Archive | October, 2012

Wildflowers of Australia: Simply Beautiful!

12 Oct

Lomandra

Flannel flowers

There’s something special about wildflowers. In essence, it’s that they are as nature intended: not meddled with by human hands. Therefore, their beauty is intrinsic, not cultivated.

Here, I’ve chosen two entirely different types to show you. First,  Lomandra, with the river in the background. I’ll admit they have almost certainly been planted: nevertheless they are rather unusual, attractive and useful natives. Their impressive spikes offer important protection for wildlife, and their flowers exude a kind of subtle beauty, along with an unusual perfume.

Second, the genuine article: Flannel flowers, scattered here and there, with Mother Nature as their guide.Their grey leaves blend perfectly with their cream-coloured flowers. Interestingly, their ‘petals’ are not what they seem: they’re actually bracts surrounding clusters of insignificant flowers. Perhaps surprisingly, Flannel Flowers are related to carrots and celery!

As I go through our native park-lands, I’ll keep my eyes open for other awesome Australian wildflowers to show you!

The Rain, The Park, and all its Beauty

12 Oct

The jetty in the rain

Noisy Miner in the rain

While most of Sydney stayed indoors, or certainly stayed away from deliberate, outdoor activities, we ventured out to see the special, soft, misty beauty that the gentle rain provides.

And, weren’t we rewarded?  Despite the raindrops, and singing at the top of their voices, a  few Noisy Miners alighted in front of me, making an engaging scene. The river, misted over, permeated a soft, soothing aura.

Sure, we love the brilliant sunshine, but doesn’t precipitation also offer something awesome?

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Another Review: Reflections of Life and Love in Australia

11 Oct

Reflections of Life and Love in Australia by Margaret Lynette SharpGoodreads_icon_100x100Goodreads-badge-add-plus

It’s been a while since my fourth collection in the ‘Life and Love in Australia’ series was first published, and now I’m delighted to announce its first review, written by Goodreads member, Mark, from the U.S.A. Here it is:

“Reflections” is a collection aptly named, for emotions playing lambent on the water of the spirit, for a mirror held up to fraught relationships, mostly of couples, and for the thoughts to which they all give rise in the reader… and the reviewer. Sharp has a particular knack for exploring and sorting out the unnecessarily complex entanglements of humans in orbit about one another. Among the best offerings here are “And the Rains Came,” about the pretext for a railway “connection” that opens up when the skies do; “Letting Her Go,” about a mother’s ultimate, pained acceptance of her daughter’s romantic autonomy; and “The Bonds of Love,” which has nothing at all to do with bondage, and everything to do with serendipity and reconciliation. Five stars.
                   *                   *                *                *                *               *                *             *
This volume contains twenty-eight vignettes and Short Stories, mostly on themes of love and romance. Currently it’s available in paperback only, but  hopefully next year it will be also published on Kindle.

Long and Short Australian Stories: on Amazon Kindle Best Seller List

9 Oct

It’s a toss up in my mind: whether my personal favourite literary effort of mine is ‘A Taste of Life and Love in Australia’ or ‘Long and Short Australian Stories’.

Currently, the latter is outstripping the former in the Amazon ranking, yet, by virtue of its review numbers and verdicts, ‘A Taste…’ wins, hands down.

My husband and editor Ronald Sharp B.E.M. (my editor) is well known for his musicality, as evidenced by his creation of the Grand Organ in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, the musically exalted organ at Knox Grammar, and others. He seems to like both volumes immensely, and I often catch him reading (and obviously being enthralled by) their vignettes and Short Stories.

Do you like romantic tales? Human interest stories? Easy to read literature? Why not check out ‘Long and Short Australian Stories’, at least? If you like the sample pages, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are already four other collections published, and available through Amazon.

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13596941-long-and-short-australian-stories

Goodreads_icon_100x100Goodreads-badge-read-reviews

Here’s the link to the Amazon site.

http://www.amazon.com/Short-Australian-Stories-Margaret-Lynette/dp/1475122349

What I Love about Swimming

8 Oct

Margaret swimming in the river enclosure

A pretty place to swim

As an observer of life, I contend there are two categories of people: swimmers and non-swimmers.

