Rocky and the official could not have a private conversation and they believe it was "a clear intimidation tactic. Our sources say Rocky's team is trying to get the State Dept. So far, the Swedish courts have shut him down. By the way Jenelle Evans may have won the battle but her ex, Nathan Griffith , vows to win the war He's not happy Jenelle regained custody of their 5-year-old son, and to add insult to injury, he says she's being vindictive. Nathan says Jenelle is trying to ruin his relationship with Kaiser by blocking his number He says he wants way more than a phone call As we reported Jenelle regained custody of Kaiser and her and David Eason 's 2-year-old daughter, Ensley , after weeks of testimony in their custody trial.
The Starcourt Mall from " Stranger Things " is indeed a real place and might look like a fun spot to visit Yes, the main setting for much of season 3 of the hit Netflix series is Starcourt, which was shot at a real location -- the Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, Georgia -- from May to November in The fun's all over now, though We're told security is on the scene turning people away if they try to get to the area where 'Stranger' was shot.
The mall was mostly vacant before production started, and the show was able to rent out an entire wing, including the food court, that wasn't being used. That wing of Gwinnett Place was transformed into a late '80s-looking mall, complete with 40 stores like Sam Goody, Waldenbooks and the Scoops Ahoy ice cream parlor where Steve works. Now that production's wrapped, we're told there is no plan to return to the location Sorry, die-hard fans Almost as devastating as that season finale, right?
Cephus is the target of any federal investigation. He adds Even though the case was dismissed, we maintain that this was an illegal stop. Findling concludes, "A couple points need to be made clear, in the many hours of video footage from multiple officers, no traffic violation is captured, and at no time does any officer claim or mention that Mr.
Cephus failed to maintain a lane which was later used to try to justify the stop. Offset will NOT be prosecuted by Georgia for gun possession -- the charges have been dropped, but they were only dropped so the feds could continue an even bigger investigation. The Clayton County D. However, according to docs, the D.
Attorney's Office. Turns out the feds are in the middle of an investigation In docs, county prosecutors say the feds were concerned if they took Offset to trial for gun possession they'd have to tip their hand about information related to a larger investigation. Prosecutors aren't disclosing what that investigation is about, but say pursuing Offset's case "would alert other potential future parties to the investigation and evidence that may support federal charges against said parties.
TMZ broke the story Offset was slapped with a felony gun possession charge back in April. It had been the latest fallout stemming from his arrest last summer in Atlanta. He was also facing 2 separate charges -- possession of weed and making an illegal lane change, both misdemeanors. In the docs, obtained by TMZ, prosecutors say ATF agents contacted officers in Clayton County, asking them to pull over Offset's vehicle, if there was probable cause, and identify all passengers. Prosecutors say the probable cause was failing to maintain his lane and tinted windows. ATF merely wanted to know who was in the vehicle -- but when Clayton Co.
As we told you first Offset's lawyer said he believes the rapper was targeted because he's rich, successful and black. Based on these new docs, though, Offset might have an even bigger problem Nicki Minaj says she can't in her right conscience perform in Saudi Arabia later this month, so she's dropping out of the event The rapper made the announcement Tuesday, saying She added, "While I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, after better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression.
Nicki was set to hit the stage there on July 18, but groups like the the Human Rights Foundation and others lobbied her to pull out in protest of the country's restrictive laws. Women were only recently allowed to drive and attend sporting events in stadiums, but gender segregation is still a thing in Saudi Arabia. Same sex relations are also outlawed there. The year-old English soccer star says his adorable Pomeranian named Lucci was taken from his West Hollywood home on Monday night, along with other personal items.
I want to know what's went on. I want to know why they've took my dog. I want to know why they've took bags from upstairs. I'm dead serious. We reached out to the LAPD and they told us they're actively investigating the break-in -- but have no leads at this time. Wendy Williams ' son is walking out of a New Jersey courthouse with a resolution in his assault case, and it's a very good one for him Prosecutors said they'd reviewed the case and decided to no longer pursue charges against Kevin Hunter Jr.
Kevin Hunter Sr. Their relationship is solid. Kevin Jr. As we've reported Kevin Sr. It's interesting Wendy says she and Kevin Sr. A routine traffic stop turned into a violent war inside of a gas station A police officer in Lathrup Village, Michigan pulled over year Malik McDowell -- a 6'6", pound defensive tackle -- on a snowy February night after he witnessed McDowell's Jeep spinning out on the road after speeding. During the stop, which took place in front of a gas station, the officer ordered McDowell to stay seated in his car, but Malik disobeyed -- and repeatedly demanded to speak with a supervisor.
As the officer continues to verbally engage with McDowell, who was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft, he tries to leave his vehicle and walk into the gas station convenient store. The cop grabs McDowell and tells him to put his hands behind his back The officer repeatedly warns McDowell to stand down or else he would be tased. Once McDowel's on the ground, the officer instructs him to get on his stomach, but the NFL player refuses Perot famously would break down American politics and the economy using bar graphs and pie graphs, using his handy pointer.
