Syndey Harbour bridge and opera house

So many photos must have been taken of the Syndey harbour bridge and opera house. I took a few! On New Year day when I did the bridge climb and we were talking about the bridge I asked a native Sydney resident whether they had taken a bridge picture. They never had!

The first time I saw the bridge and opera house I was not expecting to see them; we had arrived in Sydney late in the day, almost dinner time and our tour guide recommended fed walking from hotel to the circular quay. I wandered out mainly looking for someone to eat. Then I saw them! After about three weeks of being in Australia; these iconic buildings! Wow! That night I ate a pub meal outside looking up at the bridge.

Our tour the next day around Sydney meant we saw the bridge from lots of angles. In the afternoon I took a ferry to Manly and therefore sailed under it.

The following day was nye years eve or as the signs said SYD NYE. In the morning before the botanical gardens closed for the afternoon to get ready for the night I was able to have a wander in them. I saw the opera house and bridge from more angles. There is a gate at the bottom of the Botanical gardens which you can normally walk through and be directly at the opera house but the gate was closed due to it being New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve was spent on a boat circling around in Syndey harbour. Therefore saw plenty of the opera house and bridge and they were lit up. At 9pm and midnight there were fireworks from the bridge. Completely amazing that I saw Sydney fireworks from a post anchored right in front of it. In fact, our boat was part of a light possession with other boats in front of the bridge.

New year’s day I did a bridge climb. The most nerve racking part was taking a breathlaser test! Being on the bridge did not feel that high or precarious as feet on wide pathway far from the edge. Firmly attached to the bridge. Just a couple of ladders to climb. You can not take own camera up there but photos are taken of you with fabulous Sydney backdrop. Of course you buy to add to collection of photos of the bridge!

French Island Australia

French island is a an island on a circular ferry route from Stoney point which also stops at Philips island (which can be reached by road). Stoney point / Philip island is about 60km from Melbourne.

I think it is a place you need to prepare for before turning up. When you get off the ferry it feels very isolated! If you go there alone you definitely need a plan and water! Insect repellent could be useful too. Think you can take bikes across to the island or rent a car. … if you have booked in advance. This is not a place where you are greeted by people offering you tours etc… It is a great place to spot koalas 🐨. There are no kangaroos 🦘 on the island.

I did this as part of a tour with Philip island. We went to a farm I think called Bayside Chicory Kiln. In a lady’s home we were given afternoon tea and told about the island. When I visited December 2022 we were told the island only had 110 inhabitants. Electricity only from generators, water from bore holes and no street lights. There is a primary school which at the time had less than 10 children but no secondary school so children then have to get the ferry to the mainland. Being an island they managed to not have any covid cases until January 2022 and by then islanders were vaccinated. If you came by yourself you would easily get an idea of the how unpopulated and dilated the island is and you may enjoy that if looking for peace. But I found hearing from a resident was what really engaged me in the island.

The farm had peacocks 🦚 roaming, a chicory kiln, Horses in the field, Koalas 🐨 in the trees in the garden: although also a lot of mosquitos under those trees hence recommend insect repellant. I did not see other buildings from the farm although a short ride down the road was a cricket pitch. That road had lots of koalas 🐨 in trees which really made the day!

Perth (Australia) Lessons Learnt

1. There are free buses called CAT buses that go on different loops round the city. You just hail them and get on (no ticket needed). There is also a big bus tour which obviously comes with a cost but you get the commentary. As often with those buses the cost for 48hours is not double 24hours, in this case just a few dollars more.

2. The Bell Tower is not open on on a Monday or Tuesday. So I know from outside it is a tall glass building with water in front and lots of padlocks on chains next to the water.

3. You can pay for boat to Rottonest Island. 🐀 🏝 Apparently people tend to spend about 5hours there! The main attraction is quokas which are marsupials but look like rats 🐀 hence Rotto in island name. But you can also see quokas in the zoo in south Perth.

Meeting her son in Melbourne … and buying a ring 💍

On a Saturday in Adelaide I met a couple of ladies Adelaide chapter. The next day I was flying to Melboune. One of the ladies texted me with her son’s name Thomas and where he worked so I could go and meet him.

The Melbourne flight was not until 11.45 so it was well into the afternoon before arrived in Melbourne. Our bus from the airport took us on an orientation tour with stops at various points including Melbourne market and part of formula one track.

