About Me

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Hi, welcome to my blog. I'm a writer of poetry, prose and plays but my best known work is children's fiction. My most popular books are the Selby series and the Emily Eyefinger series. This blog is intended as an entertaining collection of thoughts and pictures from here in Australia and from my travels in other parts of the world. I hope you enjoy it. (For more information have a look at my website.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Maine wildlife

This island in Maine is teeming with wildlife and I've been tiptoeing around, camera in hand, trying to get photos. Many of the animals, such as the skunks and raccoons that get into our garbage, are nocturnal. Some, like the deer, are around in daytime but shy of tiptoeing nature photographers. Whether nocturnal, diurnal or crepuscular, I haven't had much success in capturing the local wildlife.

I did manage to get a Monarch Butterfly to pose and also a very patient Great Blue Heron.

And a Gray Squirrel stayed still long enough to allow me to get a snapshot.

A (harmess) little Garter Snake seemed unconcerned.

My breakthrough came on a visit to the famous hiking, camping and clothing store, L L Bean, where there were bears, moose, deer, skunks, badgers, raccoons, bobcats, coyotes, fisher cats (all stuffed) and tanks filled with (live) fish. L L Bean is not only famous for its wonderful merchandise but for the fact that it's open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and, 365 days a year---that is, all the time. Very convenient for insomniac shoppers and wildlife photographers.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Real Selby in Maine

A walk around the island where I'm staying in Maine in the USA. With me is the real Selby, my sister's dog. Whether he can talk like the Australian Selby we don't know but we've been telling him jokes to try to get him to laugh---or even smile.

Selby took an interest in a chipmunk but the chipmunk quickly disappeared under a rock. Selby just wanted to play but there was no convincing the chipmunk of this.

The local herring gulls are bigger than the seagulls we see in Sydney. Here's a young one before its feathers changed to the usual blue grey an white of the adults.

Four wild turkeys crossed the road in front of us and I followed them into someone's back yard. Unfortunately they were too shy for me to get close to them but I did manage to get some photos before they went off into the woods.

One of the local stores has more than just clothing and fishing tackle.

Back at the cottage my great niece poses with part of the evening's meal. (Those are rubber bands holding its claws closed.)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Beyond Book Week

Children's Book Week, for me, is always frantic and usually stretches to about six weeks but it's great to get out from behind the computer and talk to real kids. And it's a good way to try out my stories and poems. It's one thing to guess what kids might like and another thing to see what does or doesn't work. In an ideal world I'd read every story I write to kids before I send it to my publisher. But the world is never ideal and there's never time to do so.

One of the many lasting images of this year's Book Week was when I managed to coax three good sports from a school I visited into posing wearing beards and holding copies of my poetry book, My Sister Has a Big Black Beard. Thanks, girls!

Immediately after Book Week my wife and I flew to the east coast of the USA to spend a bit of down time on an island on the coast of Maine where we are now.

The Maine coastline is dotted with fishing villages and holiday cottages. City people escaping the summer heat have been coming here for a hundred and fifty years to cool off.

Before moving to Australia many years ago my family were "summer people" here, so for me it holds a lot of wonderful childhood memories. There are no beaches, no surf and the water's too cold to swim in but it's very beautiful and I love it - probably because I spent my summers here as a child. Whenever I come here we eat lobsters, as that's what the local fishermen catch.

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