warm up event.

I hung with Keri Arthur and Catherine Walker mostly at the get together and during the con. Keri is a real trooper and had come up for Conflux to catch up with mates. She didn’t even bring any books to sell. I also got to say hello to old friends and introduce myself to people I didn’t know.

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Catherine trying to get away from Keri and me.

 

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Catherine joining in because she couldn’t get away

I had a dealers table at Conflux so I spent a lot of time there. But first, you must hear about my book launch. Leife Shallcross launched Ruby Heart and Emerald Fire at 12.30 on Saturday. I made cupcakes. The best recipe ever that I got on Youtube. I will post the link below. I also made gluten free brownies and provided some rice crackers and humous.

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Launch food, photo by Cat Sparks

I think the launch went very well but I stuffed up my reading. This is because I was so busy! Can you believe that excuse? A serious lack of preparation. Cat Sparks took some shots from the launch. Thoraiya’s daughter had dressed in steampunk costume for the launch. I was dressed in 50s’ style as I have grown out of my steampunk garb! Thoraiya bought both books for her daughter, who is a very advanced 11 year old. To my surprise, the wonderful daughter finished both books by the banquet on Sunday night and pronounced them excellent! I have never been so gobsmacked and grateful for such excellent praise.

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Launch books

My partner usually helps me out with the table and launches but he had a commitment to our house cleaners. I was lucky enough to have my daughters and granddaughter come to help me. My second daughter revamped my table and the number one daughter did the till! They were rewarded with cupcakes.

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Me at the launch. Photo credit Cat Sparks

 

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Me explaining something about the books

People stopped by my dealer’s table so I did get some photos. These guys were instrumental in Matthew Farrer’s writing career. They used to manage a Gamesworkshop store back in the day. Matthew is my very understanding partner.

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Dr Tim Napper and Andrew Old

I was probably on the most panels I have ever been on during a convention. On Saturday I was on a panel about research and rabbit holes called the Exploration Beneath the Novel. It was a fun panel with Dion Perry, Dawn Meredith and Aiki Flinthart. We talked about types of research, like experiential–doing stuff so we can write about it more effectively. Aiki launched her Fight Like a Girl book at Conflux. I’ve almost finished reading my copy. It’s a book for writers about writing girl fights and it is interesting, well researched and very useful. I did her fight like a girl workshop last year.

I was scheduled to be at the Meet the Author station on the Sunday but after watching authors sit under this sign and no one coming to talk to them I didn’t do it. I likened it to the naughty chair so I stayed at my dealer table. Catherine M Walker had the table next to me and she was great keeping an eye on it while I was scampering about. Thank you Cath! And she was company when things were slow.

Monday I was on three panels.  The first one was SF romance, which was a very good panel with Freya Marske and Darian Smith, a new to me male romance writer. I will be interviewing him on the blog soon. Freya was the moderator and she did an excellent job.

Then in the afternoon I was on two in a row, Underground Movements and Secret Societies, followed by the Jane Austen panel. I didn’t have time between panels to change but I had decided to wear my latest Regency dress and my slapdash bonnet. Seeing that in the Regency period, and earlier, there were men’s clubs I thought I could get away with the dress and bonnet during that panel. We were lucky enough to have Keri Arthur join Dionne Lister, Dion Perry and me. It was a fun panel and interesting too about paranoia and conspiracy theories and why these nefarious societies work in fiction, particularly urban fantasy, paranormal fantasy and so on.

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Me on the underground societies’ panel, photo by Nicole Murphy

I chaired the Austen panel and participated a little bit. With panel members Leife Shallcross and Freya Marske, who could talk Austen underwater, this panel went off nicely. With some information gaps filled from the audience we were able to talk about Austen’s contribution to fiction and genre and recommend some Austen genre mashups. I had done a little research ahead of time through reading this book, What Matters in Jane Austen, by John Mullan. Thank you Nick for the gift.

