Choosing the Setting

Now that I have  a rough story idea in my head, and have chosen a name for my Rapunzel (I think I’m going with Olive or Olivia by the way), I’m looking into the where. The setting.

Where am I going to place this story?tower

Considering I’m looking at a convict scenario, I need to choose from the penal colonies in Australia. Obviously there were convict settlements in Sydney, and others in New South Wales, and there were several places in Tasmania, plus a couple in Queensland and one in Western Australia.

Since I’ve set novels in Sydney before, I am leaning towards Tasmania. I love the idea of Port Arthur, but more likely need to use the sites where the female convicts were sent. That’s where the research comes in.

The other thing I’ve begun looking at is, because it is a Rapunzel story and Rapunzel was kept in a tower, what kind of historical towers there are in Tasmania.

The first one I found was the Guard Tower at Port Arthur. A possibility that I might be able to work with.

Then a friend suggested the Shot Tower near Hobart. When I looked into this, I discovered that it wasn’t built until 1870, too late really for the convict idea.

With some more research I found some more towers across the Tasmania:

  • New Town – The Towers – a residential property built in 1845
  • Evandale – the Water Tower – built in 1896 and full of water so unsuitable
  • Oatlands – Callington Mill – built in 1837 and rather fascinating
  • Hobart – Post Office Clock Tower – built in 1906, so too late (there is also one of these in Launceston but was also built too late for my story)
  • Richmond – St Luke’s Church – built in 1836 (one of many churches throughout the state)

And then I discovered the lighthouses, and I must admit, these draw me more than all the others, particularly the Iron Pot Lighthouse (1832) and the Cape Bruny Lighthouse (1838). These seem to have been mostly run by convicts, so might work well for my story.

What kind of tower would you like to see a Rapunzel character in?

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Published in: on 4th June, 2017 at 8:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What’s in a Name – Rapunzel

Did you know that Rapunzel was named after a plant?

rampion_at_degensRapunzel is the German name for a leafy plant called Rampion, whose leaves can be eaten like spinach and whose roots can be eaten like radish.

The character Rapunzel, was named after this herb that her mother craved and ultimately stole from Gothel’s garden. I’m thinking that her mum must have REALLY loved this veg if she named her only daughter in honour of it!

So, now I’m thinking, what will I name my Rapunzel? Is there another vegetable that sounds nice enough to be a name? I mean, let’s face it, Potato is not going to work, even though I LOVE potatoes — especially cut into little sticks and deep fried in oil, oh, or mashed with lashings of butter and cream. Yum! Now my stomach is rumbling.

But, I digress. The point is I would never name my child Potato. Imagine the nicknames — Mr Potato Head, etc. So, what is a more appropriate name for a pretty girl with fabulous long locks? Mizuna? Rocquette? Pumpkin? ;p

What do you think? And remember, it has to be something that would have been available in London in the early 1800s.

Published in: on 23rd April, 2017 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Photo-A-Day: Circle

I have missed the last two days of my Photo-A-Day blogging. I have kind of felt like my life is not my own, and so just couldn’t get near the computer for long enough to write anything.

Today, however, was nice and relaxing. We began the day with our regular church service, spending time worshipping the Lord. Then we invited my brother back to our home for lunch.

Thus we spent the afternoon circled around the round camp fire in the back yard, deep in conversation and fellowship with each other, while sipping hot teas and coffees and dipping our Tim Tams. As time passed, my sister joined us and eventually my sister-in-law as well. Almost all of my family circle — apart from my parents who are on holidays.

I love these times of sitting back with my close relatives, catching up on our lives and laughing together over memories. We often begin to discuss theological questions as well, providing stimulating debate and conversation.

