Of Crocodiles and Dreamers

 Anne here. Do you enjoy hearing stories of ordinary people who dream big dreams and, by blood, sweat, tears, heart and determination, bring them to life? I heard about one such magnificent dreamer last month, when I went up to Innisfail in Far North Queensland to conduct a weekend of writing workshops.

FlyingFishPtIt's crocodile country — tropical rainforest (jungle), miles of sugar cane and big rivers teeming with crocs. This was borne in on me when I asked the landlady of my B&B if it was all right to paddle in the river at the foot of the stairs. (That's it in the pic.)  "Yes, of course," she said, "but don't go out too deep. There are crocodiles in the river." Somehow, after that, I lost the urge to paddle, despite the heat. But I digress — I promised you a story of a big dreamer.

My first inkling of this story came when my hostess, writer and artist Jacque Duffy, told me that one of the most romantic spots in Australia was just down the road from her — Paronella Park. Paronella5

I'd never heard of it. I assumed Paronella was some kind of bird I'd never heard of. Wrong. I googled it and found a place that looked like it belonged deep in the jungles of South America. But it's in Australia.


 The story starts in 1913 when José Paronella arrived in Innisfail from Catalonia in Spain, leaving behind his fiancée Matilda. A poor cane-cutter to start with, he worked like fury, buying land, clearing the rainforest (jungle) and selling it to sugar cane farmers. It took him eleven years before he was ready to head back to Spain and fetch his Matilda to start their grand life in Australia.

Alas, she hadn't waited for him, but not one to repine, José married her younger sister, Margarita, and brought her back to Australia. I cannot imagine what she thought of this new life — it was isolated and rough country with a punishing tropical climate, not to mention an endless array of poisonous spiders, snakes and crocodiles, but she seems to have taken on board José's dreams and worked beside him to bring it to fruition. (As did most women in the district —women in those days were pretty amazing.)

Paronella3Inspired by the Spanish castles of his childhood, José began to create his own Spanish-style paradise on the jungle-covered steep slopes of his chosen site. He started by carving 47 steps, cutting up steep slopes through the tropical jungle so he could transport his building materials. 

Next he build a small stone cottage and he and Matilda moved in. But that was just the first stage. The dream grew and grew — perhaps as well as Catalonian castles, he had dreams of the European-style pleasure gardens he remembered from his youth because as well as a castle, he created an entertainment area, a ballroom, picnic grounds, a swimming pool — there are crocodiles in the river, remember — an outdoor movie theater, tennis courts, even an ice-cream parlor, where Matilda made the ice-creams — in a time when most of the surrounding cane farmers didn't even have electricity, and life was very primitive — to José, nothing was impossible. And everything was business — because of course, in isolated, entertainment-starved North Queensland, people flocked to Paronella Park. Paronella2

Paronella4It was all built by hand by José and his workers — his fingerprints in the cement between the stones are still visible today. He was very inventive and seized every opportunity to improve. He installed North Queensland's first hydro-electric plant in the waterfall to power the site.

Avenue ParonellaHe had an eye for beauty and although he cleared much of the jungle, he also planted and replanted hundreds of plants, creating a series of garden rooms and walks that are still beautiful today.

Stone paths weave through the jungle, taking you to different parts of the estate. (In this pic, we're carrying umbrellas, not because of rain, but because of the bats hanging in the canopy overhead—we didn't want to be splatted on.) FlowerParonella

José died in 1948, and Matilda and her two children kept the estate going, but after first Matilda and then her son Joe died, the remaining daughter struggled to keep things going. Two years after she sold the park, a fire destroyed much of the castle in 1979, leaving the ruin you see today. Further damage was caused by tropical cyclones.

The story might have ended here, and the fast-growing tropical jungle reclaimed this extraordinary creation, but in 1993, a young couple traveling through North Queensland, found Paronella Park — fell in love with it, bought it and ever since have worked to reclaim and repair it — and open it to the public again.

The following two photos are courtesy of Jacque Duffy.

Mena creek Falls

Bottom Castle
It's a magical place, with a haunting beauty. There's something both magnificent and eccentric about José's dream and the creation he and Matilda built — a little piece of Catalonia, carved by hand out of the tropical jungle on the other side of the world. And we are so much the richer for it.

What about you — do you know any stories about magnificent dreamers? Amazing pioneering women? Ever been to a castle? Encountered a crocodile or a snake? Or what's the most romantic place you know? 

95 thoughts on “Of Crocodiles and Dreamers”

  1. I was lucky enough to travel through Far North Queensland many years ago. It is such a magical place. I have never got to see Paronella Park, I didn’t know about it but your post does remind me of walking through a tropical rain forest and seeing trees that were taller than I could begin to fathom. I have a photo (paper one that I shall try to find) of me smiling for the camera -I had no idea till we got them developed that there were hundreds of bats over my head 🙂

    Reply
  2. I was lucky enough to travel through Far North Queensland many years ago. It is such a magical place. I have never got to see Paronella Park, I didn’t know about it but your post does remind me of walking through a tropical rain forest and seeing trees that were taller than I could begin to fathom. I have a photo (paper one that I shall try to find) of me smiling for the camera -I had no idea till we got them developed that there were hundreds of bats over my head 🙂

    Reply
  3. I was lucky enough to travel through Far North Queensland many years ago. It is such a magical place. I have never got to see Paronella Park, I didn’t know about it but your post does remind me of walking through a tropical rain forest and seeing trees that were taller than I could begin to fathom. I have a photo (paper one that I shall try to find) of me smiling for the camera -I had no idea till we got them developed that there were hundreds of bats over my head 🙂

