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London- Part 1

JH 10Fresh from the Yorkshire Dales, which could not be topped- we thought- we headed to London on the train – a rather fast train which didn’t enable much sight seeing. We discovered a confusing system of seat booking which many travellers, including us, ignored. This led to the occasional travel rage amongst those who had actually tried to reserve a seat. I also left one of our tickets in the machine in Sheffield- so if you are travelling by train in the UK, please be aware that the machine spits out an extra summary ticket. Luckily I was able to have the missing ticket re-issued.

We had massive plans for our London visit, just as we did for all our travel- see as much as you can in the short time you are there. The skies were overcast and threatening rain as we checked into our hotel in King’s Cross. We immediately set off on foot to find the travel information booth where we could purchase our Big Bus tickets.

With three days of bus travel purchased, we jumped on the nearest Big Bus and took a tour of the city, taking in St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and landmarks like the Shard, Big Ben and the London Eye. The city of London is an interesting mix of ancient and new. We soon determined our focus would be on the ancient and the Tower of London was pencilled in for the next day.

It was just our luck that Big Ben was getting a makeover – but then we realised it had been damaged in that episode of Doctor Who. You know the one. There was all manner of centuries-old architecture to admire including many pubs. But I couldn’t get over the ever present contrast between modern architecture and loved old landmarks.

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We finished our first day in London, uncertain of what the next day would bring and convinced that Yorkshire and Scotland were far superior.

GreenwichStay tuned for London Day 2, when we explore the Thames, Greenwich and the Tower of London.

Until next week!

Bernadette x

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James Herriot Country- North Yorkshire

After revelling in the delights of Chatsworth palace and gardens, we decided to escape, this time to James Herriot country- North Yorkshire. We had a sneaky day before we left for three days in London. That night was spent at The Rock Inn.

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Fortified by their full English Breakfast, we embarked on a fun day touring the Yorkshire Dales. We drove up and up, along narrow lanes…

through classic Yorkshire villages…

and discovered a lake/tarn on a large open tableland. It was 10 degrees Celsius and windy on this late spring day.


Heading out from the tarn, the local flock of sheep blocked the road. It really is true what they say about sheep. What a delight!


We couldn’t get enough of the expansive vistas. Around every bend was another feast for the eyes and soul!

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You could imagine James Herriot trekking across the paddocks in search of a sick sheep! It was also obvious how inhospitable these hills would be in winter- brrrrr!

There were so many stone fences and peaceful streams and magnificent trees.


I was excited to catch a pleasant pheasant in the wild. He was very obliging, allowing us to get very close.

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North Yorkshire was truly magnificent in spring. I want to go back and see everything we missed. You should too!

Next week I head to James Herriot’s old veterinary practice and you get to see a little of the man who inspired me to be a vet!

Until then…

Bernadette x

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Chatsworth House

Chats 17Chatsworth house was another spectacular sight in a whole list of them in our first week in the UK. It was a short drive from our base in Dore, Sheffield and we went with our son, Tom and his partner, Monique. The weather was magnificent and so was this stately home. We were permitted to take any photos we wished and took full advantage of the invitation.
While Michael and I toured the palace, Monique and Tom saved a few pounds and checked out the gardens. I was totally overwhelmed by the opulence of Chatsworth House. Sculptures, huge paintings and other treasures abounded. Even the ceilings were works of art.

I was fascinated by the paintings which took up all the walls of one of the main staircases, the ceiling of which was a magnificent dome.


My imagination was captured by several displays which I have included here.

Some of the rooms were a little dark to photograph well but there was still plenty to add to my iphone.

Chats 13The formal dining room was perfection as you can see below. Not a detail was missed, even in the ceiling.


There was a whole room of statues on the way out to the gardens.

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We found Tom and Monique lounging in the sun with plenty of other sight seers. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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The maze was my favourite part of the gardens after the stunning flowers.

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I’ll leave you with two stunning images- the first looking from the mansion up to the head of the water feature and the second looking in reverse. Enjoy!

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Please join me next week when we hit the road again, this time it’s North Yorkshire!

Bernadette x

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Island Hopper Cruise- Part 1

IMG_0221And so began the best four weeks of my life! Not knowing what to expect from our first cruise, we set sail from Brisbane for New Caledonia. Our travelling companions were Sam, our middle son, and his partner Josie. Embarkment day was my birthday, certainly a day I will never forget.

