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LATEST BLOG ENTRIES

Cochem: The Town

Our bus returned to the castle to take us back down the hill,where we joined our guide for a walking tour of the old town. I saw no evidence of the bombing that took place during the second world war, but the condition of the buildings is too perfect for them to be several hundred years old.

Narrow streets, timber slats on walls and a minaret instead of a steeple

Narrow streets, timber slats on walls and a minaret instead of a steeple

Nevertheless, Cochem is a photographer’s dream: stone cobbled streets, timber slatting on walls, (similar to that used in Tudor England),

narrow streets suitable only for walking or bike riding and roofs that are covered with grey tiles, which I assume are slate.  Some of the roofs appear to undulate so that I wonder what sort of structure supports them.

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1332 seems unlikely

1332 seems unlikely

 

Stone buildings that appear to be very old, butt up against the more common plastered variety, but 1332 above a normal looking doorway, had me questioning the likelihood of that being true, even allowing for a restoration date of 1960   on the other end of the doorway.

Like other European cities, Cochem has its ground ‘slab’ in the form of a grate,

Proudly Cochem - pity about the smokers.

Proudly Cochem – pity about the smokers.

unfortunately, now used for cigarette disposal.

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England has its famous red letter boxes, but in Cochem we found these cheery boxes on walls, in blue and yellow.

Passageways for short people in the old town.

Passageways for short people in the old town.

In old Cochem people could walk between streets via low and narrow passageways instead of having to go around the block of houses and shops. We saw this kind of thing in many European towns and cities – obviously for much shorter people than are common today.

Our ship was moored on the residential side of the river so we walked across the bridge from the business side and looked back to the castle towering over the city.

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Cochem – Reichsburg Castle

Cobblestones on a steep walk up to the castle gate

Cochem is a pretty village situated on both sides of the Moselle River and dominated by the Reischburg Castle.

View from the castle to the far side of the river.

View from the castle to the far side of the river.

Fortunately we caught buses up the hill. Our instructions were to wear sturdy shoes, which meant ‘Be prepared for steep, cobble-stoned streets.’

 

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The Door

When my late husband died I felt very alone, as we all do while dealing with grief. My home was sold shortly before he died, I couldn’t find a suitable replacement and spent several months with kind friends. This idea of searching for a new life, where I would find peace and contentment came to me then.

The Door

Its surface is rough and blistered

the handle is shaky

blackened with age.

Like Alice

I need to find the magic words

but I’m afraid

that never-ending loneliness

waits beyond this door

that drifting in a world of grey

is not the life for me.

 

I summon up courage

and paint on a smile

prepare to wait

it could take a while

for the door that’s right

to appear.

 

Coloured like jewels

from the brush of Gustav Klimt

it opens to melodies

of Mozart and Lizst.

With angelic voices

we sing Gregorian chant

while walking through forests

and resting by streams.

 

Clothes are floaty

no cares of fashion

even the old

wear beauty with grace.

Sex isn’t an issue

nor ego.

Faces are smiling

we fulfil our dreams.

 

I write my story in the air.

Words float away

like the music of birds

not recorded

cherished for the moment

in which they’re created.

Later, I’ll find them

remembered

like the sounds of a symphony

or the trace of a touch.

 

I’m still alone

inside this brightly coloured zone

but have no fear.

Friends In My Garden – Exotic Bird

This poem was written for a friend with a lovely singing voice. She is also a good listener who has often been the one I call in times of trouble. She’s not the sort of person to want centre stage but she definitely stands out from the crowd. I hope you have at least one in your friendship garden.

 

Exotic is my little bird

gorgeous her plumage

of brilliant emerald

and sapphire

and the richest ruby red.

She’s something of a loner

rather shy

and quiet until she sings,

then she leads the chorus.

Her voice fills my garden

with the sound of crystal music.

I love to sit and listen

not only to her song

her words are never wrong.

We share a tranquil moment

rest for a while on a bench

chat about friends and daily affairs.

A peck on my cheek

a feathery wave

and she flies home to her nest.

Friends In My Garden – Maiden Hair Fern

Feathery fronds

of delicate design,

maiden hair fern

softens quiet spaces.

Gentle she grows

pleasing to those who wander by

bravely facing unexpected blows,

attacks from slugs and slaters

or a sizzling from the sun.

Fate seems unfair

to this fragile fern

but her endurance prevails.

A little care

a sprinkling of kindness

and she’ll persevere

lacily greening the shade in my garden.

Favourite Books from 2015

What were your favourite reads in 2015?

The Writer’s Festival in the grounds of the University of Western Australia is always a feast for me and this year’s selection in February, more than lived up to past presentations.

