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Monday, 23 February 2015

Wild Weather, A Preview, Overseas Visitors, a Close Shave and Two Book Reviews

Bella's latest perch...on the arm of my recliner, usually when I'm sitting in it.  It's the first step towards insinuating herself on my lap when I'm either on the laptop or trying to read.  She thinks if she moves in small increments, I won't notice, but it's a bit hard not to when she sits on the keyboard or the book!

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As you may or may not have heard, Queensland was the filling in a tropical cyclone sandwich a few days ago.  TC Lam hit the Top End briefly before moving into the Northern Territory as a Cat 4 system.  TC Marcia made landfall a day or so later as a Cat 5 system, causing immense destruction in the small township of Yeppoon plus the city of Rockhampton, 40 km inland, before weakening and moving down the coast and into New South Wales.  Even after Marcia decayed and moved out to sea, the effects were still felt a couple of days later with flooding as the rivers rose from the rain falling in the catchment area.

Now the clean up begins, insurance claims assessed and power gradually restored to thousands of homes.  Queenslanders are a hardy lot though.  While devastated at the loss of their homes and businesses, the attitude is "life goes on" and they do get on with it.

Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland are cyclone prone states and the cyclone season lasts throughout the southern summer until April.  Usually they are of lesser intensity but over the last few years, there have been some more dangerous ones hitting the coasts.  As a cyclone grows in intensity its movements become more unpredictable thus making it very hard to know where it'll make landfall.  Marcia was small, about 70 km in width but extremely fast growing, going from a deep low in the Coral Sea to a Cat 5 in 24 hours. TC Yasi in 2011 was also a Cat 5 but a lot larger at approximately 1,000 km in width...a frightening sight on the satellite pictures.

However, in amongst all the chaos and destruction, the wonderful news was that there were no deaths...amazing when one sees videos of incredibly high tides thanks to storm surge, huge trees being uprooted and sheets of iron from roofs effortlessly taking flight.  Thank God lives were spared.

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I've put a preview of Old Age and Villainy on Amazon.  If you are interested in having a look, click on this link  and download it for free.  Enjoy!

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Just before Christmas last year, I received a message in my FB inbox from a blogging friend of 10 years or so who lives in Norway.  He and his wife love travelling and after many years of saying they would like to come to Australia they'd made the decision to do so.  

My mobile phone rang about a week ago and it was Tor!  He and his wife, Anna, had landed in Auckland, New Zealand and would arrive in Brisbane on 04 March.  I was delighted that they had made it Down Under and am now eagerly awaiting their arrival here on the Gold Coast. Tor also asked for advice on hotel apartments and transfers.  I've had a look and found 4 or 5 hotels that may suit and have sent them links for those as well as links to shuttle services between Brisbane and the coast.   Now all I have to do is wait.

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My eldest daughter, Toni, is raising funds for the Leukaemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave in support of a close member of her family.  If you wish to sponsor or support her, click on this link:  Her Close Shave event is taking place on 15 March at her home where she and her husband are also putting on a barbecue. If you wish to attend, either contact her or email me for the address.   She would be very grateful for your support.

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Now, the book reviews:

Eat The Wind by Robin Sisley (Croft House Press 2014)

This is a beautiful memoir of the author's involvement with the Kaimanawa horses, New Zealand's wild horses, named after their habitat in the Kaimanawa Ranges in the Central Plateau of New Zealand.

Back in the 1990s, New Zealand's Department of Conservation made the decision to cull 1200 Kaimanawas as they were becoming too prolific.  This raised such a public outcry that DOC decided to auction them instead.  The author and her friend, Heike Ehrlenbach, were unhappy at the proposed slaughter of hundreds of these animals which had lived in the ranges for over a century and wondered if they could rehome some.

Living on a farm, Mrs Sisley had the perfect facilities for taming and training the animals before selling them to approved buyers.

So began a journey of discovery, both for Mrs Sisley and the horses, with whom she bonded so well.  The horses were extremely sensitive and empathetic, she and Heike realised they only had to think of the direction they wanted the animals to turn...and they did!

This is a wonderful story of the author's achievements with these beautiful animals, the tears, laughter and difficulties experienced in the years she trained them.

Rating: *****

Cissy by Erin McKechnie (Amazon 2014)

Cissy and Seth are newly wed and madly in love.  They enjoy their life in London where Cissy has her own restaurant in which Seth occasionally helps out by manning the bar if she's short-staffed.  He enjoys the socialising and other illegal activities, which eventually end up with Seth being deported rather than spending time in gaol.

Cissy sells her business at a loss before flying back to New Zealand to join Seth and make a new life.  However, it's not long before Seth is up to his old tricks, becoming more and more unpredictable as time goes on.  

After being badly beaten by Seth during one of his rages, Cissy throws him out of the marital home and takes out a protection order.  Thus begins a cycle of reconciliation and abuse until Cissy finally makes a decision that will change their lives.

The author has written a chilling yet compelling story of domestic abuse which is becoming more prevalent in society.  Unfortunately a lot of women, plus children, lose their lives in this horrific epidemic of violence.

Rating: ****

NB:  If you, or anyone you know, needs help call Lifeline or the appropriate community support group in your area.

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I hope 2015 is a busy and enjoyable year for you all.  Thank you for reading this post and as always, I welcome your comments.


  1. Cats know! Cats know they have us bluffed! Cats know they are the boss!! And I know they know! And I also know mine never take any notice of me when I tell them they are not the bosses of this household, but I know they don't believe me! I don't even believe me!

    1. Oh boy, you're in trouble, Lee! With no one knowing but cats, the world will end up in complete chaos, starting at our respective cat castles!

  2. Why did I not realize this blog existed? I have just added it to Best Recently Oublished Blogs on my blog.

  3. What a blessing that no-one was killed in those horrendous conditions.

    And how wonderful to be meeting with blog friends! Enjoy.

    1. It certainly is a blessing, Liz. Yes, I'm certainly looking forward to meeting up with Tor and Anna next week.

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