Still life…

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This is a still life painting by Margaret Olley, a much-loved Australian artist, who died in 2011 at the age of 88.

I love her style of realistic painting, her colours glow. But she famously hated house work. This is very evident in the reconstruction of her home that has been painstakingly recreated, piece by piece, in a specially built extension at the Tweed Regional Art Gallery. (see another post I did about this remarkable woman)

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It was carefully catalogued, thousands of articles, the exact position noted, then all brought from Sydney to be displayed here.

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You walk round the outside of the house peering in through the windows and doors at a conglomeration of articles that made up the creative person that was Margaret Olley.

As the gallery is only a short drive away I’m lucky to be able to visit regularly and this was where we came after the delicious lunch at Teavine House.

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To me it looks like a life times collection of eclectic junk, but Margaret insisted she knew where everything was and would not let anything be moved. Everyday the gallery staff put fresh flowers in the vases, as they were when she painted them. Classical music plays softly in the background.

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I visit this gallery every few months to see the ever-changing exhibits and always enjoy looking at this still life recreation of an amazing artist. So much to look at I notice something different at every visit.

It had been an enjoyable days outing and as the day faded we had one more cup of coffee, being the only ones in the café, it was almost closing time, it was quiet and peaceful and as the sun went down a stillness surrounded me. Life is good…

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Ailsa (where’s my backpack) ask us to create our own post and title it Travel theme: Stillness

Categories: Australia, Margaret Olley Art Centre, photos, stillness, travel theme, Tweed Valley Art Gallery | Tags: , , , , | 48 Comments

Thursday Doors : Teavine House…

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A friend told me about this restaurant. It is in the country and not a place that you would just stumble across. I’ve never seen it advertised, so it is one of those places that survive on word of mouth. It would have to be good.

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I liked the look, Queenslander style with large open decks.

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The door was open with 2 elegant inlaid panels.

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We were welcomed by Chris, the smiling and friendly owner of this delightful French Provincial Teahouse. It specialises in high tea. The range of teas was impressive, 15 blends from all around the world, a page of choices. I chose Peony tea because I had never heard of it before, it was light and flowery, quite delicious. Served in delicate, exclusive fine china on lace table clothes it was an impressive start to our meal.

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We also ordered lunch and while waiting I looked around.

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It wasn’t long before guests started to arrive.

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I think it was a celebration.

Our lunch arrives and a photo is worth a thousand words…

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Notice Jack is straight into his stuffed chicken and flower salad. Mine is a vegetable stack piled high with a variety of goodies, I found asparagus, mushroom, capsicum, kumera, courgette, onion and egg plant, home made pesto, fresh salad, small roast potatoes and crusty bread.

This is just one of the deserts that tempted us…

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But we resisted them…

After lunch we looked around the garden area.

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This looks like a very special High Tea function. I checked their web page and this is what it said.

History of High Tea

According to the legend of Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting, the Duchess of Bedford is credited as the creator of Afternoon Tea.  At first, the Duchess had her servants sneak to her chambers with a pot of tea and bread.  The Duchess then invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal.  This menu centred around small cakes, bread and butter, sandwiches and assorted sweets and of course tea.  This practice was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.

At Teavine House, we specialise in the experience of High Tea “a cup above the rest”.  For centuries, Tea Houses have been important venues to socialise, for special parties and to conduct special business affairs.  We believe the experience of High Tea opens up conversations and helps people to connect.

Our dedicated team at Teavine House are committed to making your special occasion memorable.

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I loved the attention to detail that made the atmosphere quite special.

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A boutique gift shop next to the restaurant beckoned, so I had a look around.

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After a memorable meal it was time to move on to the next stage of our day out.

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Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time)

Categories: photos, Teavine House, Thursday Doors, travel | Tags: , , , | 40 Comments

Travel Theme : Eye to Eye…

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A few months ago** (See footnote) when visiting the Brisbane Art Gallery I took a photo of this life-size elephant sculpture. It is rather magnificent, but a bit puzzling. Why is he standing on his head like a giant book end? I checked Google when I got back home…

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“More than a million dollars was spent on this single piece of art,  commissioned by an artist who doesn’t live in Queensland or Australia for that  matter.”

