SINGAPORE Day 6. Last day.

Actually this was taken on one of my walks during the week. It is of the cannon ball tree. I thought it was just extraordinary.
This is where we watched the light show at night. There is a bar at the top of one of these structures. Something left to do on the next visit.

That washing again. I wonder how often pieces go astray.

I wanted to show Don some of the interesting places I had found during the week but since he has beenn going there twice a year for the past 13 years it turned out he had sort of seen these places in passing. Anyway here is myTaurean under the head of a bull.
Don had not been into the Park View Building before. The bar here is quite famous. The bartender has to use a pully and hoist himself up to the top shelves to find the drinks!
We passed an art shop in the foyer every day. I thought this welded pece was pretty good.

We had been looking forward to the inaugural Singapore jazz festival on Saturday afternoon. We met up with Andy and her husband for drinks and once we had been stamped were able to leave for a while for a great pizza dinner. James Morrissey was the star attraction for us. He is from Sydney's Northern Beaches but somehow we had never seen him perform. Quite the showman!

James Morrissey live and on screen!


SINGAPORE Day 5 (cont.)

Don worked a half day on Friday. I booked a high tea at Raffles for us. It is a gorgeous old hotel. They do high tea in the tiffin room every day and we had to queue up to get in, even with the booking! Champagne and delicious cakes. Will have to get serious with the diet again next week!

At night we went to Marina Bay Gardens for a sound and light show.

On the walk back we passed that sculpture again. It looks like fireworks behind me.

I saw these lounges along the waterfron during the day when it is too hot to think of sitting out on them. At night though the Singaporeans picnic and chat around the harbour on the boardwalks.

We discovered that there is a Desigual store in Singapore. We had seen one in Madrid last year. Don bought me the dress. Don is sporting a new batik shirt, bought in Chinatown.



Today I headed off to Chinatown again. I crossed the river which was a good sign that I was going in the right direction.

Chinatown! Celebrating the Year of the Horse


An Indian temple in Cinatown.

Street scene. Love the old buildings with their shuttered windows on the second storey.




The poor man's Marina Bay Sands!

A scene I remember from 30 years ago, washing hung out from the balconies on sticks.


A Tintin shop!



Thought I'd see the Art and Science Museum today. The high rise around the harbour is very impressive.

Sculpture outside the museum.

The Art and Science Museum. Gave the dinosaur exhibition a miss.

Check out this sculpture in the photo I take at night!

Went to the Asian Civilisations Museum which had some interesting stuff.

Simhavakatra, from Tibet. She wears a human skin representing her triumphs over human limitations.

The museum is housed in the building that used to be used for the british administration offices in the colonial days.

I thought I would visit Chinatown in the afternoon but I wandered in the opposite direction up North Bridge Road. I came to the Park View Building. It is in Gothic Syle and I was amazed by it. This is the ceiling above the lifts.

The building. There is another one about to be built alongside so I don't suppose I'll see it like this if I go to Singapore again.

Very Goth!

Sheesha restaurant.



Turkish. I bought one of these belts for my dancing daughter.

A lovely old facade above the restaurant.

Interesting street art.

Mosque with the Park View building in the background.




Andy picked me up and we went to the gardens at Marina Bay. The bougainvillea is thriving in the dry heat.

A view from the other side.

There are two huge garden pods. One had plants from all round the world. There were half a dozen of these olive trees from Crete that were over one hundred years old.

The second pod is the Cloud Forest. You catch a lift up the middle and then walk down and around the ramp.

I took heaps of photos of plants. This plant is exquisite.

I had read about ice sculptures so we went to have a look. We had to rug up but our feet still froze. One way of keeping cool!



Couldn't get over the brilliant red of this frangipani. Unfortunately Singapore has not had rain for weeks and the tropical lushness is not so evident.

Can't help taking photos of the Marina Bay Sands hotel whenever I see it.It is extraordinary and dominates the skyline.

There are so amny tall new buildings but it is good to find a little bit of the old Singapore. This bridge and the Fullerton Hotel behind it have been here a while The hotel used to be the Post Office dealing with all the trade up and down the Singapore River.

Alexander Johnstone, a Scot used to have a trading company here. The statue shows him talking to a Chinese trader and a Malay chief.

There was a plaque in memory of Joseph Conrad. By coincidence I had just read some of his short stories before coming here. How different the modern Singapore is to the Singapore of his stories, where it was a sort of jungle outpost of civilisation.

There are lots of public sculptures and artworks. In the background is another building getting a makeover.

The Merlion, symbol of Singapore. It is somewhat dwarfed these days by its high rise surroundings.

After my morning peregrinations my glamorous friend Andy who lives here came to sit poolside with me. So good to have time for a good catch up. Without the rain Singapore is not as steamy and there is a breeze to make it pleasant.

Don and I went to the Salt tapas restaurant next to our hotel for dinner. Andy recommended it and the food was great.


Singapore. Day 1

We arrived late on Monday. Our hotel is in a top spot. We look out across the roof of Raffles Hotel.

I am about to have a great holiday. Don has to get ready for work in the morning.

We had a look around. This is the hotel pool at night.

We wandered outside to have a look at Raffles at night.

