So it’s been 6 months and where am I – my PhD


Menotti’s Coffee Shop -Venice Beach, LA

I have just submitted my first milestone document in the PhD program at my University; a document that took many weeks (months actually) to prepare that I doubt will ever be be looked at!

The document is a compliance step, due 6 months into the program. It is the first of two important milestones along the way to moving from being provisionally accepted into the program as a PhD candidate.

My lodged (and I suspect now filed completely unread) document  included a

  • basic Research Proposal  (which has raised more questions with me than it has answered),
  •  Gantt Chart of how my PhD journey will look (my I have a lot to do),
  •  Data Management Plan (I can’t tell you how often the message of back up and safe storage has been rammed home. It’s a message I don’t need having nursed my laptop with a failing hard drive to the end of my Honours Program), and
  • minimum resources document (the minimum resources the Uni will provide – generally pretty good including unlimited fast internet access on campus, 24/7 IT support and I think the world’s only steam powered desktop – it’s still running Vista!).

The  process while procedural provided me with the opportunity to order my thoughts and get feedback from my supervisors. Continue reading

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“It’s a grand old flag” – Sturt SANFL Premiers 2016

The Premiership Cup is ours!

The Premiership Cup is ours!

As “It’s a Grand Old Flag” boomed across Adelaide Oval yesterday afternoon at the end of the 2016 SANFL Grand Final, emotions flowed from players, coaches and supporters alike. Sturt massive underdogs had beaten the overwhelming favourite Woodville-West Torrens Eagles to win the 2016 Premiership. It was Sturt’s 14th premiership and the 8th I’d been lucky enough to see.


Wearing a scarf knitted by my mother and grandmother in the late 1960s a period of unparalelled Sturt success, I walked to Adelaide Oval, memories flooding back of how I had done the same with my father through the period 1967 to 1970 when Sturt were truly dominnat and perhaps the best side in Australia. My father said I was too young to go to the 1966 Grand Final!

In 2016 the SANFL plays second fiddle to the AFL however Sturt remain the team for whom my “heart beats true” and Sturt’s victory in 2016 was truly a great victory. Sure it was before a crowd of just 30,000, whereas their triumphs of the 60s and 70s had been infront of crowds more than double, it was still special. It was also the first grand final victory for Sturt that I’d seen without my father who was a true Blue’s man. My son too was unable to attend with work annoyingly calling him interstate – he was so annoyed!

Sturt whilst underdogs had been strong all season, and infact had led the table for a number of weeks, however they had lost to the Eagles in their three meetings during the yseason. I went hopeful but certainly not expectant.

Sturt were outplayed early in the game but img_4244managed to stay in touch and sticking faithfully to their coach’s game plan, trailed by a few points at quarter time and managed to lead by 3 points at halftime. Continue reading

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The Diary of a Slow Traveller – A day at the beach (Venice Beach and Santa Monica)


Venice Beach

We’d been to California only once before and that was with our children so it was very much Disney centric.  We had a great few days as Mickey’s guest but this time we had a chance to do a little exploring around the academic conferences that were the primary reason for our visit.

Based in Anaheim we decided that a Sunday at the beach in LA would be fun. The way the conference agenda panned out meant that I had pretty much a day free before a late afternoon session on my research area of interest.

Initially our thoughts had been a day at Disneyland, very convenient to our hotel but not at the top of my favourite person’s agenda and certainly pricey $238 for two tickets. Given the glorious weather and the fact that Venice Beach was home to my favourite person’s new favourite clothes store, Kit and Ace, it was a “no brainer”!

After a quick look through our Lonely Planet guide and Trip Advisor it was downstairs and into an Uber car and onto Venice Beach. Our driver was delightful, chatting about lots of  interesting stuff about living in California and after just over an hour we were dropped at the incredibly busy Venice Beach. The traffic was amazing, still it was Sunday a glorious day and it was LA where cars are King!

Venice Beach conjured up so many visions. Girls on roller blades, palms, street vendors,  ice cream, burly men and lots of people. It didn’t disappoint.


After walking along the promenade adjacent to the beach for about an hour we decided to search for coffee before heading inland to Kit and Ace. Just off the beach we found a lovely little coffee shop where they had no trouble making the best coffee we’d had on the trip to date. Refreshed, we walked on to a delightful shopping strip so my favourite person could visit her favourite store. Continue reading

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Alice’s Restaurant


If you haven’t ever listened to or haven’t recently listened to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant, I suggest  make yourself a coffee, sit down and listen to it.

I hadn’t listened top it for many years until it just appeared on a Spotify playlist I selected. Within a fraction of a second of it starting I knew exactly that it was Alice’s Restaurant and more scarily I  knew every word just as though I’d only heard it the day before. It had been a regular at our Friday night singalongs in the 70s.

I thankfully was too young to be in the Vietnam Draft but knew many who were either in the Conscription ballots or were called up to serve in Vietnam, so its significance is one I understood all too well.

As the song progressed on my Spotify Play list I stopped what I was doing to listen again as I ‘d done so many times before, first chuckling internally and then just laughing out aloud. And there was plenty of time to do this as its more than 18 minutes long! Too long to fit on a 45 it filled  the whole of a side on an LP (Released 1967). It’s hilarious while at the same time having a pretty hard edge.

If you haven’t listened to it and want too click on the link – Alice’s Restaurant before reading on as there are spoilers below. Continue reading

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The Diary of a Slow Traveler – who needs a travel guide when you have Kit & Ace


The Golden Gate Bridge from the Marina

Before making our short trip (no slow travel this time) to California we had looked at the travel guides at our local bookstore and bought the Lonely Planet guide. It served us quite well as did our traditional “go to” websites, Trip Advisor and Yelp, however my favourite person discovered a really useful travel guide for San Francisco via her new favourite clothes store “Kit and Ace”. They have two stores in San Francisco, one in the trendy Hayes Street and the other in Fillmore Street, and their websites come complete with suggested places to go nearby – places they describe as their “neighbours”.

Their recommendations provided the basis for a late Friday afternoon in the trendy Hayes Street area and the starting point for a Saturday largely spent in Fillmore Street and the Marina.

Brass Tacks

Brass Tacks

We were told not to walk from Union Square to Hayes Street as it goes through a less than desirable part of San Francisco, so we caught an UberX to our first destination Kit and Ace, Hayes Street. After making a couple of purchases it was off to visit Kit and Ace’s neighbours. Being a late Friday afternoon that meant a bar and our first stop was Brass Tacks for a glass of wine and a relaxing seat at the bar right opposite a delightful park. We could have sat there for a couple of hours but decided to wander on up the street in search of more neighbours. A walk along Hayes Street includes a mix of new and old architecture and lots of interesting shops. We took Kit and Ace’s advice and stopped at 2 Sisters Bar and Books another little bar. From there we decided to walk back to our hotel. While my favourite person felt it was fine, I would have to say that I felt the ambience of the area change markedly as we walked back and was relieved to get back to Union Square where our hotel was located.

Union Square

Union Square

Union Square is home to many restaurants bars and lots of shops. So after a walk through Macy’s, Saks 5th Avenue it was off to Del Popolo a new pizza restaurant. It was busy, so a drink at the bar entertained by the guys making pizza filled in the half an hour or so wait for our table. The pizza was great and would do Naples proud.


We had been so impressed with Kit and Ace’s recommendations  Continue reading

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