What I Know Now

13315567_1702005293382339_7191580202801323276_nA unique and personal radio series that has been designed to educate the community and raise awareness about the challenges faced by women when they are first released from prison was launched this Friday on Semaphore Community Radio WOWFM.

“What I Know Now” is a series of short programs that has been produced by Seeds of Affinity Pathways for Women, an Adelaide-based support group for women of lived prison experience, with support from the University of South Australia journalism lecturer, Dr Heather Anderson, and Dr Charlotte Bedford, visiting scholar at the University of Adelaide.

You can listen to the whole series via the following links

Episode One, produced by Julia, is an introduction to Seeds of Affinity



Episode Two, produced by Linda, explains the importance of understanding your rights on the inside


Episode Three, produced by Donna, provides some top tips for when you first get released from prison


Episode Four, produced by Fiona, tells the stories of three women who have successfully moved on with their lives


You can listen to the full one-hour broadcast here



Each of the four programs have a different theme, and have been created  as part of a research project supported by Development of Industry Partnerships funding from the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, at the University of South Australia.

“The radio series targets women who have just been released from prison, or who are about to make this transition, and shares with them the information the Seeds of Affinity participants wished they had known when they were released,” Dr Anderson says.

“We hope to also highlight to the broader community that women getting out of prison have served their time and that with help and support they can successfully re-enter the work force and be valued members of society.

“Hearing the participants’ personal stories powerfully spoken on radio gives us an intimate insight into how these women have fought against the odds to start a new life for themselves and their families.”

The radio series was developed through a set of workshops led by Dr Anderson, who’s PhD had previously examined how community radio works with prisoners around the world, and supported by Dr Charlotte Bedford, Visiting Researcher at the Department of Media, University of Adelaide.

With Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showing that the number of women in Australian prisons increased by 11 per cent in the 12 months to June 2015 and that at least 40 per cent of women jailed had recorded a prior adult imprisonment under sentence, a key driver of this project was researching how radio can help prisoners avoid recidivism, both during incarceration and post-release.

“Radio is a powerful medium for story-telling,” Dr Anderson says.

“It overcomes problems with literacy but also humanises the issues being discussed – which is important for women who have been stigmatised by a past prison sentence.

Seeds of Affinity participants developed skills in preparing and conducting interviews, recording voice-overs, scripting radio packages and explored a variety of story-telling techniques over an eight week period to produce the radio series.

Having personally experienced people’s prejudices, Seeds of Affinity founding member and “What I Know Now” participant, Linda Fisk, jumped at the opportunity to learn new skills and share her knowledge.

“I know from a personal stand-point that when you’re released from prison, to actually believe that you’re worth anything, to believe that you can contribute anything to mainstream society, is very, very difficult,” Linda says.

“We hope these radio programs will inform the general public about the main issues faced by women when they first re-enter the community after a prison sentence while also raising awareness about the services Seeds of Affinity offers so that fewer women have to experience the trauma and stress of returning to prison.

The series will be showcased nationally on community radio and by podcast on the Seeds of Affinity website.

Interested broadcasters are also welcome to download the audio from the Soundcloud site.


Former women prisoners tell the world “what I know now”.

A radio series raising awareness about the issues faced by women when they are first released from prison will launch on Friday 27th May.

“What I Know Now” is a series of short radio programs produced by Seeds of Affinity Pathways for Women, an Adelaide-based support group for women of lived prison experience, as part of a research project supported by the University of South Australia.

The radio series targe13254400_10153812688217961_5150567248245633886_nts women who have just been released from prison, or who are about to make this transition, and provides information the participants wished they had been told upon release.

“I know from a personal stand-point that when you’re released from prison, to actually believe that you’re worth anything, to believe that you can contribute anything to mainstream society, it’s very very difficult,” said participant Linda Fisk, who was a founding member of Seeds of Affinity in 2006.

The radio programs will also inform the general public about the main issues faced by women when they first re-enter the community after a prison sentence, as well as promote the services offered by Seeds of Affinity Pathways for Women.