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As I mentioned earlier, I spent a lot of time at my table, but the buzz from the congoers was good. A bit slow for us dealers, but that happens. I did manage the banquet which had good food although I think they ran short of roasted vegetables and put some chips in there, which is a bit sad really. The gluten free menu was a bit contracted and poor Keri got no entrees and had to have ice cream with caramel sauce because there were no gluten free dessert for her.I did hear a rumour that we might get historical banquet’s again curtesy of our resident historian, Gillian Polack.

It was sad to say goodbye to everyone at the end. Sad to pack up the table but Matthew was there to help me so all good. I had to take a walking stick with me because of the distances involved. I have a partial tear in my plantar plate and I’m trying to keep the weight off. I kept leaving the stick behind. But once I went a certain distance I’d need it. I wasn’t faking it guys. I hate the damn stick.

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A great photo of me in my bonnet taken by Cat Sparks

So ends another Conflux. Conflux 16 has been announced for next year. If you like meeting authors and hanging out with the genre tribe then make plans to go to an SF convention near you. If you have been to Conflux before and think you might go along one day maybe, remember that Conflux only exists because people come along so come along next year. Without support SF conventions can’t afford to run no matter how dedicated the committee and volunteers. Convention goers make the con. I hope to see you next year.

Here is John Scalzi eating Aussie Sweets and YouTube.

The cupcake recipe is from this lady but this clip is great.

Cat Sparks has a great selection of photos on her Flickr account.

The first photo in Cat’s photostream is Elizabeth who bought and read my books. She’s so cute in her steampunk outfit.

Last week it was Conflux 15 over three days of the long weekend. I’m due to write a post on that, but first I’m just in the relax weekend space. I have some sourdough in the making. I’m making three loaves instead of two as my second daughter wants a loaf regularly too. I currently make one for the house and one for the number one daughter. I think I have this sourdough bread baking in hand. Today though I threw in a bunch of other flour, some wholemeal and some spelt so it will be interesting to see how that goes.

It’s a lovely sunny day outside, though a bit nippy. I can see cloud shadows on the ranges out the window to my left. I find that view comforting and calming.

IMG_9298I’m a bit stressed. Not a lot stressed but just a bit. It’s the 13th of October 2019 and I’m wondering what is happening to time. September I had a schedule to work on my phd novel, which I stuck to, but October started out busy and you know it’s just slipped by.

I did a schedule for the rest of October and I feel sort of less stressed about it. I want to do NaNoWriMo in November but I do have an exegesis to get reacquainted with. I haven’t been at my uni desk for a long time. I’ll be back there next week.

I think the schedule helped me be less stressed because it positioned me in reality a bit. It’s not an overly hard schedule but sitting down and looking at the month let me know that I still have a couple of weeks to get things done. Or shall I say start to get things done. A little bit less of panic, hand waving, screaming mode.

The PhD is not overly stressful. I’m on intermission so how can it be? It’s one of those things I must really throw myself into next year (next year is fast approaching!). I’m not working and earning so that is probably an itch that contributes to this sense of unease. I think it is this sense that time is going too fast.

So today I’m kicking back and relaxing. I have no chance of slowing time, I know that, but I want to feel a minute pass, and feel my breath as it leaves my body. I’m looking at the view and I’m waiting for the sourdough to do it’s thing.

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Recent sourdough bread

I did have something else to say but it’s slipped through the sieve of my mind.

PS. The sourdough starter I dried before I went away revived nicely. I also froze some but can’t discover it in the chaos of the deep freezer.

I thought these posts would be easy! Ha! Blogging about anything was pushed unceremoniously down the to do list, where it has sat pouting ever since.

So to continue on, we spent ten days driving around Cornwall-my first time. Then then three days in Lyme Regis. As it happens the highway from Brighton to Lanner, where we stayed in Cornwall went past this old thing. If you haven’t been to Stonehenge then you may not know that it is visible from the highway. There was a plan to build a tunnel under it but that has not eventuated. Apparently, the traffic jams up as people slow down to look at the stones.

Cornwall is a great place for the physically active, particularly in summer. Walks, cliff walks, beaches and so on. There were a few places we didn’t get to, but here’s some of what we did. We made sure to eat Cornish pasties and Cornish cream teas. My waist still bears the scars of too much clotted cream!

