Month: December 2018

S to V of Doors and Windows

S to V of Doors and Windows

Well, here I am at the S to V of doors and windows. I’ve got S, T and even V covered, but U? I haven’t been to Utah, Uluru or Ulladulla, so the U section will either be devoid of photos, or full of creative licence.

The purpose behind these stories about doors and windows is a wild attempt to sort out some of the thousands of photos I have collected over the years. By working through the photos alphabetically, it helps to categorise the many places I’ve visited. Why am I drawn to taking so many photos of interesting doors and windows? I have no idea. I’ll leave that to the arm-chair psychologists to work out.

Buckle up, and let’s get this show on the road.

S – S is easy. There is Sydney, Seattle, San Francisco and even Shanghai, and luckily I have photos from each of these beautiful cities. But because I grew up north-west of Sydney, I’m going to focus on S is for Sydney.

Sydney is famous for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, affectionately known as the Coat Hanger, and the Sydney Opera House.

You would have to wonder what Danish architect Jørn Utzon was thinking when he designed the Sydney Opera House, officially opened in 1973? White sails in the sunset, maybe? But no, Utzon’s design was apparently inspired by nature. Hmmm, I might have to stretch my imagination a little to work out which part of nature he had in mind.

Masterpiece by day – spectacular by night – the Sydney Opera House is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. It’s right up there on the world stage with the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids.  

S is also for South Bank Brisbane and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this door.

Ornately carved wooden doors set in white brick wall


Goodbye S and Hello T

T – T is for Tenterfield, a town in the New England region of New South Wales. Singer/song-writer Peter Allen, was born in Tenterfield, and wrote the song Tenterfield Saddler about his grandfather, George Woolnough. Perhaps Peter’s most significant contribution to Australian music, guaranteed to move ex-pat Aussies to tears, is I Still Call Australia Home.

These buildings are reminiscent of the architecture of an era when buildings were built for beauty. The buildings of today might be flashy, but they don’t have the character of these old places. The arched door and shaded windows in the side of the School of Arts look like a tired old face, looking out over the kingdom.

When I visited Tenterfield in 2018, I had forgotten that my grandparents had lived there in the early 1900’s, when Grandfather was the Postmaster at a little village near Tenterfield (Yetman). As I walked through the School of Arts I suddenly sensed a very real ‘presence’ of my grandfather. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had walked down that very same corridor, so many decades earlier. Perhaps his spirit is still walking those corridors… (shiver!)

U – I can’t put it off any longer and here I am at U. Did I mention that I might have to be a bit creative with this one? Since I haven’t been to any places that specifically start with U, I’m going to highlight Union Square, San Francisco. And since we are still in holiday-mode from the Christmas just gone, this photo is timely. In true Christmas Spirit, what could be better than the Macy’s Christmas windows?

Wall of windows in Macy’s storefront, San Francisco.
Macy’s Christmas window – Union Square San Francisco

Phew! That’s U, done and dusted!

And now, on to V….

V is for Vancouver, another one of my home-away-from home places. I always seem to gravitate back to this beautiful city to relive memories of happier days. Don’t get me wrong – all my days are happy days – but there are some that are happier than most. And my days spent in Vancouver (most of 2005) hold very special memories: of buying tulips at the supermarket to brighten up the week; Saturday morning treks to Granville Island Market to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables; walks to Stanley Park to use our yearly pass to the Aquarium.

I challenge you to spend time in Vancouver and not fall in love with the city and its beautiful people.

Wall of windows in a dark brown and a light coloured brick buildings.  Bare trees in the foreground.


Doors and Windows on Dunsmuir Street Vancouver.

The photo was taken on my last trip to Vancouver, in December 2016, featuring the St Regis Hotel on Dunsmuir Street. I love the windows in the lighter coloured building, with their darker frames. And the bare trees highlight the winter feel of the impending cold night.

