The Day Job Comes to an End

After 14 months at PepsiCo ANZ – Snack Foods Division my contract has finally come to an end.

I can certainly say it hasn’t been plain sailing, but thanks to the help of colleagues the targets which had been set were reached.

It was just one more adventure in the many I have had since starting my working career many years ago.

What lies before me is anyone’s guess.

One thing is certain – my writing career is progressing from strength to strength.

I am looking forward to the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Sydney at the beginning of August, followed by a five-week European holiday in September.

Hopefully another Day Job will come my way in the meantime, if not, perhaps after September.

Whatever lies ahead it will be yet another chapter in my working career.

RLB – Tomewriter

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My Mum

Phew!!! It’s been a busy weekend…

What with cleaning the house from top to bottom in preparation of the wife’s return home next week. Yes that’s right she’s been overseas on holiday – Ireland and England [The Lake District, Milton Keynes, London, Devon]. I don’t begrudge her as it’s the first time she has been overseas in years and she deserves a holiday. But I’ll be glad to have her home again – it has been lonely around here!!

I have also been setting my mum up onto the social media platform. She is now on Twitter, Facebook, and has a blog of her very own [although I'll also keep her as partner on this one as well].

For those of you who don’t know, Mum – Viviane Elisabeth Borg – has scored a contract for her novel “A Tangled Web” with Secret Cravings Publishing of TN. U.S.A. As part of the contract conditions she needs to be able to self-promote her novel when it is published. It is scheduled for e-release in September this year [2014] and a print version by March 2015. I am hoping the publishers will consider bringing this date forward to the 15th January 2015 to coincide with Mum’s 90th birthday – wouldn’t that be grand??

Please follow mum’s blog it’s at: http://vivianeeborg25.wordpress.com

Her Facebook account is at: http://www.facebook.com/vivianeeborg25  and you can find her on Twitter @ VivianeEBorg1

Needlesstosay it will be me who maintains these sites on her behalf, as I am sure you will appreciate that due to her failing eye-sight any dealings in these areas will prove to be extremely difficult for her.

I love my mum [and family] very much and there is nothing that is too much for me to do for them.

RLB – Tomewriter

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Mesmerising Pools

Sandra's Eyes 

As I gaze into her rich pale blue coloured eyes I find myself drawn into them.   A brown blemish in one eye adds intrigue and depth  into this fantasy. Slowly, but surely, brown shoreline which is edged with a variety of succulent vegetation. Ferns with deeply green foliage act as a back cloth     to a range of pink, purple and red orchids,

Orchids each more beautiful than its neighbour.

Water falling             from a high cliff         into the pools creates a fine               mist of spray                    bathing the surrounding air        with welcoming            coolness.

 Waterfall

 

 

The whole area    is an explosion of              glorious sounds, richly               painted colours           and vibrant aromas.

Butterfly Multi-coloured              butterflies fill   my view as          

bright humming-birds feed off nectar

Humming Bird

 

enriched  plants   and kingfishers          dive into the

Kingfisherpools to               retrieve some               unsuspecting fish.

 

 Sandra's Eyes  Her eyes blink snapping me back to reality.

She is smiling.

Could she know what I was thinking?

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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On the subject of cooking…

If you didn’t know, my wife, Sandra, is away on holiday for a month in the UK and Ireland.

So I’m home alone and although I wouldn’t say I’m bored, as there’s still plenty to do, it always seems that when she’s away – even if it’s for a few days – the place feels empty and out of sorts. I can’t explain it really, as many people would relish the idea of being away from their partners for a break. Don’t get me wrong, I have a holiday in September coming up which I am looking forward to as I shall be visiting my mum and elder sister in France, cousins and friends in Malta, and my younger sister and friends in London.

Fortunately I have a day job to go to Monday to Friday, and thanks to a busy work-load the company I have been contracting at for the past year has extended my contract until the end of June. May the work continue to pile up!

It is always in the evenings and weekends that are the trying times and looking for things to do. There is always “writing”, but even this pleasure can be “too much” and you need a break from it.

