June 2006

 

My Corner of the World

My original idea for the first MFT was to talk about The Sound of Music, not only for obvious reasons but also because it genuinely is one of my favorite things. But I thought I’d leave that for next month and just give you a brief taste of the pleasures of winter in South-East Queensland where I’m currently living.

We’ve had rain for a few days so I’ve been housebound, but on fine mornings, I get up early and write then go for a long walk along the seafront. I live only five minutes walk from Pumicestone Passage which is where Moreton Bay leads out into the Pacific Ocean. The still water reflects the sun coming up over the sea and the bushy sand hills of the Bribie Island National Park are only a short distance across the passage.

The best part of the walk, apart from the clean, salty air, is the bird life. I’ve spent most of the last fourteen years living right in the middle of Sydney, which certainly offers a range of pleasures. But if you want wildlife, the best you’ll do there are pigeons and seagulls. I’ve been up here on the Sunshine Coast for a little over a year and I’m still astonished at the range of birds I see every day.  Every morning I see herons and terns and stilts and oystercatchers and egrets, and my favorites, the big black and white Australian pelicans. The last few weeks at low tide, there have even been black swans. I’ve never seen them swimming in the sea before but they seem perfectly happy in the salt water. Then there’s the wonderful Australian magpie which I don’t think is related to the northern hemisphere magpie. Our magpie has the most beautiful song and they’re such stately, elegant birds, I just love them. Then there are peewees and willy wagtails and wood doves and oh, just too many more to mention.

Sets a writer up for the day, it does! I come back to my desk with new vigor, all ready to torture my hero and heroine. A girl needs a clear head when she’s making people suffer the way my poor characters do and there’s nothing like sea air for blowing away the cobwebs.