The Good Life: 15 Oct 2018

Hello Good Lifers,

Do you ever feel a pang of guilt when you see a reference to War & Peace and realise you have still to read it? I do…. but then I am seduced by the arrival of a new Harry Bosch crime novel tempting me and I succumb!

Good Life guest, Ander Louis, was in the same situation but at the end of last year he made the resolution to read one chapter each day during 2018…
fortuitously, Read More »


The Good Life: 8 Oct 2018

Hello Good Lifers,

It had been a hectic week with so many events to cover and the program was also a very busy one, with four interviews! I am sorry this waffle is late but I have been waiting to confirm some dates.

Our first guest was Mary Wiking, who has been active on the Board of YR Tourism Association for many years and is now responsible for the massive task of organising the annual Secret Gardens of the Dandenongs tours. With 26 participating gardens this year, it is a very big job, especially as Mary accompanies the guests on all the bus trips to the various gardens! I was grateful that she found the time to visit The Good Life studio!

The launch was held at Coonara Springs Restaurant and we shared a wonderful evening stroll around their huge Read More »

The Good Life: 1 Oct 2018

Hello Good Lifers,

Wow! So much happening up here in the Hills at this time of year I can hardly keep up with it all. This week the launch of the Secret Gardens of the Dandenongs, a visit to Prosperina for a friend’s birthday, opening night of Gulls at 1812 Theatre, (sadly, same night that Matt Joe Gow will be at Skylark!), launch of Tracey Roberts’ ‘family exhibition’ titled Sisters 3 at Eastland on Friday night and a fund raising lunch for Soupees at Rose Cottage on Sunday! What a great excuse for neglecting housework!

This week’s program was structured a little differently as Clare Calvet, our book reviewer who is usually with us for an hour the first Monday of each month, was away on “dog sitting” duties for a friend and out of mobile range.

However, this meant that The Good Life was able to be a bit self-indulgent and chat about footie! Nicole Hayes has a high profile in the world of football, bothRead More »

The Good Life: 24 Sept 2018

Hello Good Lifers,

With school holidays happening, the problem of keeping children occupied and entertained is paramount! Any suggestions are welcome, so The Good Life was happy to be able to offer some information about a show titled Pevan and Sarah.. which features Pevan, a lovely cuddly tiger and his slightly dim off-sider, Sarah.

Sarah was my guest and she explained that both she and her husband had been teachers and they created a series of songs especially for children with special needs. These songs covered some of the problems these young people were likely to meet and offered happy solutions!

Then she and Pevan took it a step further and created sRead More »

The Good Life: 17 Sep 2018

Hello Good Lifers,

The program covered several different areas of interest … art, live theatre and books! All activities I really enjoy, as I know many of our listeners do.

My first guest was a young local artist named Amanda Jean Filleul whose exhibition is about to open at the Red Earth Gallery at the Mooroolbark Community Centre. This is her first solo exhibition.

Amanda Jean spoke of difficult Read More »

The Good Life: 10 Sept 2018

Hello Good Lifers,

I love it when the mountainside is ablaze with wattle… but I do spare a thought for the victims of hay fever! This season seems to be particularly colourful and I have a profusion of violets popping up all over the place. They are certainly survivors of the plant world. It isn’t “officially” Spring for me until the English bluebells under my ancient oak tree burst into bloom!

The program this week had its usual ups and downs! The first guest I had planned to speak with is an author, but the publishing house was still waiting on finished copies of the book, so that interview had to be Suspended – which turned out to be most fortunate as a totally unexpected, but very welcome guest, arrived at the studio door.

I had heard the day before of a remarkable young man who had just flown solo around Australia in a very tiny aircraft – despite not yet having completed his training as a professional pilot! Perhaps the fact that his name is Alex KINGSFORD-SMITH had Read More »

A Good Life: 3 Sept 2018

Hello Good Lifer,

Firstly, my apologies for the long gap since the last Collections column!
As I have explained elsewhere, I was without email access for 4 weeks and when it was restored I had a MOUNTAIN of correspondence to answer and/or cull!

