Posted in Life sparks

Two anniversaries today

Today is a special day for two reasons – it is our lovely Dad’s birthday (77! Imagine!) and it marks two years since my friend Steph and I took our first steps on the Camino de Santiago. Both anniversaries include wonderful people, and bring back many fantastic memories of fun times and lots of laughter. With a few challenges along the way (if you were a blog reader two years ago, I am recovering well from The Insect Attack of 2013, thank you).

I reckon it’s always important to celebrate and remember on a day like today, so here are some snaps for today that make me smile.

All dressed up - LIttle Jim and Little Pat. (That's my Dad on the right, circa early 1940s, I guess.)
All dressed up – LIttle Jim and Little Pat. (That’s my Dad on the right, circa early 1940s, I guess. He still has good hair.)
Dad / Dadoo / Dooey. Or you can call him Pat. Our lovely Lauren's portrait (on an etch-a-sketch) from a few years ago.
Dad / Dadoo / Dooey. Or you can call him Pat. Our lovely Lauren’s portrait (on an etch-a-sketch) from a few years ago.
Steph on the Camino. I am available to photograph weddings, parties, etc on my iPhone.
August 2013. Steph on the Camino. And yes, I am available to photograph weddings, parties, etc on my iPhone.
Fields of smiling sunflowers along The Way. Sometimes cute, sometimes very creepy.
Fields of smiling sunflowers along The Way. Sometimes cute, sometimes very creepy.
Cruz de Ferro on the Camino, at sunrise. This should be on more bucket lists, I reckon.
Cruz de Ferro on the Camino, at sunrise. This should be on more bucket lists, I reckon.

IMG_5634
And we made it! After 800km, our arrival in Santiago de Compostela, September 2013. [Unfortunately, this pic is missing Shane and some of our other Camino family.]
So many good times. So many good people. Happy Birthday, Pat, and Buen Camino, Steph and our Camino family!

Posted in WWWhat?

He’s baaaack – another StockPhoto Man sighting

Today’s post comes to you with huge thanks to my old school friend, C, who heard the call of the hunt for StockPhoto Man via Facebook and delivered this gem. She came across this website pic in the course of her work and promptly referred the sighting to StockPhoto Man HQ so that we could add it to our files.

It seems that StockPhoto Man is promoting the relationship counselling service of a psychology practice – not sure if that means that he and his fake lady friend are having problems and may not even go on their fake Camino pilgrimage, or if their fake partnership is much improved after their visit to the (presumably real) counsellor. Just another day in the intriguing fake life of StockPhoto Man…keep searching, friends…

StockPhotoManC

Posted in Food sparks

Friday Foto – evil biscuit

Happy Friday to you. I couldn’t resist posting this picture, taken by my friend Megsy up in Queensland. Megsy was making triple chocolate biscuits yesterday and she took a photo of them before they went into the oven. They look nice and I’m sure they turned out to be delicious. Well, except for one of them, third up from the bottom of this pic…is it just me, or does that look like AN EVIL GREMLIN? Yikes. Have a great weekend!

It only takes one...
It only takes one…
Posted in Travel sparks

I love Melbourne

This isn’t a Valentine’s Day post, but I want to declare my love for the city of Melbourne. It’s so easy to navigate and full of interesting people and it’s just so COOL. (Even when it’s just so HOT, like yesterday – which stayed in the high 30s through to the night time and made walking around town a bit of a challenge.) In Sydney, a lane way between buildings in the CBD is generally just a lane way, for rubbish or truck deliveries or drunk men to wee in. In Melbourne, a lane way between buildings in the CBD could be a funky bar, a series of restaurants, a gallery for street art, a shopping haven or a market. For the record, it can also be for rubbish or drunk men to wee in – I want to add that to be fair to my Sydney. But for the most part, this city just seems to get it right. Here are some pics from my wanderings.

