Poppies for Remembrance Day – 100 Years

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Thousands of Poppies First world War One Sonya Heaney 11th November 2018 Australian War Memorial Canberra.

Thousands and thousands of handmade poppies at the Australian War Memorial for Remembrance Day, and a hundred years since the end of the First World War. Australia committed to the war before Britain even declared it, and Canberra turned on a sunny, hot, blue-skied, beautiful day for the occasion.

Because I live in Canberra, love history, and have a military father, I visit the War Memorial quite often. However, today was special, and because I’ve been overseas for much of the past few months, and today was the last day to see all the poppies before they go, (there are poppies at Parliament House, too, but they’re there for another week), I had to visit.

Long Tan Cross

Because I live in Canberra and have a former military father (and love history!), I spend quite a lot of time at the Australian War Memorial.

I went with my father today, half because of the occasion (one hundred years since the First World War ended) – to see the thousands and thousands of handmade poppies in the garden out the front (today was the last day for the exhibition), and half because I’m currently working on the memoirs of a Military Cross-winning Vietnam veteran (my father’s commander in the war), and he was heavily involved in the Long Tan dedication ceremony.

Long Tan is by far the most famous (infamous?) battle in Australia’s involvement in Vietnam, and my father knows people in the iconic photograph.

The cross arrived at the War Memorial not all that long ago, and this is the first time I’ve seen it in its special new room. Unfortunately that room – as they tried to make it a quiet place for reflection – is practically hidden, and I think most visitors will miss it…

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The Week: 29th October – 4th November

(Post from Friday night):

I was going to start this post with some flippant comment, but instead, I left Canberra for Sydney this morning, only to discover that a massive bushfire is about to hit my part of town (much like in 2003), along with a severe heatwave and huge winds. After I arrived in Sydney I heard from my father that houses in my own suburb have had trees fall on and crush them. Other – massive – trees have fallen and blocked major roads. The fire is still out of control, and getting closer.

It’s raining in Sydney. I wish they’d send some of their rain to us.

I am flying to China in a few hours, so I guess I just hope for the best…

But – hey – climate change doesn’t exist, right?

.Halloween Canberra Australia 31st October 2018 Sonya Heaney Jack-o-Lantern Pumkpin Witches Hot Afternoon.

Halloween indoors because it was too hot outside!

On Wednesday we booked tickets to travel to a few countries next year. I’m going back to Ukraine for several weeks, and then on to Romania (I’ve been to the border on the Ukrainian side before, but never actually to Romania!), and to Georgia. So: to two of the countries currently being invaded by Russia, and one neighbour!

Goodreads Choice Awards 2018

Happy Halloween!

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Manga Sense and Sensibility

Manga Classics Sense and Sensibility by Po Tse (Art by) Stacy King (Story Adaptation) Jane Austen (Original Story)

Memorial to the Great Purge

To China

China…

Breaking up my week-long coverage of anti-sexual assault books…

Today we picked up our passports with our shiny new Chinese visas in them. Life is SO much easier when you live in Canberra – the capital city – and no embassy is more than a fifteen-minute drive away! I’ve seen some very stressed people from interstate FLY in to try and sort out their visas. It seems like a nightmare (the poor man from Adelaide I saw last week…).

Am I apprehensive about some aspects of this trip (at the beginning of November)? Yes. Do I have political things to say? Yes, but I think it’s better to stay quiet until then.

My visit to China won’t be long. And I’ll be sharing rooms with my brother. Hopefully they don’t do what they always do, and assume we’re a couple on our honeymoon! Once, in Thailand, they upgraded us to this fantastic, swim-in-swim-out honeymoon suite, and we had to turn it down!

Sonya Natalia Heaney Chinese Tourist Visa 2018

The Week: 1st – 7th October

^^ The Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes flying over Old and New Parliament Houses in Canberra on Saturday afternoon (I took the picture from the car, so it’s not perfect!). New Parliament House turned thirty this year, and the celebrations were held this weekend.

What a week. For me it began in Qatar on the Arabian Peninsula, trying to stay awake through a 9.5 hour layover in Doha (note to self: flights from Manchester to Canberra have no good connection times!).

I arrived home on Tuesday morning, after two days of travelling, to the most gorgeous day. However, it was a real shock to see just HOW dry it is in Canberra. There was dead, yellow grass before; now it’s basically just dirt. It’s a huge contrast to green, green Ireland, and northern England, where there was a drought this summer, but nothing like this.

I didn’t get a chance for jetlag because it’s spring here, our local birds have had babies, and the desperate, overworked mother magpie has figured out which one is my bedroom window, and knocks on it with her beak at dawn until I get out of bed and give her some food for her kids!

Our recently deposed Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had his penthouse by the lake up for sale this weekend. We actually parked outside the entrance to the building when we went out for lunch, and it was SO tempting to go in and have a look at it!

Yay for daylight saving beginning, and boo to all the countries losing their minds and getting rid of it. How could you possibly hate having an extra hour of daylight in the evening in summer??

My week finished with my passport sitting at the Chinese embassy, waiting for a visa – it’s not long before I’m off again.

Home

Spring in the Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 2nd October 2018

Virgin River on Netflix

Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Yet Another Netflix Adaptation

Stealing Home (The Sweet Magnolia's Series #1) by Sherrly Woods

More Trademark Issues

Harlequin Manga

Home…

Spring in the Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 2nd October 2018

Spring in Canberra!

Well, I’ve made it home after an epic 42-hour journey from rural Derbyshire to Canberra. That’s a two-hour drive to Manchester (however, we got to drive past Lyme Park – Mr Darcy’s home in Pride and Prejudice 1995), a six-hour wait at Manchester Airport, a seven-hour flight to Doha, a nine-hour layover in Qatar (which wasn’t so bad, but the lounge needs to serve something better than heavy chardonnay!), a fourteen-hour flight to Sydney…

…And it stopped there for other travellers, but we had to disembark, go back through security, and re-board the *Same Plane* a few hours later to fly on to Canberra. It’s ridiculous to go through all of that when the flight between Sydney and Canberra is never more than half an hour! On the other hand, it’s pretty surreal being almost the only person travelling on a giant Boeing 777.

The sunshine and warm weather (mid-twenties when I stepped off the plane) were a nice surprise, as was the smell of spring in the air (though not the hay fever that immediately hit!), and the fact half our local wild birds had dropped by the house within half an hour of me arriving!

Now I can catch up on all those blog posts I want to write…

Jane Austen Things

I’m not the biggest fan of Pride and Prejudice 2005, and it infuriates me that people think Chatsworth House is meant to be Pemberley (Mr Darcy’s home – and it isn’t!).

However, the visit to Chatsworth today was pretty entertaining from a Jane Austen perspective.

Proper pictures later, but for now, here’s Mr Darcy’s bust from the movie, plonked in the middle of the souvenir shop. You can buy your own miniature version for £50 (I managed to restrain myself 😁). (Please excuse the colour differences. I didn’t edit the pictures, but they were taken on two different phones!)

The sign underneath it asks people to please not *kiss* it!

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And here is the signed copy of Longbourn I bought. I already own it in ebook form, love it, and reviewed it HERE.

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Jane Austen Territory

I have one week left of this trip, and it is being spent in a cottage in England’s Peak District. In the village of Bradwell, with horses riding up our street, the area looks like something out of a Jane Austen adaptation.

We had lunch next to Chatsworth today, and then stopped in Bakewell, where Austen allegedly wrote Pride and Prejudice.

This is one part of England I haven’t visited before, and so far it is even prettier than I expected.

Our cottage:

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The view from my bedroom:

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