Nhill, Victoria – a place to stop for petrol or a destination?

The talking draft horse – Nhill, Victoria

Nhill is about 350 kms from Adelaide, just over the border into Victoria. It is a place we’d driven through many times, heading to Melbourne or other parts. If we’d stopped it had only been for a comfort stop and petrol.

Not this time. My favourite person and I had driven across to NE Victoria so I could collect data for my research.

This would be an out and back trip. The 800km plus trip each way meant we were looking for the quickest route so it would be straight through and when I say straight I mean it. The GPS barely comes to life on these types of trip. Often its silent for a couple of hours before piping in with taking the second exit of a roundabout in 270 kms – that means slow down but keep going straight.

As we drove we mused over driving holidays of days gone by as children with our parents, in our early years of marriage, just the two of us and then with children. Oh the country towns and dodgy motels! These trips had made us appreciate just how big Australia is, something lost when you are 30000 feet up flying between capital cities. Country Australia and the capital cities are different worlds these days, more is the pity.

The drive through the Adelaide Hills and then on through the south east of South Australia saw the countryside quickly change from the greenish brown tinge of late summer to the straw brown of the flat quintessential South Australian countryside.

On the way over we’d stopped at Bendigo, a historic gold rush town. Stopping in Bendigo meant we’d only have a half day drive to meet my interviewees the next day. Bendigo is synonymous with the 1850s gold rush and has buildings that are reminiscent of a bygone and wealthy past. Today its home to about 100,000 people and is typical of a large country centre with all the mod cons. It’s also home to a lovely local hotel, the Bridge, which we were lucky enough to strike on T-bone Tuesday! A large steak, fresh vegetables, salad and a glass of wine for under $20. A perfect way to break our journey on the way over.

The next morning it was a 3 hour drive onto the winery I was visiting. My interviewees were a delight providing me with much rich data, for my research. Our time there enabled us to take a tour of the winery and conduct my interviews enjoy a lovely ddinner with on e of the family member and then set off on the return journey.

On the way home, we decided that we’d break the journey in half and settled on Nhill, Victoria. Continue reading

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Sydney by Ferry

The Harbour is what makes Sydney, as everyone knows, and so what better way to get around it than by ferry?

We’d taken the ferry to Balmain on our first day in Sydney and so as the clouds cleared on our second morning, we grabbed our Opal Cards and set off. This time rather than getting in the ferry at Pyrmont Bay we decided to walk across the Pyrmont Bridge and walk around to Barangaroo.

Barangaroo is a new trendy mix of business and hospitality. Being a Saturday morning it was not particularly busy and so rather than stopping for a coffee, we decided to hop on a ferry and head to Circular Quay. I thought we’d have an early lunch at Cafe Sydney, but it was closed and with the weather still a bit dodgy we decided to have a light lunch at one of the Harbourside restaurants. I was surprised how pleasant the meal was given these are so often straight tourist traps! We were able to sit and watch the people and ferries go by as well as look across to a large passenger ship moored at the International terminal. Looking at the ship again reconfirmed why I remain not that keen on a cruise – all those people and nowhere to hide!!

As we sat the weather cleared and we decided we head into Watsons Bay, not for lunch as we had originally planned but for a glass of wine.  It’s about a half hour trip via Rose Bay. This ferry ride gave us a great chance to see the Harbour in all its glory.

Once at Watsons Bay, we headed for the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and it’s 800 seat bar and dining area, known as the Beach Club. How can anything that seats 800 be boutique? Continue reading

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Sydney – The Naval Museum and Balmain

We travelled to Sydney with our daughter who had a convention to attend. Her conference was at the New Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour giving us an excuse to stay somewhere we’d not been before.

We chose to stay in an Airbnb apartment in Pyrmont. Very convenient to our daughter’s convention and opening new places for us to discover and visit.

With our daughter off at the convention, our first stop was breakfast at the Social Brew Cafe. It was busy. I can only imagine that it would be frantic on a Saturday or Sunday. The coffee was great and the eggs excellent. It provided a good base to start our day. Continue reading

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They weren’t joking when they said, you read your way to a PhD were they?

The Old Library, Trinity College, Dublin

As I have put my nose to the grindstone and got right back into my research, my principal supervisor’s early advice that you read your way to a Phd has really been ringing in my ears.

With Christmas out of the way and a quiet New Year, I have been slogging away.

My goal was to have my draft Literature Review completed by the end of the first week of January. I have laboured over it for so long and had really thought I was nearly there but I just am not!

The advice of rejection for a journal article I submitted before Christmas has me going back to basics. The rejection letter said, go back and read more, do more to make the research more robust. On the one hand, I was annoyed as I felt in conjunction with my experienced co-authors that the article as submitted met, the criteria at least for a revise and resubmit, but apparently not.

On the other hand, I was thankful that the rejection letter came with advice about what needed to be worked on.

As the journal article was the culmination of my Honours Research and is the basis of my PhD research, the advice in the rejection letter has had me rethinking how robust my PhD project is. How robust is my literature review, am I approaching my research method correctly, what will my contribution be? It’s later that is the fundamental step in being awarded a PhD.

As I read one of the journal articles recommended I found myself asking whether I had really nailed a key construct in my PhD research or was I just kidding myself? Continue reading

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Reality hits – I need to collect some data!

As our time in the UK fades into the background, and the year ends, I have come to the realization that I need to collect data for my PhD research and get writing about it. Hopefully the many draft blog posts for my Diary of a Slow Traveller blog posts will make sure it doesn’t become a distant memory.

My favourite person made the observation while we were away that perhaps 2018 might need to be a year to stay close to home. With children getting married and the prospect of grandchildren not to mention a PhD, her observation struck a chord, albeit a jarring one!

In the weeks since we’ve returned to Adelaide I have been ruminating on my literature review. I have some feedback from my supervisors on it. The good news, at least 3 of my 25000 words are useful!

I’m now in the phase of re-editing it. There are some sections that I’m so over, it makes me nauseous to read them. That’s a challenge but it needs to be done. Why is it that’s each time you read something you feel the need to make sweeping changes?  My goal is that by very early January the latest draft will be completed and sent to my supervisors for a further and final review because I really need to move on.

My favourite person’s observation that 2018 needs to be about my PhD makes sense. I’m a long way behind where I’d hoped to be.

There are good reasons, Continue reading

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