Well the time has come to explain myself, has it not. The shameful neglect of this ‘ere blog and of you too, dear reader.

In many respects not much changed whilst I was away:



A spot of garden visiting..



..in pursuit of the odd beautiful bloom.



There was rain (of course there was)..



but not enough to spoil a walk in the woods..



an occasional stroll on the beach..



or even a quiet afternoon drive..






Yes, there was certainly adventure..



and some burning of the midnight oil



Quite enough to wear a person out



Streuth mate, there were even critters helping themselves to the garden



Eat local, got to be done.



And there’s always room for a glass of something. Or should that be two?


As clues go it wasn’t much of a challenge was it.

So will you join me over the next few posts as we explore.. Australia? There might just be a tale to tell…


pin it?


2017-10-26T10:32:07+00:00January 20th, 2017|Tags: |


  1. Alison Piasecka January 20, 2017 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Australia is my next big ambition! So, hoping you will give me some steers….

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      It’s a beautiful country. But definitely big! Even with six and a half weeks we barely scratched the surface.

  2. annincumbria January 20, 2017 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Glad your back, it looks like an amazing trip looking forward to the next instalment

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      I really, really didn’t want to come home. It’s a fabulous place to go.

  3. Pauline January 20, 2017 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Can’t wait, looking forward to hearing all about it!

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      Just the first skim through the photos took me a day.. there’s some serious editing to do first!

  4. Torrington Tina January 20, 2017 at 11:39 am - Reply

    Welcome back and I’m looking forward to hearing about your adventures!

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks TT. Holiday of a lifetime.

  5. Backlane Notebook January 20, 2017 at 11:44 am - Reply

    What a gorgeous adventure – and I look forward to more stunning images.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      I bought a new camera for this trip. A bridge camera to give me a bit of zoom zoom. Really pleased with some of the shots.

  6. Caro January 20, 2017 at 11:49 am - Reply

    Wow, I wondered where you’d gone – thought it might have been a pesky internet connection but, no, far more exciting. Tales from afar? Just what we need to cheer us through a wintry January! Welcome back, Jessica!

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      Thanks Caro. It seems to me unbelievable that we could get superfast internet in the middle of the outback.. and yet now that I’m home it feels like we’re back in the dark ages!

  7. Charles January 20, 2017 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Yay! You’re back!

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks Charles. I wish it was a bit warmer though. 37 deg C to 37 deg F, in one day, hurts a bit!

  8. New Moons For Old January 20, 2017 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    This is you, Jessica – of course there’ll be a tale to tell! Can’t wait.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      I do sometimes wonder why it always happens to us..

  9. Sue January 20, 2017 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful selection of photos ….. I trust there are a few more to show us 🙂

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      We took thousands, I need to whittle them down a bit! Thanks Sue.

  10. woolythymes January 20, 2017 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    definitely on my ‘bucket list’!!! can’t wait to travel with you!!!!

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      It’s still top of my bucket list. I’m busy working out how we can get back..

  11. snowbird January 20, 2017 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Looking forward to hearing about it….and seeing some fabulous photos. xxx

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks. I think I (we) took far too many photos. Thank goodness for digital.

  12. Susan Garrett January 20, 2017 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    And here was I thinking you had fallen foul of the blogging blues.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      It’s a bit of a struggle to post in winter. It’s also the only time I can really get away, so works well.

  13. CJ January 20, 2017 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Oh my, how FANTASTIC! That picture of the koala is divine. I am looking forward to hearing everything. Lovely to see Uluru, my partner climbed it many years ago when he was living in Alice Springs. CJ xx

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      We spent a couple of nights in Alice Springs. It wasn’t the most luxurious stop of the trip but it was probably one of the most interesting. We did the base walk around Uluru (12km!) and saw the climbing point. Not for the faint hearted!