Saturdays are normally put aside for domestics, and yesterday was no different. One falls into a set routine and it is always best to continue following the path just to maintain any semblance to normality. So after waking up early getting through three loads of washing, dusting, vacuuming, making the bed and getting myself ready to face the rest of the day [not to mention somewhere amongst that lot I had a bit of breakfast] I was then ready to do the weekly shopping.

With Sandra away I wrongly assumed I wouldn’t have such a high expense – but then again… I do have a tendency to impulse buy and yesterday didn’t prove me wrong. Apart from the usual frozen meals, bread rolls [for my weekly lunches], meats and veggies, without Sandra I was able to stop at the ice cream freezers! Have you tried the Magnum Kisses? They are to die for… especially the apple flavoured ones. So in they went into the trolley as well as a box of the red fruits & meringue.

On the subject of cooking… as much as I had every intention of cooking myself a proper meal last evening I got side-tracked and ended up with a frozen meal instead. The latter are usually saved for during the week when there isn’t too much time to be had by the time one gets back from work. But yesterday afternoon I started to watch the movie “Ben-Hur” which was interrupted by a phone call from my mum. By the time I finished the movie the thought of cooking a chicken curry was not on the agenda. I’ll have that pleasure this evening instead.

Some time ago, Sandra suggested we try out “Lite-n-Easy” meals in a bid to lose some weight. When we costed it up it did seem to us a lot of money to spend on meals. We decided instead to purchase the frozen meals from the supermarket for week days and prepare proper food at weekends. That is what we have been doing for the best part of this year, and although I’m not certain we have lost much weight, it definitely has helped us cut down on our portions. In the long run this surely is a plus.

For nutritional value I had no idea if this was of any benefit to us or not. Sandra is of the belief that if any food has the “Heart Tick” on the packaging then it must be good for you. She could have a point. The frozen foods we have been buying have varied from “Lean Cuisine”, “Healthy Choice”, “Weight Watchers”, and recently ALDI’s “International Cuisine” range.

As I was browsing the freezer in Coles yesterday a new product caught my eye. The box showed a variety of nutritional grains and vegetables making up a mouth-watering risotto. The product, Australian Made, labelled “Super Nature” didn’t have the heart tick and was a trifle more expensive than the other foods at $6.30, but I thought I would give it a try; and I did last night.

It was very tasty and quite filling. Today however I decided to take a look at its nutritional value. In fact I went one step further and compared it with all the meals in the freezer. The results were an eye-opener:

Per Serve Intl. Cuisine [Aldi] Lean Cuisine Healthy Choice Super Nature When in Rome Weight Watchers
Energy 1020kj 1245kj 1580kj 1800kj 600kj 365kj
Protein 15.4g 15.0g 14.3g 20.3g 5.74g 1.1g
Fat Total 3.2g 6.0g 6.7g 14.0g 4.48g 3.6g
Fat – Saturated 1.8g 2.4g 1.3g 5.6g 1.91g 2.0g
Cholesterol <3mg 15mg 25mg - - -
Carbohydrate 34.0g 42.3g 62.2g 49.0g 19.6g 11.4g
Sugar <1g 8.1g 21.0g 8.4g 4.23g 9.2g
Dietary Fibre 7.4g - 4.2g - - 2.9g
Sodium 683mg 705mg 672mg 1330mg 271mg 27mg
Heart Tick Yes Yes Yes No No No
Type of Food FROZEN MEALS FROZEN PIZZA FROZEN ECLAIRS

 

Last time I attended a dietician I was told to watch out for three things in particular:

  • Saturated Fat
  • Sugar
  • Sodium

Looking at the above chart from now on I think I’ll stick to Aldi’s frozen meals, Pizza and éclairs – Happy Days!!

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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“A Tangled Web” – Currently Unavailable

“A Tangled Web” is currently unavailable as from today’s date.

The book is being re-edited for submission to a third-party publisher who has agreed to take a “look at it”.

Fingers crossed they accept it. It would make my mum, as it’s her book, the happiest woman in the world… which would be nice!!