IMG_0230After a short delay boarding the ship Pacific Dawn, we sailed up the coast, able to catch a glimpse of the Glasshouse Mountains as the sun set. It was rough going, really testing those who had yet to get their sea legs. Thankfully I was fine.

IMG_0231Day 1 was a sea day- the ocean was an incredible blue and we had fun spotting flying fish- boy can those little guys soar! That night was the first night of the Pop Star heats. I sang Shania Twain but had no luck getting through.

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Day 2 dawned fine and smooth with New Caledonia on the horizon. We had time to take part in a delicious wine tasting before setting off for our tour of Noumea.

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Soon it was time to return to the ship for the Back to School blast!

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Day 3 was Lifou day and my personal favourite. We took tender boats to the beach then enjoyed an Islander tour, topped off when I went swimming off the beach and patted a turtle! We sat within the parliament hut where all the island decisions are made and were given a woven headband. There was even a feast prepared for us!

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By now, we were getting a taste for cruising- no social media, all food included, drinks at mainland prices and plenty of on board entertainment- not to mention great company.

Stay tuned for my next instalment where we arrive at Vanuatu and then head for home!

Bernadette x

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Happy New Year!

Sydney fireworks 2013Looking back over 2017, I notice a vague sense of unease. Have I achieved enough? What could I have done that would have made this year more successful? How can I look ahead at 2018 with an increased level of optimism?

I’m sure many of you will feel the same. For me, I believe that unease is caused by not having achieved enough in my writing. I took on extra days at work and added responsibility which led to reduced writing time. I fell victim to procrastination so that even when I did have time, I didn’t write enough. Even when I knew I was falling into this trap, I found it difficult to drag myself out.

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So in 2018, I will write more and procrastinate less. I will get two new books out to my readers. One is written and one half written so that shouldn’t be too difficult. I will start the next book. I will  market all my titles. By the end of 2018, I will be earning enough from my books to support my writing ‘habit’.

At this time, I believe it’s important to focus on the positives from the year. All my family is happy and healthy. Michael and I bought an apartment which means no more dead money. Sam turned 21 and we enjoyed a celebration with our friends. Sam and Tom went overseas for the English cricket season, Tom scoring 1000 runs! They returned safely. Our family grew closer, along with extended family and friends.

the-lady-and-the-pirate-webcover-finalI published The Lady and the Pirate and have had some encouraging reviews. I joined three new writers groups which I’m sure will be a great support in future. Michael had his gall bladder out, bringing to an end a year of hell(2016). He, Sam and James began working on a farm which might lead to all sorts of opportunities in the future. James got a job offer from the Defence Force and 2018 should see him enter that organisation.

What are your regrets from 2017 and what will you do to rid yourself of them in 2018? Will you make that doctor’s appointment, apply for that job, take the plunge with a mortgage or even start writing that book you always promised yourself? Will you start studying, travel overseas, de-clutter your home or start a family? Will you take a chance on love? Will you commit to reading 50 books and leaving reviews for the authors?

36794-095Whatever you decide you will do, take action now. Don’t let this special new beginning be wasted. I’m going to make 2018 a big year for my writing. No regrets in 2018- let that be our mantra- no regrets in 2018.

Until next year

Bernadette xx

 

 

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Wonderful Townsville

We might have missed out on a real wet season here in Townsville and the romance that goes along with that but there’s still plenty to love about this great city. The weather is cooling down and the air is clear. The grass is still green and the sky is a deep, deep blue just like the eyes of your hero.

Clouds, Palms and Sky UP the garden path

My hero has been out in the garden, restoring order to our lush, tropical foliage so I’ve included some images of ‘our place’ just in case you ever wondered what environment this writer gets to work in every day.

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I can’t help but be grateful to live in this beautiful world, surrounded by these magnificent plants and animals AND loved by the most awesome family and friends one could ever wish for.

Joanne, Frank, Michelle, Amy and Jacinta  24.3.2013 U15 Batting Champion wests 2

I’d love to see some photos of your beautiful world and the people you appreciate. If you wish to share, send me a link or a photo…

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