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Monday, 31 March 2014

My Condiitons are Met...Plus a Book Review.

My conditions for moving out earlier have been met, so I'm very happy.  The real estate agent, Pat, rang me yesterday afternoon to ask if it was okay if he brought the valuer through at 11.30 this morning.  I told him that was fine and also mentioned what I wanted.

This morning when he came with the valuer, he told me the buyer had agreed to compensation and there would be no problem if I wanted to move out three to four weeks earlier.  So...we're all happy.  What a good feeling!

Thank goodness I have six months in which to find something though...that means I can afford to be picky.  The young couple downstairs are smokers and as their living room is directly beneath my bedroom, I get the smell of their cigarette smoke, which I do not like at all!  Also, I'll look for somewhere off the main road then I won't have to worry about crashes happening outside the gate.  My heart skips a beat if I hear brakes squeal or a horn blaring...I won't be sorry to leave that.  I'll look for something in the same area because I like it here...and hopefully will still manage to stay close to the Broadwater so I can keep on with my walks without having to drive to the beach first.  

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The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo (Hatchette 2011)

This is one of James Patterson's lighter novels...he's written three others.  Just like his thrillers, there are the usual twists and unanswered questions but that's all there is in common with the thrillers.

Gaby Summerhill has announced to her four adult children via her usual video that she intends to remarry on Christmas Day.  It's been three years since her husband, the children's father died, and Gaby has found love again.  There is only one thing she hasn't mentioned...the name of the groom and she refuses to divulge this important detail until the ceremony itself.

There are three contenders for the honour of being Gaby's husband and in this story, we are introduced to the three, as well as meeting Gaby's children and their spouses.  The tale is humorous, touching and romantic without being ridiculously soppy and Patterson and his co-writer let Gaby tell us her story without getting in her way.

It's an easily read book: I got through it in an afternoon, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and certainly would recommend it for an indulgent afternoon of light reading entertainment.

Rating: ****


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Unexpected Developments

I found these on my computer...guess I'd saved them sometime in the distant past with a vague idea of using them in some way.

As the title of this post suggests, I've had a couple of unexpected developments.  The first of these was late Thursday afternoon from the real estate firm just down the road.  When I was first offered this place, it was pointed out to me that it was on the market as an investment property but that my 12 month lease would stand regardless.  I was given the option to pull out of the lease with no penalty but I signed anyway.  Over the last three months, which is how long I've been here, there have been people coming through having a look at the place, which has been a bit of a nuisance as I've had to keep it spick and span at all times, although I was always given 24 hours' notice.  In fact, the agents have been lovely.

Back to the phone call, it was from the agent whose name was on the listing informing me there was a contract on the place.  Great, I thought, no more having to do housework every single morning...except Sundays!  He continued...the buyer was from Sydney and actually wanted to live in the unit.  That stopped me in my tracks but the agent reassured me there was no pressure and it was entirely over to me whether I accepted or not.  I would have until 28 September to find somewhere else if I did accept, which wasn't so bad.

I asked if I could think about it over the weekend and he was okay with that.  I thought about it, chatted to a couple of close friends and one of my daughters and decided to say I'd move but with the condition of $500 paid to me for removal and utilities expenses.  I'll also stipulate that there be no penalty if I find something I like and move out earlier than 28 September.  Naturally, I'd get my full bond payment returned. 

So...I'll see how that turns out tomorrow.  I'm not particularly upset about this unexpected glitch, if one could call it that, as I feel there is something better coming along.  I'd had that feeling for about a week or so the phone call wasn't an entire surprise.  I'll keep you posted on how things go.

* * * * * * * *

Yesterday was our monthly writers' group meeting which was when the second development arose.  After listening to the extremely interesting Simon Hunter, who is Director of the New York Film Academy Australia, our facilitator had the usual notices of interest.  One of them was that a lady who has a radio show in the United States wanted six people to interview...and I was one of the six asked!!  I'm so excited about it.  This all happens next Thursday.  

At this stage, I'm not sure what the radio show is or what it's about but I can tell you all about after the event and give details of where you can listen to it...for those who live in the States.  I'm so excited about the fact that someone wants to interview me!  I hope I don't make a mess of it all...

I feel my life is turning around for the better and as mentioned above, have had that for a little while now.  I love the feeling of anticipation I wake up with each morning and which stays with me throughout the day.

On top of that, I'll have another exciting (for me) development to announce shortly...

Now that I've got you wondering...enjoy your week!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Catch Up Time

Sun silver water

 Sun silvered water

I've always wanted longer legs.  This is the nearest I've managed...

I've been very slack on the writing front lately, however yesterday was very productive although I didn't get this post done.  By 4 pm my brain was mush and my fingers were dyslexic.

I've started on a new writing project.  Some years ago my mother, stepfather and I visited the Northern Territory of Australia...a raw, magical place.  I took heaps of photos and looking through them some time ago, I decided to write about the trip.  That took most of yesterday.  I had a travel diary which I updated every evening during our trip so I didn't have to rely on my memory.  It's in rough note form which needs to be transformed into something readable, quite a large undertaking, and will entail phone calls to New Zealand to see what Mum and Harold can recall.

My book, "Old Age and Villainy" is at a crucial point but more on that later.

* * * * * * * *

At long last we are experiencing some much needed and most welcome rain...a few months late but better now than waiting until the next wet season.  The most wonderful part of this system is that it covers a wide area of Queensland, which is a big State, so the graziers and farmers are getting relatively good falls as well.  Hopefully it continues a little longer to break the drought completely...although that may be wishful thinking.  Thankfully the daytime temperatures aren't too high, about 26/27 degrees C, so the humidity isn't bad  At night it's a little different with the temp being 22 degrees with humidity...most uncomfortable.  I think it seems hotter at night because the sea breeze dies down and the mugginess is more noticeable.  Anyway, it's been lovely to have these grey cooler days rather than just a heavy rain shower or brief storm then nothing for a couple of weeks or more.  Of course, by then any benefit has been lost by the hot days in between.

