autumn colours

We have had some perfect winter days this year. Clear, blue skies; crisp, clean air; nothing but the slightest whiff of a breeze. One such Sunday, we put Cooper’s top down and took her for a spin along our favourite coast road.

1.Old Coast Road

Preservation Bay looked particularly stunning.

2.Preservation Bay

We joined the highway at Ulverstone and continued east. There is a park, just before the first exit at Devonport, that we have been meaning to investigate for years. The trees are beautiful any time of year but especially when showing their autumn colours.

3.Forth Road

This was the day for a closer look.

4.autumn colours5.autumn trees

Fallen leaves, still damp from the morning dew, confirmed nature’s artistic talent.

11.autumn leaves

Straggly Eucalypts portrayed an elegant appeal in the morning sunlight,

12.swamp gums

some fascinating fungi camouflaged in the shadows.

13.fungus

Our day out didn’t end there, but that’s another story.

Carrickfergus

Travelling north from Belfast, we followed the coast to Carrickfergus, hoping to explore the magnificent Norman castle perched on the northern edge of Belfast Lough.

1.east side & keep

We were once again disappointed to find, not only was it closed for the winter season, the imposing entrance was covered, undergoing restoration.

2.entrance under repair3.west side

In 1177, Sir John de Courcy, an Anglo-Norman knight, decided he wanted some lands for himself. He gathered a small army and headed to northern Ireland. After a few battles along the way, he conquered eastern Ulster and built the castle as his headquarters. Strategically placed, surrounded almost entirely by water, the fortress has withstood invasion by the Scottish, Irish, English and French over the centuries. No wonder there is always someone on guard.

4.soldier

We would have liked to wander around the castle and the historical displays that are housed within. We had to settle for a glimpse of the 17th century cannons just visible along the battlements.

5.cannons6.cannon

Seseh village

Our villa accommodation on the west coast of Bali was nestled adjacent to the tiny fishing village of Seseh. One morning, we walked the short distance to have a closer look at our neighbours. The main street was quiet at that hour of the morning,

1.main road

the children heading off to school.

2.off to school

We passed colourful shrines

3.shrine

and regal roosters

4.rooster

on our way to the centre of the village. Like most villages in Bali, Seseh practices the daily rituals of the Hindu faith. We awoke each morning at 6am to the pre-recorded call to prayer, repeated again at 6pm. There appeared to be so many beautiful temples in the village, it was hard to discern if it was one very large temple or numerous smaller ones.

The detailed carvings and decorations were magnificent.

At the edge of the village, we reached the beach.

18.Seseh Beach

Revered by the Balinese as a sacred beach, Seseh had a relaxing sense of tranquility.

22.Seseh beach

If I lived in Bali, I would like to live in this house.

24.house Seseh Beach

We wandered back through the village, the landscaped gardens

25.village street

a sharp contrast to rural life.

26.village life

The imposing stone gateway at the entrance to the village marked the end of our excursion.

27.village gates

Montepozzo

We have finally settled back into life in Tasmania after four wonderful weeks in Italy. I would normally write about our travels from the beginning of the trip but we were so enamoured with the gorgeous farmhouse we stayed in for our last ten days, I couldn’t wait to share it. I could just give you the link to the website because there are so many beautiful photos of the property. Chances are, just like me, you would be thinking, “there is no way this place can be this good.” It was. We received directions and information weeks before we left from host, Jacque, and had no trouble finding the gate. Although close to a town, the rural setting is very private and peaceful.

1.sign

Arriving at the property,

2.driveway arriving

we followed the instructions and drove around to the back of the house where we tooted the horn loudly.

3.exterior front4.exterior side5.exterior back6.exterior back7.exterior back

We were greeted by Molly the dog and host, John, who kindly helped us with our bags.

8.loggia arriving

After an introductory tour, we were left to unpack and wonder at the magnificent surroundings we were to enjoy for the next ten days. The living area was light and spacious, capturing the sun at every angle throughout the day.

9.sitting room

Just off the dining area, the well equipped kitchen was a pleasure to work in.

10.kitchen

The bedrooms were inviting, the main has an ensuite

11.main bedroom

and down the hallway

14.hallway

are two further bedrooms and a bathroom.

Once we had settled in, Jacque welcomed us with fresh flowers and a bottle of Prosecco, we wasted no time opening it to share. We really felt at home, surrounded by family treasures and beautiful furnishings.

The afternoon sun filled the loggia, the perfect venue to partake of aperitivo.

30.view from loggia

Come for a walk around the garden.

31.loggia steps

There was so much to explore, a cave with spectacular phosphorescent lichen, I admired from the outside.

44.cave

The shed was a work in progress, a fabulous project for the future perhaps,

45.shed

to complement the finishing touches on the exterior of the house.

46.exterior side

We didn’t get the opportunity to dine under the vines, perhaps next time?

55.vines

Let me introduce you to Molly, a delightful bundle of energy who was a very welcome addition to the package.

Thank you Jacque, John, Alex & Molly for the very special memories, we hope to meet again…..Salute!

59.wine time

http://montepozzo.it/

resplendent robin

Winter has arrived and our gorgeous scarlet robins have returned. They form permanent monogamous pairs and move to the open forests during the warmer months, returning to nest in our garden as the days shorten. The male makes quite a show once he is back, letting everyone know this is his territory again. Late one afternoon, he spent quite some time admiring himself in the window. Unfortunately, he was in shade and I didn’t capture him in all his glory.

The next day, Michael sat patiently while the sun shone on the same perch, in the hope of catching the perfect image.

5.no robin

Initially disappointed, he was soon rewarded with a prolonged robin lavation.

The black headed honeyeater seems bemused by the aquatic antics, reluctant to take the plunge.

10.robin & friend

I haven’t seen the female recently and assume she is busy building the nest while he makes himself irresistible.

I’m pleased to say he is not totally narcissistic. While his partner incubates the eggs, he will feed her and both parents share responsibility for feeding the young.

13.robin