Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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It’s Christmas!


After you’ve opened the presents, eaten your fill and you want to relax why not do so with a romantic read…

… As my gift to you this Christmas why not download my romance novel, written in my pen name Louise Roberts, Beneath Southern Stars for free?

Click on the Smashwords Link:  go to cart and enter the coupon code YA74C prior to completing your checkout.

Available formats: epub, mobi, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt

And if you enjoy reading this story, watch out for the next one by Louise Roberts which is due for publication in early 2014 entitled Embrace Amidst Orange Blossoms.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year…

Robert L J Borg a.k.a. Louise Roberts


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Port Macquarie, NSW – Travel Log 22

April 2012 Sandra and I headed up to the mid-North Coast of New South Wales to celebrate her birthday weekend. Leaving home we drove up the M1 motorway [formerly known as the F3] for the first leg of our journey.

Although only a distance of about 350 kilometres which would take about four hours we took our time breaking the trip at a couple of places. The first was at Karuah in the Port Stephens district for a cup of coffee and then at Taree for lunch.

I had wanted to stop at Foster as I had never seen it, but missed the turn off. Not long after we spotted, walking along the side of the road, an aboriginal man who was totally naked and being well endowed much to my wife’s pleasure. Not long after two highway patrol cars with lights and sirens blaring passed us at high-speed on the other side of the highway – no doubt responding to a call regarding the nature of the fine specimen going on “Walk-about”. I’m certain the fine men of the law would have taken good care of their charge, probably photographing him face on and in profile and cataloguing him with an appropriate serial number…

Located on the Manning River, Taree was first laid out as a town in 1854 as a centre for agriculture, although oyster farming is a substantial part of the town’s growth. Today it has a population of around twenty thousand.

After lunch we left the town crossing over the Martin Bridge which was opened to traffic in 1940 and continued along the Pacific Highway [A1] towards Port Macquarie which was only about an hour away – some 85 kilometres.

We turned off the A1 onto the Oxley Highway [B56] and encountered some major road improvements under construction. There is no railway station at Port Macquarie. The railway runs through the town of Wauchope which is also located on the B56 and buses run from the station to Port Macquarie a distance of nineteen kilometres. The airport is located west of the city some four kilometres away.

We had booked our stay at the Observatory Hotel located on William Street opposite Town Beach – a very beautiful spot.

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I actually used one of these photos on the cover of the anthology of poems written by me and my mum: Poetic Whispers

Poetic Whispers Final

The hotel comprises a mixture of serviced apartments and rooms with ensuites and enclosed balconies. We opted for one of the latter with a view of Town Beach.

Sandra's Birthday Weekend April 2012 003  Sandra's Birthday Weekend April 2012 007

From the beach it is a good twenty-minute walk along the front to the town. Once off the beach the path follows the edge of the Hastings River estuary. The path is lined with boulders and large rocks which are painted by individuals as tributes to “lost” friends [mostly surfers] or in celebration of happier days.

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The path passes a large caravan site which is neatly laid out with roadways and lighting. The path itself is also well-lit at night and leads into the town.

At the bottom of Horton Street is the Royal Hotel which dates back to 1841. It was burnt down in 1886 and rebuilt a year later. The building has undergone extensive alterations and has been restored to its original appearance.

The bar and restaurant offer beautiful views of the Hastings river and it was a good place to stop and enjoy a coffee or a drink [we frequented it more than once].

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The top end of Horton Street is the main shopping high street with numerous shops, banks, real estate agents, cafes, and the Port Central shopping mall.

Port Macquarie was named in honour of Governor of New South Wales Lachlan Macquarie in 1818 when the area was discovered by the explorer, John Oxley. Three years later it was established as a penal colony. By 1823 the first sugar cane to be cultivated in Australia was planted at Port Macquarie and several years later as convicts began to be sent to Moreton Bay free settlers were encouraged to take up residence with the promise of good pastoral land, abundant timber resources and good fishing grounds.

Today it is a destination for retirees and is best known for its numerous beaches and luring waterways.

Looking through a few of the brochures obtained in the hotel’s reception we read about the small village of Kendall located a few kilometres away named after Henry Kendall who was a resident from 1875 – 1882. But the reason we wanted to get there was the recommendation we had been given of the Beetroot’d Café and Deli, where the speciality of the house was everything beetroot – including the dessert.

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It was certainly a popular eatery, so much so that when we arrived they had ‘sold out’ of most of their fare. We were lucky to share a can of lemonade, and have a sandwich melt each – and no beetroot to be seen!! To say we were disappointed is an understatement; for an establishment to advertise itself in tour guides in the hope of attracting visitors to one’s establishment one would think the owner/manager would ensure sufficient stocks of food and beverages to satisfy lunchtime customers?

Perhaps if we ever do venture there again we might get a better meal!

