Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Gold goes to....Australia!!!

There aren't too many Australians in my village, the locals were delighted with the British & Irish Lions win over the Australian Wallabies in the Rugby Union first test and they let me know. I breathed a sigh of relief when the Wallabies narrowly beat the Lions in the second test. When the Lions clinched their first series win in sixteen years when they trampled the Wallabies in the third and deciding test I became the village target for some good natured ribbing. Neighbours would just happen to pop out while I was walking by their homes to mention the win. My postman took great delight in knocking on my front door and handing me my mail, just so he could discuss the Lions win.

I can barely go out without someone mentioning the Ashes and our Australian teams abysmal performance in the Test Cricket so far. I may have to start walking the dog under the cover of darkness and remove the Aussie flag from our front garden, at least for a while.

I am consoled with the fact, that the Best in Show, Gold medal winner of  the Chelsea Flower Show in its centenary year 2013, was The Australian Garden designed by Phillip Johnson. This garden was a showcase of Australia's natural beauty and sustainability. I loved the design, with the billabong, waterfall and all the familiar plants of home. The grass trees, everlastings and kangaroo paws made me homesick and judging by the amount of expat Aussies surrounding me I wasn't the only one!

Best Garden, Australia

The personal touches made it very special. The studio was modelled on the Waratah, the flower that Phillip Johnson's father presented to his mother after her return from a lengthy trip, soon after they were engaged. The sound of frogs that were heard, were recorded in Johnson's own Australian backyard. The input of many Australian craftsmen and women, the use of iconic Australian elements and design principles made our Aussie garden stand out. A well deserved winner, they did us proud! 

Best Garden, Australia

Best Garden. Australia





Best Garden, Australia

Grass Tree


Australian winning garden

Monday, 22 July 2013

Time flies! Happy Anniversary England!

It is hard to believe that my little family has been in England for a year now. We flew in to Heathrow full of excitement and anticipation of living in a new country. Keys to our new home tucked in our bags ready for the adventure to begin. A year on, we have adapted to our new home. Settled into our village routine. Discovered so much history. Welcomed a dog into our family. Navigated many roundabouts on the road of life. We look forward to more travel, adventure, family time and the odd pub lunch! Now if the Aussies could win just one Test Match that would top off our year!

London Eye

We spent the weekend reflecting on our year. We popped into London for the day on Saturday.

London Eye, Big Ben

Had a lovely time at the National Portrait Gallery.

National Portrait Gallery

Love the free museums and galleries of London!

National Portrait Gallery

We couldn't help but stop by China Town.


Reminisce our Shanghai life with a dumpling... 


Or two...

Well ok...we may have partaken in a hot and tasty Szechuan feast as well....

Red Hot Szechuan Food

Then we went for a walk, soaked up the spirit of London.

Big Ben

We watched the cranes move and slowly change the skyline of this fabulous city, new buildings going up next to old. Moving forward, just as we are, our lives evolving as we continue our UK adventure. 


We rounded off the weekend with a traditional Sunday roast, sitting out in our backyard in the glorious sunshine. We raised our glasses "Cheers England, thanks for a great year".

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Fly with the angels courageous little lion

I have had numerous posts in my draft folder, including parts of this one, over the last few weeks but I just have not been able to touch that 'Publish' button. It feels too frivolous to be posting adventures of castles, wondrous English spring gardens and great pub meals when friends from all corners of the globe have experienced heartbreaking tragedy. A great friend from Shanghai was diagnosed with a brain tumour, had to have surgery, far from home before being transported to his home country. The chef at our local cafe has suffered a brain haemorrhage and remains in hospital. These men and their families have a long road ahead.

The most terrible news of all, was the loss of my friend's beautiful and very courageous son Harvey, aged just 3 years and 10 months after a very long and brave fight against a brain tumour on 8 June 2013. Harvey's story is not mine to tell, you can read about Harvey - The Cureageous Lion here:

Duck Pond
A grey and cloudy day, transformed into blue sky as we went the duck pond to send lion coloured
balloons to Harvey in Heaven

As his family comes to terms with life without Harvey and his cuddles, no more chemo, needles and scans to endure, I reflect on what a small place Perth, Western Australia is. Where the "six degrees of separation" is more like three degrees. My cousin's beautiful young daughter Olivia lost her long and brave battle with a brain tumour in December 2010. Olivia spent too many heart wrenching days on ward 3B, the children's Cancer ward at Princess Margaret hospital in Perth. Harvey began the battle for his life in January 2011 and also spent far too many days on 3B. In February 2011, my friend's cousin and her family lost their precious son Elliot to a brain tumour. Elliot and his family were also, all too familiar with ward 3B. Three young children in three short months, within my circle, connected to a ward with not enough beds, not enough equipment. A ward that needs more when we would all like it to be completely unnecessary. These children should have met at playgrounds, schools, maybe a trip to the zoo. They should not have been sharing facilities on a kid's cancer ward. Tragically there are many more of these kid's cancer wards all over the world.

Cureageous Lion
For Harvey

Three families, devastated to the core, many lives altered by one disease. No parent should have to support their child through the awful symptoms, cruel yet necessary hospital stays and treatments, the loss of bright young lives far too early. Tragically there are many many more parents that have already walked that road, more who are currently living it and more that don't yet know it is on their horizon. Families torn apart, dreams dissolved, siblings lost forever.

Cureageous Lion
Fly free with the other tiny angels.

We all need to join forces, raise awareness and join the fight to stop childhood cancer. Support research to halt this terrible disease and to help those suffering now and in the future. Support Harvey's family in their efforts: Elliot's family founded The Telethon Adventurers...take a look at the amazing things they have done:

Cast a warm glow over your family forever more

Wherever you are in the world, make a difference. Donate what you can, say a prayer, give a hug. Make the world a brighter place, heaven has enough tiny angels.