Today is the second anniversary of our landing in Australia, so OK. After traveling for almost a year within Australia, we found an amazing place to live - Airlie Beach in the Whitsunday region of Queensland. You may have seen one of my few posts from there. It is an amazing place. We moved from Sunshine Coast to Airlie in early December. We took a wild week to meet the moving van and unpack some things then we jumped in the car again to make the 2600k (1600 mile) drive South to beautiful Punyelroo Caravan Park on the cliffs of the Murray River in South Australia. It was Wayne’s first Christmas with his family in about 35 years, and it was my first opportunity to celebrate a summertime Christmas in Oz. Our first Chrissy in Oz in 2014 was totally destroyed by the worst and most horrible and evil of real estate agents ever to walk the face of the planet, from Madeira Beach Florida. That’s another story entirely and with the help of good friends in Florida and a wonderful realtor that saved the day for us it had a happy ending. For 2015 the Dabinet family and tons of Punyelroo friends celebrated Christmas in true Australian style – outside at a very long table on the lawn looking down at the river. New Year’s Eve celebrations were in the barn at the campground accompanied by a great DJ, lots and lots of glow stick stuff for the kids of all ages, and tons of Champers for the 18 and over crowd – a spectacular way to bring in 2016. On the way to the barn, I must have startled a wombat because he / she ran straight into me almost knocking me off my feet! It’s a very cool place with so much wildlife – roos, cockatoos, wombats, pelicans, and the rest. Actually, Wayne’s nephew Michael and his beautiful partner Tashi, along with their twins Rylee and Halle are now running the park so if you feel like a great Australian getaway check it out https://www.facebook.com/punyelroo/. We left South Australia to drive north about a week after the New Year and took our sweet time getting back to Airlie Beach. We experienced a Gondwana rainforest in a beautiful misty fog full of the surreal sounds of hundreds of bellbirds that sound exactly like crystal versions of their names. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gondwana_Rainforests, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0Gm59m4jbQ for bellbird sounds. We visited the town of Glenrowan and stood in the very place where Ned Kelley made his last stand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxlEI-kTY2I for clip of Ned Kelly’s last stand starring Mick Jagger We visited the grave of the famous Bush Ranger, Captain Thunderbolt, also known as the “gentleman bushranger” may he rest in peace. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Thunderbolt I think the photo of the Captain shown on this link was perhaps after his demise, and that he was considerably more handsome than indicated. While driving on the road near Bendigo in Victoria, in a non-descript area of woodlands Wayne noticed a small sign with an arrow that said simply “The Great Stupa 5km”. I slammed on the brakes. I had heard of the The Great Stupa years ago and could not believe that such a place could possibly be located here in the relative middle of nowhere in Australia but we were certainly going down that little road to find out. It was there. We drove through mobs of kangaroos just standing around as if the atmosphere attracted them somehow, past the enormous prayer flags, and there, like Lost Horizon’s Shangri-La appeared The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion. http://www.stupa.org.au/. A stupa is the most sacred Buddhist monument and this will be the largest in the western world when finished. Gigantic, enormous, incredibly beautiful and almost eerily serene, the Great Stupa site was actually blessed by his holiness the Dali Lama when construction began in 2007. http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2007/06/08/1945950.htm Work on The Great Stupa continues today and you can stop in for a look or take one of several tours available. It is truly a wonder of the world in the most unexpected of places. Anyway – we saw so many wonderful and unexpected things while heading home. Hopefully someday soon we can post some pictures. We needed to get our car back to the Whitsundays as the possibility of the rainy season was looming and quite a few of the roads were very low tween here and there. We arrived home and unpacked for about a week and off to the airport we went. We flew back to Adelaide for a concert in remembrance of a dear friend whose music and presence is very sorely missed in this world. When we returned yet again to our supposed place of residence we had almost 7 weeks to finish our unpacking and do a little decorating and exploring before heading to the airport once again. We flew to Sydney, and enjoyed a long weekend before boarding a cruise ship for Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth and then off to Bali, Vietnam, Thailand, ending up in Singapore. Amazing trip and hopefully will have time to post some pics later. Anyway, now to the point of this long-winded explanation. We both brought back a souvenir of our trip in the form of the flu! Wayne got well and I did not. Well, I did eventually many months later. We returned at the end of April and I had atypical pneumonia as they call it here, or walking pneumonia as me and Hillary call it, for about 5 ½ months. I had 7 rounds of 5 different antibiotics and a heck of a time getting rid of the stuff. I had to try and get better so I could have surgery as my gallbladder was attempting to do me in and I never knew when I went to bed if I would be up cursing and praying and threatening to remove it myself with a butter knife. I finally had the surgery on October 6. All the doctors and hospital people call it a lap choly - like it’s some kind of fuzzy little puppy, when it’s really like someone blended you in your middle with a Kitchen Aide stick blender. Everyone was amazing and I thank all so much for their skill and care. I had some problems last week that scared the bejesus out of us but am ok after cat scans and trips to my doctor, Proserpine Hospital, and Mackay to the surgeon’s office all was fixed with an injection to the belly. They had to catch me first for that one though. Anyway, if you have taken the time to read this perhaps you will understand why you haven’t seen a lot of new art (or in fact any) from us, and barely any posting about our new home. We will be taking care of that very shortly!
The 28th Annual Cool Art Show 2016 is on this weekend at the St Petersburg Florida Coliseum. It got me thinking about the amazing artists of PAVA (Professional Association of Visual Artists), the incredible art they produced, and the friendships we made in PAVA over the years. I was fortunate enough to be on the board of PAVA for a while some years back, and it was my first introduction to how fine art shows are put together. If you get a chance, stop by and have a look at the wonderful work the current PAVA artists have on display. The show has always been a Tampa Bay favorite. In the meantime, Wayne and I will be by the Coral Sea in the Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia! Image is an excerpt from my original silk painting Island Daydreaming.
The legendary brush man is at Moonfish Bay 11:15am today only - Monday, August 15th. Fine art brushes for acrylic, oil, watercolor, whatever at PRICES ARTISTS CAN ONLY DREAM ABOUT. Indulge yourself today and buy that sable brush you have been longing for - for about the price of a good synthetic. We dont make anything from these brush - WE JUST LOVE TO MAKE ARTISTS HAPPY. Doors open at 11:15 am and then he's gone!