It was the last day on earth. I wish I could I have known that fateful day in April, was to be the end of the world. I’m not sure how I could have changed things but that doesn’t stop me from wishing I had known. I think I would have tried to stay calm and not waste what little time I had on petty dramatics. I would have tried to make that last day better for everyone I cared about, everyone involved ... including me. But I didn’t know it was the last day that I would feel loved by him. I didn’t know it was the end of my faith in our life ... the end of our life. I had no idea that I would never sleep well again; would never feel secure again; would find it so hard to trust again; I had no inkling that I would never have the opportunity to grow old with him. I could not have comprehended that I would lose half my son’s life and watch ... always from the sideline ... as this child experienced times and worlds and adventures without me. The storm clouds had been brewing, threatening. But they often blew in and would just as easily blow away again. Ours was a relationship peppered with dissatisfaction. And yet, I always thought that at the very end it would still be ‘us’. Rocking chairs on the veranda, laughing, reminiscing. When I woke that morning, how could I have known the clouds would hover forever and never blow away? In those first days, I was crippled by betrayal. He was my partner, she was my friend. I found it very hard to understand - to accept and while I wallowed in the hurt and disbelief, he slipped away.
She is not a part of my story and though I mourned losing her, I don’t want her to have any part of me again. He mourned her too. It was cutting, like a knife being plunged over and over again. I don’t know how I continued to breathe. From my perspective, his grief was for a moment in time. The twenty years that we had shared, simply forgotten. I didn’t understand it. It was unacceptable. And yet, it was happening. He left. This man who was my partner, my friend, the father of my child, my greatest support, my ultimate comfort, my home ... was no longer on, or by my side. It was a lot to process. And I didn’t do a very good job of it. Pain clouded my vision and for many months I struggled to find a kind word or a hopeful thought. I slowly drowned in the sheer magnitude of grief. The pain I felt was physical ... a heavy heart that laboured in my chest and quite literally rendered me immobile. I didn’t sleep ... I honestly didn’t sleep. I would close my eyes but involuntarily they would fly open, a thousand times a night, and I would be paralysed with fear. My face, my pillow, my cat and my nightmares, all stained with uncontrollable tears. I never wanted to go to bed. I would call the faithful and they would listen, helpless and caring, while I sobbed and rehashed and convinced myself to breathe. I never wanted to get up in the morning. Drugged and battered from sleepless dreams, I just wanted the world to go away.
My darling parents would make the hour long trek to be with me on the nights my son went to stay with his father. Those were the blackest nights. Pathetically, I still cry each time he leaves. He doesn’t see. I’m so very good at hiding the pain now. Who wants to hear that after all this time, I still feel so overwhelmed by the sorrow that just ‘being’ is an effort. Everyone likes to think I’m moving on. To where, I wonder? Thankfully, I have forgotten the agony of that first year. Now it’s more like a dull ache. Gone is the bitterness and the anger and in their place is a staggering sadness. I feel displaced. I often find myself wondering who this person is inhabiting my body and living my life. On the weekends my beautiful boy is not with me, I wander aimlessly from room to room, tidying, touching, remembering. On those nights, I give in to the desolation and spend the evening praying for my old life ... knowing it is forever gone, knowing there is no turning back, but dreaming still. Three years on and I still have to tell myself to get up, to smile, to hope. I still have to tell myself to breathe. I wish I could have known it was the last day on earth. I would have fought so hard to save the world.
Cotswold character & incomparable style abounds. Meandering down a country lane, sun straining through gums and stretching across paddocks. Typical Australian bushland, unkempt scrub, scattered farms and rural fencing. Then you turn a bend and a classic Cotswold manor house takes your breath away. Dominating the skyline as it perches on the side of a gentle slope, the stark beauty of it’s white washed walls against the lush English garden and earthy tones of the bush surrounding it, offers a majesty unlike anything you’ve seen. Such a enviable situation, secluded amongst olive groves and acreage, the property itself is just two acres. All the glory & assumption of a large rural property with none of the upkeep. The long winding drive is fully paved in bitumen and leads you to a delightful garage that looks like a convict built stable... aged, aching with personality. Large enough for two cars, it also houses a tasteful bathroom with toilet and shower and a complete ‘outdoor’ kitchen that opens up via a wall of bifold windows and draws the ‘convict’ courtyard inside. This charming space is framed by a commanding outdoor fireplace and gorgeous ‘decayed’ paving.