The conventional wisdom is that Perot was the reason Bill Clinton got elected, because he split the Republican vote when he ran as an independent. The Perot spoiler factor in presidential elections lives to this day. EDS was only one of Perot's businesses. In , he founded Perot Systems Corp. Meghan Markle has no time for commoners snapping pics of her at Wimbledon -- her security demanded people to turn their lenses away while she watched Serena Williams.
She's here in a private capacity. Shocked at the request, Jones says she told the security guard she had no intention of photographing Meghan She says she was simply trying to take a shot of Serena. A semi-darkened sky of colourful pools, puddles, mere splashes mid-air Was that brilliant display ever really there? Eucalyptus gums are indigenous native grasses and bushes too home to a thousand insect species and native birds becoming so few where one house stood in a garden two units are built — or more imported trees, shrubs in fancy tubs surrounded by a concrete pour.
Who cares about rangy, old gums that provided shade and privacy too Who cares about a balanced ecosystem and that birds and butterflies are few? If YOU care about what is happening In community streets and suburbs Then speak up, get involved, write letters — and counteract the Real Estate blurbs! A walk to the station familiar path unseen cold air, chilled bones a bleak beginning to another day of toil. At the railway station commuters huddle in silence but aboard in warmth a thaw familiar faces smile greetings cheerful chatter melts winter blues. The winter day cold but not drear unusually, warm for this time of year we choose a walk through the woods and frost-hardened leaves crack the path piled with fallen snow our boots stain the pristine track.
When we first met I never thought we would lie side by side in a large comfortable bed and not drown in passion maturity and familiarity take their toll. Our bodies still tingle when hands caress but we have grown comfortable and content seeking thrills less often. I never thought we would lie side by side and talk of mundane matters… doors to be painted garden beds to be weeded leaky taps to be fixed seams to be mended… yet we do not rush to start a project or worry a task is incomplete.
I never thought spending a morning with you puzzling to solve a cryptic crossword and I puzzling to write a poem would create a warm inner glow provide contentment and pleasure. Our past… and imagined future flows easily between us Our love has a comfortable silence as well as public vows.
I love cooking, I love the smell I love it more when it turns out swell I love old recipes, they are the best I gather ingredients and begin with zest. I love my bench top, granite and wide, equipment sits side by side. Can even manage scones, cream and jam. I love to peel, dice, chop and knead.
Recently, I discovered one of the first poems I wrote when I moved to Mordialloc and attempted to fulfil a dream to be a writer. Whether scribbled poems and this one was pre-computer days for me or journal notes, the words, like my Facebook posts and photographs catapulted me to another place, another time — in many ways — another me!
The cold weather outside, wet and bleak — where is the sunlight we all seek? My neighbour traps birds to keep for pleasure others destroy the environment to amass treasure I frequently criticise but no action take — is my concern for social justice all just fake? The silent majority murdered the Vietnamese a radical student, I demonstrated with ease. There are always Vietnams, wrongs to be righted has motherhood, mortgage, my conscience blighted?
Puddles on the concrete quiver and ripple Raindrops plop like intermittent spittle Was I more effective when young and carefree? Persistently protesting — no one silenced me! The crime drama has amassed an international audience since it began in Its popularity due to the excellent adaptation of award-winning crime novels by Ann Cleeves , a location, which provides plenty of stunning coastal scenes, strong storylines, and good acting. Douglas Henshall plays Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, the main character and in a recent interview, he agreed that the collection of around islands lying between Orkney and the Faroe Islands, at the area where the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea meet does intrigue and excite viewers.
Cinema is all about suspension of disbelief so it may come as a surprise to viewers that many scenes in Shetland are filmed in Glasgow, Barrhead, Irvine and Ayr — hundreds of miles away in the lowlands of Scotland, in places resembling Shetland! They just have to make sure no stray trees wander into the shot because trees are still not prolific on Shetland — although that is changing! There was certainly a time when Shetland was almost devoid of trees. Old photographs from the early s show a strikingly stark, bare landscape, even in and around settlements.
In part, this is because of a concerted effort by public bodies to plant more trees over recent decades…. Archaeological investigations have revealed that Shetland once enjoyed extensive tree and shrub cover, with species such as willow, downy birch, hazel and alder appearing in the pollen record. The real reasons for the lack of trees are to do with clearance for firewood and the presence of sheep, which have prevented natural regeneration. Where sheep are excluded, trees grow with little or no shelter.