We returned to our hotel via Kew along Ocean Drive and passing through the settlements of Lakewood, West Haven, North Haven and stopping at Bonny Hills where the beach was so inviting we had to walk along before setting off again. A sign pointing to a lighthouse tempted us to make a detour. Unfortunately the road was closed at our approach and rather than doing a U-turn headed to the beach area to view the light house from there.

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Originally built in 1879 the Tacking Point Lighthouse is the third oldest in Australia.

The next day we set off to visit Wauchope and the working museum at Timbertown. Wauchope began its existence in 1836 with a principal economy based on timber which was transported out by rail. Today it is better known for organic farming, wine making and tourism.

The Timbertown Heritage Village is located on the outskirts of Wauchope along the Oxley Highway [B56] and is certainly worth a visit.  – I shan’t describe it here and will let the photos and the website speak for themselves.

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For our last night at Port Macquarie we dined at the Town Green Inn in Horton Street and enjoyed one of the best pizzas ever.

We enjoyed our stay. The weather helped and it was warm enough for a dip in the sea at Town Beach, but the indoor pool at the Observatory Hotel was more enjoyable.

There is certainly a lot to see and do; such as the Foreshore Markets held on a Saturday at Westport Park, where having walked there from the hotel a good half hour distance my wife decided she had taken a fancy to a large framed print. I was obliged to walk back to the hotel to fetch the car as no way was I going to carry it all the way back.

The print is a reproduction of the theatrical poster of the movie The Sheltering Sky A romantic drama set in the Sahara Desert in 1948 starring Debra Winger, John Malkovich and Timothy Spall, and directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.

Misc Photos 004A

We returned to Berowra via Foster having missed it on the way up; a pretty place – perhaps worth a visit another time.

RLB – Tomewriter

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… And what a roller-coaster year it has been.

Normally about this time of the year I write a Christmas letter to include in our Christmas cards. This year I thought I would go one better… apart from printing this and including it as intended, I am also downloading it onto my blog to give my followers a peak into what has happened into my family life over the past twelve months as well as a brief preview of what is being planned for 2014.


The cast on my right wrist came off [having broken it in November the previous year].

I was told my daytime job after 6+ years there my job function was being moved off-shore to India and I was no longer required; my last day would be 29th March.

I e-published on Smashwords an anthology consisting of poetry written by my mum and I entitled Poetic Whispers.


I began to do the rounds with employment agencies getting registered in the lead up of unemployment.

The annual service on our car saw four new tyres at a cost of just under $800… joy just what we needed. It was to be the start of an expensive year…

Valentine’s Day went by with Sandra and me going out for dinner at the Club on the Hawkesbury at Mooney Mooney. As much as this was one of our favourite eating spots, whether due to new management or culinary staff, we found the food and service had gone downhill.


Sandra needed a well-earned rest – her work load at the hospital had increased dramatically with changes to the out-patient clinics which have seen her responsibility spiral out of control. When she first began working at Hornsby Hospital in October 2007 she purely looked after the Chest clinic. Today she looks after a total of seven clinics on her own!!

At the beginning of the month she took herself off for a couple of days in Melbourne and then from there flew up to the Gold Coast for a few more in the sun.

For me March saw me attend several interviews in the hope of finding a new day job quickly.


So as not to get too depressed at not having an income coming in, I spent most days applying for jobs, door-knocking at agencies, and writing and editing my Historical Saga the Sword and the Rose.

In the middle of the month was Sandra’s birthday; it was also the 70th birthday of a good friend and we celebrated with her for lunch at The Cowrie restaurant in Terrigal [another favourite restaurant of ours]. For Sandra’s birthday, which was a Monday, Brad took a day off from work and we took Sandra out for lunch at Patonga – it had been a wonderful day – a nice distraction from our woes.

Sandra's Birthday 150413 003

Later that month it was one of our friend’s 50th birthday and we attended a BBQ lunch at her house in Quakers Hill.

Finally that month, having finished my manuscript I submitted my historical saga to Allen & Unwin publishers and kept my fingers crossed.


On the first day of the month I had an interview at PepsiCo in Chatswood for a three-month contract. It seemed to go well and was offered the job which I happily accepted on the proviso that I would start on Monday 13th as Sandra and I were heading off to Adelaide for a week to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary on the 7th. We had a wonderful few days. You can read about it on my blog site:

When we returned from South Australia, as I hadn’t heard anything from Allen & Unwin I submitted the manuscript to Harlequin Publishers and began another long wait. Meanwhile I began to write a novella [word count has to be in between 17,000 to 40,000 words], a romance story, entitled Embrace Amidst Orange Blossoms. I took the idea of this story from a scene in my saga and ‘taking it out’ from the main book amplified it into a story of its own.

June & July

Both were relatively quiet months with nothing too exciting happening.

In June I was accepted as a member of the Australian Society of Authors.

During the middle of July however my new employers felt that due to my expertise with a certain customer that it would be of benefit to them to be sent to Adelaide to attend a day-meeting with our sales managers and the customer’s buyer in trying to resolve a long-standing dispute. The outcome had been positive and we were rewarded with the reimbursement of monies close to a million dollars!!


