Archives for posts with tag: Australia

Happy 2014 to everyone! We had a great start to the year watching the amazing Sydney fireworks from my besties place at Lavender Bay! The skies were lit up by the creative genius of Reg Mombassa, some of the best fireworks Sydney has ever seen. Following the theme of fire we set off on our annual trip to Stradbroke Island. While some people were fleeing the island we headed straight into an inferno. The fires had started by lightening from and electrical storm. Our friends assured us all was safe at their Amity Point beach house. There may not have been power but there was plenty of fresh fish and prawns, delicious wine and some not so cold beers waiting for us. How could not say no? The ferry across to the island was full to the brim, not of the usual holidaymakers but of fire trucks and firemen. Most of these men were volunteers. Brave men and worthy of more praise than they are given. On reaching the island there were men returning to the mainland looking exhausted from long hours fighting fires, back burning and keeping people safe. Over the three days we were there the fires worsened and there was one night I admit to being scared. The winds were constantly changing and were unpredictable, rain was what was needed but it didn’t come.It was not until we were at Brisbane airport that the rain came, closing the airport for several hours. Violent electrical storms, torrential rain and lightning. Nature can be harsh.

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Smoke from Stradbroke Island copyright claire lloyd

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Stradbroke Island on fire copyright claire lloyd

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Fire trucks head for Stradbroke Island copyright claire lloyd

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Billowing smoke from Stradbroke copyright claire lloyd

by Claire Lloyd

The ferry to Stradbroke filled with fire trucks copyright claire lloyd

by Claire Lloyd

A rural fire fighter copyright claire lloyd

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Ready to go copyright claire lloyd

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Our brave men copyright claire lloyd

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Bark of a gum tree copyright claire lloyd

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Tree stump copyright claire lloyd

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Smoke changes the colour of the sky, unnerving copyright claire lloyd

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Shadows copyright claire lloyd

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A view through the gum trees copyright claire lloyd

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Silhouette copyright claire lloyd

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Fun playing Tarzan copyright claire lloyd

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Thwarted by storms at Brisbane airport copyright claire lloyd

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One of my last days in Sydney was spent with my sister, Monica and her daughter Hannah at Neilson Park, a beautiful harbour beach in Sydney. These are some of the snaps I took of beautiful Hannah.

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IMG_0417AI feel very lucky to have met the beautiful Carla Coulson and her husband Francesco in Australia. Carla, Francesco, Matthew and I had a picnic on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour. It was a beautiful sunny Sydney summer afternoon and we enjoyed our time with them, it was so lovely and relaxed. Carla http://carlacoulson.com is a wonderful photographer and I have really enjoyed her books Italian Joy and Paris Tango http://carlacoulson.com/shop Her photography is feminine and her story, brave and inspiring. Chasing a dream is the title of Carla’s latest book. http://www.penguin.com.au/products/9781921382307/chasing-dream The title sums up Carla’s story perfectly. Carla gave up the security of her well paid job in Sydney and took a leap of faith into the unknown. She bought herself a camera and headed for Italy and back to school to learn photography. For the past ten years Carla has lived in Europe and has found something she is passionate about, well two things really, photography and Francesco. I think there is a lot to be said for chasing your dreams. We all have dreams and I think we owe it to ourselves to go after them. I understand that such huge leap is not for everyone but I truly believe in finding something that you feel passionate about and going for it. Get the book and be inspired! Thank you Carla for being inspiring and thank you to both you and Francesco for a lovely afternoon and we hope to see you in either Paris or Lesvos soon.

 

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Back here in Greece I am all cosied up in our warm little village house with my cat Sweetie curled up on my lap. She hardly fits, she is enormous and wearing her very healthy luxurious winter coat. She has not left my side since I returned from Australia. She is so loved up purring loudly, there is some snoring too. I am not complaining, as I love the love not to mention the warmth. Outside there is a howling gale and torrential rain. Lightening is lighting up the vast skies and loud grumbling thunder follows. Nellie our rescue dog has retreated into the house for comfort and found a nice chair to settle in. The weather has been like this for days. There have been a few moments of reprieve, enough to take a couple of long walks along the track with Matthew and the dogs, Nellie and Hector. It’s great to be back. Memories of Sydney whirl around my head all the wonderful experiences I had are vying for my attention. One lovely evening Matthew and I had was with Katie Quinn Davies and her husband Mick. We met them at a dinner party my publisher Julie Gibbs threw before Christmas. Julie is really the hostess extraordinaire she gathered together a great group of people and served the most delicious food cooked by her self, so impressive. Katie is Irish, from Dublin and began her career in graphic design. In 2009 she decided to photograph food, something she certainly does beautifully. She started her blog