Judging by the number of trees sold by local garden centres, not to mention the continuing work of the Shetland Amenity Trust, the Shetland landscape will continue to evolve; around settlements especially, we can expect it to change as much over the next generation as it has in the last one. And last night watching the final Season Six, not yet released free to air in Melbourne, it was satisfying spotting places I visited, beaches I walked on, houses or ruins I stood beside contemplating ancient Shetland! Gulls cry overhead circling rugged cliffs and ancient rocks the remnants of a long-ago but not forgotten past… The constant motion of waves crashing, massaging, and chipping as they accompany the wind song — wild background music to settlement, farms and crofts… I imagine a family watching the horizon with anticipation the tempestuous sea surging, the creeping mist of dawn.
I even watch the repeats on TV with several reincarnations of Miss Marple to argue over who is the best and although Peter Ustinov did a fine job in the movies, most people agree that David Suchet has now made Poirot his own. They are not just police procedurals although there is plenty of that , but explore the social reasons for crime, not just the crime itself. They show justice is fluid and the ones set in particular periods of history mark the effects of social change — or lack of it! The all-important conflict necessary for gripping fiction is flawed characters and their struggles to come to terms with the world, whether external or internal.
Good novelists and screenwriters of the quality of Shetland dish it up in wonderful dollops! Shetland has examined the rise of populism and the extreme Right, people smuggling and sex-trafficking, social isolation, bigotry, child abuse and the effect of oil and gas discoveries on environmental pollution among other hot topics. However, one of the best storylines included a character who Ann Cleeves said she wished she had written — Tosh, a female detective who is raped in the line of duty. The way this tragedy is handled and the arcs of various characters in Shetland are examples of fine writing and storytelling.
Along the way, we learn about life in a close-knit community, where everybody almost seems to know of each other — not hard in a population of 23, As a comparison, I think of the City of Mordialloc before it merged with Kingston in In an area of 5. Is there anyone left alive in Shetland?
A bit like the popular English series Midsomer Murders where picturesque English villages harbour murderers and serial killers who knock off the local population at an alarming rate…. However, be assured Shetland locals are friendly and welcoming as this poster in Shetland dialect on the Library noticeboard says:.
I think at this time in my life, a place like Shetland appeals because I can imagine myself in a cottage, tending a garden and writing — no need for bright city lights anymore just a haven to indulge an inner search for peace and serenity! Our guide for Shetland was Robina Barton, an expert on history and geology and also the Labour Party candidate for the north, which is held by the Liberal Democrats.expanditnow.com/bawbs-raven-feathers-volume-iii-reflections-on.php
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She gave him a good shake in elections! I found her a most obliging and generous guide similar to those I experienced one-to-one in Mongolia and Russia. Enthusiastic, knowledgeable, caring guides who added so much to my extended holiday. With mutual understanding, the day went from good to great and helped colour my view of Shetland — I mentioned already I would return in a heartbeat! A chef who had just moved to Lerwick, he was promoting his soon to be opened restaurant. Sheltered by Bressay over the water — where Robina lives.
I could see her house from my hotel window and said goodnight to her twinkling lights after a super day. The natural harbour attracts a wide range of visiting craft and a large cruise ship came in adding to the constant stream of ferries, fishing boats, and working craft from the oil rigs. Lerwick, only officially named the capital in the 19th century, building on the trade from the Dutch herring industry.
From a scattering of huts on a shoreline track, the busy Commercial Street developed surrounded by tightly packed narrow lanes. Later, new docks were created north of the town to accommodate the fishing fleet. The characteristics of the buildings, brickwork and flagstones different from anything seen in Melbourne and many a lot older! There are models of typical Shetland Boats and to keep alive traditions, festivals are held and displays. For me, the innovative incorporation of boats in buildings and gardens very appealing, but considering my forbears were all sailors and fishermen from the Isle of Skye, I loved learning about Shetlanders and the sea too!
The Kveldsro House Hotel harks back to another era with Reading Rooms, relaxing lounges and shoe shine machines in the corridor. The bar even has a stained glass sign for Gents and of course, the Ladies Powder Room is some distance away! There are plenty of tasteful furnishings and interesting artworks. I have been fortunate with all of the places I have stayed this trip. Robina a mine of information on the geological formation of Shetland.
Wildflowers blooming, sheep bleating, salt in the air and evidence of human habitation going back hundreds of years as sunlight glitters on the water like scattered gemstones. Lunch stops are always interesting too, meeting the locals, getting to know each other, tasting Shetland delicacies. And a bonus when it rained while we were snug inside! Different sides of mainland Shetland have different weather depending on whether exposed to North Sea or Atlantic.
We learnt a lot about geology today from Robina, our expert guide. The variety of rocks amazing. We also went on wildflower searches. No view here boring and each pile of rocks intriguing — is it a broch, remnants of a tomb, a medieval or Viking village, a deserted croft from the cruel land clearances or collapse of herring fishing industry? Is that of neolithic significance or a deliberate structure from WW2? The Kveldsro House Hotel was comfortable and the staff pleasant. After watching a video on the origins of the Fire Festival and reading reminisces of participants, we could dress up and let loose our inner Viking.
