Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Baby's fast asleep

I'm blogging from our hotel room after our first day afternoon in in Prague while my daughter is sleeping soundly beside me. You see I only had a two hour flight from London but she had travelled for around 30 hours on three planes from Australia and was a trifle tired.

We were lucky that our flights arrived within around twenty minutes so we were able to meet up and travel into the city together. My granddaughter also arrived with her ballet teacher and the group of girls she is performing with in The New Prague Dance Festival. She and the group are at a different hotel from we oldies.

Having been cooped up in airports and planes we needed  fresh air and exercise so we took to the streets of Prague. Following are some snaps from our day.

Emily and fellow students from The Elizabeth McGirr School of Ballet at Prague Airport

Our hotel is convenient, cosy and well appointed

Jennifer is leading me astray, our first stop was Sephora

Republic Square is just a stone's throw from our hotel

Wonder if this is a group from the Dance Festival

So many fabulous old buildings

Toys for boys in the souvenir shops
Wonder what this buildings story is

Foyer outside the restaurant we chose for dinner

Interior of the restaurant

Dinner entertainment
Back to our hotel for an early night
We need to rest up as tomorrow we have booked a six hour walkng tour of the city. We are keen to learn the stories behind some of the beautiful buildings we saw today,

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dear Heathrow Airport

Where's the grass?

In Australia we common people call that green stuff Ivy and the posh people call it Hedera.

The Best of British

Whenever I visit England and raspberries are in season I spoil myself with a punnet because they are so much better (and cheaper) than what we get in Australia. I am presently savouring the raspberries in this punnet.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Good Life

I was wandering aimlessly near Leicester Square in London yesterday when I saw a familiar name on a Theatre awning. I remembered that name particularly from The Good Life a British comedy I enjoyed many years ago. As well as starring in The Good Life I also remember watching Felicity in Rosemary & Thyme.

As I had been thinking of checking on the day's matinees I wandered around to the TKTs booth and found tickets available for Alan Ackybourn's play Relatively Speaking with Felicity Kendal for 29.95 pounds. I bought one. Before I set off to the theatre I sat on the fence at Leicester Square, ate my Pret a Manger baguette and people and pigeon watched.


Fellow Fence Sitters at Leicester Square

The Alternative Company in Leicester Squar
Wyndham's Theatre

The play venue Wyndham's Theatre was a pretty and well maintained theatre except for the two Ladies loos which didn't flush properly and were totally inadequate for the number of ladies in attendance. My seat in Row L was like economy class so I was reminded how fortunate I was to have had more generous accommodation on the previous evening's long haul flight from Sydney. I am a large lady but I was positively dwarfed by the gentleman who sat on my left, thankfully the man on my right was not so generously proportioned.When a group of ladies filed into the row in front of me I drew the short straw as the tallest in the group sat in front of me obliterating my view of one third of the stage - the centre third. I started daydreaming about sardines. After the play commenced the man on my right moved along to an empty seat and so did I - no more daydreams.

Wyndham's Theatre

The first half of the play was very ordinary while the storylines for the second half were set. I am wondering if the large man on my left was related to the writer, actor or producer as he was one of the few in the theatre who laughed a lot. Thankfully the play improved in the second act with a good amount of genuine laughter coming from the audience.

Wyndham's Theatre

I would not recommend this play as a must see but it was an enjoyable diversion in a pretty venue and I got to see Felicity Kendal and her amazingly skinny legs in the flesh. Thank goodness I didn't pay the full price of over 50 pounds for my ticket. I really would have felt cheated if that would have been the case.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Private Picnic.

Goodies from Marks and Spencer  made a welcome picnic dinner in my hotel room tonight.
Yummy prawn salad

The picnic

After a long flight and a day out in London I just didn't feel like going down to the hotel restaurant for dinner.

Behind Bars

This chap in Leicester Square today appeared to be enjoying his sojourn behind bars.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Butterflies banished

Now that I am settled in the Qantas Club at Sydney airport and have a glass of bubbly under my belt I find that the butterflies that invaded my tummy gave mysteriously vanished.