August was a sad and happy month. Sad because one of Sandra’s uncles who resides in Frankston, south of Melbourne, Victoria, passed away; he was a nice man and as much as I would have liked to have gone with Sandra to attend his funeral it unfortunately occurred on the same day as I had booked to travel to Fremantle. On Friday 16th August Sandra and I headed off before dawn to Sydney Airport. When her flight left for Melbourne I walked over to my departure gate as my plane was due to leave an hour later.

I had planned the trip earlier in the year to attend the Romance Writers of Australia Conference which was happening in Western Australia that weekend. As it was also my “birthday” weekend I reduced the price of my romance novel Beneath Southern Stars to celebrate both occasions. It was a profitable decision which rewarded me with a few sales. Not as many as I had hoped, but better than nothing!

Beneath Southern Stars

I returned to Sydney on the 19th and celebrated my actual birthday [20th] by seeing my tax agent and getting the car serviced – exciting stuff!! We celebrated it properly the following Saturday going out for dinner with friends.


The month started with Sandra spending a week in Cairns.

On the 15th Sandra had splashed out on some tickets for “Night at the Proms” at the Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Guy Noble, was simply brilliant and the whole performance was spectacular.

The following weekend our son, Brad, went to Melbourne and Cairns for his up-coming 30th birthday; Sandra and I “shouted it” for him as part of his present. The other part of his present was me taking a week off work to stay at his to look after Riggs, Brad’s 3 year old German shepherd. Whilst there I did a bit of home improvements for him at his house on the Central Coast and worked on completing my novella.

Not having had any success with Harlequin Publishing for my saga I sent it off to another couple of publishers and am still waiting on its outcome from one of the two as I write this.

Whilst Brad was away, Sandra was using his car – a 1992 Toyota Seca Corolla – which, although had been a good vehicle for the best part of the time Brad owned it, had started to have far too many mechanical issues. When Sandra took it for a service which cost her almost $300 and was told it needed a new gearbox I told her to leave it well alone. It was time to replace the car.


Happy 30th Birthday, Brad!

Sandra's Photos - All 056

Brad returned to Sydney on 30th September and the next day, Tuesday, after making sure Riggs was taken care of [dogs are amazing creatures: he sensed something was up that morning, perhaps it was my fault because I slightly modified the usual morning procedures, but he was determined to make it as awkward as possible for me to sort him out prior to me leaving for home] I set off for the start of an amazing day.

I arrived home in time for breakfast with Sandra and Brad who had stayed at ours overnight as his plane had got in quite late from Cairns. As planned we left late morning for lunch at Banjo Paterson’s Cottage Restaurant at Gladesville.    we then told him we would be returning to his house for dessert – cake and champagne. Although slightly puzzled at this, Brad went along with it probably thinking his parents had finally lost their marbles… [For what was to happen next he was probably right].

As Sandra and Brad drove up in the clapped out Toyota, I followed behind in our car having told him to stop at the Holden dealership where he was to pick up his birthday present… You can read about my week at Brad’s and the climax of his birthday on my blog:

Needlesstosay Brad is very happy with his gift!!

The following weekend I submitted my novella to Escape Publishing. And later that month I took Sandra to the Capitol Theatre to see the musical production of In the Mood. It was ok, but I was a little disappointed by it as it didn’t have too many Glenn Miller numbers. It was more of an arrangement of songs during the 1930’s and 1940’s.

I finished the month by booking and paying for my holiday to Europe next year. As usual Sandra won’t be travelling with me. She is due to take some four months long service leave next autumn/winter [May-August] and is thinking about travelling to Ireland and England. I had hoped to have tempted her to join me to France/Malta/England, but once again I’ll be travelling alone.


At the end of August my contract at PepsiCo got extended for three more months, as that time came up, it was extended further until next February [2014] – may they keep extending it!!!

The month had been uneventful and the deadlines for the submissions for my two manuscripts have all come and gone, with the exception of one which is not expected until the end of December; but that’s not looking too good either.


As I write this today, 1st December, the first day of summer, it’s my World Vision Australia’s sponsored child’s 16th birthday and Brad’s been down for lunch. With him returned home and Sandra reading the Sunday paper I thought I would finish off this summary of our year…

What’s to come? Christmas of course: Christmas day will be spent at Brad’s so we can enjoy Riggs’ company; between now and then there will have to be a few days of shopping, wrapping of gifts, dinners with friends, and decorating the Christmas tree.


PepsiCo are shutting down for a couple of weeks so I expect during the time off I will be doing a few chores at home and at Brad’s as well as doing some more writing. I am currently “ghost-writing” on behalf of my mum as I re-do her memoirs; and writing my second romance novella Affectionately Yours...


What this will hold for us God only knows… with luck all our plans will fall into place without hiccup.

I will end this by wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a healthy, safe and prosperous New Year.

Robert L J Borg [RLB] – Tomewriter

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