The series was developed through a set of workshops led by Dr Heather Anderson, Journalism Lecturer from the School for Communication, International Studies and Languages at the University of South Australia and Dr Charlotte Bedford, Visiting Researcher at the Department of Media, University of Adelaide.

“Radio is a powerful medium for story-telling,” said Dr Heathe13230168_10153821003887961_3780306946357150598_nr Anderson.

“It overcomes problems with literacy but also humanises the issues being discussed – which is important for women who have been stigmatised by a past prison sentence”.

Dr Anderson and Dr Bedford have both previously worked in prisoner radio, in Australian and the UK, and are currently researching the benefits of radio in assisting prisoners to avoid recidivism, both during incarceration and post-release.

They approached Seeds of Affinity with a basic concept to use radio to produce messages, and the series developed from there.

“There was a strong commitment from the start of the project that the Seeds’ women wanted to help others who were going through what they had already survived,” Dr Anderson said.

The theme of ‘What I know now’ has driven the project from the very start”.

13240078_10153812688117961_1634460758108989069_nSeeds of Affinity participants developed skills in preparing and conducting interviews, recording voice-overs, scripting radio packages and explored a variety of story-telling techniques over an eight week period to produce the radio series.

The programs will showcase on WOW FM 100.5MHz (Semaphore community radio) at 3pm on Friday May 27th, and will be rebroadcast on University of South Australia’s internet radio station unicast.com.au at 5pm on the same day.

The series will also be showcased nationally on community radio through the radio show Jailbreak and podcast on the Seeds of Affinity website (seedsofaffinity.org.au). Three D Radio’s Prison Show will also broadcast the pieces over the next month.

Interested broadcasters are welcome to contact Dr Heather Anderson for a copy of the audio.

 Or you can check out the Teaser below

Media Contact

Dr Heather Anderson, University of South Australia

08 83024677

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Quick trip to Quebec – Day Three

Clemencia Rodgriguez presents her Plenary session on Media on the Margins

The International Association for Media and Communication Research 2015 conference officially started today. This conference is ridiculously large with over 1300 people in attendance across 15 or so different streams – mine being Community Communication. Over the next few days I’m going to attend more sessions than I can possibly write about, starting with a session covering the latest theory around alternative and community media. While neither were presenting at this session, I was very happy to meet up with two close colleagues and friends from Griffith University, Kerrie Foxwell and Susan Forde, with whom I would spend most of my conference time, along with Juliet Fox from 3CR and Ian Watson (also of Griffith Uni). Today’s conference highlight for me was Professor Clemencia Rodriguez’s plenary speech on Media on the Margins. Clemencia marked my PhD and wrote the forward to my book on prisoners’ radio and I hold her ideas in very high regard.

mont royalAfter the day’s proceedings Kerrie Foxwell and I decided to tackle the heights of Mont Royal, a small mountain west of downtown from which the city got its name and which is the highest spot in the city (234m) – Kerrie hardly broke a sweat while I was as bright as a beetroot by the time we reached the top!  We walked up through the delightfully pretty campus of Magill University and then up through Mont Royal Park, one of Montreal’s largest green-spaces, designed by Frederick Olmstead who also co-designed Central Park in New York.

old friends going to great heights to catch up

old friends going to great heights to catch up

We only explored one area of the 200-hectare park, around the Kondiaronk Belvedere, named for the Huron chief who signed a major peace accord with the French regime in 1701. A belvedere is an architectural structure positioned to take advantage of a scenic view, which indeed it was. mont royal3

This area was a hive of activity with jugglers, joggers and even a pianist entertaining the mix of locals and tourists making the most of the late summer sun. The internet tells me the lookout facing over downtown towards the river was first built in 1906. This afternoon was a lovely way to wind down after the first full day of the conference and spend some quality time with an old friend.

I left Kerrie to walk down St Catherine Street, namesake of the great Montreal punk band, The Sainte Catherines, and stumbled across the beginnings of the 2015 Just for Laughs Festival (or Juste Pour Rire as it’s known locally). That meant my decision for where to have dinner made itself and I watched people be funny in French for a couple of hours before collapsing into bed.

