Fly In, Fly Out With Georgina Penney At The Margaret River Bookshop

During the week I had the opportunity to attend an author event hosted by our local bookshop, The Margaret River Bookshop. What a perfect setting for an intimate discussion with author, traveller and storyteller, Georgina Penney.Georgina Penney(photo courtesy Lily Malone)

Georgina delighted the group with her personal stories of growing up in the region, specifically the property which is now home to the Churchview Estate Wines in Metricup (thank you Churchview Estate for providing the wine for this occasion).  Georgina has certainly led a very interesting life having lived in many cities and towns in Australia before relocating overseas to spend time in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Brunei Darussalam.  Georgina is currently living in Scotland.  During the course of her travels Georgina has had the opportunity to speak to many expats about their Fly in Fly Out experiences and you will recognise some of these stories in her novel Unforgettable You aka Fly In Fly Out.

 

Fly in Fly Out is a romance sited in Perth, Fremantle, on an oil rig of the coast of  Mauritania and the Margaret River region. Fly In Fly Out is not typical of the Romance genre – whilst writing a romantic novel Georgina weaves into the narrative examples of many of the difficulties that people working in a Fly In Fly Out situation experience – isolation, long shifts, exhausting rosters… and the difficulties in maintaining relationships and friendships long distance. Some of these difficulties were attested to by those who attended the event. Further the book opens up discussion on Domestic/Family Violence and provides a conclusion of realistic optimism where events of the past are highlighted as that – the past – and can be overcome. A very interesting read.

A great evening thanks to all involved. I look forward to hearing more about Georgina’s work and her remarkable life and travels in the future.

Fly In Fly Out - Georgina Penney, Penguin.

Fly In Fly Out – Georgina Penney, Penguin.

Discovering Your Own Backyard.

Wine Tour - Surfers Point, Margaret River - Canapes and Champagne before the movies.

Wine Tour – Surfers Point, Margaret River – Canapes and Champagne before the movies.

During the week we were very fortunate to be able to experience an indulgent winery tour that concluded with tickets to the outdoor movies and pizza and wine under the stars  (a  wonderful Christmas gift, thankyou A & J!) and a drive home in a jag! Fantastic! What a great experience. We had the best day – and night.

Despite living in this winery region for the past 5 or so years it is easy to become enmeshed in your own small life and to forget what is out there in the greater world, just waiting to be explored.   It was refreshing to be reminded of just what a beautiful spot Margaret River is and to visit the town as a tourist is mind opening -this region is truly spectacular and there are so many different “experiences” on offer.

The tour was booked through the Margaret River Visitors Centre; travel was by Go In Style Luxury Tours (a great way to see the sights, Allan and Peter have lots of local knowledge and are friendly and helpful). We began our tour with an insiders guide to wine making at the beautiful Watershed Premium Wines – thank you, we had an excellent time being escorted round the property, seeing where and how the wine is made and then a fantastic tasting session where we discussed the virtues of the wines and which foods best matched the particular style of wine we were tasting.  Our guide was so knowledgeable and friendly, you can really tell when someone loves their job! Watershed Cellar Door – great wines and magnificent buildings! I would love to come back again and have lunch on the deck overlooking the dam and the vineyards.

 

We then headed to the magnificent Voyager Estate Premium Winery, what magnificent gardens! Spectacular!  And I have heard their High Teas are excellent – but book ahead  if you want to avail yourself of this treat.

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Then back into the car and off to the beach (Surfers Point) for canapés and champagne.

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And then:

Movies , starters, wine and pizza at Cape Mentelle Winery – fabulous.

 

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What a great day and night!

Post Script: The West Australian Wine Guide 2015 – Ray Jordan

Great local information on the magnificent West Australian wine growing regions and the wines they produce.

