Noosa – a conundrum wrapped up in an enigma



Allpress in the sand after a dip in the sea – nothing could be more perfect


Noosa, the beach reverberates with No.

No, Jimmy, you can’t step on that towel you’ve got sandy feet.

No, Julie, you can’t sit in the sand you’ve got wet swimwear.

No, Simon, you can’t play in the surf you’re in your clothes.

No, Sally, you can’t touch the sunblock you’ve got sand on your fingers.

Even the sand tossed, bronzed youth wandering down Hastings Street look like they’ve been styled. The expressions suggest I could be on the money here. For a coastal village the occupants and by occupants, I suspect I mean tourists, look like they are under immense pressure to look like they are having a relaxing, sun-baked, salty beach holiday.

It’s a beach littered with tags freshly cut from purchases from the main street that runs parallel to the beach. Tags and for some reason that truly beggars belief – make up wipes.

While much fun was had in the surf I suspect this place may remain an enigma to me for some time to come yet.

Animal watch

  • Dolphins, Yes, Noosa delivered on Day 1.



The final sprint – Dubbo to Brisbane


After a night in Dubbo, we woke early setting out on the Newell Highway for the final sprint home leaving the Moyles in Sydney buying a soccer club and celebrating by skydiving over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. With tumbleweed joining us on the highway for the final 11 odd hour sprint home –  day for day we were clearly in the lead.

This will be brief because quite frankly, the trip from Dubbo to Brisbane is not very interesting. You do start reporting to the members of the car when you reach a hundred landmark but really no one cares until it’s 100km to go.

I can report the best public toilets, in possibly Australia but I’m open to being corrected, are the public toilets in Goondiwindi.

Total Distance from Bright over the two days:

  • 19.26 hours
  • 1595 kms

Animal Watch

  • A live kangaroo

Note: It is possible there has been creative license taken with the activities of the Moyle clan. But hey they are clearly having a very good time because I think they are still there. In fact they may have moved there which makes this not so much a race. Something to ponder as we head north to the beach and hopefully more wildlife.

The Great Race – day 2 Dubbo to Bright



The Ovens River in Bright

Yes, it is clearly many days since day 1 of our trip south but we did make it.

While the Moyles were spending their Christmas days sharing their adventures with photos of the clan dining out, scuba diving, rock climbing and sailing from Sydney to Hobart we were in a wi-fi free zone at the foot of the Alps eating apples and drinking locally roasted Sixpence coffee while we watched a cricket game that involved a sprinkler, dishwashing liquid, long sheets of plastic and a peg or two.

It was a fleeting visit and with the car filled with pineapple lumps and the car packed with Wandi apples we were back on the road to Dubbo hoping to beat the Moyles home.


  • 735 km and 9 and a half hours on the road

Animal watch

  • We saw a black Illama walking beside the rail track in Dubbo. At first, the moment felt like we were in a scene from a Coen brothers movie but then you wonder where the animal has come from and we became increasingly concerned about its safety.

Keeping up with the Moyles 2



Sunset in Dubbo

This year we’ve upped the ante in our bid to keep up with those nomadic Moyles.

We’ve added a dog, and dropped a night on the trip from Brisbane to Bright. This first night took us to Dubbo. Yes, you have calculated that correctly 11 hours in the car with a dog, two youth and a bag of pineapple lumps. This time we stuck to the right stretch of highway as we drove through the heatwave.


It was a long day, and because we stayed on the highway, not much to see. So, we filled our hours googling coffee stops in the next town. Reviews are an interesting phenomenon. The bad reviews often tell you more than the good ones.

There was a ‘Terrible’ for a cafe because the eggs had come on the plate with the bread next to it, rather than the eggs on the bread. It all tasted good but clearly very distressed about having to add the egg and toast together. Another negative review was all about the plating, couldn’t complain about the taste or coffee, We chose this cafe and created our own review.

