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Read, Write, Dance

Read, Write, Dance . Those three words could almost be my epitaph. Certainly (bearing and rearing children aside) they are the three activi...

About Me

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. You might enjoy my books - The Dagger of Dresnia, the first book of the Talismans Trilogy, is available at all good online book shops. Book two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. Book three, The Seer of Syland, is in preparation. I trained in piano and singing at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. I also trained in dance (Scully-Borovansky, WAAPA) and drama (NIDA). Since 1987 I have been writing reviews of performances in all genres for a variety of publications, including Music Maker, ArtsWest, Dance Australia, The Australian and others. Now semi-retired, I still write occasionally for the ArtsHub website, and I still teach dance at Trinity School for Seniors, an outreach program of the Uniting Church in Perth.

My books

The first novel of my trilogy, The Talismans, is available as an e-book from Smashwords, Amazon and other online sellers. I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $AU25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. Book two of the trilogy, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. Book one, The Dagger of Dresnia, is up on the usual bookselling web sites as an e-book, and I have a few hard copies to sell to those who prefer Real Paper. Book Two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available soon. The easiest way to contact me is via Facebook.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've Lived - Sydney

Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
Blue Lake

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
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Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

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Monday, 2 April 2007

Hopfen und Malz - Gott erhalt's

The above header is a phrase I came across yesterday, written on the till of a delightful restaurant in the village of Kestert. It means, roughly, "May God protect hops and malt" and after a tall glass of the local shandy, known as "Radler", I concurred most heartily with the sentiment. The food was excellent, too.

Sam, Elfriede and I were in Lorelei country, the eastern bank of the ravine that marks the end of the Rhine Valley proper. Here, so legend has it, a beautiful maiden sits atop a slate cliff and sings sailors to their doom, just like the Sirens of old. The photo above is of the cliff she is said to haunt and the one to the left is the stunning view from her home.

Lorelei didn't favour us with an appearance on the clifftop so we contented ourselves with a trek to her statue, which crowns a man-made (or at least man-enhanced) breakwater just beyond her reputed haunts. Heights, even two metre ones, are simply not my preferred adventure playgrounds, so I gritted my teeth and stuck to the middle of the path along the breakwater and held on tightly to Elfriede and Sam when we got to the narrow neck that projects beyond the enormous statue. I transferred my grasp to the statue's rocky base and forced a smile for the camera, just to prove I'd been there! My friends rewarded me with the above-mentioned delicious meal at the Kröne Hotel.

We then proceeded to Marksburg, a restored medieval castle that overlooks the town of Braubach. This former lead-mining centre snuggles amid mountains that reach almost to the waterfront, heralding the steep climb to the castle. Fortunately there's a good road these days (although parking along the edge of a ridge was pretty alarming!) and it's possible to take an easy stroll up to the gates via a service road if you don't fancy the myriad steps. (We didn't.)

A stroke of luck accompanied us in the form of a gaggle of teenagers from Reading, England, out on a German language class expedition. Now maybe the company of twenty-odd Year 10 students doesn't appeal to all persons of mature years, but this was a great bunch (the boys, especially, were very impressed with crossbows and cannons) and they let us join their guided tour, conducted by Nora, a fluent English speaker. She led us through a veritable maze of passages and stairways to view a wine cellar, a kitchen, a sleeping chamber, a privy, a crafts room, a chapel and an armourers' workshop before taking us around an exhibition of arms and armour. All the rooms were furnished with the basic essentials of medieval life (although some elements were from the C16-C17 era) and there was even a glass case of archeological finds, including shoes and small implements. The whole outing was a joy to one who loves the medieval period and historical fantasy. The many Rhine legends that Elfriede recounted in the car were the stuff of inspiration, too.

Of course, there was the odd hair-raising moment. There was a narrow, winding staircase leading from the beautifully vaulted chapel to the open air and I had visions of getting stuck and having to stay there while they dismantled the castle brick by brick to release me. It was the priest's exit route and all I can say is they must have auditioned for particularly little priests. One-fifty centimetres and 45 kilos would be the required size, I reckon. And of course, I had to get left behind, didn't I, due to my determination to get photos of the armaments. Nora had warned us when we arrived that we would be locked in if we lingered, and to make her point, she waved an enormous key. I thought the implement was merely for show, but no, it was for real. By the time I'd got my pics the students, their teacher and my friends has disappeared and I was stuck among a new party under a German speaking guide, who also had one of the enormous keys and was waving it threateningly at her charges: no teenagers this time but serious group of Mature Persons, possibly from the U3A or its German counterpart. My German is almost non-existent, but it was obvious that the serious group's equally serious guide was using me as an object lesson on what happens to naughty tourists who don't stay with their companions. I felt about two inches tall as she shepherded me to the locked gate and without deigning to look at me or acknowledge my mortified "danke schön" released me from the perils of Marksburg.

I seem to have been disaster-prone since leaving the Land of Oz. I won't embarrass myself or bore you with tales of malfunctioning computers and blocked toilets, but I will warn you to make sure all your cosmetics are safely packed in plastic bags when flying in this part of the world. If you don't, you risk being pulled up at the x-ray machine and having your goods and chattels gone over with a fine tooth comb while they make sure you're not carrying any explosives. While it's reassuring to know that the customs officials of Europe are well and truly on the ball, it's hard to understand why they think a plastic bag will be any better than a plastic-lined cosmetics purse in foiling the intentions of terrorists. Never mind, I made the flight in time and less than an hour later I was drinking my first cappuchino in Germany. Imagine; in the same time as a flight from Adelaide to Mount Gambier you are in a different culture, a different world. The world of the Lorelei.

The photos above are all from Wikipedia. BTW, I haven't yet photographed the church at Geisenheim, although I've visited it and was most impressed. Every village church here, it seems, is the size of your average cathedral. However, at the end of a long day checking out the haunts of Hildegarde of Bingen, a woman whom I have long admired, my camera's battery gave up the ghost when I asked it for a shot of the Geisenheim font. Elfriede has promised to take me again, but it won't be until later in the week as tomorrow she & I are going to Luxembourg! Then on Wednesday her sister Renate has kindly offered to take me to still another medieval village, Bacharach. What was I saying last time about hoping my good karma won't all get used up? Surely there can't be much left!

1 comments:

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