Square in September -16

Day 16 of Square in September and this shot was taken earlier this year at Coriole vineyard, McLaren Vale, South Australia. The cellardoor has a beautiful cottage garden seen here with the Vale in the background.

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#InThePink

WPC: Place in the World

For this week’s photo challenge, explore what it means to find your place in the world. Where’s your safe space? Where do you go when you need to feel inspired or cheered up? Do you prefer to feel cozy and comforted in a smaller town or do you thrive on the buzz of a big city?

Let loose and give us a glimpse of who you are in the grand scheme of things.

“My place in the world”  this is a tricky one – when I was growing up we moved house frequently, not spending any longer than four years in one house – we were on the run. OK, that was a joke, but it seemed like it at the time.

Now I feel that my place in the world is where I feel connected, safe and happy and there are plenty of places like that especially when it comes to spending time with friends and family who are dotted all over the world.

Adelaide in South Australia is also a significant place in the world for me; it’s where we landed almost thirteen years ago to embark on a new life adventure. Adelaide was good to us and she set us up and pushed us in the right direction to where we are today. Now in Brisbane, Queensland, who knows what’s next!

Here I share some of the beautiful scenery from where we lived in South Australia a very special place in the world.

Place in the World

Our Growing Family

And it’s not even a baby on the way or a new pet!

Chief and I headed to Adelaide last weekend to catch up with our children. We all used to live there but Chief and I fled the nest (way too early) to take up new opportunities in Brisbane – anyway, I digress. We hadn’t seen Tom our son since last November and our daughter ‘Flossy’ since Christmas so we were really excited to be catching up with them and their lovely partners.

Saturday morning saw all six of us heading out to the McLaren Vale, one of the premium wine regions of South Australia – I hark on about how lovely it is all the time, but it really is! We ended up at S.C Pannell for lunch where we enjoyed each other’s company, super food and taking in the lovely views and soaking up the gorgeous Summer day.

After lunch and a trip to a couple of wineries, we went our separate ways to spruce ourselves up before heading into the city to meet friends in the Garden of Unearthly Delights. Adelaide comes to life this time of year as the Adelaide Fringe rolls into town. It was a tight turn around and within the hour, Tom and his girlfriend Christie were back in order for us to travel into the city together.

Just as we were all assembled and ready for the off, Tom gathered us around for an announcement – in that short time of rushing to get ready to go out, he had managed to squeeze in a marriage proposal and Christie said yes! We had no idea so it was a complete and wonderful surprise to us. How fantastic to be welcoming  someone as lovely as Christie into our family; I’m going to be a mother-in-law!

Apparently Tom was going to pop the question in a more romantic location when we were in the picturesque McLaren Vale but not everything had aligned for him and he ended up bottling it.

Tom made sure his proposal was by the book, asking Christie’s father’s permission and researching which knee to go down on beforehand. Apparently there is no clear historical origin of proposing on bended knee but it probably stems from similarities to kneeling during prayer, kneeling while receiving honors from royalty and other ceremonial situations. I can remember when Chief proposed to me it was pouring with rain so he put a plastic bag on the ground to kneel on first – ah!

So the rest of our weekend away turned into celebrations of all things wedding and love. Of course there was a beautiful ring involved which will surely sparkle and dazzle for many many years. No date has been fixed yet but I know you have to ‘book early’ for your perfect venue so it could be a year or two before I’ll be in my glad rags and new hat.

I can tell you one thing though – it doesn’t half make me feel old, having one of my babies embarking on such a huge next chapter of life!

 

WPC: Silence

This week’s photo challenge is how to capture silence in a photograph. Is it a positive image, or is it the opposite, revealing the lack of communication in a friendship or the dangers of not speaking out? Show us your interpretation in a new post.

Mine is a positive image of a peaceful beautiful place not far from where I used to live in South Australia – McLaren Vale. It is one of Australia’s world renowned wine regions and although it is a popular destination for tourists and wine lovers, it manages to maintain peace, tranquility and silence. It’s a beautiful spot and one I’ll be heading to when we visit Adelaide next month.

McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale,South Australia
From Coriole Cellar Door
From Coriole garden, McLaren Vale

Silence

 

 

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

This may or may not be the right forum to delve into such matters as personal relationships but it’s time I duly ‘fessed up’. You see, besides my maturing marriage I have become deeply entrenched in another long-standing relationship. We’ve known each other a long time now but it’s only in recent years that ‘things’ have become more serious – so much so it has started to impact my life – and it’s time to instigate a separation. Not that anyone will care mind you, because so many of you are in the same relationship. Some know how to be the dominant partner and take control of the relationship while others are completely overwhelmed and are led down the gradual slippery slope into oblivion – I find myself  teetering somewhere near the top of this slope – my partner is reaching out a hand to me – come, let me lead the way…..