I was able to take this picture of the rickshaw driver unnoticed by him. He was busy on his mobile. Not many rickshaws left now.



Relax Your Eyebrows. Is this even possible? How to relax a few hairs growing above one's eye sockets?

Actually it's a wonderful way to relax your whole body. I learnt it during a yoga class. You can go through the whole routine of clenching the muscles from your toes to your scalp, and then relaxing them or you can go straight to your eyebrows to settle every part of your body that may be tense or twisted.

Try it. Make yourself comfortable. As soon as you try to relax those brows you become aware of a tight jaw, the shape you are making with your mouth, a squint around the eyes. To relax the eyebrows these must all be swept away.

To complete your relaxation at this stage you may like to observe yourself breathing….just watch that breath going peacefully in and out.

If all the above is not enough for you then I have only one thing left to tell you, “Let your ears float down onto your pillow”.



Been back for a couple of weeks now. Just love Australia. Had a drive to Armidale and Glen Innes and have to share some pictures of our beautiful countryside.

on Thunderbolt's Way


Deer in Armidale


Wonderful artwork by my friend Greville Wilton at the Maitland Art Gallery
and by his muse, Tanya Robertson Cuninghame


Near Morpeth





Along Bucketts Way



A little touched up, but that is how it looked through my slightly red tinted sunnies.


Trying out my new wide angle lens on the iphone.


Glen Innes


Standing Stones at Glen Innes



New England Highway leaving Glen Innes


New England Highway in the morning


Why leave home when you have it all?

I am planning to learn how to do wrap around text for my next post.



Istanbul! What an incredible place. Really buzzing in the here and now, with such an interesting history.

At the Topkapi Palace, just inside the gates to the Sultan's harem. Don is checking out the mounting block where the sultan used to get astride or demount from his horse.

The many eunuchs who guarded the harem were powerful people who managed the life of the palace. They were chosen from young Ethiopian lads and trained for their work.


One of the sumptuous rooms of the harem.

This is the controversial Taksim Square. Rioting back in June of this year almost made us change our minds about coming to Istanbul but it is quiet and peaceful here now. It seems that everyone has a theory about the riots and who put the protestors up to it. There is a bit of greenery here but it could do with a bit of a tidy up, not really a park to take the kids to. We didn't see any protestors but one night going home through the square we saw a very big police presence there, about a dozen buses had emptied themselves of 'polis' with rifles, who were hanging about looking bored,

We saw a lot of these shoe shine stands. This one was in pristine condition in the Carlton Ritz Hotel lobby. A lot of Turkish men have nice shiny leather shoes on their feet.

A little fun fair attraction all by itself in a little park.


We went for a ferry cruise on the Bosphorus on our first afternoon in Istanbul. Unfortunately it was a blustery day but I did get this nice “fingers of God” shot.


It was dark by the time the ferry got back in and the mosques were lit up. We are very used to the sound of the recorded call to prayer that goes out 5 times daily from the top of minarets all over Istanbul, and before that, wherever we were in Morocco.

Great street art!

You really can't imagine the run down condition of some parts of town. There is a huge new building project in Beyoglu near Taksim Square and a lot of houses there are vacant and derelict. These two were next door to our apartment.

As you can see our apartment block has been beautifully done up. The owner is a lovely lady who is very optimistic about the neighbourhood's prospects. She told us to come back in only 2 or 3 years from now to see how lovely it all will be.

Don was often addressed as Ali Baba in Morocco and Turkey because of his beard.

The Istanbul Modern Art Museum is right on the edge of the Bosphorus and has a great collection.

The Hagia Sophia is no longer a mosque but a museum. It was a mosque for 500 years and before that it was a Christian Church for 900 years.

Looking out from a rooftop restaurant in the Sultanahmet area we could see the old jail, which is now The Four Seasons Hotel. Very nice! We went in for afternoon tea.

I can't believe it! I took a photo of the Blue Mosque that looks just like the picture postcards they sell here.

Home to our apartment once more. The view from the kitchen window.

Stray cats everywhere. We saw a lot of people taking time out to feed them. These cats have their own bowls and a big ball of wool to play with. Kitty kindy!

This mosaic picture is inside the Hagia Sophia. When the Moslems took over the church they had to cover all the faces in the pictures. They did not deface the pictures but covered them with plaster which they painted over with designs. Now that it is a museum restoration work iis uncovering these beautiful gold mosaic pictures. This one is particularly interesting as it depicts the emperor bowing to Christ. Turkey had been a Christian stronghold or hideout in the days of Roman persecution.

Below: Believe it or not this is the belly button of the world! Rather lovely in its simplicity.

There were some beautiful photos of some of the restored parts of the museum. I am posing in front of one.

The bejewelled dagger, available in the gift shop. We saw the real thing in the Topkapi Palace. Made famous in the movie Topkapi.

Other things available in the gift shop.

Continuing the lion theme of my blog. This one is being admired by his little relative, who is survivng better than him in the modern world.

The Grand Bazaar really was amazing. If I hadn't been sick on my last day I would have gone back and bought a carpet bag (really made of carpet) and filled it up with goodies to bring home.

I really regret not buying a pair of these boots.

And so we make our travel weary way home. Check the next blog to see how my garden has been doing while I've been away.