I had to share these photos, taken early this morning on my back fence. I live in a rural street on the Gold Coast hinterland – just one street away we’re in bushland, right through to Uluru (Ayres Rock).
The cockatoos are a familiar sight, flying high above us and perching in the forest opposite my house. But this morning they chose to perch on next door’s roof! I went out my back to take a closer look and put nutty cereal along the fence and they flew over to take some. Needless to say, my dog Billy was not impressed – I had to lock him inside the house while I took these photos.
Cockatoos are regarded as a nuisance to some Australians, mainly because they’ve been known to cause the destruction of fences and rip apart fruits off trees and then throw the fruit, damaging and bruising it – they like mangoes in particular!
I think they’re beautiful, graceful and very intelligent, and was pleased to see them this morning….it made my day.
I took a photograph of this cool light fitting at my favorite shopping mall on the Gold Coast – Pacific Fair Shopping Mall.
We went there early today, to a bargain clothes show that was being held in the Art Exhibition Centre. Everything was just $2 including men & womens clothing and childrens. There were brand names too, so we had a few bargains! Its all for charity so we’ll be supporting the next one at the end of the year.
After all that shopping, brunch was the order of the day…plus more shopping! This pic was taken after ordering a well deserved coffee and we sitting under the arty light…very contemporary isn’t it ?
This is a story I wrote over the weekend, in response to a prompt. The image prompt showed a dinner party preparation; a pristine white table cloth and cut glass glassware, silver cutlery and creamy blooms in high set vases.
Have a great creative week!
Annabelle carefully placed his name tag next to Sophia’s. It sat there, inconspicuous among the cut glass, the silverware, the flowers. Not too overpowering as to send any guest off in fits of coughing. That wouldn’t do at all. No, it had to be perfect.
She had taken to an age to get it right, while the girls had taken their naps. Then she’d shopped for flowers, filling vases in every room until Harry had told her to stop it; it was too over the top. So, the overblown blooms had been discarded in favor of these insipid blossoms. Still, they may be a better choice.
She paused a moment, glancing at her reflection in the window. Fingers crossed that tonight was a success; if not, it would never be right again. She stopped then, pictured the balloons in the living room floor, the presents lined up on the sofa. No, she was determined that this would work out.
Harry’s shoes clipped the wooden floor, his aftershave filling the room.
‘Do we have to go to so much trouble? Anyone would think the Royals were in town.’ He laughed at that, a joke at her expense. She knew without turning around that his head would be tilted to one side as if in deep thought.
‘Hardly. Don’t you want me to make it special? After all he’s been through I thought it would be nice to spoil him.’
‘Have you made sure the toys are out of sight?’ she murmured, allowing him to nuzzle her neck.
‘All done,’ he replied. ’It looks lovely in there; Queen Bess would be proud.’ He tapped her rear. ‘I just hope he appreciates all the effort, but he’ll probably demand to go to bed early.’
His words denied the pride in his voice.
‘I’m glad too, darling. It’s important to you, so it’s important to me,’ she said softly, not telling him of the nervous knots in her stomach, that she’d not eaten all day.
‘I know, but inviting Sophia? She’ll be chatting up the nearest man to her, regardless of who he’s with. I hope you know what you’ve let yourself in for.’ He glanced around the table. ‘Why eighteen?’
‘Well, I thought it would be significant. Alex turned eighteen last month remember, so I’ve invited eighteen guests. Sophia makes up the eighteen in total.’
‘I’d rather you’d asked seventeen…! Alright, I’m going to greet our guests.’
Annabelle walked out of the room, climbed the stairs. Headlights flashed across the bedroom window, illuminating the room. Sophia stepped out of the car first, their driver fumbling with the trunk. Annabelle caught her breath at her beauty, the way her dress sparkled in the lights of the porch-way. Then she saw Harry, so considerate as he grabbed Alex’s wheelchair, fussing around him, trying to ignore his ex-wife. She knew he’d never forgiven her that night, the speed she’d been driving. Alex looked so strong, so handsome, she only wished he was hers.