  14. FlowerAlley January 20, 2017 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    First, I have missed you. You are part of my e-tribe, which is all ready small. Your not posting along with the disappearance of my Peacock Prairie friend have made my tribe tiny. Secondly, I am so happy to get to enjoy Australia. I have always wanted to go there and now I can enjoy it through your eyes vicariously. Don’t leave out any unusual plants. I will pretend I am Marianne North on a plant-finding adventure. Have fun. Do not injure that foot while on a walk-about with a wine glass.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      I do have some plant pics but mostly NoID. The botanic gardens are not quite so fastidious as the English RHS when it comes to labels! And of course they’re mostly alien to me. I only wish I could grow some of them. I shall have to resort to google. It’s funny how much I missed the blog, it’s in my blood now.

  15. Rosie January 20, 2017 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    Looks wonderful! Looking forward to reading more about your trip down under:)

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      Thanks Rosie. Exhausting but truly wonderful.

  16. ontheedgegardening January 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Looking forward to hearing more, and of course welcome home! x

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      You could have arranged for warmer weather Gill, it’s bloomin’ freezing down here! p.s. that witch hazel is looking marvellous. It was one of the first things I looked for when we got home x

  17. derrickjknight January 20, 2017 at 3:01 pm - Reply


    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      G’day mate.

  18. pollymacleod January 20, 2017 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I am looking forward to that, I adore Australia, can’t get enough of it!

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Me too. The government bond is a killer. If not for that I’d be moving for good.

  19. Christina January 20, 2017 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Jessica, so nice to see you posting again! I have never been to Australia and I am looking forward to seeing your photos of your trip. The ones that you have given us today are already spectacular. Love the bird with the blue neck. Any idea what it is called?
    Warm regards,

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      The bird is a cassowary, a bit like an emu. It lives in the rainforest in the far north of Queensland and is sadly endangered as its habitat is disappearing. A beautiful bird, but just as testy as it looks.. there was a fence between us when I took the photo, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have been hanging around!

  20. Brian Skeys January 20, 2017 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    Glad to have you back, are you feeling the cold?

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      It’s bloomin’ freezing! -4 at Heathrow when we arrived back at 4.30 in the morning..

  21. Denise January 20, 2017 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Welcome back, old bean. Looks like you had a jolly ticketty boo time! Marvellous.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks mate. I have a photo of Bondi for Mrs Miggins. Complete with talent.

  22. Tahoe girl January 20, 2017 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Welcome back, I’ve missed your posts. Sounds like you’ve been on quite an adventure.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      It was certainly that. Catch up with you soon, hope you’re well x

  23. kate@barnhouse January 20, 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Great to see you back, Jessica, and glad to see you’ve been having lots of fun down under in the sunshine.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      Hi Kate! Yes, it was a welcome break from the English winter. But even in Australia the weather has been strange this year. They’ve had so much rain in the Northern Territory the Red Centre has gone green!

  24. ginaferrari January 20, 2017 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    I did wonder where you had disappeared to. It sounds like you’ve had a wonderful adventure and I can’t wait to hear about it. Welcome home!

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gina. It’s so cold I’m comfort eating. Please send cake!

  25. Amy at love made my home January 20, 2017 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    Well you have been having quite the set of adventures! Can’t wait to hear all about your time down under rusty possum style! Hope it was wonderful!!!

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      Possums are much bigger than I thought they were. And wombats for that matter..

  26. smallsunnygarden January 20, 2017 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    And here I’ve been worried about you collapsing beneath the weight of wall plastering, roof repair, and who knows what with the heating systems… 😉 What a fabulous trip! Am looking forward to seeing more… Love that shot of the kangaroo, who seems a bit dubious about her portrait being taken.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      The work has carried on without us.. definitely the best way! And I’ve come back with loads of ideas from uber chic Australian residences. I think the kangaroo was more dubious about being caught red pawed with plants in its mouth. They turned up around our holiday let every dawn and dusk. Great to see. Especially as it wasn’t my blooms they were eating.

  27. justjilluk January 20, 2017 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    So glad you are back. Good you had a fabulous time.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      I wish I wasn’t back to be honest. But we did have a wonderful time. Thanks Jill.

  28. Anne-Marie January 20, 2017 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    Hello Jessica!
    Nnnooo! I’m in Melbourne- I like to hear all about the UK!
    Just joshing! It will be interesting to hear what you think about us! You have probably seen more of Australia, than me… for one thing, I’ve never been to Alice Springs. I hear there were water falls coming off Uluru after the recent rains…That would be a spectacular sight!

