Archive | November, 2011

Here Comes Summer!

30 Nov

Here in Sydney, Australia, where Ron and I live, today is the last day of Spring.

Where did it go?

So few of the glorious warm, but not too warm, sunny days so ideal for strolling in the park, reveling in your own garden, dining al fresco, or lolling on the beach.

Instead, cloudy skies that gave way to showers and, sometimes, steady rain: interspersed with uncomfortably hot days were, for a large part, our lot.

The result? Lush, well endowed greenery Spring-cleaned by nature, all set to please our senses as the new season rolls on!

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What Matters Most: Melody or Harmony?

29 Nov

We all know what we like in music, but do we really know why we like it?

Is it the melody that engages us, or is it the harmony?

My first thought was, it’s the melody. Like a map, it guides us to where its composer desires: whether this be to toe-tapping joy, mind-boggling excitement,  demure serenity, or even sorrow.

Yet, instantly I realised this concept was flawed. Without the soul-grabbing harmonies to compliment it, the impact of the melody would be seriously compromised. Rather like  love and bonding, oysters and rocks,  or a train and tracks, each intrinsically seems linked to the other.

While individuals often bundle music into ‘types’, isn’t there so much variety within each genre to make this a rather loose pronouncement of taste?

Similarly, even amongst composers there’s a wide selection of compositions, so, even there, is it wise and accurate to say you like someone’s work?

Is it all a bit like other fields of art: literature, sculpture, painting and what have you? Is whatever determines our likes and dislikes ingrained at birth, or are were conditioned to think the way we do by our responses to our environment?

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A Tale of Time and Tide

27 Nov

For almost thirty years, I’ve swum with a rather unusual swimming club: unusual because it holds its meetings in a tidal river baths, rather than the usual man-made swimming pools, or sea-baths.

Today’s meeting, however, was more than a little different, for two reasons. Firstly, the tide was near its maximum ever, around two metres. The second: that a relay race was held.

King tides are always impressive, and sadly, few of them fall on those Sundays when our Club meets. Those massive tides that happen in winter are quite lost to us swimmers: after all, who’d chose to swim in water that is twelve degrees Centigrade,  and late in the evening to boot?

No. When they happen at convenient times, our club makes full use of them, and schedules as many events as possible. Today’s relay was, most likely, the one and only for the season. And what a tussle the fast heat became, with the winner separated by a whisker!

And what could be amiss, with all this water?

No beach to walk on!

Yes, our yellow sands were swallowed up by this rising tide, leaving us to ponder the miracle of the tides that come and go, transforming our world in a never-ending cycle.

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What Music did you Grow Up With?

24 Nov

Thinking back to your early life, what music do you remember with affection?

I must have been born under a lucky star, for I was born in the mid 1950’s, and therefore grew up listening to some of the greatest, most enduring modern music.

Through the magic of the internet, I’ve just watched and listened to some of my all-time favourites. ‘Love is in the Air’, ‘The Carnival is Over’, ‘Pretty Woman’, ‘There’s a Kind of Hush’, ‘A World of Our Own’ to name just a few.

My husband Ronald Sharp the Sydney Opera House Organ builder tells me he’s only lately discovered some of these tunes, and loves them too. As a devotee of classical music, Ron’s glowing endorsement of these masterpieces of post 1950 reinforces my elevated opinion.

Our joy in this spills over to following an excellent, local band which performs these in an inspiring manner. Who can resist dancing, either on the floor or in spirit?

Can one overestimate the power and magic of music?

Which Book is my Greatest Achievement?

23 Nov


Which book is my greatest achievement?

Considered in the light of relative difficulty to complete, there’s no contest.

‘A Taste of Life and Love in Australia’ wins, hands down!

Was it because I went into it,  somewhat overwhelmed having already finished the first, ’25 Stories of Life and Love in Australia’?

I’d scarcely had time to adjust to the idea that I was an author, by virtue of having written and published a book, yet I’d plunged headlong into a second!

Looking back, I vividly remember the struggle to keep going, to finish the job! The last ten pages or so seemed like the summit of Mt Everest! And somehow, I managed it: it was a fait accompli!

Incidentally, ‘A Taste…..’ is my personal favourite of all the Short Story books, since I confess to liking ‘The Girl Next Door’ and ‘A Song for Elle’ more than almost any other in the series. Thank goodness I didn’t give up!

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My 100th Post: Despite Adversities!

22 Nov

Hooray! This is my Hundredth Post!

So what shall I talk about?

I’ll discuss my morning.

The weather is overcast, and the forecast is for rain. And yet….

I’d planned to go swimming in my local baths, so off I went! And it was wonderful!

The water was just right, not too cold, not too warm: salty and calm. There were swallows in the air, and herons searching the shallows for their breakfast. In the distance, white cockatoos abounded: some perched in trees, others in flight or on the ground. A magical air of stillness and tranquility engulfed me.

Yes, I was so glad I went, despite the apparent gloom that soon dissipated when the true beauty of the time sunk in.

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The Charisma of Live Music

20 Nov

I danced last night to the rhythm of a band: one that specializes in the hits 1950’s to 1980’s. It was enthralling!

Why is it that we get so caught up in the excitement of the moment? Why do we forget our aches and pains, and become young again? Why do we all turn up our extroversion, and let go with the actions our souls prescribe?

That’s the magic of live music, the real here and now stuff that sets our hearts and minds aglow!

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Why do we Love our Dogs?

18 Nov

Moments ago, I heard on the television an account of someone spending a fortune on health care for their dog. Why would they do this?

Cold dollars and cents analysis cannot support such action. A replacement pet would certainly cost a tiny fraction.

It must be LOVE!

Why do we love our dogs so much?

Is it because they’re so demonstrative? They seldom, if ever, hide their joy on seeing us. Who can resist the beguiling tail-wagging, the eyes aglow with delight, the happy licks, of a playful pooch.

Who else is a friend in all weathers, always there to support and comfort us?

And who else has eyes that reveal so much?

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What Makes a Good Book?

17 Nov

What makes a good book? You know what I’m talking about: the type you can’t put down, that haunts you when you’re away, captivates your mind.

A real page turner is one that involves your emotions, and therein lies the secret. How can you care about the outcome if you don’t care about the people?

Isn’t great characterization the cornerstone of a good book?

Couple  this with a believable, engaging plot; write it with feeling; and, as if by magic, you’re on a winner!

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11 Nov

I couldn’t let this day pass without recognizing its special status.

Here in Australia, it’s the 11/11/11. Wow!

Isn’t this the most outstanding of all repetitive sequential dates?

Unpolluted by any other digit, it stands alone!