It's currently whale watching season on the eastern seaboard of Australia. The whales migrate from Antarctica up to tropical waters of Far North Queensland to give birth. They then make the return journey with their babies, much to the delight of whale watching enthusiasts. The season lasts from June to November each year and it's estimated there are now about 20,000 hump back whales, an amazing number as they were on the brink of extinction not so long ago due to whale hunting.
The famous Nigaloo, the albino whale, has not yet been sighted but should appear any time now as he was seen off the northern New South Wales coast a couple of days ago.
I've been whale watching a couple of times and it's a wonderful experience especially when a couple of the giant mammals breach really close to the charter boat. I get the feeling they're just as curious about us as we are of them. It's a magnificent sight to see them so close and one appreciates just how big they are!
We know it's winter when the whales arrive. We're relatively lucky this year in that, apart from a couple of cold snaps, it's been mild with quite a bit of rain. That's unusual for winter as it's normally our dry season. There's even been rain out west but not nearly enough to break the crippling drought which has resulted in some graziers just walking off the land. So terribly sad how farmers and growers are struggling.
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I mentioned in my last post how I'd resumed my Italian language classes. Last week, I was asked to read out a short paragraph of 6 or 7 small sentences. I did so, using English words if I couldn't remember the Italian, then result of which was a hodge podge of mispronounced Italian and English. Our tutor rolled her eyes and pronounced it "awful". I replied, saying my tongue was twisted and traumatised!
We have a lot of fun in the two hour session, as we did a couple of weeks ago. Astrid, our tutor, said we'd have an exercise where she was the "doctor" and we took turns at being "patients".
During the "history taking" a couple of questions were "fume?" (smoking) and "beve?" (drinking). One answer was 17 cigars and 4 bottles of red wine...daily. The resultant outpouring of Italian from the "doctor" needed no interpretation!
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If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen a post on Monday (yesterday) where I had finally found the perfect name for the main character of my work in progress. I'd been watching "Bones" the night before in which Cyndi Lauper played a psychic named "Avalon". Perfect, I thought, I'm stealing that! I then had to think of a surname. My ancestors' family name was Hunt but I felt it needed another syllable and decided on Hunter. It sounded more fluid and rolled off the tongue easily.
Any writer will know exactly what I mean when I say naming a character is one of the most difficult parts of writing a book. I've found that if the name doesn't fit or feel right, the story doesn't flow. Since Avalon made her appearance, I've had no problem with the story and different scenarios are being downloaded into my brain every day. We're both very comfortable with each other.
The book is titled "The Greenstone Pendant" and although fiction, is based on a factual incident involving my ancestors during the Maori wars when New Zealand was first settled. The pendant of the title actually exists and is about 50 years old now. It was given to me by my mother and as the original fine gold chain was broken, I had it replaced with a slightly stronger silver one. It's one of my favourite pieces of jewellery and I thought a fiction story involving the pendant could work. We'll see...
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