Photo Thursday – And the winner is…..

Overall winner of the Sydney Hobart race on handicap was Victoire. Wild Oats predictably won Line Honours.

Ships mascots on Victoire
Ships mascots on Victoire
The overall race winner of the 2013 Sydney Hobart Race
The overall race winner of the 2013 Sydney Hobart Race

Daily Prompt: You’re A Winner!

English: The official title artwork for the up...
English: The official title artwork for the upcoming film “The Lottery” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Winning the Lottery

You’ve just won $1 billion dollars in the local lottery. You do not have to pay tax on your winnings. How will you spend the money?

I spend a good deal of my daydreaming time thinking about that elusive lottery win. Here in Australia we don’t pay tax on lottery wins, we don’t usually have prizes as high as $1 billion dollars either but as it’s all fantasy anyway we’ll say that there is and that I won it, not me and a syndicate of 19 other people, just me.

I cannot even begin to imagine what   a billion dollars is like.  It’s too big a sum to imagine. When Hubby and I talk about what we would do if we won lotto he always starts talking about investments and being able to live off the interest for the rest of our lives. Well that certainly makes sense but it’s boring so I’ll skip over that and say that we are debt free and Hubby has made all the arrangements for our financial security that he wants. I want to think about the fun stuff, spending some of it!

I’ve always said that if we were to become fabulously rich I wouldn’t necessarily want to start living like one of the jet set. I don’t want a garage full of fast cars a private jet or designer clothes. I certainly wouldn’t start trying to live life in the fast lane going to nightclubs and hanging out with the rich and famous because I really don’t care about that.

After we have taken care of the needs of our closest family members the first money I would spend on ourselves would be on our house. It’s an old house and it needs work. Yes, I know we could buy a much better house and maybe in time we would but I like this one. I have spent a long time thinking about how nice it could be repaired and redecorated and I would do that even if we didn’t stay because I want to see how it would look and because I would have a lot of fun choosing all the colour schemes and picking out what furniture we wanted. We have a big 3 car garage where Hubby keeps some of his hobby stuff. I’d have two-thirds of it turned into a proper man cave with proper walls and a ceiling, good lighting and heat in winter. I’d have storage shelves put up so he’d have all of his bits and pieces at hand.

I’d treat myself to custom-made shelving to display all my dolls and hold my craft supplies. Our pets would get their own play areas too. There would be a cat enclosure outside with access to the house through a cat flap. Polly would be able to come and go as she pleased and I’d never have to worry about her getting lost, run over or hunting the local wildlife. Cindy, our fence climbing dog, would also get a secure area in the back yard with a kennel  so that she could spend unsupervised time outside  without me worrying that she’d gone off to chase wallabies, strayed into the farm or wandered onto the road.

If we had decided that we didn’t want to move I’d like to buy the land behind us. When we first moved here there were four empty blocks of land at the back of us and behind that a farm. A neighbour used to graze her horse there and we’d often see it near our back fence.  Later a developer came, bought the land, put up transportable houses, went broke and left. Well, once the land was mine I would wait for each tenant’s lease to be up and when they had moved I’d have the houses taken away because they are really ugly. I don’t really have any plans for the land. I’d just let it go back to nature. Maybe I’d offer it to anyone who wanted agistment for their  horse. I don’t want a horse myself but I liked seeing one there.

I expect we’d buy a new car too, not a luxury car, just a car that nobody else has ever owned and that we picked for its features ahead of its price. A practical car that you can put a dog in the back of. I don’t drive and  I don’t see myself learning but  I would be able to afford taxi’s or a car and a driver for a day if I wanted to go somewhere alone.

There are some organisations that I’d want to support too. Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Red Cross, the Salvos  and various animal charities would get regular contributions from me and I would no longer have to suffer the embarrassment of telling a charity collector that I couldn’t afford to give. I’d like to support our community in some way perhaps by some kind of fund to enable small businesses to grow and employ more people. I’d do this anonymously if possible because I wouldn’t want it to be a big deal.

