Down Under, November 2015

Melbourne - Ideal place for a city break.  

Lovely riverside location, great weather in November, fabulous coffee and excellent food. Only real downside - it’s a 21,000 mile round trip from the UK.

I got to spend a week there - and it did involve an awful lot of time spent sitting in economy-class seats on very large planes!

Bit big these Airbus 380s

Central Business District

I was staying in the Melbourne CBD near the banks of the Yarra River - an ideal place to stay if you want decent coffee, good restaurants and a splendid choice of skyscrapers.

Yarra River Footbridge, decorated ready for Christmas
Federation Square from the top of the Eureka Tower 
Evening by the Yarra River
Skyscraper Melbourne

Monash University

My excuse for a few days in the heat (and it got up to 33C one day - which is rather warmer than I like) was to spend time talking with folks from Monash University.  This meant that I got to spend time around the Monash Campuses at Clayton and at Caulfield.

Caulfield Campus, Monash University 
Clayton Campus, Monash University
Clayton Campus, Monash University

St Kilda

My one day of escape from work (or the city centre) was to head out to the seaside suburb of St Kilda - partly to see if I could see any similarities with it’s Hebridean namesake (I couldn’t) and partly to see if I could spot a few of the Little Penguins that lurk in the St Kilda Breakwater (I could).

Little Penguins in the St Kilda Breakwater 
St Kilda boats with the Melbourne skyscrapers behind
St Kilda pier

And at this time of year there really is no escaping the approaching holiday season - although I gather the odds on a White Christmas in Melbourne are pretty long.

Seasons Greetings at Flinders Street Station

Ready for Winter - Lairig Ghru V11

The November visit to the Cairngorms was to see a mountain ready for winter.  

The temperatures were bubbling around 10-12 C, and there was (usually) rain falling, but the overwhelming impression was that the landscape had been through its autumn retreat and was just sitting patiently waiting for the temperatures to fall and for the rain to change to snow.

Autumn Colours - just hanging on
Ready for Winter
On a couple of deceptively still days I walked from Loch an Eilein to Piccadilly and back in darkness (my claim to know the paths so well by this stage in the project that I could do the walk blindfold was put to the test) and then again from Loch an Eilein up to the Top Tree - the last big path-side tree as you climb up into the Lairig Ghru.

Top Tree - looking south into the Lairig Ghru
At the treeline
The lack of wind meant that a few of the tougher midges were still around - surely that’s the last of them for the season!

During the weekend the cloud level wandered up and down dramatically - at times dropping right down to loch-level and just (occasionally) lifting completely to let some late afternoon sunshine light up the little castle in the middle of Loch an Eilein. 

Loch an Eilein by torchlight
Clouds at Loch level
Loch an Eilein by afternoon sunlight
Loch an Eilein Castke

Oxfordshire Artweeks - November 2015

I'm going to be open for Oxfordshire Artweeks on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th November - if you are going to be in the Oxford area over that weekend, do come and visit.

I'll be open from midday to 6PM each day - at 34 Stile Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 8AQ