It was a fun interlude in a day that ended depressingly, sad — the Nightly News full of the Grenfell Tower Fire — an incredible tragedy hard to imagine. I had spent some time in London with a friend when I arrived in the UK for this final leg of my journey and there were a couple of sisters at the hotel who joined our tour the next day who lived in London. The horrors and brutality often associated with marauding Vikings wear a different mantle in modern times. Will those in authority whose greed, negligence and even deliberate contempt for others ever be held accountable?
Death and destruction among the least wealthy and privileged in society a tale as old as time! Flinders Street Station, an iconic building holding many stories within its walls and parts of the interior, especially the upper floor Ballroom — a place everyone wanted to see when I first volunteered for Open House Melbourne a decade ago because like other sites during the last weekend in July, the public rarely have access. Alas, as mentioned, parts have been closed off to the public for many years because lack of proper maintenance made some of the building unsafe and until final restoration work is done an expensive, time-consuming process it may be many more years before the whole building is restored to its original glory.
The Victorian Parliament Building also a Melbourne icon and although it has received more maintenance attention than Flinders Street Station, the restoration process is drawn out for this building too. I arrived five not twenty minutes early because of unavoidable delays on the Frankston Train Line. The security process reminiscent of airport security and sadly a sign of the times and upgrading the old building to accommodate new security technology a priority.
How you do that in keeping with nineteenth-century architecture and expectations of access from the general public, no easy task. Hurrying, and feeling guilty about being late I dropped my handbag, partially spilt the contents on the ground and held up a queue of others also wanting to enter via the public entrance of Parliament House.
Fortunately, the promised Welcome Desk was indeed welcoming and despite the tone of the emails suggesting non-negotiable punctuality, a friendly, and chatty attendant escorted me to the Library where I had a good fifteen minutes to feast on my surroundings and relax by eyeing off the floor to ceiling shelves! The books eleven shelves high above a bench with two shelves below, so no wonder there was a ladder leaning against the wall and the top two shelves empty. The sign for the seminar read Foundations — Architecture with influence — Flinders Street Restoration Project and then my eyes wandered to a variety of books, their titles almost jumping out at me:.
Brought back to reality the guest speaker was introduced by Caroline, the Parliamentary Librarian…. The seminar was the third of a three-part series on Architecture Restoration of Significance, the analysis and reuse of older buildings. All good presenters put their audience at ease and Peter was no exception, jokingly referring to the current series on SBS Great British Railway Journeys introduced by ex-Tory politician Michael Portillo. Peter apologised for the absence of a bright jacket to show off his knowledge of railway history!
This led Peter into a segue on the various colours of the paintwork of Flinders Street Station. The paintwork appears different during the day and night and over the years.
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Now, 30 years since that paint exploration, the current restoration began and the paint colour harks back to the original colour scheme. The initial investigation revealed a failure of the fabric externally with extensive structural cracking. There was an update of the Conservation Management Plan and the significance of this was what could or could not be changed. The track level and platforms and range of shops along Flinders Street — all spaces were analysed. The ceilings contained the largest collection of press metal work in Australia. The platforms, the ramps, stairs, subways and concourse, have been used by millions of commuters since While the opening of the city loop in has reduced the dominant role of the station, it is still an important destination and meeting point.
As a large and imposing public building located at the major symbolic gateway into the city, on one of the most important intersections, it is a familiar and well loved landmark, and the view of the building from Flinders Street has become one of the most photographed and instantly recognisable images of Melbourne.
Heritage Council, Victoria, The railway architect, Mr James Fawcett, and railway engineer, HP Ashworth won a competition to design a railway station for Melbourne. Flinders Street Station is broadly Edwardian Free Style, the main building is strongly influenced by French public architecture of the s, and is the only such example in Melbourne. Fawcett was a watercolour painter of some renown — check out the Fawcett Collection at the State Library.
Peter showed slides of some old paintings of Flinders Street as a tiny train station in early Melbourne. Other paintings showed the historical development and the station growing to have original platforms and the Degraves Street stop. Scandalous Baysid e, ; Off The Rails, Fawcett invested in art architecture, he liked innovation. However, cost-cutting meant covered train halls abandoned and their direction changed to North-South.
A large multiple-arch iron roof over the platforms, with an enormous glass wall facing the river, was never built. This aspect of the design was in the manner of the grand European and English railway stations, except that the arches were to have been across the platforms, rather than along. It was a grand design though and the fourth floor was to be commercial offices — and whether these offices should be private businesses or only for government and the railway was a bone of contention.
Nothing new there politicians still argue over commercial versus public use and profit and investment, financial return …. The station was not completed until but built for commuters and had shops, canteen for workers, cafes, even a childcare centre… ahead of its time …. The office portion of the station is of social and historical significance for having incorporated extensive and heavily used public facilities.
