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Boarding the Cruise, Coronavirus, and Replacing the Knob - Queen Elizabeth Cruise 2020

Finally at the Pier in Melbourne we were able to begin the boarding the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship  right away. If you're new to TET Life, or this is your first post, I'm blogging about a cruise ship holiday my partner, Enigma, and I went on at the end of January for eight days.

You may like to continue reading from this point or you might like to read the two prior posts, Automobiles, Planes, Buses, Trams, and Boats and The Middle Park Hotel, Albert Park, Port Melbourne Beach to get the full story of how we got here.

Coronavirus (for context) In case you're wondering, COVID-19 was not yet a nationwide concern in Australia (personally I hadn't even heard the term Coronavirus until my Mother mentioned it on social media after we started our holiday). The Queen Elizabeth had stopped taking trips into Asia and instead was offering various routes touring Australia and New Zealand at very attractive rates (hence why we booked a cruise).

As far as I know, no one from our c…

A Weekender at Victor Harbor, Hindmarsh Island, Goolwa, and Granite Island, South Australia

This vacation was definitely a bonus trip as it was Enigma and I's third vacation in two months. We were gifted a one night stay at the McCracken Country Club in Victor Harbor, South Australia, which Enigma extended to a two night stay so we'd have a little time to see a few sights.

Victor Harbor is about a two hour drive south of where we live in Gawler. Before checking into our hotel we stopped for some lunch at Ara's Cafe who do an excellent steak sandwich and a very tasty pork roast roll (with plenty of gravy).

The McCracken Country Club The McCracken Country Club is home to an 18 hole championship links/lakes golf course, designed by renowned gold architect, Tony Cashmore. There's also a Golf Shop. If that all means something to you then booking a stay should be a no brainer. Enigma and I are not Golfers so we mostly enjoyed the view of the course and Hindmarsh Valley.

Other facilities include a restaurant, bistro, health club, indoor pool, basketball and tennis …

The Middle Park Hotel, Albert Park, Port Melbourne Beach - Queen Elizabeth Cruise 2020

Getting from Melbourne Airport to our hotel in Middle Park was such a process that I never really was able to pause and reflect, that this was actually my very first trip to Melbourne, until Enigma and I were in our hotel room.

We had arrived a day earlier to minimize any chance of missing boarding our cruise ship, the Queen Elizabeth, due to flight delays, cancellations, or the off chance neither of us had any aptitude for finding a boat you can see from space (probably) in a city very much bigger than Adelaide.

If you haven't read the previous (and first) post, Automobiles, Planes, Buses, Trams, and Boats, in our Queen Elizabeth Cruise, eight day holiday, you may like to start there before reading further.

The Middle Park Hotel The Middle Park hotel, in Middle Park (who would've thought?), not too far from the more widely known St. Kilda, and a little down from Albert Park and Port Melbourne Beach. As it happens it was located directly across the road from the tram stop so …

Book Review: Short Range - Stephen Leather

I haven't read a novel in quite a while so I was looking forward to Stephen Leather'sShort Range, which is his sixteenth Spider Shepherd thriller.

The book was given to me as a gift, and I can't say I was familiar with Stephen or this book series. Essentially it's my first introduction to the character of British MI5 Agent, Dan 'Spider' Shepherd.

Fortunately I do like a good thriller novel, and Stephen includes enough information about his lead character, as the story unfolds, that I didn't feel like I was missing any crucial information from past adventures.

The basic premise of Short Range is undercover agent Dan Shepherd is assigned to an operation to take down a terrorist group. His assignment crosses paths with another operation using a child informant to help them take down a drug dealer. Meanwhile Dan's personal life is about to be shaken up in a way he never sees coming.

As far as police thrillers go this one hits the ground running, quickly ge…

Automobiles, Planes, Buses, Trams, and Boats. Queen Elizabeth Cruise 2020

Toward the end of January 2020 my partner, Enigma, booked us on an eight day cruise holiday that was a round trip from Melbourne (Australia) to Adelaide, Hobart, Burnie, and then back to Melbourne. 
In the coming weeks I will be writing about that holiday, with this post being the first in the series, until I've covered everything about the trip I think you'll find interesting if you're contemplating such a holiday yourself (or are just interested to read what we got up to).
Ordinarily transportation wouldn't be a highlight of a holiday but, just getting to our cruise ship, the Queen Elizabeth, docked in Melbourne reminded me of the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987) staring comedy legends Steve Martin and John Candy.

