Donna’s day one

7 01 2014

Although we arrived yesterday, today is technically day one of the retreat as this is when we start writing.

Last night we polished off a bit of white wine. We need to stock up.  Nicole had some fab news to share so we also drank two bottles of Munn. One of us doesn’t drink at all and the other not much, so that’s a lot. It was fun, hanging together, bagging each other out.

Matthew made fresh pasta, fettuccine, and I made prawn and tomato sauce. We talked and talked of writing and other guff, then we watched a move Cat brought along called The Day the Earth Caught Fire, a retro film, which was interesting. Cat says its a anti nuclear and climate change story.

Russell and Kylie were late as they had a fountain of poo to deal with at their house. Bad timing! (I had to fit the poo talk in here somewhere)

So now I must apply myself. But first some photos of the house. There are heaps more but these were my first impression.

The house wasn’t opened when we arrived so we looked around. Here is the lake at the back of the house- Lake Jindabyne is impressive.


Turning around, you can see the house. There is a little turret thing that Russell inhabits.



Then when we got inside there was this funky lounge room.


Later on we found this huge games room and another lounge. We think there are two bars as well so plenty of drinks fridges (which we need).

Then there is this deer head over the fire place.


This has to be the best place we’ve stayed in so far. We were a bit gobsmacked actually. This is the dining/work area. We usually like two dining rooms, one for work and one for eating but I guess we are going to have to slum it. It think that’s Joanne and Nicole in the kitchen area in the back of the photo.


There is also a tennis court but none of us brought rackets. My knee is injured so I’ll be lucky if I can go for a walk.

Time to work now. Donna

Nicole’s update

7 01 2012

Hello! Howdie doodie! How’s it going? Fabulous? Glad to hear it!

So, we’ve been retreating a full two days now. Yes, there has been writing. Even Kylie has been thinking and working on her manuscript.

There seems not to be a wordcount race this year, which has made this retreat it seems much more convivial so far. We’ll see how long that remains the case.

After being stuck on the couch day one, I got to sit and do some writing yesterday. Polished off 5000 words of a new gadda short story (I’d always planned to give Maggie’s mum a Happily Ever After, but being Siobhan it’s not going as smoothly as I thought it would). Had a great insight into Battle for Odana and I’ll be working on that today.

Also, got my first copy-editing assignment yesterday. Read the book last night and will let it sit for a few days before I get started on it.

The outing yesterday was wonderful – the waterfall lovely, the kauri trees (and the forest they were in) inspiring and incredible. Ankle stood up well to the short walks along pretty smooth paths and today feels – well, not perfect, but a LOT better.

So today will be about working on Battle for Odana, and doing notes for the editing article for ACT Writer’s Centre that’s due next week. It’s raining here – love the rain. However, it’s apparently supposed to rain for a week. Not so sure I’ll be loving it by the end.

And it must be publicly reported that not only is Ian McHugh a great writer but a damn good cook too.

Day tripping and photos

6 01 2012

Because the weather forecast is for rain in the foreseeable future, Russell convinced us all to go out on a short excursion this afternoon. Normally we’d wait until we earned excursion brownie points by writing several thousand words, but the weather…well…

First we went to see Rainbow Falls, which is pretty accessible from Keri Keri. Nicole had her stick so she  could walk the easy part.

The falls were lovely of course. Russell wouldn’t dare take us to a crap waterfall.

Rainbow Falls, Keri Keri

We walked to the bottom of the falls and saw these basault pillars. One looked like a face, which reminded my of the false alarms from the move, The Labyrinth.

Stone face

Here’s a shot of the falls from the base.

Also, I took a shot of this lovely, perfect looking fern.


Then we went for a walk in kauri forest. Kauri are amazing trees and there’s only about 3 per cent of the original trees left. The forest walk was lovely, spoiled somewhat by a large family of children who ran about screaming up a storm the whole time we were there.


Some kauri


Then we came back and I thought I should get some shots of the house and grounds. Now you know some country houses have dry stone walls. Well take a look at this one.

Kylie and Nicole at the wall.

This is a shot of the studio (not occupied) and then the house.



The house


We might have mentioned that Kylie and Russell have their own waterfall. It’s a real waterfall.

Waterfall with view to the wading pool (river) below.


Anyway it’s time to eat. I will post more photos another time.  A view of the falls from below would be nice I reckon.