Saturday, January 21, 2017

Rippon Lea - the beginning.

Where shall we go today?

This looks promising.....

Shall we go in?

Ahhh a wonder to behold.

And now for a story.

Last May I turned 50 (no that's not the story).
Hubby and I went to Melbourne for a long relaxing weekend and daughter stayed with friends at home.

One place I had wanted to see for quite a while was Rippon Lea Estate, a beautiful house and gardens currently owned by the National Trust.

And now for the story.

Once upon a time there was a man named Frederick Sargood.
Fred became a rich man through selling soft-goods on the gold fields.  I'm not sure what soft-goods he sold, or indeed what constitutes a soft-good, but whatever they were, he made his fortune by selling them to the gold diggers.

He used his new riches to build a home for himself and his family.

He used a combination of his mother's maiden name, and an old English word for "meadow" to create the name of Rippon Lea for his new home.  He moved in with his first wife, Marian, and their 9 surviving children.  The year was 1868.

The mansion had 15 rooms (there are currently 33) and he employed 7 maids, a butler, 7 gardeners, a coachman and a groom.  Clearly soft-goods was good business.

Fred entered politics and became the first chairman of the Melbourne Harbour Trust in 1875.

He was a very practical man and liked to keep up with the times.  He had an underground watering system, electricity and indoor toilets installed in the house.
You might say he was a visionary victorian Victorian (slight geographical / historical joke there).

Fred was also a keen gardener (man after my own heart) and had many different plants imported.

Stay tuned for the next installment - the 1880's.

Rippon Lea Estate, Melbourne, Victoria - May 2016

Monday, January 16, 2017

Another year begins.

Well 2016 is done and dusted
and 2017 is upon us.

Time to pull up a comfy chair,
or seat myself at my writing desk.

Either way, it must include coffee.

And make my plans for the new year.

Happy new year everyone.

Photo of writing desk taken in Sydney  - Sept 2015
 Cafe shots from Ballarat, Victoria - March 2016 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas eve and Hanukkah day 1

Both celebrations happen at the same time this year
which means one very noisy week at our house :)

I haven't taken any Christmasy or Hanukkahy photos yet.
In fact I still haven't sorted my photos since coming back from holidays in July 2015!

Well, thank goodness I'm about to go on a little blog break.
so I can sort out the photos for the last year and a half!

In the meantime here's a little photo of some cheerful flowers that greeted me on our return from Europe, and helped to alleviate my post holiday blues just a little.

A happy chap I snapped last December in Chatswood,

And a very tall Christmas tree I passed by on my way to French class last Christmas.

Wherever you are, whatever you're celebrating (or not) and whoever you're celebrating (or not) with,
I wish you all a very merry Christmas / Hanukkah / Holidays.

And stay safe.

See you in 2017

My garden - July 2015
 Chatswood and Queen Victoria Building - Sydney - December 2015

Monday, December 19, 2016

Thank you and good night

It's been a year and a half now since our trip of a lifetime.


And it's taken that long for me to share my memories, stories and snaps.


Thank you for sticking around.





My next post takes us back to normality.

The Tower Of London


Mt Titlis


But already I'm dreaming of our next adventure.


And making plans for more whimsical wanderings.

Where shall we go next?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Il Colosseo (ending the holiday on a grand scale)

Our second tour of our last day in Rome
An evening tour of the Colosseum.
No words are necessary really.
But I'll say a few anyway...

Our guide was another gorgeous Italian woman 
who remained cool calm and collected despite the heat (much like the bella donna below)
and conducted the entire evening tour in heels!!!!

I tried to look the part - but really wasn't a patch the Italian women.
How do they do it?

The Colosseum was built between AD 72 and AD 80 and was the largest amphitheater ever built.

As the sun went down we started to feel a little more human and couldn't wait to begin the tour.

 Our guide took us up and down stairs, telling us all about how seating was arranged.
It's surprisingly similar to going to see a concert in a large entertainment centre today.

The floor of the original arena is gone but it gives one a wonderful birds eye view of the workings of beneath the stage. 

We were taken downstairs and through all the corridors where once slaves and gladiators walked. 

She showed us the lift mechanisms where wild animals were hoisted above to feast on unfortunate criminals and the odd Christian. 

Because it was a night tour there were no crowds,
All was quiet except for the voice of the guide.

She was so knowledgeable about the daily life of the Colosseum that it was very easy to imagine the activity that once occurred where we stood.

If you're ever in Rome in Summer - heck even if you're there in Winter - I'd advise you to take the night tour of Il Colosseo.

You won't be disappointed.

The Colosseum, Rome - July 2015


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