Freelance Writer

Shane Jacobson & moi

Shane Jacobson & moi


Red carpet party

The Red Carpet party

The red carpet party and premiere film on Friday night started at the BREC foyer, with guests arriving in style and walking the red carpet. With a vintage theme (I didn’t have to do much there as I am already vintage) there was a stunning array of glamorous outfits with live entertainment, a selection of Forester wines and canapés adding to the ambience of the night.

It was a memorable night, amid the glamour and mingling with the stars in Bunbury’s growing art scene. As guests soaked up the atmosphere, the movie stars arrived, including Shane Jacobson and David Wenham.

Shane Jacobson

Shane Jacobson

Shane's selfie

Shane’s selfie



Moi on the red carpet

Moi on the red carpet


Movie Premiere – Oddball & Shane Jacobson

After the pre-screening party, guests were guided to the adjacent Grand Cinemas where the film premiere Oddball starring Shane Jacobson was screened.  Oddball is an all ages, heart warming comedy. Set in a small town in southern Australia, persistent fox attacks threaten to close down the main tourist attraction of an island of Fairy Penguins. An eccentric chicken farmer (Jacobson) teams up with his granddaughter to save the penguins using a very odd method … his rambunctious, trouble making sheep dog.

scene from Oddball

Jacobson said he grew up in the western suburbs of Melbourne, a working class area and comes from a family of naturally funny people.

“My Dad and Dad’s brothers were always making people laugh. They didn’t try to be funny. They were just naturally funny. Dad never considered himself a comedian, but he’d often stand up at a gathering and just make people laugh without even trying.” He said.

When asked about the dog playing the part in the movie Jacobson said “Well he’d always been in the role of a dog all his life, so he got the dog bit down pat.”

It seems the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

 The bélier family & French Films 

The CinefestOZ film festival in Bunbury has become a popular event in the city, showcasing an array of films and free events, as well as the gala premiere.  Cinefest Oz started off on Wednesday with, The bélier family, the first of many French films. French students of the popular Bunbury French school  Learn French Avec Moi, enjoyed wines from Forester Estate and cheese platters with friends before the screening. The The bélier family is a warm hearted comedy drama with a musical twist.

 A scene from The bélier family

A scene from The bélier family

Embraced by over 7 million cinemagoers in France, this is a great new comedy is about family ties, the joy of music and breaking free. In The Belier family, everyone is deaf except 16 year-old Paula (beautiful newcomer Louane Emera) who is an indispensable interpreter for her parents and younger brother. So when her music teacher discovers her amazing singing talent, his encouragement only exacerbates the matter of her independence.

A quirky film night 

For something different William Barrett & Sons (Funeral Directors) kicked off CinefestOz with an evening of  black comedy short films last Wednesday. The ABC’s Meghan Woods and FTI (WA)’s Paul Bodlovich were MCs for  this quirky opening night which combined film, food and filmmaker insights.

Free community screenings have been showing throughout the week  Thurs 27th Aug – Sun 30th August at the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery. Bunbury

Words in the Valley

South west readers and aspiring authors converged in Bridgetown during July to the annual event for writers – Words in the Valley. While writers mingled with the authors and attended workshops to sharpen their writing skills, many made a weekend of it, sampling local wines and cheeses in the library on Friday night and going on to attend further workshops throughout the weekend.

Julie-Anne Harper from Pick-a Woo-woo publishing presented useful information and tips on publishing and editing, giving writers an opportunity to network, sharing ideas and the latest technology available for writers.

Children’s author Mark Greenwood entertained writers in his creative writing workshop Strange Objects. Greenwood is a true story teller and his children’s books are a delight, many of which are exquisitely illustrated by his wife Frane’ Lessac.

Mark Greenwood's books dMark Greenwood

Mark Greenwood

The word tenderness is often used to describe a good story and how readers will connect with the story.  Greenwood advises writers to really think about and envisage the feelings they want to evoke in the readers –ie what is the emotion felt in your story.