    Reply
  4. I was lucky enough to travel through Far North Queensland many years ago. It is such a magical place. I have never got to see Paronella Park, I didn’t know about it but your post does remind me of walking through a tropical rain forest and seeing trees that were taller than I could begin to fathom. I have a photo (paper one that I shall try to find) of me smiling for the camera -I had no idea till we got them developed that there were hundreds of bats over my head 🙂

    Reply
  5. I was lucky enough to travel through Far North Queensland many years ago. It is such a magical place. I have never got to see Paronella Park, I didn’t know about it but your post does remind me of walking through a tropical rain forest and seeing trees that were taller than I could begin to fathom. I have a photo (paper one that I shall try to find) of me smiling for the camera -I had no idea till we got them developed that there were hundreds of bats over my head 🙂

    Reply
  6. Since I’m hanging out in the Pacific Northwest, I thought of two similar dreams–Lewis and Clark’s journey of exploration and the transcontinental railway. I checked on Lewis and Clark. What surprised me was that the dream of exploration of the west was not their but of Thomas Jefferson. He got funding from Congress, although it was a tough fight since the opposition saw no need for exploring the Pacific Northwest and were highly skeptical of the idea of a transcontinental water way.
    Jefferson decided to hire Lewis to head the expedition because he was a frontier’s man. Then Lewis selected Clark, because of his scientific accomplishments to be his second-in-command. Clark, recognizing the magnitude of the expedition, sought out information about previous travels to the Pacific Northwest. Jefferson opened up his library to Clark, who perused journals of trappers and other accounts of travelers who had visited the region. He also arranged for Clark’s further training in botany, biology, and geology.
    It seems strange to find this dream of Jefferson’s so close after the post on the Library of Congress. Of course, Jefferson was so not an ordinary person but Lewis and Clark were so I’m sticking with this story.

    Reply
  7. Since I’m hanging out in the Pacific Northwest, I thought of two similar dreams–Lewis and Clark’s journey of exploration and the transcontinental railway. I checked on Lewis and Clark. What surprised me was that the dream of exploration of the west was not their but of Thomas Jefferson. He got funding from Congress, although it was a tough fight since the opposition saw no need for exploring the Pacific Northwest and were highly skeptical of the idea of a transcontinental water way.
    Jefferson decided to hire Lewis to head the expedition because he was a frontier’s man. Then Lewis selected Clark, because of his scientific accomplishments to be his second-in-command. Clark, recognizing the magnitude of the expedition, sought out information about previous travels to the Pacific Northwest. Jefferson opened up his library to Clark, who perused journals of trappers and other accounts of travelers who had visited the region. He also arranged for Clark’s further training in botany, biology, and geology.
    It seems strange to find this dream of Jefferson’s so close after the post on the Library of Congress. Of course, Jefferson was so not an ordinary person but Lewis and Clark were so I’m sticking with this story.

    Reply
  8. Since I’m hanging out in the Pacific Northwest, I thought of two similar dreams–Lewis and Clark’s journey of exploration and the transcontinental railway. I checked on Lewis and Clark. What surprised me was that the dream of exploration of the west was not their but of Thomas Jefferson. He got funding from Congress, although it was a tough fight since the opposition saw no need for exploring the Pacific Northwest and were highly skeptical of the idea of a transcontinental water way.
    Jefferson decided to hire Lewis to head the expedition because he was a frontier’s man. Then Lewis selected Clark, because of his scientific accomplishments to be his second-in-command. Clark, recognizing the magnitude of the expedition, sought out information about previous travels to the Pacific Northwest. Jefferson opened up his library to Clark, who perused journals of trappers and other accounts of travelers who had visited the region. He also arranged for Clark’s further training in botany, biology, and geology.
    It seems strange to find this dream of Jefferson’s so close after the post on the Library of Congress. Of course, Jefferson was so not an ordinary person but Lewis and Clark were so I’m sticking with this story.

    Reply
  9. Since I’m hanging out in the Pacific Northwest, I thought of two similar dreams–Lewis and Clark’s journey of exploration and the transcontinental railway. I checked on Lewis and Clark. What surprised me was that the dream of exploration of the west was not their but of Thomas Jefferson. He got funding from Congress, although it was a tough fight since the opposition saw no need for exploring the Pacific Northwest and were highly skeptical of the idea of a transcontinental water way.
    Jefferson decided to hire Lewis to head the expedition because he was a frontier’s man. Then Lewis selected Clark, because of his scientific accomplishments to be his second-in-command. Clark, recognizing the magnitude of the expedition, sought out information about previous travels to the Pacific Northwest. Jefferson opened up his library to Clark, who perused journals of trappers and other accounts of travelers who had visited the region. He also arranged for Clark’s further training in botany, biology, and geology.
    It seems strange to find this dream of Jefferson’s so close after the post on the Library of Congress. Of course, Jefferson was so not an ordinary person but Lewis and Clark were so I’m sticking with this story.