We took a drive inland this weekend, to the hinterland. You have to either drive over (very steep!) or drive around Mount Tambourine in order to get into the heart of the Scenic Rim. Either way, the scenery is breathtaking, for it was once an active volcano that brought up a range of gorgeous mountains and forests. There’s Mount Barney and Mount Lindsey that edge the border into New South Wales…someone once told me they thought it was God’s country out there, and they weren’t wrong.
It also made a change from the busy madness of the coast, which has its own beauty, with the endless beaches and surf. Inland, we cruised past grazing cattle, rolling hills and farms that nestle among the forest.
Which begs the question: what would you prefer? Busy but beautiful coastline or quiet and gentle rural hills?
After 12 years not far from the beaches, the tranquility of a country setting certainly appeals – and imagine how much writing I could accomplish!
Today’s guest post is brought to you by James Bee. Thanks, James!
You have to read to write. Everyone has heard this, over and over again. It’s usually one of the first pieces of advice that is thrown at rookie writers. Read more! We’re told to read more than we write, read everything we can get our hands on, but why? How can this help?
There’s a whole bunch of ways that reading can help improve your writing but I’m going fo focus on three main ones.
Reading can help you get unstuck. Getting stuck is one of most painful experiences you can have when writing. Writers learn to dread the feeling, sitting down at your keyboard and having nothing to put down. Day after day goes by and you fall farther and farther behind your goals. It sucks, plain and simple. Reading can help save you from this…
“I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood,
tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense.”
Beautiful words by a beautiful soul! Helen Beatrix Potter
A whimsical and brilliant
writer and artist.
Born today July 28th in 1866.
Known mostly for her charming sweet children’s books starring such famous characters as; Jemima Puddle-Duck, Tom Kitten, and of course the timeless Peter Rabbit.
However she was more than just an enchanting author and incredible artist. She was also a natural scientist and conservationist, and she dedicated much of herself to the passion of plants and animals.
What an astonishing women!
A few books that tell her story/stories: (Click Pictures for details)
The first is a biography on Potter, the second a collection of her
Just a picture we took over the weekend at our favorite spot on the Gold Coast; Broadbeach and its coastline. Its wintertime, and as usual its sprung so quickly that everyone has been frantically buying warmer clothes, and the whales are busy making their way up the coastline to warmer waters. I don’t blame them.
I love this time of year though, for the humidity has gone, leaving crisp mornings and warm afternoons. It hardly ever rains either, the sky has a vast blueness that even the best artist would find difficult to replica. Added to that, the lush deep green foliage…nature at its best. 💚
Have a creative weekend, I’m spending it at home, making beef stew (or as my granny used to say – Welsh cawl) to keep warm. Also reading a lively historical mystery book by Karen Maitland. I haven’t read any by her before – she specialises in Medieval England, mainly the 13th century – but I would recommend her. Will write a review when its done.
Also on my TBR list is the new Stephen King, ‘The Outsider.’ Can’t wait! 📚
As part of my Masters degree we have to study fairy tales. These tales have been passed down from generation to generation, and in each retelling there are differing versions that pertain to the historical context, culture and the values and nuances of the time.
So we have to pick a fairy tale, then retell it. I’ve chosen the classic story of Red Riding Hood. It has been retold for hundreds of years, from Charles Perrault’s original tale in 1697 for French aristocracy, through to the Grimm Brothers in 1812, and modern versions such as Roald Dahl’s ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf.’
The stories are essentially for children, but the original message in them is much darker, the reality not so sweet and childlike. For the message is the peril of a young woman who is stalked by a predator; a ‘wolf.’ The themes of the tale include sexuality, rape and the dangers of talking to strangers.
With that in mind, here’s my version of the story. I’ve set it in contemporary times, in a bleak unidentifiable landscape that could be anywhere; does the setting resonate with you?
The bus came to a rumbling stop and the doors opened with a soft screech. Eleanor looked up from the paperback she was reading – a dystopian tale of love and war – and glanced outside. The window was smeared with mud, steamed up so that the figures outside were blurry. A large lady struggled to climb onboard, sat down in front of her. Eleanor gagged at the smell of cheap perfume and hairspray, the underlying stench of stale sweat. She turned to the window, pressed red painted fingers against its coolness. Her breath curled and she drew a love heart into the glass, smiling.
