Tuesday, September 24, 2013

An extremely Exotic location

Exotic cushions has fallen on it's feet again!
Really? where?

 In there?

Yes, I've been blessed again with friends and sisters in high places and have found myself on my feet at Montsalvat, the artists colony in Eltham, Victoria, Australia.
Sue (my sister) and I had an open studio recently to show our wares.
Here are some photos of the surroundings I'm lucky enough to find myself working in.

 Montsalvat was built in the 1930's although it looks much older and much more French.

 There are many fascinating nooks and crannies where artists create beautiful things. Here is David Brown's studio where he makes violins and shakuhachi flutes and is a maker of international reputation and calibre.

 There have been some wonderful yarn bombers here as part of the artists in residence programme.
 I'll keep you informed as to what transpires. For now it's goodnight.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Beach bum days and Forest walks

 Well it may seem as if my life is one big trip to the beach but if you look carefully at the dates between the last post and this one you'll realise that not much beach or anything else has been going on since the middle of June. Mostly it's been a round of fear and loathing in suburbia. (Well maybe not too much loathing)
Yes I'm back in Australia and have been since December 6th 2012, when I migrated back to home base. (Albeit with a one month trip back to the UK in May and June; see last couple of posts).
This post is about that incredible Isle we're so lucky to have so close by; Tasmania. In just one hour you can be breathing pristine air.
I was lucky enough to be able to stay with a friend in a small town called Low Head at the northen edge. It's well worth a trip.
Don't you just love a red and white lighthouse?

Or any red and white object really?

One morning we got up at 4am and drove to the North eastern corner of Tasmania to Mt William National Park to watch and photograph the beach at sunrise. There was so much wildlife on the road.  It was a miracle we didn't hit any wallabies as they bounded and swerved beside us. At one stage a huge eagle lifted off some road kill incredibly close to the car. It seemed as big as a calf.
At first there was scarcely any difference between the sky and the sand.

but as the sun arrived so did the colours..


We found this incredible midden; so thick with shells. The rest of the beach was clear but here in this sheltered little cove was treasure indeed.
A sad reminder that us "Civilised" white folks culled all the aborigines from this area a long time ago. No one now to sit and yak and eat shellfish by the hundred.
The day after our beach exploration, we set out on an adventure to find some friends of friends who live in heaven. Well this little slice is called Forest walks Lodge at Jackey's Marsh near Deloraine. Sean and Rosemary run this incredible place completely off the grid. Next to an escarpment in a hidden valley where grazing land meets the bush. We didn't have time to do any walks but we did have time for Sean to feed us an incredible lunch of local smoked ocean trout and wonderful Tasmanian wine. If you're thinking of going somewhere amazing in Tasmania go here, go here!!!
These guys have been working for 30 years to keep this area pristine. They've recently been given World Heritage listing for outstanding environmental values.
There is a festival every two years and next year will be a big one to celebrate the recent World heritage coup from January 24th to 27th. Tempted??? They're in the process of building the site.

The air here is so clear, you can see for miles. It's a truly incredible place.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunny Cornwall

During my 9 years living in the UK, I saw a LOT of Norfolk and Suffolk but only a fraction of the rest, as Ricardo and I were always working or in France (working too). This time seeing as I was on holiday, I was determined to see a bit more, and managed to talk my niece, the lovely Louisa into coming on a road trip. We decided on Cornwall and I'm so glad we did. The weather had been pretty dismal except for the 2 bank holidays (see previous post) but finally the sun shone. When the sun does shine, there's nowhere else on earth you'd rather be. 
This is the romantic B and B called Hill Farm we stayed at in a tiny hamlet called Hittisleigh on the northern edge of Dartmoor in Devon. The only reason we chose it was because it was half way to Cornwall but we couldn't have found a more beautiful place to wake up. 

The night was warm enough to leave the window open and the fragrance of wisteria floated in. 
I stood by the open window for ages with eyes closed thanking my lucky stars and wondering what was out there in the night.
 In the morning an exploration was in order but it took us a while on account of the pet factor!

But there was more to see further afield
 ... and so our next stop was Boscastle (after driving past incredibly close to Stone Henge.)

Look at the curve on this roof! There WAS no fish eye lens, the whole house was bowed.
Boscastle experienced a terrible flood in 2004, here is a photo from the CBBC website 
 but there was no sign of trauma on this perfect day.
It had to be done, the definitive Cornish Pastie was absolutely delicious.

Our walk began on this beautiful section of the Cornish coastal path; we were walking from Boscastle to Tintagel. A mere 6 mile stretch but it felt a lot further as I'm used to the East Anglian flat lands.

The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful and the weather perfect, with a slight breeze to cool you.
The "Early purple" orchid was out and the wildflowers were incredible.
Mile after glorious mile stretched out ahead and the air smelled of coconut from the gorse.
As we stopped on this herringboned wall and ate the cakes we'd bought in Boscastle, I looked back the way we had come and saw a man walking towards us with boots, backpack and hat and very little else. As he stepped over the style you can see in the photo below, I unfortunately turned again and copped an eyeful of his red g-string and all it contained. Pity I didn't manage to get a photo.

An indicator here that the weather may not always be so benign.

I've only really walked like this at Wilson's promontory National Park and it felt strange not to have to look out for snakes along the way.
Finally Tintagel came into sight.
and Merlin's cave.
and one of the best days of my life came to an end. Next time, I'd love to walk a LOT more of this spectacular pathway.