    Reply
  10. Since I’m hanging out in the Pacific Northwest, I thought of two similar dreams–Lewis and Clark’s journey of exploration and the transcontinental railway. I checked on Lewis and Clark. What surprised me was that the dream of exploration of the west was not their but of Thomas Jefferson. He got funding from Congress, although it was a tough fight since the opposition saw no need for exploring the Pacific Northwest and were highly skeptical of the idea of a transcontinental water way.
    Jefferson decided to hire Lewis to head the expedition because he was a frontier’s man. Then Lewis selected Clark, because of his scientific accomplishments to be his second-in-command. Clark, recognizing the magnitude of the expedition, sought out information about previous travels to the Pacific Northwest. Jefferson opened up his library to Clark, who perused journals of trappers and other accounts of travelers who had visited the region. He also arranged for Clark’s further training in botany, biology, and geology.
    It seems strange to find this dream of Jefferson’s so close after the post on the Library of Congress. Of course, Jefferson was so not an ordinary person but Lewis and Clark were so I’m sticking with this story.

    Reply
  11. Hallo, Hallo Ms. Gracie!!
    Its been such a long while since I’ve been able to drop by properly! I did give a bit of a shout-out to you over the weekend via TW, as ChocLitUK was asking about our favourite historical romance blog and I quite literally *knew!* I had to give them the Wenches! I think I am getting the ‘hang’ of TW at this point! I even have my first two TW parties under my belt! 🙂 So much fun!
    However, what popped out of me in this post is when you asked us if ever encountered a croc or a snake? Uniquely enough I had an older boa for a best friend whilst attending a science center as a young girl! I loved to ‘talk’ and say ‘hallo!’ to Monty! (at the time I hadn’t seen the double-meaning of the python’s name!) I even helped save his life when I was the soul observer who *knew!* he had ducked out of his cage!
    Although I am sure we have crocs, I have had more interactions with gators! My favourite was only a short while ago where I observed this:
    I had a small window of where I could take a walkabout drinking in the Wintry breezes, clean air, and lumbering stillness of the natural world. I stumbled across a lazy alligator (a baby by all counts!) rolling through the drifting waves of the lake-shore as he ambled along to a berm! His entire countenance was of ease, tranquility, and joy. You could barely make out the essence of his head above the surface of the water, whilst his tail haphazardly appeared every so many feet strokes! (alligators tend to swim by dog-paddling using their tail as rudders!)
    Am I missing your TW feed?
    I looked up “Word Wenches” and “The Word Wenches” but didn’t find it??!!

    Reply
  12. Hallo, Hallo Ms. Gracie!!
    Its been such a long while since I’ve been able to drop by properly! I did give a bit of a shout-out to you over the weekend via TW, as ChocLitUK was asking about our favourite historical romance blog and I quite literally *knew!* I had to give them the Wenches! I think I am getting the ‘hang’ of TW at this point! I even have my first two TW parties under my belt! 🙂 So much fun!
    However, what popped out of me in this post is when you asked us if ever encountered a croc or a snake? Uniquely enough I had an older boa for a best friend whilst attending a science center as a young girl! I loved to ‘talk’ and say ‘hallo!’ to Monty! (at the time I hadn’t seen the double-meaning of the python’s name!) I even helped save his life when I was the soul observer who *knew!* he had ducked out of his cage!
    Although I am sure we have crocs, I have had more interactions with gators! My favourite was only a short while ago where I observed this:
    I had a small window of where I could take a walkabout drinking in the Wintry breezes, clean air, and lumbering stillness of the natural world. I stumbled across a lazy alligator (a baby by all counts!) rolling through the drifting waves of the lake-shore as he ambled along to a berm! His entire countenance was of ease, tranquility, and joy. You could barely make out the essence of his head above the surface of the water, whilst his tail haphazardly appeared every so many feet strokes! (alligators tend to swim by dog-paddling using their tail as rudders!)
    Am I missing your TW feed?
    I looked up “Word Wenches” and “The Word Wenches” but didn’t find it??!!

    Reply
  13. Hallo, Hallo Ms. Gracie!!
    Its been such a long while since I’ve been able to drop by properly! I did give a bit of a shout-out to you over the weekend via TW, as ChocLitUK was asking about our favourite historical romance blog and I quite literally *knew!* I had to give them the Wenches! I think I am getting the ‘hang’ of TW at this point! I even have my first two TW parties under my belt! 🙂 So much fun!
    However, what popped out of me in this post is when you asked us if ever encountered a croc or a snake? Uniquely enough I had an older boa for a best friend whilst attending a science center as a young girl! I loved to ‘talk’ and say ‘hallo!’ to Monty! (at the time I hadn’t seen the double-meaning of the python’s name!) I even helped save his life when I was the soul observer who *knew!* he had ducked out of his cage!
    Although I am sure we have crocs, I have had more interactions with gators! My favourite was only a short while ago where I observed this:
    I had a small window of where I could take a walkabout drinking in the Wintry breezes, clean air, and lumbering stillness of the natural world. I stumbled across a lazy alligator (a baby by all counts!) rolling through the drifting waves of the lake-shore as he ambled along to a berm! His entire countenance was of ease, tranquility, and joy. You could barely make out the essence of his head above the surface of the water, whilst his tail haphazardly appeared every so many feet strokes! (alligators tend to swim by dog-paddling using their tail as rudders!)
    Am I missing your TW feed?
    I looked up “Word Wenches” and “The Word Wenches” but didn’t find it??!!