* * * * * * * *

We had a drama a week or so ago.  Our small block of units is on a busy main road with a 60 kmh speed limit.  Naturally a lot of people travel faster...  At about 4 pm one afternoon, there was the long blast of a car horn, a prolonged screech as tyres left metres of rubber on the road, followed by the resounding clang of metal on metal.

I flew down the steps (16 of them), not even stopping to put something on my feet, and shot out the driveway.  There, two cars were in backed into the kerb facing into the road with something leaking out of the engine, the other, an SUV, stopped dead in the middle of the road with two close to hysterical women inside.  

From what an eyewitness said (who was travelling behind the SUV and very lucky not to be caught up in the smash) the car in the kerb was travelling from the opposite direction towards the SUV and, on the wrong side of the road, hit it head on. That vehicle was driven by a young man, mid 20s at a guess, who was released from his car by someone who was first on the scene.  Emergency services were contacted and two fire tenders arrived followed by an ambulance.  Sometime later the police turned up and the first thing they did was breath test the man.  Fortunately no one was seriously injured.  The man was having difficulty standing and whether it was from shock or alcohol, I don't know.  The airbags of both cars had deployed so they will be written off and of course, the tow trucks were there before anyone else apart from us residents.

It didn't surprise me that smash happened...I'm amazed none had happened before this in the three months I've been living here.  No doubt this won't be the only one, although I hope it is.

Funnily enough, I don't mind living on a busy road too much.  I did for some years when I lived in New Zealand and had to ring emergency services a lot more than once.

It was a blessing, apart from the cars being written off, this episode wasn't more serious.  It did have one good thing come out of it, for me anyway...I finally got to meet some of my neighbours!

After the excitement was over I walked back up the stairs, a lot slower than when I came down earlier, and poured a glass of wine.  It was then I noticed the little toe on my right foot was rather painful.  I looked down and found I'd torn the toenail...I don't know how but I could definitely feel it once the adrenaline had worn off!

* * * * * * * *

That's it for this post although I must mention that I will have some rather exciting news soon.  Watch this space...

Monday, 10 March 2014

The Week That Was

 I did some editing...making sure I had coffee and mints ready for the long haul.  Yes, I have a keyboard plugged into the laptop as I'm damned if I can type on a flat keyboard!  I also have a mouse plugged in; I can better control the cursor.

Bella being a tart.  If I lay around like that, I'd be arrested. Saucy cat...
It's been a hectic week and slightly less so for the weekend.  The only day I was home was Saturday.  What with having to visit the library because I'd run out of reading material, meeting a friend for lunch and other sundry trips out and about, I actually didn't get much work done on my book.  In fact, I'd only managed my morning walk to the beach three times and I'm feeling rather deprived.  I was hoping to go today but it's pouring with rain and blowing a gale...however, I'll assess the situation later.
I had an old friend visit on Friday.  It had been four years since I'd last seen him so we had a lot to catch up on.  While catching up we managed to demolish a punnet of strawberries...they were on special at 99c a punnet so I bought two.  They were fairly small but delicious.  Earlier in the week I'd met another friend for lunch, visited the library for some more reading material...I hate not having anything to read, and on Friday did my monthly shop to stock the cupboards and fridge.  I'm not really keen on grocery shopping that's why I get it over and done with in one fell swoop.  Ok, it means I have a month's worth of stuff to lug up the stairs but I figure it's good weight training anyway.

Yesterday (Sunday) I went to the fresh produce markets.  I hadn't been for a couple of months but I was hanging out for the lovely preservative free, natural chicken, macadamia and honey sausages I like to buy.  A dozen for eight or nine dollars.  Plus I also purchased six large chicken breasts and a couple of chicken, spinach and feta filos.  Over to the Stockman's meat truck where I managed to find some Wagyu minute steaks, six for $9, the last two frenched pork cutlets plus a kilo of lean beef mince...all this grass fed, not grain fed, meat.  So that's my protein sorted for some time.
I also picked up a bag of salad with 14 different ingredients including some herbs I'd never heard of but which tasted delicious as well as mushrooms, capsicums, zucchinis and avocadoes, plus a large bag of big vine ripened tomatoes which I picked up for $3.  Guess what's for dinner tonight?  Zucchini slice and salad.  I haven't had that for ages.  Last night's dinner was chicken sausages and fresh salad...yum.  As you may have guessed, I love salads and could eat them every night of the week.  Actually I quite often do.
There's no book review this week as I didn't have a lot of time apart from trying to get into one which was so boring I gave up.  I thought it may have been somewhat likeThe Railwayman's wife as the subject was similar, however, I felt the main character was self centred and self indulgent and I couldn't warm to her at all.  The author spent too much time in her character's head and not enough time moving the story along.  Ok, some people may like that but my thought was that life's too short to waste time on a book such as that so I gave up.  There are too many other books out there I have to try to read without ploughing through something as uninteresting as that book was.  Right...rant over.
So, after the week that was, which I thoroughly enjoyed by the way, I shall now knuckle down to another, hopefully more productive week, starting with this post.  I feel very relieved that I don't have to visit the supermarket for another month, apart from the odd thing I may discover I'd forgotten, however I'm hoping that won't happen.
This week I have nothing planned, apart from getting my book "out there" with fingers crossed that not too much to-ing and fro-ing is required edit-wise.  Next week will be a different story and I shall face that when it happens.
Ciao, dear friends, I shall "see" you anon...