Finally the circle was broken as one by one they drifted home again, leaving me to ponder what I would cook for dinner, and how I would organise my children for school tomorrow. I guess it will be fish and chips tonight … around our square table. 😉

Published in: on 29th April, 2012 at 8:25 pm  Comments (3)  
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Photo-A-Day: Black & White

This is one of my favourite photos of my little girl when she was less than a year old. She and the two-year-old aboriginal girl were playing together on a flooded road in Darwin’s outskirts. Forever after we’ve always called this photo “chocolate and vanilla.” I believe it was the indigenous girl’s foster mum who came up with the title, followed by an infectious giggle. Ah, the wonderful memories we have of that family …

Black and white look so great together, like they belong next to one another. Such a contrast. The white shows just how dark the dark is, and in the same way, the dark shows just how bright the white is. Polar opposites and yet somehow tied together.

One of my favourite “black and white” occurences is in piano keys. I think of that song Ebony and Ivory. The keys can play music in perfect harmony, the black and white together. Yet, in society we have good and bad and don’t always seem to be able to get along. Good and bad, wrong and right — another way black and white is used — dark being evil and white being good, in an ever-clashing battle for supremacy.

Then, of course, there is the black and white of print on paper. Once again, the two in perfect harmony, can take us to other worlds, and magical happenings beyond our imaginations. Or they can take us on a journey of self-discovery and change. The scope is as endless as the two are separate in the colour spectrum.

We can learn a lot, it seems, from black and white. Do you have a favourite black and white picture or story?

Published in: on 26th April, 2012 at 9:43 pm  Comments (4)  
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Photo-A-Day: Looking Down

When I look down I see my feet. I wish I were at the top of a mountain or a sky-scraper where the views stretch out for kilometres in every direction. Or even better, up in an aeroplane, above the clouds. I love that kind of high-up perspective. The world seems much smaller from up there.

A similar thing happens in the spirit realm when we worship our Creator. The more we praise, the more we soar in Him, the smaller and more insignificant all our problems become. As He becomes bigger in our sight, all else seems to drop away. The impossible becomes possible.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” [Isaiah 40:31 NIV]

Yet, even when I cannot see the world from a great height, but only manage to chance a glimpse of my feet when I look down, I am still reminded of one of the Lord’s promises — that Satan will be crushed under my feet (see Romans 16:20).

What a great promise to have. What do you see when you look down?

Published in: on 25th April, 2012 at 5:55 pm  Comments (3)  
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Photo-A-Day: Something You’re Grateful For

Today, I am grateful for heat. Today, when the temperature gauge barely hit 15°C (59°F), rain and hail has poured down all day, and an icy wind has been blowing, I am extremely happy to have a heated home, warm slippers and hot coffee.

In a world where we have central heating, instant kettles and gas ovens, it is hard to imagine how long it would take to warm oneself in the Victorian age, or earlier. Stoking fires and  boiling water would have taken much longer.

Say, my experience today, for example. I had to dash outside. In the minute or less I was out there, my clothes were dampened severely, my hair dripped with water and my feet became numb with cold. Fortunately I was able to escape into a house already warm from the central heating and soon I was thawing out.

Now, if I had lived two hundred years ago, I would have had to start a fire and stand in front of it for a long while to get dry and warm. Perhaps I would have even changed my clothes to feel dryer as well.

When I think of the effort it would have taken to warm up back then, I am truly grateful for the modern conveniences I enjoy. What is it you are most grateful for?

Published in: on 24th April, 2012 at 5:33 pm  Comments (4)  
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Photo-A-Day: The Last Thing You Bought

Today I took my big girl to see Titanic in 3D. I loved this movie so much when it came out and I wanted to share the experience with my daughter.

I first watched Titanic as a newly wed, along with my sister and brother-in-law. I remember being so caught up in the love story and enjoying every minute until it hit me — this really happened (not the love story part – the Titanic part). Fifteen hundred people died in a senseless tragedy that really could have been avoided. That realisation in the midst of the screening hit me so hard, I began to cry. And not the usual silent-tear-trickling-down-the-cheek kind either. I was actually sobbing. My hubby, hero that he is, offered me his shirt sleeve to wipe my eyes.

Of course, we have just commemorated the 100 year anniversary of this tragedy, so everybody is talking and thinking about the Titanic event once again. But, it was a catastrophe of such magnitude, how can we not let it touch us or move us? So many souls were lost, many probably to a godless eternity.

