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18 January 2020 / leggypeggy

Three things have lifted my heart today

Artwork for Pooh Corner

Pooh Corner thank you to firefighters. Art by Mick Ashley. Link in body of text

If you have been following the news in Australia or virtually anywhere else in the world, you’ll know that much of this country has been on fire. Some of the worst devastation has been in the states of Victoria and New South Wales.

Almost 30 people have died, about 6000 homes and buildings have been lost, more than a billion animals have died and 19 million hectares (46 million acres) of land have been burnt. Here’s a rundown of the unbelievable devastation.

So what’s to smile about? It’s a combination of things.

First, today is the 17th anniversary of the horrific bushfires that swept through Canberra. Four lives and about 500 homes were lost back then. That’s reason for immense sadness, but today no fires are burning in the Australian Capital Territory. They are nearby, but not upon us. Our firefighters have worked hard to be better prepared.

Second, today (18 January) is National Winnie the Pooh Day and our own Pooh Bear’s Corner has survived, which leads me straight to the third item.

Third, today is when I saw a delightful artwork that thanks our many firefighters for saving Pooh Bear’s Corner, a small cave on the Kings Highway, which is the way from Canberra to Australia’s South Coast.

We’ve driven past Pooh Bear’s Corner regularly for almost 40 years. But we haven’t been by lately. Because of fires, the road has been closed for more than a month, and reopened earlier this week. Luckily the firefighters have been on duty and Pooh Bear’s Corner has been spared.

As an amazing thank you to the firefighters, Canberra artist, Mick Ashley, created a gorgeous artwork that is available for sale (see above). I think this work is amazing and so poignant. You can order here if you’d like to buy one. All proceeds go to fire relief.

A bit about Pooh Bear’s Corner
More than 40 years ago, David and Barbara Carter from Crookwell created Pooh Bear’s Corner in an effort to distract their children’s pleas of ‘are we there yet’.

Each time they passed, they put signs at Pooh’s Corner and hoped they wouldn’t get in trouble. Then they noticed other people were leaving teddy bears or honey or just a little message for Pooh.

This has gone on for years. We’ve often stopped to say hello to the many Pooh stuffed animals.

I don’t have any current pics of Pooh Bear’s Corner, but I know it has survived. In the meantime enjoy Mick Ashley’s stunning artwork.

P.S. I just found a pic of Pooh Corner that I took three years ago.

Pooh Corner, Australia, Clyde Mountain

Some of the residents at Pooh Corner, 26 January 2017

2 January 2020 / leggypeggy

Fires engulf much of eastern Australia

I can’t let today pass without commenting on the horrific fires in Australia. As I write, nine are dead, four are missing, hundreds of homes have been destroyed.

The news is grim and going to get worse. We’re still in Taiwan, so are living out the drama long-distance, but we fear for our beach house in South Rosedale.

North and South Rosedale make up a small community about four-hours’ drive south of Sydney. The two parts are surrounded by trees and divided by a small creek. North Rosedale was wiped out on New Years Eve. More than a hundred people sheltered on the beach and watched as 50 or more homes burned. I’m guessing that fewer than 20 homes are left there.

South Rosedale got off easier. Maybe 15 homes burned. We just don’t know. So far our house still stands.

But Saturday lies ahead. The temperature will hit 41°C (106°F) and the winds will pick up. The Rural Fire Service is advising everyone—tourists and homeowners—to get out. That’s a challenge in itself. Fuel is in short supply. Roads are closed. Traffic is backed up for kilometres.

Our friend, Chloe, who was staying at our beach house with her dog and ours, managed to drive out about 5am on New Years Eve. She had an easy run. Because of road closures what should have taken two hours took almost six.

I’ve added some video footage here. It’s all from Rosedale. My thanks to those who took these images (borrowed from Twitter). I’m not 100 per cent sure who to credit (Julian Evans and Daniel Sutton?). Here’s a segment from the news. 

Huge thanks also to neighbours, Peter, Sue, Terry and Deb, who have been keeping an eye out for spot fires.

If you are interested in following what happens to Rosedale, here is a comprehensive Twitter feed. With thanks to Associate Professor Gemma Carey for carrying the burden.

29 December 2019 / leggypeggy

Start the day with a Changing of the Guards

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan

The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall overlooks Liberty Square

Main entrance gate, Liberty Square, Taipei Taiwan

Main entrance gate

A full-on ceremony is great way to start a day, so on our first morning in Taipei we headed off to the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.

The complex surrounds Liberty Square and includes the hall itself, grand entrance gates, magnificent gardens, the National Theatre, the National Concert Hall and—drum roll—the hourly Changing of the Guards.

Dancers, National Concert Hall, Taipei Taiwan

Dancers practice on the verandah of the National Concert Hall

Our timing was perfect. After strolling around the grounds and seeing people practicing a dance in front of the Concert Hall, we headed up the steps that led to the main hall. The place was packed.

Within a few minutes and without any announcement, the surging crowd began to drift to the edges of the massive room. That’s when we realised the Changing of the Guards was about to begin. Before long an official and a volunteer (yellow vest) began to extend the barriers. Then, to our amusement, the official straightened the uniforms of the two guards currently on duty.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Straightening a uniform

Changing of the Guard, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, TaiwanChanging of the Guard, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Taiwan

At 10am sharp, three uniformed men appeared—two new guards and their escort. They marched in slowly and deliberately with arms swinging in precision, knees lifted high, and a fair bit of heel clicking and foot stomping.

