Tuesday 29th October, 2013 There is an air of smugnesss in our city today. Adelaide has been rated in the Lonely Planet travel guide books as the 9th favoured city to visit in the world. No other Australian city has been placed in the top 10.
We South Australians always knew Adelaide was a great place but now the secret is out, and we just have to convince our interstate cousins to come and see for themselves. But no, they would rather poke fun at us saying Adelaide is a backwater, just a large country town and even one of our own called it a "pissant town". Not so long ago we were put in the top 10 as one of the most liveable cities. Adelaide has everything going for it.............great weather all year round, fantastic cafes with food made from local produce, friendly people, beautiful beaches with clean sand, easy to get around, well planned city with plenty of parklands and so much more. We have several dolphins that love to play in the Port River. Port Adelaide is only 14 kilometres from the city centre.
We are known as the Festival state and throughout the year we have plenty of Festivals going on. Our best known are the Cabaret Festival and the Fringe Festival which is part of the Mad March festivities. We also host the annual Tour Down Under, our own version of the Tour de France.
We are close to all the major tourist attractions......... Adelaide Hills, 20 minutes from the city centre for apples, cherries, strawberries, vegies, wineries, wildlife parks, historic tourist towns
Hairy nosed wombat
McLaren Vale region is 30 minutes down the road and here you will find plenty of wineries, beaches and cafes.
Barossa Valley is an hour away for vineyards, wineries, cafes, golf courses
Kangaroos on the golf course
Clare Valley is 90 minutes away for wineries, farming, historic mining towns.
Murray Bridge and Mannum are situated on the River Murray an hour away for river fishing or hiring a houseboat for a few days or a week of cruising down the river.
The Riverland is a 2-3 hour drive away and here you will find plenty of oranges, fresh fruit like apricots, peaches, pears and nectarines plus lots of vineyards and wineries. The River Murray flows through this region and is also popular for river sports like speed boats, fishing, swimming, houseboats and water skiing.
You can catch a plane or take the ferry to Kangaroo Island. Here you will enjoy some fantastic food, great fishing, wildlife, seals and penguins and stunning scenery.
For the more adventurous you can fly to Port Lincoln or take a 7-8 hour drive and swim with the great white sharks. By the way you are in a shark proof cage. You can also swim with the sea lions and the tuna.
If that doesn't interest you there are plenty of places to fish, surf, swim or go further west to the Great Australian Bight to watch the whales that migrate to this area and give birth to their young during the months of May-October.
Further north we have the Flinders Ranges. These are not my cup of tea but plenty of people love going up there. Plenty of wildlife are to be seen and also at certain times of the year, if we've had the rain, the area is covered in wildflowers.
Adelaide is also the gateway to the Outback........head north and you will eventually come across Coober Pedy, an opal mining town where the houses are built underground. Stay a night and do some fossicking.....you could get lucky and find that elusive black opal. Keep on going and you will be in the Northern Territory and a little way up the road is Alice Springs and a bit to the west Uluru (Ayers Rock).
Black opal...the most valuable of all opal
I know I will upset some people by leaving some areas out but as you can see once you get here there is plenty for you to see and do. If you are thinking of a holiday in Australia or coming from interstate put Adelaide on your itinerary. In fact many people who have holidayed here are surprised at how beautiful this city is. If you do come I don't think you will be disappointed!
Tuesday 29th October, 2013 The votes are in and Dami Im is crowned as the winner of Australi's X Factor 2013. Taylor was runner-up and Jai came 3rd. It was a good choice. She has an amazing voice though a lot of people think she's a screamer but that could be because of some of the songs she was given to sing. Dannii Minogue was her mentor. For the first five weeks she got a standing ovation from all 4 judges, Dannii, Ronan Keating. Red Foo and Natalie Bassingthwaite and the audience. Never before on X Factor has this been achieved. On Grand Final night her performance of "And I Am Telling You" from the Dreamgirls soundtrack was jaw dropping and all the judges not only gave her a standing ovation but they all stood on the desk. She was born in South Korea and has lived in Australia since the age of 9 and is the first Asian-Australian to win X Factor.
All 3 of these artists have some future in the music industry. We will have to wait until they release an album or a single to see. Dami's new single "Alive" is already Number 1 on iTunes.
Monday 28th October, 2013 Another weekend has flown by and Tony and I were busy. It was cleanup time again. It's all we seem to do at the moment. On Wednesday we had some very strong winds, again!!! but this time it blew out the trellis that we had in the courtyard and our outside lamp pole just about blew away. David, our neighbour, came over Wednesday afternoon asking me if I had heard that almighty crash. I had, but didn't take too much notice thinking it was the loose timber we have in the courtyard hitting against the facia. Well to my surprise he informs me that our trellis is lying in his backyard. While talking to him we notice the lamp pole is just about to take off and so he grabs a garden brick to put on the base. The strength of the wind was phenomenal......it would have gusted to over 100kph.