It moves me again, to spread the message of Jesus’ salvation wrought by the cross, because you never know when such a tragedy might strike again. Even in recent years, we have seen natural disasters aplenty, with thousands of lives lost. It is an easy thing to become numb to all the suffering, but I don’t think we can afford to. If we don’t care, how will we ever step out and try to make a difference.

As Jack says in the movie, “I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you… to make each day count.” Here’s to making it count.

Published in: on 22nd April, 2012 at 8:34 pm  Comments (4)  
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Photo-A-Day: Bottle

I went to a wedding today. I love weddings. I could have easily blogged about a wedding. And it was a wonderful wedding too. But there were no bottles in sight. Not one.

So, this post is inspired by an idea I got when reading a friend’s blog a couple of days ago. She asked me about a souvenir. It made me think of my favourite keepsake of my favourite place — central Australia.

In 1995 I toured Australia with a worship band. I already knew I loved the ‘red centre,’ having already been there in 1983 with my family, and again in 1987 for a school camp, so I determined this time to collect some of that amazing soil and keep it in a bottle.

That was over fifteen years ago, and I still have it. I love the depth of colour in this sand from the centre of our beautiful country. It is colour that glows red in the sunset (much like that picture of Uluru at the top of my background design), in stark contrast to the blue sky and ghostly white of the gum trees. I could stare at that kind of scenery all day. Especially if I were sitting at the top of Kings Canyon — my absolute favourite place on earth.

If you could be in any place on earth, where would you choose?

Published in: on 21st April, 2012 at 7:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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Photo-A-Day: Something You Drew

I’ve never considered myself to be an artist, but I do have the occasional urge to draw or paint. When I think about it, I realise I come from a great heritage of creative people. Godly people too.

I remember my grandmother used to paint. This is a painting of hers I have kept. It was unfinished, but it reminds me that we are all unfinished works of art in the Lord’s hands — until, of course, we meet Him in eternity.

So, with her blood flowing through my veins  and my mother’s blood after her, who loves to write poetry and stories,  and often played piano when I was a child, I have inherited a good chunk of creativity. And, it seems, my children after me have inherited their own artistic slant. One of them enjoys drama and writing, another loves all kinds of drawing and painting, and the third seems to have a penchant for making up songs and dancing.

My own oil pastel creation.

Added to the creative side of our heritage, my ancestors number among them missionaries and ministers, and so I suspect comes my influence to serve the Lord in whatever I do. I pray that same influence overflows next to my children. I want to be amazed at what they accomplish in God. My heart swells when I think about this heritage piling up in the generations behind me, perhaps it all makes an impact on the future ahead…

How has your heritage impacted you?

Published in: on 20th April, 2012 at 6:46 pm  Comments (2)  
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Photo-A-Day: Orange

My kids suggested I should take a photo of carrots, because ‘Harry likes carrots’. Can you guess I have a house filled with One Direction fans? I just rolled my eyes and thought of something else.

Orange is not one of my favourite colours. I don’t like it on clothes, or on furniture, or paint or … basically anything indoors. But I don’t mind it so much in nature. Especially in Autumn. This is the time when all the deciduous trees begin to drop their leaves and lots of vibrant colour displays down all the local streets.  Just magical!

But it is interesting to note that most deciduous trees are not native to Australia. I suppose they were brought in by our early immigrants who wanted a taste of home, perhaps so they wouldn’t feel so far away. If they looked out of their cottage windows and saw the orange leave, they could probably imagine their old home to be just around the corner.

Now those deciduous trees are everywhere. It is hard to imagine a landscape with only green leaves in every direction, they are part of us now. I suppose that is how a new culture is created to, as parts of each nationality’s home is integrated into their new land and society. After two hundred odd years of added ingredients, we now have the multiculturalism that is Australia. And I am proud to call it home. 🙂

Published in: on 19th April, 2012 at 6:30 pm  Comments (2)  
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