Large and convenient public toilets for women were provided at a time when such facilities were rare. Apparently, in the s it was the busiest railway station in the world. A claim with no mention of what other stations were considered for that honour and whether it encompassed a Eurocentric world view, Southern Hemisphere or included Asia! Extensive facilities provided for the Victorian Railways Institute, which catered to the thousands of employees of the railways, as well as their families and friends. Many of these facilities were available for hire by outside organisations and by the s Flinders Street Station was home to cultural social and sporting organisations, such as cat lovers, rose devotees, talented debaters and poetry lovers.
This function continued until the Institute moved out in I can remember attending the first Train Travellers Association meetings on the top floor in the late s. Carriages had leather straps hanging from the ceiling for standing passengers and too few seats catering for the postwar population explosion increasing the number of commuters travelling into the city each day.
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They talked about their ideas on how to improve the Railways system, which had been badly neglected by various Liberal Governments who harboured a dream to sell the network off — one finally achieved by Jeff Kennett in There is no doubt that Flinders Street Railway Station was a major, stupendous building on its completion in and it still looks grand and impressive today.
A drawing of Melbourne in depicts Elizabeth Street as a creek, this is incorrect but because of the proximity of the River Yarra, Flinders Street Station buildings are on variable foundations and there was a creek flowing into the Yarra River. The proximity of the foundations to water provided challenges! Flinders Street is basically a brick building but has attached timber elements. The timber wall cantilevered off the brick section. The timber tended to tip from the building. The original construction fraught with delays and difficulties over a decade, and scandals about incompetence led to a Royal Commission.
The base built of basalt and granite and the timber lining supported by load-bearing brick. It should have been a brick and sandstone exterior but the cost meant that was abandoned for bricked stucco. A survey in , despite budget constraints, demanded urgent repair work. There was major cracking on the roof and in some walls, people could be killed below if bricks dislodged. An inspection revealed the major culprit — blocked downpipes and a roof that had leaked for 30 years!
The roof was intricate, a mixture of concrete, copper, corrugated iron — there were leaks everywhere, flashings buckled.
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Water damaged interiors could have been avoided and the cost of restoration halved if drains had been cleaned! Timber rotted from neglect, decorative plaster ruined. The use of pressed metal, which includes ceilings in most office areas in a huge variety of designs as well as dados and friezes in some, is the most extensive in Victoria and the red painted, block fronted wall facing the platforms is the largest example of zinc cladding known in Australia.
After Christchurch, governments accept the earthquake threat is real and any major renovations or new buildings must acknowledge this threat. Initially, at Flinders Street, they planned to anchor the tower with tensile rods but it was not feasible to drill into the brickwork to anchor the building — this was deemed too disruptive and invasive. And not doable because of cavities in the brickwork.
Ingenuity and good tradespeople meant they found a way of reinforcing the roof structure. There were concrete slabs relied upon to hold the building together. The water damage and corrosion needed a new structural slab and waterproofing. Before removal of the concrete slab, they built a bracing system to earthquake-proof the building. Seismic issues for old buildings are massive. How to deal and manage risks without disrupting the running of the railways or putting commuters and the general public in danger? A lot of the work was carried out at night where there was a three-hour opening of no train traffic!
T here were thousands of people involved in the project yet it was completed while the railways still operated. The clock tower and the front steps are probably the most photographed parts of Flinders Street Station. Restoring the clock tower the most challenging, requiring enormous anchoring and bracing. An extraordinary feat of engineering and architectural knitting of braces to the building. However, they sourced oval glass from Mexico after a worldwide search. The face is all laminated so it will not fall into the street.
Removing all the asbestos was a major challenge. The zinc used in the pressed metal work was in good condition but it was a major campaign to restore where water had caused deformities. The repairs to the wall will now last for another years. Repointing the brickwork an exercise in patience and craftsmanship. The use of red brick contrasted with coloured cement render, the use of banking especially in the tower , and the grouping of windows vertically under tall arches shows the influence of American Romanesque Revival.
Salt coming through the brickwork ignored for too long and you can see the white stains. There was lots of exploration about various methods of repair, plenty of trial and error because it was heritage restoration and they were not replacing everything. During the restoration they unravelled issues, in many cases, it was a discovery process but there was a great team of builders, engineers and tradespeople.
The building has had eight or nine paintings over the years but original paint not good and streaked within seven years. The building has always been painted the same combination of colours — creamy yellow, red south walls, green for windows. Lead paint was an issue too. It had to be stripped off in a controlled environment or the decision made to leave as is and paint over.
There was a beautifully designed heating system, hydronic radiators but all pipes were covered in asbestos. The dangers of asbestos and working how to remove it safely is an issue for whoever renovates the interior. Lighting improved colours — the interior of the dome was beautiful when cleaned. In the Ballroom, they stripped off the plasterwork and discovered pressed metal ceiling. Cracked balusters a badly seismic issue for tipping — rubber mouldy and new balusters made and pinned. Water penetrated through massive cornices. They put in lead capping to conserve it although not these originally but had to rebuild moulding.
