Saturday, January 11, 2020

Perdy goes AWOL and finds a shag!

Perdy, my adventurous Jack Russell, loves her freedom, her off-leash times, and to be able to follow her nose. I love watching her explore, hunt, cavort with other dogs and generally enjoy her times at her favourite places.  Sometimes, she takes full advantage of not being tied to me, by going the extra mile ... well, in this case, discovering another hole in the fence.

Sunday morning at the dog park: OK ... it's not officially one, in a sense that it is 'contained,' but it meets most of the requirements for what I consider to be a park for doggies. Perdy gets to run, play and follow her nose. Today, Perdy stretched the definition of the above. We entered the park behind the dump and I released her, well past the hole in the fence that I have stuck in some wood and logs to fill her escape route to 'rat heaven!' Talk about releasing the Kraken!

Perdy immediately headed for the fence line, albeit in a slightly different place from her other epic adventure. She disappeared into the bushes and scrub that line the border with the municipal dump, but this time she didn't make her presence beyond the fence known, unlike her previous manic escape. She lived her adventure in a quiet fashion, giving no clues as to her whereabouts on the 'other side of the fence.'

I took a more relaxed stance. I did not ring my partner. I decided to sit it out, waiting by the seat, hoping that she would return. The minutes ticked by, punctuated by my calls, 'Perdy ... come, girl,' disguising my illusionary confidence that she would return ... soon,' and that somehow, I was in control of my rambunctious-perpetual-puppy. I was about to 'make the phone call,' eliciting support but really hoping to spread the anxiety. I waited a few moments, and then ... she appeared, quite calmly. Had she actually gone through the fence or was she chasing vermin in the bushes? Either way, we continued our sojourn in the park, heading to the green wilderness, where she likes to 'play the dolphin game,' jumping and forging her way through the ocean of grass.

I was quite at peace with the world. I filmed her, jumping and dancing, her senses fully engaged in her quest for whatever the hell she knows to be there. Then she stopped on the edge of the bank that borders the park, on the sea-side. She was transfixed by something on the rock-strewn beach. I KNOW that look. It precedes a change in direction, usually one that ends in a drama of sorts. Her tail wagged, in that Jack Russell signal ... she was ramping up the game!

Perdy disappeared down the bank. I moved to the edge. Perdy was frozen, like a statue. A Shag, quite young, was standing on a boulder, one that was artistically decorated with guano. Perdy was transfixed, quiet at first, and then she began that infuriating barking, willing the shag to respond. I looked around, hoping like hell that no one was watching. I did not need a caring bird-lover to inform me of my lack of control, that only a Jack Russell daddy or mum would understand, does not signify that we are bad parents!

Perdy's barking increased in intensity. The shag simply acted like he or she was ignoring the hairy Kraken. I wondered if the bird was sick. A lady and her dog were starting to become interested in the events on the beach. They approached. She quickly realized that the scenario was likely to engulf her and her dog, and she led her fur-baby away, on-leash, whilst informing me of a pathway, of kinds, where I could descend, and thus remedy the situation that was rapidly approaching ... meltdown.

I scrambled down the bank, hoping I would not end up the victim, unceremoniously splattered like guano on the rocks. I made it safely to the beach, where the two were at a stand-off. Perdy barking and making threatening advances, each time closing in on her 'prey,' while I prayed that I could avoid a feathery funeral. I had to get the shag to move, fly away ... to get the heck out of there. Thoughts of some chooky friends at my house who had since departed, with the help of Perdy, filled my thoughts. Please move little shag!

I approached, not so much cautiously, ... I WANTED the shag to depart ...immediately. "Shoo little shag ... begone,' I pleaded. My actual words contained a few expletives.
The shag must have understood ... finally. With a flap of its wings, it lept into the sea, not flying, but swimming ... away from the Kraken. Perdy was furious. She followed and they started heading towards Miranda, about 10 kilometres on the other side of the Firth of Thames!

Oh-My-God. 'Perdy ...Come back I yelled,' as she paddled out to sea. Thoughts of sharks, her drowning, me following and drowning ... it is true that at moments like these, your thoughts race along multiple pathways, most of them irrational. I was immersed in indecision. The lady was long gone. I could not see anyone, because the back screened me from the sight of people in the park. I WAS ALONE.

I continued to yell at Perdy. By now she was at least fifty metres out to sea. She stopped, looked back at me, then continued after the shag, then stopped again, looking a  bit undecided. She swam in small circles, the shag calmly swimming further out. Finally, Perdy started swimming back towards me. I held my breath, my lips massaged  by 'Mr Worry.' She turned again, trying to see where the shag had gone. It was about a hundred metres away. Maybe she couldn't see it, because it dived from time to time, emerging in a different place, possibly confusing Perdyy as to its whereabouts.

Perdy gave up and continued to paddle her way to shore ... to ME, where she clambered over the rocks, shook herself off and meekly let me attach her leash. Her look said it all. 'I'm back Daddy ... it was soooo much fun."