However, my beloved old Mac was patched up and we are tottering on…. with fingers crossed!

As usual, first Monday of the month is our Words & Music session, but with a slight difference this time. We had the pleasure of Tracey Roberts’ company and music in the studio, followed by an on phone chat with musician Matt Joe Gow, some tracks from his new CD, and then an abbreviated chat with book reviewer Clare Calvert.

Tracey was happy to share with us good Read More »

The Good Life: 2 July 2018

Hello Good Lifers,

While friends in Italy are sweltering night and day, we had our coldest Melbourne morning this year yesterday! However, it was cosy in the studio and even warmer when musician guest Jose Garcia arrived, carrying his guitar and wearing the colourful garment, popular in Spanish cultures, known as a serape or sarape. This woven poncho-style garment is favoured by Latino men and I must say Jose ‘wears it well’! (Although his Aussie checked flannelette shirt cuffs peeking out did dilute the image just a touch….)

His music certainly did not disappoint and we were treated to three beautiful original songs.. one about his beloved dog, another reminiscent of Read More »

The Good Life: 25 Jun 2018

Hello Good Lifers,

Are you all freezing?  Certainly chilly on my side of the mountain and with billowing fogs almost every day!  I guess that’s Life in the Dandenong Ranges…..

It was a delight to have with us this week two lovely studio guests….Glenda Quinn and Kathryn Gearon, both of whom are foster carer volunteers with OZCHILD.

Glenda, who has been fostering for something like 17 years has been a ‘second mother’ to almost 80 children, while  Kathryn, a carer volunteer for 23 years, has taken under her maternal wing over 100 children! They beamed as they spoke about these years and the children with whom they have shared them and had some lovely stories to tell of relationships maintained over many years.

Glenda was a new bride when she started fostering, together with her young husband, and now has two children of her own.  Kathryn too has her own family and both feel it has been of great benefit to their own families to share their lives with these other children.

The figures related to foster care are amazing…10,300 children in Victoria are in out-of-home care, an increase of 65% since 2012/13 and it seems that every 45 minutes a child enters home care!   We spoke of the reasons for this… ill health, drugs, alcoholism, homelessness all contribute to this.

OZCHILD is always desperate for more volunteer carers… They are Read More »

The Good Life: 18 Jun 2018

Hello Good Lifers,

I can’t believe this year is racing away so quickly!  I am working hard on the July interview schedule already.

This week’s program was a busy one with four interviews. Three authors and – yes – Vince Jones!!

My first guest, Enza Gandolfo, is the author of a book titled THE BRIDGE, with the historical background of a tragic incident many of us remember well.  (I remember it particularly vividly as my Dad had had a stroke the previous night and died the day of this terrible incident.)

The story of this tragedy is told initially through the eyes of a 22 year old Italian migrant, Antonello, married and a father. His personality – and his life – was changed on the day in 1970 when the partially constructed Westgate Bridge collapsed, killing 35 men. It was a day when Antonello should have been working on the bridge span himself, but his shift was changed, so he was spared death but not the terrible sense of guilt that followed.

We move forward to 2009 and meet Jo and Ashleigh, young girls from very different backgrounds but who are best friends and share their lives and their secrets until, through a series of poor decisions by different people, a tragedy occurs and one girl loses her life and the other assumes the burden of guilt and criminal liability.

She tries to escape, but her guilt follows her and changes her life and that of those around her. We share her relationship with Sarah, an older woman who is her lawyer and also something of a mentor.

We meet Antonello again, a grandfather now and with new pain in his life. This is a book, beautifully and movingly written, about love, loss, guilt and regrets.

I really enjoyed speaking with Enza, a Melbourne writer and an Honorary Professor in Creative Writing at Melbourne University. She obviously empathises very strongly with her characters and, because of this, projects their emotions so powerfully.

I highly recommend this book for thought provoking and absorbing reading.