    Reply
  14. Hallo, Hallo Ms. Gracie!!
    Its been such a long while since I’ve been able to drop by properly! I did give a bit of a shout-out to you over the weekend via TW, as ChocLitUK was asking about our favourite historical romance blog and I quite literally *knew!* I had to give them the Wenches! I think I am getting the ‘hang’ of TW at this point! I even have my first two TW parties under my belt! 🙂 So much fun!
    However, what popped out of me in this post is when you asked us if ever encountered a croc or a snake? Uniquely enough I had an older boa for a best friend whilst attending a science center as a young girl! I loved to ‘talk’ and say ‘hallo!’ to Monty! (at the time I hadn’t seen the double-meaning of the python’s name!) I even helped save his life when I was the soul observer who *knew!* he had ducked out of his cage!
    Although I am sure we have crocs, I have had more interactions with gators! My favourite was only a short while ago where I observed this:
    I had a small window of where I could take a walkabout drinking in the Wintry breezes, clean air, and lumbering stillness of the natural world. I stumbled across a lazy alligator (a baby by all counts!) rolling through the drifting waves of the lake-shore as he ambled along to a berm! His entire countenance was of ease, tranquility, and joy. You could barely make out the essence of his head above the surface of the water, whilst his tail haphazardly appeared every so many feet strokes! (alligators tend to swim by dog-paddling using their tail as rudders!)
    Am I missing your TW feed?
    I looked up “Word Wenches” and “The Word Wenches” but didn’t find it??!!

    Reply
  15. Hallo, Hallo Ms. Gracie!!
    Its been such a long while since I’ve been able to drop by properly! I did give a bit of a shout-out to you over the weekend via TW, as ChocLitUK was asking about our favourite historical romance blog and I quite literally *knew!* I had to give them the Wenches! I think I am getting the ‘hang’ of TW at this point! I even have my first two TW parties under my belt! 🙂 So much fun!
    However, what popped out of me in this post is when you asked us if ever encountered a croc or a snake? Uniquely enough I had an older boa for a best friend whilst attending a science center as a young girl! I loved to ‘talk’ and say ‘hallo!’ to Monty! (at the time I hadn’t seen the double-meaning of the python’s name!) I even helped save his life when I was the soul observer who *knew!* he had ducked out of his cage!
    Although I am sure we have crocs, I have had more interactions with gators! My favourite was only a short while ago where I observed this:
    I had a small window of where I could take a walkabout drinking in the Wintry breezes, clean air, and lumbering stillness of the natural world. I stumbled across a lazy alligator (a baby by all counts!) rolling through the drifting waves of the lake-shore as he ambled along to a berm! His entire countenance was of ease, tranquility, and joy. You could barely make out the essence of his head above the surface of the water, whilst his tail haphazardly appeared every so many feet strokes! (alligators tend to swim by dog-paddling using their tail as rudders!)
    Am I missing your TW feed?
    I looked up “Word Wenches” and “The Word Wenches” but didn’t find it??!!

    Reply
  16. Carol, that was the same here. Outside in the forest there were hundreds of fruit bats hanging upside down in the canopy, looking like dusty black umbrellas. There were more bats inside a little cave — tiny ones clustered to the roof like a velvet lining.
    Some of the tourists were worried about them, but once they’d been told there was no rabies in Australia and the bats weren’t dangerous in the least, they relaxed.

    Reply
  17. Carol, that was the same here. Outside in the forest there were hundreds of fruit bats hanging upside down in the canopy, looking like dusty black umbrellas. There were more bats inside a little cave — tiny ones clustered to the roof like a velvet lining.
    Some of the tourists were worried about them, but once they’d been told there was no rabies in Australia and the bats weren’t dangerous in the least, they relaxed.

    Reply
  18. Carol, that was the same here. Outside in the forest there were hundreds of fruit bats hanging upside down in the canopy, looking like dusty black umbrellas. There were more bats inside a little cave — tiny ones clustered to the roof like a velvet lining.
    Some of the tourists were worried about them, but once they’d been told there was no rabies in Australia and the bats weren’t dangerous in the least, they relaxed.

    Reply
  19. Carol, that was the same here. Outside in the forest there were hundreds of fruit bats hanging upside down in the canopy, looking like dusty black umbrellas. There were more bats inside a little cave — tiny ones clustered to the roof like a velvet lining.
    Some of the tourists were worried about them, but once they’d been told there was no rabies in Australia and the bats weren’t dangerous in the least, they relaxed.

    Reply
  20. Carol, that was the same here. Outside in the forest there were hundreds of fruit bats hanging upside down in the canopy, looking like dusty black umbrellas. There were more bats inside a little cave — tiny ones clustered to the roof like a velvet lining.
    Some of the tourists were worried about them, but once they’d been told there was no rabies in Australia and the bats weren’t dangerous in the least, they relaxed.

    Reply
  21. Shannon, I’ve read a little about the Lewis and Clark expedition — it really is amazing. And the dream might have originated with Jefferson, but it clearly inspired Lewis and Clark, because if they hadn’t been fired by it, they never would have done so much—they would have given up after the first few difficulties.
    Explorers of “new” territory are an interesting subject, I think — and what drove them. We have a very famous pair of explorers who died in the desert, but from everything I’ve read about their leader, he was arrogant and refused to listen to advice and pretty much caused the tragedy by his own mule-headedness. .

    Reply
  22. Shannon, I’ve read a little about the Lewis and Clark expedition — it really is amazing. And the dream might have originated with Jefferson, but it clearly inspired Lewis and Clark, because if they hadn’t been fired by it, they never would have done so much—they would have given up after the first few difficulties.
    Explorers of “new” territory are an interesting subject, I think — and what drove them. We have a very famous pair of explorers who died in the desert, but from everything I’ve read about their leader, he was arrogant and refused to listen to advice and pretty much caused the tragedy by his own mule-headedness. .

