It was about this time last year that we first heard about Bazball. The English Test cricket team had had significant away losses to both Australia and the West Indies, but now they were at home with a new captain, a new coach, and a new approach.

At first it seemed like it couldn’t last, but then it turned into an almost unstoppable winning machine: In the lead up to the Ashes they had won eleven out of thirteen matches under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, while also seeing some truly remarkable individual and team performances.

Now the approach faces perhaps its sternest test, against the old enemy and newly minted World Test Champion Australia. The team that last week dug deep and took first blood.

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“She wrought her people lasting good”.

Those words are on a statue here in Melbourne. Written about a long-serving queen. Not Elizabeth II, but our first monarch, Victoria, the one who gave us our name - fully fifty years before the federation of Australia. She appointed our governors, watched carefully over our affairs - but never set foot in Victoria. Or Australia, for that matter.

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If you’d asked me in January what I was planning for February, there wouldn’t have been too much of the arts. I planned to go to one of the MSO free concerts with my sister. There was also a play at my local theatre I wanted to go to, but wasn’t sure I’d be able to find the time.

As it turned out, February did end up a month for discovering and experiencing art. There were paintings hung in galleries, live performances, and the everyday art of murals, of sculpture, of spray-paint, and even of chalk drawings. There were orchestral performances, plays, and even a ballet evening. It was a lot of fun.

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I started 2023 with the goal of one photo post a month. But I’ve already discovered my favourite photos for January won’t fit in a single post. So today can be some of my favourite photos of the birds and the bees I’ve seen (and perhaps the odd butterfly).

I realise that perhaps this should have been posted on Valentine’s Day. But the post is definitely safe for work - well, to the extent sharp beaks and stingers are safe for work, anyway.

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