March and April 2024 Newsletter

placid lake near green mountains under white clouds

Multimonth Newsletter is go. Due to being sick for half of April and studying like mad for the other half, I’ve decided to combine March and April. So welcome to the March and April 2024 newsletter.

Cruising New Zealand and the Tasman.

So for my uni break, with a couple of bonus days, Mara and I went to Auckland and joined the Resilient Lady, a Virgin Cruise ship, for 12 days. After spending a few days in Auckland going up the Sky Tower, hanging out in second-hand book shops and enjoying the cool shops. The ship left Auckland and headed down the east coast to Wellington where we arrived for St Patrick’s Day. We walked around the harbour, visited an art gallery, found an Irish pub and enjoyed the festivities. The next stop was Timaru, a great little town, with lovely welcoming locals, a brilliant shoe shop and bowl lattes, my happy place. We also had a tour of St Mary’s church given by one of the parishioners and walked around the rose gardens. Happily, on our way back to the ship one of the shuttle buses stopped for us. It was amazing when we left, the breakwater was covered in locals watching us leave. Very cool. On to Dunedin one of my favourite cities in New Zealand. We had lunch at the Speights Brewery Ale House which is still as awesome as I remember. I didn’t do the tour this time. We also went to the Chinese gardens and the Tūhura Otago Museum.

The next 3 days were at sea. It was very exciting on the first day as we went to Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds. I’ve been to Milford Sound a couple of times before but it was still awe-inspiring and amazing. Getting to see Dusky and Doubtful was amazing as you can’t get there easily from land. It was absolutely amazing. The next 2 days we headed across the Tasman. We had a lovely crossing not too rough. I made use of my spare time and got a couple of tattoos which I had been planning for quite a few years. One of the mornings I woke up at 5am to a lot of stars and waking Mara up we went out and saw the Southern Lights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing!!! We had wanted to see it but in the end it was just luck.

Next port was Hobart, 2 years after I lived there for a month. It was great to go back to my old haunts, The Devil’s Kitchen, Artery, Fuller’s Bookshop and Dangerfield (Upstairs there is a Clear IT the last one left and it is amazing and the staff are so helpful and friendly). Also enjoyed a Guiness Pie and a Kilkenny at Irish Murphy’s the best Guiness Pie in the world. It was a lovely day in Hobart. The next day was at sea again and there may have been another tattoo. They say they are addictive. Next port Port Melbourne, we didn’t bother going into Melbourne centre it was hectic at the port as there was another cruise ship in at the same time. We walked up to South Melbourne enjoying the shops and had lunch at a beautiful Polish Restaurant the Tipsy Village the food was so good and the vodka was great as well. I definitely recommend going there if you are in Melbourne. That night on the ship I enjoyed playing Nintendo with other nerds. One more day at sea on our way back to Sydney, it was our first warm day and you could tell by everyone who was out on deck soaking up the sun. I found it very exciting as there were so many ships to look at and find information about I found a marine tracking website and bored Mara with details about ships for a couple of hours. The last morning we pulled into Sydney Harbour and enjoyed the spectacular views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. All in all it was a wonderful trip with my best friend.


Quite a few this time 5 of them set in the 1920s, another 1940s, one in 1899 and the last a modern one. Wow. I don’t have a type at all. Hahahaha

Farewell Blues by Maggie Robinson

The final book in the series!!! This is an unusual sensation for me as most of the series I read just stop or I get bored. This one actually ended. Wrapped everything up in a satisfying bow. This is the series where Lady Adelaide helps Detective Inspector Devenand Hunter solve murders aided by her late husband, Rupert, who is a ghost. Based in the England after World War One. Highly recommend the whole series it’s just fun to be with the characters.

Murder on Mustang Beach by Alicia Bessette

Book 2 of the series, it is set in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Callie Paget, one-time journalist now bookshop assistant, yet again investigates a murder while helping the island’s mustangs.

A Certain Darkness by Anna Lee Huber

Book 6 of the Verity Kent series. This time Verity and her husband Sidney go to France and Belgium to interview a prisoner who might have secrets from World War One. As usual with this series, we dive into World War One through Verity’s spy work during the war and Sidney’s service.

