Thursday, September 29, 2011

Winner of Six Books!

A Winner of Six Books!

I am pleased to announce that I have won six books
from a Book Coasters promotion of Gold Coast City Libraries
by entering into a competition of writing book reviews.

When I have read these books I will give more details about the

There certainly is a variety of different authors and genres from
a book of “What Miscellaneous Abnormality Is That?” A Field Guide
(257th edition) with a stamp on the back of The Federal Department
of Odds and Ends to a fascinating and inspiring book by Natascha
Kampusch “3,096 Days” a story of her kidnapping at a young age
and imprisonment in Vienna, where she did not escape until 8 years later.

Other books included are:
Bryce Courtenay's “Fortune Cookie”

“The Plantation” by Di Morrissey; (from the cover of the book it looks like it is
set in an idyllic setting;

Jefferey Deaver, a thriller writer and New York Times bestselling author,

“10 Short Stories You Must Read in 2010” by a selection of different authors.

Plenty of reading to keep me busy!
This has been very exciting for me to win these books and I am very appreciative
of the librarians at Gold Coast City Libraries for their help and inspiration and

I will give an update later when I have read some of these books.

Best wishes from Sandra

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Moon Princess (or a goddess) and a Sun King

"View of Grand Canal" by Nicholas Perelle,
engraving of 1680,
from wikipedia:

The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles at each end of the mirrored hallway
did have a salle (a room “Salon”) for peace and a salle (a room “Salon”) for wars
almost similarly as
Louis XIV's reign was of peace and war. At one time there was an
extended peace of nearly twenty years which considering the state of nations at the time
and the occurrence of wars this was no mean feat.

The Peace
of Versailles was signed at the end of World War I on 11 November
1918, Armistice Day. An auspicious occasion and also a memorable

Also, that today as I write this post it is 71 years since the Battle of
Britain in which the free world was saved.

In the Book of Micah is mention that one day nations would not go to
war and instead would turn their swords to plough shares and their
spears to pruning hooks and would sit under their fig trees and vines.
Perhaps a symbol of a peaceful time.


A Moon Princess (or a goddess) and a Sun King

We danced and skipped
across the roof tops of time
You and I
across the sky;

Of purple dawns and hazy dew
These were things I always knew:-

I once did rise in an afternoon sky
so clear and blue,
And you were there, gleaming true,
Dispirited to see you leave so soon
But this was long past the noon-

In open skies
and morning dew
I saw these marvellous things of you-
Apollo's chariot riding high
and all the Moons could give a sigh:-

I glimpsed you once at old Versailles
There you were in your grand style
Where sun-swept shadows crossed the mile;
For was it not at the courts of dukes and kings
and miraculous things
that the emblem of the Sun rode high?
And who would emulate a-while
as a Pharaoh of the Nile
Challenge the Sun King's style?
Surely, no-one in his guile!

Moonlight glided gracefully
over the land,
through distant valleys and mountain tops
watched over vineyards, countryside, cities
and lakes;
Glimpsed dolphins frolick in the deep
Lit by moonlight,
the fields of sheep:
and found its way to the King's Domain:
The moonlight was a beckoning show
It found its way in an all-time glow;

Swaying tree-tops in the breeze
Gilded splendour gleamed the leaves
Where shadows dancing inter-weave;
A splendid scene
A coloured beam
Reflecting to the fountain stream;
And all the colours would unite
A glorious play into the night:

I thought those days would never end
And the Sun gleamed golden:-
it seemed a trend.

From a platform out on top
Could see the fruit and ready crop:
Seeming almost as a play
where the workers toiled away:

La Quintinie,­
With a wonderful “Bon Chretien” pear:
And for the needy
he would care;

With glass walls and a bell jar
He captured sun-light from afar;
Visitors viewed the “potager” display
Would eat the fruit along the way;

And weren't these your happiest days
When you set your trails a-blaze?

La Valliere, sincerity,
La Montespan, vivacity
did impress;
though I must confess
would cause distress
that you married your governess:
when had been
your royal queen
a previous princess;
With enchantments and
a School of St Cyr
Madame de Montespan had much to fear!

