Somewhere over the rainbow

The KLM flight landed just after 6am at Kingsford Smith Airport, twenty years ago, today. The morning was very much like the one today, around 17oC and a huge blue sky.

We had spent the previous month in a heightened state of anxiety; a mixture of panic and excitement. We had packed up our home, shipped it to Australia, furnished the apartment we were letting out, and farewelled our dear friends and family.

The final scenes in the UK are etched on our memories. Friends sat waiting with us until the last moment when we needed to go through passport control and security at Birmingham International Airport. The usual chatter felt somehow constrained by what was about to happen.

This prelude culminated in a long walk of goodbye, amongst tears flowing freely, while carrying more hand luggage than a pack horse would carry in its lifetime.

The relief of taking our seats on the plane to Amsterdam, where we were to pick up an international connection to the Far East, was overwhelming.

Time has dimmed the memory of the stopover in Singapore and the flight to Sydney.

Why is it significant to mark this milestone? It is an opportunity for us to reflect on our choice to make the journey over the rainbow, to become immigrants and aliens in a foreign land. The fact that we have lived over 54% of our adult lives, to date, in Australia is an indication of commitment, at least.

We plan to review our decision over dinner, this evening.

Excerpt from the song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, lyrics by Yip Harburg:

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There’s a land that I have heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
and wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops

Way above the chimney tops that’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly

Birds fly over the rainbow why then oh why can’t I?


Untitled bronze sculpture, group of figures by Bert Flugelman, 1964, UNSW Sydney, Australia. Taken while traversing the University campus. 

In a previous post I wrote about my dilemma of finding the best way to travel to work on public transport. I think I have the answer. 

The M10 from Leichhardt runs around every ten minutes in the morning. The journey time is between 45 minutes and one hour, depending on traffic. This trip pays a dividend in the form of exercise time. Ten minutes walking from home to bus stop on the flat followed by ten minutes through campus, mostly uphill. 

According to The Conversation I need to walk at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes for five days per week. The remaining 10 minutes can be achieved on the trip home by either alighting two stops early or catching buses whose routes don’t pass the end of our road. 

Any walking I do during the day is a bonus!

Blue Line

Blue Line, 1919

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887 – 1984) America. 

Oil on canvas. 

Part of an exhibition of modernist artists with Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. 

The Lacquer Room

The Lacquer Room, 1936

Grace Cossington Smith (1892 – 20 Dec 1984) Sydney, Australia. Oil on paperboard on plywood. 

Part of an exhibition of modernist artists with Margaret Preston and Georgia O’Keefe at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. 

Stained glass

KADER ATTIA, Untitled, 2014, 116 stained glass fragments, metal screw hooks, and fluorescent fixtures. 

Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia

The above is installed in a temporary wall. When entering the one-man show one approaches the back (or is it the front) of the piece. There is a rough, torn out hole in the wall, pieces of plasterboard lie scattered and heaped on the floor. The structure of the wall and the lighting behind the stained glass can be viewed through the hole. 

This installation reminded me of a disused church in Worcester, England that had lain empty for a while. Pieces of bottle green and purple coloured glass from the windows, lay on the earth surrounding the building. It was eventually converted into expensive apartments. 


Dreaming last night, I walked through a door into a white painted room. I noticed an ABBA Studios sign on the left hand wall. Turning to look at the sign I realised band members, Björn, Benny, Frida and Agnetha were sitting casually underneath on separate pieces of furniture. While retrieving a mobile phone from my right hip pocket, so that I could take a picture, the artists moved away. 
In my mind I could hear the haunting sound of a flute playing the track, Eagle. This song has been with me for almost 40 years, being one of my favourites on ABBA: The Album, released in the UK in 1978. Listening to Eagle always gives flight to the endless possibilities available to me, through my thoughts. The story of my connection with this album is described in Thank you for the music

Artwork information from Wikipedia 

Polar’s official cover featured an entirely white background, and is the basis for current CD versions. However, Epic Records’ original UK release of the LP featured a blue background on the front cover, fading to white at the bottom. It also featured a gatefold sleeve. The back cover was altered, incorporating a similar photo of ABBA to that used elsewhere in the world for the inner sleeve, and referencing tracks included in ABBA: The Movie. The inner gatefold was designed to look like an air mail envelope, similar to the style later used for Gracias Por La Música and even had a photo of ABBA incorporated into a stamp in the corner.



Steel sculpture of two paper aeroplanes by Australian sculptor, Jonathan Leahey.  The eight metres long planes are located at 249 Adelaide Terrace, Perth. 
The challenge of getting the planes airborne flashed through my mind while taking the photograph. I reflected on the upcoming 19th anniversary of our landing in Australia. While we have been back to the UK to visit family and friends a number of times over the years, Australia is our home. 

Aztec koalas

Walking east along Murray Street towards Perth City we came across this spectacular curved mural on a tower attached to what appears to be a multi-storey car park. This work by Mexican artist Favio Martinez Curiot was painted as part of Form‘s Public 2015 festival in April 2015.

Curiot’s street art often depicts mythical creatures blended with animal and human forms. This mural portrays Aztec looking koalas sitting in a gum tree. It is featured in the top ten murals from public street art festival by Widewalls

PUBLIC, FORM, Perth, Australia, 2015 Image by Ryan Musiello from Favio Martinez Curiot‘s website.

St. George

Detail of Ascalon, a contemporary representation of the legend of Saint George and the dragon. It is located in the yard of St. George’s Cathedral, Perth, Australia. The work is designed by Western Australian artists Marcus Canning and Christian de Vietri. 

Saint George is the patron saint of England. He is reputed to have slain a dragon in the Middle Ages. The story is likely to have emerged from the Middle East, being carried back to England by the Crusaders.