On my very first trip to Vancouver, in January 2005, I stayed at the St Regis Hotel. We had flown out of sunny Sydney, had a few days in sunny Hawaii on the way, and then landed in cold, dreary Vancouver. I hate to admit that I wasn’t impressed, and may even have given voice to thoughts of going home – sooner – rather than later. Then the sun came out and we moved into an apartment in the West End, and I fell madly in love with Vancouver. Whenever I get the opportunity, I head back to that magic city, surrounded by Grouse Mountain – covered in snow, and Stanley Park – home to ducks, geese, squirrels and raccoons.

Is Vancouver on your Bucket-List?

It should be! And if you want to spend some time in the best location in Vancouver, contact me (through the Comments section) for a link to the best apartments on Robson Street. You couldn’t find a better location, or a more fantastic Landlord.

With the S to V of doors and windows completed, there is only W to Z left to do.

Huh – and I thought U was hard! X and Z – really? Oh well, I’ll just have to be creative – again!

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Travel, 0 comments

Where Were You on Christmas Eve?

Specifically, where were you on Christmas Eve 2017? For some of us, today is Christmas Eve – well, for those of us in the Southern Hemishpere anyway. For you folk north of the big divide – hang in there, it’s coming.

When something spectacular happens on a particular day, it’s usually easier to remember than most days, and that’s why I do remember where I was on Christmas Eve 2017.

The Dreaded Yellow School Bus!

Just to clarify, it was Christmas Eve here in Australia, but I was tripping through Seattle at the time, literally. That’s why I remember the day so well. In the Northern Hemisphere, it wasn’t yet Christmas Eve. It was the night before Christmas Eve. One minute I was taking a photo of yellow school buses on a cold dark night. The next minute I was tripping over a sign on the footpath (that’s Australian for sidewalk).

Yellow school bus behind a wire fence.
As if I hadn’t seen a yellow school bus before – but here was a whole paddock full of them – so I had to take a photo!

No big deal, except that my wrist hurt – a lot! I bought a wrist support at Walgreens and carried on regardless. Nothing could dampen my spirits as the snow came tumbling down for the next two days. As if by magic, it snowed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – for only the third time in a hundred years – in Seattle. The day after Christmas the snow had stopped and I figured I should go to a Medical Centre and have my wrist checked out.

Photo of me with arm in wrist brace on a Seattle street in December
Tying my hair back (or brushing it) is definitely a two-handed exercise – this is me before I ended up in a full cast. But I was still taking photos…

More than a little break!

X-Rays revealed a fairly serious break (‘smashed’ was a word used by the Doctor), so a few days later I ended up in a full-cast – shoulder to wrist. I have nothing but praise for the American Medical system – expensive – Yes!, but very caring and extremely professional.

Again, a little thing like a full cast wasn’t going to stop me – it might have slowed me down a bit, but it didn’t stop me. And if it hadn’t been for possibly needing surgery, I would have just kept right on going. I would have been happy to have had the surgery in Seattle, but my Travel Insurance was paying for it, so they decided to bring me home early. Can’t blame them.

As for the surgery?

I managed to avoid it.

Twelve months later I am reminded by an occasional twinge in my left wrist of that fateful night-before-Christmas-Eve in Seattle. But for the most part, my wrist healed with no problems (fingers crossed!). As predicted, I have lost a little bit of movement range – but nothing to stress about. And I’ve had no pain, which is a blessing.

So, where were you on Christmas Eve, 2017?

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Travel, 0 comments

The L to R of Windows and Doors

Sign Post to Linton

Linton

Sorting photos from A-Z makes sense, and now that A to K is done – L to R is next.  The L to R of windows and doors provides a link to the past; to days gone by when my feet weren’t so deeply planted on home soil. Back then I would pack up and go someplace new, on nothing more than a whim. Now I sit here and wonder what happened to that carefree attitude? Oh well, back to sorting thousands of photos alphabetically. 

L is for Linton, a quaint little village 30 kilometres south-west of Ballarat, Victoria, and the home of my BFF (that’s, Best Friend Forever). When I visited my BFF last year we went for a long walk around her ‘hood. As often happens when I’m travelling, I stop to say hello to someone or make a comment about something, and suddenly I’m engrossed in a deep conversation.

