My First Blog Post

Arrival at last in Adelaide

Arrived yesterday here in Adelaide and have fallen in love with my grandson Sammy.

Dave and Leah are such wonderful parents. We are staying at her brother’s home-so grateful for his hospitality.

Going through Sydney was a bit sad. The forest fires there are so bad that smoke hangs over the city, and even on the plane as we approached, the smell of smoke was discernible in the cabin. The beaches were not very well-attended due to the haze that hung over them.

It will be in the 80’s Fahrenheit here today. A lot cooler than earlier this week.

I will upload some pictures later today!!

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Addendum: Day of Departure

I am posting this a bit late after resting from jet lag back in South Portland.

I left Melbourne the morning of January 7 after many hugs and kisses for Sammy, Leah, and Dave. I will miss them so much! The good news is that they all will be here in August, including Leah’s parents, brother, and nephew!! Am excited about that!

Adding another spa picture and also pictures prior to flight time.

A future swimmer!!
cuddles with Sammy the day of my departure in Dave and Leah’s home in Melbourne
Dave, Sammy, and me before leaving Dave’s house in Melbourne.
Dave and myself at Melbourne airport before I step into security line.

Last day in Melbourne January 6

Today we woke up to a strong smell of smoke from the fires and poor air quality as rated by the meteorological services here. Outside it was hard for me to breathe deeply without coughing.

We walked to a nearby coffee shop where we had a late breakfast.

The big event of the day was taking Sammy to a baby spa in the city. I was so impressed!! That would be a wonderful service to have in the U.S.

A massage therapist for babies greeted us and led us to a tub of warm water. She placed a flotation collar around Sammy’s neck, and Sammy had a lovely 15 minutes of moving around unaided in the water. It was wonderful to see! Then the therapist gave him a massage and exercised his arms and legs.

entrance to the baby spa
Leah getting Sammy out of his clothes for the water exercise.
massage therapist putting on Sammy’s special “swimming’ attire
Here is Sammy in his flotation collar being lowered into the water.
having fun in the water!!
massage therapist helping him get extra exercise!
Getting Sammy all dried off
massage therapist massaging legs and feet
nice back massage-and he loved looking at the baby in the mirror!
pure delight!

Harp in the Royal Botanical Gardens

My daughter-in-law, Leah, had purchased tickets for Dave and me to attend Harp in the Gardens on January 5. I was unsure what to expect-a full solo harp performance perhaps? It was to be from 1:00PM-3:00PM.

Much to our surprise and delight, the harpist, Michael Johnson, is the resident harpist of the Gardens- he actually lives there and composes music inspired by the natural setting and enhancing the visitors’ experience. He showed us several meditation centers in the Gardens and then took us to a gazebo to lead us through meditation/visualization with harp accompaniment. After that, he played several of his own compositions. It was a truly superb time! I chatted with him about the harp and also about my interest in playing for hospice and other health venues since he does that at hospitals around Melbourne and also plays for surgeries. He has a keen knowledge of the benefits of harp and physical health as well as the neuroplasticity of the brain.

waiting for lunch before the meditation with harp
lunch at the gardens-pho at the Vietnamese restaurant there
Michael Johnson, the harpist, pushing his harp along a walkway. The harp is not made of wood, but rather of carbon fiber, so it does not succumb to varying temperatures and weather.
Michael Johnson discussing aspects of his compositions and the harp.
Here he is playing his music.
the pond at the Gardens
one of the meditation gardens which has a large suspended swing.
one of the lovely flowering tees in the gardens
back at home Sammy having his nightly bath!! Such wonderful parents!

Many thank you’s to Leah who so graciously gave Dave and me the tickets to the harp event today and also for encouraging quality time for me to spend with all during my time here.

Pictures January 4 before leaving our B&B for Melbourne

Since Leah’s parents and nephew, Ollie, were returning to Adelaide and we to Melbourne, we took some pictures of this family before departure and look forward to seeing all in Maine in August. Leah’s brother, Tom, Ollie’s father did not come on this part of the trip with us.

Sammy is getting very strong!!
Leah’s father, Shane, holding Sammy.
Irene, Ollie, and Sammy
Sammy, Irene, Ollie
Shane, Ollie, Irene holding Sammy, Leah, Dave
Shane, Ollie, Irene, me holding Sammy, and Dave
Shane, Leah, Irene with Sammy, me, Dave
at a rest stop on the way home to Melbourne-luckily, the drive was only 4 hours!

As we rode into Melbourne, smoke from the fires hung over the city. The fires are to the northeast of the city-not in the city or suburbs.

