Waterloo! – Weekly Photo Challenge – Monument

Dear Friends,

When Abba sang that famous song about Napoleon and his defeat at Waterloo they didn’t realise that 40 years on their words would inspire a bear and a beaver to undertake a monumental task of courage and endurance. We decided to climb the Butte du Lion at Waterloo.

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The Butte du Lion, or Lion’s Mound, was built between 1824 and 1826 as a memorial to the soldiers who died on 18 June 1815 during the Battle of Waterloo. Soil taken from the battle field was used to create this artificial hill 43 metres high and 520 metres around. The mound is topped by a lion with its paw on a sphere, symbolising courage and global victory.

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Manny and I needed all the courage we could muster to climb the 226 steps to the top of the mound.

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This sign, hidden in the bushes, was not very reassuring!

But we were determined to make it to the top.

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I felt like I’d achieved my own personal victory by the time we reached the lion.

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As the song says:

“Finally facing my Waterloo!”

Justin.

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Wedding Party – Weekly Photo Challenge – Threshold

Dear Friends,

One afternoon while we were in Cologne Manny and I decided to take a cruise on the Rhine. We bought our tickets and settled in for a relaxing journey on the river.

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Just as the boat began to leave the jetty we heard shouting and laughter. This jovial group was calling to the captain to wait for them – and he did.

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As they came on board we realised that they weren’t just another crowd of tourists wanting to enjoy the sights of the city.

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Neither Manny nor I had been to a wedding before so this was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. We joined the party and gave the bride our best wishes. She seemed very happy to meet us.

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When the party was over the bride and groom walked up the gangplank together to a new life

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and Manny and I toasted their future with a hot chocolate.

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Later we were telling our friend Ursula about our wedding adventure. She told us there is a German tradition that if a bride meets a teddy bear on her wedding day it means there’ll be a baby on the way sooner rather than later.

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No wonder she was smiling!

Justin.

Streets of London – Weekly Photo Challenge – Street Life

Dear Friends,

One of the most exciting thing about London is the atmosphere on the streets. I met these three interesting fellows on a street near Covent Garden:

The first was very dapper, in a metallic kind of way.

The second really did look old and established. I think he’d been standing on that street for a very long time.

The third looked like he was ready for a good time. Now that’s my kind of friend.

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When does the street party start?

Justin.

The Happy Wanderer

Dear Friends,

I’d like to introduce you to my very talented friend Leanne Cole. She lives in Melbourne, enjoys wandering on the weekends and is the creator of Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY. We caught up when Mrs ET and I were in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and we were lucky enough to spend the afternoon discovering the city with her.

Before starting our explorations we needed some sustenance so we stopped for a while at Brunetti in Federation Square. (Note to Leanne: I think this should become a tradition!)

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It was here that Mrs ET decided to take a selfie of the three of us…just look at the result! Honestly, her photography skills leave a lot to be desired but at least she got me in the frame and in focus.

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We walked to Hoosier Lane, where the alley is filled with colour. A group of artists covers and recovers graffiti with this amazing street art so the walls change all the time.

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I’m not sure what this freaked out flower was looking at, but she was certainly worried about something!

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In Federation Square Cleopatra was on the big screen so we watched for a while and I got up close and personal with Elizabeth Taylor.

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Thanks Leanne for a wonderful afternoon. I think Mrs ET should have some photography lessons with you before our next excursion.

Happy snapping,

Justin.

To see more of Mrs ET’s terrible photos, click here!

Sweet Serenade

Dear Friends,

Being a yodeller of renown means I’m a fan of beautiful songs and I love hearing great music played well. Combine that with being in the presence of a musical superstar and I’m in heaven.

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I was an audience of one for this famous songster when he performed unplugged at Sand Wonderland in Blankenberge.

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The Rocket Man was at his best and we even sang a duet for one.

Play it again, Elton.

Justin.

It’s Not Easy Being Green!

Dear Friends,

You’ve probably seen lots of people going green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day today - drinking green beer, eating green bread and dressing up in green clothing.

Here’s my homage to St Patrick. Leprechauns of the world unite!

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 Top o’ the morning to you,

Justin.

Inside Looking Out – Weekly Photo Challenge – Inside

Dear Friends,

As Manny and I strolled down this narrow, deserted street in Bruges late one afternoon we wondered who lived in these lovely houses.

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Then a particular sign on the wall caught our attention.

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Our curiosity got the better of us and we just had to take a peek inside.

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Manny was beary excited!

Justin.

If I Knew You Were Coming I’d’ve Baked A Cake! – Weekly Photo Challenge – Perspective

Dear Friends,

Lord Byron once said, “Life’s enchanted cup sparkles at the brim.”

He must have been talking about these magnificent cup-cakes.

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I found these delectable beauties in a bakery in the Block Arcade in Melbourne.

Those of you who share my passion for cakes will understand my excitement.

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They were larger than life!

Justin.

All These Strangers

Dear Friends,

I am a long-time fan and follower of Russell’s The Top 10 of Anything and Everything. His posts always leave me either laughing or starving, depending on whether he’s featuring animals or desserts. This one from last week gave me inspiration for a story of my own about meeting unusual creatures.

The town of Damme in Flanders has a dog on both its coat of arms and its flag. According to a local legend the town was once terrorised by a dog sent by the devil. But when it was threatened by flooding after a storm the citizens used the dog as a dam and disaster was averted. In fact, the town’s original name was “Hondsdamme” which means dog’s dam.

I met the devilish dog on a doorstep in Damme and he wasn’t nearly as fierce as he looks. Maybe several hundred years of being used as a flood mitigation device has tamed his unpleasant personality!

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I came across this giant hedgehog strolling alongside Bankside in London one warm autumn day. He was out and about making the most of the lovely weather before finding a cosy pile of leaves in which to sleep away the winter months. Hedgehogs are usually extremely prickly characters but this one was quite cuddly and very friendly.

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By far the most unusual creature I’ve met so far was this one. He was prancing around the streets of Chinatown in Sydney.

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I don’t quite know how to describe him – he was big, blue and bouncy. And how could I resist someone with a love heart for a nose?

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Who he was I never found out but I have a sneaking suspicion he was hiding something.

Any suggestions?

Justin.

Left Behind – Weekly Photo Challenge – Abandoned

Dear Friends,

I was filled with wonder when I found this abandoned bird’s nest today. What type of birds created this intricate little home? How many babies hatched here and where are they now?

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I was secretly glad that there were no eggs still in the nest needing to be kept warm.

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Sitting here would be quite prickly.

Justin.

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