Peter Greste at the South Australian Press Club lunch – August 7, 2015

“If I was sitting in this audience listening to someone talk about this experience, I’d be thinking ‘there’s no way I could survive 400 days in an Egyptian jail’, but I’m here to tell you that you could”

Thanks to Casey Lodge/Tiarne Cooke for the photoBefore this day I had no idea that Al Jazeera journalist, Peter Greste, got his start in South Australia, working at Channel Ten under the supervision of Grant Heading, and now he is back, addressing a capacity crowd SA Press Club luncheon at the Hotel Grand Chancellor about Elle McPherson’s boobs. Oh, and a short story about spending 400 days in an Egyptian prison.

Peter Greste is softly spoken and likes to joke about his short stature (hence his opening anecdote about interviewing a supermodel’s mammary glands). He is conscious that his fame comes from what was done to him, rather than by him and recognises that his case received the attention it did, “because my name is Peter and not Mohammad”.

Greste names Australian cameraman, Neil Davis, as an early inspiration and describes his decision to leave Australia to work freelance overseas as not particularly wise – “at the time I think it was just an excuse to go off and have crazy wild adventures but I think what I’ve learned from that is to be careful of what you wish for”.

The journalist, who turns fifty this December, was working for Al Jazeera. with colleagues Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed to cover the Egyptian crisis in Cairo, and says Egypt was not an explicit moment of bravery for him. He was only there for a few weeks and was playing it safe as foreign correspondents tend to, when they first are finding their feet in a new situation. To conduct a phone interview with members of the Muslim Brotherhood was a routine decision, considering its prominent position in the politics of the day, and the organisation was yet to be listed as a terrorist group.

On December 28, 2013 Greste was getting dressed for dinner when he heard an insistent knock on the door. Eight or so men barged into the room, ransacking everything in their path, refusing to identify themselves although they were clearly official as they were accompanied by hotel security staff. The journalist expected the situation would blow over quickly, as such things usually do as they are fixed by showing credentials and clearing up misunderstandings. Greste says they all thought it was just the government rattling the cage of journalism for a brief moment in a show of strength.

For the first two nights after his arrest, Greste shared an eight foot high cell with 16 other men, an environment he says places extreme psychological pressure on prisoners, some of whom had been there for six months. The journalist was then moved to a second prison where he met other media folk, including a young blogger who had played an integral role in reporting the January 25 revolution of 2011 and had been arrested by every single government that Egypt has had in the part five years. As Greste’s own interrogation began, it became clear that all three journalists were being accused of terrorism offences  and were ultimately charged with aiding and financing a terrorist organisation, as well as broadcasting false news to undermine national security.

Greste says he and his co-accused were faced with two choices in how to respond to the charges. The first would be to go along with the government narrative and defend against them, which would ultimately spiral into an endless argument about wether or not the journalists had collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The second was to focus on the bigger picture, which is what they did, by smuggling two letters out of prison in February 2014 giving a strong statement framing the arrests as an attack on free speech and Egypt’s emerging democracy.

This letters galvanised media support in ways that Greste says he never imagined and is still coming to terms with. He believes he was lucky, firstly with having an Anglo name but also because the case happened at a time when “journalists all over the world were starting to understand that freedom of speech issues were coming to a head”. Competing news outlets joined together in extraordinary displays of unity and protest to recognise that the actions of the Egyptian government were an expression of a globalised trend to use national security as an opportunity to crack down on freedom of speech. And this was the key message of Peter Greste’s address, that unless the public is prepared to have debates about this then “we are all in danger”.

“We need to do more to make sure people understand the debate before they agree to the types of rights being restricted in the name of national security”

Greste specifically mentioned the actions of the current government citing national security to repress how much money was paid to people smugglers to turn back their own boat, as an example of the misuse of such powers but he is quick to note that he doesn’t want to undermine the need for national security and says he takes the threat of terrorism very seriously. He is concerned that there is no longer a safe middle-ground where journalists can do their job and report from conflict zones. Bosnia, where he worked in the early nineties, was an unsafe place, he says, but journalism was not being targeted as a industry then as it is in war zones today. Greste  is worried that the industry is shifting heavily to a freelance market that doesn’t provide the support journalists need to work in the field and “makes it an incredibly dangerous job “”. He urged a young journalist to seriously reconsider pursuing war reporting as a career, saying emerging reporters should take the opportunities to demonstrate they have passion and drive but to never go into a conflict zone without back-up. For him, it was a “flame-headed Irish girl in a London pub “who led him to his first conflict zone as a journalist – a justification he now says wasn’t particularly wise.