    Reply
  23. Shannon, I’ve read a little about the Lewis and Clark expedition — it really is amazing. And the dream might have originated with Jefferson, but it clearly inspired Lewis and Clark, because if they hadn’t been fired by it, they never would have done so much—they would have given up after the first few difficulties.
    Explorers of “new” territory are an interesting subject, I think — and what drove them. We have a very famous pair of explorers who died in the desert, but from everything I’ve read about their leader, he was arrogant and refused to listen to advice and pretty much caused the tragedy by his own mule-headedness. .

    Reply
  24. Shannon, I’ve read a little about the Lewis and Clark expedition — it really is amazing. And the dream might have originated with Jefferson, but it clearly inspired Lewis and Clark, because if they hadn’t been fired by it, they never would have done so much—they would have given up after the first few difficulties.
    Explorers of “new” territory are an interesting subject, I think — and what drove them. We have a very famous pair of explorers who died in the desert, but from everything I’ve read about their leader, he was arrogant and refused to listen to advice and pretty much caused the tragedy by his own mule-headedness. .

    Reply
  25. Shannon, I’ve read a little about the Lewis and Clark expedition — it really is amazing. And the dream might have originated with Jefferson, but it clearly inspired Lewis and Clark, because if they hadn’t been fired by it, they never would have done so much—they would have given up after the first few difficulties.
    Explorers of “new” territory are an interesting subject, I think — and what drove them. We have a very famous pair of explorers who died in the desert, but from everything I’ve read about their leader, he was arrogant and refused to listen to advice and pretty much caused the tragedy by his own mule-headedness. .

    Reply
  26. Hi there JLoves *g* Thanks for the shout-out on ChocLitUK — I’m not on twitter as much as I should be, I know. I love the sound of your Monty — great name. LOL. The Python boys would be proud. When I was a child my grandfather’s friend kept a python in his barn — it used to eat the snakes. He used to get it down and let me pat it sometimes — it had such pretty patterns – but I was terribly cautious all the same..
    I’ll check out the missing Twitterfeed — there is a twitter link at the bottom of the post, but we’ve made a few changes recently and something authomatic might have dropped off. Thanks for letting me know.

    Reply
  27. Hi there JLoves *g* Thanks for the shout-out on ChocLitUK — I’m not on twitter as much as I should be, I know. I love the sound of your Monty — great name. LOL. The Python boys would be proud. When I was a child my grandfather’s friend kept a python in his barn — it used to eat the snakes. He used to get it down and let me pat it sometimes — it had such pretty patterns – but I was terribly cautious all the same..
    I’ll check out the missing Twitterfeed — there is a twitter link at the bottom of the post, but we’ve made a few changes recently and something authomatic might have dropped off. Thanks for letting me know.

    Reply
  28. Hi there JLoves *g* Thanks for the shout-out on ChocLitUK — I’m not on twitter as much as I should be, I know. I love the sound of your Monty — great name. LOL. The Python boys would be proud. When I was a child my grandfather’s friend kept a python in his barn — it used to eat the snakes. He used to get it down and let me pat it sometimes — it had such pretty patterns – but I was terribly cautious all the same..
    I’ll check out the missing Twitterfeed — there is a twitter link at the bottom of the post, but we’ve made a few changes recently and something authomatic might have dropped off. Thanks for letting me know.

    Reply
  29. Hi there JLoves *g* Thanks for the shout-out on ChocLitUK — I’m not on twitter as much as I should be, I know. I love the sound of your Monty — great name. LOL. The Python boys would be proud. When I was a child my grandfather’s friend kept a python in his barn — it used to eat the snakes. He used to get it down and let me pat it sometimes — it had such pretty patterns – but I was terribly cautious all the same..
    I’ll check out the missing Twitterfeed — there is a twitter link at the bottom of the post, but we’ve made a few changes recently and something authomatic might have dropped off. Thanks for letting me know.

    Reply
  30. Hi there JLoves *g* Thanks for the shout-out on ChocLitUK — I’m not on twitter as much as I should be, I know. I love the sound of your Monty — great name. LOL. The Python boys would be proud. When I was a child my grandfather’s friend kept a python in his barn — it used to eat the snakes. He used to get it down and let me pat it sometimes — it had such pretty patterns – but I was terribly cautious all the same..
    I’ll check out the missing Twitterfeed — there is a twitter link at the bottom of the post, but we’ve made a few changes recently and something authomatic might have dropped off. Thanks for letting me know.

    Reply
  31. What a fascinating story, Anne! It immediately reminded me of Eva Ibbotson’s A COMPANY OF SWANS, which takes place in Amazonia, a place of great dreamers. When we visited Queensland, we took a day tour with a lovely local fellow whose stories about crocodiles were enough to keep anyone firmly on shore! In one case, he and his wife literally pulled one of their dogs out of a croc’s mouth, saving the dog’s life. It makes me glad that I just have to contend with squirrels and deer. *G*

    Reply
  32. What a fascinating story, Anne! It immediately reminded me of Eva Ibbotson’s A COMPANY OF SWANS, which takes place in Amazonia, a place of great dreamers. When we visited Queensland, we took a day tour with a lovely local fellow whose stories about crocodiles were enough to keep anyone firmly on shore! In one case, he and his wife literally pulled one of their dogs out of a croc’s mouth, saving the dog’s life. It makes me glad that I just have to contend with squirrels and deer. *G*

