In Arsene we trust – End of an era

Arsene Wenger (Source:


“To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club.

My love and support forever.”

-Arsene Wenger

Sitting on the other side of the world last Friday night as The Adelaide Crows, my AFL team, won a thrilling encounter against the odds, my favourite person called out that Arsene had announced his retirement. I felt numb.

I have followed Arsenal since the early 70s where the only way to get news of how they were going was via the classified results on the radio on a Sunday morning and then perhaps seeing some highlights on Match of the Day on a Wednesday night. With the

advent of PayTV, I have been able to watch Arsenal play. The timezone means games are on at all hours of the night and with my only company the cat, I perfected the silent cheer so as not to wake the house when Henry, Adebayor, Giroud and now Ramsay, Lacasette and Aubameyang score.

For nearly half those years Arsene Wenger has been ever present on the boundary. His clenched fist cheer at a goal, sideline arguments with other managers and the fourth official, as well as his struggles with his puffer jacket are my memories of Arsene.

Like all Arsenal supporters and perhaps all football supporters, I marveled at The Invincibles Continue reading

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The Cockies are eating our house!

Dusk at the beach, Second Valley

I have written often of the paradise that is Second Valley on South Australia’s Fleurieu Pensinsula. It is idyllic and now regularly written up as one of South Australia’s best beaches. The secret has got out!


Waking in the morning to the sounds of the birds, seeing the odd Kangaroo hop past our back door, it’s lovely but for all of this, we have one true menace. No it’s not the snakes, although the dog and I did see a four foot brown snake slithering down the street a couple of weeks ago, it’s the Cockies (Cockatoos)! There are thousands of them. They squawk raucously, strip the trees of leaves and pine cones and make a mess everywhere.

Continue reading

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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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