Not so much the movie, as the movie title anyway. I feel like we should have taken a train home from Adelaide (to Gawler), like we did on one of our trips back from Perth, just so I could list the full set of vehicles we used getting to and from…

Movie Review: Birds of Prey (2020) *Spoiler Section*

One of the better aspects of 2016's Suicide Squad movie was Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. While the character does have a significant fan base, both Margot's interpretation and the various incarnations depicted in animation and the comics, I don't think mainstream audiences were particularly hungry for a Birds of Prey or Harley Quinn movie.

Despite that, Birds of Prey (2020) was always going to have an audience. Suicide Squad, while not a great critical success still did well enough to be getting a James Gunn directed sequel, and Margot's performance as Harley was widely praised... and then there are plenty of people like me.

I have no real interest in a Birds of Prey film but it features Harley Quinn, and it's a DCEU film so of course I'm going to go see it.

Plus it does play as a kind of sequel to Suicide Squad, that you could maybe interpret as a spin off film, since it directly references events from that movie.

I will say that as the trailers for Bird…

My Submission to The Sketchbook Project Housed by The Brooklyn Art Library

If you're looking for an opportunity to leave some small legacy of your art behind, or just looking for another place to get eyeballs on your work then The Sketchbook Project by The Brooklyn Art Library may be of interest to you.

The Brooklyn Art Library is a crowdfunded library of artist sketchbooks that anyone can join. Their focus is on creating a collection of physical art that viewers can interact with. The collection is made up of literally thousands of sketchbooks submitted by artists of all levels worldwide.

You can physically go to the library in Brooklyn to view the collection. A selection of books are toured around the USA each year, and artists also have the option to digitize their sketchbooks for people to view online.


It is a bit of a vanity project since the artists themselves have to purchase a sketchbook, fill it up, and send it back, with additional cost if you want to digitize your book too. After that it's a life of warm fuzzy feels as the library will se…

The Largs Pier Hotel, Breakfast at Queenies, and By the C with Paul Kelly and Cold Chisel

My partner, for her birthday, was gifted two tickets to see Cold Chisel on their Blood Moon Tour as it rolled through Adelaide at the beginning of 2020. As part of the gift she also was given two nights accommodation at the Largs Pier Hotel, Largs Bay, South Australia.

Amazingly she chose me to be her plus one on this mini break, and while I do like Cold Chisel, Paul Kelly was second on the bill, and kind of the bigger draw for me.

It probably seems a bit late to be writing about a weekender, mini holiday, my partner and I took to kick the new year off but the By the C beach concerts held around Australia seem to be an annual event presenting different national and international artists, so maybe something you might like to look into for your plans for next year.

The Largs Pier Hotel I can't give you a full review of this hotel since we literally were only there in the evenings but it is an iconic, historic hotel (and actually a common stomping ground for early days Cold Chisel).

How I Started Learning the Ukulele

I've wanted to learn to play an instrument for many years. Specifically the guitar but have never really done anything about it beyond buying one book (literally years ago), complete with DVD, teaching the electric guitar, that I've never opened.

In October of 2019 I happened upon the Populele 2 Ukulele through an email promotion from shopping site Gearbest (#notsponsored but links to the Populele 2 and Udemy are my affiliate links).

I can't say I've ever wanted to learn the Ukulele, because it seemed like a dinky little instrument, and not particularly thought of as 'cool'. However, the Populele 2 Ukulele has a fairly unique, eye catching design, in two colors (black or white) that doesn't immediately scream 'UKULELE'.

That aside what really caught my attention is the ability to link the ukulele to a dedicate phone app that teaches you to play using fun games and lights on the ukulele's fretboard showing where to place your fingers as you play…

Book Review: The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

I'd heard a lot of good things from various successful people about Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way, particularly about this daily activity called 'Morning Pages' that seemed to help focus their day.

I was curious to know more so I decided to buy the book and see what it was all about.

As it happens The Artist's Way is a self help, Twelve week program to assist you in discovering or rediscovering your creativity. As such it's not a book you want to read cover to cover just to get the information. To get the full benefit it's designed so you can read a chapter each week and do the activities, until you've completed the full twelve weeks.

Which is what I chose to do, with every intention of following the course as instructed, but as I started reading, I just didn't recognize the person this book is reaching out to.

Initial impression The book is intended to help you discover or rediscover your creativity. It does so by assuming the reader …

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