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Category: Slices of Life

Freesias

Spring has arrived in Melbourne and gorgeous flowers are popping up everywhere. Even in a neglected and weedy corner of my front driveway, self-seeded freesias are in bloom. 

They’re one of my favorite flowers, hardy, and so fragrant. These ar the old-fashioned kind, and for my money they smell better than the bigger, splashier and more colorful ones that have been bred, though I do like them, too.

Years ago I used to spend a lot of time around Lorne, a pretty coastal town in Victoria, and at this time of year, all along the grass verges of the roads there would be masses of these little creamy, fragrant freesias. I invariably picked some to take home and pop in a vase, and their delicate fragrance would fill the room.

I used to feel a bit guilty about picking them, but I’ve since learned that they’re regarded as a weed — they’re not indigenous to Australia —and so the local council has now eradicated them with poison. I feel a bit sad about it. I do understand that the local flora and fauna needs to be protected, but I did love those freesias.

Romance Writers of Australia conference 2018

I’ve just posted a report of the RWAust. conference over on the Word Wenches, but I wanted to post more photos of the fabulous costumes that people wore to the cocktail party that always kicks off our conferences. We always have fun, and there were so many brilliant costumes that I couldn’t fit on the wench blog, so I brought them here. Even so, this is only a small proportion of them. 

This year it was a “royalty” and “Tuxes and Tiaras” theme as the conference hotel is one where royalty has stayed when in Sydney — including Prince Charles and Princess Di when they were still together. But people riffed off that theme in all kinds of great ways — from the glamorous to the silly. Guess what direction I tend?
Yes, so this is me, in my evil queen outfit — the tiara is a cheap one onto which I glued rubber rats, snakes and spiders and “jools,” I made the necklace as well, so those spiders are attached.

The three zombie brides below (Clare, Tanya and Kerry) won a prize for their outfits, as did “Prince” (TJ Hamilton) and in the middle is the new RWAust President, Joanne Boog.

Not everyone dresses up, and that’s fine — this is about fun, not pressure, and in this pic we have a gorgeous bride in her own wedding dress, a “lady-in-waiting” kind of outfit, or maybe she’s dressed for a garden party, and someone who is dressed up gorgeously  but not in costume as such. And they all look beautiful.

Here’s two agents and two authors , looking very glam and gorgeous.

And here’s a lineup of authors, including one from the USA and one from New Zealand. And believe it or not, that redhead in the middle claimed to be Megan Markle. LOL.

Here’s a snap of the crowd — and don’t you love that a member of Chinese royalty is represented, as well as someone possibly from Queen Victoria’s court?

Here’s a little piece of pure glamor and good taste. Doesn’t she look gorgeous? Definitely a visiting royal, possibly from a Scandinavian country.

And what royal gathering would be without Princess Fiona, (Fiona Marsden) who this weekend took out a positive fistful of prizes, including the NZ Koru, the RWAust Emerald — twice! — and I don’t know how many more.  Congratulations Fiona.

Below her is a fabulous couple stepping straight out of Wonderland — the mad hatter and the Queen of Hearts, looking scarily in an “off with her head” kind of mood. And what a brilliant riff off the “royalty” theme. 

There could so easily have been a whole tribe of Princess Di’s — which would have been hilarious — but the variety and inventiveness of these costumes just blew me away.

And to end, a good queen/evil queen photo — I’ll leave it to you to work out who is who. And is that supposed to be a corgi? I don’t think so. LOL

It was a brilliant party, so thanks to Harlequin for sponsoring it,  to the RWA conference committee who organized it, and to all the wonderful people who attended, making it so much fun.

A splash of gold

It’s winter in Australia, and though we don’t get the bitter winter of many countries, still it’s lovely when we start to see the first new intimations of spring.  I was out in the country with my dog this morning, on a damp and drizzly day. Our natural bushland is beautiful, with a thousand shades of gray and green. 

And then, among the soft grays and greens and sage colors, we spotted bright  splashes of gold, from wattle blossoms. Wattle is an Australian native plant of the acacia family. Some varieties are known as mimosa in North America, but generally in Australia, it’s just called wattle. (Read on to learn why.)

 Wattle blossom is so bright and cheerful and coming at a gloomy time of year, I suspect it’s why it became a national symbol — yellow and green are the Australian colors. The name “wattle” was because, as a hardy native with multiple branches, it was used by the early colonists as a building material for “wattle and daub” houses — the wattle branches provided the framework and the “daub” was local clay.

There are hundreds of different varieties, different shades of yellow, some pale and lemony, others a dark, burnished gold. But all with hundreds of tiny bobbles of brightness.

Some people don’t much like wattle because it makes them sneeze; my dad would never allow it in the house because of that. But I love it.