When Tony got home from work he went over to David's to collect the trellis. He also saw that all the wood in the courtyard needs replacing and so we have to find someone who is willing to do it. In the coming weeks we will have to go around to some home improvement places and get some quotes. Saturday was spent trimming plants, sweeping, and vacuuming out the back and Tony put up a new lamp post, hopefully a much stronger one, and put another lamp post out the back We also went off to the garden centre to get some more pine bark chips. During the week Kahra had rung to ask us to go to an open day at Glandore. Katies' Karate club was going to do an exhibition and as we hadn't seen her for a while we decided to go. The day was put on by Coast FM, a local radio station. There were several stalls, barbque and various bands played throughout the day. A parade of vintage cars came through the park. I find these cars so romantic and it takes me away to another era where it seems life was less complicated, but I am sure they had their problems just like today's society.
It was so good to see Katie again. Geez I do miss that girl!!! She told us that we had to buy the paper, Sunday Mail, as she had placed a message in it for us. Apparently Sunday was Grandparent's Day (we didn't know) and grandchildren could put a message in the paper for their grandparents. That was a nice surprise.
Soon after Katie finished her Karate they wanted to leave. Tony and I decided not to stay either and so we decided to go for a drive. I needed a coffee and thinking we would go somewhere local, nope, we ended up at Victor Harbor. The weather wasn't the greatest. Even though it wasn't real cold it was windy and a few spots of rain fell.
Katie with her instructor, Dave
and she throws him to the floor
We thought about getting on the horse drawn tram after our coffee and going over to Granite Island but then thought that seeing we had no coat or jumper perhaps we won't. We would leave it for another time when the weather was more favourable.
You can walk over to Granite Island
Instead we decided to go over to Strathalbyn and have a browse through some of the antique shops. I wanted to get some 'old' cups and saucers. I ended up getting a couple and we are going back to get some more another day. We got home just in time to watch the start of the final of the XFactor. The three finalists were Dami Im, Taylor Henderson and Jai Waetford. My pick for the winner is either Dami or Taylor. Jai, being only 14, we felt should not have been among the finalists. He was good, but his voice was still a bit immature we thought.
Taylor Dami Jai
We have to wait until tomorrow night to find out who the winner is.
Sunday 20th October, 2013 As I said previously time has really got away from me this past week. Last Sunday Robyn, Bob, Tony and I went and experienced something wonderful. We went to see Cavalia. The show was truly magnificent. It was where horses and man paid tribute to their relationship and gave a spectacular show of horsemanship, acrobatics and pure emotion. The production of Cavalia was a dream of the co founder of Cirque du Soleil and has been performing for 9 years throughout the world. They have a total of 48 horses, a combination of stallions and geldings. There are no mares. They use various breeds of horse, Arabian, Appaloosa, Percheron, Australian Stock Horse, Spanish Pure Bred, quarter Horse and Paint Horses. The horse is the star of the show and they control the whole show. No horse is made to do anything they don't want to. The horses bring out their own characters, or are trained to, and some are cheeky, some aggressive and some just like being stars. One particular horse liked being the leader and got aggressive when another horse would take over. He would bite the neck of any horse that got in front and kicked out at one of them. They are immaculately groomed and obviously have the best of care. You can tell that they are well loved and consequentially love performing. My favourite part of the show was when the horse came over to the pond and drank the water from the girls cupped hands. It was a beautiful moment.
No cameras were allowed to be used in the show and so these photos are taken from the Program.
If Cavalia ever comes to a town near you, do yourself a favour and go and see it. You won't be disappointed!
Saturday 19th October, 2013 Where have I been you ask? I have been doing nothing in particular, it's just life that has been keeping me busy. The days have skipped by so fast I can't keep up. The weather has been great apart from a couple of days where we had some rain and strong winds. Firstly I must say a huge shout out to all those people in New South Wales who have been through the most horrendous bushfires in the last couple of days. The state of NSW has had some 100 bushfires burning throughout different areas of the state, but the worst has been in the Blue Mountains and on the Central Coast, around Lake Macquarie. Last reports I heard was that there were some 193 homes lost, over 100 damaged, and they are still assessing the burnt out areas. This number could go higher. So far no bodies have been found among the burnt out properties which is great news.
Our fire fighters do a magnificent job in times like this. They put their lives on the line while trying to protect other people's properties and meanwhile their own property is burning to the ground. This fire was apparently so fierce and fast moving there was little anyone could do.