The stained glass magnificent designed by Fawcett because he was interested in art nouveau. Only modest replacements and it is hard to pick new panels, the rest were basically cleaned and conserved. They were conscious that restoring the outside is only stage one and so they needed a storeroom because nothing that was removed was thrown out. They even kept items left behind by workers over the years: s watches, hats and other curios. These are stored alongside ornamental plasterwork from the Ballroom. Each item labelled and stored. I loved the spiral staircase, the polished wooden doors, the magnificent ceiling and chandelier and ornamental work on columns and cornices —.
Caroline answered my many questions and showed me the Reading Room, explained how one of the columns cleverly disguised the chimney for the fireplace and told me the pet name which I have forgotten they use for the plaster lion saved from a previous renovation. It was an informative and friendly afternoon. History and heritage two of my loves and Caroline invited me back — an offer I hope to take up sooner rather than later! On the way out, I passed students in the hall and thought how lucky they were to have a tour — I was an adult before I ventured inside the parliament building and have spent more time on the steps demonstrating than wandering inside!
But as I walked past the portraits of premiers I stopped beside my favourite — Joan Kirner — the artist has caught her twinkling eyes and her over-riding quality of kindness. I attended Croydon High and my mother admired Joan, greatly. Last night I attended an author event at Sandringham Library with my good friend, Lisa Hill who is a fellow bibliophile, blogger and writer. An eminent book reviewer with an award-winning blog , Lisa concentrates on Australian and New Zealand literature but also reviews an impressive range of international writers, including many translations not necessarily widely distributed.
This event showcased three authors discussing how they used events from life in their novels so how apt to have a bust of Australian writer, Alan Marshall OBE outside. Alan hailed from the nearby suburb of Black Rock. When I came to Australia in , I think Alan Marshall was an author everyone knew and is an excellent example of turning real-life events into novels. Library renovations are scheduled and this was the last public event before they begin so the 72 in attendance were indeed fortunate. Before Vivienne, t he Customer Service Co-ordinator for Bayside introduced the guest panel, she confided that she was celebrating her 21st Anniversary with the library — so two memorable milestones for the evening.
Eleni was asked about the parts of her own life she mined to write her debut YA novel Stone Girl. She admitted to always wanting to write but before she could write other stories she had to write about her childhood in State Government care first. She had been a university student, a journalist, fiancee, wife and mother but found relief in being able to write about a part of her early life never mentioned.
She released her muse and making the story fiction gave her the freedom to write without worrying about hurting others.
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There are 40, children in the care system and her story is a compilation of those stories. Her novel a vehicle to open up and talk about her past. She listened to a lot of Metallica and similar music and kept writing! The writing itself private and personal but became confronting when published and she faced the prospect of the publicity and marketing treadmill because as Claire suggested, journalists love a book where the author can be pressured to share what parts are true.
She still feels separate from the character because the media have been reasonable and looked at the actual issue she wanted to spotlight — the experience of kids in care. Eleni said that in the beginning, her character Sophie is twelve and has lost her mum and ends up a Ward of the State.
She meets Milo on the street and he is a cool dude she is attracted to but ends up trapped in his home. An incident in her own life was the inspiration for the Milo scene. She was fourteen or fifteen and in care. They were encouraged to go out during the day and one day she met a Jamaican DJ who fitted the description of Milo. She ended up scared and locked in his house. The Milo scene in the book has the essence of that real-life event. She recalls being groggy so he must have put something in her food or drink and yet she was street smart. After Stone Girl was published she was contacted by many people wanting to share their stories.
She gathered more knowledge and ideas and became aware of how many people are ashamed to admit they were in care or were poor and had traumatic experiences. There are many stories to be told! John declared that the intersection of family and money is toxic, which is why as a lawyer, he avoids estate work but it is a rich vein for storytellers.
It is about a father and daughter, the relationship between parents and children, and how trauma resonates through generations. Claire mentioned that the character Sarah is a concert pianist who has to quit music as a career. Did John draw on his experience as a cellist with a stellar career who had to quit? John explained that when he was in Vienna the skin on his hands began to peel off and he discovered he was allergic to the dark rosin applied to the cello bow. He had to give up playing an instrument he loved. However, his character, Sarah gave up playing because of stage fright and they both coped with the initial grief differently.
John believes writing fiction is all about imagination and he never runs out of ideas — and hopefully, they will always be good ideas. It is daunting to write a novel that sits well with historical facts. He read lots of Russian novels and researched for months about that time in history before coming to the realisation that the human condition is universal. The emotions a character reveals the same regardless of ethnicity. For his work in progress, John is having a change of pace and genre.