This is me and my water bottle (I got ribbed for not hiding it) overlooking Porthcurno beach. Next to me is an open air theatre on the cliff. For Poldark tragics the bay behind features in the TV series.

That’s the view down to the beach! Eep! Steep.

And that’s the beach proper, with real sand. Nearby is a museum of communication as apparently the cables that connect to the rest of the world leave from here and there’s a WW2 bunker that you can walk through. Well worth the visit.

During our trip to Cornwall we did not go everywhere. The place is alive with beaches and the weather was amazing. We visited nearby Land’s End, who wouldn’t? And that was a bit of a fizzer. It’s now a huge pay car park with possibly entertainment and stuff. We just left. The next trip we took was to north Cornwall. I’m a Doc Martin fan so we headed up to Port Issac where the TV show is set. We had no idea they were filming until we walked into the town and had access blocked. But we did see cast members and scenes being shot from a distance. The crew were amazing. And I got that photo of me in Doc Martin’s doorway.

Walking down to the town.

A shot where the crew were discussing the filming. I’m pretty sure that’s Martin Clunes in the blue T-shirt and sunnies on his head.

This is Ian McNiece heading to the set. I was in the restaurant right by the shooting. He was so generous, letting people take photos with him.

Me at the door to Doc Martin’s surgery. It was up for rent!

Opposite Doc Martin’s cottage.

 

The beach at Port Issac. We couldn’t see much because they were filming down there.

These are some of the shots of filming. I think I got a glimpse of the main cast. You could not believe how excited my daughter and I were. I end with the Port Issac cross. Then on to Tintagel, because it was close by.

Tintagel was a disappointment really. The castle ruins were closed. We did a tour of the old post office as we had National Trust memberships. But otherwise it was touristy, and there was even a gift store to buy dogs souvenirs.

This used to be a house and it’s very old.

This is as close as we could get to the ruins. The bridge was being repaired.

Next we went to Penzance, which was a pretty town.

Some interesting buildings.

We went to drive around the castle. We didn’t go in. But there was a car park with a great view so I took this shot.

Down in the bay, watching dogs play fetch.

Near Penzance. St Michael’s Mount is near here. We didn’t go in but it was very impressive.

Next trip was Lizard Point and Kynance Cove. The track to the cove gave me some cool ideas for a book I’m thinking about. A longish walk but a decent cafe and cute beach. At Lizard Point we went souvenir shopping. Nick’s father was stationed there during the war so he bought a serpentine clock (green type of stone).

 

Kydance Cove

The long, easy walk!

A glimpse!

The beach at Kydance Cove.

 

We also went to Falmouth, a really pretty place.

And this is me in our little miner’s cottage that we rented. It wasn’t big enough to swing a cat in, but the patio was its saving virtue.

Now to Lyme Regis, but first we stopped into a National Trust property called Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Cornwall. It was once a Jacobean house that was refurbished after the Victorian style after a fire in 1881. What’s interesting about this place beyond the 30 or so rooms that are open and the magnificent grounds is the access to the below stairs-kitchens, nurseries, storerooms

 

Some shots of the grounds. The head gardener’s cottage.

 

Then from the inside.

 

And my favourite place, the lady of the house’s boudoir.

Below stairs.

And now for Lyme Regis- I definitely want to visit here again, preferably closer to the beach.

So for you Austen fans, the cobb features in various movie versions of Persuasion as well as in the books. It is the first thing I went to see and walk on. I found walking on the top of the cobb scary and walking from the stone stairs to the bottom even scarier. The other thing it is famous for is that it is on the Jurassic Coast. That’s right, fossil hunting.

My first view of Lyme Regis from the top of the hill, where our accomodation was situated. Then a walk down the hill.

A walk through the park to get to the cobb.

A view of the beach at Lyme.

A view of the marina, from the cobb.

A view along the cobb. It slopes down so it’s scary to walk along.

