Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Opera at the Channon

Members of Opera Queensland's Young Artist Program who entertained us!
Judy, our hostess, and I checking out the music program.
After a very luscious main course.....this was our dessert!

Bill checking that there was room at our table!

Some of our party including our hosts Judy (4R) and Don (6R).

Well we had a wonderful day out when we headed for the Opera in the Channon on Sunday. We dressed in full evening wear and were picked up by a large bus in Ballina about 9.30am and driven through some wonderful country - lush rolling green hills, pretty valleys and lots of spectacular autumn australian bush which really appreciated from the large picture windows of the bus! Our destination was the Channon about forty kilometres from Ballina via Lismore.
The event was an Opera in the bush - an annual event staged by Rotary to raise funds for the Westpac Helicopter.
On arrival at the Channon (I think it is a little river?) we were welcomed with champagne and strawberries and had a little time to chat with our other guests before we were seated in the big marquee for lunch. The tables were beautifully decorated and the whole setting was relaxing, rural and so sophisticated.
We had a wonderful lunch and very interesting conversation with our table guests. We were served our luscious food and wine by very capable waiters, and, being on Judy and Don's table meant we got extra special service. After lunch and our coffee we headed over to the area where we had seats in the front row for the Opera singers. The first half of the program was very operatic . The young singers had wonderful voices and the setting lent itself to the arias they chose. We listened to renditions from Rigoletto, Cosi fan tutte, La boheme etc. The compere was especially entertaining and informative.
We had a coffee break in the middle and then the singers returned for a program of songs from the musicals. Wonderful...songs like Vilia from the Merry Widow, You'll Never Walk Alone from Carousel, If ever I would leave you from Camelot etc. they even had Danny Boy as a tear jerker before the finale which was an amazing rendition of Amigos para siempre from Andrew Llyod Webber reminding us of the Olympic Games..
The music was wonderful and the autumn leaves fell as the drums rolled and at one stage a noisy rooster from the next door farm shouted his approval too! Wonderful Day.
We were driven safely home in our big bus where we wanted neither dinner or wine..we had had our fill.
The quality is not good but you might like to hear to a bit of Danny Boy. Keep your eye out for David Kidd, the tenor, he was one of the Ten Tenors but has returned home to Brisbane for a while to be with his young family. He was so nice to watch and so good to listen to!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

South Australian Colour

The Pro Hart mural on the Church at Yankalilla
The questions you were asking about the windfarm!

The view of the image of Mary on the wall of the Yankalilla Church.

The old flour mill where we had a very delicious lunch.

One fo the big 'fans' at the windfarm.

The setting sun on Aldinga Beach on my walk home last night.

The street where Francis and Jess live....in the Scrub!

The Church where Our Lady of Yankalilla visits.

Some of the big trees near Myaponga.

Tour Guide Bill checks if we can drive through the rushing creek.

On Tuesday Bill and I took Tom and Grace for an outing to see the big windfarm. It was a lovely day and we had spectactular weather for seeing such a wonderful Australian enviroment. We keep thinking the the East Coast is the best place but the scenery we passed through on Tuesday rivals it for beauty.

We headed for Sellicks Beach and then onto Yankalilla where we visited the little Anglican Church that has a history of being a modern day 'appearance' of Mary. It has a lot of support. Pro Hart has done a special fresco for the entrance, and it has been treated with some respect by the locals and tourists alike. There is a mark on the wall beside the altar that clearly resembles an outline of Mary with Child.

We then headed up a country lane and found some wonderful old trees beside a fast running creek. It was beautiful country - how we all like to think Australia is!!

The Windfarm was spectactular. I was amazed at how close to the big 'fans' the sheep and cattle were grazing. I understand there is lots of opposition to having a wind farm near your home but this one looked very amazing on top of some high mountains looking out to sea and there was no sound at all from our position just beneath them.

Aldinga Beach in Adelaide

Richard and Libby pick us up for some Retiree time at a coffee chop!
Enjoying a special roast chicken

Checking the view from our holiday cottage

Walking back to Francis and Jess's home along the walkway.

Another view of our cottage

Well we did make it to Adelaide after a special weekend in Warwick which I will record when I get home! Congratulations Trinny and Simon.

We drove in from Warwick and had a nice quiet afternoon at Claire's home before we caught a taxi to the airport and headed for Adelaide. Francis and Tom and Grace met us at the airport and dropped us home to our very comfortable and well appointed unit at Adinga Beach. It is about a twenty minute walk along the beach to get to Francis and Jess's place. The walk is good for us and we are enjoying the peace and quiet of the cottage after the hustle and bustle of a family home with four under twelve!!
Jess and I take it in turns to cook each evening. She has become a great cook - her roast chicken is as good a mine and last night she did a great osso bucco that had everyone coming back for seconds. We are having fun having a day off and having a chance to feed a mob!! Every now and then Billy and I have a quiet night at home with a red wine and some cheese and fruit. Life is easy here.

The family here are all well. Francis still has some issues to deal with around his oesophagus condition but it is not stopping them working hard and having fun. The children have all matured so much since we saw them last. Bill and I had Noah and Will over for a sleepover after Mass last Saturday night. It was a lovely evening and we all enjoyed it.

We have also had some quality time with Tom and Grace and visited cousins and cemetery. The weather has been okay. It s quite cool but each day we get several hours of sunshine and then usually a good shower of rain, morning or evening or both. It has been a bit difficult for Francis with his work but it means we have had lots of time to relax and have little visits together and read out books. We have hosted a BBQ for Richards birthday and enjoyed an outing catching up with Billy's cousin Dorothy May who lives up in the hills.

My restiricted computer access has made it difficult to get online but rest assured I have been taking photos and you will see and hear the stories soon!