He is writing a romantic comedy involving an Elvis impersonator — and he has been that! This drew laughter from the audience, especially when he confessed he may use a pseudonym! Lee Kofman is a memoirist and memoir teacher and talked about applying an evocative twist to real-life writing. She admitted to being a prolific confessional writer in three languages. In the 90s, when she started to write in her style, there was no real creative non-fiction but she fell in love with the memoir genre, which is a slice of your life — not all autobiography. She found the trick was to examine the difference between herself now and younger self.
Look at younger self from a distance, try not to be too attached to current emotions and thoughts — look at younger self, be the cold observer. Ask what are the emotions younger self feel? Why did events happen to cause those feelings? Reveal something that happened intimately, yet do it overtly.
The balances between what to include or omit difficult to attain. Lee followed this advice when she wrote Dangerous Bride. It was an intimate expose of a marriage breakdown but it remained her story. Lee believes successful writing is all in the voice and how you tell your story. All the contributors were told the stories had to be about endings. Personal essays are a meshing of real life and to be successful. Good essays include snippets of dialogue and colour to bring the words to life.
John said he had been asked to write a personal essay but enjoys fiction writing. Eleni advised ignoring who will be reading your story and just write and worry about readership later when editing. Write first, think about publishing later; worrying about readers will block your writing flow. She put Metallica on and just wrote furiously, not worrying about how many words or how they came out on the page. To be a writer you must read, read and read.
Then write, write, write and have tenacity without beating yourself up about how good or bad your work is. She only needed a line edit, not a structural edit. John is with Affirm publishers, who won publisher of the year. Lee is also with them as well as another publisher. They both agreed you are fortunate if you receive a structural edit.
To have an independent outsider check your work is a valuable and rewarding process for a writer. John said that with his music experience, it was a long time ago and he had a sense of perspective about his allergy and his reaction to not being able to play anymore. He believed having that distance adds depth to your writing but he stressed he writes fiction, it is not him but his character who is doing the experiencing.
Characters must have their own life. For Lee, it took twenty years before she was able to write about broken relationships and her marriage. Good writing is picking what needs to be in the story. Writing as fiction she had to show not tell, although it was important to be truthful. She walked in the footsteps of those who suffered plus showed the bureaucracy, social workers, the homes the kids moved around in and the other kids met along the way.
John was asked if he thought there was a dearth of political novels in Australia and why? John suspects it will change here. Although we have had a relatively benign political climate, the whole apparatus of society is changing because of technology and the level of surveillance is different compared to a decade ago.
Another question from the audience raised the crime genre as a vehicle for social realism and asked Eleni if this is why she chose to write another issue based book. Wendy revealed she had been homeless and could empathise with the feeling of shame and stigma attached to people like Courtney. Eleni agreed this was a great example of a writer using their voice and real-life experience to draw attention to an important social reality.
An audience member told the panel he was recently sent three novels to review. Two were awful. The third he found better because the writer produced a book where scenes came alive as if watching a movie. Eleni said the first draft of her novel was awful and it would have been a punishment if someone was required to read it! She threw it out. Excellent writing is visual. John is motivated by the joy of the writing process. His publisher and agent can figure out the readership. Lee writes for herself. She wants to answer questions and writes for selfish reasons but redrafts all the time.
The last book she was very mindful of the readers. There was a happy buzz when the panel concluded and a beeline for the table with books for sale. Others queued to talk with the authors. If you follow my blog then you know I care about the environment by advocating reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose. I also believe like the United Nations, that time is running out regarding global warming and species extinction. We have created havoc by over-consumption and disregarding how to responsibly dispose of man-made materials like plastics, radioactive waste and other byproducts of industrialisation and general pollution.
The slogan developed years ago for tourists — take only photos and leave only footprints — should be expanded and applied to our everyday life. Some communities are running out of places to safely put landfill and countries that bought our rubbish yep — we exported our trash to China and Malaysia among others! Australia and the U. A as the biggest culprits in this region have been forced to rethink and find other solutions. More than ever there is pressure for citizens to be more pro-active about reducing waste and also to recycle, reuse and repurpose.
Consumers have demanded plastic bag free supermarkets, returnable deposit cans and bottles, no more plastic straws, refillable cups and most of all reduced packaging — and gradually the corporate world is responding. I live in the City of Kingston and am grateful we have a recycling program and they are looking at ways to not only improve services to citizens but educate people on how to reduce their rubbish. I was thrilled that Kingston Council is helping citizens learn the alternatives to filling garbage bins.
In the near future, they are trialling an organic food collection, which may happen once a week — and be introduced in January This new food bin will be a compost bin and it will go to a commercial facility with a 5 day turn around and sent to farmers to fertilise their land. Contamination will be a huge issue and so the Council aims to have an intensive education program for citizens. An alternative that can be done immediately is to start your own compost at home and there will be no need to have Council collect your food scraps!