And so the journey begins, I am looking forward to fun times with my daughter and to watching my granddaughter perform in a dance festival in Prague.  

From time to time I will blog about about our experiences. My daughter is also going to join the Blogisphere so I'll share her URL when she gets going.

Refreshments in the Qantas Club, Sydney Airport

One is pleased...

... that one isn't required to wear a hat to The Spectacular Evening Gala at Buckingham Palace on July 13th but I have packed a party frock.

We're in for quite a treat at this gig.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Nervous Nellie

My bag is packed and underweight, my travel arrangements are all sorted and the travel documents are printed and backed up in several places but I still have my usual case of pre-travel tummy butterflies.

Hopefully I will settle down by the time I get to the airport tomorrow. If not I am sure that a couple of glasses of bubbly in The Qantas Club will send them flying away.

I'll be blogging about my trip, London-Prague-Vienna-Munich-London, so I hope you'll stop by and take a look at my happy snaps.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

“There are only two times. Now and too late.” - Anh Do's Father

I just finished reading The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do. It was one of those books I couldn't put down.

Told through the eyes of one son, Anh Do, an Australian Comedian, it is the story of  a family of Vietnamese Boat People who fled to Australia. Related in a conversational style this book tugs at the heartstrings as it  highlights the resilience, determination and fortitude of this refugee family who embraced and developed a deep love of their new country.

I came to read this book because someone recommended (I can't remember who) it to me a few weeks ago. I found a secondhand copy in the Brotherhood Books Charity Online Bookshop and bought it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Anh's story - the experience was worth much more than the $8.47 I paid .

You should read it too.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Sometimes I want to create a photo collage on my computer rather than on my Android device so I have been looking around for a simple, free, easy to use application for this purpose. The third product I tried PiZap seems to fit the bill.

This simple collage took less than 2 minutes; more complex ones with more images would take longer.
My test run was of a few snaps I took in our backyard yesterday.

Winter at Welwel
I'm still on the lookout for similar products and am open to suggestions.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

In Catchup Mode

Mr Geniaus and I don't keep up with all the latest trends and we rarely watch shows on free to air television.

For two years we have heard people raving about Downton Abbey but we didn't catch the bug. One of our daughters obviously thought we were missing out on something so she bought me the first series on DVD for Mother's Day. She kept asking "Have you watched Downton Abbey yet?" and I'd have to reply that we hadn't.

So two nights ago before she asked again we decided to watch the first episode, last night we watched episodes two and three.

We are hooked.

If you, like us, are a bit slow on the uptake I suggest you find a copy of the series and watch it.

Hopefully Series Two might appear for my birthday (Hint, hint)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It amused the kids...

...and it's not an electronic gadget or game. It's my newest board game, Blokus.

What I love about this game is that I have played it with kids aged 5 to 12 as well as adults and everyone has a chance of winning. The rules are simple, the game can be over in around 15 to 20 minutes and even the littlies have a chance of winning. In fact, on the weekend, I was beaten by a six year old and a twelve year old in their first few games.

This game isn't kids play or a game of chance - it needs skill. The game requires some spatial skills and assists in the development of strategic skills.

I love Blokus

Thanks to my schoolfriend who brought her set away on a weekend trip and got me hooked.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Quite a while ago one of my schoolfriends suggested that I might enjoy a particular book; I noted in my list of books to read "Cecilia - nun book" and saved it to the list.  As we had been students together in a Catholic school my friend thought this book would strike a chord with me.

Another friend asked me a couple of weeks ago if I could help a member of our Historical Society who was having an issue with Blogger software. The lady who needed help had set up a travel blog for a 104 day cruise she was embarking on the next day. I proffered a little bit of advice and took a look at her blog, All about life,  then I added it to my RSS subscriptions. I have been following that blog since then and have enjoyed Cecilia's regular posts from the cruise ship. She has a conversational writing style with touches of humour, her language is colourful (not blue) and descriptive.