Another quite challenging book titled HAPPY AS, written by Lisa Portolan, offers the premise that we are actually being made miserable by our perpetual search for this elusive thing called ‘happiness’!

Lisa describes it in one chapter as ” …an indescribable emotion. Intangible. Ephemeral”.

I congratulated her on her courage in tackling such a difficult topic and expressed my own feeling that we so often don’t recognise happiness except in retrospect. How often do we hear wistful references to “the good old days” or “ah, those were the days..” but were they that at the time or has the memory become a little blurred and just “the good bits” recalled?

We agreed that happiness means very different things over the years. For a teenager it could involve parties, new clothes, flirtations, for a young mother the birth of her baby and for a granny the joy of cuddling a little grandchild.

From an advertising background herself, Lisa acknowledged that that industry often creates the desire, then produces the product to fulfil the desire!

It is a fascinating topic and one which could profitably be pursued in good company over several glasses of red wine!


I always look forward to Robin Bowles’ books and have had the pleasure of interviewing her on a number of occasions.  Robin’s books, which usually focus on true crimes, are meticulously researched, but she also writes with great compassion and empathy and this comes through very strongly in some of the very sad events she describes in her most recent book ACCIDENTAL DEATH?

In this book she explores the background stories to a number of widely publicised deaths and we share the emotional impact on so many lives, as well as the forensic details which Robin loves to investigate.

I asked her how she managed to move on after her involvement in these episodes, especially in this book, where she reveals personal aspects of her own earlier life. I suspect it is because each time she has found another story to pursue!

There are a number of tragic incidents in this book, one particularly moving story was titled Killer Cop.  It tells of a young police officer who killed his wife’s lover in a blind fit of rage when he discovered her infidelity. This is a tragedy which obviously deeply affected Robyn and she followed it through the very long series of trials that followed.

The tragic aftermath of this is that two little boys were left fatherless and another had his Dad branded as a murderer.

Perhaps the most tragic story is that of the desperate young African mother, Akon Guode. She had had a harsh early life as a member of the Dinka tribe, who live by very strict tribal rules.  After the early death of her young husband, leaving her with young children, she was obliged to ‘marry’ his brother and had more children (believed to actually be through her dead husband.)

After a terrible cross-country journey, she escaped to Australia, where she became involved with a married man and had more children. Tragedy occurred when she drove into a lake with her four younger children in the car, three of whom drowned, while one escaped.

She claimed it was an accident and it was several months before the police arrested her for murder. There was a prolonged and painful trial during which Robin attended regularly until a final verdict was reached. This was a case which obviously deeply affected Robin and she writes about it with very real compassion.

There are six stories in this book, each with its own tragedy, and although it is sometimes painful to read, it is most rewarding.


It is always a pleasure to hear Vince Jones sing and also to chat with him! On this occasion we were speaking about his upcoming concert with Paul Grabowsky at the Burrinja Theatre in Upwey. The performance covered music from their newly released CD title ‘Provenance’ and included some of their recent compositions as well as  more traditional favourites.

I reminded Vince of his very early days when he was a regular guest at jazz clubs and bars around Melbourne, before he moved up North.

As well as being a great jazz singer, Vince is also an accomplished trumpeter and intersperses his vocals with its music.

Since the interview, I have had the pleasure of sharing an evening of the music of Vince and Paul at Burrinja. The theatre was packed and if you missed their performance there, you can see and hear them next Friday 29th June at the Memo, Healesville.  Book early.. it is a very popular event! …………………………..

Looking forward to a preview and Q & A session with the stars of BROTHERS’ NEST at the Cameo, Belgrave.  I’ll tell you about it on Monday! Thanks to Classic Cinemas for the double pass which was claimed by a listener!

Thanks as always to John weeks, for all he contributes to The Good Life and to friend TJ, who puts this waffle up on the web every week.  You can read book reviews on http:/<>

Best regards, Ann

Ann Creber The Good Life on 3MDR 97.1 FM

Live to air every Monday between 3.00-5.00 P.M.