Having read the title, you’ll know my sympathies.

As a swimming devotee for over three decades, I can vouch for its many virtues.

What better way to spend time outdoors on a sunny day than in the water? So refreshing!

As an exercise, swimming comes into its own.  Compared to, say running, swimming is gentle, and can be continued right up through senior years. It burns calories and promotes muscle tone.
To me, even more important is the relaxation: the feeling of escape from normal life. Humans are, of course, creatures of the land, and venturing into water seems to constitute a break from the humdrum of everyday activities. After swimming, people often say that they feel better. Is this just a matter of improved circulation due to exercise, or is it something more?

Those who like competition may well have the chance to join  Swimming Clubs, and this has the added advantage of social contact. Who knows what marvelous  new friendships you may make?

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Music and Dancing: What a Combination!

7 Oct
The Bandits Band, with Margaret

The Bandits Band is ready to play, and Margaret is thinking about dancing.

Band leader Paul, and Margaret
Band leader Paul, and Margaret

When life is good and you want to show it:  dance!

When life is worrying and you’re feeling low: dance!

And what better tunes to hear and to dance to are the wonderful classics from the fabulous fifties to the exciting eighties!

And what better band to play these gems is Sydney’s awesome cover band, The Bandits!

Presented in their own inspiring way, The Bandits have been pleasing crowds for years, performing tunes made famous by Herman’s Hermit’s, The Everly Brothers, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, Edison Lighthouse to name just a few.

They say laughter is the best medicine, and maybe it is, but listening and dancing to great Rock and Roll must surely rate the closest of seconds!

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Happy Birthday, Chicki!

6 Oct

Chicki’s 2nd birthday

Chicki

It’s not every day our little girl turns two!

Her day started with a much-loved present: a brand new rope toy, which instantly found its way between her teeth, where she held it for what seemed as long as possible  for a little Maltese.

After breakfast, we’re off to the park for a stroll on the promenade, and a sniff around the distant beach.

Time to head home, but, surprisingly we all hear a chorus: Happy Birthday to You! Sure, it was meant for someone else, but we added our Chicki’s name, and it became the perfect end to her special day out.

Happy Birthday, Chicki!

Strolling around my Favourite Place

4 Oct

Chicki on the promenade

Cockatoos flying

Kookaburra

What a lovely morning! Sydney’s run of Spring-like weather continues, beckoning  us outdoors, to see and feel its glory.

Chicki, my little white dog,  and I strolled along the promenade, besides the river. We seemed quite alone, save for a flock of distant white cockatoos, some magpies, kookaburras, and a few tiny swallows perching on the net of the swimming baths.

For a while, only the sounds of the birds disturbed the peace: but there playful and busy noises in no way detracted from the beauty of the scene.

What a charming, relaxing place!

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Who Says You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

4 Oct

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Certainly, not me!

Advancing age is no embargo to new interests and discoveries. Take us, for example.

Being both on the wrong side of unspecified numbers has in no way dulled our appreciation and enjoyment of rock and roll dancing. Yes, you heard me: despite being steeped in classics, both Ron and I are now unashamedly devotees of this genre.

Those who are familiar with Ron will, of course, recognise him as the world-famous creator of the Grand Organ in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall: and by extension, assume his soul is with yesterday’s musical masterpieces.
At this very moment, he is listening to new recordings of classics of another era: The Beatles. Tunes made famous by The Searchers, Herman’s Hermits, Roy Orbison, and Creedence Clearwater Revival now feature amongst his favourites: and mine!

Can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Gotta be joking!

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A Sunshiny Spring Day in the Park

1 Oct

Wildflowers by the river

Cockatoo feeding

Spring! The season for lovers, poets, and just about anyone who loves to see the renewal of life.

Spring! A time for celebration of nature’s beauty: wildflowers.

Spring! A day: today: when the white cockatoos squawked ever louder, flying higher, ever higher, then coming in to land on the branches of old gum trees. Squawking loudly: gaily raising the yellow plumage that adorns their heads. Swooping to the ground, searching for food. Delighting my eyes!

A glorious day in a native parkland, in Sydney, Australia!

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