March 2016

March has been a busy month, made more tiresome by what seems to be an extended monsoonal season keeping the weather hot and humid. I’m beginning to wish I had started this latest Sunshine Coast project some ten years ago when I had more energy. Nothing daunted, I shall push on. The encouragement I gained from a chat with the inspiring Ocean Reeve made the long and busy drive to Brisbane worthwhile as I came back home keen to keep going. I have to admit to having periods over the last couple of months when I was ready to abandon the entire project. Being photographer and author doubles the workload and slows the process down considerably. Writing fiction is so much faster, especially when the muse kicks in and leads you to places where you had no thought of going – but what an adventure that can be. Non-fiction is rather like writing in a straight-jacket – you have to keep to the facts. So no more grumbling! I will just get on taking one step at a time and stop setting unrealistic goals.

It’s been another month where I have talked with truly exceptional people. The lovely Emily Thomas from SEA LIFE provided me with some photos from their files of rescued turtles being released back into the sea. What a fantastic thing they are doing in trying to save as many of these endangered creatures as possible. Over the past twenty-five years SEA LIFE Mooloolaba has cared for almost 900 sick or injured turtles so if there is one thing I can pass on to you, it is PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE take care of how you dispose of your rubbish, especially plastic bags – they cause so much distress to these fragile creatures and not all of them are lucky enough to be washed up on our shores where they can be rescued. Let’s keep our oceans clean and our marine creatures safe.

Another inspiring meeting was with Tony Silver, manager of the Nippers at Alex Surf Life Saving Club and an ardent promoter of the Association. His passion and enthusiasm spill over and the stories he tells are a delight and, at times, very moving. I was honoured to be permitted to include in my book, one particular story of a very special little girl, but you will have to wait for publication to be able to read that one. We were privileged to witness the Alex Seahorse Nippers’ group which caters for children with ‘special abilities’. With hands on assistance and supervision from two lifesavers to each child, these children are able to enjoy the activities others may take for granted. Some of the volunteers had driven two hours back from the Gold Coast (where they were competing in the State Titles) especially for this morning, and to see the care and attention they gave each child was heart-warming. There are some very special people here on the Sunny Coast – it is a source of pride to be living here and I would like to think I have contributed something to the community in the fifteen years we have resided here.

To move away from my own book, and on to others - namely my reading this month. Firstly the Book Group classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Oddly it didn’t draw a great deal of discussion and personally I came away feeling Truman Capote did not have a great regard for women, and that perhaps coloured my judgement on the book itself somewhat. I can only say whoever cast Audrey Hepburn in the role of Holly Golightly made an inspired choice. Between them they managed to turn the character into a charming and whimsical heroine. Maybe next month’s book will be better? It’s on to Thomas Hardy and Far from the Madding Crowd.

Always reliable is Bill Bryson, this time it was The Road to Little Dribbling, a sequel to Notes from a Small Island, an all-time favourite of mine. Written twenty-five years later he still has the sharp wit and descriptive turn of phrase that I adored in the first book, but this time I felt a sense of disillusionment in Mr. Bryson’s views of his beloved England. He maintains his love of long walks and spectacular scenery, but, like everywhere else in the world, modern life has changed so much of what was once charming and quirky – and not for the better. Bryson’s good natured grumbling still provides frequent smiles and the occasional laugh out loud moment. His writing is as sharp as ever and the book was an absolute pleasure to read. As he wanders in a seemingly haphazard fashion around his adopted country he shares some of the delightful, and not so delightful, locations away from the usual tourist trail. He turns his satirical turn of phrase to towns that did not impress.

On Bognor - “A terminally ill seaside town whose main claim to fame lies in being alliteratively denounced by a terminally ill king. “Bugger Bognor,” King George V allegedly exclaimed before expiring”.

A grim post-industrial town called Eastleigh which “is directing all its economic energies into the making and drinking of coffee. There were essentially two types of shop in the town: empty shops and coffee shops.”

Enough said – this writer is pure delight.

See you next month.

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