It happened.

As we were walking past a house with a verandah  (I love verandahs!), I stopped to take a photo. A lady walked towards us and I couldn’t resist commenting on how beautiful the cottage was. I soon discovered that I was talking to the owner of this little piece of history, aptly named ‘Peacock Cottage’.

Local Linton Artist

Pam Farey is a local artist who bought Peacock Cottage and transformed it into a beautiful gallery of her work.  My BFF and I were lucky enough to be invited in for a guided tour of Pam’s incredible Artwork, and the beautiful windows and doors of Peacock Cottage.

Looking out the front door of Peacock Cottage with a stained glass window on the right side
Looking out from the inside of this beautiful door and window

From L to M

M is for Miami, Florida. While I was in Miami in 2016, I was flabbergasted by the beauty of the lights from the buildings, lighting up the night sky and the water. 

Buildings in Miami Florida lit up at night with the light shining on the harbour


M is also for Melbourne, voted the most livable city in the world for seven consecutive years, up to (and including) 2017. Don’t worry Melbournites, the score didn’t drop by much in 2018 (depending on which survey you look at).  

This fabulous door in Melbourne was just begging to be photographed. It looks so old and mysterious.

You could easily let your imagination conjure up a fabulous story about this door…. hmmm, that might just be a story in the making. 

A green door with studded panels and decorative hardware

And on to N…

N is for Noe Valley, San Francisco, one of my favourite places, where bay windows abound. Noe Valley has more than its share of buildings that resemble the Painted Ladies that feature on postcards of San Francisco. Donut and Bagel shops are on almost every corner, and anyone who knows me well knows I can’t resist donuts or bagels. Or coffee, milkshakes, chocolate (but that’s another story). Looking back on the photos of Noe Valley brings back memories of happier days, in what seems like a lifetime ago, but, life goes on…

Street scene in Noe Valley with bay window above a donut shop
Church & 24th Noe Valley

N is also for New Delhi

Arches and unusual shapes highlight the windows in this building. Most of my photos are taken from the window of a moving vehicle, and this photo is no exception. I wish I had been able to take a closer, better photo, but at least I got this much. 

Building in New Delhi with rectangle and arched windows

O is for?

O Well, O could be for a lot of places – but none that I have any photos of. I’m going to have to use a little creative licence with O, and talk about a building that starts with the letter ‘O’. 

Inside Old Melbourne Gaol with cell doors each side and skylights above.
Old Melbourne Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol (yes, in Melbourne) is now a popular tourist attraction.

As you wander in and out of the open doors, you can read the story of an inmate who called that particular cell – home – often for a very long time.

As Aussies, we all know the story of Ned Kelly and his gang. It seems that old-mate Ned drew his last breath right here in the Old Melbourne Gaol, in November 1880. Even though he was a notorious Bushranger, Ned Kelly has become a bit of a hero in Australia.

Bullet-proof Vest

Right or wrong, Ned was an enterprising young lad and is best remembered for his iconic armour, designed to protect him from stray bullets. In the final showdown with the Constabulary at Glenrowan, Ned was wounded, but the rest of his gang were not so lucky and didn’t live to tell the story. Ned might have survived the shootout, but couldn’t escape his fate at the hands of the hangman at the Old Melbourne Gaol, on that eleventh day of November. 

From O to …. P

P P could be so many places, but it is especially Picton on the South Island of New Zealand. Ferries transport tourists and travellers from the North to the South Island (and back), arriving at Picton on the southbound journey.  

The Edwin Fox Maritime Museum building has windows and doors that tell of sailors coming and going, and travellers making their way to the south. From Picton, Christchurch is a (long) scenic drive away.

Windy? Are you kidding?

