Thursday 20 December 2012

Christmas is coming

I love the Christmas season, but not the rush.

I enjoy looking through my box of Christmas decorations, but still the one that inspires is a wooden bowl of seed pods I've added to over the years.  Initially it was bought at an auction and I love the wonder of shape and texture of so many seeds.  And I know children love this wonder also.

The one red berry is a gift of my long gone Grandmother who loved Christmas and loved giving.

I've added to the collection this year- a brush work squirrel I found at Homebase in London- most of the ornaments were brush- like.

Do you have a favourite ornament that brings a rush of memory or emotion?

Wishing you all the joy and peace of Christmas.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Reading, thinking makes writing

I am in London. It is chilly outside and Christmas glitter and lights are beginning to brighten shops.

I am helping my daughter as she waits for baby number 2 to arrive.  I am cooking, sewing, playing with Madeleine and reading(occasionally)  I bought a book at Foyle's books store- one I've tried to read from our local library, even as an audio book and just couldn't get past the blood.  Yes it's a YA novel and very successful.  And set in London.

This time around I'm surging through the plot line and enjoying it.

What has changed?

I've finished writing and editing my next book, and now can concentrate on several other manuscripts awaiting more work, or re-working.  One manuscript that has been germinating for years is a fantasy, a time switch.  Not quite YA, no where near as gory as the above novel, but one that wants to pack a character punch and plot line just as successfully.

It's all part of my journey as an author and while I'm away from home, I'm soaking in atmosphere and thinking and missing the Australian spring.

Oh and did I say I was also knitting?  Just a scarf for Madeleine...

Friday 19 October 2012

Coming to the end...

As the end of year approaches too fast, my last workshops were conducted at Goulburn Valley Grammar.  Thanks Pauline for organising these.

I love reading my Family Myths poem to the years 7's and encourage them to think about family myths in their own family- here are some:

  • we always have chicken surprise every night
  • we always have hot veggies, no salad
  • I always leave my car door open not closed properly
  • always put milk last when using a teabag

What are your family myths?

And finally my own design- a Christmas ornament using what I have in my own craft stash.

Saturday 6 October 2012

Workshops and writing

Ooh what a big time lapse between posts, after our overseas trip my old faithful laptop died- here I am with a new whizz bang laptop, but feel the old one was easier to work...

I've had a spate of writing festivals to attend....
Here at the Ballarat children's writers and illustrators festival with Alison Lloyd and Jackie Hosking who chaired our panel, what a special time sharing and networking.

I've had a week's residency teaching poetry to a little P12 school in the Mallee- Murraryville and the culmination was an afternoon where students read their poems to parents and danced also( there was a dance teacher for the week also)- what a great combination of creativity.

I've also been writing poems  and redrafting for my next collection with Walker due out next year.  Many poems had their spark ignited in the UK.  A kernel of memory and experience locked into a poem!

As well, I've dipped into craft again to complete some projects for Madeleine and for Christmas...

The pattern came from here.

Friday 10 August 2012

Killarney, Kerry

We nearly missed this wonderful visit-to Muckross house and Muckross Traditional farms- oh if we only had longer..

Muckross house - Queen Victoria visited here and it ended up bankrupting the family- simply because all of the improvements the family made to the house for her visit.  The house is now owned by the Irish people and full of Victorian furniture etc- but alas no cameras allowed inside.

But the traditional farms on the same estate were full of photo opportunities.

Peat being stacked in the background.

Bed for all the kiddies!
Donkey power

Kel loved looking at the machinery- we even tasted soda bread in the house where a 'farm hand' had the fire lit and the smoke pervading the house.
I loved the rustic craft on display- the make and do evidence- reminded me of our farm life with six kids- 'are six kids the normal family in Australia I was asked...'

So many more photos- but we stopped for a late lunch at Adare and look where we had lunch...

in one of these thatched cottages kitted out as a cafe- circa 1828.

Then heading to Doolin for the night but a late afternoon stop at the Cliffs of Moher..
6.00 euros each to park the car- so many streams of cars, buses, people dotting the horizon towards the vantage points.  But what a view- green fields all around and the cows grazing have the best view of all.

Even an O'Brien tower

We walked it!

A last view.

Then down into Doolin.

Wednesday 8 August 2012


Into Dublin- confusing to know what bus to catch to the hotel from the airport...
then a hop on hop off bus to see the overview of sights.
A watery snap of the tallest spire in Dublin- a modern sculpture- monument of light.

Trinity college and the book of Kells.  A long wet wait to get in.

Oscar Wilde in the gardens.
Then next day it's out to Kilkenny- and Kilkenny castle.

In Ireland- not often are we allowed to photograph inside.
Yes we took a turn around the town on this!!

Tuesday 7 August 2012

More Oxford...

Of course Bodleian library was high on the must visit sites to Oxford.  We enjoyed a very informative tour.  Look what we saw:

The Divinity school built in 1427-88- took so long because they kept running out of money- I believe this building may have featured in Harry Potter movies.

That glorious roof- benefactors had their shields engraved here.
Charles 1 sat on this chair when Oxford became the headquarters for the royalist camp during the English civil war.
Hertford Bridge- another photo opportunity.

Of course sometimes the lines were too long- this to see the dining hall at Christchurch college that was the setting for the Harry Potter movies... but the gardens on the way in were gorgeous.

And a quick look at the covered markets.

Friday 3 August 2012


We went by train on a day of Olympic events, so the train was standing room only.  Once in Oxford- about an hour's train journey form London, we took the open bus tour first to get a perspective, but lasted two stops and got off at Oxford Castle.

This mound was built in1071 ' using an estimated 200 Anglo-Saxon slaves working for eight months. A ten sided stone keep stood at the top which was part of the Castle's defences.'  We climbed to the top- a bit scary and there was a steep staircase down to a deep well at the top.

Kel took this view of Oxford from the top of the Saxon tower.
There were so many different kinds of tour buses, tourist groups all flocking to Oxford.
the open bus commentary- an Oxford student gave us many insights to landmarks we could explore later on.  This is one we went back to view.

Oxford has had turbulent times.  We visited (of course) the Bodleian library and soon I will do a post on that.

Saturday 28 July 2012

Dover Castle

In Tunnels, medieval and World war 11, to castle top, our legs walked, pushed and our bodies sweated in the humid heat- what a tour of Dover Castle!

So special was the very old Saxon church next to the oldest building on the complex a Roman lighthouse built in the second century AD.

Sitting next to the castle wall and admiring these two buildings - this little bird came so close- a little blessing for a very busy day exploring the big complex and heights of Dover Castle.