While many stories have been told over and over, you can often find a little known fact about a particular story and with research you can creatively craft a new heart warming tale, engaging the heart as well as the head. For example in Greenwood’s Simpson and his Donkey, sadness and pride are the two emotions that shine through. “Identify what the character is feeling and show it without telling. This will be the beating heart of a story.” Greenwood said.

Sarah Evans

While the Government has slashed funding for the arts in WA, hats off to event organiser Sarah Evans, along with the Bridgetown library, continuing to provide a valuable weekend of literary enlightenment and connections in spite of the reduced funding.

Sarah Evans workshop on Memoir

Sarah Evans workshop on Memoir

Evans’ workshop on Memoir on the Saturday afternoon was well attended, sparking ideas and a commitment to regular jotting down of notes

 A memoir is not a biography (although it can include biography) rather it is an aspect of a life as remembered by the writer.  It can be shaped by a number of parameters including time, place, topic or theme.

“While memoir is a very popular form of writing, the reasons people write memoir are varied. It could be therapy or a desire to be published or to just to set a record straight,” Evans said.

Students wrote about early memories and various events triggered by items such as flowers, photographs and other items.


12 pointers on writing a memoir

  1. Keep a notepad with you at all times and jot things down as they come to you
  2. Work out who the central character is going to be
  3. Ask another member of the family to write about the same time and compare notes
  4. Research – old journals and letters are useful as well as interviewing family members.
  5. Think about setting
  6. Decide what to leave out
  7. Think about tone – is it light hearted or factual?
  8. It can be character driven or event driven
  9. Decide  what you want the theme to be – a memoir needs an emotional core
  10. There is no right or wrong – just get it all down and edit later
  11. Write every day and for a set time – warm up with free flow writing to exercise the writing muscle to tone up and the writing will become easier
  12. Read work out loud – if it sounds clunky, it will be clunky to read


Look out for Words in the Valley 2016 

Image result for french flag pictureBonjour et Bienvenue!

Film night crIngrid  14 July xxx

Bastillle day film crOver sixty people gathered on 14 July at the Church of Christ centre in Bunbury to celebrate the French National Day and experience the French language and culture. Local French teacher Martine Combret organised the event which included the screening of a French classic film La Fille Dupuisatier (The Well digger’s daughter). Martine’s French language school Learn French Avec Moi, established in 2014 has a steady flow of students.

While there are a number of French speaking people in the area, including French migrants and people from Mauritiaus, there are also many people learning French and travelling to France.

Mrs Combret has been asked by many about a French social group and while there has been no social group as such, she saw Bastille Day as an ideal networking opportunity.

Liza x

Australia and France have a shared history and Mrs Combret said there is a strong connection between France and Australia.

“Australian soldiers fought in France during both world wars, with unfortunately too many laid to rest in French soil.” She said.

Being the centenary year of World War 1 and with historic cultural and economic ties between Australia and France and the common values shared by our two countries,  the Bastille Day event, was timely for the mingling of the two cultures. Many of Mrs Combret’s students attending, were keen to practice their newly acquired vocabulary and French speaking people were only too happy to engage in conversation. Although some students had trouble keeping up with the dialogue, it was all good practice.

Bastille Day 2 xRichard x  Bastille Day x Michael x14 July x

While many donned a French beret and national colours, the French spirit was alive and well with a fine fare of French cuisine, including favourites such as brie and camenbert cheeses, crusty French bread, pates, croissants to name a few.

Michael, Colleen, Liza & MichelleFrench night cr

The French National Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790. A politician named Benjamin Raspail proposed that July 14 should become a holiday in France in 1880. The law was enacted on July 6, 1880. Bastille Day was a public holiday for the first time on July 14, 1880. The military parade in Paris has been held every year since 1880, except during World War II.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris and the French national flag are important symbols of Bastille Day. The French national flag is one-and-a-half times as wide as it is tall. It consists of three vertical bands of equal width coloured blue, white and red. The same colours are displayed in parades, on bunting and banners on Bastille Day. People may also wear clothing or face paint in these colours.


Until  next time a biento

Image result for french flag pictureOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


British Columbia

After recntly visiting British  Columbia, I have to say Canada would have to be the most beautiful country I have visited and one of the world’s most picturesque.