With a cat enclosure and a totally secure back yard we could foster rescued cats or dogs waiting for permanent homes.

Travel is probably the one area where I would be very self-indulgent. There are so many places that I want to see and experiences I’d like. My billionaire status would mean that I could travel regularly and I would for as long as my health was good. Having money would mean being able to fly first class on long haul flights and not arriving stiff and sore from a cramped seat. Every few months I’d set off with or without travel companions to see something new within Australia or overseas. I’d have such fun ticking items off the travel bucket list. Recently I read a great article about crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2. My sister and I would love to do that so that would be the top of the list I think.
If I wanted to go to see a concert or a play I could buy a ticket, hop on  a plane and go. If I wanted to see a sporting event I could go. If I wanted to visit friends or family in another state or another country I could go. I could have the pleasure of living quietly in the country but still enjoy what big cities have to offer.

That’s how I would use my billion dollars, to have a more fulfilled life.

Carousels and Merry Go Rounds in Australia

I think that I have liked Carousels and Merry Go Rounds since mum first put me on one on Clacton Pier when I was around four or five years old.

However, as far as I can remember I’ve never ridden on a carousel horse because I always feel a little uncomfortable about climbing onto and balancing on a horse when it is moving because of my fear of falling.

I read that the difference between a carousel and a merry-go-round is that a merry-go-round has a variety of animals and vehicles while a true carousel has only horses. Most people seem to use the terms interchangeably though.

There are a few carousels still operating in Australia. I have seen a few of them but not all. I hope to rectify that one day. I love the colourful horses, the artwork on the carousel itself and I especially like the ones that are still steam-driven. Sometimes the operator will also have a steam-powered organ as well. The following photos are mine except where credited otherwise.


Hobart is the home of “The Gallopers” a carousel built in 1882 in Norfolk, England and brought to Australia in 1990 virtually as a wreck. It was restored in Kingston, Tasmania and I first made its acquaintance on the Hobart waterfront where it was a regular visitor to summer events. It spends most of its time now at the Botanical Gardens but I was able to photograph it on the waterfront recently during the Tall Ships Festival. The portraits on the upper part of the carousel are of famous people including Australian Prime Ministers. I must say that it gave me a bit of a turn to encounter Paul Keating as well as Malcolm Fraser and Robert Menzies to mention a few.

History of The Gallopers
History of The Gallopers
image carousel
The Gallopers on the Hobart Waterfront.
All the horses are named
All the horses are named
organ 1
The Princess Fair Organ
image carousel horses
A close up of the carousel

New South Wales

Sydney has two carousels that I know of. One is at Luna Park on the harbour. I haven’t been to Luna Park for 25 years so I don’t know if the carousel they have now is the same one as they had then as the video I found shows installation of a new carousel and there is nothing about history.

English: Luna Park Sydney
English: Luna Park Sydney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Darling Harbour Carousel

The other one is at Darling Harbour and I saw and rode on it last year when my sister and I were on holiday. As we are too old and fat to climb on to carousel horses we got into a car which was much more convenient for taking pictures. We laughed when we heard the music being played. The Wiggles “Big Red Car” and my sister commented that it was a good thing that her movie camera was not recording sound. Well the laugh was on us. It was!

image darling harbour carousel
The Carousel at Darling Harbour.
Darling carousel-05
On board the carousel

Darling carousel-01

This carousel is another English built one. The steam engine was built in 1892 and the horses date back to around 1885. They were carved by the company of G & J Lines and Co. of London. I think this is the same company that went on to become Lines Bros. the famous toy making company.

The carousel came to Australia in 1894 and travelled around to country agricultural shows all over New South Wales. It was at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, was a permanent part of the fun fair at Manly and  made its home at The Rocks for a while. Now it is owned by the NSW Government. It has been at Darling Harbour since 1988.