Yeah right, girl!

PS. I came upon the lady who had witnessed the start of the 'event.' We talked and I learned that she too was an author. We had a most useful discussion about 'publishing books,' and I exchanged numbers and saved a contact. I thank her for encouraging me to follow through and send the script for Sons of Orpheus to a publishing company in the UK that is asking for submissions.
In the meantime, my book(s) can be downloaded from Amazon books, Just Google  'Sons of Orpheus, Book 1, The Arrival, by Neil Coleman, on Kindle,' and you can follow the links with a click. If you don't have a Kindle, you can get a free APP (Play Store for Android, APP Store on Apple devices.) Download the APP and read my books.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Australian fires are not so far away from New Zealand.

 For thousands of years, 'fire' has been a 'constant' in The Land Down Under. Fire is part of that which makes up this 'Lucky Land.'  Indeed, fire is necessary for the propagation of some trees and plants. But while nature ruled, there was a balance. The original people, the many different tribes that make up the Aboriginal population, knew how to live with the ever-present threat.

When Europeans arrived they spread across the continent, seeking and taking land, bringing their animals and displacing in many instances, those that were already present.  However, it would be accurate to claim that the vast number of the new human arrivals, to this day, have clung to the 'edges.' Most Australians live in four big cities or within two hundred kilometres of them. Others live in the bush and it is in that 'bush' that living with the threat of fire is never far away, especially in the increasingly longer periods of 'hot and dry,' with the wind bringing about even more danger as it 'fans the furnace.'

Every year, we read about or witness on the News and Social Media, the damage done by fire; destroying pasture, bush and homes, taking lives, human and animals (Possibly a  billion animals in the latest catastrophe) and damaging economic activity. In the most recent disaster, vast clouds of smoke from the fires have blotted out the sun, then carried across the Tasman Ocean to New Zealand, causing 'over-worldly' cloud-scapes, an eerily orange sky ... so much so that misinformed observers, panicked to the point that they dialled 111 (NZ's emergency number). Lights had to be switched on at 3pm ... in the middle of summer.

Historically, fire has always been a threat in urban areas of both countries, with wooden buildings being the predominant, and not just in summer. Careless use of candles, cooking methods and possibly drunken reactions contributed to the many fires, sometimes alerting the towns and cities.

While I was researching background material for my latest book, Sons of Orpheus, Book 1 ... The Arrival, I discovered that fire often visited Sydney and threatened the Rocks area. Luck played a part in that we still have this historic area today. Fire-fighting methodology was not the sophisticated, instant response we see today, be it rural or urban in nature. Parts of Auckland were also ravaged by fire.

My book has a very descriptive section, in which 'fire' brings characters together and forges relationships, adding storylines that last throughout the epic series that is the Sons of Orpheus, The Trilogy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Ireland to England and beyond ... a story that is still ...resounding.

An Irish lad seeks new horizons, His sense of adventure is enhanced by an impossible 'present.'
Jack, a young man struggling with his identity, his emerging 'manhood,' and a desire to find a better life.
Join him on his adventures, sometimes heart-rending, funny the next and outright dangerous at times as he takes a huge leap of faith to reach across the globe.
Sons of Orpheus is a story based on fact, several ships, one naval and a tool of the expanding British Empire, and the other ... commercial in nature.
New Zealand in the 1860s ... a struggle between two peoples, one trying to keep its sacred land, the other ... desiring land for settlers, which it had signed a Treaty that was supposed to protect Taonga, forests and lands from being taken.  New Zealand was at the crossroads of history.
 What part would Jack play?
Sons of Orpheus (Book 1 ... The Arrival, by Neil Coleman) is available on Amazon Kindle or any device (APP store for Apple and Play Store for Android) with the free Kindle App. Install the free APP and search for the book.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Australia ... the link to Sons of Orpheus

Old Sydney town has a special link to the underlying story in Sons of Orpheus (Book 1..The Arrival) Sydney play a crucial part in the plot as the characters are drawn to the city, particularly The Rocks area. Lieutenant Alex Coleman is an officer on the State of the art Corvette, Orpheus, as she is prepared to sail to the young colony of New Zealand where an emerging struggle for land is underway.
Fire too is a feature as it wreaks havoc on the old wooden buildings. Fire changes peoples' lives, in history and the present. The links between New and Australia go back many years,
Sons of Orpheus is an epic trilogy, bringing to life difficult struggle that was ...Australia and New Zealand. Fiction it may be, but the historical events were real.
Download the book (part 1] Go to Amazon Bookstore and search in the ebook section. Sons of Orpheus (Book 1 ... The Arrival) by Neil Coleman
If you don't have a Kindle, that's OK ... just go to App Store (Apple device) or Paly Store for Android for your free App. Don't forget to register. While you are there, Download my other two books: Roskill and Talk to Me ( a finalist in the Ngaio Marsh Crime Writers Awards.)
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