Saturday, June 19, 2010


The day in Split was spent in and around the Palace of Diocletian, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, completed in 305AD by Roman Emperor Diocletian as a retirement residence.  The walls of the Palace are so thick/wide that there are apartments build into them.  Apparently 20 years ago these apartments could be purchased for minute amounts; these days they go - if they go - for upwards of millions of euros.  Of course, two or three decades ago no-one had the money to buy so the prices were rhetorical.
Ship to shore

A small retirement village

Walls of Diocletian Palace - with upper and lower additions

Split Riviera

Living proof that people live in the walls!

Garden in a wall

Garden decor

Capers grow on many high places in Europe

Restaurant seating

The official swimming place

Uni students take summer jobs as traffic controllers in areas such as ferry ports.

Waiting to catch the weekend ferry - in front of our ship

Do we think rodents are scared of this cat?

Friday, June 18, 2010


Zadar, located in central Dalmatia, is a walled peninsula town with Roman ruins from its days as a Roman colony, and 16th century walls built by the Venetians.  It's a delightful town - easily walked. Our mooring on the Western Quay put us right in the middle of much activity. Dockside was the amazing Greeting to the Sun and the Sea Organ.  School holidays had just started and teenagers were celebrating the beginning of very long summer holidays.

The Greeting to the Sun consists of three hundred multi-layer glass panels set on the same level as the quay paving, in the form of a circle with a diameter of 22 metres. Beneath the conducting glass panels are photovoltaic solar modules providing symbolic communication with nature.

It was a hot night and the quay was crowded - adults watched, teenagers communed with each other and young children leapt around after the flashing colors - until the wee small hours of the morning.

The lighting fixtures built into the circle are activated, producing an exceptionally impressive game of light to the rhythm of the waves and the sound of the Sea Organ according to a preprogrammed scenario.

In daytime, the photovoltaic solar modules absorb solar energy, transform it into electricity and deliver into the voltaic distribution network.

It is claimed the cravat originated in Croatia and there is much evidence of this piece of apparel around  Zadar shops.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Venice was as expected - lots of water, winding canals and narrow winding streets - and tourists. Oh well.  Hot and very wet - the rainfall and tides were so high that the basement in St Mark's Basilica was flooded.

Our first night on board was graced with a presentation by Francesco da Mosto - Australian and British passengers had seen his tv series and consequently there was much swooning, to the bemusement of the Americans.
A canal

Flying the flag while in port - on the Giudecca Canal

Francesco da Mosto with aged admirers!

Across the Giudecca Canal

Buildings metres from our mooring

Rooftops from the Doge's Palace

Wet in Venice

Pillar on a stairwell in the Doge's Palace

St Mark's - lit especially for us

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Today's favoured words

Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away.
(Ben Hecht, playwright, February 28, 1894 – April 18, 1964)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Closing up for winter

The farm is green as green can be, the trees are bare, the blueberry bushes are brilliant orange/purple/brown, the GF continue to perambulate (generally) sedately around the perimeter of the orchard, the currawongs are raiding the apples left lying on the verandah table, and lots of very little robins and wrens are darting all over the place.

And I have nothing to do!  Well - not quite true - there are still potatoes to be harvested, and hundreds of trees and bushes to be pruned.  All that will be done when we return from our Aegean odyssey in three weeks.

In the meantime, I've made an apple cake - recipe courtesy of Edible Green Mountains (Vermont) as published in the newly released book edible - a celebration of local foods by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian.

If you have some free ear time, check out - edible stories fresh from local communities (USA communities).

Friday, June 4, 2010

Beauty in autumn

Cotinus - aka smoketree or smoke bush is a genus of two species of flowering plants in the family Anacardiaceae, closely related to the sumacs (Rhus).  It provides endless beauty as the leaves change color through the seasons.  Ours is a Cotinus coggygria.  This is autumn; mid-summer the leaves are deep deep purple.

This week's interest is dyeing with natural plants - I wonder what glory the cotinus might provide.

And - yet another gorgeous quince.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Signs in Chiltern

Keep and eye out for spelling and the errant apostrophe.