You were never the same
Not quite so tame
La Mancini could not take your name
A cause for suffering-
perhaps also of wandering;

“Louis, Louis”
You knew the score
Could hold forth at the Temple Door
Knew the stories of old folk-lore
Louis the Tenth and Four:

You knew of realms long before
And Atlantis on the ocean floor:

The power of words which were never said,
Of the people long since dead,
Of Akhenaten and the sphinx-like dread;

Mysteries and wisdom inscribed
of temple walls and mirrored halls
These were things which you ascribed;

And where to
from before:
Design so fine
Palace divine
A flowing picture-
pavilions, terrace-

Palissades and shades
of beech and elm
evoked tranquillity, peace and calm
imagining a fairy glade
of crystal rock pools made of jade;

Allees and bosquets cleverly made
To designs geometrically laid;

Your garden was equal to none
You, Louis, were the One
With your symbol of the Sun.

You lived your life as a glittering flame-
And danced on the steps of audacity and fame;

Oh, and how moonlight becomes you,
suited your plane;
the softening glow of an amber show
And the moon would wane:
Silent patterns at your window pane
As though seeking answers as they came;
Of heady scents,
Perfumed flowers
in the magic Versailles hours
This truly was your game:

Ah, to sit with you a-day
And all the things which we could say:

And revolution's flame-
Who was to blame?
Wasn't that a mighty shame?

You who brought down city walls
Made Versailles free for all:

I look and I look;
And what do I see?
A Thousand Years of Monarchy:

And Romans, Visigoths and Teutonic Knights-
You always had put up your fights;

You who would prune your Chestnuts by hand
Sit under fig trees of the land;
Share your bounty of the earth
Great imaginings of worth!
Beauty and sprituality
flow together indelibly
And you gave Le Notre a wide berth:

With topiary and broderie
A spark of ingenuity
As shimmerings of emboidery
In the Versailles nursery:
Diamond patterns all on show
As in a glass-house after-glow;
Gleaming lanterns with lights down low;

Three Notes:


La Valliere,
became a Duchess but
left Versailles and entered
a convent.


La Montespan
was dismissed from her apartment
at Versailles by her son.


There was an expectation that Louis XIV would marry a princess in seventeenth century France.
Marie Mancini was the Cardinal's niece.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Travel evenings

The scenic vista of Denali, Mt McKinley in Alaska: (from wikipedia)

Recently I have attended travel evenings which have been enjoyable
and also impressive.  The standard of presentations has been excellent
with talks, discussion and slide shows given by the speakers.

Last night I attended a travel evening of Canada/Alaska which was quite
fascinating for me.  I have not visited Canada or Alaska but after having
read in books of the early colonial era I am interested in visiting
these places.

To see the magnificence of the glacier fields and the gold rush towns in Alaska,
to go ice-skating around an ice-castle on Lake Louise which becomes a winter wonderland at
Christmas would be thrilling.  The colours of the early frontier towns and early quaint architecture

Niagara Falls, the Rocky Mountains and attractions of the wild life and bears must be spectacular
for visitors to the region.  The colours of the leaves in fall must also be a splendour in Canada.  I have read that there are leaf festivals held.  I think of beautiful Prince Edward Island where Anne of Green
Gables was set and the beauty of the wonderful pristine and forested landscape of Canada, the shore-line and the magnificent wild-life.  The east coast also appeals and Quebec and Montreal for the early
French colonial architecture and history.  The chateau Frontenac in Quebec City looks magnificent from its pictures:  This looks like a fairy-tale with its magnificent spires:

Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City from wikipedia:

I have also attended a travel evening at the library which I found enjoyable.
One story was of a pilgrimage from the Pyrennes in France to a Cathedral in Spain.
This is quite a long journey which can be undertaken by foot or by horse and the
traveller is rewarded with a certificate from the Cathedral.  This is the Way of St James
or Camino de Santiago which was all very interesting to learn about.  The destination is
the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela:

Santiago de Compostela, a destination for pilgrims: (wikipedia picture)

All fascinating to learn of these places and events from attending travel evenings.
More places to think about for future travel.  The Pyrenees area of France is very
beautiful and I once visited Lourdes, which was quite beautiful.  This town is famous
for the story of Saint Bernadette.  A beautiful place set in the Pyrenees and a cross
could be seen in the distant mountains at night.
This is a picture of Lourdes from wikipedia depicting the Rosary Basilica.  It is quite beautiful to wander
around the beautiful old town and also view the living quarters of St Bernadette and her family which
was a small house in the town.  The setting of Lourdes is pleasant and it is also beautiful to visit the
site of the grotto which is famous for the water.