Ain’t That Peculiar?

Dear Friends,

Manny and I should have known something was up the day we went to the Natural History Museum in London. All the signs were there but we weren’t very observant. We were much too excited for our own good!

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There were some very strange creatures hanging around outside. They were all smiling, but not in a nice way.

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In Hintze Hall we met Dippy the Diplodocus. He was larger than life and very skinny. We wondered how long it had been since he had a good meal.

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This bony fellow seemed a bit the worse for wear too. I think he’d seen better days.

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Even the great man himself, Charles Darwin, was looking a little pasty. I introduced myself as a fellow world traveller with a passion for learning but our conversation was definitely a one-sided affair.

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Lucky I had Manny to keep me company.

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The Natural History Museum is not for the faint-hearted!

Justin.

My personal assistant, The Eternal Traveller, travelled to the centre of the earth at the Natural History Museum. Sometimes she is very brave!

Shiny Happy People

Dear Friends,

I’ve been learning on the job again, this time at the Happiest Place on Earth. That’s right; I’m now a fully trained employee of Tokyo Disneyland. Recently I joined my fellow cast members, as Disney employees are known, in some practical training in customer service and ride organisation.

I was fortunate to spend time with some lovely Disney mentors at several rides and now I’m able to work anywhere any time. The most important skills I practised included smiling, waving and saluting!

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Every ride has its own uniform and because I’ve been trained for them all, I will need one of each. I can’t decide which uniform I like best – It’s a Small World has a lovely number in pastel shades while Space Mountain personnel wear a flashy blue creation.

I’m sure I’ll look great whichever uniform I have to wear. Versatility is my second name!

Cast members have to be able to explain to guests what to expect when they go on a ride, so I needed some firsthand experience. I flew sky-high on the StarJets, went for a wild spin on the teacups at Alice’s Tea Party and dropped in on Roger Rabbit.

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Next time you’re at the Magic Kingdom at Tokyo Disneyland, come and say hello. It should be easy to find me.

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I’ll be the one teaching Mickey how to yodel!

Justin.

Heart to Heart

Dear Friends,

I have a passion for hearts – not the beating kind but the decorative hearts we see at this time of year. So does my friend Jude. Look at her wonderful photographic collection of hearts.

I’ve seen some beautiful hearts on my travels, like this tinselly one in Akaroa.

My favourite is this heart of steel. I found it on the boardwalk in Mandurah. Isn’t it gorgeous!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Justin.

Up We Go – Weekly Photo Challenge – Scale

Dear Friends,

You know I’m always up for a challenge, especially if it’s a little out of the ordinary. So when the opportunity arose to climb the Eiffel Tower, I couldn’t resist.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…millions of people climb the tower every year. This is true. But not so many have done it on the outside!

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As an alpine beaver, I have a great head for heights. So I wasn’t daunted at all by the thought of going right to the top.

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Lucky that policeman didn’t turn around!

 Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge

The Eternal Traveller has been playing with scale too!

Bluer Than Blue

Dear Friends,

I’d like to introduce you to an amazing new talent in the world of interior design. I predict that with his eye for colour and his sense of style he will soon be in demand.

His home is the perfect showcase for his flamboyant spirit. The décor is tossed together in an artless manner yet everything blends beautifully. Blue is his signature colour and he loves to collect the pieces others discard and use them as decorations. Recycle and reuse is his motto!

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Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Satin Bower Bird.

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Justin.

 

Food For Thought…

Dear Friends,

As you know, I love food – especially sweet food. In fact, it would be appropriate to say I am eating my way around the world, and I know from your comments that many of you have joined me in this quest. Yvonne, Elaine, Janet and Leanne also expressed some concerns that I will soon have to buy a larger sized pair of lederhosen! It’s nice to know they care, but fortunately I’m one of those people who can eat anything.

For others an increase in girth can be a real concern, so with your waistlines in mind I have come up with some tips for weight-watching while wandering.

