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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Duck!, our writers' meeting and a phone call from Mum.

I heard a lot of splashing and flapping in the pool the other day.  Thinking one of the complex residents was performing some weird swimming manoeuvre, I peeked out the window and saw some trespassers...this pair of wood ducks who were having a wonderful time!

Left:  Mr Wood Duck in a bit of a flap!

Both having a roam around after their refreshing 

Aaah!  That feels better!

When I mentioned this to my neighbour, she said that in the spring, when their babies are old enough, they bring them for a swim as well.  I can't wait to see that!

* * * * * * * *

I attended our writers' meeting on Saturday, the first for 2015.  It was four months since our last meeting as we'd had the Carnival of Words in November, our Christmas pool party in December and there was no meeting in January due to holidays so it was great to catch up with old friends and make new ones.  Actually, I was really excited about this meeting because our featured speaker is one of my Facebook friends.

Our guest was Elizabeth Ellen Carter, romance novelist, who had some excellent tips and advice for us.  At one stage, I glanced around the group and all had eyes glued on Elizabeth, hanging on to every word.  We had heaps of questions and she answered them fully and clearly, not seeming to mind that we were bombarding her. Elizabeth was a most enjoyable and engaging speaker and we learned such a lot.  I was also thrilled to meet another face on my Facebook friend list!

The 2015 Anthology is themed Killer Stories, not necessarily murders, but tales with a "killer" twist.  Those who submit stories are encouraged to read them out at meetings and four of us, including me, read ours out.  I discovered while reading mine out...a story involving an undercover kitty sleuth named Fifi McFlufflebutt...that trying to say that particular name without embarrassing myself required a lot of care.  At one stage, without realising what I was saying until it was said (a common occurrence) I complained that "there were too many F-words in this!"  At the roar of laughter from the others, I realised what I'd come out with.

One of our members is at the Dubai Writers Conference and before she left had shown me the list of authors attending.  I was soooo envious because amongst some very well known writers was Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books. Also among his books are the Scotland Road novels, delightful tales of the residents and various other characters living in an apartment building in Edinburgh.  He's one of my favourite authors and I would have loved to attend his segment in the programme.  Anyway, when Barbara returns I'll hear all about it, over a glass or two of wine, no doubt.

It was a wonderful afternoon and I left feeling on a real high!  Next month's speaker is a retired police commissioner from our area who is also a prolific novelist.  I'm looking forward to that meeting, too.

* * * * * * * *

I had a phone call from my Mum yesterday who, for a 95-year-old, is amazingly bright and chirpy.  Her latest project is writing a book.  She has been in her retirement village for the last 30 odd years and seen many changes.  She originally thought she'd write them out for a former director of the village who has since retired.  Peter was very kind to Mum and Father when they first moved into the village and over time became a close friend. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's and had to retire.  Mum had the idea of writing down all the changes she's seen over the 30 years just for Peter, thinking he would enjoy reading about them.  I had the idea of helping her to self-publish it and selling hard copies with the proceeds going to the village.  She was tickled pink at the idea and has even more enthusiasm about her project.

I think it would be so wonderful when she finishes it...a book written by a 95-year-old and the fourth published author in our family!

* * * * * * * *

Where is the year going? It's March already and I'm nowhere near ready to let go of summer!  For those of you in the northern hemisphere, I suspect you'll be more than ready to let go of winter and welcome in the warmer days.


  1. I love the wood ducks; we get quite a few up here on this property, but the other afternoon I had cause to feel sad. As everyone was gathering on the verandah of my landlords' home for drinks and hors doeuvres between the wedding ceremony and the dinner in the evening one lonesome duck (not dove) was wandering around their lawn. My landlord told me that the duck had been wandering about like that for the previous couple of days. A cold hand gripped my heart as Derek told me the story. We think that perhaps a fox had taken the duck's mate, and the duck was hopeful that its mate would return. We both sadly looked on...helpless to do anything. I hope he/she finds a mate...the duck, that is! The ducks up here have to be wary of the foxes and the ducklings have to be wary of the large water birds of prey. That's life; that's nature, I guess...but it doesn't make it any less sad.

    How wonderful for you Mum to be writing her book, Robyn. I think that is just great. Good on her. :)

    Please cease dropping those know how tender my sensibilities are!! ;)

    1. Oh that poor little duck! When I was living in Greenbank, our road was 4 km long and relatively straight. Wonderful for hoons and speedsters. I was going out one day, and saw the most distressing sight. A wood duck on the side of the road, trying to get its mate, who'd been killed by a car, to move. Oh it was so sad! I was also so bloody angry at the inconsiderate driver who'd killed the little language become very creative!

      Yes, Mum is a one-off all right. The mould was broken after she was made lol!

      Ah yes, the F words...bane of my life!

    2. I'd be lost without the F-Word! It eases so much angst! It's a very useful word! lol

    3. When Mum asked me why I used it, I explained that it was better than smashing something or hitting someone. She could see the sense in that!

  2. That must have been fun to see the ducks in the pool. Your meeting seems to be interesting ! Your mum is amazing that she wants to write a book ! I admire these people who age so well. My neighbour's mother is 94 and has a laptop and a tablet. The first thing when she moved into a retirement home 6 years ago was asking "do you have Internet " !

    1. A lot of really senior people, in their 80s and 90s, are embracing technology with all the eagerness of 16-year-old geeks, arent they? It's great to see and it stops their brains from stagnating!

  3. Your mum is an inspiration!

    We used to get hedgehogs falling in our pool. When we put the summer cover on at nights we leave a piece of wood resting against the side on it so they can crawl back out. We've also had frogs, both dead and alive, but no ducks yet.

    I am thinking about joining our local writers group but the last time i went - a long time ago - they were a bit snooty.

  4. Sorry to be so long replying to your comment, Liz. I've heard of the piece of wood trick for critters stuck in a pool. As yet, we've only had ducks and of course, they're well able to get out on their own.

    Some writers groups are very cliquey...I have no idea why. I've heard that said about one or two here on the coast. I consider myself very fortunate to have found the one I belong to as I've made lovely friends plus learned a lot about the craft of writing.

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