I enjoy a drop of wine – very often. Recently the Queensland government ran a TV campaign to get us locals to think about our relationship with alcohol and the ending strapline was “what’s your relationship with alcohol?” and I found myself answering out loud that ‘I bloody love it thank you.’ I was alone at the time and looked over my shoulder to see if anyone had heard me. This, followed by one too many foggy mornings has lead me stop and take a good long look at my drinking habits.

I started by looking at what it means to be an alcoholic – how would I know if I’m ONE OF THEM? Aren’t they the people whose waking thought is “where’s the vodka?” Aren’t they the people who drown each day in a bottle of sherry?  Aren’t they the people who can’t function unless they are off their chops? When I discovered that alcoholism is an addiction to the consumption of alcoholic drinks – the inability to manage ones drinking habits – I realised that this could NEARLY be me!

My problem is that I’m not too good at drinking in moderation and when I say moderation I  mean just one glass with dinner instead of the whole bottle E.V.E.R.Y S.I.N.G.L.E N.I.G.H.T OF T.H.E W.E.E.K. I’ve even started thinking about booze such as wondering if there’s enough tonic in the fridge or deciding what to drink when we go out or thinking I really should be having an AFD (alcohol free day).

extra-large-wine-glass-big-glasses

I’ve always had an appreciation for wine and growing up in, and marrying into, the hospitality industry, it was always an important part of family celebrations, dinner parties and, erm just dinner! The first ten years of our Australian life were spent in Adelaide South Australia, the wine state of Australia. I was privileged to work in an environment where I was surrounded by wine and lots of it. My overtime was paid in wine and so too my ‘thank you’s’ – it was easy and glorious;  Barossa Shiraz, Riesling from Clare Valley, Coonawarra cab sav, wine from the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek – it was obscene and we were in wine heaven.

I am certainly not one to wake up and automatically reach under the bed for the vodka bottle – no, no, no, no, no – that is not me. And I don’t sit at my desk wishing for the booze fairies to deliver a little something into my desk drawer – heavens no! I do sometimes sit behind my desk wishing I hadn’t had that last glass. I do know when enough is enough – having learned my lesson at a young age and with maturity came the ability to realise that one more was going to take me over the edge and would have me talking to God on the great white telephone. Some people can drink themselves into such a state they lose the last few hours of their evening and don’t remember the journey home and into bed (or into someone else’s.) That is not me.

Alcohol has been acceptably woven through the fabric of our society for generations; we are faced with a barrage of ‘alcoholic glamour’ every day – it’s on the greetings cards we send each other, it’s on billboards and TV ads. Our sporting men and women are sponsored by alcohol and so too are some of the largest sporting events on the calendar.  I even heard of yoga and gin classes – really? Our world has gone booze crazy and you’re a freak if you don’t drink – how can you not drink – I mean, what’s wrong with you, you weirdo!

I’m the first one to post a photo of a  wonderful glass of Friday-evening-wine on Snapchat or Instagram; an Aperol Spritz looks soooo inviting on Instagram with a Lo-fi filter over it. As Kristi Coulter so wonderfully put in her essay Enjoli  “Maybe all that wine is an Instagram filter for our own lives, so we don’t see how sallow and cracked they’ve become.” Kristi’s observations and experiences resonated with me as they did with thousands of others. She continues her journey “staying sober in a world that’s often three sheets to the wind” on her blog Off-Dry.

So as my partner reaches out a hand, desperate to lead me down the slippery slope to alcoholism, I begin to weigh up my options. Is it all, or nothing? Is it possible to reach a compromise – a happy medium before it’s too late? I shall certainly try. Do you suppose someone attending an AA meeting proudly informs the assembled group of recovering alcoholics “I’m doing really well, I’ve cut back my drinking to just a couple of glasses on Friday and Saturday evenings”? Is that possible? I DO have to take control though and hopefully I’n strong-willed enough to do just that – watch this space.

As a footnote, it has taken me a few evenings to put this post together (glass of wine in hand).  I nearly pressed delete and dedicated the blank page to Romeo and Juliet instead but this is a journey I have to go on and I owe it to myself to be brave and share it with you.  Have you noticed how non-committal I’ve been though….

