Thanks for reading. This blog is an opportunity for me to capture some of the diversity of my writing interests. My muse tend to appear on my shoulder as I board an international flight although not all of my writing is inspired by travel and foreign places. These blogs have been the basis of a novel (Flowers of Baghdad) but there are a few other writing projects in progress besides. Please feel free to leave a comment. Or two.

St Matthews

In 1981 I spent six months on a training course in Toowoomba. Semi rural Queensland. It was a bachelor’s life. And thoroughly pleasant for that. I sketched this old stone church modestly posing behind a large pinus radiata, but parading with something more exotic in its other garden. These sorts of buildings lend themselves to…

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1949 Robinson Harvester

Other creative pursuits in the past have included pen and ink and pen and pencil sketching. Far too little of it though since my school days. In one summer holidays from school I worked on a farm in northern Victoria. It was 45 degrees and oven hot. Most days. I sketched this one afternoon when…

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Gratitude

Funny what prompts you, but I was just bouncing through another blogger’s site where the author had a quick note to observe how grateful she should be for the things she has – but is often not. My own response is usually a glib line but it is a conviction as well if I test…

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Pickled Eel for Emperor

September 11 2006 Beijing: We met Liz and Al and took bicycles down to the Forbidden City, but via Beihai Park. I love the tickets they issue to these places – very sharp looking but only a few cents to buy. A collection of these tell your story by themselves. At Beihai Park we took…

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Long Tan and Short Memories

Yesterday the Australian Prime Minister of Australia laid a wreath at the site of the Long Tan battlefield in southern Vietnam. It is rightly famous for the Australian infantry who beat off more than 2000 enemy. There are criticisms by Australian veterans about how this battle was forgotten, nay even rebuffed by those in government…

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High Water Mark of the Confederacy

Unless distant family was involved in the US Civil War there is almost nothing to connect an Australian with a war that threatened to rip a nation apart, eventually welded it, and which still resonates more than 140 years later as something sentimental and patriotic. And divisive -flint eyed southerners will tell you they are…

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Cu Chi

I have been asked about the reference to Cu Chi in the photo. Cu Chi (“coo chee”) is famous as the site for the tunnels built by the Vietnamese resistance, or Viet Cong, about 45 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Being this close to Saigon they were used to focus attacks into the…

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Off to School in Shamoo

Dear Readers at Shelford (and others of course), “Off to School in Shamoo”? Now that sounds like something out of Dr Seuss. In fact, something just as wonderful and weird as Dr Seuss. But not as wobbly and wavey. In fact, quite the opposite – something very real and concrete and solid in my experience…

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Love Lost in District 4

I walked out of the Ho Chi Minh CBD, such as it is and into District 4. I discovered later that locals recommended District 4 should not be on any walking tour for visitors, it being too dangerous and violent. Something of a slum, and I suspect that is the real reason why locals don’t…

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