Sunday, 21 January 2018

On the 8th December 2017 the Governor General of Australia signed into Law an amendment to the Federal Marriage Act that allowed same-sex couples to marry, and thus enjoy the same privileges and protections as all married couples. 

In the waiting room before the ceremony, at the wedding registry office in the Old Treasury Building, Melbourne.

Presentation of the signed certificate by the celebrant.


Outside the Registry Office with our witnesses.


The other invited guests of the wedding party.

Post wedding lunch in the Strangers Corridor dining area at the Victorian Parliament House.

 'The happy couple'.

Next the celebration on 18th February with family and friends in the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens.

 Michael O'Keefe proposing a toast.

Before cutting the cake.

(Brother) Peter and Editha James, Laurie, Christopher, Jane, Martin James (nephew).

Laurie, Chris and his Aunt Val., (mother's sister-in-law) 

After the toast.

Friday, 22 January 2016


January 2016

Sandstone screen Jaisalmer Palace

Jain Temple sanctuary Jaisalmer

Interior, Jain Temple, Jaisalmer

 Temple offerings Bikana

Morning in the courtyard at Laxmi Niwas Palace Bikaner

Water vessel with embossed Ganesha image, Deshnoke

Karni Mata * (Temple of Rats), Deshnoke

Sunset from the walls of Khimsar Fort.

Indian Black Buck Antelope (male) near Khimsar.

The sacred lake at Pushka. Its creation is associated with Brahma * .

Pushka Market place

* Click on blue text for further information

Friday, 15 January 2016


Sundial at Jantar Mantar, Astronomical/Astrological Observatory, Jaipur. Built in the early 1700s

Jantar Mantar, Astronomical/Astrological Observatory, Jaipur.

Jantar Mantar, Astronomical/Astrological Observatory, Jaipur.

In the Chitrashala pavilion of Garh Palace Bundi.

In the Chitrashala pavilion of Garh Palace Bundi.

Victory tower Chittorgarh.

We had lunch in the Gul Mahal pleasure pavilion on Lake Pichola Udaipur.

An internal fountain in the City Palace Udaipur.

Intriguing set of European wall tiles on New Testament Biblical themes in the City Palace Udaipur.

The fortress of Kumbhalgarh.

Temples within the fortress's perimeter walls.

Elephant frieze Kumbhalgarh Fort.

Two wall paintings in Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur. They show the influence of the Italian craftsmen skilled, in stone-inlay work, who were brought to work on the Taj Mahal by Shah Jahan.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch, Mt Cook, Lake Hawea and Queenstown

May 2015

In our first week in New Zealand we spent three nights in the lush rural setting of Martinborough to the northeast of Wellington. One day we drove to the coast and walked up to the 'Pinnacles', a dramatic geological formation caused by erosion of very loose sedimentary soils.

The reason for the name is very obvious

Somewhere in this valley is a location used as the entrance to 'the paths of the dead' in the Lord of the Rings film.

I was fascinated to come across this beautiful sedimentary rock in which ancient seashells were imbedded.

Further along the coast we came across a beach with black sand. A most peculiar sight to my eyes.

Nearby was a colony of fur seals.

I was relieved to notice that this one was only sleeping. At first I had thought it was dead!

From Wellington on the North Island we flew to Dunedin on the South Island.

Charlotte, our principal host in Dunedin took us out on the Otago peninsula to visit Larnach Castle * .

This is the view from the top of the tower.

Two views of one of the beaches on the south side of the peninsular.

Early morning over Dunedin.

We subsequently travelled to Christchurch where we visited the Transitional Pro-Cathedral, known colloquially as the Cardboard Cathedral * . The interior is amazingly light because the cardboard tubes that support the structure are below a roof of transparent polycarbon.

The sides of the cathedral are made from shipping containers, converted into offices and this small side chapel.

After the workshops in Christchurch, Lyn and Ellen from the Christchurch Branch of the Sogetsu School took us out to the early French settlement of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula.

We then drove southwest to Mt Cook...

...where we stayed at the Hermitage hotel.

This was the view from our room.

We walked along the Hooker river where puddles were covered in a thick layer of ice.

The second of three suspension bridges over the river.


Looking across the lake to the retreating Hooker glacier at the base of Mt Cook.

Icebergs 'calved' off from the glacier.

Next we travelled to Lake Hawea where we stayed in a 'crib' (holiday house) of an ikebana friend, Elizabeth, from Wellington.

A yellow flower beside the path...

...and masses of wild rose berries.

Beautiful and large turnips in a field.

The path beside the lake.

The view from Elizabeth's kitchen window.

The same view two days later.

Beautiful, but not quite what we expected. Being anxious that we might need to drive with snow-chains,after checking that the road was still passable we drove to Queenstown from where we were to fly to Australia a couple of days later.

View from our hotel window in Queenstown.

Queenstown is on Lake Wakatipu on which we took a cruise.

This view is from the Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve above Queenstown.