On Sunday 20 August, I set up at the Port Augusta Undercover Market. The day started with promise but cold and rainy weather must have kept people at home.
One market-goer approached my table and asked if I had a new book out! Her son had finished reading Bernard Beagle Kicks Off and "loved it". Let's just say number two is coming soon ...
By the way ... I sold the iron!
A wave of energy surges through my body. I sprint across the bridge, throw my backpack into the front yard and race across the road. I don't think I can catch up but I have to try.
Bernard Beagle Kicks Off, page 11
You'll find this T-junction at the corner of Tarni Street and Mary Street in Happy Valley.
This intersection provided the inspiration for Bernard's two-storey house on Log Road. The metal fence on the left is where the bridge over the river comes to an end. Then, the river-side path trails off into the distance towards the reserve. In the book, there is no road alongside the path and the river weaves around the back of Bernard's house before reaching the reserve.
I've had a go at drawing the house into the picture!
For some reason, he kicks the ball as hard as he can. It slams into the slippery dip and rebounds out onto the grass about ten metres from the playground. Then Cody walks right up to me and sits on the other swing.
Bernard Beagle Kicks Off, page 108
This is the playground at the edge of the reserve where Cody and Bernard kick the ball together. The way this playground is set up, Cody wouldn't actually hit the slippery dip with his kick because he is unlikely to be approaching the playground from that side. For the sake of the story, lets pretend that the slippery dip is located under the green square closest to the camera!
When I used to kick the ball with my brother and my cousins at this park, sometimes we would blast it into the playground and see where it ended up. No reason. Sometimes we would miss the playground entirely and have to fetch the ball from the creek.
The swing that Bernard is sitting on is just behind the camera. You can see the playground in my previous feature, The Swings.
When I've crossed the field, I step through the gate and turn right. I walk along the path, the fence on my right and thick bushes on my left.
Bernard Beagle Kicks Off, page 8
This is the gap in the fence that Bernard walks through until he realises that he can jump over the fence closer to the boundary corner. As described in the earlier feature, Bayview Primary Boundary Fence, Bernard likes taking the easier option, walking through this gap rather than lifting his chubby body over the top.
This is actually the boundary fence at Reynella East College (formerly Reynella East High School). My brother, my dad and I took our dog Jess for walks along this path, although the vegetation wasn't as dense as it is now. In winter, the gutter you can see in the background would often be flowing with creek water.
At five o’clock, I walk to the park alone, without my soccer ball. There is nobody else there. I head over to the playground and sit on the swings, hiding in the warmth of my beanie.
Bernard Beagle Kicks Off, page 108
This is the swing set at Bernard and Cody's training reserve. After getting knocked out while playing his first ever game for the Tidal Waves, Bernard sits on the swing to let his emotions go. As he comes down from the highest point of the backward swing, Bernard feels the wind wipe away his tears.
When Cody finds Bernard at the park, he talks to him about the game and how Cody's first game was also a disaster.
This is actually the swing set at the local park a few blocks away from my old house. I can remember many conversations happening while swinging on these very swings, and, in fact, many other swings at other playgrounds. This particular piece of playground equipment just seems to encourage meaningful dialogue.
You know when the corner of your novel's pages get bent or torn - Blog Ears.