Searching for locations: Gollums Pool, New Zealand

Tawhai Falls is a 13-meter high waterfall located in Tongariro National Park.

It is located about 4 km from the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre, on State Highway 48.

An easy walk takes just 10-15 minutes to reach the waterfall’s lookout.

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The top of the falls.  There was not much water coming down the river to feed the falls when we were there in May

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Tawhai Falls is also the filming location of Gollum’s pool where Faramir and his archers are watching Gollum fish.

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It’s a rocky walk once you are down at ground level, and it may be not possible to walk along the side of the stream if the falls have more water coming down the river from the mountain.

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Searching for locations: Innsbruck, Austria

On one holiday, we drove from Florence to Innsbruck, a journey of about 500 kilometres and via the E45, a trip that would take us about five and a half hours.

We drove conservatively, stopped once for lunch and took about seven hours, arriving in Innsbruck late in the afternoon

The main reason for this stay was to go to Swarovski in Wattens for the second time, to see if anything had changed, and to buy some pieces.  We were still members of the club, and looking forward to a visit to the exclusive lounge and some Austrian champagne.

Sadly, there were no new surprises waiting, and we came away a little disappointed.

We were staying at the Innsbruck Hilton, where we stayed the last time, and it only a short walk to the old town.

From the highest level of the hotel, it is possible to get a look at the mountains that surround the city.  This view is in the direction we had driven earlier, from Florence.

The change in the weather was noticeable the moment we entered the mountain ranges.

This view looks towards the old town and overlooks a public square.

This view shows some signs of the cold, but in summer, I doubted we were going to see any snow.

We have been here in winter, and it is quite cold, and there is a lot of snow.  The ski resorts are not very far away, and the airport is on the way to Salzburg.

There is a host of restaurants in the old town, and we tried a few during our stay.  The food, beer, and service were excellent.

On a previous visit, we did get Swiss Army Knives, literally, from a small store called Victorinox.

And, yes, we did see the golden roof.

Past conversations with my cat – 28


This is Chester.  He thinks it’s still winter.

It’s not, but how do you tell a cat who thinks he knows everything.

Today, we are having a battle over his bed.  The blanket needs washing.  I tell him, in as polite a manner I can muster,m there is an aroma that is bordering on unpleasant.

He tells me he can’t smell anything, and refuses to budge.

I suspect not since he is now used to it.

Not even the tempting offer of stretching out on the end of our bed has any effect.

I guess it’s the time from Plan B.

I give him one last chance.

It’s outright defiance now.

I go down to the laundry, fetch the green bucket, half fill it with hot water, and return.

He’s looking warily at me now, knowing something has changed since he last saw me.

Ah, yes, what’s that bucket for?

CAll me mean, I tell him, but nothing moves faster than a scalded cat.

Not that I would, but I think he now understands the subtle art of compromise.



If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium

And probably would be, if I was away on holidays in Europe, simply because I’ve always wanted to be in Belgium on a Tuesday just so I could use that line.

By the way, it’s out of a movie, but I’m not sure which one.  Obviously, it wasn’t that great if I can’t remember it.


Searching for locations for my stories takes a lot of time and effort, using Google Earth and other means like street view.  Finding houses, or apartments required a great deal of real estate research, almost to the point of buying a property.

Is there any better way to see the street it’s in, the neighbours, the neighbourhood, and inside the house and gardens.  Almost as if you lived there, which of course you do in the story.

Last year we decided to go on an adventure

The reality of that saw us in Canada on the trans-Canada highway heading towards Banff, on icy roads in winter.  Yes, that’s where we were this year in early January, getting a feel for the place, the roads, the weather, the people, and the sights.

Cold, yes.  Atmospheric, yes, exciting, double yes.  Sometimes research is really fun, well, I don’t call it that, otherwise everyone else will think it was not the birthday treat that it was meant to be.

And was.

My wife’s 65th birthday will be one she certainly will never forget.


Writing is proceeding better now that I’ve knuckled down.  The Trans-Canada experience has been translated into a story attached to a photo and now sits on the writing blog

The treasure hunt story that went from an idea to reality is now at its 32nd episode and has taken shape, now that it’s moved beyond the initial two episodes I wrote in Canada, and it’s going to be around for a while yet.  New players, and contingency plans.  Evil will be lurking behind and under every rock.

