Freelance Writer


Here I am drinking champagne in Champagne!

Cheers from Champagne!

Exploring the GH Mumm champagne cellars

Exploring the GH Mumm champagne cellars

It was a long day, spending 9 hours in Champagne exploring the region, the vineyards and of course sampling the champagne. I know it’s tough but do you hear me complaining? No – no complaints here at all!

Visited the GH Mumm and the Mercier cellars both really good drops … Unfortunately Moët and Chandon were closed for renovations.

One of the staff  (sorry I neglected to take his photo – too many bubbles by then)

Anyway, he advised:

Champagne should be stored horizontally, if not – it will lose its boobles

Champagne should be not be stored for too long  – Ha … like that’s going to happen.


The origin of Champagne comes from the Latin Campo, meaning field or countryside and it was the Romans who established the vineyards and crops in the region around the 13th century. It was very fertile land and strategically placed relative to being central to the north, south and Eastern Europe.

Before the Romans, the region was inhabited by the Celtic tribe – the Francs in the 3rd and 4th centuries – hence the name France.


A cathedral of note in the Champagne area is Our Lady of Reims Notre Dame and is the place where the Kings of France were baptised, including Clovis – the first King of France.

It’s pretty amazing … Well like all the cathedrals in Europe – they are just mind boggling. It is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe, but not the most beautiful according to the guide. That title, she said would go to the Chartres Cathedral, which is renowned for it’s stained glass windows. I am yet to see the Chartres cathedral but will be sure to post it when I do.

A biento








Well you really take your life in your hands when crossing the road in Amsterdam. And I thought Rome was bad! At least traffic will stop in Rome allowing you to cross. In Amsterdam it ‘s rather tricky crossing the road – and BIKES RULE! Even the buses are wary of the bikes.

So you want to cross the road – you must negotiate the cars , the buses, the trams and just when you have done that  … Then there are the bikes coming at you in all directions (including motor cycles mind you). So good luck!












No I’m not swearing  … Fruhschoppen is a German and Austrian custom where people meet up, traditionally mid morning on a Sunday and drink bier (or another alcoholic drink) and partake in a brunch consisting of German sausages – weisswurst, bratwurst, sweet mustard prezels and Weiss bier (an unfiltered wheat beer). During Fruhschoppen, people discuss everyday life and politics and there is live music playing .   I have to say German beer is the best!


So people are joining in the festivities of the tradition and at 10.30 in the morning I sa

y to the steward ‘You would think no- one will want lunch after this ‘ and he said ‘That’s what you think – they’ve just had breakfast’!


Costa, Kristen & Stephan

Costa, Kristen & Stephan

With Boris - Catering Manager Extrodinaire

With Boris – Catering Manager Extrordnaire – he’s Croatian also!



We enjoy a walk around the old city of Regensburg situated on the Danube River, with a population of  150,000, of which a large percentage is made up of university students. It is also home to a BMW factory.

Unlike most German cities, Regensburg was spared the destruction of WW11. It’s a charming city with it’s cobbled streets,  a variety of squares and small alleys. It was also home to Oskar Schindler and previous pope Pope Benedict XV1.








Regensburg, Bavaria

imageWalked around the old city of Regensburg and they’re not kidding when they say old – the city is 1800 years old, with a population of 150,000



Ranked one of the most liveable cities in Central Europe, Budapest (pronounced by locals as Budapescht) has two seperate areas  – Buda and Pescht. Buda is the older, more traditional part, while Pescht is more modern and commercial. Budapest is the capital and largest  city in Hungary with a population of around 2 million people.  Like many other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, It was under communist reign until 1989, after which it became a republic.

Over looking Budapest

Over looking Budapest

Budapest by night

Budapest by night

About to set sail!

About to set sail!

I along with many people loved Budapest ….I will add more pictures later



The trouble with flying x

With the busy lives people now live, short stories are more popular than ever. Reading a novel is a commitment that many people find they often just don’t have the time to commit to, whereas a short story is a lot more doable, offering a satisfying read in a relatively short time.

Margaret River Press is currently running a short story competition and as a result of that will publish their fourth anthology since the company’s inception in 2011.

Bunbury readers and writers enjoyed an evening of literature over a glass of wine at ECU library on Thursday night where they met with authors of recently published anthology The Trouble With Flying and other stories. Short story writers Rachelle Rechichi, Leanne Browning and Leslie Thiele read from their prize-winning stories and spoke of the background and what inspired them to write.

Special guest and competition judge and writer Richard Rossiter, addressed the audience talking about what makes a great story, offering valuable tips to new and would be writers. Such advice included: don’t over write, don’t use too many adjectives, have a consistent point of view and show rather than tell.


Richard Rossiter

Richard Rossiter

He also highlighted the importance of the writers voice and said not to be afraid to experiment with point of view and that limited third person point of view can be a good way to establish character, while also allowing the writer to comment. ”A good writer’s voice is marked and idiosyncratic and that will hook a reader into a piece of writing”, Rossiter said.

When judging short stories he said he narrows them down and once short listed he leaves them for about a week and then when he goes back to them, he thinks about which ones have been memorable, which ones stayed with him and which ones moved him. ‘The essence of a short story a compressed piece of writing that moves the reader’, he said.

Sometimes writers will write for years without having an audience, such as Elizabeth Jolley who wrote for twenty years before being published and having an audience. So sometimes it can look like an author has, incredibly, written three or four books in a couple of years, when in actual fact they have been working on them for twenty.

For some of the writers, undergraduate students at ECU, their stories stemmed from writing exercises they had done during their writing course and were based on their own experience growing up in the world. Rossiter said most first works produced by writers are autobiographical, it is often necessary to write that out and finish it before the writing can continue.


There is still time for writers to enter the short story competition for which the closing date is 16 October 2014. Carolyn Wood from Margaret River Press said they hope to discover new talent from a diverse cross range of people. For more information go to: