Saturday, July 25, 2009

The CONDOR soars

What a way to start the day!

This morning I got news that Thorpe (Ulverscroft) has made an offer to publish a large print edition of THE CONDOR'S FEATHER.

That's amazing!
The book is not due for publication until next week.
And I haven't yet seen a copy of it!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Notley Gorge – Matthew Brady's hideout

Five minutes from where I live is Notley Gorge.
It’s a pristine area of rainforest where some of the giant trees have stood for several centuries and even the tree ferns are over 100 years old.

This is also one of the locations in Tasmania that ‘Gentleman’ bushranger, Matthew Brady and members of his notorious gang, hid in the 1820s.
It is reputed that they used this particular burnt out tree, now known as 'Brady's Tree', as a hideout.
Rifles and ammunition were found here.

Brady's short but intruiging life, from his sentence at the Lancaster Assizes and transportation to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), to his time on Sarah Island and his exploits as a bushranger, make fascinating reading.
He was eventually caught in the Tamar Valley and was taken to Hobart where he was hung, along with other members of his gang, in 1827.

In the next couple of months, I intend to travel to Strahan and visit Hell’s Gates and Sarah Island to learn more about Matthew Brady and other covicts and bushrangers.

Note: My profile picture on the Blog header is taken at Brady's Lookout. From this point the bushrangers could watch for ships sailing down the Tamar River. With no roads through the bush, the river was the only means of transport - and the only real means of escape!

Pics: Notley Gorge - a veritable fairlyland of ferns!
Sign at the start of the walk to Brady's Tree (original sketch by convict artist Thomas Bock - State Library of NSW).

THE CONDOR’S FEATHER - Patagonian adventure – out now

In the centre of Punta Arenas, on the Strait of Magellan, stands a statue to, Ferdinand Magellan, the navigator who in 1520 named the sandy beach along which the town is now built.
Situated at the tail end of the earth, Punta Arenas has had a troubled history.
It was first settled by sealers and whalers, shipwrecked mariners, convicts running from the law, native Indians and treasure seekers.
Then in 1877 a riot resulted in much of the town being destroyed and families murdered in their homes.

In 1879, a real-life Englishwoman, Lady Florence Dixie, sailed to Sandy Point (as the English called it) and embarked on a ride across the pampas accompanied by her brother, the Marquis of Queensbury and a friend.
When I visited the town a few years ago, I read a snippet of information about this remarkable young aristocrat and was intrigued.
Inspired by her exploits, by the town’s history and by the remarkable landscape of southern Patagonia, I wrote THE CONDOR’S FEATHER – an equestrian adventure set in 1885.

THE CONDOR'S FEATHER is now available at your local library or can be ordered from The Book Depository (free world-wide postage) or Hale Books (free UK postage)

For more about THE CONDOR’S FEATHER press here

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Neverland - a place of dreams

Michael Jackson tried to find Neverland in this life by creating his dream ranch - ‘Neverland’.
Perhaps now he has moved on to search for the Ethereal Neverland!

In a previous post I wrote about the movie, Finding Neverland, in which Johnny Depp, (JM Barrie) introduces Kate Winslet (Sylvia Llewelyn Davies) to the wondrous realm of the imagination – the Neverland he created on paper and immortalised in his play, Peter Pan.
When I was a girl, I saw Peter Pan performed on stage as a pantomime and was always of the impression that Barrie had invented that name - Neverland.

Last week, however, I read Laurence Bergreen’s, Over the Edge of the World , the true and often disturbing story of Ferdinand Magellan’s Circumnavigation of the Globe.
In this real-life odyssey, I read of several early references to Neverland and realised how ignorant I was.
It seems this mystical place, Neverland, has been around for a long time.
Pliny the Elder, who died in the cataclysmic eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD, wrote of such an enchanted realm.
And the early adventurers/explorers; Prester John, Marco Polo and Sir John Mandeville, not only wrote about it, but went searching for it.
Bergreen dedicates one of his chapters on Magellan to the ‘Neverlands’ and makes reference to Stephen Frimmer’s book, Neverlands, which ‘offers a diverting introduction to the subject of mythical kingdoms’.
But, today, with little of the world unexplored, where do we go to find this elusive place?
And does it really exist?

In the movie, Finding Neverland, Barrie is adamant that Neverland is real, but to go to this wonderful place you must Believe.
When interviewed, co-actor, Dustin Hoffman, said Neverland is a metaphor for a journey to the imagination.
And that Neverland exists for all of us in the wish part of the brain.
Obviously it has been around for a long time.
Let us hope Neverland never dies.

Pic: from cover of the DVD - Finding Neverland