Thursday 30 April 2009


Just got back from a few days in Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland. Will be moving down there in a month or so. I like it there as it has a good buzz - lots of things to do which help a writer. I always spend a lot of time in the huge Brisbane Square Library, where there is a good research section. Over the Brisbane River at the Southbank there is the Queensland State Library which is fantastic for research, with librarians there to help etc etc.

Have a few articles on my mind - want to do one on Noosa, my hometown. Also Kakadu in the Northern Territory where we recently had a holiday and saw lots of crocs and gorgeous scenery. Thinking about a writer's tour of Britain too. Lots of ideas there about the places famous writers lived. Pity there weren't more hours in the day.

Moving and writing don't really mix, but I'll do my best...

Tuesday 28 April 2009


I think I live in one of the most gorgeous places in the world, but I still leave it every chance I get to go on a trip. Today the blue skies, perfectly blue ocean, gentle frothy white-edged waves take me back to Nice in the south of France. Did a 6 month trip in 2007/08 over a northern winter (cheapskate - cheap flights, cheap accommodation...). Every time the fingers and toes threatend mutiny we (husb Geo & I) headed to Nice, a cheap Easyjet away. There we would thaw out in sweltering 15C heat (ha, ha) while Paris was freezing it out.

From the first time I flew into Nice I was gobsmacked. The plane flying so low over the Mediterranean coast was exhilarating. I was in love. It was sun-bathed each time we arrived, and glittering with lights each time we left. Couldn't drag my eyes away.

Nice is a bit like around the Noosa area where I live, but the buildings are much more interesting, lets say I think they're drop dead gorgeous. Loved walking up Castle Hill and looking down over the gentle sweep of the Bay of Angels with the pastel boroque-style buildings edging the Promonade des Anglais where we loved to stroll no matter what the time of day or night.

Loved jumping on the cheap (1.50 euro a day) buses to go to such romantic towns as Cannes, Monaco, Grasse, Antibes, Cap Ferrat...Marseille cost a bit more!) No such thing as cheap public transport where I live, car is king, but I loved the European way of being able to travel in trains, buses, planes for a pittance. Boats were a bit heftier, but worth it.

Loved walking around Nice, or jumping on the local buses for a cheap tour. There's so much to see with all the places the great artists used to hang out. Love that it's all still there - Matisse's house, galleries, museums. Could spend a year there quite happily immersing myself, and that's just in the food.

Did Imention yet that the food is simple yet sublime? Loved eating in Nice. Even the Cours Saleya wasn't that expensive. Mainly ate fresh pasta with fresh Nice pesto drizzled over it with a suggestion of meat. Yum...And those pistachio gelatos afterwards, yum, was great to lick one of them near the Cours Saleya and watch while the police rounded up the petty and not so petty crims. So civilized the way all the cops in Nice can suddenly converge in one place where the action is happening. Don't see much crime in my neck of the woods, and we'd probably be flat out raking up that many cops in the whole of Australia, but they did look nice in their cute uniforms.

Better watch out...all this dreaming of Nice brings back so many great memories. If you've never visited, go....

Monday 27 April 2009


Another beautiful autumn day, arguably the best season in Australia. Sky clear blue, a slight nip in the air, temperature mild. From my desk I can see the Pacific Ocean gently lapping the golden sands of Peregian Beach, lucky me. Peregian Beach is a little European-styled village an ocean drive away from Noosa, the jewel of Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Noosa has become a mecca for foodies and I'm looking forward to the Settler's Cove Noosa Food and Wine Festival next weekend, May 1, 2 and 3. Famous chefs come from all over to ply their trade, such as Tetsuya of the No 1 Japanese restaurant Tetsuya's. People will be excitedly trying all the food and wine and having a great time.

That's what I like about Noosa. It has so much natural beauty which is reason enough to visit, but there is always a festival, a sporting event, an arty event to swell its numbers. The population is capped at 50,000, but on these weekends you can hardly move.

Hope this perfect weather holds. Our Queensland saying: 'Beautiful one day, perfect the next' is sure to apply.

Saturday 25 April 2009


Australians are a pretty laidback bunch, but when it comes to Anzac Day (April 25th), it is sacred. For awhile there it was pretty much in the doldrums, but has seen a huge resurgence in recent years. Nowadays young people are embracing the idea of Anzac Day, joining in parades which happen across Australia on this day and travelling to Gallipoli to see where the ANZACS (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landed on that fateful day, April 25th 1915.

It was a massacre and Australia and New Zealand lost thousands of their young men. They could ill afford the huge losses as both being such young countries there just weren't that many young men to go around. Yet it was the first war where we fought as Australians and it defined a nation. The ANZAC spirit of mateship is an over-arching spirit in Australians' relationships with each other. We admire the courage, strength, mateship of these young soldiers, and seek to exhibit similar values in our own lives.

Today when there are wars all over the world and it looks like there always will be, it is not bad to think about all the soldiers who have died in the quest to keep their lands free.

Australians still ask why did our young men have to die in Turkey? They were cannon fodder. This is where our ambivilance about the Brits stems from.

Good on you fellow Aussies for believing in this day...
'Fom the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, we will remember them...'