Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

To all of my friends who have visited and commented about the stories posted on this blog, Happy New Year.

2013 is going to be an exciting year with a couple of projects to complete and one or two to start.

Stay safe and healthy my friends.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Alzheimer's Christmas Surprise

A couple of days before Christmas I was bemused that my wife couldn't remember that we'd arranged to go to our daughter's for Christmas lunch. Each trip to the supermarket we bought another ham, more bread, extra sausages, and additional mince pies. Assured that her very own case of Alzheimer's disease had set in, but not wanting to mention her obvious loss of memory, I kept quiet.

I became even more worried when a day or two before my mother arrived from interstate, the purchase of a new Christmas tree and decoration was discussed. Wasn't it my wife, who when we first met reluctantly purchased a small tree sparsely festooned plastic ornaments to pacify my pleas to decorate the lounge room.

About six months ago our daughter had discussed her mother's lack of ability to remember what she'd told her a few days before, it was worrying her, and would I talk to my wife about it. Great, I can hardly remember what colour socks I have on today and now she wants me to go where no sane man would willingly go. To speak about subjects my generation consider taboo. There might be something in all of this dementia stuff though so I'll soon be taking the test myself. I reckon it's the easiest way out, and if the report is positive I have a good reason for everything I forget to do.

Back to our provisioning for Christmas. We were to meet with friends for a dinner and Christmas get together, tell some lies, discuss our families and be home before eleven. It used to be before dawn but now we fall asleep after a feed, so eleven is curfew. Our task was to supply a dessert and fruit salad was the sweet of choice. A syrupy sweet perfume filled the kitchen as a trolley load of fruit was diced sliced sugared, and drenched to perfection.

'Are you sure we are going to need all of that tonight?' I asked trying not to sound too concerned about an obvious over catering situation.

'We can always have the leftovers for breakfast, and besides I will put some in the fridge to have later. And your Mum's here, she likes fruit.'

A confident wave to shoo me out of the kitchen indicated it was time for me to do something somewhere. I left and only came back into the kitchen in time to see the last utensil go into the draw and the tea-towel being hung in the rack as the last of the water gurgled as it drained from the sink. Perfect timing I thought.

Our phone rang early next morning, the grandchildren would be staying home today. Their father having strayed next door early the previous afternoon had been invited to pass an expert opinion on the quality and taste of the neighbour's Christmas home brew. Apparently a difficult task, and the afternoon and much of the evening was lost. She would leave the kids with him while she had her hair done, part punishment, part opportunity.

I'd been looking forward to the grand-kids coming, after all it was Christmas Eve and they’d be full of questions. I'd found a new red-back spider residing behind the shed to show them, a couple of sunflowers were poking their shoots up and they could also keep my Mum occupied for an hour or two. All of my boxes were ticked yesterday, but now my plans were screwed. I'd have to find something else to do and I'd promised to leave the computer alone over Christmas. So dragging my bottom lip I mooched about the garden, kicking the occasional stone off the lawn and pulling a few weeds. I even opened the caravan sat at the table and dreamed of a campsite overlooking a creek filled with fish, yeah that would be good.

Maybe next Christmas.

I felt a couple of arms close around me, warm in their embrace and my wife’s kiss on my cheek as I turned the key in the lock. My dreams would remain inside the van for another time. I know my kids would go la la la la la la, but to my wife I said. 'No point in feeling frisky Mum's still here.' She just shook her head and laughed.

We picked a miniature weed or two from the garden that had been well weeded a week ago. Boredom had morphed into apathy and I'd lost a bit of enthusiasm for Christmas, a call to my daughter working interstate went to message. My son phoned to confirm a postal address. Both calls had been short and sharp, I knew they would call Christmas night when they had more time. Oh well I could catch up with a mate later in the day that would lift my spirits, but then nah that wouldn't work. Mum would wonder why I'd snuck out without her. After all she was only here for ten days surely her only son could entertain her for ten days.

A four wheel drive rolled into the drive way and wanting to know how sick my son in law was I was keen for our daughter to spill the goss. The woman riding in the passenger seat looked familiar but I didn't recognise her at first. Thinking it must have been a friend from the school run, there were kids in the back but the tinted windows hid their faces.

'G'day there.'

I recognised the voice immediately and the face I knew, but my mind was still confused. The time and place was all wrong. My eldest daughter and her family had come for Christmas. Those melancholy thoughts of earlier in the day immediately fled and Christmas cheer filled our home for the next three days. I'm not sure what happened over Christmas other than my family had been able to keep a secret to surprise me for over six months. Time to talk disappeared among laughter, food, movies and the Boxing Day Test. Too soon it was time to get everyone to the airport and send them home.

With them gone, the house is much quieter and I'm waiting for my wife to return from her shift at work. And yet every room is full of joyous memory moments that will last until we meet again next Christmas. Today I'm back to writing again and have a million anecdotes and stories from the last few days to draw on over the next twelve months.

To the secret keepers, many thanks for a very merry and surprising Christmas, you blew my socks off.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Ag Machinery Industry Anthology Questions

 Ever wondered what happened to all the wonderful characters who designed, built, sold, and worked the farm machinery that built our country into the agricultural powerhouse it is today? I have.
There isn’t one definitive research area where these stories can be found, and I would like to try to address this. Over the next twelve months I intend to produce an anthology of stories from tractor and machinery men and women across Australia. At the same time I will regenerate the AgList website and accommodate your stories there too.

With your help, I believe we can tell the story of Australia’s farming communities in an interesting and humorous way. Therefore I invite you to participate in the following questionnaire and begin recording your story for future generations.

Please feel free to expand or contract the elements of your answers to tell your story. I appreciate the effort it will take to answer but believe that unless we begin to record the important human side of our industry this history will be lost. I am trying to address this.