The case isn’t over yet. While Greste was released and deported under a law allowing the transfer of foreigners on trial to their home countries, and his two co-accused were later freed on bail (but remain in Egypt), they now wait to hear the verdict of a re-trial which has just been postponed until August 29. If found guilty, Greste will find it hard to travel as there will always be a risk he will inadvertently end up in a country that has an extradition agreement with Egypt. Egyptian-Canadian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed, however, face the much more real threat of going back to jail.

Chapelle Notre-Dame-De-Bon-Secours Chapel


Quick trip to Quebec – Day Two

July 2015, Mohawk Country.

Today’s main agenda item was the pre-conference gathering at AMARC, known in English as the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters and an place I had always wanted to visit. AMARC is an international non-governmental organisation that represents and supports the community radio movement, within the principals of solidarity and international cooperation.

The theme of the event was “Third & Indigenous Language Communities on Air: A gathering of community broadcasters” and it brought together people from Australia, Ireland, Egypt, Slovakia, El Salvador, Palestine, Portugal, Canada, England, USA, Korea, Taiwan, Inuit and various First Nations as well as others I’ve no doubt missed. In one of those lovely coincidences it was organised by Gretchen King, who I had interviewed and stayed with (in 2007 I think) for my PhD research on the National Prison Day radio broadcasting she coordinated for community radio across Canada.

As is usually the case at these events there were too many sessions to be able to attend them all. My first choice was a seminar presented by Kenina Kakekayash and Bill Morris, two broadcasters from the Wawataya Radio Network, from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Northern Ontario. Kenina spoke about the successes and challenges they face in meeting the communication needs of their communities – providing radio programming to more than 300,000 Aboriginal people. Bill then told us,in his ancestral language of Cree, about the day he was abducted from his village and taken to Residential School. He was six or seven years old and his mother thought he was just lost in the forest after a day of hunting for birds – put his dinner out on the table expecting him home later. The First Nations of Canada share a comparable horrific history with those of Australia, with the Residential Schools creating a similar generation of Stolen Generations.

In the afternoon, Dr Peter Lewis from London Metropolitan University (who had introduced me to the fabulous British Museum during my London visit last year) held a “Cross Linguistic Borders” workshop as part of the Transnational Radio Encounters research project. Broadcasters from around the world talked about the work they do, working across culture and language. This was hugely valuable for me, as I’m about to start working with refugee youth at the UniCast radio station at the University of South Australia.

At the pre-conference, I had met up with my friend and long-time community radio practitioner Juliet Fox from 3CR in Melbourne and we decided to make the most of the late setting of the sun to explore Old Montreal and the Old Port areas of the city. The Old Port stretches across more than 2kms of the St-Lawrence River. It was used as a trading post by French fur traders as early as 1611, and redeveloped in the early 1990s to become a major tourist attraction similar to Southbank in Brisbane. Every two years Cirque du Soleil launches a new show from the Jacques Cartier Quay at the Port, but unfortunately not when we were there. The area itself is set on the edge of Old Montreal, the oldest area of the city that dates back to the early 1600s.

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The Old Port also hosts the Montreal Clock Tower, also known as The Sailors’ Memorial Clock, built in 1919, as a memorial to the Canadian sailors who died in the first world war. 

Speaking of memorials, we came across a very disturbing one in the Place d’Armes, a square in Old Montreal – a monument in memory of Montreal “founder”, Paul de Chomedey. It always astounds me to see the blatant celebration of colonisation and genocide, especially on this weekend, that recognised the 25 year anniversary of the Oka Crisis – a land dispute between a group of Mohawk people of Kanehsatake and the town of Oka, which began on July 11, 1990 and lasted until September 26 of the same year. The community stood up to the town, Quebec provincial police and eventually the Canadian army over plans to build a golf course on sacred land on their territory – check out more here.

