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

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. 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. 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.

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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!

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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
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The Cloak of Challiver
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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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Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Time to say goodbye

This will be my last blog from Germany as I’m off to London tomorrow. A nice catch-up with Diana, then it’s Winchester for the weekend and, I hope, a visit to Salisbury. I might not get back to the blog before next Tuesday so I should have a lot to report then!

The last few days here in the Rhine Valley have been wonderful, as, indeed, has the entire visit. On Sunday night there was a most enjoyable family gathering at a Weinhaus. This is something between a restaurant and a privately-owned pub where a vintner exposes the vintage to the public. I enjoyed the meal (the place had a much better menu than similarly priced restaurants in Australia) and the company as it was a chance to meet my children’s third cousins and their partners. However, I stupidly ordered rosé instead of white. I know red wine gives me a migraine but I kidded myself rosé would be different. Not so – I woke at 2.00am with a pounding head and a sick stomach, dammit!

The usual medication and a sleep-in fixed things, thank heavens, and I was ready for Monday’s adventure, which was the long-awaited photo opportunity at the Geisenheim parish church. I have the trophies safely on CD and have noted lots of useful info to draw on when I come to write up my journeyings more fully later in the year.


Yesterday was a highlight: a trip to the lovely city of Wiesbaden. Wiesbaden exists purely for the exercise of life’s more refined pleasures. First and foremost, of course, it is a spa town and has been so ever since Roman times. Hot fountains gush the slightly salty waters for which the town is famous. I took the opportunity to top up my trusty water bottle and sipped on the waters of Weisbaden for the rest of the day. I feel well and alert today, but whether or not that’s because of the water I don’t know. However, the spas are the height of luxury and people spend a lot of money to indulge in a swim, shower, spa, sauna, massage, mud or sand bath or whatever else takes their fancy, and surely they can’t all be deluded!


Water or no water, Wiesbaden is a delight. It has a wonderful theatre precinct which contains several magnificent rooms for balls and concerts as well as three theatres ranging from an opera house seating over 1000 people to an intimate studio for experimental productions. We were able to sneak a peak into the concert hall thanks to the kind offices of one of the attendants, but the theatres were all in use for rehearsals. A constant stream of cultural activities flows in Wiesbaden. It is not a huge town—maybe 280,000 people—but its pleasures are readily available to residents of the Rhine Valley, Mainz, Frankfurt and surrounding areas. That is the wonder of Europe – everything is within driving distance, and public transport, while not cheap, is always accessible. Elfriede and I rode around the town on a tiny tourist train; not one that runs on tracks, but on normal wheels. We stopped for ten minutes high on a hill over the town (which is built around a natural basin opening onto the Rhine) to view the famous Russian church. Like the Taj Mahal, it was built by a grieving royal husband as a mausoleum for his wife. She died at only 19, and her infant daughter with her, but the Russian Orthodox community of the region still benefits from the presence of the church. It is, of course, floridly gilded in the Russian manner, resembling, perhaps, a temple from the Far East rather than a European chapel, but its wildly colourful exotic beauty, while not to everyone’s taste, is a feast for the eyes.

Wiesbaden has always attracted the glitterati and has the shops to suit. Elfriede and I laughed at the prices. How about €200 for panties and a chemise? Pure silk and hand-embroidered, of course. But then you still have to buy things to put over the top (what a pity to hide such luxury!) and the prices there can run into the thousands. We restrained ourselves.


On the way home, we stopped to see the winery where Josef Neist worked before he emigrated to Australia. It has changed hands now, but I was able to photograph the door leading into the cellar where they made the champagne. We also saw the house where he and Margarethe lived, but couldn’t get a photo because of the traffic and cars parked in front. And the residents might not like having their house photographed, in any case.

This visit has been a joy and I am deeply grateful to Sam and Elfriede for their kindness and wonderful hospitality. And I must mention Karrie, the family’s black bitza dog. He is quite a character. German dogs talk, it seems: both Karrie and his “cousin” Gigi, Renate’s pet terrier, converse with their owners in tones that incorporate elements of yawning, whining and howling!

Yes, the Rhine Valley is a wonderful place to visit and also, I think, a wonderful place to live. Imagine a mild climate, riverside walks, drives or cycle rides, bush-walking, picnics, visits to wineries, numberless historical sites, every possible cultural and sporting experience and excellent shops, all within a half-hour drive! Das ist der Rheingau.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Satima, Lovely to read your newsy blogs today - what a rich and fascinating tapestry of adventures you have been having and sipping the special water for the Rose headache, I like it!!! Yes for a non-Christian you are certainly visiting your share of holy houses. Sounds great and especially that you are enjoying yourself and your history and having such lovely folk look after you so beautifully, as you would to them.
p.s. I have a part time Office Allrounder job (doing the accounts and BAS statements, geo reports, etc)with a Geologist 15-20 hrs per month. He travels mainly and will be going to island off Russia for 6 weeks this weekend, so mostly just me doing my thing (as I like it). Was advertised in "The Post". He's English, seems nice, old fashioned and drinks good coffee (most important) - one girl office, good place to start. Went to Mandurah for 2 days over Easter, stayed at friend's holiday house who is 'abroad' in Italy at the moment.
Much love,
Nicola xxx

Satima Flavell said...

Great news, Nicola, and I hope your boos appreciates that he has discovered the world"s best secretary!

Anonymous said...

Dear Satima, Seems like my last blog has gone into the ether, yet again. I loved all the Germany information, but commented on you saying the Rhine Valley would be a lovely place to live with its mild climate - haven't you thought about the cold and the dark season, or are you too English to mind that. And you forgot to sing the praises of the German white wines, and so inexpensive. Great weather here - look forward to reading more England. Pat

Satima Flavell said...

Ah yes - the wines! The whites are fantastic and I'm sure the reds are, too, but you will have read of my foray into rose drinking, which brought me to ruin. Well. almost. Yes, winter would be co-o-old there, but what with climate change and all maybe it's not as cold as it once was. Elfriede told me that the Rhine never freezes over any more. Mind you, it would have to be darned cold - far too cold for me! - for that to happen.

There seems to be a bit of a problem with posting comments lately, so it's not just you:-)

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