Hi, I hope you've had a good year, and have been keeping happy and well. Yes its time for my annual update, and the big news for me is that having spent much of the year on long service leave, as of the end of Oct 2016 I'm now officially retired (good old CSS 54/11 for those who know the implications). Not that it feels much different, as I still have a visiting position at the Uni, and have been working on a new 4th edition of the Computer Security text I co-authored for much of the year! But its nice to have escaped the marking and admin hell! And to mostly work only when I want to. Also spending more time travelling, dancing and having fun! So given that, here's my years highlights in pictures .... My big trip this year was 5 weeks in Scandinavia in June-July. I flew into Copenhagen and stayed for a few days with Ursula (seen in main hall in Frederiksborg Castle). Then went exploring various places in Denmark, including Ødense, Vejle, Legoland at Billund (Millenium Falcon model), Århus, the northern tip at Skagen and Hirtshals. Next I caught the ferry over to Kristiansand in Norway and spent a lovely few days with Per Magne & his family in Arendal. Then on to Oslo, and more exploring (photo of me atop the Holmenkollen Ski Jump Tower with city view behind). Among other attractions, I do very much love the sculpture parks here.
I then caught the train into Sweden to Karlstad, Örebro (with its awesome castle), caught up with Genet in Norrköping (with its marvellous Industrial Landscape buildings in and along the river) and then to Stockholm. I finished with a week at the famous Herräng swing dance camp in a picturesque coastal village north of Stockholm taking the Balboa intermediate classes (house-mates dressed for masquerade).
Back in Australia, I've been dancing lots of course. Plenty of swing dancing, including a number of exchanges, both local with the Jumptown Jam in Apr, Canberräng in Aug (photo of me dancing), and Slowdown in Oct; as well as interstate with the Little Big Weekend in Sydney in May, Swingmania in Launceston in Oct (fun and games on fountain), and MLX in Melbourne in Nov. I've also been to various folk dances, including the Monaro Folk Society's Colonial Ball (gorgeous gowns), and a number of Earthly Delights Balls through the year. And to the National Folk Festival at Easter here in Canberra.
Canberra has plenty on as always. I get to hear quite a bit of live music, especially Blues and Jazz around town. And to go and see various festivals and shows on here. Including "Circus 1903" in Dec, with some great contortion, acrobatic, juggling and other acts. I love the architectural light projections on display during the Enlighten Festival in Mar (photo of projections onto National Gallery & National Library), and of the Balloon Spectacular (massed liftoff at dawn) also in Mar.
I also enjoy the beautiful countryside that Canberra in located in. I've managed a few walks around town, here a view from a walk in Tidbinbilla to the Nil Desperandum homestead in Apr. And nice to see our new Cotter Dam is full & spilling over (photo looking through the Flow sculpture). And I went to see Floriade a number of times (photo of me with Lynne who made a quick visit form Wagga to see it).
I've enjoyed going to a number of talks on science and technology topics at the Academy of Science, ANU, ADFA & CSIRO. These included a talk by former astronaut Ron Garan at ADFA, and talks by senior JPL staff on current space missions. I also enjoyed seeing the displays (and fun such as Daleks in motion) at the Science in Action display for the Science Week in Aug. And I admire the changing displays in the NGA, including the awesome new leather sculpture of a fairytale castle by Xu Zhen. And whilst in Melbourne in Nov, we had a family gathering to celebrate Mum's 80th birthday, which was lovely.
Thats about it for now, hope it gives some idea of my many and various activities. I expect the coming year will have more travel and dancing, including a likely trip to Finland for Worldcon and on to UK, Austria & Germany to see family & friends in Aug-Sept. I'm also looking forward to Duncan Lorien's Song-writing seminar in Melbourne in Feb.
With best wishes for this festive season. I look forward to hearing your news. May your life be filled with peace and joy this Christmas and for the coming Year Lawrie - 12 Dec 2016.
And a few more photos that I didn't get room to squeeze into the printed letter. First some more photos from my Scandinavian trip, including the Old Town in Århus, WW2 fortifications in Hirtshals, and the "Anatomy of an Angel" sculpture in Oslo.
Next there's the picturesque lake behind the dance house at Herräng in July. Then back in Australia Cataract Gorge in Launceston (from my Swingmania trip end Oct), and one of the Contour 556 sculptures by Lake Burley Griffin also in Oct.
Jumping back to Scandinavian with the Hans Christian Andersens library in Ødense, and the rather spectacular water tower in Örebro. Back in Australia are formations in Wombeyan Caves (north of Canberra) in Feb, the new Bowen Drive underpass next to the NGA also in Feb, and ice sculpting at the NPG Winter Festival in Aug.
Finally some beautiful glass art in the Canberra Glassworks, relaxing in the Hilltop Pool at Peninsula Hot Springs, and the Elephant Sculpture in Birrarung Marr in Melbourne, all in Nov.