We toured British Columbia on the west coast which is bordered by the American state of Alaska on the northwest, the Yukon in the north, the province of Alberta on the east and on the south by the states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. With huge snow capped mountains, glaciers and waterfalls, you think it can’t get any better than this, and you turn the corner and it does. The pristine countryside is breathtakingly beautiful and the lovely Canadian people are so in touch with nature, conservation, land management, natural resources and wild life.

Black Bear 1 xGrizzly xLooking for bears on Safari John at River Safari xxRiver SafariBlack Bear 1 x

Lake Louise view

Butchart Gardens

One of our first stops was at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria on Vancouver Island. These gardens are an incredible floral display, covering more than 22 ha (55 acres). Established in the early 1920s by Jennie Butchart, who loved gardening and had an idea to beautify the old worked-out quarry which had supplied her husband Robert’s nearby cement plant.

Ingrid @Butchart xButchart Gardens picx IMG_4000IMG_4024IMG_3977

 Each year over a million bedding plants in 900 varieties provide uninterrupted bloom from March through to October.  While we only had about three hours there, you could quite easily spend the whole day there.

Close to nature

When in Jasper, we went on safari up the river where we powered along, on the look out for Canadian wildlife. When in Canada, everyone’s eyes are peeled for local animals  such as bears, moose, elk and eagles. As we approached the river bank in the boat, John, the skipper, cut the motor, advising us to be quiet so as not to disturb the bears in their natural habitat. John had grown up on the land and he was so knowledgeable and passionate about nature. He told us he was about seventeen before he actually tasted a piece of meat from a butcher shop or supermarket as he and his family had always lived off the land. With enormous respect for the land, the animals and the whole environment, he said he often visited the forest, simply to enjoy the peace and tranquillity there. Someone asked him if he took a gun with him when he visits the woods and he said “No I don’t take a gun. I usually don’t even take a camera. It is just so peaceful in there, I wish more people would appreciate the beauty and peace and stillness in there”, he said.

As we say in our techno charged world – There is no wifi in the forest but you are guaranteed a much better connection.

On this particular morning we spotted a grizzly bear on the river bank just going about his business. (See photo)

Grizzly close up xGrizzly close up x

The holiday was truly awesome with so much packed in to three weeks. The first two weeks, we toured on a coach through British Columbia, including Victoria, Jasper, Whistler, Lake Louise and Banff. While travelling though British Columbia, we met many young Australians working throughout Canada. They all love being there and with Canada being part of the Commonwealth, it’s very easy to get a Visa and renew it.

on the snow 2 x Lake Louise xIngrid's home cooking xIn the snowLake Louise 2 xIngrid & black bear x

Rocky Moutaineer

After the coach tour, we travelled by train on the Rocky Mountaineer, through the Rocky Mountains for two days from Banff to Vancouver. With glass picture windows and dome glass ceilings, you could take in every bit of magnificent scenery along the way. Following an overnight stay in Vancouver, we joined the Holland America line for a seven day cruise along the inside passage through Alaska, stopping at Juneau, Skagway and Ketchican. Visiting those towns was like walking into a town in the old Wild West, fully expecting to see cowboys on horses come riding through.

Ingrid  &  Moose xRocky Mountaineer xIMG_4757White Pass
Rocky Mountaineer xRed Dog Saloon xIMG_5333 Alaskan liquor store xRocky MountaineerAlaska xon the ship xPicture perfect xSeaplane 1IMG_0524

Kevan Collett xKevan Collett

While our weather is usually pretty good at Easter time, this year was no exception with Good Friday (which is traditionally overcast) being a lovely sunny day.

So with glorious Easter weather and after family celebrations, Easter Sunday afternoon was an ideal time to go for a drive to Boyanup and visit Jalindia Orchard Gallery, where artist Kevan Collett was open for visitors. While Open Day was on Easter Saturday, the gallery was open throughout the Easter break and we enjoyed a stroll through the gallery and a glass of wine with Kevan.

waterscape x Paintings KC xA few of Kevan’s paintings

In idyllic surroundings, Jalindia is an ideal place for an artist to live and work. Kevan had an array of paintings in watercolours, some acrylic and mixed media, as well as sculptures.