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      Anne-Marie.. hello and welcome!
      There were mini waterfalls when we were there but two weeks earlier the national park had been closed after flooding. The walk around the base of the rock only re-opened three days before we did it. I couldn’t believe how green it was. I kind of expected the red centre to be a desert. They were saying it’s a 1 in 50 or even 1 in 100 year event.
      I am so jealous, I would love to live in Australia. It’s a fabulous country and everyone is so friendly!

  29. hb January 20, 2017 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    I look forward to experiencing Australia through your eyes and lens! I often dream of spending six weeks in Aussie land (Vegemite excepted).

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      Vegemite is quite nice. But Marmite is better. Thanks Hoov.

  30. Diana Studer January 20, 2017 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    that beady stare from the electrifying cassowary, is quite startling when I expect peaceful rusty ducks …

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      You wouldn’t want to meet one on a dark night. I was desperate to see one in the wild but sadly it was not to be. They are so rare now. We only saw them in wildlife parks in pens that were far too small. Heartbreaking.

  31. Anna January 20, 2017 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Good to see you back Jessica. I was beginning to think of launching a search party. It sounds and looks as if you have had a most memorable holiday. I’m looking forward to hearing more about it.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 10:13 pm - Reply

      Aaah, you’ll always find me back before the snowdrops come out. Even if it is a tad chilly. It’s taking a bit of getting used to!

  32. Kris Peterson January 20, 2017 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    I look forward to seeing Australia through your eyes, Jessica! After all, some of my favorite plants come from there. Maybe I’ll find some new genera or species that wants to relocate to Southern California in your posts.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      You’ve a better chance than me Kris. We came home to sub zero temperatures, the contrast couldn’t have been greater.

  33. Ian Lumsden January 20, 2017 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    I have never visited Australia and it is our aim to do so in 2018. Your wonderful photographic tour inspires me. Of all the photographs, the cassowary is the most striking in my ever so ‘umble opinion. Is this not the most dangerous bird to see eye to lens? Very beautiful however.

    • Jessica January 20, 2017 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      Hi Ian and welcome!
      True, it’s not known as the friendliest bird on the planet. But I do have a sneaky affection for them and would have loved to see one in the wild. These days feeding them is discouraged so they are rarely seen. We went to all the most promising spots but to no avail.

  34. Virginia January 21, 2017 at 5:49 am - Reply

    Yay! You’re back! I was fearing you had fallen down the precipitous bank, or got plastered into a secret fireplace!! Bet the wildlife is glad to see you too… or at least glad to have you supplying the bird-table again!

    • Jessica January 21, 2017 at 8:40 am - Reply

      We deliberately didn’t start feeding the birds as we would normally do last autumn. Better that than leave them high and dry in the middle of winter when they were most at need. So we must start them off again. The robin is still around but otherwise it’s very quiet. He perched on my study windowsill briefly yesterday as if to say “Come on, get on with it.” On the plus side, no squirrels either!
      I loved my taste of Antipodean life. New Zealand is in our future for sure if we get the chance.

  35. wherefivevalleysmeet January 21, 2017 at 8:47 am - Reply

    It is so lovely to see you back Jessica – I had the feeling that you must have gone ‘walkabout’. I love forward to seeing your photos – I have never been to that part of the world – I am always hesitant due to the length of the flight.

    • Jessica January 21, 2017 at 8:56 am - Reply

      Thanks Rosemary. The flight is the hard bit, it feels never ending. I spent a lot of time watching the map on the in flight entertainment screen to see where we were and it seemed progress was interminably slow. Hardly any jet lag on arrival but it’s caught up with us big time now.

  36. Chloris January 21, 2017 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Lucky you, what an adventure. I wondered what you were up to. Nice to have you back and look forward to reading all about your trip.

    • Jessica January 21, 2017 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      It’s taking a bit of adjustment, being back. It would be nice if someone could tweak the temperature dial up a bit.

  37. Marian St.Clair January 21, 2017 at 11:40 am - Reply

    So looking forward to it! What a wonderful time to escape. And six weeks…wow!