South Australia

Semaphore is the home of another historic carousel which I saw many times during the time I lived in South Australia.  This carousel is believed to be the largest operating carousel in Australia with 40 horses. Apparently 36 is the more usual number. The carousel recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Semaphore Carousel
Semaphore Carousel (Photo credit: HeatherW)


Melbourne has a carousel at Luna Park which has just celebrated its centenary. It has spent 90 of its 100 years at Luna Park, before that it was in Sydney. The carousel is an American made one from the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve seen this carousel.

Luna Park, Melbourne
Luna Park, Melbourne (Photo credit: mattcashmore)

An hour away from Melbourne Geelong also has a carousel on the waterfront. This is one I still have to visit.

Carousel (Photo credit: mrpbps)

Western Australia

Perth Zoo is the home of another vintage carousel. It has been there since 1947 and originally had 20 horses and 2 boats but in 1968 the boats were removed and replaced by 4 more horses. This carousel is the only known working one in Western Australia and another one on my list to visit.


The only carousel I have read about in Queensland is one known as The Grand Carousel which  has been a permanent feature of the Brisbane Exhibition or “Ekka” as they say up there.

Brisbane Ekka 2009
Brisbane Ekka 2009 (Photo credit: Wenxiong Zhang)

Australian Capital Territory

Canberra has a carousel too and I’m rather cross that we ran out of time to see it when we were there a few years ago. I will try to get back there one day as there are a lot of other things I want to see in Canberra. This one has both horses and elephants so technically it is a merry go round. It was installed on the St Kilda esplanade near Melbourne in 1914 and has been in Petrie Plaza, Canberra since 1974.  It was designed and built in Victoria but the animals were imported from Germany and the poles came from Scotland.

Carousel horse, Canberra. photo ABC News. Louise Wills
Carousel horse, Canberra. photo ABC News. Louise Wills


These are some of the sites I found information on

Photo Thursday – Wild Oats XI – Maxi yacht

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Boxing Day means the start of two important sporting events in Australia, the Boxing Day Test  at the MCG and the start of the Sydney Hobart yacht race.  When I lived in Adelaide I used to think it would be interesting to visit Sydney at Christmas and see  the start of the race but for the past 11 years I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to see many of the yachts arrive in Hobart. Every year I try to get into the city so I can visit the waterfront and see the yachts. I’ve not yet been able to be present when the first one arrives but there are yachts arriving right up until New Year’s Eve so there is always something to see.

The most successful yacht in recent years has been Wild Oats XI. Wild Oats, built in 2005 is a maxi yacht and it is hard to believe just how big this type of yacht is. Hobart is a fairly low-rise city, no skyscrapers, so the maxi’s tower above many of the buildings.

Wild Oats XI
Wild Oats XI
Wild Oats 2005
Wild Oats 2005
Wild Oats
Wild Oats

I’m giving meaningful presents this Christmas

I’ll be attending late on Christmas night here in Australia probably after 10pm AEST. I think it’s a great idea.

Come for Company

Hello folks.

I’ve been advised by my medical team that my Blog changes direction so often and so quickly that I should provide neck-braces! I can’t afford them, so I can only beg: please don’t sue me for whiplash. I am very poor!

This is not love poetry, political spleen or ridiculous advice on writing, criminality or homelessness. This is my other arm (yes, I have unusual jumpers) known as Company for Christmas.

I’m trying to do something lovely for people who will find themselves alone this Christmas. It requires no money and only a fraction of your time! It may even earn you some Blog traffic.

You can help by simply reblogging this post. Job done.

If you want, you can also read this post and offer advice, thoughts or even volunteer to help out. No matter what, it can be as little as ten minutes.

You can…

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Ghosts Of Christmas Past – 1965

An Ending and a Beginning

December 23rd 1965. I am eight years old, my sister is six. Mum wakes us so early it seems like the middle of the night. Sleepily we get dressed while she makes us breakfast but for my sister and I this is not an ordinary day. Today is the day we have talked about for more than a year. Today is the day we go to Australia.