Liz Byrski spoke about her non-fiction book, ‘In Love and War,’ which I have only recently read. Her fear of the injured men who returned from the war, many with faces so badly burned that they appeared to the young Liz as almost inhuman, made me hesitate. I love Byrski’s fiction, particularly her ability to draw me into the lives of her characters. This latest book is nothing like them and I felt that it dragged a bit, but it was worth the effort to stick with her journey in revisiting the site and interviewing as many of the survivors and the nurses who cared for them, as she could find.

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Colours – Grey

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Grey is not one of my favourite colours, but I think it depicts the emotional state of someone experiencing this kind of loss and grief.

 

 

The ocean's rhythm

The ocean’s rhythm

 

GREY

She watches the sun set then gathers her jacket closer to her chest. Under her bare feet the sand feels crunchy. It makes a squelching sound with each step. The water whispers ‘Sh-sh-sh,’ then retreats with an inward sigh, as if drawing breath before rushing back to the shore.

Toes half-buried in the sand, the woman waits. No matter how hard she tries to resist, the shock of that first splash catches her breath and forces a short, sharp squeak from her. Two waves later and her response is childlike. She rolls her trackpants higher and dances along the water’s edge, swaying in and out with the ocean’s rhythm.

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Colours – Yellow

This is another of my pieces inspired by colour.

 

Laughter is yellowIMG_2370 - Copy (640x480)

and birds in spring

a summer’s day

with boats and kites

and children playing in a garden;

a little girl on twirling toes

a kitten chasing a ball.

P1030265 (640x616)Yellow is smooth

it’s full of joy

a hymn of praise

a word of thanks

a kiss from a child

and friendship.

Purple

Purple is my favourite colour. I wrote this piece several years ago; I hope my new followers will enjoy it and those of you who have read it before, won’t mind reading it again. The flowers are from my garden.

P1050369 (480x640)Purple sits on mountain tops. It tugs your soul at the moment of daylight into dusk and hangs in the air when a heavenly fragrance wafts past. It lives in the taste buds of a chocolate connoisseur and of course truffles, excellent brie and fine Russian caviar have more than a touch of purple in their chemistry.

Purple is the sound of a Beethoven symphony. It is the colour of majesty, commanding homage from those who wait in awe for the moment when purple sweeps into view, adorning the triumphant.

 

 

P1050475 (373x640)Moods of purple are sensuous, evocative, illogical to the browns and greens of this world. A mystical aura envelops those with purple souls. Dancers, like Fonteyn and Nureyev, were swathed from head to pointed toe in every shade of purple; a soft and frothy mauve for lighter moods, the tragedies all dark and swirling into tindered sumptuousness.

Unpredictable, tantalizing, never moderate or mundane, purple is renowned for extremes. Pavarotti is purple; an excellent example of the soul, the talent and temperament of this colour. Tempered and trained, never fully controlled, it flashes brilliance or leaves one in despair. Reliable it is not. Gentle and tender are not the norm, but purple also comes in pansies, soft as wood-smoke.

To live with a purple soul is at once the epitome of heaven and hell, difficult for all when the mood is dark, but a journey through the stars when it soars.

Istanbul – The Taxi Route

I have just discovered another story that I wrote about my Turkish trip in 2013. Some of you may have read it, but I think it’s amusing and hope my newer followers enjoy it

Chora Museum at the top of the hill

Chora Museum at the top of the hill

After visiting the Chora Museum in Istanbul, our intention is to find an ancient wall, supposedly nearby. We set off, walking down a laneway, where our interest is captured by an old man with a white beard and moustache, leaning out of a window and chatting with a neighbour standing near us. He wears a small black fez pushed back to reveal a smattering of white hair and large ears. His face is lean, his nose long and his teeth are yellowing.

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Leaning further out of the window, he smiles and waves to us, his pose creating the perfect photo for my collection of interesting characters. I wonder if he does this on a regular basis and wish it was possible to converse with him. We manage a Turkish thank you – te shekir edeem – as we wave goodbye; he disappears behind the potted red geranium on his window sill.

We continue walking down the hill, stopping everyone who might be able to point us in the direction of the elusive wall but, as we can’t speak Turkish and they don’t speak English, we have no luck.

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Lesmurdie Library Reviews

AudienceOn Tuesday evening, the 24th November, my author presentation went very well at the Lesmurdie Library. I am now relaxed about doing these presentations and everyone enjoyed the evening. Most members of the audience bought at least one book and several bought three.

Victoria Mizen (446x640)The library put on drinks and tasty nibbles before the talk, giving me the opportunity for a quick word with my audience. Review sheets were placed on each chair and I am delighted to report that everyone rated the evening as excellent or very good. Here are a few comments:

‘Most interesting talk and Victoria covered many aspects of writing.’

‘Well spoken presentation. Lots of info. on the book.’

‘Great to hear a local author speak, especially about life in WA.’

Each audience is different, but all the libraries I have attended have been most helpful and welcoming. I am keen to speak at other libraries and to expand my audience to any groups interested in books and writing. If you know of any, please let me know.