    • Jessica January 21, 2017 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      Six weeks seemed such a long time at the start, but it’s rocketed past!

  38. Brenda January 21, 2017 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    I’m happy to see that your blog-away time wasn’t spent in jail or a kidnapping. Australia!! Your photos are amazing and have fully whetted my appetite for more posts. I hope that is a plane cockpit photo and that you went skydiving. Maybe? Welcome back to blog land.

    • Jessica January 21, 2017 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      It is a plane cockpit picture but no skydiving! Something far more sedate. We did do a lot of walking though, or hill climbing might be a better description. Hopefully we’ve returned a bit fitter than when we left. Thanks Brenda.

  39. Steve January 21, 2017 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Looks like you had some some fun. Back to the damp and cold now!

    • Jessica January 21, 2017 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      Yes, I’d noticed the damp and cold! First inspection suggests that it’s been quite wet in our absence. No doubt I will find out how wet when I put a boot on the soil.

  40. bittster January 21, 2017 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Outstanding and amazing! I’m excited for you and looking forward to the posts.

    • Jessica January 21, 2017 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      Getting away from winter was the biggest pull for me, I know you’ll understand that sentiment! It wasn’t always as warm as I’d have liked but a considerable improvement on here.

  41. Dorothy Borders January 21, 2017 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Wow! I can’t wait to read more.

    • Jessica January 21, 2017 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      Of course, I could always have come to Texas to keep warm! Thanks Dorothy.

  42. Linda aka Crafty Gardener January 21, 2017 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    What an adventure, can’t wait to read about it.

    • Jessica January 21, 2017 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      Definitely an adventure. And one now greatly missed. I shall just have to relive it through the posts. Thanks Linda.

  43. Cathy January 22, 2017 at 8:55 am - Reply

    I think we are all relieved that this is the reason for your long absence – must have been a wrench to leave the homestead for such a long time, but such fun rediscovering it now you are back!

    • Jessica January 22, 2017 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      The wrench was in leaving Australia, especially to come back to this cold and miserable weather. Hard to believe just a few days ago it was 37C. But I’m sure I will settle back soon enough. The witch hazels are helping!

  44. Jackie January 22, 2017 at 9:17 am - Reply

    Welcome home. I’m so pleased. Looking forward to the Aussie adventures. J

    • Jessica January 22, 2017 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jackie. It’s a good time to be away, when there’s not much gardening to be done.

  45. annie_h January 22, 2017 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Fantastic Jessica, oh so looking forward to hearing about all your travels. Looks like an anazing trip from your photos already. Bet it was nice to get home as well though.

    • Jessica January 22, 2017 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      It was nice to be able to put the suitcase away for a bit and tip most of the contents straight into the washing basket to be sorted out! The trouble with touring is all the packing and unpacking and I was getting bored with that.

  46. linda January 22, 2017 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Hi Jessica!
    WOW!!! Enjoy…
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica January 22, 2017 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      I did enjoy! Just wish I could do it all again.

  47. Sue C. January 22, 2017 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Welcome back – good to see you again. Looks like you had a fantastic trip and I look forward to seeing more photos. I can thoroughly recommend N.Z as well – one of the places I would love to visit again.

    • Jessica January 22, 2017 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sue. NZ is definitely on the list for next time, stunning scenery down south. And no crocs or snakes!

  48. Mark and Gaz January 23, 2017 at 6:26 am - Reply

    Big yes! Have actually read your post the moment the link appeared on FB, sorry for the delayed reply 🙂

    • Jessica January 24, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      No worries! Looking forward to hearing more about Japan too..

  49. Jo January 23, 2017 at 10:30 am - Reply

    I wondered where you’d disappeared to, now I know. Can’t wait to hear all about it. I absolutely love that photo of the koala, awwww.

    • Jessica January 24, 2017 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      The card from my camera is full of koalas, I couldn’t stop taking photos of them. They are just as cute as I’d expected them to be.

  50. Jenny January 23, 2017 at 11:09 am - Reply

    I’m very much looking forward to hearing about your Ozzie travels. I’m also happy to say that we’re moving to Devon at the moment, and would love to hear which gardens you’d most recommend visiting 🙂
    Welcome back!

