Reflections

A black and white version of a recent post on my Flickr stream. I have to admit I gave the reflections some help in Photoshop; the water of the Brisbane River is never quite this still. ;-)

Brisbane CBD from Captain Burke Park. Click to view enlargement.

Brisbane CBD from Captain Burke Park.
Click to view enlargement.

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Stage Fright

Stage Fright
By Marianne Delacourt
Allen and Unwin, 2012.

sharp

In Australia we’re privileged to have some world-class crime writers including the two Peters, Corris and Temple, but I wasn’t expecting all that much when I picked up the gaudily-jacketed Stage Fright by local Brisbane author Marianne Delacourt who, it turns out, is the alter ego of SF author Marianne de Pierres.

My first impression of the book was totally mistaken and I was delighted to find that Stage Fright is a really very good crime story and the third in the series about Tara Sharp, PI, who lives in the garage behind her well-to-do parents’ home in Perth.

In an unusual paranormal twist, she is able to read auras and even though she once thought she might be off her rocker, she has been taught to use her gift and it gives her the advantage of often being able to tell what’s going on under the surface with people she meets. Continue reading

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Hart Marine

One of the most interesting commissions I’ve had recently was to write about a new pilot boat which was about to be delivered to Port Phillip Sea Pilots. The dangers faced by the pilots in the seas that come howling through the Bass Strait are well demonstrated by the fact that the organisation lost a boat, its crew and a pilot some years back and therefore really does need the safest boats available to transport their staff.

I’ve just posted the articles on the Tear Sheets page of the site.

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To the grindstone

It has been an awfully long time since the last post but I have been very much taken up with settling into my new country. Since the last post, Rural Press has become Fairfax Agricultural Media and I have continued to work for them.

I have also had quite a few story commissions from the publications Australian Main Roads Construction and Australian Ports News which have involved me in doing telephonic interviews with clients around Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. I’ve written stories on a wide variety of topic ranging from the stabilising of dirt roads to the finer points of pilot boat design.There are some samples up on the Tear Sheets page of this site.

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I was helping a friend by taking pictures of his guitars earlier today
and this was one result I liked.

I’ve missed blogging on a regular basis but have successfully fought off the urge until now.  ;-)

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A new year dawns

I confess that that the pressures of job hunting were getting to me and I was beginning to doubt the wisdom of seeking a new life in Australia. Fortunately, just when things were at their blackest last October, I did finally get a call from one of the organisations I had applied to.

Rural Press, which is based in Ormiston just South of Brisbane, needed an extra subeditor to work on their publications including Queensland Country Life, Northern Queensland Register and a number of others. I have been averaging two or so shifts each week since then, which has lifted a lot of the pressure on me.

The search for something more substantial goes on….

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Red letter day

Today is something of a red letter (or should that be Green letter?) day for me because I have completed my first job on Australian soil for an Australian firm. Since my arrival in Australia I have written some IT-related stories for an entrepreneurs’ website in South Africa, which is why my first local job was especially welcome.

I was asked to create a leaflet for Green Grove garden hire to send out with their monthly accounts, advertising the trees and silk flower arrangements they have for hire. I did the product photography, wrote the copy and laid the leaflet out. My sincere thanks go to Therese and Peter Nally for their business.

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Business club

Just got back from a meeting of the Everton Park Business Club. It’s a networking group run by Sheree Lenton, which meets on a weekly basis in the excellent Luv-a-Coffee coffee bar in the Everton Plaza shopping centre.

I went along a couple of weeks ago to check it out and it turns out that a nice selection of local business people are members. I’ve been to four meetings so far and have found it very informative about local conditions.

One thing I learnt in South Africa from my years as a freelancer is that it is easy to become isolated. Being part of a group is very useful in that regard.

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Pretty city

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No doubt about it, Brisbane is a very pretty city with some spectacular river views. I’m very pleased with this multi-shot panorama that I stitched together in Photoshop.

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A commission

I am very pleased to be have been commissioned by a new South Africa-based entrepreneurs’ website to produce a series of articles on various aspects of IT likely to be of interest to their audience. I’ll publish a link to the site as soon as I am allowed.

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Culture shock

My head is starting to clear after the shock to the system brought on by the move from Durban in South Africa, my former home, to Brisbane, my new one. I really did think that I would arrive and start work immediately, but it has taken time to adjust to my new circumstances.

In many ways, Brisbane is similar enough to Durban to make it feel eerily familiar. Both are on the east coasts of their respective continents, both were founded in the same year, 1824, and were settled and built by the same sorts of people. They enjoy similar weather patterns, the inhabitants have laid-back lifestyles, and they are important gateways to their respective regions.

Similar, yes, but there are also differences that are taking this immigrant some time to get used to. There is different terminology and pronunciation to get used to as well as new approaches and ways of doing things to be learned. One of the most important things I missed was the critical importance of correctly structuring applications for contract and permanent positions.

Many organisations, including many State government departments, have been advertising for media and/or communications staff for permanent posts or, quite often, on short to medium-term contract. I know myself to be an extremely good communicator but, in spite of those skills and all my experience, I wasn’t even getting to the interview stage. I was feeling pretty low about things but thankfully, after input from Frances Cahill of Emerald Writing & Training, I now know why.

It’s not enough to point to jobs I’ve done and work I’ve produced and expect employers on this side of the water, to be impressed. And so, from here on in, it’s a change of tack and my best foot forward.

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