On this cold windy day, I was (not) patiently waiting for the ferry. After a fabulous weekend in Christchurch, it was time to return to Wellington, on the North Island. Windy is probably an understatement of the weather conditions that day. The ferry was delayed because of the almost hurricane strength winds that closed Wellington Airport for hours. So we waited, and waited, and waited…

We finally left Picton for the journey north and arrived safely, albeit very late.

Museum building in Picton with water in front

And on the other side of the world?

P is for Pike Place, Seattle, and no trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the Pike Place Market. When I was in College, a long time ago, we were shown a training video of the fish market on Pike Place. Watching the fishmongers throw the fish to each other and engaging with customers, I figured one day I would go there and see that. Yes, I was at College studying to be a teacher, and No, the video wasn’t suggesting we throw students to each other!

My trip to Seattle in December 2017 was the second time I was witness to the antics of the famous fish market. The first time was in 2005 – but Seattle is such a beautiful place – I couldn’t resist going back again. 

While not exactly a window or door, the photos above are an indulgence to my memory of the fabulous Pike Place Market. 

Did someone say coffee?

A more significant door on Pike Place, well – for me anyway, is the door leading into the original Starbucks. And yes, I did go through the door, and I did have my favourite coffee in that very special Starbucks. Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying a mug to add to my collection of coffee mugs from around the world.  

Window of Starbucks store in Pike Place Seattle
This is where it all began 

A Starbucks on every corner…

I spent a lot of time in North America in 2005 and 2006, and somehow Starbucks featured heavily in significant decisions being made at the time. The fact that there seemed to be a Starbucks on every corner probably contributed to the statistics of that happening. The morning ritual for two years was first a coffee (at Starbucks), and then the day could begin. Well I guess not a lot has changed since then – my day still starts with coffee – just not a Starbucks. And that’s mainly because we don’t have a Starbucks on any corner here in Murwillumbah. But also because my trusty Rocket Giotto and Dancing Bean coffee beans make a mighty fine cup of Joe, right here at home. Bellissimo!

With P done and dusted, it is on to …

Q

Q is for Queensland, and I have spent a large part of my life in that sunny state. With so many miles of golden sand and surf, I seem to be lacking in the windows and doors department of my Queensland photo collections. Well, apart from the ones I highlighted in the A-E of Windows and Doors in an earlier post. 

Queensland by Night

Since Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, I think it is appropriate to add another Brisbane photo. Besides, the building is kind of at the top of the Queen Street Mall, and Queen starts with Q, right?.

I’m always in awe of the colours that light up the walls of the Treasury Casino Brisbane, at night. From my vantage point on the Victoria Bridge, one cold night in July, I was able to capture the beauty of these doors and windows. 

Treasury Casino at night with red lights showing up the doors and windows

Meanwhile, back in the US of A

R – R is for Rainier Beach, Seattle. When I think of doorways in Rainier Beach, there’s one that I would walk through every day of every week, if only I could. And that door is the door that leads into the Redwing Cafe  – my favourite place for coffee and avocado toast in Seattle. 

Front of Redwing Cafe in Seattle with Christmas decorations in the window

The photo I took doesn’t do justice to the entrance of my caffeine-haven for more days than I counted. If Redwing Cafe was open – I was there. When I stepped inside I was welcomed by friendly faces that were more than just baristas and chefs. A cafe can be popular for the food, or the coffee, or the friendly staff; Redwing is special because of all three –  oh, and the handcarved timber decor, which is spectacular, and beautifully carved by Shawn.

I bought the Redwing Cafe T.Shirt!

I’m so glad I bought the Redwing t.shirt. Every time I wear it I’m reminded of the place that was the highlight of my trip to Seattle. Seattle is full of iconic places, including the Space Needle and Pike Place Markets, but it is the beauty of the people you meet that really stands out. Anthony, Su, and your amazing Redwing Cafe team (and Jennifer, Shawn and Jackson) – I miss you all!

Organinsing photos isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I’ve  completed A to E; F to K; and now the L to R of windows and doors. All I have to do now is sort out the S to Z, and I’m all done. 

Easy!

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Travel, 0 comments