More updates to follow as I know them myself.

As the old saying goes: “Watch this space”.

RLB – Tomewriter

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Who says I can’t cook?

So it was decided it was my turn to cook dinner last Sunday evening No problem I said. Raiding the pantry I found a packet of Continental Cook in the bag Fish – Teriyaki and a packet of Continental Rice – Oriental flavour. Fortunately there were two pieces of fish thawing in the fridge. There were some carrots, Bok Choy, honey, and soy sauce. Armed with the ingredients I set off to work.

 Teriyaki Dinner 1

 The instructions on both packets were easy to follow. First I switched on the oven to 180*C to warm it up, whilst began to prepare the meal. I peeled and sliced the carrots, then washed and chopped the Bok Choy:

 Teriyaki Dinner 2Teriyaki Dinner 3

Next I rinsed the fish and dabbed it dry with paper towelling, and mixed the base sauce with the honey, water and soy sauce.

 Teriyaki Dinner 4Teriyaki Dinner 5Teriyaki Dinner 6

The next step was simple enough, even for a guy to understand….. Place the bag onto a baking dish (which I had first sprayed with oil to stop it from sticking), and then placed the vegetables in the bag, laying the fish on them before pouring the sauce mix on the food:

 Teriyaki Dinner 7

Using the small blue tie I sealed the bag, making sure I cut 4 smallish holes in the bag to allow the steam to escape. Then I placed the baking dish into the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes:

OK. That was easy enough. As it wasn’t going to take 20 minutes to cook the rice, I watched a bit of TV for a while. Hey! Even the cook needs a break!!

 Teriyaki Dinner 8Teriyaki Dinner 9

Time to cook the rice. Out comes the microwave proof dish. Empty the contents of the packet of Continental Rice – Oriental flavour into it and add two tablespoons of Flora Pro-Activ margarine. Pour about half a cup of hot water onto it and stir with a fork making sure all the ingredients are evenly mixed.

Once that is done, place the lid on securely and put it in the microwave oven for 4 minutes. When the time is up, take it out and remove the lid carefully as steam might escape and burn you. If the water has fully evaporated, top it up with about a quarter of a cup of hot water; stir again with the fork, reseal the lid and return it to the microwave for a further 3.20 minutes. By the time the rice is cooked, the fish is just about done. So I removed the dish from the oven, open the bag and try the fish – it is perfect.

Teriyaki Dinner 10

With the food all cooked there was only one thing left to do – dish up and sit down for dinner – all in under 40 minutes. Pretty Good – and so was the meal.

RLB – Tomewriter

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Moving On To The Next Book…

With The Sword and the Rose all done and dusted and happily selling… yes a few copies have been sold already. I received my first statement from the publishers last weekend to show the total sales for April. Considering the book hit the distributors on the 29th April the tally for two days’ sales were okay – not brilliant; but it’s early days.

Now it is time to be moving on to the next book…

Embrace Amidst Orange Blossoms has gone through all the editing stages and I’m just waiting for the final copy for sign off.

No rush to receive it though as I have been given the scheduled release date: 26th June 2014.

However I expect it should arrive soon so that the Publisher can have the book available for anyone who wants to pre-order.

Then once this is out for sale I should be able to resume with the other three projects which I had placed on hold.

Looking forward to picking them up again as I have been a bit slack lately ignoring them whilst spending too much time on Facebook.

RLB – Tomewriter

 

 

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Even in Spain….

Awesome! It seems The Sword and the Rose is also recommended reading in Spain – considering the story line it’s very apt:

http://www.webexpressguide.com/costadelsol/article.php?art_id=263&id=3511

Happy Days!!

RLB – Tomewriter

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The Sword and the Rose is released!

TheSwordandtheRose_LRG

The Sword and the Rose is released and is now available at:

Hoping you enjoy the read…

RLB – Tomewriter

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Hawkesbury River – Travel Log 23

How to introduce this piece of writing? That’s the question I asked myself when I decided it was time to write another blog. Living in Berowra the Hawkesbury River is the nearest body of water to our home. By car it’s only about ten minutes away – if that.