    Reply
  33. What a fascinating story, Anne! It immediately reminded me of Eva Ibbotson’s A COMPANY OF SWANS, which takes place in Amazonia, a place of great dreamers. When we visited Queensland, we took a day tour with a lovely local fellow whose stories about crocodiles were enough to keep anyone firmly on shore! In one case, he and his wife literally pulled one of their dogs out of a croc’s mouth, saving the dog’s life. It makes me glad that I just have to contend with squirrels and deer. *G*

    Reply
  34. What a fascinating story, Anne! It immediately reminded me of Eva Ibbotson’s A COMPANY OF SWANS, which takes place in Amazonia, a place of great dreamers. When we visited Queensland, we took a day tour with a lovely local fellow whose stories about crocodiles were enough to keep anyone firmly on shore! In one case, he and his wife literally pulled one of their dogs out of a croc’s mouth, saving the dog’s life. It makes me glad that I just have to contend with squirrels and deer. *G*

    Reply
  35. What a fascinating story, Anne! It immediately reminded me of Eva Ibbotson’s A COMPANY OF SWANS, which takes place in Amazonia, a place of great dreamers. When we visited Queensland, we took a day tour with a lovely local fellow whose stories about crocodiles were enough to keep anyone firmly on shore! In one case, he and his wife literally pulled one of their dogs out of a croc’s mouth, saving the dog’s life. It makes me glad that I just have to contend with squirrels and deer. *G*

    Reply
  36. I’m amazed by this, and I’d love to see it if I ever get to Australia. Somehow I think of the whole continent as being dry bush. I think my image was formed by reading “The Road from Coorain” and I forget about the lush jungle areas.

    Reply
  37. I’m amazed by this, and I’d love to see it if I ever get to Australia. Somehow I think of the whole continent as being dry bush. I think my image was formed by reading “The Road from Coorain” and I forget about the lush jungle areas.

    Reply
  38. I’m amazed by this, and I’d love to see it if I ever get to Australia. Somehow I think of the whole continent as being dry bush. I think my image was formed by reading “The Road from Coorain” and I forget about the lush jungle areas.

    Reply
  39. I’m amazed by this, and I’d love to see it if I ever get to Australia. Somehow I think of the whole continent as being dry bush. I think my image was formed by reading “The Road from Coorain” and I forget about the lush jungle areas.

    Reply
  40. I’m amazed by this, and I’d love to see it if I ever get to Australia. Somehow I think of the whole continent as being dry bush. I think my image was formed by reading “The Road from Coorain” and I forget about the lush jungle areas.

    Reply
  41. Yes, Mary Jo, I love Eva Ibbotson’s Company of Swans too, and that’s the image I had. It’s pretty amazing. And I’d never heard of it until jacque Duffy told me about it and I googled it. And then, of course I had to see it.
    The people of far North Queensland do seem to be pretty laid-back about crocs. I suppose you’d get used to their constand presence, but people were standing waist-deep in that river and fishing — with little kids playing on the shore. I fretted the whole time I watched them.

    Reply
  42. Yes, Mary Jo, I love Eva Ibbotson’s Company of Swans too, and that’s the image I had. It’s pretty amazing. And I’d never heard of it until jacque Duffy told me about it and I googled it. And then, of course I had to see it.
    The people of far North Queensland do seem to be pretty laid-back about crocs. I suppose you’d get used to their constand presence, but people were standing waist-deep in that river and fishing — with little kids playing on the shore. I fretted the whole time I watched them.

    Reply
  43. Yes, Mary Jo, I love Eva Ibbotson’s Company of Swans too, and that’s the image I had. It’s pretty amazing. And I’d never heard of it until jacque Duffy told me about it and I googled it. And then, of course I had to see it.
    The people of far North Queensland do seem to be pretty laid-back about crocs. I suppose you’d get used to their constand presence, but people were standing waist-deep in that river and fishing — with little kids playing on the shore. I fretted the whole time I watched them.

    Reply
  44. Yes, Mary Jo, I love Eva Ibbotson’s Company of Swans too, and that’s the image I had. It’s pretty amazing. And I’d never heard of it until jacque Duffy told me about it and I googled it. And then, of course I had to see it.
    The people of far North Queensland do seem to be pretty laid-back about crocs. I suppose you’d get used to their constand presence, but people were standing waist-deep in that river and fishing — with little kids playing on the shore. I fretted the whole time I watched them.

    Reply
  45. Yes, Mary Jo, I love Eva Ibbotson’s Company of Swans too, and that’s the image I had. It’s pretty amazing. And I’d never heard of it until jacque Duffy told me about it and I googled it. And then, of course I had to see it.
    The people of far North Queensland do seem to be pretty laid-back about crocs. I suppose you’d get used to their constand presence, but people were standing waist-deep in that river and fishing — with little kids playing on the shore. I fretted the whole time I watched them.

    Reply
  46. Karin, Australia is about the same size as continental USA, so you do get a variety of landscapes, but the centre is desert. But as well as the lush tropical rainforest in the north, down south where I live and also in Tasmania, you get cool temperate rainforest — just as lush, but different, cool climate species. Tall tree ferns and huge eucalypt trees. And, of course, all the fauna to go with it.
    A lot of the jungle areas in the south, however, were cleared generations ago, for farmland.

