St Monans by the sea


St Monans is one of many small, picturesque villages on Scotland’s east coast. Popular with painters and lovers of seafood, it was the perfect location for our small group. 17th and 18th century coloured houses, a historic church, fishing boats, coastal views, and the ruins of Newark Castle provide plenty of fodder for this snap happy traveller. The East Pier Smokehouse came highly recommended for a lobster lunch and it did not disappoint. A glass of white wine to wash it all done and then it was time to explore the village and find a spot suitable for sketching. To be honest, I spent the majority of my time taking photos (procrastinating) and only managed to get one small sketch done before hopping back on the bus.



Little black dog goes to Yamba

Bundy the dog in the water
Bundy likes the shallow water

Early Autumn is a great time for spending a day at the beach, it is still quite hot with temperatures between 28-34 degrees celsius and we’ve had a couple of mini-heatwaves this March. Yamba is a beach town in Northern New South Wales on Australia’s east coast, a pretty spot and extremely popular during the holiday period. We had never been to Yamba, with time to spare and the weather in our favour we packed up the car and the smallest of our black dogs and headed south.

Hubby likes an early start so we were in Yamba in time for breakfast, a tasty meal of bacon and eggs on turkish bread overlooking the beach and headlands. The surf was what my husband calls messy, it didn’t stop the surfers from heading out into the water and there were plenty of people out walking their dogs and having an early morning swim. In search of a dog friendly beach we drove to the southern end of Yamba and came across Pippi Beach, a long stretch of sand and seemingly very popular with dog lovers. Dogs of all shapes and sizes were coming to and from the beach, Bundy would have loved to have said hello to all of them but not everyone loves an exuberant Staffy.

Once on the beach Bundy found stinky stuff to roll in, wet sand to dig up and he had a ball running in and out of the small waves. Bundy’s recall isn’t 100% especially when he sees children and other dogs, thankfully with hubby in the surf Bundy was more interested in keeping close by so he could watch for his Dad. There was one little dog, a honey coloured staffy cross, he looked as though he was still quite young and he was full of energy. That little dog ran up and down the beach chasing seagulls, his two legged siblings had a difficult time keeping up and every now and then his Dad would let out a big whistle to stop him from disappearing further down the beach. Bundy ran in circles with the honey coloured staffy, in and out of the water, stopping occasionally to check on us and possibly to have a bit of a rest.

All the activity wore Bundy out, the ride home was a good opportunity for him to have a snooze and snooze he did, I swear I even heard him snore.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

Our gorgeous country at sunset
Our gorgeous country at sunset
Spring flowers
The garden comes to life in Spring
Frog on a rainy night
Little green frog on a rainy night
Local wildlife
Local wildlife, the rainbow lorikeets visit our garden regularly
Maxi, black dog No.1
Maxi, our lovely aging princess
Bundy, black dog no. 2
Bundy, our obsessive, fun loving little boy
Our beautiful coast
Our beautiful coast, so close and accessible.
My husband and I in Venice
Me with my husband and best friend, enjoying Venice
Pompeii and Vesuvius
Exploring one of the world’s amazing, ancient sites: Pompeii
Parents touring a huge mine in Western Australia
My parents, they encouraged a love of travel from an early age.

As you can see I am thankful for many things, but there are many more where those came from. Aussies call Australia the ‘lucky country’, I don’t know that we are any luckier than residents of other countries however I am thankful for the opportunities we have, the abundance of space and access to good food, healthcare, education and at the moment, a low rate of unemployment.

Globally I am thankful for the amazing people that rescue animals from cruelty and those that work to help communities overcome natural disasters such as drought, floods and earthquakes. I am thankful for the wonderful places that are open to travellers/tourists like me and for the blogging community who share their experiences, their lives and their loves and provide support for fellow bloggers.

The list is endless, today I am thankful to be alive and able to share my photos and stories with you.









A dog day at the beach

Bundy the dog watching the seagullsHeading to the beach on a beautiful sunny day seemed like a good idea at the time, Bundy could burn off some energy and I could get some Vitamin D and maybe take a few photographs. Byron Bay is a popular spot on the northern coast of New South Wales, once a quiet coastal town it is now booming with resorts, restaurants, boutiques and tourists aplenty. I thought it would be easy enough to find a dog friendly beach away from the centre of town, but I was wrong, after driving around in circles trying to find a specific dog friendly beach all I had come across were nature reserves and ‘no dogs allowed’ signs. Traffic was actually pretty heavy and parking was at a premium, after one too many one-way streets I pulled up outside the Croquet Club, rang my husband and vented about what a shite place Byron Bay is and Bundy had to settle for sniffing the grass and trees near the club car park. Byron Bay isn’t actually a bad place to visit, I just didn’t expect it to be so difficult to find a quiet spot where we could spend quality beach time together.

Rather than give up on the beach idea completely I drove north to Kingscliff thinking that there were dog friendly beaches up that way because we had previously taken our dogs there. It took longer than planned thanks to me unknowingly taking a scenic route that actually had me heading south. Once at Kingscliff parking was a breeze and finally Bundy got to escape the confines of the car. The first beach entry looked promising, but alas a ‘no dogs allowed’ sign was erected and we had to keep walking along the esplanade until we got to a creek that looked good for swimming. Cudgen Creek is a coast waterway that flows alongside the town of Kingscliff, plenty of people swim in the creek and go fishing, Bundy couldn’t do much at all because he had to stay on his lead – this was not an ‘off-leash’ swimming spot. Anyway, at least the little fellow was able to splash around in the water, chase seagulls and do a bit of rock climbing so the day wasn’t a complete waste. Australia seems to have become even more dog-unfriendly in recent years and it really bugs me.

Bundy at the beach

Bundy the dog rock climbing