Berowra is a sleepy suburb some 40 kilometres from the centre of Sydney. It is surrounded by bushland and the magnificent Hawkesbury River. The waterway’s origin is in the south near the town of Penrith and meanders lazily for some one hundred and twenty kilometres until it spills out into the Pacific Ocean at Broken Bay.

I first described this in a poem that I wrote in 2011 whilst with the Hawkesbury River Writers. Although I am still a member of the writing group I must be honest I haven’t participated very much recently as my own writing career has picked up momentum with the soon to be published novels under my pen name: Louise Roberts. But I’m digressing here so let’s get back on track. The Hawkesbury River, or as the local Aboriginal Dhurag and Darkinjung people call it Deerubbun:

The Deerubbun - Our Hawkesbury

Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2011

From its origin eleven hundred meters above Penrith

Until it spills out into the sea,

Meandering practically around Sydney heading north,

Is our beautiful Hawkesbury.

Named so by Governor Phillip in June 1789,

For Baron Hawkesbury, Charles Jenkinson, an earl.

To the Dhurag and Darkinjung Aboriginal people,

The river, the Deerubbun, is their joy, their pearl.

From the town of Windsor the river is navigable

No dams or locks block its way,

Only a few bridges cross its banks

And ferries are also used to convey.

For one hundred and twenty kilometres it travels

Capturing numerous tributaries to feed it,

And attracting people to its shores,

Creating settlements well inhabited.

A scattering of islands, large and small,

Decorate and add character to it along the way.

Tidal flows bring life to its depths,

As it rushes into the Pacific at Broken Bay.

Our Hawkesbury is a dream to some,

And magical to many more.

Whether they be fisherman or oyster farmer,

Painter, writer, or movie actor?

From Berowra the fastest way to get to the river is along the M1 motorway. The motorway’s entrance is on the northern exit of the suburb. You can take the slower route by taking the Pacific Highway through the town of Cowan on route to Brooklyn. Stop at the popular Pie in the Sky café and enjoy one [or more] of their first class pies. The view from their grounds is spectacular and is a favourite stop for all type of visitors: motor cycle and sports car enthusiasts, cyclists and you and me. http://pieintheskycowan.com.au/

Until 1884 Brooklyn was known as Peat’s Ferry crossing but was renamed following the registration of the land. Two years later, in January 1886 the Union Bridge Company from New York U.S.A. was awarded the contract to build a railway bridge across the Hawkesbury River.

Hawkesbury River 017 Hawkesbury River 011

 

Incidentally on 1st May 2014 marks the 125th Anniversary of its opening.

At the time of its construction it was the largest bridge building project in the Southern Hemisphere. It remained in continuous service until it was replaced in 1946 by the current construction. The piers of the original bridge still stand as sentinels – a reminder of years gone-by.

Hawkesbury River 003

Activities on and around the Hawkesbury are plentiful: such as the annual event of the Bridge to Bridge water-skiing race from Brooklyn to Windsor; a distance of 112kms. Depending on personal taste other activities include fishing, boating, or walking along the numerous trails. Or you can picnic at the water’s edge with the family or enjoy a meal and a drink at one of the many pubs, restaurants and cafés.

One of our favourites is The Club on the Hawkesbury at Mooney Mooney where you can sit out on their terrace and enjoy first class cuisine overlooking spectacular sandstone cliffs above the tranquil waters. http://www.mooneymooneyclub.com.au/coastal-dining/

Hawkesbury River 034

During the week [Monday – Friday] you can take a short cruise with the River Postman as he delivers mail to the communities that have no road access at Dangar Island and Little Wobby Beach. You might want to visit the following website should you want to learn more about the activities planned in celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the railway bridge mentioned above: http://www.dangarislandhistoricalsociety.org

Hawkesbury River 029 Hawkesbury River 027 Hawkesbury River 040

Hope you are able to visit the area one day as it is certainly worth the trip.

RLB – Tomewriter

 

 

 

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