Soon it is time to go.  I wear my red winter coat; my sister looks pale in her dark blue one that used to be mine. Uncle Johnny comes to take us to London in his car and we set off in the dark and the fog. We rarely travel by car; he has to stop on the way so that I can be sick.

By the time we get to Waterloo Station I feel better though. I like stations and I want to see the train we are going on. I catch a glimpse of one enormous steam engine but mum and dad are not really in the mood to stand around looking at trains. They have adult things like luggage and tickets to worry about.

The train we are to travel on is the boat train to Southampton. It’s full of other people going to Australia as well. It’s daylight now but grey and miserable outside as we speed through unfamiliar towns and countryside. On the train I discover that the special bar of Galaxy chocolate that I was saving to take with me has been forgotten. I’m disappointed as I’d saved it on purpose. I’d never had Galaxy chocolate before and had been looking forward to trying it.

As we approach the docks mum and dad start talking about the ships they can see. One of them says “There’s the Queen Elizabeth.” I want to see it too because “The Queen Elizabeth Family” is one of my favourite books but I can’t make it out in the jumble of cranes and funnels in the distance.

At the terminal dad kisses us all goodbye. He won’t be making the journey with us. I’m not that upset. Dad goes somewhere to watch the ship’s departure and cries as his family sail away from him but I don’t know this. The adventure is beckoning.

The ship’s name is Castel Felice. We go up the gang-plank the way mum said we would and down to our cabin. It’s on D Deck, it’s tiny and it doesn’t have a porthole. I’m really disappointed about that. I feel cheated that there is no porthole to look out of and then I wonder if we are under the water and that’s why we don’t have one. There are four bunks and a wash basin in the cabin and a kind of closet for our clothes.  A young woman comes in, she is to share the cabin with us, she seems very glamorous to me, her name is Pamela. I have one top bunk, Pamela has the other. Mum and my sister have the two lower ones. We meet our cabin steward, an olive-skinned young man with black hair and brown eyes. Like most of the ship’s crew he is Italian. He doesn’t speak a lot of English but he smiles and is friendly.

Castel Felice
Castel Felice

Later that afternoon the ship sails. Everyone stands on deck to wave to the people on shore. Streamers are thrown but the paper ribbons can’t keep us tied to England. We move off and mum takes us inside to explore the ship. First though there is lifeboat drill and we all stand about wearing cumbersome orange jackets for what seems an age.

Dinner time comes and I’m upset to find out that we are expected to go to the “Children’s Dinner” with all the other children. I don’t like being with a lot of strangers and I don’t like the food much either. Mum puts on a nice dress and wears lipstick to go to the adults’ dinner. She leaves us in our cabin with books and toys and tells us not to worry, she won’t be too long.

When she comes back she puts us to bed in our bunks. By this time the sea is getting rougher and the ship is rocking. Mum says we must be in the Bay of Biscay. I am seasick, my sister is seasick. Pamela comes in and she is seasick too. For the next day and a half mum is kept busy looking after us while feeling seasick herself. The only drink she can get the steward to bring to the cabin is grapefruit juice. It tastes nasty and I rename it “sickfruit juice”.

By Christmas Day we all feel a bit better and mum makes us get up, wash and go on deck to get some fresh air. There is a church service, people are singing Christmas carols; the man with the microphone tells us about some people on a previous voyage who were really good singers . They went to live in a place called Elizabeth.  That’s the place we are going to, my grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousins are there and they travelled in this very same ship. My aunty is a good singer so I wonder if she is one of the people the man is talking about.  Later there are presents for all the children. My sister gets a pretty doll with long brown hair, a blue pinafore dress and a white blouse with thin red stripes. I get a sewing set. I’m not happy, I got three sewing sets for Christmas from relatives before we left home and I don’t even like sewing.

So that is Christmas 1965. A month later we arrive in Australia to start a new life.