Hi, I hope this year has treated you well, and that you've been having fun! I've had another pleasant year of retirement, with the highlight being a wonderful 6 week trip to Europe in Jul/Aug. After a brief stopover in Singapore, where I loved the indoor annular waterfall & forest in the Jewel Shopping Complex at Changi Airport, it was on to France for 2 weeks of very summery weather! I had a couple of days in Paris, including a day exploring the Palace of Versailles, which I'd not been to before. Then down to the south of France for a week long balboa (swing) dance camp at Le Mont Dore. I loved the spectacularly beautiful alpine countryside, where a few friends & I walked the valley rim, and had a wonderful time in workshops and at evening dances with live music. Then a few days exploring picturesque Lyon before flying to the UK for a couple of weeks mostly catching up with family & friends. It was great to see them, but also sad due to a couple of recent deaths in the family. And UK weather lived up to its reputation, being grey & damp much of the time! However the Five Rise Locks at Bingley were impressive. And great spending time with Eric, Freya & Uther walking down to the harbour at Cove near where they live on the Scottish coast. Then on to Ireland for my last two weeks. The main highlight there was attending the World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin (including the Startrek bridge set for corny photos). I finished the trip with a quick tour around southern Ireland, seeing Westport, Galway & Kilkenny, with a photo here on me in Kilkenny Castle.
The photo below left is of a wall mural in Glasgow, they had a quite a few, all impressive, which I saw on my O/S trip. Other activities during the year included going to a number of shows and concerts. Here is a photo from "The Mermaids Tale" in the Speigeltent at Barwon Heads, that I saw in Jan whilst in Victoria seeing family over summer.
The next photo on the previous page shows detail from "The Lady of Shallot" in the "Love & Desire Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces" at the NGA here in Canberra in Mar. This was one of a number of gallery exhibitions I saw. And I got back to Sydney at the end of Oct to see Sculpture by the Sea again. I love the huge range of sculptures, but have included photos of a couple of my favorites: "The Statue of Mad Liberty" and "Precious Moments". Below are some photos from other exhibitions I saw. First one of the wonderful array of works in "Escher X Nendo" at the NGV in Melbourne in Feb. There was a gorgeous collection of costumes from the movie in "The Dressmaker Exhibition" at the NFSA here in May. And some beautiful paintings in "Monet Impression Sunrise" at the NGA in June.
I love the Enlighten Festival in Canberra in March, the building illuminations are always fascinating, photo here of a clever take on the Periodic Table on Questacon. I also love the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, watching a large group of balloons inflate and fly is just magic. And the Beagle balloon was just awesome! And then for Spring we have Floriade showcasing tulips and other gorgeous flowers in Sept/Oct, here with some steampunk guest entertainers. Speaking of which, The Goulburn Waterworks Steampunk and Victoriana Fair in Oct abounded in awesome costumes. And I'm dancing lots of swing and folk, and attending various events including the Jane Austen Festival here in Apr, and the Bundanoon Dancefest in June.
Living in Canberra there's always a lot on, and I enjoy the live music scene here, including regular jazz/swing sessions and the RMC Band concerts. I saw Post Modern Jukebox (PMJ), who reinvent modern pop songs with a swing esthetic, in concert for the first time in Oct! I also love walking the bush around Canberra, here is a photo from Fadden Hill, not far from home, in June. On a related activity, I've started some relaxed street & bush orienteering this year for something different to do, as a nice way of getting out and about. As this year was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, I saw a number of exhibits celebrating this, and even got to touch a real moon rock at Geoscience Australia in July!
And a few more photos that I didn't get room to squeeze into the printed letter. Starting with some more from summer with the family in Melbourne. The sand sculptures were on again, though have moved down the Mornington Peninsula to Boneo. I Spent a couple of days visiting Walhalla for the first time in many years, fun but smoky from bushfires nearby. And I saw the giant Moon Globe at Scienceworks in Jan (and saw it again at Questacon in Canberra and in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney later in the year as it moved around for the Moon Landing Anniversary celebrations).
As mentioned I enjoy listening and dancing at a number of events, including at this Canberra Big Band Collective concert in Apr. I again went to the National Folk Festival here in Canberra over Easter. There was lots of great music and dance as always, but I was rather taken by the piano in Community Arts with the sign "Don't Be Petrified .. Play Me". In July I caught up with a number of friends from the Colonial dancing at Jill's 70th birthday celebrations in the picturesque Binalong Hotel.
A couple more photos from my time in France in July. One of me dancing at the pre-dinner session at the dance camp. And some of the awesome SF movie costumes at the Museum of Cinema in Lyon. And lastly one of the miniatures in the Dreamworks Animation exhibition at the NMA in Canberra in Nov.
And thats my selection for this year, hope you enjoy them!