Ms Bates insisted her comments about government waste were “not a smear on  the artist or the sculpture” but argued the state funding would have been better  spent helping the Queensland arts sector.

The sculpture was funded by the state government’s art+place Queensland  Public Art Fund and the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation.

Parekowhai was one of three  internationally acclaimed artists shortlisted to produce a sculpture to be  located between GOMA and the Brisbane River.

The Queensland Art Gallery argued the proposed sculpture responded to the  cultural and historical significance of Kurilpa Point.

“A life-sized bronze elephant, which on closer inspection is revealed to be a  bookend, is flipped on its head. Its eyes gaze directly into those of a kuril,  the native water rat that gives Kurilpa Point its name,” the gallery  said in a statement to the ABC earlier this year.

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On that day I only looked from one point and had not seen the “Kurilpa”. So decided that next time I went to the art gallery I would look at the other side. This weekend I went back to the art gallery

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Look what I saw…

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A footnote to this story: I did not take my camera, so for the first time I pulled out the IPhone and was very surprised, on an overcast day, at the detail the phone captured. I think I am a convert…

A second footnote: When I checked back I was astonished to find it was three years** since I took the first photo. Unbelievable! Where did that time go…

A third footnote : I am linking this to Ailsa’s (Where’s my backpack) “travel theme” of “close”

Categories: art gallery, Australia, Brisbane, close, photos, travel, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , | 31 Comments

The pureness of light

My gypsy feet were getting restless and wanted to go exploring, after all it is now 4 months since my last trip. So yesterday it was time for a day’s outing into the country side. Discovering a new and delightful place for lunch. (more on this in another post) On to Murwillumbah art gallery to be immersed in art. Then sit on the deck of the gallery café with a cup of coffee as the sun went down. 

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It is dusk and, thinking the sunset was finished, it is time to head home along the highway. The sugar cane fields on one side and the Tweed River on the other. Suddenly the sun illuminates the sky with a final burst of  iridescent red, it is breathtaking and I had to stop and try to capture this pure moment of nature’s glory. I am oblivious of the vehicles rushing by, people encased in their metallic shells. Are they even aware of the beauty around them. The place is a perfect spot for photographs as the cirrus clouds reflect in a pool of blood in the river.

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Ten minutes and the show is over…

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For this week’s challenge, share a photo of something pure — it can be a person, an object, or a moment.

 

Categories: photos, pure, sunsets, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 50 Comments

All Aboard the Blues Train

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Steam train “Special 1079” (numbers) Is a very special heritage train and has been puffing along for 150 years (more numbers) and is now used for special excursions and, in March, I had booked for an excursion to the Glasshouse Mountains in search of the “blues”. (If you are a train buff and would like more information go here)

 

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The passengers milled around, the excitement was palpable. The train guard kept us all behind the yellow line till it was time to board.

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Do you remember these old trains? Shiny, hard leather seats, racks for the luggage, room to move around and windows that opened to let in the fresh air tinged with smoke,smut and cinders!!!

Time to settle down, get to know the passengers around you and take a photo or two.

One complimentary glass of wine, beer or soft drink was included with the price. After this first drink there was plenty more at a price $9 per, small, glass of wine or beer…

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So with the windows open, wind in the hair and wine in hand the journey began.

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With 6 carriages and over 150 people (more numbers) it would be a fun journey. Blues musicians entertained in each carriage. The train was rocking and rolling along.

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This lovely lady and her backing guitarist belted out the blues in our carriage, she was good, a strong husky, blues voice and sang all popular songs. Really set the atmosphere. And look at that figure…

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The joint is jumping…

The scenery swished by lit by the late afternoon sun and for a while I stood on the open deck, outside the carriage, watching the world go by

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Then the unusual shaped Glasshouse Mountains, glowing in the late afternoon golden light, came into view. We are almost there.