What Katie Ate http://www.whatkatieate.com which became an internet phenomenon. Katie and her husband Mick, a great Aussie man invited us around to their house for dinner a real treat. Matthew secretly thought the invitation was based on our mutual love of cats but who knows. We felt so special to have Katie cook up one of her yummy meals. We had a wonderful night with Katie and Mick and hope for more to come. My culinary skills are not up to Katie’s but I will do my best when we return the invitation. Katie has a new book out which will inspire you. It’s also called What Katie Ate  http://www.whatkatieate.com/my-book/ Her simple delicious recipes are photographed to lure you into the kitchen. The photography is reminiscent of paintings by the Dutch Masters. The layout and design of the book, also done by Katie reminds you of a precious family cookbook handed down from mothers to daughters. This book is a visual delight and a must for all those who love to spend time in their kitchens or just love food and photography. I myself will keep looking through the mouth-watering pages, be inspired by the photographs and look forward to Katie and Mick asking us back for another evening. I am including some spreads and a few cropped photos from the book see below. Enjoy and thank you Katie for this treasure.

On the morning of my departure from Sydney an email notification hits the spot. Where do you come from? A post by Carla Coulson, http://carlacoulson.com it stops me in my tracks. Food for thought on a very long, 30 hour trip door to door from my native Australia to my home on the Greek Island of Lesvos. This trip has been the longest time I have spent to date in Australia since my departure in 1983. Although it has been more than hectic, it has been a fabulous trip. The launch of my latest book, My Greek Island Home http://www.penguin.com.au/lantern/life-style/books/my-greek-island-home has been a wonderful experience and introduced me to lots of new creative friends, Carla has been one of them. Old friends do not be worried, you are all so special and all very creative too and I enjoy our time together enormously. Spending time with my family when I’m in Sydney also means a lot to me. On my latest visit my Dad gave me an A5 envelope containing some of his father’s documents to read. These are some of Dad’s treasures and I felt very privileged to have them handed over to me. My Grandfather, John Joseph Lloyd started an apprenticeship in 1921 on Cockatoo Island. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockatoo_Island My Dad, Mum, Matthew and I took a ferry ride across Sydney harbour to Cockatoo Island as Dad was keen to show me where my Grandfathers working life began. This was something we had discussed doing on several occasions. It was such a beautiful summers day, the perfect day for such a trip. Cockatoo Island is a fascinating place and walking around the grounds and seeing all the old buildings reminded us of such a different life and time. It was a great thing to do with Dad as he told me the stories he remembered being told of his father’s time there, we guessed which of the buildings he may have worked in. My Grandfather John or Jack as he was called married my Grandmother Mary in 1926, they were both 20 years of age. My grandfather left Cockatoo to go to the war in November 1940. He served for 1,118 days, 744 of these were spent outside Australia. When he arrived back to his family his thick black hair had turned completely white and he was missing his left arm. He was refused his job back at Cockatoo Island and he took legal action. The case went to court and my Grandfather won, however he didn’t go back on principal. Sadly my Grandfather died just 8 months before I was born, he was 50. My Grandmother always told me how much he would have loved me and I believed her. Walking around the Island with my Dad made me wonder about the hopes and dreams of a young boy starting his life as an apprentice and wishing I had had him physically in my life. So Carla’s question, where do you come from reminded me of the trip I took with my Dad only a week, to the day before. Thank you Carla for that thought provoking question. Below some photos of our trip to Cockatoo.

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COCKATOO ISLAND/ CLAIRE LLOYD

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COCKATOO ISLAND/ CLAIRE LLOYD 2

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As my wonderful time in Australia draws to a close I am reminded of beautiful summer days spent with gorgeous friends. These days spent on Stradbroke Island  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stradbroke_Island on the eastern side of Moreton Bay, close to Brisbane have been amongst my favourite. Beautiful lazy beach days with Dave, Rob, Matthew, Eddie and Lil. Thank you all for the time we spent together, so, so special.