 

 

Friends In My Garden – Rose

 

P1050410 (2) (640x501)Rose

I have a rose

a special rose

whose petals bloom

in shades of white

for her heart is pure,

 

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to the crimson of enduring love.

Her stems have no thorns.

As near to perfect as a rose can be

with blossoms full blown

and budding heads held high

she’s a friend to treasure,

cherished and admired

by all who know her beauty.

Lesmurdie Library

I think this will be my last presentation for 2015, so please join me if you can. image001

Friends In My Garden: Owl

Owl

My friend owl

is a friend of many years.

He perches on the fence

sometimes a little wary

to join in the babble of the crowd

but when he does

they respond with hilarity

to the jokes he tells

for owl is witty as well as wise.

His nest is in a neighbouring tree

close enough to hear my call.

A quiet ear

a word of sense

he brings when I’m in need.

Sometimes there’s a tasty treat

a special prize he’s caught.

Often he’ll stop for a chat

we eat and drink

and soon there’s a bit of a party

as others hear our merriment

and drop in to join the fun

for my friend owl is a clever owl

who knows how to make others happy.

 

 

Dunsborough Library and South West Retailers

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At Dunsborough Library

I recently spent a few days in and around Dunsborough, presenting ‘The Green Velvet Dress’ in the library, where I enjoyed the scones and coffee and sold copies to all who attended.

I then took my novel to book shops and interesting galleries between Dunsborough and Boranup. I now have four new outlets (see on my list under ‘Buy the Book’ ) and the library has two copies.

 

 

Friends In My Garden – Bizzie Lizzie

I’m sure you all have at least one character like this in your friendship garden.

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Such a Bizzie Lizzie

is pretty little balsam

dashing about

always wanting to please.

Wearing happy colours

she brightens dreary corners.

There are times when she’ll work too hard

then suddenly stop

fall in a heap

her petals drop

her leaves turn crinkly brown and flop.

She’ll revive

but for a while her blossoms wilt

turning white and wan.

She hates that

wants to be out in the sun

having fun

flashing her prettiest party petals

and being busy

my Bizzie Lizzie.

Friends In My Garden – A Tree of Grace

This poem was written for my daughter, Stephanie, who demonstrated such courage and determination after the loss of her baby and her husband in a car crash in 1990. It still makes me cry but I hope it shows how much I love and admire her.

It has been shared with many readers who lost loved ones. Please feel free to pass it on

A Tree of Grace

In my garden grows a tree

with silver leaves and flowers

of magical hue.

On her trunk

a trace of scars

tempest caused

the year her buds fell unformed

and she shivered

branches bare.

But rainbow nourished

laughter bathed

wrapped in courage

love healed by spring.

Strong she stands

a shimmering shining tree full of grace

and beauty

sparkling my garden with silver

and golding my heart.

Friends In My Garden – Chirpy Chatty Charmer

CHIRPY CHATTY CHARMER
A bright little bird
perches on my shoulder
lands in my lap
or sits on the bench beside me.
Rarely still
he bobs and darts and scurries
from tree to fence
from path to bench to me.
Whistling and chirping and singing away
He’ll talk to himself
if there’s no-one around
to share his conversations.
He loves to tell stories
and make up jokes
that aren’t always clever
but he’s so amusing
I have to laugh.

Friends In My Garden – Friendship

 

Friends In My Garden is the name of my first book, a collection of poems about people in my life depicted as birds, flowers, trees and other things that you find in a garden. Many of you have copies, but for those who don’t and who have asked to see my poems, here is the first of forty that I will post over the coming weeks. Please keep watching and please share them with your friends.

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Friendly flowers in my garden

 

FRIENDSHIP
Friendship is like a garden.
I throw seeds around and wait.
Sometimes a special flower appears
not flamboyant not pushy
quietly, softly it opens petals,
its beauty and gentleness
give joy to my soul.
For a while it disappears
as flowers do,

 

Each year I wait for my tulips to appear.

Each year I wait for my tulips to appear.

in its absence I feel a loss
but as time approaches for its return
I look for it every day
and rejoice in its welcome back.
You are like that flower
my friend.

A Successful Week in Local Libraries

At the Mundaring Library

At the Mundaring Library

The Green Velvet Dress  presented at two libraries in one week. A bit daunting, but I’m getting into the swing and starting to enjoy myself.

For evening events the libraries have provided a glass of wine and some delicious nibbles, which helps me to relax  and puts the audience in a receptive mood.

About fifteen people attended the Mundaring presentation on Thursday the 1st October. I noticed heads nodding in agreement when I talked about teaching in 1961 and again in response to my comments about society’s rules for women at the time.

I had lots of questions to answer at the end and most people bought books, which made me very happy. I look forward to reading their reviews.

 

 

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