A man looked up at her from his spot on the pavement, then jumped on board. His eyes barely brushed hers as he sat down. She saw the side of his face, his hooked nose and greasy locks. She knew him, of course she did; he was the teacher she’d once had, many moons ago. He’d aged since then, had become skinnier, but the coat remained the same. He slouched into it now, a thick dark fur that smelt of lifeless animals. This one was faux and cheap, torn at the elbows. Eleanor shuddered, studying his pants, his low-priced shoes. He looked around nervously, played with the catch on his briefcase, papers bulging from its interior. She pulled her coat around her, tried to get back into her book.
The bus carried on, its engines filling the air with smoke and oil so that everyone looked pale and nauseous. They drove past factories, turned corners where smoke rose from huge stacks, until the housing estate came into sight. They were on the edge of town, driving past houses built purely for industry. Every house looked the same; tones of grey, fences around them. It looked plain and unbroken, a mass construction of walls and rooftops; even the cars were a mix of greys and blues. The bus slowed down, jerked to a stop over a huge pothole in the road. The bus driver cursed, his voice sharp in the icy chill.
Eleanor glanced across at a road sign, saw it was her stop. The sign was partly hidden by a huge oak tree, overgrown and neglected. Someone had thrown a car tyre around a lamppost and there was graffiti daubed in red. Weeds filled up the cracked tar and the air held a sense of despair and decay. Eleanor stood up, held onto the seat in front. Her paperback fell into the aisle, lay there with its pages marked and torn. The teacher reached down to pick it up.
‘Ah, I like her new one,’ he said, studying the cover. ‘Is this what youngers are reading nowadays?’ His voice was deep and throaty. Gruff like, just as she remembered.
She nodded, took the book off him. He grinned up at her, large teeth under grey whiskers, green eyes that shone in the dull light. Eyes that glanced at her legs, at the top of her stockings where her skirt had risen. They seemed to devour her. She pulled at her skirt, pushed the book into a pocket of her leather bag. It poked out from there, hanging out over the torn thread. Then she made her way to the front of the bus.
It was a ten-minute walk to her grandmother’s house. She glanced at her watch, saw the sun disappear behind the trees. The forest loomed on her right, the houses on her left. She passed a broken car engine, its parts thrown onto the scrub of grass in front of a house. In the next garden, the toys lay muddy and discolored; a broken dolls head, a bicycle upturned so that the wheel moved silently in the wind. Her grandmother lived in the end house, set off from the road by a long driveway. It had once been a woodcutter’s cottage, back in the days when wood was the main trade before the factories took over. Her dad had built a high wall a long time ago; to keep out the bad men he’d said. Grandmother had laughed at that.
Eleanor heard his footsteps before she’d even reached the cottage, had smelt him from a distance. His was a confident walk, reassured by the headphones she wore; little did he know that they were switched to off. Grandmother’s gate swung open with barely a squeak, the latch well-oiled. She walked up the driveway, her boots crunching on leaves, cracking dry old kindling. The trees reached for the skies, their bare branches adding to the gloom. She sensed him at the gate, fiddling with the latch, clumsy fingers of excitement. Grandmother’s cottage loomed in front of her, a higgledy mass of chimney stacks and ivy that choked its thick walls. The windows were cloaked in darkness, just one dim light above the porch way. She looked at the sky, the deep red reflecting her hooded coat. A storm was brewing, thunder clouds racing, a streak of lightening in the sky.
He’d hidden himself now, just behind the huge oak in front of grandmother’s gate. His smell was overpowering; earthy and feral. She smiled to herself; when had it gotten so easy?
Grandmother was at the doorway. Eleanor could see her silhouette, the bulk of her body encased in an apron. She quickened her pace, her hood falling over her shoulders, dark red hair, wild and curly. She could see down the hallway, straight through to the kitchen and the warm glow coming off the huge oven. The leather bag felt smooth against her stockings as she pulled back the zip. Inside, the tools gleamed in the muted light.
‘You’ll like this one, grandmother,’ she said, looking up. Grandmother’s eyes flashed red, her mouth dripping saliva and blood.
Eleanor grabbed the axe, held it up.
He was on top of the porch now, huge and wolf-like. Further down the driveway, she heard the latch give a resounding click shut.