    • Jessica January 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      Whoo hoo! Where in Devon? I’d be happy to recommend gardens and there are plenty. I’ll email you (remind me if I forget).

      • Jenny January 24, 2017 at 3:07 pm - Reply

        We’ll be in Exeter, (hopefully) embracing a bit of city life, though our plans seem to involve spending weekends on Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Coast Path… 🙂

        • Jessica January 25, 2017 at 2:16 pm - Reply

          That sounds wonderful. There are so many great places for walking down here, as well as beautiful gardens. We must compare notes!

  51. jannaschreier January 23, 2017 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    G’DAY Jessica! I’m with Mark and Gaz. Got super excited reading your post in the car as soon as you published it, but couldn’t quite cope with responding on my phone. Your photos are amazing, although did make me super envious and a little sad of what we have left behind. But I can’t wait to hear more. I’m so in love with that country. Just thrilled you seem to love it just as much as I do (you’ve looked into government bonds??!). Roll on the next post!

    • Jessica January 24, 2017 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      I’d move tomorrow if we could. I’d looked up the ‘retirement’ visa and the requirement to purchase a substantial number of government bonds! We met people out there who’d emigrated years ago (for about 20 quid) and none of them seemed to regret it.

  52. Caroline January 23, 2017 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    Oh wow, so looking forward to reading about your adventures!

    • Jessica January 24, 2017 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks Caroline, it’s been fun going through the photos. Just wish we were back at the start of it all again.

  53. Susan January 23, 2017 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    I’m waiting with bated breath to see if my home state of Tasmania featured in your Australian travels, it tended to fall off the bottom of the map until MONA came along. The Alice Springs landscape is stunning, the combination of coral red earth with jade eucalyptus and glaucus grasses, so beautiful

    • Jessica January 24, 2017 at 12:47 pm - Reply

      Hi Susan and welcome!
      There were so many places I wanted to go but even with six and a half weeks it’s impossible to get everywhere. Tasmania was on the early list, Melbourne and the Ocean Road, Perth and up to the Top End. In the end, to reduce travel time and flights, we decided to concentrate on the upper east half of the mainland and save the rest for a later trip. But having fallen in love with the country one thing is for sure.. there WILL be a later trip!

  54. CherryPie January 24, 2017 at 12:12 am - Reply

    It looks fabulous I am looking forward to hearing more about your adventure 🙂

    • Jessica January 24, 2017 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cherie. It was fabulous, a brilliant holiday destination.

  55. Julieanne January 27, 2017 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Looking forward to seeing how you found Oz. It must have been so hot when you were there. How did you cope?

    • Jessica January 27, 2017 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      I loved it! The country and the heat. I’d much rather be too hot than too cold. The weather has been iffy in Australia this year and in places it was actually quite cool. In the outback we just took a siesta approach. Most of the hotel run activities started very early.. 5.00 a.m. (!), then we relaxed through the hottest part of the day and hit the road again once it started to cool down.

  56. cherylwest2015 January 29, 2017 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    It is so good to read your posts again and I look forward to all the tales of your adventures. The photos are marvelous.

    • Jessica January 30, 2017 at 11:09 am - Reply

      Thanks Cheryl, good to have you back.

  57. bitaboutbritain January 30, 2017 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Looking good, Jessica. Made me smile – and excellent photos (as usual).

    • Jessica January 31, 2017 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks Mike.

  58. Peter/Outlaw January 30, 2017 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    I’m happy for you that you had a grand adventure and happy for us that we get to read about it here. I’ve never been to Australia but very much admire their native flora, much of which is well suited to our own climate. Looking forward to more posts!

    • Jessica January 31, 2017 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      It’s such a huge and diverse country and a great experience to be able to see such contrasting areas, from the south right up to the tropics. I saw many plants that I grow at home, although mostly those that I grow as houseplants!

  59. Josephine January 30, 2017 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    An amazingly diverse country !
    Love that you are sharing it with us….

    • Jessica January 31, 2017 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      It really is. But then when it takes four hours to fly from one coast to the other there are going to be plenty of different things to see. Thanks Jo.

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