Rapide voyage à Québec! – Jour Un

Quick Trip to Quebec – Day One

July 2015

The occasion is ten days away from home to attend the 2015 conference of the International Association for Media and Communications Research, in Montreal, Quebec. Montreal is the only place I’ve ever been where I had real troubles communicating with people so I was a little cautious in my enthusiasm, but it appears my last experience was an anomaly – this time around Montreal was much kinder to my lack of French!

I arrived on Saturday evening when the sun was still awake at10pm (after the longest 11th of July ever – 33 hours I do believe). I had a wander through the Latin Quarter, where I am staying, to find some dinner and confuse myself endlessly as to where to walk on the footpath and which way to look when crossing the road. The Latin Quarter was established in the 1920s and is named after its counterpart in Paris, not because of any South American influences – it is surrounded by the absolutely massive concrete campus of UQAM (Universite du Quebec a Montreal) where the conference is being held.

The architecture of this area of Montreal is a little foreboding and smells like history, and I’m certainly not in the bright and shiny side of the city.

Montreal comes across as Adelaide’s big sister city of churches and festivals. Right now a section of Rue St Denis (“Rue” meaning “street”) has been transformed into the Montreal Completement Cirque (Completely Circus Festival) – a mecca for young and old to explore their inner performer.  To quote the event’s website “with the creation of MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CIRQUE, Montréal is taking its place as the world’s premier circus destination. The Festival aims to highlight the talent of our homegrown artists while creating spaces where the most talented representatives of the circus world will meet”. It basically just looked like a lot of fun!


The final installment of another travel diary courtesy of work, that was kind enough to send me to London for a Prison Radio Association development day and assorted other appointments.

Sunday – Slept in after Saturday night’s shenanigans, waking to the first proper rain of my stay. I haven’t really mentioned the weather so far, which I realise now is a bit odd for a travel diary about England. But the reality is that the weather was quite good, around the 10 degrees mark, and definitely too hot inside any building or form of public transport!

My work appointment for Sunday lunch fell through so I finally had time to visit Highgate Cemetery, albeit in the rain. The cemetery opened in 1839, one of the first formal cemeteries to be contracted after Parliament passed a statute to assist in the more effective burial of London’s dead. It was run by a private company but by the 1960s the gig proved no longer profitable and the cemetery was left to rack and ruin.

In 1975 The Friends of Highgate Cemetery was formed with the aim “to  promote  the  conservation  of  the  cemetery,   its  monuments  and  buildings,   flora  and  fauna,   for  the  benefit  of  the  public  as  an  environmental  amenity”. Work began to repair some of the memorials and clear through the overgrown landscape. English Heritage has listed Highgate Cemetery as a Grade 1 Park and both sides of the cemetery are active burial grounds once a week.

I only visited the one side (East Cemetery) but that was impressive enough. The sense of history amongst the wide range of architecture is breathtaking, with gravestones dating back to the mid 1800s but also modern (and in Patrick Caulfield’s case, postmodern) markers as well.

I visited a couple of people specifically, but first here’s a selection of more general photographs.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of my favourite authors, Douglas Adams, is also buried at the East Cemetery. Just in case you’re not aware (god forbid) Adams wrote the brilliant Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series and the equally as great Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency stories, amongst other excellent work, and my brother tells me he was also responsible for a lot of the Doctor Who scripts during Tom Baker’s era. His grave has quite a few additions compared to the photo published on the Highgate Cemetery website, including a small plastic whale and strip of towelling (both Hitchhiker Guide references). Keeping with tradition, I left behind an empty biro.

The most famous resident at Highgate is, of course, Karl Marx, who was originally buried on a small side path with his wife , but in 1956 a new monument featuring a massive bust (Karl Marx had a really big head!) was installed in a much more prominent location. The statue features Marx’s famous quote, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it”.

Once in the warmth of my bedsit again, I called it quits for the day and marked some assignments in bed!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMonday – My last day and still so much to do. But you can only manage so much in so few days and today already had two appointments in place – catching up with another old friend and former colleague from 4ZZZ and The Wire, Gemma Snowdon, and visiting Refugee Radio in Brighton.