A view down the stairs. I couldn’t do it. I got dizzy.

The next day we did walk along the base.

 

Along the beach front. And next the jurassic cliffs. The mud between the layers is millions of years old.

Me fossicking for fossils.

Me at nearby Westbay.

I’ve got more but there’s too much already. Next post is the trip home from Lyme Regis via Jane Austen’s cottage at Chawton and also some pics from London and Harry Potter world.

 

I was away for two and a half months. I cannot put all the photos I took on the trip here. Maybe if I had blogged the trip I could. Alas, I did not do that. I put most photos on Facebook over the period.

So without much blather about this and that, I’m going to put some photos up here. We were located in Saltdean for the first part, not far from Brighton. We did a short trip to York and Nottingham, as well as a few places around Sussex, such as Scotney Castle (Kent) and Tunbridge Wells, Charleston House (Bloomsbury set), Monk House in Redmell (Virginia Woolf’s house) and the Burlington Gap.

We’ve stayed in Saltdean before but had not explored the bridle paths behind the suburb. The weather as you can see was amazing and I believe that is linseed/linen growing behind me.

 

It was so peaceful walking in the bridle paths and it seemed like we were alone forever. Here are some views of the fields and to the sea. See the poppies growing wild? I love UK for the wildflowers.This was a short kind of wheat growing here.

A lovely shot of the linseed, looking across to the rear of Saltdean, not far from Telscome Tye (the common).

A look along the bridle path. If you don’t know what a bridle path is, it’s a public right of way through private lands brought about by the historic use of these paths for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. Some are just walking paths. This one you can ride horses.

This is a shot from Burlington Gap of the Seven Sisters. It is being eroded at a fast pace as the cliffs and most of the Southdowns are made of chalk with flint in it.

 

The next is a shot of my daughter and granddaughter as they went down the stairs to the beach. We had good tea and cake here in the cafe. The rocks are the flint from the chalk.

A view along the coast from our walk to Brighton Marina along the footpath.

Just to break the monotony of these gorgeous landscapes! This is the largest internal waterfall inside a mall at Singapore. The mall is attached by a walkway to the airport. We broke our journey from Canberra in Singapore and stayed at the Crowne Plaza. We were totally spoiled and hung out at the pool. Sadly just one night.

A few local places we went to next.

A very old pub in Alfriston, the George Inn, where they serve the most amazing Welsh Rarebit. And next, Monk House in Rodmell Village, Virginia Woolf’s own room.

A bust of Virginia Woolf that was at Charleston cottage and Monk House.

A short trip to York, which was so great. Our apartment was right in York, near the river. We thoroughly recommend Jorvik and we also saw another place, Barley Hall. Here is me in a kids’ dress up.

Here is me at the York Assembly Rooms, which is an Ask restaurant. Ask is very similar to Zizzi’s so not overly expensive.

Here is the obligatory shot of the Shambles in York.

Two shots of Scotney Castle, near Tunbridge Wells. My second visit. This is an iconic shot of the ruins.

Scotney has a Victorian house and then the old castle was ruined to make a folly. This is a view from the front of the house down through the amazing gardens.

Nottingham. I don’t seem to have a lot of photos from Nottingham. I did a tour of the caves under the mall. My daughter got claustrophobia and couldn’t do it. This was my second visit. The tour guide was great.  The photo is from the caves, which contain the oldest tannery, from about the 12C or something. Nottingham was visiting friends and family and a spot of shopping.

After leaving Nottingham we went to Southwell for the morning. There is a cathedral there, a minster actually and it is said the least well known. We fell in love with this village. So quaint and lovely.

The Southwell cathedral is famous for a gargoyle that looks like Donald Trump.

There are a few walks around Southwell, one that takes you to one of Lord Byron’s houses.

Near Southwell, actually within walking distance, is the first workhouse. In later years it was for assisted housing, but this workhouse served as a model for others. It was seen as a way to save money in looking after the poor.

 

These are some of the highlights. Part Two will have to be Cornwall, Lyme Regis and a few great houses.

See you later for the next instalment.