Roadside Grevillea

Grevillea – & – A Tidbit From My Novel.

The Grevillea bush is in full bloom and I try to catch sight of the honeyeaters as I walk by. Unfortunately, they are too quick to fly off as I approach. Maybe if I left the dog at home … but that would defeat the purpose.

Now, I’ve decided to share  the opening dialogue from my novel, only because I’ve already revealed this on my other blog (the online learning journey one). When I found myself without sentences for a writing task, I snatched words I had prepared earlier.

Being Fantasy, I know it will not appeal to some! A mere tidbit.


“You’re sure, absolutely sure, no one else knows about this?” the wizard asked, peering at his informant in the gloom.

The elderly dragon-rider leaned into his green dragon, slipped a hand inside his leathers and absent-mindedly scratched while he thought. He nodded slowly.

“It would be all over town, if anyone else knew,” he said, flicking the fingers of his free hand towards the Tower.

“I suppose.” The wizard sounded unconvinced.

“My dragon will tell you the same thing.” The dragon-rider thumped the ribs behind him. “We’ve not spoken of it to anyone. Once word gets out, you can’t keep something like this quiet,” he insisted.

The wizard and the dragon locked eyes. The wizard looked away first.

Roadside Grevillea
Roadside Grevillea

All grammar and verb use corrections gratefully received!

M-R’s book: And Then Like My Dreams.

Margaret Rose Stringer is one of the first bloggers I chose to ‘follow’. Right away I loved her blogging style and eventually I discovered she had written a book – she is not shy about self-promotion. While others set up their author platform and follow the guidelines about being too pushy, Margaret Rose (aka M-R) goes ahead and does what she likes and says what she thinks.


In fact, on her website, she has changed the tagline of her novel back from the publisher’s A Memoir to her own original pre-publication tag of Still and Moving Pictures, so don’t get confused if you should decide to get hold of a copy for yourself.

I must have said something sensible during a comment on one of her posts because – I am unable to fathom why – M-R added my blog to the 30 days/ 30 blogs challenge she had set herself, resulting in an unsurpassed spike in my stats.  Her action was stunning to me because she is the most awful snob when it comes to intelligence.

I had already picked up on that before I decided to buy her book.  In it, I discovered her obstinate refusal to suffer fools has led to some interesting asides in her memoir.

M-R writes honestly and intimately about her soul mate and husband – Charles ‘Chic’ Stringer – one of the Australian film industry’s most respected stillsmen. She speaks of their 31 years together, and remains determined to do all she can to keep her husband’s memory alive. He remains the other half of herself.

But I found this story more than the sum of her relationship with Chic. We get to see inside M-R, herself, as she reveals her first 31 years. She speaks disarmingly of abandonment, love, death, and how her mind works, often not in her favour.

M-R’s closing words: of the day after seeing Chic on TV, shooting stills for Grundy’s, in a movie about ABBA in Australia.

Three all-too-brief times I saw him in the mêlée surrounding the Swedes – always with one of his cameras in his hands, looking for a position in the ongoing madness.
There was no grief; only unutterable joy at the sight of him – young, beautiful, professional …
He was the most exciting person I have ever known.

I found ‘And Then Like My Dreams’ honest, funny, revealing, passionate, even slightly shocking, but always entertaining. I smiled, I cried, I was appalled, my mouth dropped open, I giggled, I cried again and thought surely my heart would break for these two people I have never met.

Above all, I was entertained.

And Then Like My Dreams. A Memoir


Icy Grass & New Theme


It was only minus 2 when I made coffee this morning about 8.30am.  The sky has been a wonderful blue all day and there could even be hint of Spring in the air, but not quite yet. I love it when the air gets that particular feel – hard to define – but you know it when it arrives.

Frosty morning

We had blue skies until mid afternoon after a minus 4 about 8am – could have been colder earlier.


The photo below is how it was before I straightened it using M-R’s suggested little program.

Just after 8 am, minus 4 C.

Bite Size Memoir: Holiday Reads

This week’s Bite Size Memoir Prompt is: Holiday Reads
Do you read on holiday? If you do, what do you choose?

Reading isn’t high on my agenda while holidaying because I love soaking up the surroundings and just be. Light reading at a new destination is usually confined to information from the tourist centre or local newspapers.

If I do need to take ‘heavier’ reading material, I’d select Tolkien’s The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. I clearly remember my first read of The Hobbit.


I borrowed it from the Hamilton High School library. At home, gob-smacked from the opening lines, I followed mum around the house, while she cleaned, and read beloved paragraphs to her. Mum wasn’t impressed. I reread that magic opening paragraph over and over again. My love of the fantasy genre began with this book.

I’m really taken with Smaug, the talking dragon. Although I’ve heard dragons are now considered cliché, I can’t imagine myself writing fantasy without adding my own creations: just need a difference.

This statue symbolizes my committment to finishing my novel.
This statue symbolizes my commitment to finishing my novel.


