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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Late Again...

What are the cats fixated on?  Although Mitzi's lying down on the job; she knows it could be a long wait.

This is the object of their obsession...a little gecko.  These pictures were taken a few days ago and as far as I know, the gecko still lives to see another day (or more!).
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I know it's been a while since my last post.  However, I do have a very good excuse.  I've been organising a cover for my book, writing the blurb for the back cover, formatting (which is taking me the longest time) and generally getting it ready for publication on Amazon.  It will be available in printed format as well as electronically.  I also have another good reason for wanting it done and dusted as soon as possible.  I've been asked to do a radio interview when all this has been completed.  I'm so excited!  It's a real incentive to get it done and "out there".
I'll let you know via this blog, FB, Twitter and LinkedIn when it's available.
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Book Review
"The Railway Man's Wife" by Ashley Hay (Pub. Allen & Unwin, Aust. 2013)
I saw this in the library and after hearing good reviews of the movie decided I had to read the book first, which I prefer.  One book reviewer described it as melancholy.  I would rather the adjective soulful...that's my opinion, anyway.
The novel is set in Thirroul on the NSW coast in 1948 with the main character being Anikka Lachlan, the railway man's wife.  When her world is torn apart, Ani tries to make sense of it all while endeavouring to raise her daughter, Isabel.  Ani is a strong woman and copes well although she doubts her ability to go on at times. Added to this mix are two men; a poet and a doctor, both battling demons from the War.  
Set amongst a tiny seaside settlement, the story is simple but beautifully written.  The way Ms Hay arranges and uses words is exquisite and this tender story has haunted me since I finished the book.  Her characters are those we can relate with, including those of the settlement who make occasional appearances in the story.
Ani is a worthwhile heroine and through her sadness the story gives its greatest impact.
Rating: *****


Friday, 14 February 2014

A New Feature to my Blog

This was taken yesterday from Marine Parade, Labrador.  A friend and I had met for a walk along the Broadwater followed by breakfast and coffee.

It shows the entrance to the Gold Coast Seaway with Porpoise Point, South Stradbroke Island on the left and Nerang Head on the right.  Out past the Seaway is the Coral Sea.
This picture was taken showing the Seaworld Roller Coaster and to the far left the buildings of the Marina Mirage Hotel and village.  Although the sky looks rather grey, it was high cloud and the temperature at 7.30 am was quite humid as the seabreeze hadn't kicked in at that stage.

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I rather like the idea of planning my own send off…although as I keep saying to my mother, “only the good die young”, so I guess we’re both here for a while yet. 
From "Old Age and Villainy".

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Before I get on to the new feature, I'll update you on the progress of my book.  The editing is finished...yay!  I've heard it said that writing a book is the easy part - I now know what that means!  So apart from a final read through and fixing whatever glitches there maybe, hopefully, none, I'm ready to start the process of putting the hard copy together as well as formatting it ready for Kindle and other electronic media.

Now...the new feature I thought I'd incorporate once a week or so is a book review.  I say once a week or so, because I may not get through a book a week at this stage.  I usually manage to read a two or three books a week, depending on how long they and how much time I have to actually read.  I suspect it may not be much for the next little while.

I had a book review page on Facebook but I kept forgetting to put reviews up.  Naturally it went by the way in the end.  Since I've restarted my blog writing and am making a concerted effort to put up a post once a week at least, I thought I may be more diligent with the reviews.  Time will tell *cough*.

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The first review is "None But the Brave" by Joy Chambers, first published in 2003 by Headline (GB).

What an epic book!  It was one of those novels where I didn't want it to end...but I have to admit that after 816 pages it ended most satisfactorily.

It's set mainly during World War II but does start off in France during World War 1 before taking us across the other side of the world to Australia.  It's a wonderful tale with very likeable characters and these are enhanced by a well written and gripping saga.  It spans the war years and sweeps us from Australia to the USA and Great Britain, as well as the theatres of war in Europe and the Far East, before coming back to Australia every so often.  Ms Chambers encompasses actual historical figures into her book and her research is wonderful.  She also includes footnotes where needed with a comprehensive glossary at the back of the book.

The story revolves around John Baron Chard and his sister, Samantha, who moved from England to Australia with their parents at a very young age.  There is a secret about JB's birth about which he knows nothing, but the secret, which we readers are privy to right from the beginning, shapes and colours both JB's and Samantha's lives.  Add to this mix the dashing and reckless Cash Slade who knows what the secret is and keeps it to himself.  He also loves Samantha...

I'm not saying any more, only that it is a terrific read and extremely difficult to put the book down. Ms Chambers has the talent for keeping the reader riveted right from page one.

Rating:  *****

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I hope you enjoyed that review and as usual, I'd love to have your comments.  Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

A Beautiful Saturday Morning

Looking south towards Southport and Surfers Paradise, with hopeful fisherman on the groyne in the foreground and Wave Break Island on the left.

I glanced up and caught the eye of a man sitting further up the carriage with a huge grin on his face... From Old Age and Villainy

I wasn't particularly motivated to go for a walk this morning but something inside me insisted and I was glad I listened.  The sun was shining and there was a gentle breeze blowing off the Broadwater.  It was about 6.30 am and there were a number of other walkers, joggers and amblers along with various dogs...all enjoying the balmy morning.