A shopping centre display of giant beach balls called Amazeballs. Yes, really.
A shopping centre display of giant beach balls called Amazeballs. Yes, really.
Like the ancient ruins in Rome, you'll just be walking along and oh, HELLO AMAZING STREET ART.
Like the ancient ruins in Rome, you’ll just be walking along and oh, HELLO AMAZING STREET ART.
Down the lane way - a gallery of street art.
Down the lane way – a gallery of street art. And a whole lot of dodgy graffiti too.
A funky bar tucked into a tiny lane way.
A funky bar tucked into a tiny lane way.
Lane way restaurants and cafes.
Lane way restaurants and cafes.
The Blender Lane Artists' Market, where I met an amazing lady selling incredible photos mounted on reclaimed wood to raise money for orphanages and schools they're building in Africa. This lady volunteers a lot of her time in addition to her day job as a domestic violence social worker. Just amazing.
The Blender Lane Artists’ Market, where I met an amazing lady selling incredible photos mounted on reclaimed wood to raise money for orphanages and schools they’re building in Africa. This lady volunteers a lot of her time in addition to her day job as a domestic violence social worker. Just awesome. Other than that, I was the only non-tattooed dork in that crowded Lane, I tell you. 
And sometimes, a lane way is just a normal trashy lane way. Even in Melbourne.
And sometimes, a lane way is just a normal trashy lane way. Even in Melbourne.
This franchised fast food operation has to have one of the best names on the planet.
This Melbourne institution, a franchised fast food operation (errr derrr) has to have one of the best names on the planet. 
The beginning of the Queen Victoria Markets night time session with market stalls, heaps of bands, lots of food and drinks, and a bzillion people enjoying the summer sun.
The beginning of the Queen Victoria Markets night time session with market stalls, heaps of bands, lots of food and drinks, and a bzillion people enjoying the summer sun. Such a great atmosphere, though the market stalls weren’t that interesting.
And on a really hot night after a really hot day, nothing beats an old school handmade lemonade slushie. In a bio cup, because that's so Melbourne. Love it.
And on a really hot night after a really hot day, nothing beats an old school handmade fresh lemonade slushie. In a bio cup, because that’s so Melbourne. Love it.
Posted in Sparks in the wild, Sydney sparks

Happy 2013!

Happy New Year to you, my blog buddy. I hope that you and yours have a fantastic year ahead, full of lots of everyday sparks! Now, back to me. I would like to state for the record that I have gone for a run every day this year. And done my physio-prescribed stretches every day this year. And blogged every day this year. And drunk lots of water every day this year. It’s a great feeling – now, to keep it up for the rest of 2013…

It was a swell party, Sydney.
It was a swell party, Sydney.

I am very lucky to live near a public park with a pretty good view of the fireworks, so it was very crowded yesterday on what was a beautifully sunny New Year’s Eve day in Sydney and a night that was perfect for fireworks. It’s always a great people-watching opportunity as the human traffic gathers on the grass – old people, young people; skinny people, fat people; people dressed in very little, people dressed strangely for arctic conditions; party poppers, party poopers; sober people, drunk people; super-organised-tent-and-catered-food people, super-chillaxed-chips-and-beach-towel people.

Portaloos and bins, the foundation of any good public party.
Portaloos and bins, the foundation of any good public party.

A guy was selling glow sticks, it was meant to be an alcohol-free zone and there were lots of families around – an excited buzz grew in the leadup to the 9pm family fireworks and then most of the people seemed to stick around for the midnight show. With the exception of a pretty scary incident with a group of swearing, drunk teenagers outside at 3.30am, which had me and the poor guy next door calling the police as a lunatic jumped the fence and started smashing things, it was a really nice night and a great way to see in the new year. Except for the lunatic bit, I guess. But I did get to watch that from the safety of my kitchen in my pyjamas, so it wasn’t too bad.

Yes, a whole bus for police. The kids round 'ere had glow sticks and were prepared to use them.
Yes, a whole bus for police. The kids round ‘ere had glow sticks and were prepared to use them.

When I went for my run this morning, it felt like the city had a hangover. There were hardly any people out and about at 7am, but those that were on the running track were full of smiles – probably feeling smug that they too have run every day this year and have kept all of their 2013 resolutions. The park area was a different story – it looked like a cyclone had torn through a rubbish dump. Along with the usual types of rubbish, there were full champagne glasses, shoes, clothes, metal chairs, tents and of course party hats, poppers and horns that had seen a better day back in 2012.

NYEtrash
People sleeping amongst the rubbish. Ah, this is the life.
And a good time was had by all.
And a good time was had by all.

So, here are some pics from my morning to mark the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 – thanks to those who will come this morning and make this area beautiful again, thanks to those who visited and enjoyed NYE in Sydney, thanks to the brilliant Foti Fireworks people who keep coming up with innovations that can make gunpowder magic. Happy new year – may 2013 bring lots of fun, laughter and good times with your families and friends.

The sparks are there, if we look for them...
NewYear’sDay Sparks.