The ice cream was frozen not fresh. Then it melted when it was put on the warm waffles, which were unnaturally thick and fluffy. Someone ordered the bacon roll without the egg and a hash brown side. They put the hash in the roll, not to the side. Which, is exactly what the receiver of this plate of food would have done. The coffee was a criminally good way to start the next leg of the journey. And, yes, we were sitting opposite the Dubbo jail museum at the time which probably explains the last line.

Next stop Bright – 7 hours driving, maybe 10 with stops.

Animal watch:

  • A lot of dead things, sometimes it was hard to tell if it was a kangaroo or a cow.
  • A large goanna.
  • Someone thought they saw a koala but then wondered if they were imagining things.

It’s late but it’s done


It’s now 10pm, it’s late, my tea is cold, my shoulders are very stiff and my eyes are gritty and dry from too much screen time but my draft for Hidden Amongst Them is done and I feel like shouting it from the roof. I won’t because it’s very dark outside and I can hear the bats just outside my window.

So instead I’ll shout it from here.

After 85,000 odd words I have just typed

The End

and it feels immensely satisfying.


The end is nigh


I have been very quiet recently and I have a very good reason for this. I have been focussed on getting this fourth or is it fifth? To be honest I lost count a few years back. Let’s go with the latest draft finished.

But in keeping with the lesson that led to my last post, I felt it only timely to acknowledge the progress I’m making. I’m closing in on the last chapter with maybe only three or four left to write so I’m taking a moment.

I also wanted to make the space for a future post where I can say The End.


Those befores, afters and life



Cosmic photo courtesy of the brilliant folk at Pixabay

My life is broken up into before and afters and as each new before comes along another after fades into the background.

I know I don’t actively try to recall the befores. They’re just diary notes on a great cosmic calendar. There’s before journalism, then before marriage, before children and before a rather nasty health complication. That’s proven to be a big one.

I’ve always been aware of the way I catalogue my life and recently as I’ve followed Jacinda Ardern’s rise in New Zealand politics I’ve realised there are also a small handful of constant threads that have remained a straight course through the ups and downs.

She is one constant on the New Zealand political landscape that has been there since I can remember. She was there in the Auckland political landscape while my afters were playing out. It’s thrilling to see her as the leader of her party now. The focus here in Australia today is on her age. What they are neglecting to talk about is her decades in politics. Those decades filled with my befores and afters.

This has got me thinking about another big constant, writing. It’s been there through it all. Not an obvious partner, not even something I was aware of at the time. But it’s always been there and it’s clearly been coloured by all the befores.

I wrote this scene seven years ago lying in a hospital bed, my head spinning with nerves, anxiety, fear and a whole lot of steroids. The scene is still in the story I’m working on now.

“It was raining and it was hot so I looked up at the sky and let the rain fall on my face but then it was hard. The raindrops were slow and too big and it wasn’t my face they were landing on. It was the face of an old man. I bent over him to shelter his face but the water kept splashing in his eyes. He wouldn’t close them and I couldn’t shelter him. The man infant-like and skeletal at the same time, vulnerable. Then he twisted in convulsions. He was dying. I don’t know why I know that. I don’t know if it’s the rain that’s killing him. Then it stops, and it’s like the rain has frozen his face in this awful silent scream.’

Prior to the very large operation needed to rectify the health issue a fellow writer talked about surgery and how the very nature of the process is a violent attack on the body. But it’s also your friend. It is going to save your life. Befriending the process is key to a successful recovery. Not sure I did it well but I truly think the following is me coming to some kind of peace agreement with it.

The dark, purple scar ran in a jagged line from the base of his neck to just above his ear. The skin looked tight and pinched as if someone had hacked his head open, then closed it with staples. In the past three months, she had seen it with fresh blood seeping between the gathered skin. She had seen the blackened blood, still tacky, clinging to the stitches and matted hair and she had seen the scar, raw but healed. Despite all she had seen it still shocked her. A visual reminder of the damage to her son’s soul.

Just to be clear, my scar was delicate and quite beautiful, a perfect koru. But I’m sure psychologists and psychiatrists could have a field day with this lot.

So, today, I’m wondering how a win for Jacinda Ardern might shape my female characters tomorrow?