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The Glasshouse Mountains Tavern is next to the railway station and everyone heads for the bar.

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It is a bit like the old-time six o’clock swill. (Who remembers those days?) Standing 2 and 3 deep waiting to be served, the barmaids are going as fast as they can. Then find a seat and wait for the “gourmet” bar-b-q to be served.

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Here it comes…

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Here it goes…

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It is a beautiful balmy night and some people find a table outside.

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But I heard they breed large, hungry mosquitoes around here. One of my new friends had brought her mossie repellent and I, gratefully, used it too. Then found a seat inside.

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Now we had a 2 hour blues show. Just look at this blues singer, she really looked the part and she could belt out the blues.

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We shared a table with Rob and his partner and made an instant connection with them. Lots in common to talk about. I went over to get another drink and when I got back to the table the music had started and Jack and our new friend could not resist the rhythm so they became part of the show…

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Jack loves to dance and in New Zealand, when he followed many of the blues musicians over there, he became known as the “detonator” he would be the first one to start dancing, then every one would join in dancing. So it was this time. At the next song the floor was filled with grooving, happy people.

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I was surprised how many times numbers popped up in this post. So I am linking it to Ben’s photo challenge of numbers.

Categories: numbers, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , | 29 Comments

Final few hours in Brisbane…

It had been a busy day when we went to Brisbane a couple of Saturdays ago. We visited the art gallery, strolled around South Bank and had lunch there. But the day was only half gone…

 Passing through the University grounds on the way to the Botanic Gardens I went in search of “The Cube”

“The Cube is one of the world’s largest interactive digital display systems. It is two storeys high, has 170m2 of high-definition screens, and includes 48 touch panels. It took our developers more than two years to build.

The Cube offers unprecedented learning and research opportunities for the community – from school students to scientists and engineers. Our researchers use the Cube to showcase their ideas and to visualise, model and manipulate big data sets.”

With help from a security guard we found this impressive display and spent an hour pressing buttons and marvelling at the vision of being back in the time of the dinosaurs.

It was a few months ago that we came to see this but that was the day Jack fell and ended up in hospital. I’ve just checked back and found it was last August,  (do you remember that? Check it here) certainly doesn’t seem that long ago. Since that unfortunate accident we have been meaning to come back. So at long last we have made it…

But we did have another reason to be here today. We were meeting the family at 6pm at Kangaroo Point to see them rock climbing.

Still another couple of hours, so with a cup of take-away coffee we wandered over to the Botanical Gardens next to the university and sat watching the world go by.

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Walking along I was drawn toward this magnificent display of marigolds. In the late afternoon sun they glowed.

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Families made the most of this glorious weather.

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In the background children frolicked in the playground.

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Jack found another unusual seat/bench to rest on and after taking the photo I joined him.

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But it was time to catch the ferry and go over to the other side of the river to find the family.

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Can you see the ferry on the other side of the river? We will have to hurry to catch it.

The sun is going down behind the hi-rises of the CBD but the cliffs of Kangaroo Point are still painted vivid orange by the glow from the sun. (This photo has not been touched up at all, I could hardly believe the colours when I downloaded it)

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I spot someone setting up the ropes for the rock climbing enthusiasts. Our family must be around here somewhere.

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It is an interesting walk. I see a bridal party having a photo session.

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Then I see the rock climbers.

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That’s our grandson almost at the top after scaling an almost vertical wall. What a great activity.

The sun has gone down now and the lights of Brisbane are turning on as the sun highlights the horizon in one last muted, orange glow.

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What a day it has been. At 7-30pm we catch the train back to the Gold Coast. Arriving home, tired and ready for a cuppa, at 9-00pm

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I am linking this post to Paula, “Lost in Translation“, you may have guessed her theme this week is “glow”…

I would also like to join Jo “Restless Jo” and her intrepid band of world-wide walkers.