It was about 5 or 6 when got to the hotel. It was exciting coming to a new city and having someone to meet. I got changed in my room with prime view of the cricket ground. Then took the tram a few stops.

The bar I was looking for was near street art alleys.

It turned out on the same street was three venues part of the same venue. Originally I went in next to where I was meant to be going. Luckily they knew who I was looking for and pointed me next door.

Next door was a small tapas bar. I was greeted by a man and thought he may be my man. He was not and said Thomas had just left as they were quiet. Although seemed busy as no tables in the small bar – only bar space. I ordered a beer 🍺 and sat at the bar. The bar tender asked how I knew Thomas; I had to say I did not but his Mum had sent me! He then revealed Thomas was drinking next door but one.

I ate tapas at the bar. Then whilst paying checked where he thought Thomas was. He confirmed next door but one … with girlfriend. Still I went there and for the third time that night asked for Thomas. It turned out he had gone again!

So I never met Thomas, as next day had a trip to French and Philip islands. Day after think I may have known it was Thomas’s day off. Then the Wednesday morning it was time to move on again. Still it was exciting having a quest upon arriving in Melbourne. My first stop in Melbourne after the airport was the market. It is the market where I bought myself a ring for $5 which was cheap like £2.50.

Three Day Millionaire – Grimsby’s answer to the Full Monty?

Three day millionaire is Grimsby’s answer to the Full Monty in that it is about the demise of Grimsby’s centuries old fishing industry. Like in the full Monty, it focuses on a group of characters trying to find a way of earning money. Unlike the Full Monty, this is not about stripping; it is a a safe heist escapade.

The title refers to how trawlermen have been known, to have been away at sea so much that they have had only had a limited amount of time to spend their wages. Hence wages have been blown in an excessive way during their time off (three day millionaires).

The first part of the film introduces their 3 day millionaire lifestyle it is reminiscent to Trainspotting. The second part of the film is a drastically different feel more like a cosy British comedy. I think, it would have been to go with the cosy British genre throughout for a small budget film rather than try to go for a Trainspotting type feel. The beginning did contain some old shots of Grimsby and a touching scene of them coming back from sea and seeing Grimsby though a Port hole; more of this plus creating empathy for the characters would have made this a better film. Particularly if the women’s characters were better developed!

This film has been out a few months now. It will not become a classic like the Full Monty which is watched over and over and often referred to. But it is not a wasted couple of hours to watch; it is easy watching and has it’s moments!

Immersive Monet – Melbourne – Highly Recommended!

I highly recommend this immersive exhibition in The Lume, Melbourne until March 31st.

On entry you get to pose in a set of Monet’s water Lily painting.

From there you enter a very large he’ll (big and tall) pictures of Monet and friends are projected on to walls and floor. It goes round in a loop which I think lasts an hour or so. Different paintings, images and quotes are projected all at once to different places of the hall; so there is so much to see. The pictures are brought to life and you see parts of familiar pictures up close like never before. There is music played, which makes the whole experience atmospheric! You can move around the room including up on Mezzaine and into intimate circular room to get different perspectives. You are free to take photos with all the amazing back drops allowing you to engage with the art. I think I watched the loop at least twice and could have stayed longer / if lived in Melbourne would have gone back again.

There is a ticket option to dine in part of the hell set up as a Parisian cafe. Those tickets are twice price of standard entry but the extra is about what you would pay for any evening meal in Melbourne. As open until 10 to 11 most evenings then I think it would make a lovely atmospheric evening even alone as there would be so much to take in. I just have no idea what the food is like! But I guarantee the art experience is amazing!

The most different Christmas ever! (Australia 2022)

My first 39 christmases have followed a very similar format! Each Christmas Eve I have slept at my parents and woke up there Christmas Day. As a child all bar my first Christmas we ate at my parents home where they have lived throughout my life. As an adult my sister has sometimes hosted but she follows my Mum’s traditions so it is fairly familiar!

Where as this year I travelled to Australia in early December. I managed to fit in a Christmas party before I went, wrote a very limited amount of Christmas cards and got presents for both my parent’s and sister’s householder (an experience voucher type presents along with a bottle of wine with a kangaroo 🦘 on the front!

All the hotels were decorated for Christmas and we heard Christmas music playing.

