Saturday, 3 January 2015

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

What did you do on New Year's Eve eve?

I made sausages!

It is said that the proof is in the pudding, but in this case the proof is in the sausages. Garlic, sage and rose; bratwurst; Jeanma Special; spicy.

Guess what's for tea?

The clueless leading the clueless. But we're learning.

Don't look too closely at these early extrusions

Getting the hang of it

Metres and metres of sausages

Change of guard. Well, change of sausage mix.

We went for normal size, but you can make any size you want with this machine.

Threading the casing onto the ... um ... casing thing?

These are the experts: Jean Ma and Catherine.

Weighing it all up. Ready for dinner!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Farewell First Tuesday Children's Book Club

About five years ago, I was one of the founding members of the First Tuesday Children's Book Club

Since then, we've met in various rooms in the Abbotsford Convent. Sometimes in the yellow room, sometimes in other spaces, but mostly in the room we knew as Mother Superior's Chamber. (Recently it's been renamed but I'm always going to remember it as Mother Superior's Chamber).

It's a great place to meet. It's been a wonderful thing to meet regularly with a bunch of enthusiastic others to talk about children's books.

Towards the end of this year, I made a decision to withdraw from the group. Not because of any failure or challenge in the group, but because I found my year just too full and needed to pull back on something. And unfortunately, book group was it. I'm already wondering whether it's a good idea. The withdrawing that is.

Yesterday, one of our members (thanks Heather) organised a tour of the State Library before lunch. Cathy, one of the SLV librarians, was our guide. It's such a rich and wonderful place that our tour could only hint at its treasures, but it was enough to remind me how much I love this place.

These spiral stairs allowed librarians access to all the books that were held in these balconies. Fit they must have been.

This is an image from one of the books on display in the 'World of the Book' permanent exhibition.

After our tour, we had lunch at The Moat, in Little Lonsdale St, where they gave me a beautiful notebook and pen.

I am so grateful to have been able to meet regularly with these knowledgeable, warm and wonderful people to discuss so many wonderful books. I will very much miss our meetings, but am happy in the knowledge that many more books will receive such respectful and intense attention. Thank you to them all.
Thanks too to Jaz for these photos.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Once upon a beach holiday

To the sea, perchance to see

Still life with lizard

A room with a view

The walk to town

Late afternoon selfie

Upon a little hill

Here's leaf litter to you

Held together with slogans and paint

Too hot to seek asylum here

And finally ... does he look like a half-transformed Frog Prince? I think he does

Queensland Literary Awards

I have been on holiday in Byron Bay (bliss) and was thrilled while there to receive news that Big Red Kangaroo has been shortlisted in the Queensland Literary Awards.

Big Red is keeping fine company in the Griffith University Children's Book Award category.

For the full list of award categories and shortlists see here

Monday, 10 November 2014

Herring Island

Yesterday, we took the punt to Herring Island. As you do.

Actually, as I've not done. Ever. But have been keen to do for some years. It's a man-made island in the middle of the Yarra around Richmond/Toorak (depending on which bank of the Yarra you're on).

I knew little about it beyond that it was home to some sculptures.

I know more now, but I'll let you discover that for yourself if you wish. But I will share my yesterday. We were visiting Herring Island for a bush poetry event at the invitation of the new Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly and his team.

This is Herring Island from the punt jetty on the Toorak bank.

This is the punt that ferried us across.

These are the bubbles that show where the A-frame welcome sign flew and then sank.

 Here are the sculptures. At intermission we charged our glasses, nibbled on cheese and wandered the island to find them.


The weather was clement (is that even a word on its own? I must check). I did just check and 'clement' means 'mild'. That sort-of fits, but really the appropriate word is glorious.

I really liked this sculpture, like the prow of a ship, or in this case the island. It's easy to imagine it sailing on downstream.

This is not a sculpture, more a found object, but I liked it anyway.

Hard to really tell here but that stone ball is bigger than the opening.

Stone cone. Of course.

More not-sculpture but sitting in the bush to be found, just like the sculptures.

Another not-sculpture

Bit tricky to see but this one extended the length of the cleared space, stepping stones of a sort. Or a serpent, or ...

Not a sculpture but a very patient photographic subject.

Reassembling for the second half of the bush poetry event. A range of poetry, some original and others recited from Aussie favourites. Some songs too. 

Happy now. I've been to Herring Island. 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Clunes Kids Booktown and SpringFest with Itty Bitty Book Van

I'd planned my preparation down to the minute. Two days in Clunes at Booktown for Kids (with fellow authors and illustrators Andrew Plant, Marks x3 (Wilson, Greenwood and Carthew), Sherryl Clark, Judith Rossell, Krista Bell, Frane Lessac, Hazel Edwards, Ann James, Craig Smith and Jackie Kerin)

and then a day by Lake Wendouree at SpringFest with Kerri of the fabulous Itty Bitty Book Van.

This VERY flat tyre was not part of the plan.

Neither were the two hours I spent while four new tyres were fitted. But the ride on the new tyres - that was fabulous.

I arrived in Clunes on a gorgeous Thursday afternoon, too early (okay so my plans generally have a bit of flex in them) and wandered around before checking in.

What a beautiful clematis! This was at Keebles where I and several other of the authors and illustrators were accommodated.

The gardens went on and on ...

Love a bearded iris

These dead trees added a sculptural element.

There was a putting green and a half-court for tennis. Not that we were anywhere near either of these.

Walking down to the pub for dinner was like walking onto a film set. No surprise that the main street of Clunes has appeared in several films.

Early morning Clunes


More poppies

The gateway to Keebles.

This is the theatre at Clunes. Some of the workshops were held here.

And this is my willing junior soldier in WWI clobber. I never thought I'd find someone small enough for my army boots.

Bookfest was fabulous despite lower than hoped-for numbers. All those I talked to reported really enjoying their time. Hopefully they will help to spread the word for this festival. Mega thanks to Sheila, Tess, Tim and all the wonderful volunteers.
After two days at Clunes I drove to Ballarat and on Sunday joined Kerri of Itty Bitty Book Van at the SpringFest around Lake Wendouree. Wasn't the warmest of days, but it was fun to read to many groups of children, sign some books and have a bit of a wander around the lake. I bought a tomato plant to replace the one my dog sat on, and some basil too.

Then, home again, home again jiggedy jig.