Create a scene where a murder takes place
The approach is along a limestone track beneath a tangled archway of peppermint and paper bark trees. You stop to push open the rusty iron gate.
Around the corner you suddenly come out of the trees onto a rocky headland. Parking the car you walk to the edge. The cliff plunges metres down to where waves crash and surge unrelenting onto jagged rocks. Seagulls swoop and cry in the buffeting wind.
You shiver and pulling your coat closer around you, you turn away from the cliff and walk towards the house perched only metres from the cliff. Built from solid rock blocks hewn from the cliffs it has withstood years of winter storms.
A car with the passenger door sagging open is parked by the house. Your peer in. Something seems to have made a nest on the front seat.
Turning away you climb the worn stone steps of the house onto the warped front verandah that envelopes the house. A bird flies out from under the eaves, swooping close by you, making you duck. Pushing against the front door, it creeks open. With nervous trepidation which surprises you, you step inside.
Your eyes adjust to the gloom. What you see makes you gasp and stagger back onto the verandah and retch over the railing.
"He was the only man on the platform wearing an eye-patch"
Even through the scratched, soot marked window and the smoke hanging thickly in the air, it was easy to identify him – he was the only man on the platform with an eye patch.
You had been warned he might be here waiting, but you hoped by some slim chance that he would have been given the wrong information. Your mind races as you fumble with your bag and check the compartment for strayed belongings.
Passengers are pouring from the carriages and the down the steps onto the platform, jostling as they gather their bags, greet waiting people and make their way to the exit gate. New passengers are waving goodbyes and boarding the train.
Your sit immobile, your mind racing. There is a tap at your door and the cabin steward looks in.
“Are you alright Miss? This is your station. We’ll be leaving in a few minutes.”
As if in agreement, the train whistle blows shrilly.
“Yes, I know” you stammer. “But I’m thinking I should go onto the next stop.”
“But that will take you further away.”
“I know, but I have a friend there who can meet me.”
“Well you can’t stay in this compartment. It’s been taken by
someone else and we’re full.”
Behind him you see a smartly dressed woman in a green coat and cloche hat.
“Oh, I’d better get off then.”
You smile grimly, pick up your bag, nod to the woman and make your way down the corridor. But instead of climbing down the nearest steps you continue to the rear of the train. Reaching the last door you stand for a moment on the top step and peer down the platform.
You can see the man pacing up and down searching for you. A stab of fear races through you. The train whistle blows and steam bellows from the train, cloaking the platform. You pull the brim of your hat down low over your eyes and pull up the collar of your coat. Gripping the railing you step down.
You glance down the platform just as he turns towards you. Even from a distance you can see that he has recognised you. He calls out and moves forward pushing through the crowd.
But you are already running.
“Stop your grizzling – it’s only raining”
It started with the windmill creaking. Then the back door slammed. The dogs ran up and down the veranda barking. There was a strange smell in the air. An earthy smell.
Then a gentle thrumming on the iron roof. Lucy looked up from her dolls house, puzzled. Within minutes the thrumming became a battering.
Lucy screamed out, “Daddy, Daddy, there’s something’s on the roof!”
“Stop your grizzling Lucy, it’s only the rain.”
“It’s going to get us!”
Tom scooped Lucy up into his arms and went out onto the veranda, calling over his shoulder “Martha!”
Down the steps, Lucy screaming and struggling in his arms. Tom lowered the clinging Lucy to the ground. “Lucy, its rain!”
The rain ran through Lucy’s hair in rivers, soaking her from head to foot. Her thin cotton dress clung to her legs. The dogs darted excitedly around the yard skidding through the muddy puddles.
Lucy was stunned. In all her four years she had never seen rain. She’d heard her Dad speak about it in hushed tones. But she hadn’t known till this minute what it was.
Tom looked up from Lucy to the house. Martha stood on the veranda, clinging to the railing, her dress hanging loosely on her thin frame. Tom walked up the steps and held out his hand. ‘Come on love, come down here. Its rain love. What we’ve been waiting for.”
Martha took Tom’s hand and shakily came down the steps. She looked up as the rain fell on her, and then collapsed to her knees in the yard, crying.
Lucy ran to her. “It’s ok Mum. Don’t be afraid. It’s only the rain!”
