Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Long - Weekend Break

A quick post put up via my mobile phone. (photos from my camera)

Deb and I have again nipped away for a quick break.

This photo gives a clue as to where we are.

You might recognise the colourful rock-face on that mountain in the distance.

It is the Taipan Wall in the Grampians

Back in September I posted about a climb I made up one end of this mountain (following yellow arrows)

I haven't done anything that energetic yet because we arrived quite late.

So only a drive to the west and a half hour walk to get photos of this.

More piccies in a few days!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A long time coming.

Both aspects of my post tonight took a while to arrive.

First as I promised a waterfall. In fact it is the same waterfall as I posted last time.

This is the Hopetoun Falls in the Otway ranges west of Melbourne.No Spelling error by the way, it is Hopetoun Falls with a U.

I took these shots about a month ago and haven’t got round to posting them ‘til now.

The river downstreamAnd a closer shot of the falls.Now the slowest delivery from Amazon I have ever experienced!

A while ago I ordered a copy of a blogosphere friend’s book.

To be exact I ordered a copy of Wendy Robertson’s The Romancer.Wendy is a British author who has literarily dozens of books to her name. The Romancer is about her life as a writer.

So just after Christmas last year I put in an order with Amazon. And waited…
And waited…
No book arrived.

I checked my credit card statement, no debit.

Ah, well I thought I’ll organize it another time.

Then just the other day Deb asked “Did you buy anything on Amazon?”
“Not that I remember.”
There was an item on the statement from Amazon. I kind of remembered ordering something for my Mum so I forgot it.

Wendy’s book turned up today!

And here is the delivery slip showing my order made 29 December 2010!
Now you have to excuse me I have some reading to do!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A neglected Subject.

Unless I am very wrong I have not posted about my writing and my WIP since mid July.

That seems unbelievable. This work is so much part of my life, yet I haven’t shared it.

Yet in some ways I have not done much that I could really talk about. My last news was that I had completed a first draft and was sorting the sections into the order they will remain.

OK I can say I’ve completed that.

Having said that I have to admit the past couple of months have not been very productive with the WIP.

To be fair to myself I have been plugging along fairly steadily at it. Most days I would be spending an hour or an hour and a half on rewriting.

I have also written a few sections from scratch (when I put the whole together there seemed to be a few gaps). But until last week I have to say I really felt like I was going round in circles.

I was actually beginning to wonder if the whole work was missing something. I like the characters, I like the overall story, but it felt like it was not working.

Then over the past week, I am not quite sure why, I felt much more positive. I made some changes in a few chapters which led me to write a couple more “filler” sections. Now I feel like I am back on track.

It might sound odd, but I am just about to begin reading it aloud to Deb. That is a step I took with my first novel Veiled in Shadows, just before I sent it out to other readers.

I find reading aloud really positive. It let’s me pick a lot of stupid errors. And as a bonus I get my first external perspective. If it passes muster with Deb I am then game to share it with others.

Then I can start thinking about finding Beta-readers.

Gratuitous Waterfall shot.Next: Can you handle more waterfalls?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Killers in the Cemetery

Back to Queenstown Cemetery tonight. I couldn’t leave it at the few flowers I posted.

Tonight a few more of the flowers. The only one I can confidently name is this Showy Parrot-Pea (Dillwynia sericea)

I photographed dozens of flowers and in this small area (probably only an acre) there were probably dozens more species.

I quite simply ran out of time.

At a glance these two look to be the same species.But if you look closely the stigma and anthers seem quite different. I would guess a botanist would say they are two varieties.

This one was one of my favorites. I “know” this flower I am sure. I have been racking my brain and just can’t recall it. More research is called for.

The only trouble is there are literally thousands of Oz flowers many only known by their scientific names.

These tiny flowers were lurking down among the grasses, to give an idea of the size each petal is about the size of a rice grainSpeaking of lurking.

Nestling down in the grasses across this site are dozens of killers.

There’s one A bit closerAnd a real close upThese fascinating little plants are Sundews
Sundews are carnivorous plants. The glistening droplets are a sticky trap. Small insects that land on them get stuck then the tendrils fold in like a sea-anemone trapping the victim which is then slowly digested.

This final piccie is one I shot a few years ago (with my old camera) if you look closely you’ll sea this little plant is busy eating a number of ants.NEXT: I rabbit on about my writing

Monday, October 17, 2011

Death and Wildflowers

A very quick post tonight.

Yesterday as is our wont Deb and I got out and about.

We stayed relatively close to home, deciding to have a late breakfast and head for an abandoned gold-rush era cemetery.

After a light shower in the morning it turned into a beautiful spring day.