Everywhere is formal hedging - pencil pines and English box. The gardens are stunning, terraced and trimmed. The double story white house, with deep charcoal accents is new but has been designed to capture the essence of an old English farmhouse. Step through the front door and you are in heaven. The interior design, colour schemes and soft furnishings draw you in and keep you captivated. To the left, the huge living room ... the first to feature six inch polished floorboards and a large open fire, cloaked in sandstone. Sweep through to the large french inspired kitchen with it’s enormous island bench topped with granite the colour of deep ash. The character cupboards lining the outer walls are fronted with glass panelled doors giving the kitchen a clean, open and classic look. Perhaps the most unique cupboard is the polished wooden door that opens to reveal the fridge. This ‘heart of the home’ is bathed in light as glass french doors line the entire north facing wall and open onto the outdoor area paved with grey slate. Also opening onto this sunny aspect is the master bedroom. Large and lovely, this antique white and latte hued wonderland has copious cupboards and elegant en suite. Accessed from this bedroom as well as the front hall, is an intimate parents retreat/sitting room ... featuring the second open fire and affording south views that fall away to the rolling countryside beyond. Climb the charcoal carpet stairs, hold fast to the wrought iron rail, and three more bedrooms are revealed. All of generous proportions, two with walk in robes, one with the cutest toilet/wash basin. Distinctive solid wooden ‘tongue-in-groove’ doors add to the texture and feel of the place. The largest of the rooms accesses the two way main bathroom. A room rich with character. Blood and mustard accents, attitude, ambience! Very contemporary and yet ... there’s a romance going on with a bygone era ... the deep porcelain bath like an old wash tub, the wooden locker with past borer activity, grand pedestal washbasin. Back downstairs with a heavy heart, for the tour is almost over. The ground floor also has a powder room and the laundry. To be accurate, a room that functions as a laundry but is so much more. Quite incomparable ... and words can not do it justice. Perhaps you’ll just have to come and see for yourself! And quite apart from the spirit and style, are Highland staples such as central heating throughout, views that go on and on, birdsong, eucalypt bouquets and unexplored open spaces. You will want to see this place.
from SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS EXPERIENCE
Divine Destination Magical. Everchanging. Spirited. I need a place of solitude, yet rich with ideas. Somewhere to completely relax, slow the racing mind, and yet stimulate the senses. To remember a time when life moved at a gentler more considered pace ... perhaps a quiet room with an open fire, a glass of the local red beside me, rediscovering the pleasure of being lost in the pages of a novel ... and tomorrow, after a traditional country breakfast and a stroll through the markets of the local township, we may make our way to a cellar door or two, take in the enhanced scenery of the captivating golf courses (I still need the right moment to explain the presence of the as yet undiscovered full set of Callowayâ€™s in the boot) and link up with the others to lunch outdoors and sample some of the sweetest wines ever to touch the lips of mankind. Good food, good friends, great wines, conversations to get lost in.
Lunch turns into dinner, nightime into day and we start all over again ... perhaps a slow drive along inviting country lanes, maybe soaking up that cool, country air and breathtaking views, and probably seeking out new vineyards and restaurants (too many choices, so little time). For me, I intend to link up with my friends the Calloways with a view to spending some quality time with them... they have been neglected for too long.
Four seasons in one day Any time of the year in the Southern Highlands offers it’s own rewards. Spring ... dawn breaks on a world full of freshness and colour as the garden season blooms. Renowned for it’s floral festivals and open gardens, the Highlands beauty will sweep you away. Imagine a stroll through a spring vineyard, a picnic amongst the vines or a crisp white wine over a languid lunch. Summer ... the colour of the canvas intensifies. Warm days are free of humidity and the lushness of the rolling green hills, dotted with century old trees adds to the magic of a highland getaway. A mid summers day on one of the stunning, yet challenging golf courses will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Autumn ... breathtaking beauty as the rich greenness of the landscapes flutters and falls in golden hues. With such an abundance of foliage, autumn in the Highlands always promises to be wonderful. The fresh crisp air and long-shadowed afternoons make it the perfect time for discoveries of a Highland variety. Winter ... sometimes swathed in whiteness, sometimes wet with wonder, even winter in the Southern Highlands is a season to behold. Nothing compares to the drumming of rain on the roof when you’re curled up in front of an open fire, warm viddles being prepared and a sleepy afternoon laid out before you.
