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I’ve had a number of emails and messages from kind readers expressing concern that I might be caught up in the floods currently inundating parts of Australia, and making the news in some places overseas. I appreciate your concern, and am also very concerned for the people affected by the floods. But I’m not one of them.

My sister, however, is, as well as my married nieces and nephew and their families.
Not to mention lots of writer friends and readers I know.

Thank you to all the wonderful people helping the flood victims. Tough times like this remind me of the intrinsic goodness and generosity in so many people.

Here is a map showing very roughly where the floods are, compared to where I am.

And if you recall that Australia is about the same size as  Continental USA you can see I’m a long way away (in Melbourne) in the south.

I guess though, that no matter where we live, we’ll all experience some kind of extreme weather at some time  — the effects of global warming and climate change.

So no matter where you live, I hope you can stay safe.

In the meantime, enjoy this little video from my friend, medical romance author, Fiona McArthur, who lives on a farm in northern NSW, which is currently partially flooded.  Have you ever seen kangaroos in water?

Ice and flowers

I saw this photo on Facebook (or somewhere) and thought how lovely it was. It reminded me of when I was a small child, when we lived in inland Victoria (my state) on the border of New South Wales. Up there, in winter, the nights were often very cold, and the frosts were bitter. But it never snowed. We had to drive up into the mountains to see snow.

I was four when we moved to that house and turning seven when we left, and those frosts taught me that Jack Frost and the pictures he made were real. I loved gazing into those intricate, layered swirls of ice that covered the windows and seeing images and stories in them. They reminded me a little bit of the twisty, detailed Arthur Rackham illustrations from some of my story books, only more mysterious. Jack Frost’s pictures were never the same and quite ephemeral — they’d melted away by mid-morning.

Another thing I loved about those frosts was making ice ornaments — not like the ones in these photos, but along the same principle. I’d arrange flowers and pretty leaves in a saucer — geraniums, japonica, whatever was in flower — then half fill the saucer with water and put it out on the back step to freeze overnight. In the morning, thrilled to bits with my icy ornament, I’d proudly bring it inside to display on the breakfast table.

I love the thought of these hanging ice ornaments. A lot of the blogs that describe them are blogs for children, but in some of us, the child within never fades (luckily) and I would love to make hanging ice ornaments now. Alas, it’s summer here, and though I could make them in the freezer, somehow it’s not the same as letting nature (or Jack Frost) do it. And they’d probably only last about ten minutes in the heat, if that.

Even when I was a child, the bitter cold of those winter nights never lasted long. My memory of primary school (elementary school) is that I’d go to school wearing a blazer and a jumper (pullover) over my uniform. (School uniform isn’t always compulsory at elementary school level, but a lot of kids wear it.) By morning playtime the blazer would be hanging on a hook, and by lunchtime the jumper would have joined it.

The pretty image on the left is from this website, and if you want to see some more techniques and ideas go here.  I rather liked this one which incorporated birdseed into the ornament, to help the birds survive winter.