Hi, so another year has passed in which I've been enjoying my retirement, with quiet periods at home interspersed with bursts of activity. This year a major highlight was my 7 weeks travelling in Europe in Aug-Sept. The first stop, and initial reason for the trip, was the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki. It was a busy few days, with big crowds, and one highlight was listening to several choirs performing a cappella versions of SF TV & movie themes (photo). After the convention, I spent several days exploring Helsinki, and then a few days in the Finnish lake district at Lappeenranta near the Russian border. I then flew to Manchester to catchup with family in Yorkshire (photo of view seen whilst walking on the moors), and then with family in the Scottish Borders (photo of me on Arthurs Seat ... the original, with Edinburgh behind), and then with friends in Liverpool.
Next I flew to Vienna (photo of Art Gallery atrium roof), and then by train to Munich (photos in the Residenz, and outside Nymphenburg Palace) catching up with friends and doing some sightseeing in both.
From there another train to Halle in central Germany, and then to the village of Beesenstedt where I spent a week at the Balboa Castle Camp (photo), which was great fun with 20 workshops and evening dances, but very tiring. My final stop was Berlin to see friends there (photo) before flying home via Singapore (photo, also had a brief stopover there on way over). In all a very enjoyable trip.
Back home, here's a few rare (since I usually avoid being in front of a camera) photos of me (next page): at the Con80 SF convention in Melbourne in Mar, with April at the Jane Austen Festival in Canberra in Apr, and a couple of me swing dancing at Canberräng in Aug. And lastly my new wind spinner ornament that I bought at the NFF and which is now decorating in my courtyard at home.
As usual theres been lots on in Canberra, which is great. Another photo from the Jane Austen Festival showing the attendees in costume outside Albert Hall. Next one of the awesome Enlighten projections onto the NGA from its Versailles exhibition, that I also enjoyed seeing. And a photo of a Patricia Piccinini sculpture in the HyperReal exhibition I went to recently. The Skyfire fireworks display in Mar was impressive. And I enjoyed a number of visits to Floriade once I was back from O/S. Photos of the Horizon sculpture by Nerang Pool, and looking down from the Big Wheel at the "Formal Garden".
Yes I like sculptures (as those following along likely know :-) Below is a photo from this years "Lands of Imagination" display of sand sculptures in Frankston in Jan (and I also saw some nice sand sculptures in Lappeenranta in Finland whilst there). I enjoyed the "Towers of Tomorrow" in LEGO at the NMA in Jul, and had a lovely couple of days in Sydney exploring "Sculpture by the Sea" in Oct/Nov, here a photo of "High Tide", one of my favorites. And I used another photo from there in my annual card.
And a few more photos that I didn't get room to squeeze into the printed letter.
First some more from Helsinki in Finland: with one of the awesome costumes at Worldcon, me by a cannon on Suomenlinna island (part of the harbour fortifications), the impressive Sibelius Monument, and a view of Uspenski Cathedral from Market Square on the harbour.
And a couple more trip photos: a view of The Old Bridge 1634 at Berwick-upon-Tweed on the English-Scottish border, and Mairead & Ruth cosplaying at the Eggenburg Medieval Fair in Austria (on a day trip from Vienna). Then the awesome Phil Price kinetic sculpture in the McClelland Sculpture Park, Langwarrin (near Frankston, Vic), and another of the impressive "Sculpture by the Sea" works "Divergent".
Back in Canberra, a view from a walk around behind the new Cotter Dam when I collected a nice haul of blackberries. The Cooking Circles group at Canberra Baptist when I led a session in May (we cooked chicken marsala, roast vegetables and lamingtons). And Nick in the Skyspace sculpture at the NGA in Oct.