It was a fresh crisp Autumn morning, a Thursday, when the baby first cried. A girl, pink and perfect. They now had a pigeon pair. And though the family was still to grow larger, she would always be the only girl and that made her special. Times were tough. Those first, formative years were cloaked in the depression and together the family struggled to make ends meet. Her brothers ... one older, three younger ... were a resourceful lot. Their schemes and adventures are now the stuff of legends, the source of rich memories and recounted tales.
But she stayed closer to home ... helping her mother, honing the skills and virtues that would later be held in such high regard ... a beautiful baker, a kind and sincere woman, thoughtful and honest. She grew lovely. Fair complexion, stunning blue eyes. Eyes that were the windows to her soul, dancing with laughter and wonder, filled with tears at the tragic loss of her older brother and later her father. Eyes that reflected fear at times, joy at others, but always truth. She was admired by all because of her sincere nature, impeccable style and willingness to help.
She explored continents, including Australia, many times. She forged great friendships through work and other interests and was the envy of a golfing family as the only member to score a hole in one. She remained a loyal companion to her loving mother and it was this relationship that truly defined her. Though very different, they were inseparable, and together they set forth on a parallel path of faith, fabulous food and new frontiers. On a modest budget, they shared the world. She was the undeniable glue in her family. Her home, lived in for over 60 years and by two generations, was the heart ... the magnet that pulled them all back. Within itâ€™s walls was love and security, filled with memories and moments to treasure. She always carried herself with dignity and grace... words that seemingly were penned with her in mind. She was a woman of faith and in a world where values and virtues are rarities, her cup was overflowing. She was the first to help, the last to leave when a job needed doing. Having no children of her own, she lavished maternal adoration on her nieces and nephews. She was, no exception, the very best Auntie ... with her lolly bags and hand-knitted jumpers, her wet kisses and warm embrace. Her time was their time. Her love was their love.
After she said goodbye to her beloved mother, she set sail on a new course ... finding the courage to live alone and hope for an unimaginable future. Like all tasks tackled in her life, she did it with style. She still had family, still had friends ... and armed with these gifts she had an unshakeable faith that whatever lay ahead would be OK. As time passed, age chased her but her heart remained unwrinkled. The last few years were the hardest of all. Body and mind betrayed by time, yet still, those who were touched by her saw inside to her soul and were comforted. She left this world for a better place on a wintry Monday afternoon. Leaves swirled and skipped under bushes and around ankles. Children laughed, birds sang and most of the world were unaware that an angel was rising to heaven. Those who did know, cried. She will be remembered for her inner beauty and outer dignity, her strength, her kindness, her compassion, her gentleness and her joy. She will be remembered for showing us a grace that was unparalleled. She will be remembered because she is unforgettable. And because she is so very, very loved.
CONTENT MASTER ARTICLES
SAMPLE from ‘THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA’ - VICSMEDIA Social interaction is the foundation of the human race. In the business world, it is a necessity to be able to communicate well in order to trade. As the world evolves and embraces the newest form of communication - the digital era - new techniques for participating in interactive conversations are being developed. Enter the social media arena. It is a blend of technology and social interaction. Social media uses digital technologies and internet based applications, so that people, on a global scale, can communicate and exchange thoughts and ideas. It is, quite simply, media for social interaction. The landscape of communication is ever changing and social media today forms an integral part of modern society. Ours is an instant gratification generation and with the web, we get satisfaction. Finding answers, connecting with friends, learning and laughing and loving (oddly) can all be unlocked with a simple click. Is it any wonder we are all turning to the internet for the vast majority of relationships, whether it be for business or pleasure. As popularity and demand increases, so do the niche websites dedicated to this phenomenon. There are websites for sharing photos, sharing videos, sharing experiences, finding love, connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. In a business sense, social media channels can be effective platforms for building a profile, credibility, authority and showcasing your products. Individuals or companies can establish themselves as experts and can begin to influence how their industry is perceived. The advantage (or disadvantage) of using the web to deliver your message is its reach. The internet has far reaching capabilities, so what you say, post or load right now can be viewed by and influence someone on the other side of the world in seconds. With social media, you will never control your message completely, as it has the potential to be ‘Chinese whispered’ for an indefinite period. However, the very nature of the social media platforms is to share and comment, so you can contribute to discourses from varied sources in order to get your point across. There are so many ways to use social media to your advantage. It can take the form of blogs, photo and video uploads, audio files and podcasts - just to name a few. Social media can be used for personal or professional interaction. It can be chatty and light, informational, educational or used for promotional purposes. The possibilities really are endless.
