Yes, yes – I know.
Wishing my readers a happy new year over two weeks into the year is a little belated. Never mind.
In reality, I have been a little distracted lately. And not just with the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Over the last three weeks we have had a constant stream of visitors. These include our daughter home for a few weeks after teaching all year in Clare in the mid-north of South Australia. Then we have also had our son and his family over from Sydney, including our two grand children, ages 7 and 4. They are lively children and a challenge to keep occupied. Our swimming pool has had a good workout and in that context it is good that the weather has been very warm.
Included in our busy schedule in recent weeks have been two family gatherings. The first was on the farm where I grew up which is now operated by my nephew and his three sons. It was a time of reminiscing and catching up; those present included my niece over from Perth in Western Australia and my son and family from Sydney. More recently we had a few days staying with my sister-in-law and family in Peterborough in the mid-north of the state. Once again, it was planned as a family gathering. Despite the oppressive heat – around 44C (111F) – we had a great time with plenty of great food.
Now it is time for life to get back to a little bit of normality – I hope.
2015 in review
At this time of year it is normal to review the year just gone, and to look at the year ahead. So what were the highlights for me of the year 2015?
- Reading: I managed to read a significant number of books, including some quite long works. These included Richard Flanagan’s brilliant The narrow road to the deep north, Malala Yousafzai’s inspiring I am Malala (read my review here), and the confronting Rosanne Hawke novel The truth about peacock blue.
- More reading: with the acquisition of my first eReader I ventured into a whole new reading experience. Books read on my Kobo device was a pleasant experience, and included The kite runner (a wonderful book) and The girl with the dragon tattoo (a gruesome and quite disappointing book – read my review here).
- Writing: the last year has not been a great one for me regarding getting my writing published. I had just a handful of articles published and no success in competitions.
- Blogging: With over 430 blog posts over five sites I consider the year to be reasonably successful. (You can access these posts here on this site, as well as Trevor’s Birding, Trevor’s Travels and our church site here.)
- Health: Multiple health issues over the course of the year have been a major limiting factor. Thankfully, I am seeing some light at the end of the gloom in this area.
- Biggest disappointment for 2015: not getting any of my books published, including some as eBooks.
Plans for 2016:
I haven’t actually had the time so far to list some goals for this year, but they are sure to include the following:
- Reading: continue on my programme of reading significant works of literature. currently I am reading The people of the book by Geraldine Brooks. I recently read two other books written by her: The secret chord and Caleb’s crossing.
- Blogging: at least 500 blog posts over the various sites for which I write.
- Poems and stories: I plan to submit many poems and stories to competitions journals, and magazines.
- Novels: I am still debating about whether to send my novels to print publishers, or to self-publish them as eBooks. I am leaning towards the latter.
- Non-fiction: I have many ideas for non-fiction books to be published as eBooks. Stay tuned.
- Health: I am working on improving my general health, fitness and well-being this year – with some help from my doctor and physiotherapist. I’ve already started losing weight.
to all of my readers.
I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas.
This year our Christmas has been very low key. Just my daughter home for a holiday, and my wife and I. Speaking of my daughter – she surprised us when she came home on Wednesday with a lovely set of three presents for us. In consultation with our son she bought us a new set of three bird baths. Many of the photos which appear on my other site Trevor’s Birding are taken of birds having a drink or a bath, including the photo above taken of a White-browed Woodswallow having a drink. This photo shows the old bird bath. It was taken on a very hot day last week.
Last night I went to the 11:30pm service at our church. This was a very moving service and a great way to see in Christmas Day. This morning we all ventured out again to our church service. Later we cooked up a storm for lunch: roast pork and vegetables on our barbecue. Despite the heat this went well. Today was the hottest Christmas Day we have had in South Australia since 1945. Thankfully our air conditioner coped well.
After our main course my wife served up the Christmas fruit pudding she made yesterday. Together with home made custard it was delicious. While none of us over-indulged, we all tried to read our books during the afternoon but sleepiness got the better of us. We all had a snooze. Thankfully, no noisy children or noisy toys in this household this Christmas. That will change next week when our son and family arrive from Sydney for three weeks.
Dinner was a repeat of lunch with a enough leftovers to go around. It was just as enjoyable as lunch.
Happy Christmas, everyone.
Earlier this week I visited the Laratinga Wetlands on the outskirts of Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. These wetlands are frequently visited by birders like myself because the ponds often teem with birds. I write about my birding experiences and show photos of Australian birds on my site called Trevor’s Birding.
Many people visit the wetlands every day, including walkers, joggers, runners, cyclists and picnickers.
On this occasion it was early on a frosty morning and the water was still quite smooth. The photo above shows this well. This scene – or another similar which you have experienced – could well be an interesting prompt for your writing.
Here are some writing suggestions:
- Describe the scene in the photo.
- Imagine yourself in the scene shown in the photo. Why are you there?
- Write a short story about a very serene place you have visited.
- Write a poem inspired by the photo.
- Imagine you are a bird – for example, a duck – living in the pond shown in the photo. Describe a day in your life