And as for the helicopter crash story and its aftermath, I’m on the last part now where the main character knows why he’s just been put through hell, he now had to go through another.

We shall see what transpires

And the Being Inspired series just got 80 and 81 written, and ready to be published.

By the way, Canada was spectacular in winter.  I thoroughly recommend you go, adventurous or not.  Lake Louise frozen over and the ice castle at the Fairmont Hotel, well, there are no words to describe it.  Youjust have to see it yourself.

It’s been a good day for the Maple Leafs

It’s an unusual topic, but I was looking for a distraction from the rigours of NaNoWriMo, and this fitted the bill perfectly.

For someone who doesn’t really care about sport in general, and rarely able to find the time in between all the writing to actually sit down for several hours, and, in some cases, all day, today seems to have been an exception.

I got through my NaNoWriMo exercise earlier this morning, and since the Maple Leafs were playing today, I thought I’d fire up the computer and take a look at how they’re going.

By the time I’d found the streaming site the game had started but it was nil-all so it was much the same as not missing the start.

I thought it odd that an Australian would be interested in ice hockey, but it seems I’m not alone.  Nor that others barracked for Toronto, Ottowa, and Edmonton, and all seem to dislike with varying degrees of intensity, the New York Islanders.

Maybe because they’ve won ten straight games.

So, it takes a long time, almost halfway through the third period for the first goal, and its the opposition the Vegas Golden Knights.

Damn them.

And now I have this sinking feeling the game might slip away.  Their form can hardly be labelled stellar, and I thought I heard the home crowd booing them, but that must have been my imagination.

No, my dismay is misplaced, there it is, Mathews comes to life and evens up the scoreline.

And for the rest of the period, Anderson keeps the Golden Knights out.  As only Anderson can when he’s on his game.

Once again we’re in overtime, with more heart in mouth stuff, and, of course, the man we’ve been missing, Tavares finally pulls the rabbit out of the hat.

It’s a pity we couldn’t be there in person to see it.


Remember a few days ago I was looking at a separate first part, and that will be the case. It was not what I originally planned, but it is a work in progress.

Now, having worked on the next part, this is now developing into a section of its own too, and will serve as an introduction to the second main character. I had planned it differently, but this is better.

This section is starting to all but write itself too, which is a good sign, because I’m at over 2,000 words for the day, and the story isn’t done yet.

But, I’m taking a step back, just in case I jinx myself.


Sitting staring at the ceiling and looking ahead, a few notes for what’s coming vs what I planned, and the work so far will form part 2.

Part three is going to be the main story, where the two main characters come together, more through the circumstances of their first meeting that something that was consciously planned

It’s been an interesting afternoon

We live in a country which has a unique sport, which is something a lot of countries can’t boast.

England has soccer and cricket, America has baseball and basketball, Canada has ice hockey, all sports that are played all over the world.

Australia has this strange game called Australian Rules Football, and it be true to say that ask anyone anywhere else in the world about they would only look at you strangely and say “What?”

It would be true to say that this form of football is a religion, such is the fans devotion. It’s not unusual to hear of wating to be buried in your favourite player’s guernsey. You pick a team, or generally a team is picked for you, and it’s your team for life. You don’t desert them, and stick with them through the highs and lows, and sometimes the lows can be for a long time.

And like religion, there are such things as mixed marriages, each spouse will support a diffrent team, and when thise teams play each other, well, it’s best to be someone else afterthe final siren.

But, be that as it may…

We reached the pinnacle of our season, the playing of the Grand Final in the home of AFL, the MCG, one of the largest stadiums in the country, holding over 100,000 fans, an ideal venue for this game.

And, although the game was not the expected exciting and close spectacle we we hoping to see, at least all of the supporters of the winners will be deleriously happy. For the losers and their fans, there is no describing the depths of despair.

I know how that feels because I’ve been on both sides of the emotional spectrum.

Our team wasn’t playing this year so we were spared the emotional roller coaster, but we still watched the game, and no, we’ve never been to a grand final in person, and it’s unlikely we ever will.

But it’s a great way to spend an afternoon watching our team play on TV, have a pie, traditional fast food, chips, and a few bottles of beer.

And, now football season is over, we now swith to ice hockey and our adopted team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Fortunately their season starts when ours ends and vice versa.

Go leafs, go!!!