Petrichor (/ˈpɛtrɪkɔːr/) is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek petra (πέτρα), meaning "stone", and īchōr (ἰχώρ), the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.
The term was coined in 1964 by two Australian scientists studying the smells of wet weather — is derived from a pair of chemical reactions – in leaves and soil.
This was a creative writing exercise for our writing group.
My grandmother did have a huge vegetable garden, and there was a man that lived over the lane we used to visit, but I don't remember his name, and I don't remember any sunflowers, so this story is partly true and partly fictional.
A Forest of Sunflowers
There is a forest of sunflowers at the bottom of my grandmother’s garden, up against the back picket fence between the chook pen and the outhouse under the weeping trees.
Beyond the sunflowers is grandma’s big vegetable garden stretching all the way from the back veranda to the chook pen. It seems like every vegetable you can imagine is growing there. Every day grandma collects vegetables from the garden for our dinner, pulling up potatoes, onions and carrots with the dirt still clinging to their bulbs. Dirt pathways run between the beds and after our bath and on washing day we scoop the water out of the bath or the laundry trough with a can and water the garden.
Passion is the camera in my hands
Walking through the bush searching for delicate orchids peeping from their hiding places beneath the trees.
Crouching on the red dirt in a field of everlastings spreading like a flowing river through the scrub. Wave on wave of pink, white and yellow...endless.
Seeing the light around me, how its highlights and shadows play and change as I chase the light.
Focusing on that one perfect bloom and capturing it in all its perfection.
The excitement of finding a flower I have never seen before.
Marvelling at the perfect shape. The infinite colours and variety.
Yearning for the next time I can walk among them.
May camera in my hands.
This is my passion.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Travel Writing and Photography Course - Fremantle, 7-8 March 2009
Last weekend I attended a travel writing and photography course run by writer John Harman, and photographer Dale Neill. The piece you read below - Salvatore Bellini - is an entirely fictitious piece I wrote from the photo you see of the accordion player taken by Abigail Harman. To log onto John, Dale and Abigail's sites please refer to my web links.
|Abigail Harman's photo of the accordion player|
I stretch, and rising, walk across the cool tiled floor to fling open the window, and leaning out turn my face towards the crisp sea air; it’s salty moisture coming to me on the gentle breeze to settle on my face. Along the waterfront I can see the old man sitting on his stool in his usual place in front of the high stone wall. I cannot see his face, as it is hidden by the shadow of his cap, but I know his lined face looks as worn as the open leather suitcase by his side.
Salvatore Bellini. Every morning he cycles his bike along the winding cobbled streets through Cefalu and takes up his position here on the waterfront. As he plays he looks longingly out across the water. He is playing for the love of his life Antonella, who was lost in the sea between Italy and Sicily during the dark days of the last war: and perhaps in the hope his music will bring her back to him.
I had rented an apartment for the summer in the medieval town of Cefalu on Sicily’s north coast and had met Salvatore on the day that I arrived. Drawn by the music I had followed the sound and found him. As he played his haunting tune he was gazing out to sea with such a look of yearning in his blue eyes that a tear had escaped unbidden from my eyes. And at that instant he had looked up at me and smiled.
(photo courtesy of Abigail Harman Photography - Abigail Harman Photography)
|Apartments in France - photo taken by me in 2005|
|Painting found in an book which belonged to my husband's grandmother.|
The above this is start of a story about my grandmother. Little remains of Biblarin today, the photo is of the railway siding at Bilbarin today.
8 March, 2009
Antoinette smiles at the girl and the smile lights up her face. Every weekend at the markets she stands here before the steaming hot stone pouring, smoothing and flipping to create the crepes that will make their way into the mouths of the gathering crowd: the creperi has a reputation for good food and people are willing wait.
It is a long way from Antoinette’s village in Tuscany and the well scrubbed wooden table in her grandmother’s kitchen and the young girl reminds Antoinette of home. She smiles to herself and softly speaks a few words in Italian.
The Fremantle markets attract hundreds of people every weekend. They come for bargains, fresh fruit and vegetables, a special gift perhaps. It is a vibrant hive of bustling life, colour, sights, sounds, smells and languages. A moving kaleidoscope.
For Antoinette it is the start of a new life far away from her homeland.