Sunday, October 14, 2012

A day out

Yesterday I drove a visiting writer friend down to Queenscliff, on the beach, where she was going to do a week of intensive work on a joint project with another writer friend. It was a glorious Spring day — clear and sunny with a balmy breeze — a gift after a patch of cold, rainy, miserable weather.

My original plan was to take my friend there, have lunch with them and then go back home, where I had a mound of work waiting for me, but it was so beautiful I allowed myself to be talked into a walk. A long walk. And then dinner.

 We walked around the salt water inlet — Swan Bay and saw pelicans, black swans, seagulls and oystercatchers
There's a group of steam engine enthusiasts who, on certain days, run a little engine from Queenscliff to Drysdale — it's a Thomas the Tank Engine choo-choo train, with the face on the front, and there's even a Fat Controller, who looked wonderful in his top hat and formal coat.
I didn't take a photo of the front, with Thomas's face, and I missed the Fat Controller, but here's the little train choofing past us, with a bunch of happy kids on board.
We took the dog, too.
 After Swan Bay we cut across (Queenscliff is a kind of small promontory) and got our first glimpse of the ocean. 
On the way we saw a beautiful Eastern Rosella sitting in a bottle brush tree. Isn't he a handsome fellow?
We wandered back along the ocean beach, picking up shells and the occasional bit of sea-glass (for my jewellery) and admiring the contents of the rock-pools. Here are baby mussels growing in colonies around the edge of a rock pool — they're only visible for a few hours of the day.
It was so refreshing and cleansing to be on the beach in the sun.
We rounded the point, one of the heads of Port Phillip Bay, where there is an old fort built on top of and into the rocky outcrop. I loved the sea-worn rocks.
 Once inside the bay, the beach was strewn with seaweed of all kinds, including an amazing variety of pink seaweed. I gathered some of the pink ones up but I haven't sorted them out yet for a photo. But here's one little clump.
And the seaweed didn't stop this little girl from creating a fabulous sand castle.
It was only an afternoon, really, but when I drove home last night I felt as though I'd had a little holiday.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Persimmon Tree

I dropped over to a friend of mine's house yesterday, and remembered to take a photo of one of my favorite trees ever — the persimmon tree in her back garden. This is the view from her lounge room — gorgeous, isn't it?

It's beautiful all year round — even bare of leaves, the tree has such a glorious shape.

It's also amazingly prolific and bears hundreds of gorgeous orange fruits. I love persimmons—well, I did once I learned how to eat them. These ones are the kind you need to leave to ripen until they're very soft and the skin looks transparent and ready to split— you'd think they were almost rotten, but instead, they're soft and utterly delicious. My favorite way to eat them is just to scrape the pulp out and drizzle it over vanilla ice-cream. Bliss.

Some years ago I tasted a black sapote — an almost chocolate-tasting persimmon, grown in the tropics. My friend Barbara Hannay introduced me to them some years ago, first as black sapote ice-cream — deeeelish!—and then as just the fruit, and I was hooked. I keep wondering whether I could grow one down here in our cold/temperate climate. I figure if orange persimmons can grow and fruit here, why not black ones? One can only try.

More conference pics

I promised you some more photos of the RWAust conference and here they are. Eloisa James giving a fabulously inspiring speech.

Three gorgeous galz in red — Bronwyn Jameson, Fiona McArthur and Trish Morey talking to Rachel Treasure, who was at her first RWA conference dinner.

 The fabulous Helen Bianchin is the inaugural Australian Romance Hall of Fame member. She got a standing ovation, naturally. That's Barbara Hannay with her in the pic.
Mark Antony.... or perhaps Richard Burton at the 1950's cocktail party. 
 Christina Brooke and Denise Rossetti in their 1950's cocktail frocks.
The wonderful Emma Darcy with editor Jo, who was wearing her "womanfuzzy" headdress— it's a fun award we give at the Harlequin author dinner.
The authors at the ARRA signing — all but Eloisa James who was delayed at the airport and arrived just after the photo was taken. I'm right up the back on the left.