    Reply
  47. Karin, Australia is about the same size as continental USA, so you do get a variety of landscapes, but the centre is desert. But as well as the lush tropical rainforest in the north, down south where I live and also in Tasmania, you get cool temperate rainforest — just as lush, but different, cool climate species. Tall tree ferns and huge eucalypt trees. And, of course, all the fauna to go with it.
    A lot of the jungle areas in the south, however, were cleared generations ago, for farmland.

    Reply
  48. Karin, Australia is about the same size as continental USA, so you do get a variety of landscapes, but the centre is desert. But as well as the lush tropical rainforest in the north, down south where I live and also in Tasmania, you get cool temperate rainforest — just as lush, but different, cool climate species. Tall tree ferns and huge eucalypt trees. And, of course, all the fauna to go with it.
    A lot of the jungle areas in the south, however, were cleared generations ago, for farmland.

    Reply
  49. Karin, Australia is about the same size as continental USA, so you do get a variety of landscapes, but the centre is desert. But as well as the lush tropical rainforest in the north, down south where I live and also in Tasmania, you get cool temperate rainforest — just as lush, but different, cool climate species. Tall tree ferns and huge eucalypt trees. And, of course, all the fauna to go with it.
    A lot of the jungle areas in the south, however, were cleared generations ago, for farmland.

    Reply
  50. Karin, Australia is about the same size as continental USA, so you do get a variety of landscapes, but the centre is desert. But as well as the lush tropical rainforest in the north, down south where I live and also in Tasmania, you get cool temperate rainforest — just as lush, but different, cool climate species. Tall tree ferns and huge eucalypt trees. And, of course, all the fauna to go with it.
    A lot of the jungle areas in the south, however, were cleared generations ago, for farmland.

    Reply
  51. Hallo Ms. Gracie!
    🙂 I decided I didn’t want to miss out on anything so I went ahead and found each of you individually on TW! 🙂 I didn’t find Ms. King, but everyone else should be linked to me! I equally wasn’t sure if Ms. Holmes TW page is still active?
    I had noticed the changes when I came back today, but I liked the ease of signing in through Twitter w/o having to worry about signing in through my blog! 🙂 Sometimes I hop on to check my TW feed and its one step less to post a comment! 🙂 Cheers on that!
    Your quite welcome, Ms. Gracie on the shout-out! Its well deserved and ChocLit was thankful! 🙂
    I hear you on being cautious around snakes, I’ve never been very keen on them either! Monty was different because he lived in such a large cage, although like I said I used to like to ‘cheer him up’ a bit! I was just so gobsmacked no one noticed this extensively large and elder python had went missing! They found him up in the ceiling trying to keep warm and it took over 10 men to carry him back! Oy! I think snakes are as cheeky-sneaky as cats!
    Jorie

    Reply
  52. Hallo Ms. Gracie!
    🙂 I decided I didn’t want to miss out on anything so I went ahead and found each of you individually on TW! 🙂 I didn’t find Ms. King, but everyone else should be linked to me! I equally wasn’t sure if Ms. Holmes TW page is still active?
    I had noticed the changes when I came back today, but I liked the ease of signing in through Twitter w/o having to worry about signing in through my blog! 🙂 Sometimes I hop on to check my TW feed and its one step less to post a comment! 🙂 Cheers on that!
    Your quite welcome, Ms. Gracie on the shout-out! Its well deserved and ChocLit was thankful! 🙂
    I hear you on being cautious around snakes, I’ve never been very keen on them either! Monty was different because he lived in such a large cage, although like I said I used to like to ‘cheer him up’ a bit! I was just so gobsmacked no one noticed this extensively large and elder python had went missing! They found him up in the ceiling trying to keep warm and it took over 10 men to carry him back! Oy! I think snakes are as cheeky-sneaky as cats!
    Jorie

    Reply
  53. Hallo Ms. Gracie!
    🙂 I decided I didn’t want to miss out on anything so I went ahead and found each of you individually on TW! 🙂 I didn’t find Ms. King, but everyone else should be linked to me! I equally wasn’t sure if Ms. Holmes TW page is still active?
    I had noticed the changes when I came back today, but I liked the ease of signing in through Twitter w/o having to worry about signing in through my blog! 🙂 Sometimes I hop on to check my TW feed and its one step less to post a comment! 🙂 Cheers on that!
    Your quite welcome, Ms. Gracie on the shout-out! Its well deserved and ChocLit was thankful! 🙂
    I hear you on being cautious around snakes, I’ve never been very keen on them either! Monty was different because he lived in such a large cage, although like I said I used to like to ‘cheer him up’ a bit! I was just so gobsmacked no one noticed this extensively large and elder python had went missing! They found him up in the ceiling trying to keep warm and it took over 10 men to carry him back! Oy! I think snakes are as cheeky-sneaky as cats!
    Jorie

    Reply
  54. Hallo Ms. Gracie!
    🙂 I decided I didn’t want to miss out on anything so I went ahead and found each of you individually on TW! 🙂 I didn’t find Ms. King, but everyone else should be linked to me! I equally wasn’t sure if Ms. Holmes TW page is still active?
    I had noticed the changes when I came back today, but I liked the ease of signing in through Twitter w/o having to worry about signing in through my blog! 🙂 Sometimes I hop on to check my TW feed and its one step less to post a comment! 🙂 Cheers on that!
    Your quite welcome, Ms. Gracie on the shout-out! Its well deserved and ChocLit was thankful! 🙂
    I hear you on being cautious around snakes, I’ve never been very keen on them either! Monty was different because he lived in such a large cage, although like I said I used to like to ‘cheer him up’ a bit! I was just so gobsmacked no one noticed this extensively large and elder python had went missing! They found him up in the ceiling trying to keep warm and it took over 10 men to carry him back! Oy! I think snakes are as cheeky-sneaky as cats!
    Jorie

