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Mirissa

 

Sri Lanka 09

 

We then continued around the coast to the enormous Calle Fort: begun by the Portuguese; taken by the Dutch East India Company; and then finally taken and made impregnable to further attack by the British East India Company. The British Company subsequently defeated the young successor to the warlike local monarch of Sigiriya, who had proven invulnerable to the Portuguese and Dutch.This ancient monarchy is now a matter of pride in Sri Lanka, as later pictures in this album of the palace ruins attest.

Sri Lanka 10

After the Indian Mutiny (1857), as a result of which a good deal of the shareholders assets were collaterally damaged, the East India Company was wound up (in 1874). Ceylon - like Burma and India, that then included Pakistan and Bangladesh, now fell directly under the Crown (Queen Victoria) and joined Canada, the colonies in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa as part of the British Empire. Victoria thus became an empress, equal in rank to her eldest daughter, Victoria, empress of Prussia.

 

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Travel

Greece and Türkiye 2024

 

 

 

 

In may 2024 Wendy and I travelled to Europe and after a string of flights landed in Berlin. By now we are quite familiar with that city and caught public transport to Emily and Guido's apartment to be greeted by our grandchildren and their parents.  I have previously reported on their family, so, suffice it to say, we had a very pleasant stay and even got out to their country place again.

From Berlin we flew to Greece and had an initial few days in Athens, before returning to Berlin, then back to Greece, a week later, to join a cruise of the Greek islands and Türkiye (just one port).

At the end of the cruise we spent a self-guided week on Crete. We finished our European trip with a week in Bulgaria, followed by a week in the UK, before flying back to Sydney.

Read more: Greece and Türkiye 2024

Fiction, Recollections & News

The Royal Wedding

 

 

 


It often surprises our international interlocutors, for example in Romania, Russia or Germany, that Australia is a monarchy.  More surprisingly, that our Monarch is not the privileged descendent of an early Australian squatter or more typically a medieval warlord but Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain and Northern Island - who I suppose could qualify as the latter.

Thus unlike those ex-colonial Americans, British Royal weddings are not just about celebrity.  To Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders, in addition to several smaller Commonwealth countries, they have a bearing our shared Monarchy.

Yet in Australia, except for occasional visits and the endorsement of our choice of viceroys, matters royal are mainly the preoccupation of the readers of women's magazines.

That women's magazines enjoy almost exclusive monopoly of this element of the National culture is rather strange in these days of gender equality.  There's nary a mention in the men's magazines.  Scan them as I might at the barber's or when browsing a newsstand - few protagonists who are not engaged in sport; modifying equipment or buildings; or exposing their breasts; get a look in. 

But a Royal wedding hypes things up, so there is collateral involvement.  Husbands and partners are drawn in.

Read more: The Royal Wedding

Opinions and Philosophy

Holden - The Demise of an Iconic Brand

 

I drive a Holden. 

It’s my second. The first was a shiny black Commodore.  A V6 Lumina edition.

I have owned well over a dozen cars and driven a lot more, in numerous countries, but these are my first from General Motors.

The new one is a white Calais Sportswagon and it's the best car I've ever owned.

Based on the German Opel, it has traction control conferring impeccable braking and steering and ample power and acceleration even with four adults and luggage.  Add to that: leather seats; climate control; head-up display; voice commands for entertainment, phone and so on; and it's a luxurious ride.

Yet I’m starting to think that I can put an end to any car brand, just by buying one.

Holden finally ceased manufacturing in Australia just after my present model rolled off the production line.

Read more: Holden - The Demise of an Iconic Brand

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