September 2018

Hello again from the Sunny Coast where we have a multitude of visitors enjoying our glorious spring weather. I usually wax lyrical about our coast, but just now I am feeling decidedly saddened by the seemingly endless over-development that is happening around us. The catalyst that prompted this concern is the removal of a grand old fig tree that stood in the centre of a traffic roundabout in Sippy Downs.

It has been removed to make way for traffic lights which should improve the flow of peak hour traffic around the schools and university in the area. Additional areas of low-rise, medium density housing and commercial precincts are currently being constructed, along with sweeping new roads and one can only wonder how catastrophic it is to the wildlife habitat in the area. The promise of two hundred new trees to be planted to form a boulevard of trees at the entrance to the new town centre will be little help in the short term. At my recent Memoir Writing group one student came each week with a clutch of orphaned fledglings that she was hand feeding every twenty minutes in an effort to keep them alive. She is a member of WILVOS – a volunteer organisation based on the Sunshine Coast which provides rescue, rehabilitation and release services to the local native fauna. I suspect that more and more volunteers will be needed as this development continues.

Since my last newsletter, we have spent a few days in Melbourne, a city we have always enjoyed for its parks, culture and restaurants. Once again we enjoyed being among the crowds and bustle of a busy city, but the cold and windy weather made us realise why so many southerners come up north for a break during their winter. Despite wearing warm coats, four days of cold was quite enough.

Still travelling, we spent a recent weekend in Hervey Bay with the intention of Whale Watching with family. Note the word ‘intention’. Sunday morning turned out to be one of those rare days where a strong south westerly made the water quite rough and the skipper advised it would be unwise for anyone with back problems to go on board. I had, only the week before, been for x-rays to check out my back pain, so obviously it was out for me. Suddenly Mal and I were left with three hours to fill while we waited for family. With no car and unable to walk for any distance, it could have been a real disappointment. However, we’ve all heard of the three hour lunch and when we found a promising restaurant with comfy seats overlooking the marina we managed not to suffer too much. A bottle of crisp white wine and a delicious selection of tapas made the three hours fly by as we just sat and talked and simply enjoyed each other’s company. Sometimes an unexpected period of one on one time with a partner can turn a disappointment into a pleasure.

My Memoir Writing sessions are going from strength to strength with the final classes for 2018 ending this week. With only one more workshop to go it is time for me to take a few months off and settle back into my own writing. These classes have been a great experience and one which I shall continue in 2019. Meeting so many friendly people who shared their passion and enthusiasm in telling their family stories was an unforeseen bonus. What began as a tentative experiment earlier this year has proved to be another avenue to my writing life. The reward to me is that many of those who attended are continuing to meet regularly to review and talk about their progress. Thank you to all of those who have been either to my talks or classes – it has been a pleasure to meet you.

It is not often I read a book that stays in my mind for days after I have finished it, but my recommendation this month did just that. A historical fiction novel, with stories running in two time lines, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn is based on the true life of forgotten real life heroines of the first World War. Perhaps it impressed me because it showed women at that time, when given the opportunity, were quite capable of far more than society gave them credit for. But then, we all knew that didn’t we? If you want a full review of this absorbing book, then just follow the link.

If you would like to learn more about the real life Alice, Louise de Bettignies, you will find it here.

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