46 Great Opening Lines: 35

The rabbits came many grandparents ago. First line, The Rabbits, John Marsden, 1998 The phrase ‘many grandparents ago’ is a brilliant way of defining time for Australian descendants of immigrants. For me, it’s a great opener to an unsettling story. The Rabbits is a fable about two things multiplying prolifically in this country: rabbits and… Continue reading


46 Great Opening Lines: 21

On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge. Opening line, Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, translated by Constance Garnett Last night I could have written: On an exceptionally hot evening… Continue reading


Changing Seasons: December

Here we are at the end of the year, and here I am, writing the last of my twelve Changing Seasons posts in response to Cardinal Guzman’s photo challenge. Canberra, December. Last week, schools finished for the year, and children began six weeks of summer holidays. In anticipation of Christmas, they’re enjoying the city’s decorations… Continue reading


Changing Seasons: November

This weekend I went to a kind of food fair, a Taste of Braddon, a suburb that some are calling the hipster suburb of Canberra. A couple of streets that not long ago were the place to go if you wanted to buy or repair a car have now been transformed into the place to… Continue reading


46 Great Opening Lines: 10

Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself in a dark wood, where the right way was lost. Opening line of Canto 1, “Hell”, The Divine Comedy, Dante, completed 1320, translated by Charles Eliot Norton.   Dante has lost the “right way” and hopes to find it before he grows old. But he… Continue reading


Changing Seasons: October

In October around Canberra there are fetes and fiestas and spring celebrations. This one is called Party at the Shops. It’s on today. There are dancing schoolgirls, a big band and sausage sizzle, Thai food and a jumping castle. There’s also a home-made lemonade stand. Note that the signs don’t just offer lemonade. Let’s hope… Continue reading


Five black and white everyday photos: 2

Black and white photos of my everyday life. Day two: Fountain. The Captain Cook Memorial Jet in Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, shoots water 152 metres high for about four hours a day. In moderate wind the fountain spray forms a transparent curtain across the lake. In strong wind it’s turned off to prevent a water… Continue reading


Five black and white everyday photos: 1

Five photos of my everyday life, in black and white. Day one, fungus. My gardens have just had a professional makeover. The gardener re-made four identically shaped gardens with the same range of plants repeated in each. But in one of them, under and around a grevillea, a leathery tan fungus is growing, apparently not… Continue reading


Changing Seasons: September

On 1st September the Australian spring officially sprang. While those north of Canberra may think it might as well still be called winter down here, the inhabitants of this capital can see the seasonal signs that temperatures are slowly slowly creeping up. Before yesterday, before 6.12am yesterday, I could’ve said I’d lived in Canberra for… Continue reading