Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blog 26 - 22nd August

We have returned to Seoul from winter in Australia (15 degrees most days) to steamy Seoul where the temperature and humidity are uncharacteristically high. Currently it is 32 degrees today and 84% humidity. So as begin my regular Sunday night appointment with my blog, there is little to record as it's been too hot to be out and about.

On our return trip, we stayed overnight with our friends, Skilly and Thea in Singapore. Skilly (Anthony Skillicorn) is the Head of Global Concerns at United World College of South East Asia where our boys went to school. His first book 'Service is a Journey' is an inspirational summary of the school's service program and will be available on Amazon soon. Alternatively it will be available via the college website,
We were privileged to receive one of the first copies and have it autographed by the author himself!

Having my hair cut in Seoul is such a treat. Naomi is Korean however speaks excellent English and trained and lived on the Gold Coast for seven years. When colour is applied ,to my hair little shower caps are attached to my ears to protect them. I've never seen these before. A marketing opportunity?

The second best thing is the massage chair. I think it's imported from Italy. As I'm having my hair washed an electronic massage device inside the back of the chair is moving up and down my spine. Sheer bliss!

Voila! Here is the finished me with Naomi. If you are visiting or living in Seoul, a visit to Eunha is a wonderful indulgence. Here is the link

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blog 25 - 18th August

A special edition of 'Woman with Seoul' with our Canberra correspondent Jacob - pictured above with his stylish 'inner-city latte-sipping socialist' beard - home in Adelaide to catch up with his trans-national family and offer an electionally contextual take on the travels of this blog's protagonist. Next to him is comrade Damien, ex Secretary of the Collingwood ALP, motto: dead members can vote.

[For our non-Australian readership, there is a federal election campaign occurring in Australia as we speak]

This week's travels take us to a regional Victorian electorate containing the beautiful coastal town, and home of the strong Mugavin voting block, Warrnambool.

Warrnambool involved the tried and tested election winning strategies of a broad divided campaigning approach, paired with several enjoyable meals and numerous cake and tea campaign meetings.

The notoriously fickle voters of the Port Fairy 'Belfast House' Aged Care Home received our extensive lobbying, particularly the matriarchal factional leader Muriel Mugavin.

The beachfront esplanade and the local skate park also received sustained political pressure.

Lunch with policy adviser Dot - with her anti-immigration makeshift machine gun - made from windmill parts - and community cabinet meeting with the extend Mugavin focus group also contributed to a successful Warrnambool campaign.

Here is Liam who is visiting from Japan, with Dorothy, his godmother, and afore mentioned comrade, examining the historical artifacts of her family farm.

With rain and wintry weather - there were record floods the day after we left - this part of the world is certainly lush and green, reminiscent of Ireland. The view of cows is from our bedroom window.

Thanks to Sandra and Julian for a wonderful stay and for inviting the family for pizza.

Back in Adelaide we maintained our dangerously high cake intake level in the interests of canvassing the success of campaign slogans beginning with 'In Korea...'. Various hard-working Australian families and politically unaligned friends were used as focus groups for this exercise.

Susan & Damien took some time from election campaigning to accompany our friend Eileen who invited us on a guided tour of South Australian galleries and an artist's studio. For a unique glimpse of an alternative view of Adelaide see her website

With the electorates of Adelaide and Warrnambool successfully canvassed, there was nothing left but for a birthday debrief this morning with faceless trade union bosses, climate skeptic agitators and non-ideological political pragmatists all standing up and moving forward together.

This was followed by a surprise caucus meeting during comrade Susan's birthday breakfast

And in the evening, a caucus spill at Koolaman St., just to finish of the celebrations in true style. My sisters Anne and Maree

Check out the artichokes and spinach! And the new almond trees in flower. Our (really Liam's) dog Spook will have to mind the garden until our return to Adelaide. Thanks to Dominic for taking such good care of him.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blog 24 - 2nd August

Visiting Adelaide, our home and friends and family has been so wonderful. Speaking the same language and understanding the unspoken assumptions and 'rules of engagement' is so easy and comfortable. Driving, TV, waking to birdsong and abundant nature are the hallmarks of our Australian experience. This posting differs from those in the past as it contains photos of many cherished friends and family. I'm not sure of blog protocol regarding identity so will request overarching permission to share these with readers to this site.

It looks as if we've been partying ever since we returned and we have certainly done our share of eating and drinking, however these photos have been gathered over the past 2 weeks. We are relishing being on holidays and being reminded of the relaxed pace of life here.

Above is a photo of my son, Dominic and my Dad, Peter, celebrating their respective birthdays - 22 and 83, at a family gathering.

My sister Paula hosted this family lunch on our return - birthdays, reunions... Here she is in the kitchen with my brother, Mark and his son, Harrison.

Mum and Dad were in fine form too. How wonderful to see them both after a 6 month absence.

Every March for many years, we make sugo di pomodori (tomato sauce) with friends. This ritual is accompanied by a mid year dinner. This year during the dinner the electricity went out for 2 hours however this did not deter us from enjoying a wonderful evening. Thank you to Chris for your calmness in the face of hot dishes cooking and no power, for numerous candles and for sharing your home. Thanks also to Dennis and Debbie, Libby and Chris, Della and Louise, Liz and Anne, Therese and Chris, Eileen, Neil for the fantastic food and good cheer.

How lucky am I to have a long leisurely lunch once again with my dear friends Madeleine and Katherine. The cafe/restaurant Vileroy is highly recommended.

Another tradition for Damien and me is fish and chips on Friday night with our friends Geoff and Marie. This time it was a surprise to be presented with a wonderful 'coq au vin' instead (thanks Marie) and to meet up with past Seoul residents, Bob and Debby Of course various young men and Peter and Lyn were there to entertain us with singing and crazy Irish humour.

Here is my book group who met to discuss ' Two Wheels in the Dust: From Kathmandu to Kandy' by Anne Mustoe. Here are Joy, Monika, Helen and Sue are here. Thanks for the wonderful rum and pineapple cake, Helen.

My knitting group also met while I've been in Adelaide and celebrated Janet's special birthday. Helen, Margie, Kitty and Sue are also expert knitters and craftspeople. Yes - we really did knit this night and did not just get drunk as this photo might suggest. The delicious flourless orange cake recipe was shared by Helen as it was so yummy and excellent for gluten free cooking.

Yum! What's for lunch? A rainy Sunday at our family beach house at Sellicks (one hour south of Adelaide) with my brother, Damian and my brother in law, Richard.

No such thing as a free lunch! Damian mowed the lawn while Richard and Damien weeded the garden. Can you see the cliffs and sea in the background? Mum and my sisters Anne and Paula and I stayed inside where it was warm for another cup of tea and more chatting. After all we have to make up for lost time!!