Photos from Adelaide Now
Only a few months ago we were sympathising with the people of the United States, in particular the states of Colorado and Arizona which had been decimated by wild fires. The Americans know what it's like to have wild fires raging in their states. The most disturbing factor is that it is not even Summer. We can expect these sort of fires in the months of January or February but not October. Who says Global Warming does not exist? Just look at the weather patterns around the world and see how they are changing. This year was our warmest winter and NSW are experiencing temperatures in the high 30's at this time of year. I have also noticed that we are having stronger and more destructive winds than in times past. It's only a matter of time before we (South Australia) get to experience another devastating bushfire like the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983. Today there are thousands more people who live in the Adelaide Hills as well. As you drive around and through the Hills you still see peoples' houses with little or no clearing around their homes. The tree branches overhang their roofs. Plenty of advice is given to the residents to clean up their properties but a lot of it falls on deaf ears. It's just a disaster waiting to happen!!!
Sunday 6th October, 2013 October already! It will be Christmas before we know it. This morning was the start of daylight savings, a scourge for many country dwellers but us city folk love it. The extra daylight will be much appreciated for the next 6 months. This weekend has been a long weekend here in South Australia.....Labour Day weekend. Tony got a nice surprise last Thursday at work.....he was told that he could also have Friday off. Apparently the company takes the Friday off before a long weekend giving their employees an extra long weekend. Due to the strong winds that we had last week Friday was spent cleaning up the garden and the patio. Tony also managed to get a shrub cut down before the greens bin collector came around. The shrub had spread so much it was hard to open the car door whenever a car was parked on the driveway. Saturday morning we finished cleaning up out the back and washed down the outdoor table and chairs. In the afternoon we went off to Ikea (again). We went back to buy a cabinet that we had seen there last week. We noticed that they have just about finished erecting the tents for the season start of "Cavalia". We along with Robyn and Bob are going to see this show next Sunday.
Today we decided to go to Marrabel to the Rodeo. This is the first time we have ever attended a rodeo. Not knowing what to expect we were pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the afternoon. My hat goes off to those cowboys and girls with their riding skills, especially the guys who ride those bucking horses and bulls. Some of those bulls looked real mean.
The requirement for a rider is to stay on top of the animal for at least 8 seconds while it is bucking. Not too many managed to achieve this. 8 seconds doesn't sound very long, but it would feel like an eternity when you are being tossed, twisted, turned and thrown.
One rider was concussed after being thrown off his bull. Thank goodness for the St John Ambulance and the paramedics that were on hand to tend to him. When the rodeo finished we decided to take the long way home.....across to Saddleworth, Auburn, Balaclava, Port Wakefield and then home. It made for a nice drive through some great farming country. It has always been a desire of mine to see a snake in the wild so that I could get a photo. In all of my 62 years I may have seen one 3-4 times while driving in the country but back then digital cameras were unheard of and so you only ever had a camera on you in special circumstances. You never carried a camera around with you like you do today. While driving along this afternoon Tony spied a snake on the side of road. We were about 200 metres down the road when I got him to turn around. We go back to where the snake was and there it is curled up on the ground. Tony drives up to it, gets me to put down the window so that I could get a photo. I froze. No way was I going to stick my head out of the window or open the door. My biggest fear is snakes. I get him to reverse back so that I could photo it through the front windscreen but I couldn't see it. I think I was shaking too much. He then manoeuvres the car so that the snake is on his side. At this stage we don't know if it was dead or alive. Tony puts down his window, grabs the camera and takes a photo. By this time I am in panic mode. I just wanted to get out of the car and run but I knew I couldn't. I had visions of this snake rearing up trying to get him or slithering up the car to get inside.
Cars are driving along the road and I am thinking the noise of the cars will startle the snake and because we are on the other side of it, it will feel trapped and attack us. I am pleading for Tony to go. Finally we take off and I ask him where the snake is. He says it's still there on the side of the road. After about 2 kilometres down the road I get him to turn around so that I could see for myself that the snake was still there. It has been said that snakes can whip themselves up and get under the car, some have even been found in cars' engines.
Yep, the snake was still there. We decided that it must be dead for it not to have moved. Even knowing that it may be dead was of no comfort to me. I have a photo now and so any other snake that we may see while on our travels won't be of any interest. It still gives me chills while typing this. No more snakes were spotted, thank goodness, but we did see lots of lizards on the road. They had been run over by cars. Tony even hit one, he swerved to miss it but it must have moved and under the wheel it went. The warm weather brings them out and they love to sit on the roads soaking up the heat from the bitumen. Once we got to Port Wakefield we decided to have a bite to eat for dinner. It was busier than we thought it would be but the place will be really buzzing tomorrow night when people make their way home from the weekend. Tomorrow Tony and I have no plans. Hopefully it will be a lazy day just enjoying this great weather we are having at the moment. Rain is being forecast again by Thursday.