When the five guards were lined up in front of Chiang Kai-Shek’s statue, there was more foot stomping and heel clicking, along with several displays of rifle twirling. The whole ceremony lasted 11 minutes.

Changing of the Guard, Taipei Taiwan

A statue of Chiang Kai-Shek overlooks the Changing of the Guards

No doubt it is a great honour to be part of the the Changing of the Guards. The task is rotated among members of Taiwan’s main forces—the Army, Air Force, Navy and Military Police.

About the Memorial Hall
The hall was built to honour President Chiang Kai-Shek, a Chinese nationalist politician, revolutionary and military leader. He led the Republic of China from 1928 to 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and then in Taiwan until his death.

Designed by architect Yang Cho-cheng, the hall has three platforms, the main hall and the large roof. The 89 steps that lead to the hall represent Chiang’s age when he died. The hall looks out on Liberty Square and the national concert hall and theatre.

The roof is shaped like the Chinese character for person. Its blue colour, along with the white of the hall, depict Taiwan’s national emblem of ‘Blue Sky and White Sun’. Inside, the ceiling shows the emblem.

The bronze statue of Chiang Kai-Shek is 6.3 metres tall and weighs more than 21 tonnes. It was made by Chen Yifan.

The hall includes exhibition spaces and a museum dedicated to Chiang Kai-Shek.

P.S. Not all pics have captions.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, ceiling

Ceiling in the hall

22 December 2019 / leggypeggy

Flower market better than traffic in Taipei

Bougainvillea in Taipei Taiwan

A sea of colourful bougainvillea

Flower market Taipei Taiwan

Plants and gourds to hang

Decorations, Taipei Taiwan flower market

Red decorations

What do you do with a huge expanse of concrete beneath a busy highway overpass in the capital of Taiwan? With a bit of lateral thinking, you can turn it into a popular flower market.

On our first full day in Taipei and, in the absence of rain, we headed off on foot to visit the Jianguo Holiday Flower Market that is open on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Flower market Taipei Taiwan

Edible options

It’s heaven for anyone who loves to garden or who simply wants to brighten their home.

In addition to a wide range of flowers, plants, trees and bonsai, people can buy all the gardening extras. There are plenty of artificial flowers, seeds, gardening tools, soils, pots, fish, pebbles, decorations and more.

Poinsettias in Taipei Taiwan flower market

Tending the poinsettias

Bamboos and more

Bamboo options

Orchids in Taipei, Taiwan

Orchids grow well in this part of the world

Poinsettias—the colourful plant that says Christmas—were widely available. One shop was selling ready-made and custom-made Christmas decorations and bouquets, but we didn’t see any Christmas trees on offer. 

There was a huge temptation to buy something but, of course, we couldn’t take anything living back to Australia. That said, we did buy two sprays of orchids to brighten the apartment where we’re staying. They’ll do for a Christmas tree.

Flower market Taipei Taiwan

Everything in garden supplies

I reckon the market is well worth a visit. It’s open from 9am to 6pm and is located under the Jianguo elevated highway, and between Xinyi and Jianguo South Roads. The Jade Holiday Market is under the next expanse of overpass. We visited that too. Plenty of jade, gems, jewellery, statues, pottery, porcelain, pendants, trinkets and tea items to choose from, but long ago we stopped buying lots of souvenirs.

Bonsai, Flower market Taipei Taiwan

Bonsai in many sizes

Flower market Taipei Taiwan

You can even buy a tree

20 December 2019 / leggypeggy

Off on the next adventure

taipei, taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan (pic from Wikipedia)

In less that two hours we fly off to Taiwan to share a family gathering. Will post as often as possible. But just in case, wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and great start to 2020.

11 December 2019 / leggypeggy

No, Scott Morrison, my husband does NOT want to be fighting fires this summer!

I have been blogging now for eight years. This is the first time I have ever reblogged someone else’s post. Meg McGowan has written an extraordinary post that exposes the shortcomings of our government (in particular our Prime Minister) as well as some of the hardships, shortages and disadvantages faced by our saintly Australian firefighters. Please take the time to read her post and the comments, and share it as widely as you can.


Update: This post has now had more than 20,000 views. Thank you to everyone that’s sharing it. I wish I’d put this link up before I published. For anyone wanting to donate to the Rural Fire Service, please make a donation directly to your local brigade if you have one. If you don’t have one you can make a donation here:
I’m sorry if I don’t respond to all your messages. I’m sure you understand.


This photo was taken ten hours ago. The man in the middle of the photo in the red braces is my husband, Graham King. He’s fighting fires today as a volunteer. His shift won’t be over for a few more hours.


When I saw this photo, posted by our friend David Glover on our local community page, I briefly had the thought that if anything happens…

View original post 2,085 more words

28 November 2019 / leggypeggy

Fabulous fashions of West Africa


African fashionAfrican fashionAfrican fashionEarlier today I saw an amazing video clip of a fashion show in Africa (link at the bottom of the post). Maybe it was filmed somewhere outside Africa, but the dance, beat, clothing, enthusiasm and energy are all African.

A while back someone asked me about the fashions I saw in Africa, so I thought it was about time to share some pics. All these photos were snapped in West Africa in the first quarter of this year. The pics were taken from Ghana to Senegal. I have heaps more pics of fashion, but I hope these will suffice for now.

African fashion

The fashions cover both women’s and men’s clothing (only one of those). I was rarely able to ask people to pose for a pic so these were usually taken ‘on the fly’.

I so wish I could pull off one of these outfits. Do you have a favourite style or colour?

African fashion African fashion African fashion African fashion African fashion

African fashion