This was certainly the coldest morning, around 4 degrees when I left to check out Kensington Gardens, which is only a ten minute walk from “home”. Kensington Gardens is one of the Royal Parks of London, and covers an area of 111 hectares. It used to be the private gardens of Kensington Palace after it was separated from the remainder of Hyde Park in 1728 at the request of Queen Caroline. There’s some great monuments too, such as The Peter Pan Statue, built by Sir George Frampton in 1902, commissioned by the creator of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie,himself.

This was THE most beautiful place I visited in London – there was frost, autumn reds and plenty of wildlife – a photographer’s dream.

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Second stop was St James Park (again) for another visit to the squirrels, and because it simply was just a beautiful morning to be walking in the parks. In fact, the open spaces of Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James’s Park together form an almost continuous “green lung” in the heart of London. St James Park is a little smaller, around 23 hectares, and is named after a leper hospital dedicated to St. James the Less.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe squirrels of St James Park are very tame and even without having any food on me, I still had one run up my leg! The sad aspect to this story is they are Grey Squirrels and are pretty much responsible for sending the native red squirrel to the brink of extinction. In 1876, a Victorian banker,Thomas Brocklehurst, released a pair of grey squirrels he had brought back with him from an American business trip, into the UK wild. The trend took off, seen as a fashionable garden novelty.  According to the Guardian, more than a century later, up to 5 million greys now inhabit much of the woodland across the UK,  to the great detriment of the native red.

There are also pelicans at St James Park, which took me a little by surprise. Pelicans were introduced in 1664 as a gift from the Russian Ambassador. There are currently four Eastern White Pelicans and, once again they are very friendly.

During my travels I also came across a pay strike by nurses at St Thomas Hospital. This was the second time that health workers including midwives, nurses, radiographers, cleaners and psychiatric staff, had walked out in England and Northern Ireland this month. Judging on the beeps and waves they were getting from passing traffic, it appears London was in support of their cause.

I walked across the river to meet Gemma at the British Film Institute, near her work with Good Morning Britain on ITV. Afterwards I took a quick ferry ride to the National Rail station for my next journey to Brighton. One thing I love about London is that even when you’re just commuting, you’re still sightseeing. During this time I saw Big Ben, Parliament House, Westminster Abbey, Shakespeare’s Globe and London Bridge.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe train ride to Brighton is only an hour, and was a lot quieter than the Friday train to Bristol. Due to a chain of unfortunate events I didn’t end up meeting with my contact at Refugee Radio but the trip was well worth it, even if the Brighton Pier is just a little cheesy! Brighton is a well-known sea-side destination which gained popularity during the 18th century as a health resort featuring sea bathing, especially after the railway reached the town in 1841. For people of my age and “cultural persuasion”, Brighton is probably best known as one of the main locations of the movie Quadrophenia, which was based on the real-life events of the Mod/Rocker clashes of the mid 1960s as well as the concept album by The Who.

I spent most of my time on the delightfully tacky Brighton Pier, a jaded tourist attraction that looked particularly despondent on a winter’s work day. The “Brighton Marine Palace & Pier”, as it was originally known, was opened on the 20th of May 1899 costing an unprecedented £27,000 to build. It has had amusemeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnt machines of some shape or another since 1905 and now is a shrine to all things “carnivale”. And for lovers of the British murder series, Midsomer Murders, the 2010 episode “The Sword of Guillaume” was filmed on Brighton Pier with the House of Horror setting the scene for the discovery of the murder victim (of course).

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I took advantage of Brighton’s reputation as a haven for vegans and had a “Fish finger stack” at VBites before I had to head back to London, and that is pretty much it. I had a very early (one degree) start the next morning to begin the long, hot and crowded journey back to Australia and caught a head cold along the way!  I would go back to London in a heartbeat and still have a long list of places to visit next time around (Wimbledon Common, Lords, British Museum, Tate Modern, Speaker’s Corner, Nunhead Cemetery …….)

Not all my photos made it into the narrative of my travel diary, so here’s a few galleries of my snaps to finish up.




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