Categories: Australia, Brisbane, glow, Jo's Monday walks, Kangaroo Point, photos, QUT, Thursday Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Immersed in the Blues

The Blues came to Broadbeach this weekend with 62 musicians, both local and international playing their hearts out. For 4 days the sound of blues, soul and rock n roll wowed the crowds as thousands flocked into the Gold Coast for this iconic FREE event now into its fifteenth year. The atmosphere was electric. Stages set up in the streets that were closed to traffic. Bands playing in venues from the hotels to the shopping centres. Every where the music followed you, heavy rock, morphing into soulful jazz then beating into rock n roll as you move from venue to venue. And the sun beamed down in typical Gold Coast style.

We chose to go to the Pacific Fair shopping centre at lunch time to watch a 2 hour concert by Juzzie Smith, a favourite of ours, an immensely talented entertainer, a one man band who composes all his own music.

“Juzzie is a walking, talking, singing example of how it pays to follow your heart. Not that money is the point here – far from it. The real point is that Juzzie is one of those truly creative souls who makes a living out of doing something he absolutely loves.” (from Juzzie’s web page, see more here)

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We are huge fans. Look at this unusual guitar made from a cigar box. It makes a terrific blues sound. He also has 2 other guitars, his feet are his percussion, he has a belt full of harmonicas and then he has “chukka chuks”. “What ever are they?” I hear you ask. Well be amazed, I took a short video…

The kids found him irresistible and I had to get another video of these 2 young boys. With the spontaneous abandon of youth they grooved to the rhythm.

Then on to music central in the heart of Broadbeach. We mingled with the happy crowd and stopped for a while to watch another one man band.

Taking photos of the artists was very difficult as the crowds gathered around intent on hearing the music. So we just wandered around, stopping for a coffee and listening to acoustic, lyrical guitar for a while, then joining the crowds at the main stage in the mall. The big attraction was “Big Daddy Wilson”

“As soon as you hear Big Daddy Wilson’s voice, whether speaking or singing, you hear his southern country roots. The sound of the original blues people comes through loud and clear, reminding you of a bygone era when music came from people’s front porches instead of iPhones. Wilson has a voice baptized in the river of African-American song – a voice with the power to heal. His repertoire encompasses spirituals, blues, country & soul, delivered in his unique, heartfelt way.” (from his web page)

The crowd was packed tight around the stage so we just found a bench near the water feature and listened to the rich sound of a mellow blues man and soaked in the reverent atmosphere of the crowd.

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I love people watching and there are plenty to see here. I think this bloke is on to me!!!

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But time to head home. We came on the bus, to find a car-park would be impossible. As we sauntered back in the late afternoon sun I couldn’t resist getting a photo of these 2 lovely ladies in front of us.

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As we stopped at the pedestrian crossing Jack told them how we admired their dresses. Debbie and Cherry were pleased to let me take a photo. These are more than dresses they are works of art. Just look at all the detail and they are designed and created here on the Gold Coast, not one stitch was produced in China.

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They then put on these funky jackets from the same designer.

 

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Jack loved chatting to them as I took the photos and then gave them a big hug as they went on their way and we crossed the road to catch the bus home after a day immersed in the Blues…

Categories: Australia, Broadbeach Blues Festival, Goldcoast, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 35 Comments

The sky on fire…

Today was a perfect day for gardening and I happily lost all track of time as I pottered and planted and mulched and watered. Then as the day came to a close look what I was rewarded with. I just had to share this with you.

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I hope all my blogging friends have had a good day and you have an interesting weekend planned.

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To see beauty like this in nature makes me want to just sit and breathe and absorb it fully in the short time it presents these gorgeous colours for our enjoyment. So I am linking this to Ailsa’s theme of the week “breathe”

Categories: breathe, photos, sunsets, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

A look at art…

After a delightful stroll along the Southbank of the Brisbane River and lunch in one of the many restaurants I head to the Art Gallery.

The first gallery room showcased Aboriginal art. I am fascinated by the structure and design, and overwhelmed by the size and precise placing of the dots and crisscross patterns.

I stood for quite a while in front of this large painting. I wasn’t the only person finding it photo worthy.

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I took a closer look and marvelled at the precise placement of the thousands of carefully placed dots that join into a seamless flowing of rippling water.