Also on display were some of the exotic art of Judi McGuigan, who is especially renowned for her nude creations – see below

Kitty Cat by Judi McGuigan x Dessert Dunnart Judi McGuigan

Being a beginner water colourist myself, I was inspired by Kevan’s informative and entertaining book on water colours and includes a step by step demonstration …

Kevan Collett art book x


I see this is my 50th blog post so I note that deserves a toast!



local artist x local artist's work x


A sample of paintings along the Art Safari

A GROUP of dynamic artists invited the local community on an Art Safari to explore local creations. The event, held on Saturday the 28th March, between 3 and 6pm in Bunbury saw residents embarking on a self-guided walking tour through local artists’ private studios in the Tree Street area. All kinds of art was on display, including garden design, paintings and sculpture.

Artist Kerry Gelmi was inspired to start the safari after she went on a trip to New Zealand and experienced a similar walking tour.

“It is a great way to know your neighbour and your community,” she said.

Artists hope that their work will inspire the community to be involved and create their own artwork.


Stained glass windows St Bonifice xStained Glass windows at St Bonifice Cathedral

Stained Glass windows at St Bonifice Cathedral


While residents could start the trail at any point, it officially started at the two cathedrals in Bunbury – St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral and St Boniface Anglican Cathedral, with guided tours of their windows and artworks.

St Patrick’s Cathedral is a relatively new building with a modern structure including Robert Juniper windows. While some folk prefer the traditional stained glass window effect, the St Patrick’s art work is also stunning.

View from St Pats xView from St Patrick’s CathedralView from St Patrick's CathedralSt Pat's windows x

Tickets at $25 included a Mexican Cantina meal on completion of the trail with a long table supper from 6pm to 8pm at Walker Hall. The meal provided by Sue Footner of the Passionate Providore, was a hit, while music was provided by the Codee-Lee Duo and Blair Wittle and Fifth Estate Wines were available for free tastings and purchase.

A resounding approval from all concerned will hopefully see it become an annual event in the city of Bunbury.

St Bonifice Anglican Cathedral

St Bonifice Anglican Cathedral

During March a group of the Tuesday Stirling Street Art Centre students packed their sketch books and mini water colour kits and headed for Harvey central where they visited the Lemongrass café and art centre in Hayward Street.  Built  by George Gibb (uncle of May Gibb of Snuggle pot and Cuddle pie fame) in the early twentieth century,  the Lemongrass Café is a relaxing place and children and family friendly. Kids will be enchanted and occupied, while Mum and Dad can enjoy a nice coffee.  It’s a fascinating place to visit, with its quirkiness, including old photographs, memorabilia and multiple art works and will take you down memory lane.


Inside the Lemongrass Cafe

Inside the Lemongrass Café




the Lemongrass cafe site in the 1920s

the Lemongrass cafe site in the 1920s

Originally, from the 1920s, the shop has been home to several enterprises including  a tobacconist, stationer and boot and shine merchant. Then in later years, in the 1990s it was a pet shop and a grocery store.

Kevin the owner of Lemongrass is a talented artist himself, whose work can be found throughout the café in a variety of mediums.

Unassuming and friendly, Kevin is most accommodating and welcoming to visitors, encouraging artists to do their thing.

Lemongrass Café will be relocating later in the year to another part of Harvey. While details of the new venue are not yet known, I have no doubt the new venue will continue to thrive. So watch for future updates.


Art group x

On the way to Lemongrass the art group made a quick stop to Stirling Cottage at the Harvey Visitors Centre, which proved to be inspirational to the artists, with lush green and colourful gardens and water scenes as well as a great café … another ideal spot to set up the easels.

Stirling Cottage Gardens x River scenexIngrid & Eileenx


Gazebo x Gardensx Gardens x


Stirling Cottagexartists at work x

Stirling Cottage is on James Stirling Place and South west Highway