1. Check the ingredients

These cupcakes look amazing and it would be difficult to stop at one. However the ingredients aren’t quite so appetising: goat’s milk, olive oil, clay, lavender, ylang ylang and geranium. These gorgeous creations are actually handmade soap and they’ll nourish your outside but not your insides!

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 2. Avoid ugly food

Do you fancy an eyeball or two for dinner? No, neither do I.

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3. Don’t eat anything that is smiling at you

When I first saw this enormous ice cream I thought of my travel buddy Manny. But this beaming smile was a turn-off, in the nicest way of course.

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4. Avoid difficult choices

Choose a single treat. How can you do this when there is such a variety of deliciousness on offer?

Be strong, and have just one – one every day, that is!

Justin.

Fake It!

Dear Friends,

I was very touched by your concern for my well-being and my waistline after my excessive consumption of donuts, so I’m going to share with you a diet secret that few know about.

See this oversized burger? It contains not a single calorie.

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These colossal ice cream cones are kilojoule free.

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And this pavlova, perfect and plus-sized, is guaranteed not to add a single centimetre to your waistline.

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What’s my diet secret? Believe it or not, this fabulous food is all fake!

Creating fake food for restaurant window displays known as sampuru is an art form in Japan. These amazingly realistic models, once shaped in wax but now made from plastic, are meticulously made by hand, often to the particular requirements of a restaurant. On Kappabashi-dori, or Kitchen Street, in Tokyo there are fake food shops where you can feast your eyes all day long on sumptuous trays of sushi or delicious looking crepes without putting on any weight.

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Now where did I put that donut?

Justin.

Perfect Circle – Weekly Photo Challenge – New

Dear Friends,

I have a confession to make. I’ve fallen in love!

Not with someone new…I’ve fallen head over heels for something new.

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Sweet, circular and sugary – perfection in every morsel.

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There are so many varieties. Every day I’ve been trying a new one.

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My collection of keepsakes will preserve the memory of my new passion long after each one is gone.

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Mister Donut – where have you been all my life?

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Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – New

Will The Real Christmas Tree Please Stand Up!

Dear Friends,

Once upon a time I would have said, “Seen one Christmas tree, seen ‘em all.” But that was before I noticed a strange phenomenon in the shops this year – a whole new variety of trees. I’ve been doing some research  on decorated trees and found out that these ones belong to the same species as the usual Christmas tree, with some clever adaptations designed to suit the needs of particular festive shoppers.

This is Magazinea glossius, more commonly known as the magazine tree, favoured by those who love to read.

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Meet Spectaclea visionia, the glasses tree. It’s a useful tree to have around if you’re a little short sighted.

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Next we have Paperus wrappii, the gift wrap tree. Add a card and a shiny bow and your presents are ready to go.

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If it’s storage you’re after, you can’t go past Boxea containerus. Each tree blooms with a variety of bowls, boxes and bags and if given a little TLC they even grow piggy banks.

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This more unusual specimen is Travelea bagus, the backpack tree – very handy if you’re planning a trip over the holidays.

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My personal favourite is Platerea dishii. This tree is covered in delicate circular blossoms in every possible colour. It’s Mother Nature at her very best!

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But I still think the nicest Christmas tree is the traditional one, with lights twinkling, ornaments sparkling and a bright shining star on top. This one was a beauty.

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Best wishes to you all,

Justin.

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Mellow Yellow – Weekly Photo Challenge – Yellow

Dear Friends,

Yellow is one of the most beautiful colours in the world. In nature, it is the most easily seen of all the colours and is found in every form – animal, vegetable and mineral.

Yellow is the colour of delicate blooms,

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wild dogs,

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and even stripy, layered cliffs of sand.

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At sunset the sky glows golden-yellow.

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All of these natural wonders are gloriously yellow it’s true, but none can trump this – an amazing yellow fruit.

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It’s enormous and it’s yellow! It’s the Big Banana.

Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Yellow

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