[It's a challenge all right, keeping to 150 words! Contributed to Lisa's Bite Size Memoir by Christine, from Victoria, Australia]

Bite Size Memoir No.1: “School at Seven”

In 1962, when I was almost seven, I attended my third school – Warracknabeal State School – in the Wimmera district, Victoria, Australia. Shortly after, my family moved again, this time down john and bettythe road to Balmoral. I was still in the first grade, despite missing Prep because my Uncle’s girlfriend was the Prep teacher. When she visited, I’d sit on her knee and proudly read John and Betty.


At Balmoral, we lived 8km out-of-town in an old house. My teacher was Miss Wiltshire. The favourite in our class was a girl with a hole-in-her-heart. The whole class earned smacks on the backs of our legs for playing up in Religious Instructions class and I begged them not to smack her. After we practiced for a concert, I missed the bottom step when we came off the stage, earning myself another smack around the legs. I didn’t like Miss Wiltshire after that.

Main street, Warracknabeal – still much the same as 1962 Photo: Virtual Tourist

Gumnuts & Catch Up

Just outside the side fence, we have two gum trees flowering: one bearing yellow blossom and the other red. The bees love them. Since the red blossom is far too high above ground these days to photograph, I fished through my albums to find a past photo for you. Here ’tis.

gum red blossom

I went to the doctor today to get my … oh-oh … just had to rush off and down a blood pressure tablet … umm … to get my routine blood test results. My blood pressure is fine. The blood work came back fine – kidneys, blood cells, liver, etc. The only thing outside the range is my thyroid which usually runs about 4.7.  This has always been okay until the upper limit came down from 5.50, so I’m now always above the minimum. (I’m not taking medication for this.)  I’m still awaiting the results of the 24 hour urine I presented to pathology on Tuesday – I’m going back in two weeks for that result.

The latest word from the doctor, re antimony levels, is that the local residents are now showing normal urine results. Apparently the expert opinion is that the antimony was hanging about in the air and has now settled after all the rain we’ve had.  The doctor feels my some of my arsenic levels might be from too much seafood. We will keep an eye on it, of course.

While there, I decided to show Mary Jane my fingernails. Earlier in the year, while checking my nails in the waiting room – as you do – I noticed they were an orangey colour, like I’d been peeling oranges. One of my liver markers was elevated, so I thought it related to that. I forgot about it, until this week, when I noticed that the nail colour has returned to normal from the cuticle up the bottom third of the nail.  Mary Jane expressed surprise, asked if I was taking any herbs (I’m not, apart from the odd chamomile tea.) and got out her mobile phone and took photographs. She emailed the photos to someone who would know about such things.

I’m still taking the Coloxyl twice a day. When I asked her about the onions, she looked dubious and said coriander is good for detox and it is best added to juice. So, that’s almost sorted then. I still haven’t had my PAP smear, and my BreastScreen came back clear. All in all, I’m feeling great. I’ll just keep exercising a few times a week, watch what I eat, and generally avoid working too hard. I’m good at the latter. :)

Now, what else … I have been a bad, bad girl. I haven’t touched my novel for ages. I can say that will change, but who knows!

Reading: I just read a Clive Cussler novel, which makes me feel confident about my writing ability but not my story-telling. I like good old plain writing. Last night I finished re-reading Margaret Rose Stringer‘s memoir And Then Like My Dreams. Reading it for the second time was even better than the first. It is a very revealing look into M-R’s headspace.

Online learning: I’m loving the Times of Richard 111 course, learning so much. I haven’t been paying as much attention as I should to the Writing class, winging my way through the assignments but printing out stuff for later study.  Getting closer to having to produce that marvellous piece of paragraph writing. I quit the How To Change The World course. It was all a bit too far over my head and I didn’t like the assignments as they expected a hands-on approach. There was too much reading, and I got too far behind. Addressing poverty was about Extreme Poverty and looking to third world countries, ignoring poverty in the backyard, more or less saying it wasn’t extreme enough. I also got annoyed when success in these countries was judged on the ability to create a middle class. Well, hello, what about the ones still on the bottom, their poverty was probably worse. One of the lecturers said that there is now more food grown in India than ever, but it still does not get to all the people who need it.

That’s about it. Everything else is pretty much the same here. Still working just the basic three days a week, for a few hours or so, cleaning.  I suppose I’ll have to do my tax return soon. The only taxes I pay are the GST, though I believe there is talk of doing away with the mature worker offset and the low income offset.

I still want to finish the tasks in the Blogging University, and I’m going to start Lisa’s Bite Size Memoir challenge, too.

I also have to declare this an Awards Free Blog, since I have now been awarded two awards – one by raroto over at Duniya Ku and someone else did too, but for the life of me I cannot remember who! Was it you? Own up!  I stumbled across it. I even clicked on it to make sure it was me.  You’re all very welcome to nominate me for Awards. I’ll carry out the associated task and link to your blog. But I wont make myself pick favourites, sorry.  Anyway, I thought I would be getting ahead of myself if I declared myself award-free beforehand. Enough said.

I haven’t been doing any family history.

And that seems all I have to say for now. Thanks for calling in and reading. :)

Another photo? why not! One to make you laugh? Why not!


Trying to keep the brain cells alive.


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