On Christmas Eve I went to Saint John’s in Cairns for midnight mass. In a dress and no tights or coats and still church was boiling! Unlike midnight mass in the UK where would go bundled up in a coat. although midnight mass has not been held at my parent’s local church in 2020 and 2021 due to covid. Attendance had been dwindling in pre pandemic years since perhaps that service will not restart; it did not restart in my absence in 2022.

There were different carols sung at St John’s. Even ones with same works as ours had different tunes! Of course Lord’s Prayer etc was still the same. The windows were open so the night shone through. Candles burnt inside. My trip was with a tour group so I had not met people before but it was lovely that a couple let me accompany them on Christmas Eve to midnight mass.

On Christmas morning there was rain; I went down to the hotel restaurant for a buffet breakfast. Then I went straight outside to lay on a hammock by the pool with a book. Initially it was not raining and when it first started I tried to just protect my book, hoping it was a short shower but the drops became bigger so it was impossible to read! At first as warm it was pleasant enough laying in the rain. But as it became more persistent I did move to a sun bed under cover to read.

Once my breakfast had been digested a bit, I went in the pool for a swim followed by the bubble pool. I was nearly urinated on by a young boy in the bubble pool – that has never happened on Christmas Day before! He had been playing near the pool then suddenly went to side of bubble pool and started pulling his trunks down … his Dad just got to him and lifted him away in time! Other people in my group, sitting by the pool also noticed, so that gave them a giggle too!

Sitting by the pool I finished the book Mrs Hemmingway. In the afternoon I read the book the One in bed and had a nap. See Books that accompanied mefor more details of these books.

I dressed for dinner in a navy blue velvet dress. It was a buffet dinner. I started with fresh oysters, salmon and lobster claw. Then a plate of meat and vegetables. Then vegetable lasagna with vegetables, just because!

Fabulous selection of mini desserts of which I sampled a number! Followed by cheese and biscuits. Beers were included. Our group of 36 plus our guide sat split across 4 tables. Following feasting I retired to bed ready to go into the rainforest the next day.

Top 5 Tuesday 10 Jan Top 5 bookish resolutions

As we are starting 2023. Meeghan has asked us what our resolutions are for 2023 for this Top 5 Tuesday.

1. Complete book Cllub challenge.

2. Read Agatha Christie book that have bought.

3. Keep using local library. I first tried February 2020 to request a book from the library to get in the habit of using … but then library for obvious reasons had to close for a while. But 2022 I did borrow books from the library so must remember to do this!

4. Keep buying 2nd hand books to help charities. Although I’m afraid there will be some Amazon shops – it is just quicker and easier when there is a specific title want! Although will release lots back to be sold again; to keep the cycle going!

5. As I need a 5th resolution and I’m anti setting targets of books to read … my last resolution is just to keep enjoying reading,

My blog 6 years on!!!!

It is 6 years today that started this blog. My most prolific blogging year was therefore 2017. 2022 things tailed off.


Since starting the blog I have also set up Instagram. Now a days I regularly post to Instagram Wonderwall360 but not so much to the blog. I found at one point I filled my blog up with all the photos therefore Instagram seems better. To be honest some of my early blog post only really needed a brief Instagram caption for example hot chocolate reviews photo and Instagram caption best.


I also feel my blogging tailed off during the pandemic. I often write about theatre and travel and there was no theatre to go to or travel  to do. Also I think my commute time was a good time for blogging. Now I only commute within my own house!


I think I’m not the only one who has lapsed since I started. When I first started there were a few other new bloggers who followed each other; who now do not post as much therefore I do not have the same community around me to motivate me.



More than lots of blog hits, the blog is a good way for me to record my own memories. Connecting with people is a welcomed added  bonus.

I have now done some travelling that I would like to share therefore there will be some more posts!

Top 5 Tuesday Dec 7th books on my Christmas list. REVISIT

Someone this week liked this post so reminded me of the post and I re looked at it. I have read 4 of the 5 books now although Santa brought none of them. I have not read or got The Comfort Book by Matt Haigh.

1. Comfort book by Matt Haig as loved his midnight library. 2. A slow fire burning by Paula Hawkins who wrote girl on the train. 3. Adele by L …

Top 5 Tuesday Dec 7th books on my Christmas list.