 

 

WPC: Frame

My first photo for this weeks theme, Frame, is of Onkaparinga Gorge taken through a hole in the wall at Samuel’s Gorge Winery, McLaren Vale.

Onkaparinga Gorge
Shot from Samuel’s Gorge

 

My second shot is a section of Brisbane CBD captured at the look out at Kangaroo Point.

Brisbane CBD
A view of Brisbane CBD taken from the lookout at Kangaroo Point

Frame

Ten Years Today!

Ten years ago today, along with hubby (the chef) and two children, we left our home country and the people we love more than anything else in the world for a new life in Australia.  What a crazy thing to do; who does that?  Who takes their children away from their friends and family that love them so dearly to move to a country on the opposite side of the world?  We did, that’s who!  It’s not like it was even down the road or just a short cheap flight to a neighbouring European country.

Plane

Really we were starting again – no big family gatherings at Christmas; no grandparents to proudly visit the children at school on ‘Grandparents Day’;   no godparents at their side to guide them through their early year’s; no aunties and uncles to spoil them and no cousins to grow up with.

Instead a life where we have learned that no one owes you anything, a country full of opportunities, that were ours for the taking, we just had to find the courage to go out there and find them; a country whose citizens welcomed us with open arms and treated us like one of their own and are always there for us.

Australia has been good to us. The children have soaked up their schooling and sporting opportunities that have come their way and the Chef has gone from strength to strength – so much so he isn’t a chef anymore and is working in a role he wouldn’t even have dreamed of back in the UK.  I have learned new skills which have taken me in a completely new direction.

Of course the hardest part was leaving the people we love and our friends; for them it was harder in a way as we left a gaping hole in their lives.   I can only describe the separation as a living bereavement and it was hard and sometimes it still is.

I don’t hanker to move back to the UK at all; immersing myself in our new life was my way of coping with homesickness and it helped enormously; I just concentrated on life in Australia and that was it, I’ve never looked back.

I’ve learned to drink coffee and in fact have probably turned into a coffee snob over the years.  I’ve also gained a deeper understanding of grape varieties.  I’ve learned to run – and stop again.  I’ve learned that Koalas make  a noise – a horrible one and wombats have backward facing pouches so they don’t fill up with dirt when they are burrowing.  I’ve learned that South Australians queue better than any pommie and drive a lot worse.  I’ve learned that Australians are more obsessed with the weather than Brits and they have a national pride that’s sadly long gone in Great Britain. And I’ve learned that Australians accept you for who you are and not for what car you drive.

Cuteness!
Cuteness!

Of course there are some things I miss, like decent radio and popping to friend’s homes and family gatherings at times of celebrations.  We’ve missed family hatches, matches and dispatches which were always going to be the downside of our move but it’s something we have to prioritise and deal with.  We’ve not been able to comfort our loved ones in their times of need nor have they been there for us but that was always going to be the case.  There have been lots of ups and lots of downs which have moulded us into the people we are today.  We have become stronger individuals and feel ready to take on any challenge that comes our way.

So all in all ten years of amazing adventures and our only regret is not doing it earlier, in fact we wish our parents had made the move when we were children, now that would have been perfect!

Photo101 The week Revisited

I wanted to revisit Day Fifteen: Landscape with a gallery of Australian landscape shots.  In contrast to Creakingbones who used dramatic images of the arid outback, here you will see images of the Adelaide Hills and one of South Australia’s wine regions, McLaren Vale.

Weekend One – Experiment & Composition

A few of my shots captured out and about South Australia this Summer.  I’ve been experimenting with my new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 camera. I’m really impressed with the 16 megapixel camera – so much so I haven’t touched my Sony Camera.  I hope to get out and about with that for week two of the Photo101 Challenge.

Changing Seasons

Happy first day of Spring to all my family, friends and fellow bloggers who reside in the northern hemisphere.  With your Spring comes our Autumn; the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfullness’.  The ripening on the vines and the lengthening of the afternoon shadows.

The 2014 vintage is well underway in our local wine region, McLaren Vale whilst ‘Mad March’ is in full swing in the city.  Mad March actually starts in February and it’s a great time to be in Adelaide and to experience all that the city has to offer.  These annual events include the Adelaide Fringe, the Adelaide Festival, Womadelaide, and Clipsal500.

So while you are flinging back the shutters and opening the windows, we are ending the season with a big party before we knuckle down for a few months but not before we have seen some of the Cricket World Cup games at the Adelaide Oval; then we can slow the pace down and anticipate what the rest of the year holds for us.  Happy hatching!