The Dead Letter Delivery by C.J. Archer

Yet again plunging into post-World War One England. This time with bonus magicians. This is the fourth book in the Glass Library series. Loving the development of the characters, their powers and the romance. Gabe and Sylvia are trying to find more information about Sylvia’s mother they start with a bunch of dead letters.

Death by Water by Kerry Greenwood

This one was a re-read. It had to be done as in this book, Phyrne Fisher is investigating stolen jewels on a cruise ship on a New Zealand voyage. She even travels to some of the places we went like Dunedin and Milford Sound. As always it was lovely to travel into Phyrne’s world.

Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie

The third book featuring Hercule Poirot and the third book of my Agatha Christie challenge this year. A collection of short stories of Hercule Poirot’s historic cases. It was nice to be able to read a story and put it away and read other things and come back and read another story.

Murder at the Mayfair Hotel by C.J. Archer

A new series for me by C.J. Archer who writes the Glass Library series above. Based in 1899 London, it follows Cleopatra Fox as she moves into a hotel with her estranged uncle and his family. Of course, a patron dies and the murder needs to be solved. It was an easy read I liked the characters and it was interesting to see Cleo grow and learn through the story. I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

Died in the Wool by Ngaio Marsh

OK so I thought I would give Ngaio Marsh another chance since I was in New Zealand and the book was based in New Zealand. I had tried reading one of her books years ago and couldn’t get into it. Unfortunately, still didn’t like it. It is interestingly written with each chapter being a different person’s story as told to our detective, Roderick Alleyn. It was set in 1942 and an MP is murdered at her husband’s sheep station but not discovered for several weeks as she was packed in a wool bale. Roderick appears about a year later to investigate, hence all the stories being told to him.

The Moth Catcher by Ann Cleeves

To recover from the last book, I read book 7 of the Vera Stanhope series. It was great to go into Vera’s world. This time the body of a house sitter is found in a ditch then the body of another man is found in the house being house-sat. The team works to find the connection between the two men and then why anyone would want to kill them.


Concert in the Park – North Sydney Symphony Orchestra

My first performance of the year. It was our annual Concert in the Park. A very warm and sunny day this year. If you want to watch the concert it is available on YouTube. I had a great time and the audience seemed to enjoy themselves.

Singin’ in the Rain – Sydney Symphony Orchestra

My first concert of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra was the orchestra playing the music from Singin’ in the Rain with the movie on behind. It was awesome. Singin’ in the Rain is one of my favourite movies of all time. It was amazing to watch it in the concert hall on the big screen with everyone laughing and having a good time. The live music was wonderful as well.

Osmo Vänskä conducts Sibelius – Sydney Symphony Orchestra

I went to the concert hall again the next week to see Osmo Vänskä conduct Sibelius. I love Sibelius. I even survived the singing. It was unusual as it was sung in Swedish. Yes, Sibelius is Finnish but is a Swedish Finn. (it would have been better without the singing though). To enjoy the music from the evening you can listen to it on Spotify. Also check out this interview with the conductor, Osmo Vänskä.

TV shows

I had a few big Binge days of murder mysteries. The normal Vera and Midsummer Murders plus some new ones.

Monterossi available on SBS on Demand. An Italian mystery series with Monterossi as a reluctant investigator after he is a victim of an attempted murder. A change from the usual cozies but fun all the same.

The Good Ship Murder available on SBS on Demand. Cute cozy murder mystery based on a cruise ship. Think Death in Paradise on a boat.

Murder in Provence available on ABC iview. I enjoyed the series but it was a bit weird being a direct translation into English with English actors. The joke about Marmite for instance doesn’t work in an English accent. The mysteries were good and the characters fun.


Lots of sport on the tele and I’ve been enjoying it all.

  • WIPL
  • IPL
  • F1
  • MotoGP
  • Supercars


Uni has been going really well. I only ended up doing one subject this trimester, Survival Analysis (time to failure in Engineering language). I enjoyed it and found it fun and inspiring. Next semester I’ve enrolled in three subjects but will drop one to manage my workload. I’ll let you know in future newsletters. I head back in the last week of May.

What’s on in May?

Concerts and holidays. Lots of concerts to go to and my next concert to perform in. I’m really excited about the next concert, Cosmic Cycles there is a bit of a preview up on the YouTube. The concert is at the concourse in Chatswood on 25th May at 7pm, tickets are available here (along with all the concerts for the rest of the year).