When I read the biographical information about Cecilia on the blog I noted that she had written a book, "Cecilia-an Exnun's Extraordinary Story", I pondered when I saw this as it struck a chord. After a little while the penny dropped. It was probably the title suggested by my schoolmate. Of course I just had to have a copy.  I logged onto the secondhand book site Fishpond and found there were two available for

$8.47. I  gave the credit card a little more exercise and waited... but not for long.  Last Friday afternoon we found a package on the front doorstep. 

Prior to dinner I pried open my parcel, the book was in good shape; I don't like dirty books (physically dirty that is). I started reading while I was cooking dinner and didn't stop until the book was finished the next day. I can see why my friend recommended it. Cecilia, a former Sister of Mercy, gave an honest warts and all account of her time in the cloisters and out in the world. She spilled the beans on some of the nunnish mysteries my friend and I wondered about at school around fifty years ago and all in that lovely writing style she demonstrates in her blog posts.

Set in the Hunter Region of New South Wales and Sydney where I live this book resonated with me as the places were so familiar. One huge suprise was when Cecilia mentioned a celebration for Sister Mary Casimir's jubilee. Sister Casimir was my 5th and 6th class teacher! 

Anyone who has wondered what nun's did behind those closed doors as well as those who enjoy a well-written honest, heartfelt true story  would enjoy this tale.

I am so pleased that Cecilia needed help with her blog. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Where did the years go?

It seems that it wasn't so long ago that Mr Geniaus and I were chauffering one of our sons and his mate back and forth to orchestra recitals and musical performances at The Scots College. Simon, the mate, lived at a distance from the College so when there was an evening performance or rehearsal he often stayed overnight at our home.  My Mother, who used to come over and help me, loved Simon because he politely ate everything she served up to him.

Last night I took a happy snap of two successful boys men who have gone their separate ways but who are still mates although they live on separate sides of the world. My son, Jonathon, was hosting Simon for a short visit and invited us around for dessert and coffee. The years just melted away although we have only caught up Simon with a few times in the past 20 years. We had an enjoyable time reminiscing with the boys, talking about their careers and families and future aspirations.

Simon and Jonathon
As a Mum I am proud of Jonathon, a successful Sydney neurosurgeon, who is also Head of the Neurosurgery Department at The Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. 

I claim Simon as one of our family circle and am justifiably proud of his efforts. Simon Murphy moved to The Netherlands to further his music studies after he completed his tertiary studies in Sydney. He established an orchestra, The New Dutch Academy, in 2002  and since then has made quite a name for himself on the international music scene.  As I sit here and listen to one of the CDs Simon has made with the orchestra I am rather impressed.

Simon's present trip to Australia was to perform as guest conductor of The Queensland Symphony Orchestra. His two programs were Roman Holiday and New Generation.

These two chaps are still not yet 40, I wonder what their futures will bring.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Can't believe I forgot my camera...

...but I remembered to pack two spare batteries when we played tourists in our own city a couple of nights ago.

Thankfully I had reminded Mr Geniaus to take his camera to Sydney's Vivid Festival (a festival of light, music and ideas) where a number of buildings around the Harbour are lit up and just a few become the canvases for spectacular light and music shows. The weather was balmy (for winter), the crowds were manageable and the atmosphere reminded me of the time around the 2000 Olympics. It was a photographers' paradise - I have never seen so many tripods.

As one of my Facebook friends who emigrated here from Holland said
"Not just the best country in the world not just the best city in the world but also the most beautiful city in the world!"

Here are a few of Mr Geniaus' snaps:

The Coathanger

Luna Park - Just for Fun

Sails of the Opera House

Circular Quay - even the train station is all lit up

Customs House

A Busker's light show
The Museum of Contemporary Art

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What? No batteries.

One of my Facebook friends, Sharon, shared this today. Thanks heavens my eleven little people know what it is.

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