These days, everyone is getting in on the action. What started as a way to connect with friends or colleagues has turned into big business. Though many professionals have a website to showcase what they’re up to, they also understand the importance of social media to get their messages out to the masses. It’s no longer acceptable to simply have your site, sit back and wait for the traffic to find you. Social media has unleashed the potential to reach people from different walks of life and with seemingly unrelated interest, by delivering information through common ground. When you find something of interest, it’s natural that you would want to share this information with friends. With social media, it’s the same concept. You share with your friends, who share with their friends and so on. Before long, your ‘re-tweet’ or post reaches audiences globally. The ultimate ‘word of mouth’ so to speak! It really is a clever and proven marketing strategy. Anyone, anywhere, can join the fray. With the development of mobile technologies, you can send a text, take a photo, write a blog and upload it all to your social media sites within minutes. Once it hits the internet, it’s available for all. Within hours, is discoverable through search engines and from there, the beast grows. It has an unlimited capacity to raise any profile and if managed well can make a positive and profitable mark on your business. There are any number of social media sites available to all, with new ones being introduced all the time. Each have unique niches and offer something slightly unique from the others. The most popular social networking websites include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, where users connect to friends, join groups, learn about events, play games, chat and more. There are sites for like-minded interest, like music or online games. There are video sharing sites, the most popular of which is YouTube. There are shopping sites and education sites and the lists go on and on. It’s convenient for people to access the world from the comfort of their lounge. Based on this, it’s also conceivable that where social media is concerned, there are sure to be many more uses to come in the future. What’s more, as a marketing strategy, social media is relatively inexpensive. The big draw card is undoubtedly the ability to reach people of varying demographics on a global scale.
CONTENT MASTER ARTICLES
SAMPLE from ‘THE IMPORTANCE OF SCRIPTWRITING’ - VICSMEDIA Language is a powerful motivator and a copy or script writer can captivate an audience with a single word or phrase. As the online world evolves and greater demands are placed on perfecting search engine optimisation (or SEO), the skills of a scriptwriter come into their own. They have a unique talent to thread words together to tell a story, entice an audience and bring about an action. Depending on what you want from your online listeners or viewers, the scripts you use in your multimedia projects are the key to holding the attention of possible customers or followers. Multimedia combines sound, graphics, images, text and other elements to create a message and is the answer to diverse, interesting and successful online content. While graphics and sounds enhance the product’s appeal, it’s the words used to convey the information that will ultimately get the message across the line. For that reason, copy writers need to be on top of a number of things in order to produce effective scripts. A script writer’s trick is to write like you’re actually talking to someone in person. In many cases, this means taking out the fluff. You wouldn’t meet someone in the street and say “Good day to you ... what fine weather we are experiencing particularly in light of those darkening storm clouds that threatened our sleepy town in the past week”. Sounds great for a novel, but your listener would think you’re a little off. To edit that for an audio or video script would be as simple as ‘Hi ... great weather today after the threat of rain last week”. This is short, sweet and says it all ... just as a good script should. The bottom line here is to simply omit words you don’t need. If you need to tighten a script further, turn words into contractions, like ‘that is’ to ‘that’s’, similar to how you would speak it. It may not always sound like perfect grammar, but the informality it expresses will actually be endearing to an audience. It will make you seem more approachable. It’s an excellent way to build a rapport with your listeners and viewers. Understanding the process from script to production can really help the script writer as well. The script writer is just one part of the sequence, but if they take the other steps into consideration, it can really streamline the process and eliminate hiccups. If the copy or scripts are to be edited to work in a video, the writer must be mindful of how that text can be visually represented. Depending on the final file or product and the production process, a script must tick a number of boxes. For example, if a script is to be sent to an illustrator with the end product being a video, the copy needs to be clear and concise so there is no miss-interpretation of the content. Without this clarity, and depending on your illustrator, time and money could be wasted when the information is misunderstood. Thanks to the wonderful opportunities of outsourcing and global