I was moving relatively quickly...I'm a fast walker...and soon reached the esplanade after passing the marina which had several million dollars worth of watercraft cradled in its protective embrace.  This was the part where I liked to slow down to listen to the sshhh sshhh of the water as it lapped the sand.  I gave into temptation...I do that very easily...and slipped off my shoes to paddle along the shore.  The water was refreshing yet not chilly and I enjoyed the feel of the sand beneath my bare feet with the water splashing as I walked.  I glanced at those fishing and wondered if they'd had any luck, the tide had just turned and was on the way out.  There were a couple of hopeful pelicans swimming nearby looking for an opportunity for breakfast involving no effort on their part.

I turned my attention to the apartment buildings across the road...not enormous high rises, only three storeys at the most.  All had balconies facing the water but they were empty of their residents who were no doubt still sleeping, it being the start of the weekend.  There's one apartment I particularly admire on the corner on a building, on the third floor.  It has a larger balcony than the others as it covers both sides.  The residents have a lovely timber outdoor setting, some greenery and loungers, all situated to make the most of the view.  The building itself is white stucco with aquamarine trim and it particularly appeals to me.  I'd love to have a look inside.

I walked along to the end of the esplanade and sat looking over to South Stradbroke Island and up to Currigee.  There was a huge launch heading up the Broadwater...unfortunately it was too far away to see any particular definition.  A few jet ski riders gave their presence away by the rooster tails their craft threw up.  A couple of fixed wing aircraft flew overhead on their way from Coolangatta airport to wherever.

I sat for about 20 minutes letting the peaceful morning flow over me after which I decided to continue on my way. I had passed a garage sale on the opposite side of the main road on my way to the beach and wanted to have a look to see what they had.  I had no cash with me but wasn't too worried about that as I only lived about 20 metres further on.  I didn't see anything I wanted although there was some lovely furniture for sale.  Maybe they were selling up and going exciting for them if that were the case.

I made my way home, up the stairs and inside where I wasn't greeted by two cats.  Oh, Bella deigned to open one eye from the top of the sofa where she was sleeping but  Mitzi didn't bother to appear from wherever she was snoozing.  They'd been fed, had their morning walk performing their neighbourhood check from the balcony earlier so as far as they were concerned, all was right with the world.

I hope you enjoyed the morning with it's back to the real world and household chores.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Version Two Of My Blog

It's a hard life but someone's got to do it...
Mitzi (top) under the bed where it's coolest and Bella (lower) in her favourite spot on top of the sofa by the door that opens out onto the balcony.

I don't know how many times I heard that I was a sinner and had to repent as the world would end in 2012.   From Old Age and Villainy

Reading that quote, it's now 2014.  If the world ended, I obviously missed it...

Well, have I had fun with my blog.  Last week I went to write a new post and all had changed!  Possibly, actually probably, I had something to do with it but we won't go there.  Hence, this is version two...I have resolved not to faff around with settings anymore.

January has gone...I have no idea where...I barely registered it anyway.  The weather has been hot, cooler, hot again, very windy, relatively still then back to blowing a gale with rain every so often.  The rain is welcome, a breeze is welcome, howling gales are not!  In north Queensland there have been three cyclones in a week, two of which may reform.  However, according to the Bureau of Metereology one or both may pair up with a low which could then become separate cyclones creating what is known as a Fujiwhara effect.  Apparently, these can be quite severe.  So...that's what's happening on the weather front in our neck of the woods.

Sadly severe weather events are happening in other parts of the globe.  The USA seems to be having a really bad time with severe winter storms and extremely heavy snowfalls.  Other places are having earthquakes, floods and of course, along with the cyclones, parts of Australia have bad bushfires and a lot of the country is drought stricken.  

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My book has been languishing in my computer files for a month or so although I do have a good excuse.  I had a nasty lung infection from which it took me about three weeks to recover and then for another week or so after that I was incredibly tired.  However, I've bounced back and had the good news from the doctor yesterday that I can resume my walking which I have really missed.  It has brought home to me though that as we get older it takes longer for us to shake these things off.  I have realised that I really need to take care of myself now that my spring chicken years are long behind me.  My get up and go has now returned and I feel as if I can take on the world again.

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Over the last couple of weeks, the property manager has arranged to have all the bits and pieces in the unit fixed.  I no longer have venetian blinds falling out of their brackets; the front security door has had its automatic closer fixed, all the blown light bulbs have been replaced and of course, the tv aerial connection has been fixed as well.  The floor is coming up lighter each time I mop it and the colour of the linoleum is actually rather nice.  Obviously it hadn't been mopped for quite a long time (years??), however, the water is nowhere near as dirty now as the first time I mopped the floors.  That was a shock to see.

The cats have settled in really well and love going out onto the balcony to view the world from their lofty perch.  They're so nosy...every time they hear someone talking or a car pull up they rush out to see what's going on.  As is the case with cats, they love being up high...they feel safe.

Well that's it for this post.  Hopefully I won't be so long with the next one.