You can see from this piccie what a bright sunny afternoon it became.
Welcome to the Queenstown cemetery which was in use from 1860 until 1981.

Most of the 380 recorded graves were from the gold-rush and pioneer era.

Showing the standards of the time there are believed to be a significant number of unrecorded and unmarked graves of Chinese gold miners. Evidence of most graves including the recorded ones has vanished, destroyed by a bushfire in 1962.

My intention was to make a record of the graves and cemetery (I love cemetaries).

But I was quickly distracted. Because spring means wildflowers.

There were hundreds, many of which I have never seen before. Remember I have only lived in Victoria for a few years and Oz has an incredibly regionally diverse flora.

Just two of the beauties I captured were a Spotted Sun Orchid (Thelymitra merranae)
And a close up. Isn’t it exquisite?

A white Hyacinth Orchid (I think) I’m not sure of the species, more research is in order.
Speaking of research I posted this piccie of a cute bird, but didn’t know what it was. It turns out s/he is a White-browed Scrubwren (Sericornis frontalis).

Thanks for the reminder Amanda

Next: Killer Plants

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In which Lilli the Labrador becomes…

A bucket-head! Our beautiful pup Lilli is now 6 months old which means today she went to the vet to be spayed.
She was dropped early this morning and the girls picked her up this afternoon.

Our vet fits a smart collar to every pet they do surgery on.

No messing with stitches for Lilli!
The poor thing looked so funny mournful when I got home that I had to share.
She has to keep this on until her stitches are removed. Somehow we are meant to keep her quiet for the next 2 weeks.

Not hard today, but I don’t know how we are going to keep a bouncy half grown Lab quiet after the initial discomfort wears off.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Russells, Russells Everywhere.

This blog of mine continues to amaze in terms of the links it fosters.

Ages ago I posted these photos of two graves in the Indian city of Jabalpur. They are the graves of two of my great-great-grandparents. I was sent these piccies by a gentleman called Byram who also had ancestors from Jabalpur. He found me through this blog.

An amazing contact formed through the blogosphere.

Well it has happened again!

This little blog has brought me contact with two people from the UK (to be precise England) researching their genealogy. Only this time the people in questions are actually distant relations of mine.

Great- great-grandfather William Alexander Russell who lies in the Jabalpur grave was one of eight siblings.

As a quick aside his sister Ellen also happens to be my great-great-grandmother. Before you go “eeewwww” or “give me six” (as a friend facetiously did) they did not marry each other. WA's son (my great-grandfather) married Ellen's daughter (my great-grandmother).

Actually, at some point I am going to have to write about how the two cousins came to be hitched. It is quite a romantic tale. But as I say another time!

Now where was I?

Distant Russell relations.

I received an email from a Susannah Russell who lives in England.

She introduced herself by saying she enjoyed my blog and went on to say “I have just started to research my own family tree and I am sure that we must be related. Like you I am descended from the Russells of Jabalpur and the names Postance and Anley also feature in my tree.”

It turns out WA and Ellen had six other siblings.

One of these Edwin Arthur Russell is Susannah’s great-grandfather.

While another brother of WA and Ellen was Augustus Morrell Russell who is the great-great grandfather of yet another distant cousin Bill Russell.

The internet and the blogosphere are making this world very small and giving me very long lost relatives!

Two last points on family links:
Bill (or William) Russell is a family name that has continued down my line too. My pop's brother was another Bill Russell, my dad is Rupert Anley William Russell, and one of my nephews is also a William Russell.

Susannah's father was a scriptwriter (and actor) for the BBC and her grandmother (also a Russell) was a novelist!

It seems there are some latent writer’s genes in this Russell’s family!

Now that is enough because you are probably all as confused as I was to start!

Now a piccie from Mum's place.
A juvenile Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Home Safe

A quick one tonight.

I got home safe from Mum’s house late on Tuesday night.
I had a lovely time but all good things come to an end.

Mum lives 1300 km (800 miles) away so I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I would like. It was quite heart wrenching to come away. She is still fit and healthy but at 82 years of age I am painfully aware that she won’t be around forever.

Mind you having said that she comes from a long lived line on her mother’s side so I hope she will be around for a good while yet!

That’ll do me for tonight except I have as usual come home with a pile of piccies. I will share just two tonight.

A pair of fire-tail finches (Neochmia temporalis) also known as red-browed finches. These native finches are about the size of a sparrow. They form pair bonds and these two seemed very cozy so I guess they are mates.

A common or laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) these guys are common across eastern Oz. They are a giant kingfisher (about 45 cm long) their main prey is reptiles such as lizards and snakes. They swoop down from their perch and carry their prey back into a tree. They dispatch a snake by battering its head repeatedly against a branch before swallowing them whole!