    Reply
  55. Hallo Ms. Gracie!
    🙂 I decided I didn’t want to miss out on anything so I went ahead and found each of you individually on TW! 🙂 I didn’t find Ms. King, but everyone else should be linked to me! I equally wasn’t sure if Ms. Holmes TW page is still active?
    I had noticed the changes when I came back today, but I liked the ease of signing in through Twitter w/o having to worry about signing in through my blog! 🙂 Sometimes I hop on to check my TW feed and its one step less to post a comment! 🙂 Cheers on that!
    Your quite welcome, Ms. Gracie on the shout-out! Its well deserved and ChocLit was thankful! 🙂
    I hear you on being cautious around snakes, I’ve never been very keen on them either! Monty was different because he lived in such a large cage, although like I said I used to like to ‘cheer him up’ a bit! I was just so gobsmacked no one noticed this extensively large and elder python had went missing! They found him up in the ceiling trying to keep warm and it took over 10 men to carry him back! Oy! I think snakes are as cheeky-sneaky as cats!
    Jorie

    Reply
  56. Ms. Rice,
    Ahh, not to worry! I went back and sought each of you out individually tonight! 🙂 Once your feed launches I can link to that as well! I don’t want to stay out of the loop! Ooh, I have heard that FB is addictive! What I didn’t realise is how lovely TW is for sync’ing updates for your blog! I am learning something new each day! 🙂

    Reply
  57. Ms. Rice,
    Ahh, not to worry! I went back and sought each of you out individually tonight! 🙂 Once your feed launches I can link to that as well! I don’t want to stay out of the loop! Ooh, I have heard that FB is addictive! What I didn’t realise is how lovely TW is for sync’ing updates for your blog! I am learning something new each day! 🙂

    Reply
  58. Ms. Rice,
    Ahh, not to worry! I went back and sought each of you out individually tonight! 🙂 Once your feed launches I can link to that as well! I don’t want to stay out of the loop! Ooh, I have heard that FB is addictive! What I didn’t realise is how lovely TW is for sync’ing updates for your blog! I am learning something new each day! 🙂

    Reply
  59. Ms. Rice,
    Ahh, not to worry! I went back and sought each of you out individually tonight! 🙂 Once your feed launches I can link to that as well! I don’t want to stay out of the loop! Ooh, I have heard that FB is addictive! What I didn’t realise is how lovely TW is for sync’ing updates for your blog! I am learning something new each day! 🙂

    Reply
  60. Ms. Rice,
    Ahh, not to worry! I went back and sought each of you out individually tonight! 🙂 Once your feed launches I can link to that as well! I don’t want to stay out of the loop! Ooh, I have heard that FB is addictive! What I didn’t realise is how lovely TW is for sync’ing updates for your blog! I am learning something new each day! 🙂

    Reply
  61. The story of getting the perfect home to bring a bride to, reminded me of the Coral Castle in Florida. A man spent 28 years had carving a castle without power tools. Some of the blocks are several tons. The official site does not mention the unrequited love, but most locals tell it that way. http://coralcastle.com/

    Reply
  62. The story of getting the perfect home to bring a bride to, reminded me of the Coral Castle in Florida. A man spent 28 years had carving a castle without power tools. Some of the blocks are several tons. The official site does not mention the unrequited love, but most locals tell it that way. http://coralcastle.com/

    Reply
  63. The story of getting the perfect home to bring a bride to, reminded me of the Coral Castle in Florida. A man spent 28 years had carving a castle without power tools. Some of the blocks are several tons. The official site does not mention the unrequited love, but most locals tell it that way. http://coralcastle.com/

    Reply
  64. The story of getting the perfect home to bring a bride to, reminded me of the Coral Castle in Florida. A man spent 28 years had carving a castle without power tools. Some of the blocks are several tons. The official site does not mention the unrequited love, but most locals tell it that way. http://coralcastle.com/

    Reply
  65. The story of getting the perfect home to bring a bride to, reminded me of the Coral Castle in Florida. A man spent 28 years had carving a castle without power tools. Some of the blocks are several tons. The official site does not mention the unrequited love, but most locals tell it that way. http://coralcastle.com/

    Reply
  66. That’s so beautiful! We have the Winchester Mystery House locally and Hearst’s Castle just a few hours away, but Paronella Park looks like it rivals them both for beauty and eccentricity.

    Reply
  67. That’s so beautiful! We have the Winchester Mystery House locally and Hearst’s Castle just a few hours away, but Paronella Park looks like it rivals them both for beauty and eccentricity.

    Reply
  68. That’s so beautiful! We have the Winchester Mystery House locally and Hearst’s Castle just a few hours away, but Paronella Park looks like it rivals them both for beauty and eccentricity.

    Reply
  69. That’s so beautiful! We have the Winchester Mystery House locally and Hearst’s Castle just a few hours away, but Paronella Park looks like it rivals them both for beauty and eccentricity.

    Reply
  70. That’s so beautiful! We have the Winchester Mystery House locally and Hearst’s Castle just a few hours away, but Paronella Park looks like it rivals them both for beauty and eccentricity.

    Reply

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