January 3-side trip to the 12 Apostles

This morning Dave and I took a side trip to the famous geological site, The 12 Apostles, located on the Great Ocean Road just outside Port Campbell. The formations in the ocean are of sandstone and limestone and have been created by the ocean waves against the cliffs. These were thought at one time to be caves. The surrounding ocean area is said to be a kelp forest with much vibrant marine life. But since oceans are warming and acidifying I wonder how this area is affected.

some of the formations
Dave overlooking some of the “sentinels”
a view of the cliffs
more of these formations
our selfie in this spot. the site was crowded with tourists!
Loch Ard Gorge near The Twelve Apostles

Starting back to Melbourne from Adelaide-January 2, 2020

The day after New Year’s we began the trip back to Melbourne from Adelaide, stopping at an air b&b we had rented in Warrnambool for 2 nights. The trip was longer than we had expected -around 9 hours!! Sammy was very uncomfortable sitting so long in the car seat, and we stopped frequently to stretch and see that Sammy had time to kick, stretch, nurse, and have his diaper changed. Along the route, we could see smoke billowing from fires to a distance on our left. They were not close enough to cause any road closures, but we could smell the smoke and a few cinders appeared on our windshield . I feel such sadness for all this devastation. If anyone wishes to donate to relief efforts for those affected by the bushfires here are some sites:

RSPCA New South Wales:  (for animals) https://www.rspcansw.org.au/bushfire-appeal/

Victoria Bushfire Disaster Appeal: https://www.communityenterprisefoundation.com.au/make-a-donation/bushfire-disaster-appeal/
Red Cross Australia

stopping along our route
tummy time stretch for Sammy along the way!
Dave and Sammy at one of our rest stops!! Many kudos to Dave for driving all that distance!
Cool Sammy in Daddy’s sunglasses!

New Year’s Day 2020 in Adelaide

Dave and I started the day by going for a walk on the beautiful beach in Adelaide.

Here is the jetty extending out into the sea. There is another one about 3/4 of a mile away. Swimmers were doing freestyle laps between the two.
coffee on the jetty
a view from the jetty of part of the beach.
a view of the beach from the other side of the jetty. The beach here is quite long-much more so than Maine’s beaches.
Irene in her kitchen
Mommy and Sammy
Sammy,, Mommy, and Mamam
New Year’s dinner at an Asian restaurant in Adelaide.On the left are Irene, Leah’s mother, and Tom, Leah’s brother. On the right are Dave and Shane, Leah’s dad.
Dave and wide-awake Sammy!
Leah’s brother Tom holding his 2 nephews-Max on the left, age 6 months, and Sammy on the right, age 4 months.
Leah holding her nephew Max and son Sammy

Back in Adelaide

Back in Adelaide, we reunited with the Leah’s family and Sammy. He seemed to have grown during the days we were gone. I was so delighted to hold him again!

Sammy and Mimi at Irene and Shane’s house ( Mamam and Pop)
Sammy is intrigued by the Wombat puppet his Dad got him in Tasmania
Sammy loves being held and lifted by Daddy. Leah (Mommy) is in the background.
Here is Irene and Shane’s cat, Banjo-very sweet-spends much of time outside.
Sammy, his mother Leah, and his Mamam, Irene
Sammy, Mom, and Mamam
Shane, Leah’s dad, took me to the Adelaide Hills for a tour, and here is a baby kangaroo we saw. We did have to take detours here because of some fires.
another kangaroo from that same road trip.
ready to hop!
mother and baby
hopping away!!

Tasmania, Day 4

Because it was to be so hot today, (temperature of 97degrees F) we decided to spend the day at MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art just outside Hobart.

The museum is totally underground and is meant to be an experience-quite different from the usual museums. Lighting is very low, and to get to several exhibits, we went through tunnels! Some things were actually quite startling and gave me a bodily reaction. There are no signs on the art works. We each had guided tours through a tablet.

The museum was established by David Walsh who made millions gambling.

Pictures to come!!

part of the MONA -the lower floor is a restaurant where we had lunch

walkway up to MONA
David in front of MONA sign
in the exhibit called The Grotto at MONA
Here is the underground entrance
one of the tunnels to get to exhibits. more are under construction, too.
a large exhibit called The Snake
A satire on a Fiat-the frame was an original Fiat but the body was artistically designed as oversized in places to make a statement about surfeit of “stuff”
eating in the Farro restaurant in MONA

From MONA we had thought of getting a quick supper at Taste of Tasmania before our flight, but learned that Taste had been cancelled due to the high heat.

We returned our rental car and went to the airport for the flight back to Adelaide. As we were entering the airport, smoke and cinders blew into our faces from the Tasmanian bush fires. So sad!

Tasmania, Day 3

We decided to go today to Port Arthur where the English sent criminals from Great Britain to be incarcerated and to build ships, mill flour, cut timber and learn trades as part of their imprisonment.

This penal colony was established in the 1800’s and at its height housed 1100 inmates. The philosophy of the British criminal system here was considered “progressive” at the time -hard labor and physical/psychological punishment, but also the possibility of learning a trade and reading. We were told that the library for prisoners held 13,000 books.

A short distance away on an island another penal colony was established by the British for boys who were offenders in the British Isles. The tour guide told us that the age of responsibility was considered at the time to be 7 years old, so young boys were given the same sentences as adults but housed well away from the adult inmates.


the penitentiary is on the left and the hospital at the top of the hill. The stones between are the remnants of the military barracks.

the English gardens where the officers and wives would walk. ( this has been updated since that time)
remnants of St.David’s Church where prisoners were brought to services as one way of re-educating them
towers for the guards protecting the commandant’s house from the prisoners
the commandant’s house

From Port Arthur we drove long the coast and stopped at Tasman Bridge.

Tasman Bridge. At one time, this was a cave but water over the years eroded the stone.
another view of Tasman Bridge

From there, we returned to Hobart where a yearly “Taste of Tasmania” festival was underway with many vendors and entertainers.

Dave at Taste of Tasmania
a jazz group at Taste
Taste of Tasmania
a men’s chorus performing at Taste