Look closer. It has a hypnotic, three dimensional appearance.

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The tiny dots are so incredibly perfect, I wonder at the time and intense concentration needed to create this masterpiece. I am always pleased when galleries put background detail of the work.

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I move on to another type of Aboriginal art. Again the canvas is large and the work very detailed and precise.

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A gallery guide is giving an insight into the meaning of these works of art. This one is a story of a traditional ceremony. Again I look closely and am amazed at the delicate crisscrossing of lines, known as rarrk, every one perfectly placed. The colours used are the rich earthy tones of the land.

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There were many more traditional paintings to admire but the final painting in this gallery is quite different. My eyes were drawn again and again to this shadowy, mystical image.

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Moving into the next gallery it is a visual change from the norm. The walls have been painted to be part of the overall exhibition. I find it quite confronting to start with. But then, as I wander round, the background walls seem to enhance the paintings.

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Women feature in all these paintings.

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The next gallery, again, has boldly painted walls.

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Then turning into the next gallery I am confronted with this…

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A life-size, dead elephant…

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Well, what do you think? I marvel at a person’s mind that would think of this. Then the actual creation of the form of the elephant, but then to stick thousands of tiny “bindis” all over the form. I had to look closer…

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Jack says “that looks like thousands of sperm swimming for their life”…

Ok!!! Time for a coffee…

But the day is not over yet. The next post I will take you for a stroll through the Botanic Gardens and a ferry ride…

Categories: art gallery, Australia, Brisbane, photos | Tags: , , , | 42 Comments

A Walk Through Sunny Southbank, Brisbane

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It’s a sunny Saturday a perfect day for a trip to Brisbane and a walk through the Southbank Parklands. It is almost winter but the Bougainvillea are still flowering. Soft flamenco music drifts through the air from the street musicians. I think they have their eyes on the girls…

While further along this African (?) musician strums his instrument.

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Through the Bougainvillea I can see the eye in the sky.

Children play while the adults relax in the shade from the trees.

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Others make the most of the sun. I wonder if they are visitors from a colder climate. I hope they have put plenty of sunscreen on.

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Then I notice a new area. A herb and veggie garden. Last time I came through, about a year ago, this was under construction.

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It has a wide range of herbs that you are invited to sample. A variety of vegetables are growing between the herbs. I spot beans, tomatoes, bok choy, celery and rows of new seedlings just emerging.

This is what their web site says “The Epicurious Garden is a must-visit destination at South Bank for foodies, gardening enthusiasts and all those in-between.

Head along to explore the garden’s exquisite plant life and see what fresh produce looks, feels and smells like; talk to our dedicated gardener volunteers (who are onsite from 7-11.30am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) and learn about inner-city gardening; or read our recipe suggestions and learn how to cook with fresh produce in your own home. All produce in the garden is organic, and is rotated seasonally throughout the year.

If you stop by from 7am-2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, you can also collect free produce from the garden’s harvest cart. The cart operates on first-in, best-dressed basis, so get in early to avoid disappointment.”

What a perfect place for a picnic.

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A fish pond is next to the “Epicurious Garden”. Such a peaceful place to sit and relax.

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The tranquil Brisbane River flows by. While in another part of the parklands the markets are in full swing.

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There is a large choice of places to eat, from take away burghers and chips to fancy 5 star restaurants.

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I almost stood on this little water dragon. He certainly wasn’t going to move out of my way and he posed very nicely.

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I always find it difficult making a choice when there are so many to choose from. But finally I make a choice and we sit and enjoy, for me lasagna and for Jack grilled fish.

After lunch we go to the art gallery. But that will be another post…

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I’m joining Restless Jo’s Monday walkers this week. I’m a day late so I will have to hurry. Do go over and see Jo’s delightful walk in Poland with Meg a blogging buddy, and also check out the other band of dedicated walkers from around the world that have rallied to join Jo’s walking group.

Categories: Australia, Brisbane, Jo's Monday walks, photos, South Bank | Tags: , , , , | 42 Comments

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