The West Australian Wine Guide 2015

The West Australian Wine Guide 2015

The West Australian Wine Guide 2015

Ray Jordan

The West Australian Publishers

ISBN: 9780994170613

 

 

My View:

A must have for the wine tourist or those who enjoy a nice drop or two of magnificent West Australian wine. This guide is full of useful information; take with you on a tour of your local bottle shop or when you visit to one of the many magnificent wine growing regions in West Australia. The guide list wineries by region, producer, has information regarding annual crush, owners of vineyard, wine maker, type of wine produced, pricing, contact details for wineries and sections on matching food with wine, recipes etc

 

Even though I have Iived in the Margaret River wine producing region for the past five years I still have many many local wineries to discovery and wines to sample. This book will certainly be invaluable in helping me decide what cellar door to visit and what wines to sample next.

 

 

Post Script: The Break – Deb Fitzpatrick

The climax will haunt you whether you are a “local” or not.

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The Break

Deb Fitzpatrick

Fremantle Press

ISBN: 9781922089632

 

 

Description:

The south-west coast is the kind of place people escape to. Unless you have lived there all your life, in which case, you long to get away.

 

Rosie and Cray chuck in their city jobs for Margaret River while Liza, Ferg and Sam have been there forever, working the family farm. Under pressure from developers the families unite against change. But when a natural disaster strikes, change is inevitable.

 

My View:

I am always keen to read books written by Australian authors particular those local to the region I live in or those written about that region– and you couldn’t get any more “local” than this, a story written about the Margaret River region. Local landmarks are thinly disguised and easily recognised. A narrative based on my local region, with a synopsis that talks about sea changes (which again appealed to me because of my own relatively recent sea change) and an environmental issue, I was hooked. A barely glanced over the line “But a natural disaster…” and wasn’t prepared for the emotional ending.

 

Fitzpatrick drew me in with elements that I thought would be related to my own life; there was so many aspects of the narrative that felt I would recognise, maybe empathise with; my daughter is a journalist, I have a son in-law who is a FIFO mine worker, we made a sea change to the Margaret River region…I thought I would find elements here I could identify with. But I didn’t. The book is set in the late 1990’s but at times felt so much older, so dated … or do I have a short memory? I am seeing a stereotyped version of a hippy/surfing culture that I think existed in the 70’s? I don’t know but for me the contemporary issues felt at odds with the setting. Something didn’t quite jell.

 

The story is told through the circumstance and lives of two sets of families – Rosie and Cray – who made the deliberate decision to move to the area and the Crowe family – a family of farmers who have always lived in the area, a juxtaposition of opinions and perspectives that eventually is meant to lead to us to an intersection where both families unite (over a development issue). This did not work for me – I did not feel there was any real connection between the two units, the relationship didn’t seem to grow and just seemed cursory. I think this aspect needs more development.

 

I can empathise with the desire to escape the city life and move to a regional area where life is more relaxed but I didn’t feel a connection with the main characters experiences and I didn’t feel any sense of the community they were seeking (until the very last pages) and then I didn’t feel they were part of that community. In fact the lives they moved to seemed pretty disparate with their ideals before they left, particularly for Rosie. Life was probably looking better to Cray but he was a character I didn’t warm to; I felt he was selfish.

 

Despite some misgiving with the lack of development of the relationships in this narrative I can see a wonderful potential in the storyline regarding the history of the Crowe family. I would have liked to have known more about their lives, about their relationships, about the problems the family dealt with (and there are many) and the optimism Crowe senior had for life on the land. I would like to have known more about a family dealing with an addiction and with tragedy.

 

The tragedy – despite not living in the area at the time of this event (no spoilers here) I felt the wounds were still to raw to be presented in this forum. It is very clear what the author is referring to – there is no real effort to disguise the event. I think fiction/fact is too blurred here, “faction” is not what I wanted to read and is an entirely different narrative, one that could work so well – there is a story based on the tragedy that would really work here as a work of fiction, but not an identifiable fiction.

 

Writing that is engaging – but a narrative that is not developed enough for my liking. But mine is just a personal view, you should make up your own mind.