From the Falkland Islands we made our way to Argentina, stopping first in Montevideo then ending our cruise in Buenos Aries. After the workshop finished, Dianne and I stayed on in Buenos Aires for a few days to explore the city.
After a second smooth crossing of Drake Passage, we stopped for a day at Stanley in the Falkland Islands. The islands are low, treeless and windswept. The older architecture in Stanley is interesting. Apart from a few buildings made of brick or stone, most construction is of timber and corrugated iron. The design of the buildings are still traditionally British – even down to the picket fences, but the unusual materials take some getting used to. An attempt to make the place feel like home I guess, but they miss out on that balmy British weather!
There are many of these old Nissin Huts, left over from various wars. All the buildings have a flaking, rusty patina caused by the constant freezing and thawing and the continuous howling wind.
An interesting graveyard for wooden boats at the end of Stanley Harbour.
Young penguin hiding in a burrow above the beach
Mum and Dad socialising on the beach
No one climbs through the fences
Male Upland Goose – common on the islands
Brand new Landrovers waiting delivery
Anchorage for fair weather sailers.
The Falklands had a very British feel – friendly British accents, Landrovers everywhere, Pubs serving Ale and money bearing pictures of the Queen.
All Images © John Lovett 2018
Following our workshop in the South of England, Dianne and I hired a car and set off north to Scotland via Wales and the East coast of England. We set off in fine, sunny weather, but part way through Wales things turned damp and cool, gradually deteriorating to wet and cold as we headed North into Scotland. This change in the weather made walking unpleasant, but the dramatic skies, fog and wet landscape sure made for some great photographs.
Young Exmoor Pony
North West across the water.
Bottom of the hill – Robin Hood’s Bay
Forgotten Hull – Boddin Point
Boddin Point Fisherman’s Hut
Across the Moorings – Stonehaven
Along The Shorehead Road – Stonehaven
Last Drinks – Lovat Arms Hotel – Beauly
Winding down the mountain
The history of Warwick Castle stretches back over 1000 years. It has been restored and repaired over that time and today is in fine shape. Ongoing maintenance is funded solely by ticket sales, helped by an impressive range of entertainment. These photos are from the daily reenactment of the War of the Roses held on a field outside the castle wall.
Just outside Tucson, Arizona, is the Sonoran Desert. Tanque Verde Ranch is situated in the desert and joins the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The ranch was our venue for an enjoyable 5 day painting workshop organised by MISA.
Tanque Verde Ranch was a large cattle property in the early days, but now runs around 200 horses for visitors to explore the many desert riding trails.
After a great workshop in Vietnam, Dianne and I flew over to Siem Reap in Cambodia to see the Angkor temples and waterside villages on Tonle Sap lake. The Cambodian people are happy and friendly. The country is 97% Buddhist and many of the children, from poorer families, go into the monasteries to take pressure off the families.
We met Pau, who entered a monastery at eight years of age and is now in his early twenties. He enjoys the discipline of the monastery. He speaks good English and is studying education. His goal is to open a village school to improve the chances for young people to work and study.
Angkor Wat Temple
Stone gable carving Angkor Wat
Ta Phrom Temple – slowly being eaten by the jungle.
Thom Bayon Temple features large carved stone heads of Buddha and beautiful, intricate relief carvings of daily life back in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Temple monkey overcome with boredom
Temple monkey overcome with confusion
Temple monkey overcome with enlightenment.
Siem Reap petrol tanker – powered by a mechanical plough.
Fire pot vendor powered by a small motor scooter
Mattress vendor- powered by a small motorbike
With the luxury of a small truck, there is nothing you can’t carry.
From Siem Reap we travelled by tuk tuk down to Kampong Phluk – a village of stilt houses, some colorful, some old and thatched, built in the Tonle Sap Lake. It’s a fascinating village – life is lived entirely on the water. Kids grow up in boats and soon become skilled fishermen.
Sometimes things just fall into place. Soon after agreeing to a workshop with the ASOC in Canberra, I received an email inviting me to a Canberra High School reunion – 5 days before the workshop.
Catching up with school friends from 45 years ago was amazing. Appearances had changed but personalities were just as they were way back then.
After the workshop and reunion we headed over the mountains west of Canberra and down to the high country and Kosciuszko National Park
Driving down the New England Highway there are some very prosperous towns and others in slow decline. Back when these towns were established, being a days ride from the next town guaranteed their future. Today they are quickly passed through and forgotten. Here are the remnants of a few of them.
Coolah Tops is a great National Park with sweeping views across the Liverpool Plains. I have never seen the country so green and cant believe the government would consider allowing a coal mine in, what must be some of the worlds best agricultural land.
We left Canberra and headed out through Brindabella to join the top end of the Long Plain Road. We were told the road was closed in winter due to snow, then re opened each October.
We drove in to find a locked gate leading to the National Park. As we were about to drive back a farmer, whose property the road runs through, turned up. After chatting for a while we were about to head off and drive the long way around when he kindly offered to unlock the gate and let us through.
Twenty kilometres down the track we were stopped by a fallen tree. Not being able to go back through the locked gate and unable to move the tree, our only option was to somehow get over it.
We built long ramps of logs and rocks to give us plenty of clearance. Unfortunately, as we descended the ramp the right hand front wheel sunk into the soft ground, hanging us up on the log. After four hours of jacking, packing and digging, all we managed to do was sink deeper into the soft ground.
It was getting dark when we gave up digging so we spent an uncomfortable night camped at thirty degrees.
The ground was too soft for us to lift the heavy truck so, in the morning, we contacted the National Park Office by satellite phone and explained our situation. They were fantastic and had a ranger up there with a chainsaw within a couple of hours.
As it turned out, National Parks were sending a tractor up to clear any fallen trees later that day. If only we had known. We could have saved 4 hours of hard work and camped on level ground! Coolamine Homestead was built in the late 1800’s when they used to run horses and cattle in the high country.
Today the cattle have all but disappeared but wild brumbies are breeding up.
I spotted this mare laying on the ground way off in the bush above the plains. When I walked up I discovered she had died giving birth. Her head was resting on a log and her eyes were still open, looking out across the plains.
The Kosciuszko High country is stark and beautiful, and the weather always unpredictable. Overnight temperatures were below freezing and, in spite of the sun, seven or eight degrees was as warm as the days would get – and this was late spring!