Each question is set in a table, start typing under the question, remembering to save the document before returning via e-mail.

Your Name:                           

Your E-mail address:             

How did you get started in the machinery game?
And what was the first role, and for who?
Tell me a bit about it, anything interesting happen
Did you have a career plan or did it just evolve?
Worst day at work, can you tell me what happened and when?
And to balance things the best day at work, can you tell me what happened and when?
Was this your first career choice?
If not what happened?
How many different jobs have you held during your career?
Describe your best job ever, be careful if it’s not the one you hold now.
Tell us about any favourite times or parts of your career?
What was the best product or service you ever owned, sold, or worked on?
What is the most important innovation you’ve seen?
So how far did you go in school, and did you do any study after leaving?
What do like most about your work today?
What is that you are doing today, and who do you work for?
Can you remember your first pay packet, tell us how you felt when you held it in your hands and can you tell us how much it was?
Can you tell us what you see any challenges the industry will face over the next few years?
And is there any advice you can give to anyone considering a similar career?
I would like to include my story on the AgList website.
Yes:                                     No:                      (please mark with an X)


Thank you for participating, if you wish to attach any photos of yourself or products that add to your story I would appreciate them.
Email your answers to;

Yours sincerely,

Terry L Probert

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Terry L Probert: Writing Plans for 2013

Terry L Probert: Writing Plans for 2013: Before I wrote Kundela I wanted to capture the stories of the men and women who drove possibly the biggest advances in agriculture since the...

Writing Plans for 2013

Before I wrote Kundela I wanted to capture the stories of the men and women who drove possibly the biggest advances in agriculture since the mechanisation of farming at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

This is my main focus for next year and I am seeking people to help me by recording their story.

Background for the book

To my mind  the thirty year period between 1960 to 1990. During this time farmers focused on minimum till practises and big advances were made in the delivery of irrigation systems that meant a dry country like Australia could maximise production on limited rainfall.

From the mid seventies Australian companies became world leaders in the design and manufacture of farming plant and almost weekly a new design or practise would emerge to make farming more viable. To support this march of progress, these companies employed and  trained many skilled people to carry this knowledge to the farming community and in turn train the buyers how to get the best from their purchase.

I look back at this period with fondness for the pride and enthusiasm we had then. We in Australia were making stuff and had many talented people who could sell their skills on the world stage.

So this is a call out to anyone who ever wielded a pen, drove a tractor, setup a pump, designed a plough or partnered someone involved in the ag industry during this time to tell their story. To be part of it all just drop me an e-mail at probertconsulting @bigpond and I will send out some info to take it from there.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Kundela Chapter 9 a sneek peak

We are in the final editing stages of Kundela and I'm extremely pleased with our progress. It's amazing what a difference a few restructured sentences and some proper punctuation can do to a manuscript and I have Merlene Fawdrey to thank for that.

To give readers a little tastes of what is in the book this is a sneak peak from one of my favourite chapters. Joe and Laura have just found the camp of the bikies who have trashed the homestead and are hell bent on revenge. I will only leave this passage on the blog for a week before I take it down.

Thanks for dropping in.


Joe may have been over sixty, and with adrenalin now surging through his veins, he forgot his recent tiredness. Running back to the site where they’d kept watch, he picked up his rifle and settled into a sniper’s position. Taking aim, he took a deep breath he relaxed, letting half of the air escape slowly his lungs. He caressed the trigger with his right index finger. It was cold and, feeling it come against the trigger spring, he knew exactly what he needed to do. The rifle punched into his shoulder as he sent the first bullet toward the shell under the Harley where the girl had been tied.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Why you should include a timeline in preparing a story.

During the last eleven or so months I attended a longditudanl workshop on novel writing hosted at the Melton Library and given by Merelene Fawdry. In that time I listened intently making copiuos comments in the margins of the comprehensive study notes she provided. As Kundela had been almost completed I was able to follow her teachings whereby through ignorance and luck I'd managed to include and understand many of the points we were learning.

The whole process filling me with pride, allowing me to say 'I am a writer.'

Jump forward to this November and to when I started writing Toby Farrier. The planning was first class I had chapter outlines set and made sure there was a logical flow to the story. I developped a story board for tracking the action and places. Much moe reliable than drawing on the memories securley filed away in my head. I even wrote a story about a bus ride for the characters helping to fix their little nuances into my memory banks. Character charts completed for the main players helping to prompt me for things like hair colour, relationships, and other minute details. So you would think that writing this book should have been a simple matter of blasting the words down. After all the bones of the story had already been written.

Not so, because now after 25,000 words I realise I have a problem with the timing of the action.Or more to the point I should have planned a timeline. My only course of action now is to go over the story and plot the happenings. Taking care and drafting a line of sequences with dates and times to flow the series of events.Either that or find a good reason for Toby to have a party on the last Monday before school breaks up for the Christmas holidays.

Thanks for reading my rant and if you are planning a story of any kind learn from my mistake and jot down notes as to the timing of events. It is much easier.

Okay it's now time to get back to Toby and get his story finished.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Lauren E Mitchell

Lauren E Mitchell is the Municipal Liaison contact / organiser and gee-up person for NaNoWriMo. To manage all of these tasks and manage to exceed the target word count requires a big effort from one individual and I'm sure there were helpers along the way but Lauren made it happen. Therefore a big thanks to you Lauren.

To the others in my buddy list I watched as your word count powered to and past the target congratulations to:

  • SatyaPriya   
  • Lauren E Mitchell
  • Mergwen
  • Black Cockatoo
  • Aimz_ICR
  • Chrismackauthor
  • VinnFjordwall
I look forward to following your progress next year.