Happy New Year

I am in Chicago at present, which means it’s well below freezing. Quite different from the New Year’s Eve I enjoy several years ago in Sydney, Australia: sitting on the grass, glass of wine in hand, summer dress and sandals on, enjoying the parade of boats covered with lights, the bands on the moving stage provided by passing barges, and the astonishing fireworks show that concluded the evening.

So while I’m not there now, I’m still thinking of that warm, sparkly night–so wanted to share what it looked like this year with everyone. This is just a brief excerpt of the fabulous fireworks display, but it will give you a feel for the event.

Happy New Year, everyone, everywhere.

2 Comments

Filed under Australia, Travel, Video

Merry Aussie Christmas

If you’ve read my book Waltzing Australia, you’ll know that I have celebrated Christmas in Australia, and it was indeed a “scorching summer’s day,” as is celebrated in this fun, Aussie version of “Jingle Bells.” As for some of the terms in the song, if you’re an Aussie, you’ll know them, and if you’re not, check the glossary in my book. That said, it’s fun, regardless of whether or not you understand every word.

Merry Christmas, wherever you are.

4 Comments

Filed under Australia, Book, Travel, Video

First Woman to Win Melbourne Cup

On my first trip to Australia, I was fortunate enough to witness the remarkable response to the annual running of the Melbourne Cup. It is called the race that stops a nation–and it really does. Businesses close on the day of the race. Traffic stops during the running of the race, which takes place at 3pm on the first Tuesday of November, and has done so for more than a century and a half. It is hard to imagine how far from civilization one would have to be to not hear the reportage of the race.

This year’s race was remarkable for two things: the horse that won, Prince of Penzance, was a 101-1 outsider, and the jockey was a woman–Michelle Payne–the first woman to win the prestigious race. Remarkable day.

And if you’d like to see the “surprise ending,” here’s the race.

1 Comment

Filed under Australia, Video

Amazing Opal

An opal that has been declared to be the most precious ever discovered will be going on display in South Australia next month. Named the Virgin Opal, it was discovered in Cooper Pedy (which I visited on my first trip to Australia — detailed in my book and posted about here.) I saw some pretty astonishing opals while traveling in Australia (for example, these), but am pleased to learn that Australia still has some surprises hidden away.

In this video, the text is simply read by a computer, but it does give a great view of this remarkable gemstone.

Leave a comment

Filed under Australia, Nature

Lamingtons

It was fairly early in my first visit to Australia that I encountered the iconic confections called Lamingtons. These traditional sweets consist of rectangles of sponge cake dipped in melted chocolate and rolled in shredded coconut. Hard to beat that combination. I found them from one end of Australia to the other. Here’s a video that takes you through the whole process of making them — though one can simply buy sponge cake, rather than making it from scratch.

For Americans, be advised that caster sugar is what we call super fine sugar. If you don’t have super fine, just put regular granulated sugar in a blender for a few seconds. Icing sugar is what we call powders sugar. Corn flour is corn starch. And 180 decrees Celsius is about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I think everything else will be familiar. Hope you enjoy this Aussie classic.

2 Comments

Filed under Australia, Food, Recipes, Video

ANZAC Centenary

I have written a number of times about the ANZACS, both on this blog and in my book. You can do a search if you want more details. I came across this post and was reminded that it is, indeed, 100 years since the ANZACS landed at Gallipoli and became legends.

Pacific Paratrooper

James Charles Martin (1901-1915), youngest Australian KIA at Gallipoli James Charles Martin (1901-1915), youngest Australian KIA at Gallipoli

Anzac Centenary

Between 2014 and 2018 Australia and New Zealand will commemorate the Anzac Centenary, marking 100 years since their  involvement in the First World War.

Gallipoli today Gallipoli today

The Anzac Centenary is a milestone of special significance to all Australians and New Zealanders.  The First World War helped define them as a people and as nations.

PhotoELF Edits:2012:10:04 --- Saved as: 24-Bit JPEG (EXIF) Format 98 %

During the Anzac Centenary they will remember not only the original ANZACs who served at Gallipoli and the Western Front, but commemorate more than a century of service by Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women. [And I hope other nations will as well.]

feb15_e16_gallipoli.jpg__600x0_q85_upscale

The Anzac Centenary Program encompasses all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which they have been involved.   And to honour all those who have worn the uniforms.  The programs involved with the Centenary urge all to reflect on their military…

View original post 146 more words

3 Comments

May 9, 2015 · 3:21 pm

The Kangaroo Mob Recovers

I couldn’t leave you with the kangaroos dying from the mosquito-borne disease. Here’s the video that follows up with the mob 10 months later, when the survivors are rebuilding their lives.

2 Comments

Filed under Australia, Geography, Nature, Science, Video