I took advantage of one of the free workshops being run to encourage people to recycle their food waste at home and turn it into compost. I hope to spend more time in the garden and aim to create a more productive veggie patch and more flowers and want to make my own good quality compost. Any gardener will tell you great outcomes begin with the quality of the soil — and the best soil is obtained from compost.
Plants grown in healthy soil have fewer problems with disease and pests — and that goes for vegetables as well as flowers. Good soil contains organic matter — worm castings, decomposed leaves and remains of organisms such as insects, fungi, and bacteria. Replenishing organic matter essential — and what better way than to use your own compost. It is one of the largest privately-owned waste management companies in Australia and provides recycling, sanitary and green waste collection services.
I believe they may have more or less a monopoly on garbage collection in Melbourne and also operate in other states. They put a good or bad sticker on the lids to encourage people to do the right thing. They also sort through rubbish periodically to determine what education packages may be used to determine solutions to our ever-growing rubbish problem. The bin inspection program her idea, plus the use of stickers. As a multicultural city, Freya said she is aware of a lack of English language skills, which creates a barrier in the community. Therefore, a message about what can be recycled is often misunderstood if only written in English.
The stickers can be understood by everyone. When I was young, I remember you got money back on glass bottles and we scoured the countryside looking for abandoned empties to return and get pocket money. For some reason most probably someone decided it was less profitable the practice was stopped in Victoria. I also remember when the girls were in school in the late 80s early 90s, collecting aluminium cans was popular to raise money. In fact, it was a good fundraiser for many charities but they competed with those on a low income who trawled the rubbish bins.
Returnable deposit schemes work in other states and countries — here is a goodnatured way of encouraging recycling I snapped in the Orkneys — the bins were outside a club. Freya has also initiated an effective School Program about recycling and composting so hopefully future generations will be more aware, if they are not already, of the fragility of the environment and the need for sustainability.
Many schools in the municipality have vegetable gardens, compost bins, water tanks, worm farms, hens… the children are aware of the importance of recycling to the environment that it becomes second nature. When I asked about reducing the amount of hard rubbish left on nature strips by people moving out or just dumping stuff, Freya said she is trialling a program in partnership with Diabetes Australia, to pick up and recycle goods abandoned by International Students at end of semester departures and readvertise them to others arriving.
A friend and past student who lives in the City of Glen Eira will be extremely happy to learn this because she often lamented that her street, which has many small apartment blocks, often looks like a tip because of the high turnover of renters, who are invariably international students attending Monash University. She often commented that much of the furniture and household goods are top quality and could be reused but are left on nature strips to be collected as rubbish.
The workshop I attended limited to 30 people because of the availability of space and was booked out but another one will be held on June I was pleased to see grey heads like mine but also young couples, teenagers and middle-aged — a good selection of ratepayers all wanting to learn more about recycling food waste and other organic matter. Freya said viewing the camera footage to get the car number plates of the culprits to issue infringement notices and hopefully recoup some costs! A truck pulled up and dumped a massive tyre but when the driver saw the camera he retrieved the tyre and drove off — not before his number plate recorded.
The car number plates showed that many of the people who dumped were from a mixture of businesses, lived out of town, and were not all locals. Perhaps we need more provocative murals like this one I saw in Canberra above a row of bins marked for recycling — the quote says:. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. Fast food a convenience we craved Marketing gurus constantly raved Junk created ignored As rubbish was poured Into the environment, we should have saved. Who profits from accumulated trash? Is life on Earth worth less than cash?
Greenies demonised Consumers fed lies While pollution spreads like a rash! What species destroys its own nest Where standards should be the best? To the tourists who boast loving Bali — Has your behaviour increased the tally? Of beach debris Polluting the sea Leave only footprints when you dally!! Freya explained what composting is and how it is created and there were leaflets available to take home, and examples of the type of compost bins.
Several participants shared opinions and experiences of the different methods and different bins. I loved the generosity of those present sharing tips about where to get containers to use as compost bins or worm farms. Freya had brought along some examples of the bins to show us plus a worm farm, which a lucky audience member won.
Freya explained, with illustrations, how to get started setting up a bin these leaflets are available from the City of Kingston and give us the ADAM recipe on how to compost successfully:. The ratio being 3 : 1. Other useful ingredients: wood ash, lime, egg shells, dolomite, blood and bone, dynamic lifter, soil. A compost bin replicates what happens in the rainforest. Compost will be ready after months. E arth, our planet, may be unique in this vast universe A nd yet, we take its bounty for granted R eally, we are running out of time T o heal and save this damaged miracle H ow foolish we are to ignore the signs D o nothing is not an option… Reduce Reuse Recycle A ct now to save ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef or Y ear in year out, climate change will wreak havoc.
My knowledge of worm farms negligible and this was the part of the evening I found most interesting.
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